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Wednesday, July 30th
"It's a crabby world out there son... I'm sorry."  I've said this to Caden more than once since we've been home from vacation.  I think he's a little confused about why things are so different now that we're home from the cruise compared to the way things were on the trip.  He got so much attention and positive interaction when we were on the cruise, but now that we're home, people just don't smile at him or say "hi" and he's not quite sure what to think.  He even tries to fire up the conversation himself saying "hi" (in the cutest little kid voice possible) but people seldom respond back.  We've been out in public or shopping at a few stores and people seem just plain crabby.  No one makes eye contact.  No one talks to each other.  No one smiles. 

I've been watching Caden's reaction for the past couple of days and I can tell that he really notices it.  One of his favorite past-times has always been to interact and flirt with employees at the stores we go to.  But it seems lately that everyone is in a down and crabby mood.  Is it the economy?  Is it the weather?  Is it contaminated tomatoes?  Who knows.  The vibe is definitely glum. 

We even went grocery shopping today at one of our more "local" supermarkets today to see if we might sense a more friendly atmosphere and well, aside from one crazy lady squeezing all the peaches in the produce section, no one seemed interested in smiling or interacting at all even though Caden was trying out his "hi" on almost everyone.

Let's hope this nation's mood changes soon.  For the sake of the children, by God!

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Monday, July 28th
T
he little munchkin has officially become a ground pounder.  Or in more obscure terms, he now knows how to "take his daily constitutional".  I know, they all sound like bathroom terms but they actually all mean WALKING.  He took his first real official independent steps this morning and he seemed kind of surprised with himself.  He's been pushing things around (and walking) for about a week but he hasn't taken any solo steps until today.  He's still being pretty cautious about it, which is fine with us.  Now let's see... how many more baby-proofing gadgets do we need to buy now?

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Sunday, July 27th
We had another little incident in church this morning.  There was an elderly man who had a medical emergency during the service.  A similar thing happened to him a couple of months ago too.  We'd only been there about 10 minutes and I could see a little commotion break out in the front.  Then someone stood up, pointed at me and gave me the "get the hell up here now" sign.  Ahh crap.  When I got up there he was unconscious.  It's an awkward thing during church because everyone knows there is something bad going on and you can't really ignore it.  So what do you do?  Just have everyone sit there waiting or go on with the service and pretend nothing is happening?  Our pastor handled it pretty well and just suggested that everyone sing the next couple of songs.  But here I am with no equipment or supplies and an unconscious patient.  In clinical terms it's called a syncopal episode.  He started to come around after a minute or two and then proceeded to vomit his entire breakfast right there in the pew.  Oh, lovely.  It was all I could do to maintain.  I just don't have the iron stomach I used to have when I was working on the ambulance everyday.  We tried to quickly get him out to the lobby and the paramedic crew was there before we knew it.  By then, he was awake and answering my questions and I felt a whole lot better about how things might turn out.  The crew did a good job taking care of him.  I just feel so sorry for this poor gentleman that he keeps having these episodes in the middle of church.  I hope his docs get to the bottom of it.

We went to the Animal Planet Expo today.  It's kind of a travelling road show sponsored by the television channel.  They had a number of different displays, some bugs, snakes, animals and other exhibits.  We saw some really interesting animals but I wouldn't be able to tell you the name of any of them.  Very exotic.  Caden seemed to enjoy seeing the bugs more than anything else.

Jeff Corwin was supposed to be there meeting the public but we found out after we got inside the gates that he left town last night!  What the hell!?  I guess I'll just have to create my own photo with him.

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Thursday, July 24th
Caden graduated from "Polliwogs" today at swimming school.  He was very proud to get a ribbon recognizing his accomplishment.  He's been swimming from the first moment they allowed us in the door at 6 months old and been loving it ever since.  It's the highlight of his week; we're in a parent-tot class together so it's fun for both of us.   

He's definitely not water safe yet because he just doesn't have the muscle tone to be able to rescue himself if he were to fall in or get in trouble somehow.  But he's getting close and really starting to understand how to use his buoyancy and breath control to move his body through the water.  He's almost able to pull himself up and out of the pool, which is pretty good for a kid who isn't even walking yet.

