The last two weeks: A former VIP lounge, A concert, A baseball game, A fireworks display…A whirlwind

So much for basking in the glow of my week away cruising the Atlantic and visiting Bermuda.  Although I returned to work during the middle of a week and had a shortened week (last week) thanks to the July 4th U.S. Independence long holiday weekend, there was enough that brought me back to reality that I was home.

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Below 54 - Inside

The first day back to work transitioned into the first night out on the town to Below 54, a fabulous jazz place in the Theater District.   It’s got a bit of history.  It used to be the former VIP lounge of “Studio”, as in the famed nightclub of the 70s and 80s — Studio 54.  Oh, if the walls could talk!

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Four nights later, on Saturday night, I was bounding up the stairs to the street of the Atlantic Avenue subway station into a crush of minglers outside the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.  Two words:  Floor Seats.  (Yay, me!)  I had no shame.  Yes, I was screaming my lungs out and grooving to Bruno Mars.  One more word:  EPIC.   The man is bad!   And is band?  Wow.  Just awesome.  That pintsized dude (Mr. Mars, a.k.a. Mr. Hernandez) — yes, I am there for him in every way as a performer.  I’d never seen him live and he did not disappoint!  I enjoyed it so much, it did cross my mind to find a way to the nearest city to see him again, but I knew it was nothing short of crazy to fly to Montreal, Canada.

Bruno Mars - 2 (2013)

Bruno Mars - 1 (2013)

Bruno Mars - 3 (2013)

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Citi Field - Mets Game (2013)

Two nights later, I was at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team.  Yes, the “other” New York baseball team.  I’d been part of an invited group to tour their suite spaces and to see what they had to offer those with “deep pockets” in terms of bars, restaurants and snack areas.  Our host could not have been more hospitable.  Although I’m not a Queens baseball chick (I’m a New York Yankees fan — always have been, so the Bronx is where I belong), I actually enjoyed every minute of my visit to Citi Field.  But I will admit, it’s not like the old Shea Stadium, their old home.  Can’t help to have a little bit of a soft spot for the old stadiums.  Gone are Shea and the original Yankee Stadium — the house that Ruth built.   It was great to see the “new” home of the Mets, especially since they’ll be hosting the 2013 Baseball All Star Game very soon.

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Macys Fireworks - Waiting (2013)

Three nights later, I was seated on the West Side Highway ramp — yes, seated, in the middle of the street (see photo above) — with about 50,000 other New Yorkers and tourists waiting for nightfall and the annual Macy’s July 4th fireworks extravaganza.  It was a wonderful sight once the show began.  Sure, I had to wait for hours in the heat (we’d had days of 90 degree weather and humidity that were relentless), but I had a bottle of water (that unfortunately became warm very quickly, but at least I had liquid), my Nook to read some downloaded magazines, and my relatively new smartphone.   (Yes, I got a new phone!…I’m no longer walking around with my 5-year old or almost 5-year old BlackBerry.  I now have a Samsung Galaxy S4….BTW, the photos you see on this blog post were all snapped with the S4.  Not bad. Actually, anything is better than my antiquated BlackBerry.  Yes, I’m throwing shade to my “old faithful” now relegated to being an “ex”.)

Fireworks - July 4 - 2 (2013)

Fireworks - July 4 - 3 (2013)

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In the midst of these activities, I managed to visit The Second Mother twice and spent some time with Sassy Spitfire, The Traveler and The Kid, squeeze in a brief stroll through Central Park on my way to Sunday brunch with a friend, and had a very long overdue bonding and catching up session with Momma Rockstar, the BFF, who I hadn’t seen in weeks.   We took refuge on a sweltering Saturday afternoon in a mall.  Now that’s a place I haven’t been to in forever.  I don’t do malls, but when the temps rose, this island girl refused to be outdoors.  Re-fused.

So, tired yet?  That was my last two weeks.  What were you up to?

NCL Breakaway to Bermuda | Obviously, I lost my mind when I decided to step into the Free Fall Slide…

I’ve already taken you through the episode of the Ropes Course.  Let’s call it: Coursegate.

Now, let’s move on, because you know, why stop at the Ropes Course when there are possibly more things to make you lose your life?

