The Next Best Thing

Instead of Niagara Falls in New York, eight hours away from Jersey, we went to the Paterson Great Falls State Park in Jersey, just a mere 30 minutes away. The view wasn’t as spectacular, but I still got the spray of mist from the falls and the fear of heights came rushing back too. I did see a few people making out in the small park in front of children too, mind you. Joisey. It’s gone to the trash of Jersey Shore.

Niagara Falls Paterson Great Falls

Paterson Great Falls

Instead of Malaysian food in Malaysia, 20+ hours away on a non-stop flight from Jersey, we went to Chinatown in New York, just a mere 30 minutes away. We even found street parking! The fried noodles I ordered definitely wasn’t good and it sure wasn’t even close to being spicy. The chicken satay, even though passable, was a rip-off with three sticks for $5 and that too had only three cucumbers to its name. Finally, the Curry Yong Tau Fu didn’t even cut it with watered down coconut milk. The only thing that didn’t change was the Malaysian attitude. I asked for paper napkins, but I never got one. So much for service. They got my “tip” in kind.

Instead of listening to Wang Lee Hom, I spent the day walking in and out of Chinese stores playing Jay Chou. What do they have against Americans? Worst thing is Jay’s newest album – The Era – is meant for the deaf. He should quit while he’s still standing. My alliance stands with the ABC (American Born Chinese).

Wang Lee Hom Jay Chou

Instead of bright spanking new hardwood floors, for a day of moving the entire house into storage, 5+ hours of sanding and then varnishing, a day of waiting for the oil-based wax to dry, a day of cleaning the house from the dust of sanding, and another day of moving everything back into place, we spent 30 minutes putting most stools and chairs in the kitchen, another hour sweeping and cleaning the floors, 3 nights of 2-hour intervals to paint on water-based wax on the wood floors. It’s a sticky job, but someone’s got to do it.

Instead of blasting the A/C, we opened the windows and turned on the fan to help a little with global warming. It’s a free sauna at home. We’re loosing weight as we speak.

Instead of a full-blown dinner; an hour at the grocery store buying supplies, an hour preparing, 30 minutes of cooking, 30 minutes of cleanup, I pulled out a box of couscous, boiled 1.25 cups of water in less than 2 minutes, dropped in peas, an egg, roasted some cashews in the microwave for 2 minutes, waited for 5 minutes for the couscous to fluff up and ate. Healthier than your average instant noodles, but twice as long to make.

Instead of enjoying a nice bottle of honey wine, which we bought from Pennsylvania, we ended up with what tasted like sour grapes. My earlier fresh blend of grape juice tasted better than that.

Instead of booking a hotel at the Hilton for our next trip, we had to go for the Doubletree instead, because the Hilton doesn’t accept dogs. What do they have against the furry animals?!

Instead of taking Jess to the groomers, 30 minutes away from home, locked up in a cage for 6 hours, made to stand for another 2 hours while they clean and groom her, I’m combing, grooming and bathing her at home, an hour of brushing, snipping and clipping while she sleeps on the floor, 30 minutes of playing in the tub, and 30 minutes of blow-drying and brushing out. I wish someone would do that for me. Bathe me, dry me, and brush me out while I fall asleep.

Instead of a Memorial Weekend of shopping, eating and fun, we hardly ate, and barely moved. We went from home to buying the occasional food and back again in front of the coach, eating red bean and mango popsicles and green tea mochi.

It was quite a lazy weekend, but we definitely got things done. We saw the Falls. Had Malaysian food. Heard an international artist perform. Got new floors. Helped the environment. Ate health-ier for a change. Became a connoisseur of wine. Booked our next vacation. Have a spanking new dog, and managed to catch up with loads of anime.

The next best thing is best shared with someone. Only wish that that someone is someone else. But then again, he was the next best thing too.

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