Next week we start the next level.  I'm looking forward to seeing the huge smile on his face when we jump back in the water.

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Wednesday, July 23rd
After having so much time "practice walking" on our trip, we thought Caden should try taking some more independent steps now that we're home.  He needed a little support from a friend of his though. 

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**We had some trouble with our video editing program and uploading to YouTube only to find out that Adobe and Google must be in some kind of a pissing match and we can't upload anymore.  So I had to upload the last two videos a different way and the quality is a lot worse.  Sorry.  Blame the billionaires.

 

Tuesday, July 22nd
Here is a compilation of a few videos from our first couple of days in New York City.


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Sunday, July 20th
Caden woke up in the middle of the night last night crying and stuffed up to the gills.  He’s sick.  And I know exactly where he got it.  About two days ago when we were out by the pool, a little girl came up to him, green snot running out of her nose, and planted a giant kiss on his face.  Oh crap.  Her daddy thought it was pretty cute and apparently didn’t seem to think there was any problem with it.  Not wanting to come across as a prude, I discreetly grabbed Caden, whisked him back to our deck chairs and scrubbed his face clean like a German grandma.  But it was apparently in vain.  Who knows how many people that “little kissing Petri dish” infected with her slobbery kisses.

Anyway, we didn’t get too much sleep last night.  Caden was miserable and couldn’t breathe very well.  We had to be off the boat by 9:30 am but our flight from JFK wasn’t scheduled to leave until 3:00 pm.  Does this day have MIGRAINE written all over it or what?  Ok, ok, we need to make the best of it and enjoy the end of our vacation!  We disembarked the ship, said our goodbye’s to our new friends and hopped on a taxi for the airport.  The flight home seemed to take forever compared to the flight there.  For being sick, Caden was a really good boy and didn’t fuss very much at all.  It felt so good to walk in the door and be home.  The cats were very excited to see us too.  They all ran up to Caden right away and sniffed him and meowed and gave him some kisses.  He thought that was so funny.

So, what to think about this week and the whole experience?  It was definitely all the things you would expect:  it was fun, it was entertaining, it was a lot of food and drink, it was great to meet new people and make some new friends.  But there was something obviously very different about the fact that it was a vacation for gay and lesbian families.  And it was this simple: everyone was so incredibly friendly and at ease.  Seeing so many happy families with little kids and the amazing love and joy in their hearts was pretty much universal.  I remember thinking at one point during the cruise that I wished the whole world was this way all the time; that when you strike up a conversation with someone, they are gracious and friendly back.  Or that you can walk up to a little kid and talk to him or her without their parents freaking out.  It was a bit of a dreamland this week.  People just wanting to enjoy themselves – and be themselves – and not have to worry about who is judging them or questioning them.  In one respect, these families are different: there are two moms or two dads.  But in another respect, they are not that different: they are good people, good parents and good families all trying to live good lives.  Just like everyone else.

Our week away also made me realize something about myself.  I worry too much about what other people think of us.  For a couple of days at the beginning of the trip, I'd encounter people in the hallway or elevator and wonder, too automatically, if they were judging the three of us for being two dads and a baby.  And then I'd have to remind myself that I was in an environment where they were no different than us, and not judging us at all.  That’s my issue, I guess.  One to get over.  But I do know that tomorrow is back to the real world and it isn’t always a kind and accepting one.  John and Caden and I are lucky to live in a relatively accepting place, but many of the families we met do not.  They go on this cruise to really get away – for one week at least – from their real world that isn’t always so kind and accepting.     

This really was a wonderful week and I hope we are lucky enough to go on another trip sometime in the future.  Caden was giant eyed and awed all week long and that, folks, made it all worth it.

There was an article in yesterday's New York Times about the cruise.  You can read it by clicking here.

You can view all of our trip photos here.

Below is a cool video that Rosie made (thanks for letting me borrow it Rosie).  We appear in it toward the beginning. 

