Friday, February 24, 2012

Shuffle Off To Buffalo

Jonathan's 1st plane ride. He did great!
Madeline is an old pro at flying
Ahhhh!! Tim Hortons
For the first time in over 4 months, my family and I were back in the city I called home for 41 years.  We traveled back to Buffalo for a much needed family getaway.  Although Buffalo, and all those I love there, are ALWAYS on my mind, the timing of this particular trip was prompted as a result of the fact that David was receiving a special recognition award from a NY commercial realtors association.  The award was for David's work in partnering with them with regards to economic development in the WNY region.  Funny, this organization used to HATE were David used to work.  The commercial realtors inaccurately looked as David (and were he worked) as competition rather than a partnership asset that would assist the realtors in closing deals.  David worked very hard in fostering a relationship with a professional group that wanted to run David (and were he worked) out of town.  I have attend several of these awards dinners with David in the past.  In fact, I was there at some of the first ones David attended when the speakers would literally say, "Let's put them (David's former work) out of business". Endless lunches, speaking engagements, eventually getting elected to their board of directors and ultimately working collaboratively on creating WNY's first commercial MLS had helped the commercial realtors work to meet the needs of their commercial clients while simultaneously helping David work with businesses in meeting their needs as well.  Think of what David did in Buffalo as being the Julie McCoy (Love Boat cruise director) of attracting business to WNY, that is, organizing all the players to work together to get a business to the region - real estate, government agencies for tax incentives, universities for work force, etc, etc, etc.  Without the commercial realtors on board, WNY was missing out on some great leads and David worked very hard to tap into those leads for himself, the realtors, and ultimately the economic developmental success of the WNY region.  Ultimately, his hard work in fostering these relationships is what was being recognized with this award.  Although this award dinner is what prompted us to book flights, this was only one piece of our stay in Buffalo.  It really was a whirlwind trip!

Merry-Go-Round at Boulevard Mall (Jonathan's 1st)

Mmmmm - Charlie the Buthcer
We arrived on Wednesday (2/8) night.  The father of our friend, Kelly, was out of town at the time we were visiting.  They were gracious enough to let us stay at their home - and OMG, they had the MOST comfortable bed in the world!!  I was able to see Kelly for a little bit on Wednesday night as we got settled into her dad's house but, it was late and we were all pretty tuckered out.

Awards dinner
As we sat on the plane, prior to take-off in Minneapolis, David says, "Ohhhh....this is not going to work. I hope this doesn't interfere with our trip."  Huh???  His tooth was bothering him.  A man being a man, the tooth was bothering David for several days and he didn't mention it until that moment.  On Wednesday evening, when David drank some cold water, he nearly went through the roof. And so, our Thursday (2/29) morning involved a trip to the dentist.  Madeline and I were happy to make a stop at a Tim Horton's for breakfast while David was at his appointment.  After "tooth time", we had a little bit of time to make some other stops.  We went to the Boulevard Mall because I *needed* a new BFLO car magnet for my van.  I must've lost my other one in a car wash.  This also gave Madeline some time to run around like a monkey at the mall's play area.  A trip to Buffalo also means getting our fill of Buffalo foods.  For lunch on Thursday we headed to Charlie the Butcher for a Beef on Weck.  After lunch, we headed over to the cemetery to visit Mom & Dad.  Next, off to downtown Buffalo to David's old office.  David worked there for 8 years. After that amount of time, seeing his former co-workers was like seeing family.  After a nice visit we took the half-hour drive back north to get ready for the awards dinner.

David and his award.  It is a buffalo that has some mirrored glass, therefore I now call it the "disco buffalo".
It was around Christmastime when we knew we were going to travel to Buffalo in February.  At that time we figured that we would be *much* overdue for some Mama/Papa time, and so we contacted our NY babysitters and arranged for them to sit with the kids each night we were in town.  Mama and Papa were thrilled with the idea of some time away while Madeline was also thrilled to see both Sarah and Molly.  After returning from our visit at David's old workplace, we basically had enough time to get changed and fill in the sitters on baby care (their 1st time with Jonathan) before we had to drive back downtown for the awards dinner.    The awards dinner was nice.  David and I often comment that we are currently living in a region of over 3 million unfamiliar faces.  Although I knew a handful of people at the dinner, a good majority of those in attendance we mere acquaintances for me.  However, it was so refreshing to be in a roomful of familiar faces. We literally could not get across the room because one person after the other stopped us to talk to David.  What a good feeling that must've been for David.  I was so proud of him!

