So I took Ke$ha Barbie to New York City to look at a college...
Lemme tell you a little something about college visits and open houses...your child will be excited and happy and dreaming about all that lies ahead for them.
You, on the other hand, will spend the entire time panicked and worried about what lies ahead of them.
I would worry less about what lies ahead for her if we were looking at colleges in small "college towns"...not Boston or NYC. I would be much more relaxed about it if she was looking to be in College Station (home of my alma mater Texas A&M---whoop!) instead of a city of over 8 million people.
So we went up there to look at the Cooper Union School...more on that later.
The last time I went to NYC, Ke$ha Barbie and I were joined by her godmother SalGal and her godsister GreatKate and our friends LeeNe and her daughter Ariel (cause she looks like Ariel...not her real name). That was in 2008.
I weighed over 270 pounds and was woefully out of shape.
Just as in 2008, I decided that Ke$ha Barbie and I should stay at the New York Athletic Club since I can do that through my club membership.
I chose to stay there last time for price and location.
This time I chose to stay there not just for price and location----but so I could workout!
Far cry from last time when I literally dreaded every trip on the subway because it meant that I had to walk up the subway stairs. I would be out of breath for over 5 minutes. Too bad I didn't have my "ah ha!" moment then instead of 2 years later when I went up the steps at the school with my teacher friend.
This time we didn't have any last minute surprises (like a lost id and an unplanned trip to her father's house for her passport)...well, let me alter that a bit....we didn't have any LAST MINUTE surprises...but there was still some last minute rushing about and doing things because the night before we left Ke$ha Barbie had to turn in her application to the University of Texas (yes, that kills me as an Aggie but they have a very fine art school) and she had to get some artwork in.
But she got it done...even though she didn't get much sleep...I slept...after all, next year she is going to be pulling all-niters far far away from me so might as well get used to it now.
We headed to the airport and all was well. Ke$ha Barbie was even agreeable to hanging in the President's Club lounge and didn't ask for pizza at 10 am. I think it was because she was dead tired.
Hmmmmm....no, it's not a good plan to over-tire your child before a trip...that can backfire...but I did wonder for a moment if I might have a new parenting plan called "make Ke$ha Barbie stay up and only get 4 hours of sleep so she is agreeable".
The flight was easy....it was once we landed at LaGuardia that was where it got hard.
I'm always terrified we are gonna end up in the river...and Captain Sully was not piloting our plane.
Then we go to baggage claim.
(Insert various bad words here because that was what I was muttering to myself and texting to a friend who was checking on our progress)
I found the Continental/United (what the heck to we call that airline now?) baggage office and there they were...they were in there.
Seems my bags took an earlier flight.
I sure wish I had been given that option...
NYC gets dark early...by 5 pm the sky was dark and Manhattan was lit up before us----as we stood in the cab line---that was 200 plus people deep.
I spent more time in the cab line than we did at security.
Now that is sayin' something...
Once safely settled into a cab we got back into the New York groove.
We got to the NYCA, checked into our room and then it was time to head out to our happy place.
The lights were gorgeous. Stupidly I didn't get any photos. And I love the window displays. Stupidly I didn't get any photos.
My favorite light display was Hermes. There were running lights on the outside of the building and the entire building is wrapped up in 2 belt buckles made entirely of lights. It is gorgeous!
We popped in a few shops but ultimately ended up at Saks 5th Avenue because it was always a favorite stop for us when we came to NYC with my mother.
I found a really cute silk blouse and Ke$ha Barbie found some colored skinny jeans.
Then we wandered into the "formal dresses" area. We had decided it was a good time to go ahead and look for a prom dress so she could get something unique. I decided to take a look and see if there is something I could get to wear to the Bacchus Ball in New Orleans when I go with GOTT and GOTTESS for Mardi Gras.
I started looking through the racks and pulled out a white goddess dress with some bling on it
Ke$ha Barbie shakes her head "no" and says: "um...I don't think you want to look like a bride".
She had a very good point..not in any way, shape, or form looking for a wedding dress...or a groom.
I pulled out a cheetah-print on shoulder chiffon gown.
Ke$ha Barbie shakes her head "no" and says: "um...I don't think you want to look like a "REAL HOUSEWIFE!"
She had a good point...I am not a Bravo TV star (but I do love to watch the trainwrecks that are those shows).
Then I pull out a navy Badgley Mishka halter necked va-va-voom gown. Very elegant. Very classy. Very beautiful. And I have always wanted to own a Badgley Mishka. And it was super duper big-time on sale...$150 less than my planned budget for the gown.