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Saturday, July 19th
Today is our last day on the cruise (boo hoo).  Our port today is Newport, Rhode Island.  This place is known for its wealth and mansions.  And when I say mansion, I mean MANSION.  This is where the extremely wealthy American elite (the Vanderbuilt’s, the Astors) built their vacation homes in the 1930’s.  It is also known as the sailing capitol of the world.  In fact, as we were sailing into port, we saw a number of sail boats and their crews leaving the harbor apparently getting ready for a race.  We saw the America II and the Intrepid.

Anyway, we pondered the idea of going on a mansion tour (they’re all historic sites now) but five ports in five days has felt a little crazy and so we decided to just stay on board today and chill.  It was really nice to sit by the pool, take Caden swimming and just relax. 

This evening was Disco Night and people dressed up in their favorite disco or 70’s attire and they played some vintage disco music around the pool.  It was fun.  I was really proud of John for putting on a crazy hat and getting into it!

For the final show tonight, they did a production of the Broadway play “Chicago”.  They apparently brought on some of the performers from the actual show, added a few funny twists and shortened it down a bit.  It was great.  You might be wondering if we took Caden to any of the shows this week.  We actually took him to almost all of them.  He was either asleep or he sat up and watched them.  He seemed to really get into the lights, action and singing.  There was one comedy show with a little profanity, but we decided to risk it anyway.  The comedian was so funny and John and I were laughing so hard that Caden wasn't quite sure how to take it.  After awhile he thought it was so funny that we were laughing so much that he starting laughing and pretty soon people around us thought he was laughing at the jokes. 

Anyway, at the end of the show tonight, they showed a slide show of many of the photos taken during the week.  It was a great way to wrap up a wonderful week.

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Friday, July 18th
Today we’re in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  This is a cool little beach town that is also famous as a gay destination during the summer.  There are tons of B&B’s here and the harbor is filled with sailboats.  The main street, Commercial Street, is filled with cool little shops and restaurants.  The tendering process here (getting off and on the boat in a littler boat) was a little bit of a pain in the ass, especially going back.  It seemed like everyone wanted to get off the island at the same time and return to the ship at once.  The line was massive and it was blazing hot outside.  Let’s just say that keeping hundreds of lesbians and gay guys waiting in the hot weather without their air conditioning is NOT a good idea.  Things got a little tense, but we all eventually got back on the ship without any flare ups or girl fights.

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Thursday, July 17th
Today we’re in Bar Harbor, Maine.  Or as the locals say it: Bah HaahBah.  This is another beautiful port.  It actually reminded me a lot of Lake Tahoe because of the pine trees and water line.  We definitely had to get off the boat and eat some lobster (LOBSTAH!).  I love it.  Caden thought it was pretty good too.  Although, all of this fancy food is causing some real havoc with his digestive system. He seems to feel fine but let’s just say that the diaper changes have been less than pleasant!

Caden has been in heaven meeting all of the other kids on the boat.  He just loves to interact with everyone he sees.  He’s very gentle about it and happily shares his toys in the pool (of course he’s not two yet).  He is actually one of the only ones who is bringing toys to the pool so, well, lets just say that there have been a few "incidents" already with kids grabbing stuff.  It's just typical kid stuff.  Observation: kids with no sibling tend to share their stuff much better than kids with a sibling/brother/sister.  Kids with a sibling can be the grabbiest little bastards.  I mean, it's understandable I guess.  Perhaps I should have been a sociologist.  I'm always analyzing something.  Anyway, Caden is having so much fun on this trip; it’s great to see.  And all of the interaction he is getting has been wonderful.  He's made a couple of little friends, especially his little swimming friend Jimmy (photo right).

So you might be thinking... how relaxing is a cruise with a ton of kids on board?  Actually, so far, it hasn't really been an issue at all.  Sure, you hear a crying child here and there but mostly it has been one big dose of adorable kids.  There are a lot of people here without kids (singles and couples) and they seem to be having a fine time.  In fact, something we've heard mentioned a few times is that the staff from the cruise line comment every year how well behaved the kids are from the R Family cruises compared to just a regular cruise.  I'm not sure what that means.  Could gay and lesbian parents be raising a different kind of kid?  Well, there goes the sociologist in me again.

