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Monday, November 16, 2009

East Coast Trip

Whew...for the last two weeks Eddie and I were traveling in the Northeast. Our first week was spent in Pittsburgh, PA for a soils conference where I presented a poster on my research. My second week was spent in upstate NY with Edward and his roommate. We had loads of fun and I'm so glad we went. Although parts were tiring (like holding him on the plane for 8 straight hours) it was fun to get out of the house and visit with people.

All I have to say about traveling alone with a baby is:

  • I'm glad I breastfeed
  • Unpack a few diapers and wipes right when you get seated and put them into the seat-back pocket for easy access
  • Don't worry about other people holding him so you can use the bathroom--it is a plane so the baby can't be kidnapped!
  • Before boarding, buy a bottle of water with a sport top so you can drink with one hand and not need a tray table to set the drink on
  • If you get a drink from the flight attendant, get it without ice so you can gulp it down quickly and stash your cup in the seat pocket if your baby gets squirmy (as mine does) and you suddenly need both hands to hold him
  • The younger the baby, the easier it is to fly with them--younger babies = more time spent sleeping
When I flew into Pittsburgh Edward's friend, Teresa, picked me up at the airport very late at night. I'd never met her and found it very nice of her to offer to pick me up. She even brought me a pack-n-play to borrow for Eddie! She drove me to Cara's house--she and Edward's friend. Cara was out of town on a business trip for the week so Eddie and I had the whole house to ourselves. It was great to stay in a house rather than a hotel since we were able to settle in a little more.

Not having a car to use (or wanting one since driving in snow wouldn't be fun for me) meant that I had to use public transportation. The Pittsburgh "T" is a mix between a light rail train, a subway, and a bus. Strollers cannot be taken onto the T unless they are folded up so every time I had to board, I had to carry the diaper bag on my back, the folded stroller in one hand, and the car seat in the other. Then once on, I had to put something down so I could insert my dollars into the machine for payment. Whew. Luckily Pittsburgh isn't a very fast-paced city so I didn't feel super rushed and everyone around me was very helpful in giving me space and directions.

The conference was pretty good--supposedly there were about 2000 soil scientists at the conference over the course of a week. My poster session wasn't until Wednesday so I spent Tuesday looking at posters and attending lectures. Lots of people from school were there and I got to see a bunch of them.Eddie was such a good boy during the event--he either slept in the stroller or was otherwise quiet while I held him. If he needed to nurse I could use the family bathrooms that had chairs in them (and changing tables!).

Only about 6 people came to my poster to chat with me about my research. And actually that's a pretty good number of folks. I'd been warned that most people would only come by to chat about my professors. In my case a few people came by just to see Eddie and that was fine by me.

Edward was supposed to drive over to Pittsburgh from his place in Troy, NY on Wednesday but he dislocated his right shoulder during soccer the night before. He couldn't drive his stick shift, consequently, not to mention that he had to take morphine for the pain. Instead, he flew into town and we hung out at Cara's house for a few days before we both flew back to his house. Since he's been hanging out in Pittsburgh with various friends recently, he's gotten to know a lot of the city's history so he took me on a (cold and wet) walking tour before we left.For the next week we hung out at his apartment. We tried to take Eddie to the big Black Friday hockey game at RPI but the noise terrified him. Poor little fella. He did better at the intramural game Edward played in since there weren't many people hooting and hollering in the stands.Here's Big E with Edward and his "international uncles," Nadeem and Rolando (Edward's friends at school):At one point we tried to fix the shower in the apartment because it has always been too hot and had very little water pressure. Edward crawled inside the kitchen cabinet where the valves were and discovered that there was no cold water running in the line at all. Then when he turned the hot valve down something must have broken because he couldn't get any water to flow when he turned it back on. So for the next few days we had no shower at all. Luckily Eddie was able bathe in the sink and Edward just showered at his colleague's house. I had showered that morning and since I never get stinky doing without a shower was fine with me. Haha. =) I did finally call a plumber, who was able to fix the problem by replacing the valves and then cleaning everything out. He admitted that he didn't quite know what he actually did to fix the problem and that whoever installed that shower didn't know what they were doing.

Toward the end of my visit we drove to Brooklyn to stay with my aunt, uncle, and cousin for a night. When we got there we relaxed for a bit before going to Prospect Park for a walk and to let my cousin do some fishing until my uncle got home from work. It was super cold outside but we had fun.The next morning Edward and I took Eddie on the NYC subway (which allows stroller to stroll right on--nice!) so we could meet Donovan and his boyfriend, Greg, for lunch. I was sooooooooooooo happy that we got to eat Indian food. I loooooooooooooove Indian food! Donovan took us to his apartment where he lives with a girl from our hometown. It is quite a steal for Manhattan--it is huge and they pay only a little more than Dave and I did for our rental house in Davis three years ago.

2 comments:

steph.kelley said...

Yay travelogue! You are an awesome single (on this trip) working mom, Julie. Way to go!

mu rye uh said...

go you venturing into the world!