Ke$ha Barbie shakes her head "YESSSS!" and says "now THAT is the right dress...and that is the type of neckline that looks great on you."
So we decided I should try it on.
It was a size that intimidated me...but I took it to the dressing room anyway. I told the sales guy that there were going to be tears one way or the other...happy tears if it fit...sad tears if it didn't.
I put it on...had Ke$ha Barbie zip it up.
Well, sorta perfectly.
I need about 2 feet cut off the bottom.
But it will work...and even though I didn't have on Spanx it looked pretty damn good on me.
And my shoulders, thanks to Dimples, look fantastic in it. The draped halter neck is very flattering and it fits like a perfect navy glove.
So once done at Saks we decided to head to our favorite deli...the Carnegie Deli. That way I could be sure that I could no longer fit perfectly in the gown...oh well...
Now if you have not been to a NYC deli I need to inform you that a sandwich is NOT a sandwich...it is a mile-high heap of meat.
We always do.
Too much food but at least we had a fridge to put the leftovers in. Corned beef and pastrami sandwich, onion rings, a potato pancake, some fried eggs (for Ke$ha Barbie), and cheesecake.
We headed back to the hotel and settled in for the night.
I got up the next morning and was happy to get into the gym and work off the stress and food from the day before.
I found my drug of choice---a Kaiser spin bike. Put my iPod on "play" and spent 75 minutes riding off the corned beef and pastrami and onion rings and cheesecake. Then I lifted weights and headed back to our room.
Have a mentioned that we were staying in the EXACT SAME ROOM as we did in 2008.
yes...now THAT was funny...at least we never got lost in the hotel.
We had the Cooper Union school by 3 so we opted for a slice of pizza for lunch.
That undid all the good I did at the gym that day...oh well...
I taught Ke$ha Barbie how to catch a cab. A skill she will need if she goes to school there.
The cab ride took a bit but at least we got to see Times Square again and we drove down the street where the contestants stay for "Project Runway"....I kept looking to see if I could find "Mood" or Tim Gunn (from the show).
We arrive at the school. It is right by NYU. The school is primarily 2 buildings...one very old and one very modern. Google it...the architecture is amazing. 41 Cooper Union is one of the coolest buildings I have ever seen. It is a work of art.
No sooner had the cab driven away than Ke$ha Barbie discovered she left her purse and phone in the cab.
She had complained about carrying a purse on the way down from the hotel...I think she may have been right about that.
I took a chance and called her cell phone and the cabbie answered it.
I had the one truly honest cabbie in NYC. Actually I think most of them would have answered but I was very grateful that this one did.
He came back to the school and brought us the purse.
I tipped him handsomely.
We went into the school and into the "Great Hall". The building we were in was called the Foundation Building and it has a rich history...Susan B. Anthony had her offices there and Lincoln spoke at the podium that the Dean of the school addressed us from.
Since it was an open house Ke$ha Barbie was assigned a number and that was her "portfolio review" number. Since her number was 175 students in I knew it was going to take a while.
The admissions head went over the process and talked to us about the "home test". When you apply to the Cooper art school the most important element of their review process is your "home test" which is set of 6 "assignments" that tests the applicants creativity and expression. It is things like "self portrait" but they will give it a twist. It also must all fit into one certain sized FedEx box.
Ke$ha Barbie will nail it.
But here is the kicker...
There is NO TUITION at Cooper.
Buuuuuttt....you have to pay to live in NYC.
And your kid will live in NYC
hmmmmmm....still trying not to need Xanax for that (for me...and maybe her).
So since it is free, and since it is basically the "Yale" of schools offering a bachelor of fine arts degree for artists, a LOT of kids will apply.
They usually have over 1800 apply and they grade 1100+ home tests.
Now here is the other kicker...
60 will get in
yes, you read that right and I typed it right...60 out of 1800 will get in.
That's it...that's all...
just 60 kids.
Like I said...Yale for art school.
If she doesn't get in, it is a numbers thing...not that she isn't a good artist.
We toured the school and then it was time for her portfolio review.
That is where an instructor goes over your work and helps you to refine what you will turn in for your application submittal. Not the same as the home test. Just more of it...And they sort of hint as to whether your work is going to cut it or not.
All I will say about that is that Ke$ha Barbie came back with the biggest grin on her face and was beyond happy.
It was a good review...a very very good review.
We argued in the cab the entire way back to the hotel. Her because she is so very very excited but also a bit full of herself. Me because I am worried sick about turning my child loose in a city of over 8 million people.