We’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon here on the East Coast.  I hate to sound immodest and I almost hesitate to bring it up, but it has happened enough times that I’m kind of intrigued about it.  This kind of thing doesn’t happen in California.  Since we got here, walking around the ports and stuff, people (not from the cruise) will stop us and say things like (insert your East Coast accent here), “Oh my GAWD, he’s gaaaawgeous!” or “Ya baby is SO haaayndsome”.  I’ve never gotten so many compliments on how our kid looks.  I don’t know why the people here (women mostly) would be so overly gushing.  At home, we don’t get those kinds of comments as much.  It’s kind of strange, really. 

Tonight we decided to use the nanny service for the first time.  R Family actually brings aboard a whole bunch of certified nannies for people to use who have kids under two.  They are free of charge and you can use them every night if you want.  We thought it would be nice to have dinner tonight, just the two of us, so we made a reservation in the boat's steak house.  We got to the nanny room at our appointed time and walked in only to find three kids SCREAMING at the tops of their lungs because their parents had just dropped them off.  I don't think Caden had any idea what was going on.  He's never seen anything like that.  He looked around a little bit, got down on the floor and started playing with the toys and the other kids.  The nannies were obviously smart because they immediately separate the criers from the non-criers into separate rooms.  We spent a few minutes with him but it was like he had things to do and people to meet so we went off to dinner.  After dinner we checked back in to see how he was doing and he was fast asleep in his stroller, so we decided to go see that night's show.  After the show we went to pick him up and they said he did wake up once, started crying, but went back to sleep after they wheeled him around for a few minutes.  All in all, I think he did great.  And he had fun playing with the other kids and all the toys.

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Wednesday, July 16th
Today we are in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  This morning before we got off the ship, we were sitting having breakfast and at the next table was Broadway actress Carolee Carmello, sitting with her son.  The thing I’ve loved about meeting some of these people so far is how nice and personable they are and, well, they’re on vacation with their families too.  They don’t care if people see them without make-up.  Anyway, we started talking about her starring in the Broadway play Mama Mia!  She has been playing the character Donna Sheridan for the past three years.  They do seven performances a week and to hear her talk about it, she’s not really that proud of it.  I think in the minds of many Broadway performers, Mama Mia! isn’t really a true Broadway show.  She definitely sees it as a good job but would jump at the chance of something better if it came along.  I think a lot of Broadway performers look at many of the Disney productions the same way.  It was interesting chatting with her.  She performed a couple of times already on the cruise and her voice is amazing.

The weather has been pretty warm so far on the trip and today was no exception.  This is a beautiful port.  We walked around town, went to their public gardens and found an awesome candy store called the Freak Lunchbox. 

This evening we attended a wedding.  A friend of mine that I used to work with at AMR was having a ceremony on the ship, marrying his partner of many years.  They actually just got married (legally) in California, but wanted to have a little ceremony again on board the ship.  Lots of couples do this during the cruise (have ceremonies) even though they’re basically meaningless.  I guess they’re not so meaningless in California anymore!  Anyway, my friend Matt and his partner Jimmy invited us to attend their ceremony, which was so cool.  The ceremony was very nice and we met some of their very nice friends.  They are actually friends with Sharon Gless (Cagney and Lacey and Queer as Folk fame) so we got to meet her too.  She was so nice.

They actually went in with some friends of theirs and rented one of the Garden Villa’s for the week.  There are only two on the boat and Rosie and her family stay in the other one.  Each one has about 5,000 square feet, three separate bedrooms, a private garden and sundeck.  It was really fun to see it.  It was quite opulent!   I'm not sure I would want to leave it very much if I was staying in it.

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Tuesday, July 15th
Caden has been doing pretty well in his sleeping tent although he’s been waking up crying pretty early.  We’re not sure how much our neighbors can hear him so we’ve just been bringing him into bed with us in the morning to go back to sleep.  He’ll usually sleep for another couple of hours.  But what a bed hog!  Sleeping sideways, leftways, rightways, and pushing, kicking and crowding.  But it is all worth it when you wake up and see that little angel asleep next to you.