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I had the safety harness removed, gathered the bag holding my towel and whatever else, and headed to the Aqua Park.  I promptly shed my shorts, tee, sneakers and socks and headed up the stairs to the Aqua Park attendant.  I was told to step on a scale. Okay. If the cut off is about 300 pounds, why am I being weighed?  Clearly I am nowhere near your cut off number.  But, whatever.

I saw several people coming from another set of stairs and handing in what looked like hard flotation devices strapped to their backs with a snap around the waist.  One was quickly taken from the attendant and handed to me.  In went my arms, the snap around the waist, and then I was climbing what could have been two or three flights of stairs.  I found myself on a landing with another attendant.  I walked towards one of the receptacles of the dual Water Slides.  I was nervous, but ready.

“Oh, you can’t wear that here. That’s for the Free Fall,” said the Aqua Park attendant.

Um, what?

He motioned to another set of stairs.

I turned around, looked up and there it was: The Free Fall.

I walked towards it and climbed the stairs. Another attendant was waiting.  (Now, I’m thinking back…’Where there really stairs or am I imagining things?’)

I asked: “How does this work?” looking at the clear capsule-like thing in front of me.

He tells me,  “Just relax, step in. It’s no big deal. It’s easy.”

I ask if I should crisscross my arms over my chest.

“Yes,” he said.

I step in, I feel a floor beneath my feet but it appears thin and hollow. I tell him I need a minute.  He tells me to relax, there will be a countdown and to “smile for the camera.”

No sooner did he utter the words, the capsule door was closed, I began shaking and thought: ‘I change my mind…I want to get out of this thing….I need more time to think.’

3…2…1…

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I don’t know if it was “1” and then the floor disappeared, or if the floor disappeared as the capsule announcement said “1”.  All I know is, the floor shifted away, I remember being lucid enough to realize I’d begun to fall and my crossed arms were shaking and I had loosened them uncontrollably.  I was panicking.  I kept falling.  And falling.  And falling.

I had no control of my body.  I felt I was falling to my death.  It was like one of those bad dreams where you’re falling down a canyon or off a cliff and you just keep falling — leaving your body behind.  I thought my heart was going to stop.

I kid you not. That’s how I felt.

The next thing I knew, I was dumped harshly and unceremoniously in a semi-seated position in a pool of shallow water creating a huge splash and water gushed up my nose, immediately producing a burning sensation.

I slowly got my bearings, sat up and crawled over and out of the receptacle.

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Obviously, I lost my mind when I decided to step into the Free Fall Slide…

Why?

Because although I clearly felt I had just escaped death, a few minutes later, I was climbing the stairs again to the Water Slides.  After several minutes of hesitation, allowing fearless little boys go before me, I stepped in, sat down, placed my hands overhead to the handle bar, and pushed off.

I was whipping, whipping, whipping down an enclosed and dark slide with such force — G-force, maybe, at the corners — that was never-ending.  All I remember thinking — yes, I was thinking — were things like:

Oh my God! Oh my God! Jesus Christ, help me! Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Oh. Sh*t.

(Hopefully, all is forgiven for taking so many names in vain.  Shoot, I could have called for the anti-Christ at that point. I was so desperate for this nightmare to be over.)

There was a huge splash, and I ended up semi-seated in a pool of shallow water.

I got my bearings, slowly getting myself to an upright position and crawled out of the receptacle — shaking.

No sooner did I get out, a little boy, maybe about 8 or 9, was dumped in the shallow receptacle next to mine. He jumped up and asked, “Was it dark in your slide???”

What kid?  Are you seriously talking to me right now???!!!

“No, not very,” I said, shrugging my shoulders (as my knee knocked and I barely caught my breath).  I played it cool.

*motions in my head three fingers blowing finger tips like gun barrel — and placement in make-believe holster*

BOSS.

I promptly made my way to my bag, retrieved my towel, put on my flip flops, and got the h*ll off the d*mn deck still shaking. I went straight to our cabin and called for The Mother — and announced, I need a drink, a shower and to use the bathroom…Although not necessarily in that order.

First time. Last time. I’m never doing those again.  I’m too old for that craziness to be repeated.