We got to the hotel, calmed down, and went out for Indian food.
This is where it pays to be the overly-friendly lady from Houston.
The head waiter had relatives in Houston. He asked where I was from when he heard my accent. We had a little conversation about Houston. Next thing I know the most delicious samosas appear at the table compliments of the chef.
Then we had saag paneer (spinach with cheese), chicken tikka masala (yummmy chicken cooked in a sauce) and lamb vindaloo (very very spicy lamb).
and then we were served 2 desserts...again, compliments of the chef.
The next morning Ke$ha Barbie had to take SAT subject tests at a school about 10 minutes from the hotel. We decided she should go alone because she needs to learn to do this if she is going to live there.
She got there fine.
I lived in terror until I knew she was safe.
I worked out while she was testing and once she was back we headed out for a sushi lunch and a divine visit to MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art).
It is truly my happy place...except she and I argued our way through it.
I found peace among the Rothko painting and all the Jasper Johns and Donald Judd works.
We continued arguing until we decided a little separation was in order...we each took a walk and then found ourselves back at the hotel and happy with each other again.
Then it was time for the BEST part of my trip.
I got to see Mr. Gorgeous!
Mr. Gorgeous is a childhood friend. We have known each other since we were 3 but have not seen each other for 30 years.
It was a joyful reunion.
I love Mr. Gorgeous...and yes, he is still prettier than me. His boyfriend is a lucky man and I am a lucky lady that he still loves me.
We walked to Hell's Kitchen but stopped along the way at his friend's fabulous (and I mean fab-u-lous) apartment to look at some trompe l'oeil work Mr. Gorgeous did in the apartment. He also told us about some work he did in his cousin Sandy's place.
His cousin Sandy is Sandy Duncan...the Broadway and tv star....I loved her when I was a child. She was such a pixie of a little thing...and she was perfect as Peter Pan and I loved her in "My One and Only".
So we walked down to Hell's Kitchen and lo and behold who do we run into on the street.
I was cool but inside I was jello and all I wanted to do was gush and tell her how much I admired her....but I didn't want to embarrass Mr. Gorgeous with being a silly hick so I took it in and now have the pleasure of saying that I met one of my idols.
She looks the same...and she still has that squeaky little funny voice. She's amazing...
We ended up at the most fabulous restaurant for dinner...
I highly recommend it...New American cuisine...served by gorgeous boy waiters wearing pink t-shirts that have slightly suggestive words on the fronts and backs of their shirts...
"Whipped" in the front..."Beaten" on the back...stuff like that...
and yes, I bought a t-shirt...
and it is a beautiful restaurant...go there...
Mr. Gorgeous and I had a blast reliving our childhood and catching up with each other and Ke$ha Barbie loved him too...and we all loved our dinner...Mr. Gorgeous and I had a beautiful beet and goat cheese salad and the most perfect horseradish crusted salmon for our main dish. Ke$ha Barbie had an amazing salad and duck ravioli. We all split a molten chocolate cake for dessert.
It was heaven...but mostly because I was in the company of one of the finest men I know.
30 years makes no difference...I still love the hell out of him.
He is art director for the Wendy Williams show and is a singer and dancer. Like I said, his beautiful boyfriend is a lucky man. And I am lucky to have a friend in NYC who will help take care of Ke$ha Barbie and will act as surrogate uncle...and bail her out of jail...
The next morning we slept late and hurried to pack and rushed out to try and go to Serendipity 3....our favorite indulgance in NYC.
We were too late...the wait was too long....so we headed to Bloomingdales instead.
Ke$ha Barbie found a fabulous prom dress (on sale!) and sone other things. I got a few dresses and one very hot red number (size medium thankyouverymuch) that some lucky man might get to take me out in....hot, lipstick red, ruched, draped, and one-shoulder...and not Real Housewives at all...classy and sexy.
I might not get to wear it until 2015 but what the heck...it fits now and by God it will then...and some handsome man better say "wow" when he sees me in it!
After Bloomies it was time to head to the airport so we took the subway (located in the basement of Bloomies) and I showed Ke$ha Barbie how to read a subway map.
Then came the moment of truth...the stairs up to the street.
I ran up them...and was not out of breath.
I'm back in the New York groove...
Inspiration Song: "New York Groove" by Ace Frehley...yes, THAT Ace Frehley...of KISS...his solo attempt at a dance record. Not one to listen to but makes a great workout song.
Bye Darlings...find your groove...looks like Ke$ha Barbie might have found hers in NYC...I'll keep you posted....