Today we get to our first port.  We are in Saint John, New Brunswick.  Apparently it was the first time our cruise ship has ever come here so there was a bit of hoopla when we arrived.  A bunch of little old ladies from town (in red hats) showed up to welcome us.  I don’t know if they were from the Welcome Wagon, the Esther Circle or the Daughters of Canada but I guess the cops thought they were protesters at first until a couple of them pulled out gay pride flags.  That is pretty cool.  People from the town also came down to wait for Rosie to get off the boat and to see any other stars who were on board (no one apparently recognized us…).

We walked around town and went to a couple of local parks.  There were a number of excursions here you could sign up for but nothing really interested us.  As we were sailing out of the port in Saint John this evening, Caden and I were standing at the railing looking at the sights and he apparently thought it would be a good idea to leave a little piece of himself behind.  Before I could even react, he pulled his pacifier out of his mouth and heaved it overboard.  Thank God we brought more than one!

Tonight there was a great show with several of the Broadway performers.  They had an open mic show where they could come and sing whatever they wanted.  It was amazing.  These people are such fantastic singers.  We met some great people; they’re all so personable and friendly.  They are walking around the ship with their family just like you. Some of the great people we met today were Daphne Vega, who played Mimi in the original production of Rent, Christine Pedi, who appeared in Forbidden Broadway and does amazing impersonations, and several of the performers from the Broadway Boys are also on board for the week.  Josh Strickland, who played in the musical Tarzan, was really cool and Caden had fun trying to learn how to walk with him. 

There are a couple of other celebrities on board including Ross the Intern from the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.   He is extremely hilarious.  He is going to be hosting a couple of shows and activities this week.  Also on board are Kynt and Vyxsin who competed in the last episode of the Amazing Race.  They are going to have a small version of the game where families can compete.  Check out the photo (right) and Caden's reaction to having his picture taken with them.  I couldn't get over what a beautiful girl Vyxsin was (even with pink hair and all the make-up); the Amazing Race show didn't really reveal that about her. 

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Monday, July 14th
Today we have a “sea day” which means we are just sailing and don’t go into any ports.  We’re heading north to Canada.  Sea days are actually kind of nice because you have no reason to get off the boat - or should I say, you'd better not have a reason to get off the boat! - and you can start to relax.  Apparently though, that’s not what R Family had in mind.  I think they crammed more stuff onto the schedule than 2,200 people can possibly do.  I mean, it’s really nice of them, but did they think we were going to get bored or something?  There are shows, seminars, talks, activities, dances… you name it.  You can of course skip it all and just do your own thing, but when you live with someone like I do (my beloved partner), well, we really should be doing these things.  And between you and me, I think it makes him feel like he’s getting his money’s worth. 

So we did some activities today, had more meals than we needed to have and went swimming for a little while too.  They have this great kids swimming area with multiple pools, slides and play areas.  Caden loved it.  We even ran into Rosie today.  We were waiting to get onto the elevator and there she was.  John went up to her and introduced ourselves and Caden.  She was very gracious and immediately started talking to Caden.  She spent a couple of minutes talking goo goo with him and doing kisses.  I think she must get mobbed wherever she goes because people want to take their photo with her or stop and talk with her.  She is always very gracious and always takes the time.  I can’t imagine her getting more than five feet without being stopped by someone.  Anyway, it was great to meet her.  You see her four kids everywhere on the boat.  They have obviously been given permission to go enjoy themselves because, well, they are.  They are very sweet kids.  I'm not sure they have any idea that everyone on the boat knows who they are, which is kind of cool.  They act like any other kid would.

The headline entertainment tonight was Sheena Easton (you know... "I work from 9 to 5 and then..." fame).  Yes, the 80's pop star.  She was actually very entertaining.  She did a good job of singing her old stuff, making fun of herself, telling funny stories of her time being a star in the 80's, and blending a New York and Scottish accent.  Caden loved the show and watched the whole thing.  (Later in the week we heard that some guests were asking to take their photo with her or even just stopped to say hi and she was a raving b**ch.  I guess being a has-been can really make you crabby).

