Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Not Really A Miracle On 34th Street

"Wait, why are you closed again?"

"Because we're moving stores soon."

No signs posted anywhere. No automated message when I had called the store. Nothing.

We were soaked completely through from the rain, although we now had umbrellas. The two young women who said they worked at the store smiled at us as if we should've known, like maybe we simply neglected to read the imaginary memo sent to us from afar.

"Sorry girls, no Promise Pets," the Mama said.

I looked up and cried out to the vacation gods in vain, but they only answered with more warm rain.

***

Six weeks earlier the Mama had launched the plan. We were in the midst of finalizing our big summer vacation to New York City and the girls really wanted Promise Pets -- these cute, floppy-eared Beagles you can get from Build-A-Bear Workshops. Since there was a flagship Build-A-Bear workshop in NYC, we were going to take the girls there, but they'd have to earn "stars" by helping around the house in order to get the beloved Beagles.

Beatrice gets the value of a dollar, or is at least starting to understand. Bryce, not so much, so the star idea was a good one. Week by week the girls helping the Mama around the house, unloading the dishwasher, folding the clothes, feeding our fish, and other helpful tasks. Bea worked hard to get all her stars, and although Bryce struggled for most of the time, she came through in the end.

And so just a few days ago we flew to NYC and our summer adventure began. It had been over 12 years since Amy and I had gone to New York, but even then we remember walking through historic and iconic Central Park for the first time. This time with the girls it was just as memorable, and being summertime as opposed to early spring the first time we went, the park was lush and emerald green, with the trees and vegetation offering cool refuge from the muggy hot City streets. But even in the park we wilted quickly, me and the girls more than the Mama who had grown up with humid summers in the Midwest.

With the girls in tow, we visited the Central Park Zoo, and then the Children's Zoo, and the historic carousel, and then one of the playgrounds and splash parks where the girls got to cool off. At times the humidity was unbearable for me, but I survived, even after we each had to carry Bryce for part of our journey. We came across a pair of park musicians who were amazing, playing guitar and violin and singing classics such as "Dear Prudence" by the Beatles.

“…the sun is up, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful and so are you…”

Indeed. All in all a fantastic first visit with the girls to Central Park. Then it was time to find the Build-A-Bear Workshop, the flagship store located not too far from Times Square. The subway took us part way and then we walked, and walked, and walked in and around Times Square, taking in all the sights and sounds and smells (good and bad) and aggressive migrant street performers dressed as Elmo, Pooh Bear and Minions, hawking hugs and pictures for money.

But we loved it all and the end game of course were those hallowed Promise Pets. However, even with GPS, we kept going up and down and in and around Times Square without finding the Build-A-Bear. Then, it started to rain, and immediately there were street hawkers galore selling umbrellas.

Which we didn't buy. At least, not at first. No, we kept trudging away. The Mama found the scent of the trail again and there we were, the B-hive marching through the Big Apple, block after block, until within 10 minutes we were completely soaked.

But, none of us were squawking, not even the girls. Nope, we just kept on and on until finally we slipped into a little side street store and purchased two cheap umbrellas and ponchos for the girls. Bryce didn't like the poncho at all but thankfully cheap umbrellas worked.

Suddenly there it was, shining like a warm beacon in the heavy summer rain, after hours of NYC adventure behind us -- the Build-A-Bear Workshop on the corner of 5th Avenue and 46th Street.

We crossed the intersection and stood perplexed because we couldn't find the door. And when we did, the doors were locked, although the store was lit from the inside and there were people moving around. They were difficult to see however because the entire two sides of the corner store were blocked out with a white covering; we couldn't see a thing except for said cracks where the locked doors were.

So I called the store that only led me into a mousetrap game-like phone tree experience and never to a live person, and the rain still hadn't let up.

"I want a Promise Pet," whined Bryce.

"Me too," said Beatrice.

Finally, two young ladies came to the locked doors near where we stood. They had an empty flat cart and knocked on the door, so we assumed they worked there.

"Do you work here?" I asked.

"Yes," one of the women said, smiling.

"Are you open?"

"No, we're not."

The Mama and I couldn't believe what we were hearing.

"What do you mean you're not open?"

The other woman spoke. "Oh, sorry. You can try our other store at [undecipherable]."

We just looked at each other.

"Are we getting the promise pets now?" both girls asked.

I shook my head in disbelief. "Wait, why are you closed again?"

"Because we're moving stores soon."

No signs posted anywhere. No automated message when I had called the store. Nothing.

We were soaked completely through from the rain, although we now had umbrellas. The two young women who said they worked at the store smiled at us as if we should've known, like maybe we simply neglected to read the imaginary memo sent to us from afar.

"Sorry girls, no Promise Pets," the Mama said.

I looked up and cried out to the gods, but they only answered with more warm rain.

That's when things went really fast--

We tried to hail a cab, but none would stop.

I said 'Let me use Uber.'

'Great,' the Mama said.

But then I realized I hadn't used the app for a while and had deleted it. 

I downloaded it again, but then couldn't remember my login info. 

I tried to connect with Facebook, but it tried to create a new account.

The rain kept coming. 

You've got to be kidding, I thought.

'Are we getting a promise pet?' the girls asked again.

Then a cab pulled over and got us.

I called the other [undecipherable] Build-A-Bear location, but it turned out to be Macy's.

So I told the cab driver to take us to Macy's on 34th Street (yes, the famous one), because we figured we could find toys there and we couldn't find the other Build-A-Bear anyway.

More rain. Traffic jam.

Time ticking.

We finally get to Macy's and we get inside and ask two other young ladies:

'Excuse me, where is the toy section?'

'Oh, I'm sorry. There aren't any toys here at this Macy's. We only carry toys at Christmas.'

We couldn't help but laugh. 

The girls were disappointed but kept the faith as we moved outside again, the rain finally stopping.

We found the Manhattan Mall just up the street, which actually had a Toys "R" Us Express, and was actually open, and actually had toys the girls wanted.

And me too.




Not really a miracle on 34th street, but the B-hive takes Manhattan nonetheless.


Right on. #BhivePower #NYC













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