I knew I would forget a detail or six. I failed to mention our first meeting with a DKMS staff member! Once we were checked into our hotel rooms on Tuesday, we received a visit from Alex, a DKMS employee. I can’t remember her exact position, sorry! Gregory’s donor and us each had a ‘handler’ for our time in NYC. Part of their job was to make sure all of our needs were met and we were enjoying our time. (I know!) The main part of their job, though, was to ensure that the two of us never saw each other until the moment of our stage meet at the gala. Our ‘handler’ was originally scheduled to meet us at the hotel and it kind of worked out perfect that Alex met us. She had a chance to see all of us ‘in the flesh’ and AnnMarie and I also showed her our gowns for the gala. This gave her a clear picture of who to avoid at the gala, before our meet with Gregory’s donor. It may have been coincidental that Alex was available, but I think it was perfect. Alex was GREAT! She showed up with a gift bag of goodies for us, little things, but they were a hit with all of us. We went over our itinerary, clarified anything that was hazy and offered me a touchstone until we met with our ‘handler’ the next day. I have to tell you, the DKMS staff are energized with what they do and are such a pleasure to work with. Love them.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Our first appointment for Wednesday was to meet Alina, our ‘handler’, in the hotel lobby for a trip to the tux rental shop for the boys’ tux fitting. The OffSpring were off to dreamland fairly early the night before so having to wake early-to-us West Coasters really wasn’t much of a problem. We all adjusted fairly quickly to the three hour time difference. I blame arising at 3:00am and traveling all day for that! AnnMarie showered first and she was so excited to use the hotel bath robes. This girl was built for a life of luxury.
|Figuring out what TV channels we had on our THREE TVs.|
Gregory was a little harder to get out of bed, but I let him sleep to the very last moment possible.
|Yes, that is his stuffed cat. Just like the one at HomeHome|
We eased ourselves into NYC eating. There was a Subway across the street from our hotel, so we trucked on over there for breakfast. Hey, it wasn’t fried! Totally better than eggs, bacon and hash browns!
We met Alina downstairs and our day on the town began. One of the things that Gregory really wanted to do while in NYC was to ride a NYC taxicab. Since learning of our trip, Gregory has had his eyes peeled for taxis in Spokane. We don’t have that many, let alone yellow cabs. Somehow he knew that NYC would be teeming with yellow cabs and it did not fail him. We all piled into a taxi and headed to midtown. There was much rubbernecking along the way. It was a fairly short trip.
Curtis was fairly easy to fit. He may be tall, but he’s not super slim. Quite average. I have no idea what was clicking in that brain of his, but he seemed to be soaking up every moment. The guy who was measuring the boys was fantastic.
Had to snap fast with that first picture, before he knew I was there. He came out of that room and the fact that this kid is growing up hit me in the heart.
Next up was Gregory. He was harder to fit, but they did a great job. He is so slim we had to go with a size four jacket, but it was a bit short in the length of the body and they had to let ALL of the sleeve length out. I love how Gregory has his arms and hands pointing straight down, patiently waiting for the tux guy to get him sized. This poor tux guy was running his butt off, too. It was empty when we arrived and then it started to get crowded and I think he was the only one taking measurements. Arrangements were made for the tuxedos to be delivered to our hotel and we split.
Our next stop was a meeting with Katharina Harf, COO of DKMS, at her home. We had some time to kill and AnnMarie mentioned that she had wanted to take a subway ride while we were there. So….. we did! We walked over to Union Station. Union Station is HUGE. Gigantic.I was simply tying to keep up with all three OffSpring while they gawked. I don’t really remember much of what we saw or how we got to where we were! Thankfully Alina was very familiar with where we were and where we were going! She did snap a shot of us, at least those of us willing to be photographed!
|Lower right. Yes, that’s us.|
Somehow we found ourselves on a Subway, screaming along underground. I think we were on an express. AnnMarie did not think much of it, but at least she can now way she road a subway in NYC. Once we were street side, we found ourselves in the Garment District. Tons and tons of street vendors. AnnMarie found a couple beautiful Pashmina scarves of her very own, bought with her own money. She is one proud and frugal girl.
Before we knew it, we were at Katharina’s home. I have this fierce desire to keep those moments between us. They were beautiful, intimate and open. She is expecting with her first child, due June 18. To see her, full of life, was a beautiful site to behold. I’m hoping that we are able to stay in touch through the years. She means an awful lot to this Momcologist, for so many reasons. She had wrapped gifts for all the kids and each something was perfect for them. They played comfortably and everyone got to know each other a bit. It made Thursday’s gala so much more relaxing. What a gift she is.
Of course everyone was starved by this point! Alina treated us to lunch at Bread in Tribeca. Food was amazing and my OffSpring were so THEMSELVES! Gregory ordered the kids’ cheese pizza, he loved it. AnnMarie and Curtis ordered steak. Yes, steak. We expected an eight ounce portion. O.M.G! The portion was HUGE! I can only imagine what the waitstaff was thinking as they took their order! Needless to say they did not finish their meals, but they did have plenty for dinner later! Or a snack as it turned out.
|Tired and hungry.|
|No, this was not New York style. Yet.|
|She LOVES her scarves.|
We said our good-byes, issued ‘see you tomorrow!’s and headed across the street to our hotel for a bit of a rest. We do not live in a city that requires a great deal of walking. Gregory is not accustomed to it, especially. They were in need of some downtime.
After a bit the OffSpring were a little restless and we decided to go looking for something to eat on the streets. We took off down Church Street and just kept walking. Before we knew it, we were a very short distance to Ground Zero. We decided to go check it out. The OffSpring did not think much of it, but I’m very glad that we at least went. We did not do the tour, ye gads that would have done them in! We sat on the cement wall, beneath the wrought iron fencing of the church across the street and I shot a few pictures. The sun was setting and people were scurrying off after the work day. There were also plenty of tourists mixed in. It is VERY hard to get meaningful pictures of something so vast. These will certainly remind me of being there and help to conjure back that memory.
On our way back to our hotel, we found a pizza place. We were all dying to try the world famous NYC pizza. We stopped at Dona Bella. I tell you what. We were all SHOCKED at how good it was. I have NEVER had anything like it and the NYC Pizza Legend held it’s glory. Curtis had something with mushrooms, AnnMarie and Gregory had cheese and I have no idea what was on mine, only that it was nothing but cheese and mouth watering. We loved it.
All day, Curtis had his eyes on these Trilby hats that were everywhere. What he was looking at, though, were all woven. He wanted a solid black one. We walked by a place that was selling them and Curtis found his hat. This moment was unforgettable. We made our purchase, he walked out of the shop, plugged in his ipod, put on his new hat and my kid began to STRUT down the street. It made my heart soar to see him step into a piece of himself. Pretty cool to witness.
AnnMarie and Gregory had their eyes on the corner fruit stands. We stopped by one, picked up blueberries, strawberries and grapes. We had dessert back at our hotel.
Don’t get me wrong, there was still plenty of sugar.
|Good gravy, this child was tired. Happy, but oh, so, tired.|
In case you were wondering where to go in order to Get Swabbed!
|Katharina sent us ‘home’ with our goodies in this awesome bag.|
Wednesday was FAR from a typical tourist day in NYC, but I thought it was better. We spent our time with people who lived there, worked there and loved there. It was busy, but not crazy, and the OffSpring handled it so perfectly. Thursday was the day of the gala, so we hit the hay early. I was far more comfortable in our surroundings and I slept like a log. So much better than the night before.
Part IV ~ Gala Day to follow.
Love, love, love….