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Sunday, July 13th
We woke up this morning, pulled open the drapes and there was our cruise ship already in dock.  We ate some breakfast, crammed all of our stuff back into a taxicab and headed eleven blocks down to the port.  We got all checked in and stepped onto the boat about noon.  Greeting everyone at the door were the two founders of R Family Vacations, Gregg and Kelli.  We’ve actually met Gregg a couple of times before when he worked for a different travel company and Kelli is Rosie O’Donnell’s partner.  Gregg and Kelli founded R Family Vacations (I would guess with some help from Rosie) about five years ago.  I think this was their 7th cruise.  Anyway, it was pretty cool to see them right there at the front door welcoming all the guests.

We have a balcony room and, although it is really nice, it is still pretty small.  I guess all rooms on cruise ships are.  When we have Caden’s sleeping tent set-up at night, it’s going to be pretty tight.  The boat departed at 4 pm and they had a huge sail-away party on the upper decks with music, singers and lots of photos op’s.  We sailed right by the Statue of Liberty and it was fun to see Manhattan from the Hudson River. 

People on the R Family cruises apparently also have a tradition of decorating the front door of their cabins. Most people just put up photos of themselves so that you can tell whose room it is when you walk by.  Other people get much more elaborate.  We brought along some decorations for our door and showed some photos of us with Caden from the time he was born to the present  John thought it looked like a giant sperm with flowers on it.  It kind of did. 

R Family brings aboard all of their own entertainment (instead of using the cheesy cruise ship entertainers).  We knew there were going to be some good entertainers but I don’t think we quite realized how much.  Many of them are Broadway stars that you’ve probably never heard of, but they are amazing singers and entertainers.  Tonight there was a kick-off show and many of the performers sang.  A couple of the more notable performers on board this week are: Tony Award winning Christine Ebersole who starred in 42nd Street, Dinner at Eight, and Steel Magnolias, Tony and Emmy Award winner Lillias White, Broadway star Carolee Carmello who is currently starring in Mama Mia!  There are probably about 20 more which I could list here but hopefully we’ll get a chance to blog about them more later in the week.  Needless to say, there are a ton of great singers, comedians and other stars on board the ship this week and we’re really looking forward to watching them all perform.

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Saturday, July 12th
Caden is apparently already adjusted to Eastern Time because he woke up early this morning.  Who knows why?  It should be about 5 am in his body, but he was wide awake and ready to start his day.  So, the big question we face on this trip to New York is… what do we do when we’re here with a 1-year old?  In past trips to New York, we’d typically try to see a Broadway show every night as well as some of the major sights, museums and galleries.  But what would Caden enjoy? 

We headed down to Chelsea and Greenwich Village and walked around the neighborhoods and even visited one of the local playgrounds.  They are really clean and packed with city kids on the weekend.  We stumbled across a famous bakery called Magnolia Bakery that is credited with starting the “cupcake craze” and has been featured on Sex and the City and Saturday Night Live.  The lines here can stretch around the block, all just to get a cupcake.  We thought they were good, but I wouldn’t stand in line for an hour to get one though (we only waited a few minutes when we were there).  I mean, it's just a cupcake for Gods sake.

Getting around Manhattan is pretty easy because the subway system here is so awesome.  We’ve always loved the NYC subway.  Yes, it can get a little grimy in some places but it is really safe (despite the folklore) and it takes you practically anywhere really fast for really cheap.  Our only little challenge this time was having a stroller.  All of the entrances and exits to the subway system are controlled by turnstiles that are too narrow for a stroller to fit through.  We eventually figured out that there is a service entrance at most stations where we could enter with the stroller.  But we did a lot of carrying the stroller up and down stairways.  I can’t imagine being disabled in New York City; it is definitely not wheelchair friendly.  One time we got off of a train and couldn’t figure out how to get out of the train station.  There were only turnstiles and emergency exits (the "alarm will sound if you enter sign" is emblazoned across the door).  We walked back and forth and up and down trying to find an exit.  We eventually found a subway agent sitting in his booth reading a book and hollered at him asking how to get out.  He just sat there and stared at us as if deaf, dumb or mute.  I think dumb.  So we figured we needed to start thinking like a New Yorker and stop thinking like such a polite Californian.  So I said, "Oh, f**k this, we’re just going through the emergency exit.We pushed it open, the alarms started blaring, we kindly smiled at the subway agent and went on our merry way.  He just sat there, as catatonic as before.  For the remainder of our time in New York, we set off emergency alarms every time we needed to exit the subway.  Oh well, I guess that’s what you’d supposed to do.