Jonathan and Aunt Vicky
Madeline loved the hair accessories from her cousin Christina (brought to Bflo by Uncle Marty & Aunt Vicky)
Kelly & Me (with Madeline) before the girls' dinner
Girls' dinner. LOVE my friends!
Kym, Mary, Me and Jen out after dinner
Jen is short enough for us to use her shoulders as a boob rest!
Although we were away from Buffalo for over 4 months, it felt as though we simply returned from a long vacation.  We jumped right back into the swing of things as though we still lived there.  The trip was good for us for many reasons but one of the positives was that I was able to appreciate some of the things that Minnesota has to offer.  However, with that also came the "Damn! I wish Minnesota had this!"  On Friday morning, we drove around some of our old stomping grounds.  We drove past our first house in Wheatfield and the house that we just moved out of in North Tonawanda.  It wasn't until we did the North Tonawanda drive-by that I got that awful "someone died" feeling in the pit of my stomach that one gets when they are completely homesick.  How does one feel better?  A trip to Tim Horton's, of course!  We ended up going to the Tim Horton's that they were still building when we moved.  It was walking distance from our old house.  Next, a NECESSARY Wegmans visit.  This is essential for any Buffalo expatriate as food selection and grocery shopping experience is not the same elsewhere.  We stocked up on so many Buffalo goodies that we needed a cooler (Thanks Aunt Sue) to bring things home.  Friday, my brother, Marty, and sister-in-law, Vicky drove to Buffalo from central Pennsylvania.  I already had made plans with some girlfriends for a girls' night out so David and the kids did dinner with Marty and Vicky while I did dinner with the gals.  In the evening, one of our sitters came over and David, Marty and Vicky were able to meet us out for a few drinks.

Me, Madeline, Uncle Tom and Jonathan at Aunt Sue's house
Uncle Tom and Jonathan
Beautiful table setting for brunch
Marty. Heidi, & Vicky
Madeline, David, Aunt Sue, Uncle Ron, Uncle Tom, Aunt Mary Grace, Marty & Vicky
Uncle Marty & Jonathan
On Saturday morning, we took an hour ride south of where we were staying to go to brunch at my aunt's house.  Aunt Sue is the most awesome entertainer.  Not only does conversation and laughter flow easily at her house but she also is a phenomenal cook and goes all out to add all the little touches in presentation.  At Aunt Sue's we were able to visit with her, my Uncle Ron, Uncle Tom, Aunt Mary Grace, my brother Marty & sister-in-law Vicky.  We shared a delicious brunch and great conversation but the visit ended too quickly.  Next on the agenda was a play date for Madeline (okay for me too as the moms are my MOMS club friends).  Back in the car for an hour drive north.  David dropped me and the kids off to play so he could pick up two large La Nova Pizzas for us to freeze and take home (Pizza sucks in Minnesota!)  It was nice to visit more with Kym and Mary but Madeline was just beside herself with the opportunity to play with her friends, Dani and Michellynn.  She had so much fun. Although Madeline is getting along socially in school, she is missing out on friendships.  Madeline was just as much in need of friend time as Mama was. It was so nice to see the kids pick up exactly where they left off.  After a fun play date, back in the car for a 20 minute drive to the house where we once again met up with our sitters and got freshened up for a night out.  Once more, back in the car for a half-hour drive to Buffalo for a Buffalo Sabres hockey game.  We were invited to attend the game in a suite. From all the running around of the day we were running a few minutes late.  One of our favorite parts of going to a Sabres game is the pregame stuff.  We zoomed into the arena just as they were starting the pregame.  We knew we would miss it all if we tried to make it up to the suite and so we ducked into the "100 level" of the arena to watch.  During the pregame, there is a HUGE Sabres flag that is passed along the crowd and makes its way around the entire arena.  Just by dumb luck and good timing, we peeked into the 100 level just as the flag was coming our way.  David and I were able to be under the flag and help move it along.  What a special treat for our visit back home!  After the pre-game, we headed up to the suite to enjoy the game.  The evening would have only been better if the Sabres had one that night.

Madeline, Michellynn, & Dani
Christian, Michellynn, Dani, Madeline & Jonathan (missing from picture: Dani's brother Jack)
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Michellynn, Madeline & Dani
Sunday we had to head home.  Thank GOD for Kelly and Hailey for coming over.  If it weren't for their visit and their help occupying the kids, I think we would still be in the midst of packing! There is no doubt, we know how to land with a splat!  Prior to heading to the airport, we were able to make it to Mass at our old parish.  What good food for the soul!  David and I miss our church and will hopefully find a parish with which we feel comfortable here in Minnesota.  After two unsuccessful attempts, we admittedly stopped our efforts, however, we hope to have better luck after moving to a new neighborhood when we move into our house.

Best way to watch a Sabres game - in a suite, pigging out on Buffalo wings & weck while drinking a Canadian beer.
Our visit to Buffalo was such a mood booster for me!  I loved every second of seeing friends and family.  The unfortunate thing, however, is that we were spread so thin trying to see everyone.  We made "touch and go landings" with everyone.  Although, I do not regret any second of the time we were there or time spent with family and friends, I feel as though I didn't get to spend enough time with any one person.  Call me greedy, but I wanted my fill of everyone.  Instead, I guess you can say I was left hungry for a little more.  Already I am trying to figure out the next time  I'll be able to get back.  Due to the expense involved and other obligations here (David's job, Madeline's school, setting up a home after we move into our house, etc) and other travel obligations already set for this year, I am not sure when I will be able to return to Buffalo.  Even if it means I make a quick mama weekend get-away, I will try to get back as soon as I can.  In the meantime, I am not too proud to beg for visitors.  Our new house (moving in March 9th) will have a very private guest room.  We have always LOVED to entertain house guests while we lived in Buffalo and will appreciate visitors even more in Minnesota.  The more the merrier!!  Whether you want to see a baseball game or a hockey game, go shopping at the Mall of America, party at Howl at the Moon or just get into trouble together, we would love if you visit!!  Until that time, either in Buffalo or here, I will think fondly of the time we did share this month.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very nice mama!