April 28, 2007: Dad Comes to Newark

Quote of the Day from herm1t: “Viruses don’t harm, ignorance does. Is ignorance a defense?”

I was up at six this morning and got right into the shower. I got downstairs ready to drive out to Tannersville to get dad but my car wasn’t ready for me so I had to wait a little while for that. The drive out to Pennsylvania went pretty smoothly until I reached the toll booths at the Delaware Water Gap and realized that I had given away my last dollar last night and that Dominica has not yet signed up the BMW with EZPass. So I got off at Exit 1 (read: Last exit before toll) and drove around trying to find an ATM to get cash. No luck. From the map you can see that to the north the exit skirts the mountain. In fact that is a one lane park road with a three minute red light in each direction. Oops. That cost me ten minutes just doing a U-turn. Then to the south the road just loops you back onto the highway. Argh. So I had to drive back to Exit 4 to find an ATM. Altogether I must have lost half an hour just getting through the toll booth. And the ATM was definitely set up for people like me since it charged me a $4 ATM fee! So that toll booth crossing cost $.75 in toll, $4 in ATM fee, about a dozen miles worth of gas which is another $1 or so and half an hour of my time!

I finally managed to pick up dad a little after nine at the Days Inn in Tannersville and we headed back east to Newark. This is dad’s first time traveling through the Delaware Water Gap up here in the read gap. He has crossed the river farther south on Interstate 78 but that isn’t the same. This is “the gap”.

It takes just about an hour to go between Newark and Tannersville. We came in on Interstate 280, the Newark/Jersey City spur off of Interstate 80, all the way in to the McCarter Highway (NJ 21) and around to Commerce Street so that we could pull up to 1180 Raymond Blvd. Dad was quite impressed with the building and the lobby and met our concierge. He had a pretty good idea of the building having looked at it online and having taken a virtual tour that we posted online previously. We went up to the apartment but Dominica wasn’t ready to go yet and we had some things that we had to take care of before we would be able to run to breakfast.

It was only a little bit before noon when we were finally able to walk over to Food for Life to get a late breakfast. Dad was very surprised by Food for Life and really loved it. He loved it so much that he wanted to come back for dinner tonight. While we were there they had a photographer working taking pictures of some of their dishes. The pictures are going to be used in the drive-through of their new Dayton, Ohio location.

Speaking of Ohio, dad and I were talking about Ohio metro areas and I did a little research. Currently, if measured by the meaningless “city center” or “city limit” approach Columbus is by far the largest city in Ohio dwarfing the Cleveland and Cincinnati city centers by as much as almost double. But when measured by metro area Cleveland reigns supreme with a conservative measurement at 2.2 million (and the extended Cleveland metro at just under 3 million – the extended metro includes those areas that have recently become engulfed by the expanding metro district.) Cincinnati is not far behind at 2.1 million. But Columbus falls to a fairly lagging third with 1.7 million. I also learned that Cleveland was originally part of the Connecticut Western Reserve before being separated into the state of Ohio. So Cleveland is one of those rare cities having once been in one state and is now in another.

We went for a walk over on the east side of Military Park and took dad up to the Robert Treat Hotel for him to check in. The check in experience wasn’t very impressive for what claims to be Newark’s luxury hotel. They definitely acted as if it was an inconvenience to have a guest checking in. Like they were doing us a favour. Once we got him checked in we headed back out and noticed that the Robert Treat calls itself the hotel of Presidents and has a plaque on its outside wall with a relief of the four presidents who have stayed there – Wilson, FDR, Truman and Kennedy which are the four presidents to have brought America into major conflicts during the twentieth century. Wilson brought the US into World War I. FDR took us into World War II. Truman into Korea. And Kennedy, of course, into Vietnam. Those were our only significant twentieth century military engagements (there were many others but no others that had any real impact on the nation in general – most other conflicts were fought with little knowledge of the events at home.) So I think that the Robert Treat should be known as the “War Monger” hotel as I believe all four wars were fought unnecessarily and that the United States was, to some degree, an aggressor nation fighting for political power and not national defense (this is a complex argument that involved WWI having been aggressive and WW2 being the result of that action, etc.)

We spent the afternoon just relaxing in the apartment and visiting.  Dad has decided that he won’t be making the long drive down to Newark again and will just fly in the future as the airport is just too handy to pass up.

At five thirty we went back to Food for Life so dad could try out their dinner menu.  He ended up loving that as well.  After dinner we walked him back over to the Robert Treat so that he could get some rest as it has been a long trip down.

We went back home and did some work around the apartment and then watched some WKRP in Cincinnati.  While we watched the show I strung my classical guitar (an M. Harabi Model 35) for the first time since February, 2000 when I last did professional performing.  That was a weird feeling.  I played a borrowed classical guitar in May, 2001 for a single performance at Craig and Emily’s wedding but that was the last time that I have played at all.  I had to use a borrowed guitar then because mine had dried out and the neck and snapped off.  I had it repaired but never played it again.  It took a while to get the strings all on, stretched and somewhat tuned.  I played for about forty-five minutes to an hour.  I am not very good but still able to play.  It was weird playing guitar again after all of these years.  This was the first time that Dominica has ever heard me play!

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