Later in the day we took the subway up to Central Park.  It was beautiful, warm and there were lots of people outside enjoying the good weather.  Bon Jovi was actually giving a free concert somewhere in the park so there were lots of people around.  Caden had fun just crawling around, goofing off and watching all of the people on the Great Lawn.  It was a fun day of enjoying NYC for some of its more low key sites a little bit away from the throngs of tourists.  Tomorrow we get on the boat!

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Friday, July 11th
We got up in the wee hours this morning to catch our flight from San Francisco to New York City.  Since we’ll be gone so many days, we decided against parking at the airport and figured it would be just as economical to hire a car to drive us there.  What we didn’t expect was for a huge stretch limousine to show up!  It was pretty funny.  I was actually glad it was so early so that the neighbors didn’t see it!  As you can see, Caden started early with the mimosas. 

Caden has been on two airplane flights so far and did pretty well on both of them, but this one is going to be almost six hours long.  We took off from SFO at around 8:00 am and within 30 minutes, he fell asleep and slept for three hours!  The airplane Gods were definitely looking kindly on us.  (No, we did not drug him either).  I swear this flight went by in a flash and we were in New York City before we knew it.

Caden had his first ride in a New York City taxicab today.  We arrived right at rush-hour and so it took awhile to make it into Manhattan.  But once we got to our hotel, it just felt so good to finally BE HERE.  We have way too much luggage, crap and other stuff to lug around, so it will be nice to put it away for at least two days until we get on the boat on Sunday.

Our room at the hotel was awesome and we had a great view of the cruise ship terminal so we could see the ships coming and going.

We spent the rest of the day walking around Times Square and having dinner.  It was pretty crowded.  Tons of tourists.  But Times Square is always an amazing sight.  Every time we come to New York City, there is something new to see here and this time was no exception. 

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Thursday, July 10th
We're not going fishing but we are going on vacation!  Tomorrow.  We leave bright and early in the morning so this will probably be our last posting until we get back on the 20th.  We are going to the East Coast on a cruise aboard an R Family Vacations trip.  One of the things you have to agree to when you sign up to be a gay (in order to qualify for the free toaster and the lifetime subscription to People magazine) is to go on at least one of these Rosie trips before you die. 

That's complete crap of course, but I thought I'd pull your leg for a minute.  We're really excited about this trip!  It'll be about 2,200 families, singles, grandparents, kids, gay and straight... everyone is welcome.  From what we hear, R Family puts on an incredible week of entertainment and other fun things beyond what the cruise line normally does.  For example, they take over a huge ballroom, fill it with toys and nannies and leave it open all day for parents and kids to come in and play and meet each other.  They also have certified nannies on board in case you want to see a late show one evening or have a parents-only dinner one night.  They have seminars and classes for parents and other focused activities that people say are really rewarding.  So many of their activities are geared toward families spending time together.  They also have a different theme each night which is going to entail the three of us dressing up a few times, but you're going to have to wait until we get back to find out more about that - and see the photos.  Let's just say that John is feeling out of his comfort zone already and we haven't even left the house yet! 

Anyway, we're going to spend two nights in New York City and then we sail out of NYC on Sunday morning right past the Statue of Liberty and head up the eastern coastline to places like Nova Scotia, Halifax, Bar Harbor and Provincetown.  I think it's going to be a blast.  We are very fortunate that my brother is willing to housesit for us so we don't have to worry about our cats or anything here at home.

If I could do blog updates from the boat I would, but I doubt it is going to be possible to get a connection.  So you'll have to wait for the photos, videos and stories until we get back.  If you need a Caden fix while we're away, there's always this and this.  See you soon!

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Wednesday, July 9th
Just some random videos taken of Mr. Goof Off over the last few days.



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Monday, July 7th
This kid seems like he is going to start walking any day.  Yesterday he was standing up by himself without any assistance a bunch of times.  Or I should say, he would do it when he wasn't really paying attention.  And then as soon as he realized that he wasn't holding onto anything, then he'd immediately panic and sit down.  He's been cruising around the house for well over a month on two feet as long as he can hold onto something but so far hasn't taken any independent steps.  We use "walking wings" once in awhile with him too.  Seems like it may happen soon.  We're not pushing it by any means!  Life will be very different once the little fart gets even more mobile than he is now.

 

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Saturday, July 5th
There is a cool little theme park near our house that was built by an eccentric rich guy who is really into exotic trees and horticulture.  There are some of the most amazing plants and trees that you will find anywhere in the world.  They also have some amusement rides and kids activities.  We went there today with my mom, dad, sister and nephew.  It was a lot of fun, although blazing hot.  Caden had so much fun.  He hadn't napped all day long but was in party mode all day.

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Friday, July 4th
We had a pretty quiet 4th of July today although we did decide to brave the crowds and went downtown to see the fireworks.  There were only two challenges: (1) the gobs of people and (2) keeping Caden awake long enough to actually see the show.  He made it... barely.

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Thursday, July 3rd
Caden and I did our Good Samaritan duty for the day today.  We were standing in line at the grocery store when I turned and noticed that the woman standing in line behind us, buying a can of pinto beans, was not wearing any pants.  She was in her 60's, wearing a blouse, shoes and women's underwear but no pants.  She seemed relatively normal looking albeit slightly disoriented.  The checker looked at me with a surprised look, I looked at her, another woman in line looked at us both in surprise, and like any good American will do, everyone went back to what they were doing and completely ignored the situation.  Except me of course.  I'm just not that way.  So after a few minutes, I turned to the woman and said, "You know, it's best to wear pants when you come to the grocery store."  She smiled and said, "Yes, I could make a good joke about that one."  Hmmm.  She certainly articulates well.  I don't smell booze (and after working as a paramedic for so long, my shnoze picks it up a mile away).  So I said, "Everything OK today... can I do anything for you?" to which she replied, "Oh dear no!"

So, we finished getting through the check-out line and went outside and Caden and I waited for her to come out.  She exited the store without her beans so something must have gone wrong with her transaction (having no pants probably precluded her from having any money).  She proceeded into the parking lot and started walking up to cars trying to put some keys into the door, missing the key holes by a mile.  So, I approached her again.  "Hi again.  I just wanted you to know that I'm concerned about you.  Not wearing pants to the grocery store is a little worrisome.  Are you lost?"  She replied again, quite lucidly, "No honey, but I probably appear to be."  She continued trying her keys in different car doors.

Just then I noticed an on-duty paramedic crew about to enter a nearby Togo's to get some food and, even better, I recognized one of them as an old friend from work.  I hated the thought of interrupting their lunch, but this lady definitely needed some help, or at least some pants.  So I flagged them down and turned the whole thing over to them.  They were very sweet and helpful about the whole thing.  Who knows what this poor lady's story was but I'm glad she got some assistance.  Maybe she's trying to start a new holiday... July 3rd as No Pants Day?  What the heck, I'm in!

Update: I found out later that she was reported as a missing person and the Sherriff's Department was searching for her.  Glad they found her!

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Tuesday, July 1st
Over the past few months, I've been looking around for opportunities to do some more volunteer work.  John and I already do some things through our church and we cook for the homeless shelter but I was hoping I could find something that Caden and I could do together sometimes during the day.  As you can imagine, there aren't a lot of places that have openings for one year olds.  Anyway, a friend of mine at City Hall mentioned that they were in need of more docents to take people on tours of the new City Hall.  And Caden could be my side kick.  So last week we both went downtown and did our training.  Caden seemed very interested in the whole thing.  As long as there are people around and he's getting a little attention paid to him, he's fine.  The only question is whether they make a lime green "City of San Jose Docent" polo shirt small enough for him to wear. 

This ought to be interesting!  And if you're wondering who asks to tour City Hall?  Apparently lots of people.  Mostly school age kids and senior citizens; all of whom Caden is good at charming.  As long as he doesn't poop his pants mid-tour, we should be fine!

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