Being A Butterfly

August 8th, 2010

Well, I’m back in Kansas after a bit over a week in New York for Debconf. I didn’t have time to write much, so I’ll probably be posting about it a few times.

I already wrote about the trip to New York, and now will say just a bit about the time there and trip back home.

I have to start with a quote from Jacob. We went on the Q train from Coney Island a few stops down to Brighton Beach. It’s elevated, and provides an excellent view of the amusement park. Jacob’s excited comment, face pressed to window, was:

“Wow! I see lots of everything!”

Which, come to think of it, sums up NYC itself pretty well.

Speaking of faces pressed to windows: this was Jacob’s default mode of operating in NYC. Get into any subway car, bus, whatever and he wants to stand on the seat nearest the window and look out it. It’s a real problem if no such seats are available. More than once, though, we’ll get on the subway and he’ll run to the nearest window seat to claim it, no matter who will be his neighbors for the next few minutes. And after a few days of this, Oliver started picking up on it. Pretty soon both boys wanted to be pressed to the windows watching interesting things (to me, it was a dark tunnel with occasional lights, but interesting to them) go by.

Which brings me to today. Today was Oliver’s first time flying, and Jacob’s second — though he was an infant the first time he flew and doesn’t remember it.

Jacob has been perhaps cautiously optimistic about flying. The idea of it was exciting, but then again it’s something completely new, which he doesn’t care for so much. So we had no idea what to expect.

What was got was excitement. And lots of it. From the La Guardia terminal, “Dad, is this our plane?” “No, not that one.” “Well, is THIS our plane?” “No, not that one either.” “Well, is *THIS* our plane?”

At this point, a parent has to confront the question: which is worse, causing serious disappointment to a 3-year-old and possibly inviting a meltdown in the middle of the D concourse, or a bit of harmless encouragement that might not be 100% literally true?

“Uhmm…. that might be it…” (Ah, so I went for the literally true but still exciting route…) “YAY!! *jumping and clapping*”

Terah reminds me at this point of our security adventure. I, wearing socks, carried Oliver (1 year old) through the security checkpoint at La Guardia. But oh! I failed to remove his “shoes” (not really shoes). TSA made me go back through, put them in the bowl, and run them through the scanner. A nearby pilot, getting screened, noticed this and made this ironic comment well within TSA earshot: “Look at his face! He’s gonna get us all! Good thing you’re checking his shoes!” Terah and the pilot both just about bust up laughing. Meanwhile, I’m carrying Oliver through, and the agent that made me take off his shoes had this look of “I’m sorry, I know this is stupid, but I have to.” (For an excellent pilot’s rant about TSA, read this).

Anyhow, we got on the plane, and of course Jacob nabbed the window seat.


There was plenty interesting to see. At each step of the way, I told him what was going to happen next, so there wouldn’t be any surprises. I told him once we got in the air, and got a breathy “Woooooooow…..” I told him, “Jacob, we are flying!” And his reply has to be his best quote of the week:

Dad, I don’t know that I’ve ever been a butterfly before!

I pointed out that we were above the clouds, which was also exciting. About every 5 minutes, he’d poke me, and say, “Dad, look out the window. Look down. WE ARE UP IN THE SKY!”

Meanwhile, Oliver slept.


On the second flight, Jacob slept (and was in a very foul mood when he woke up on the ground) while Oliver tried his best to squirm out of the seat and onto the ground.

Now, to wind up this post, I would like to leave you with some statistics and photos comparing my home with New York.

Item NYC Marion County, KS
Land Area 469 sq mi 954 sq mi
Population 8,391,881 12,952 (6871 excluding the 3 largest towns quite some distance away)
Population Density 27,532/sq mi 14/sq mi (7 if excluding large towns)

I think of this as a wonderful difference! I’ve said before how much fun it is to spend some time in NYC, where we can just walk to a fruit stand, any number of grocery stores, restaurants, etc. And finally, I leave you with two street scenes. The first is from our hotel’s front door.


That’s our fruit guy there, and the bagel and roll place is across the street by the RadioShack.

Now, the street view from our front door after we got home:


OK, so that’s sort of misleading. You can’t actually see the street scene because it’s on the other side of the hill. That’s just our driveway to get to the street. (Not that the street looks much different. It has the weeds growing on the sides instead of in the middle, as one notable difference.)

We loved New York and I’m certain we’ll go back again. It’s also nice to be home and enjoy the peace of the countryside.

Thanks to Debconf for a wonderful conference — a topic I’ll have more to say about in the coming days.

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Comments Feed4 Comments

  1. James Vega

    Your pilot’s rant link has a stray “” at the start of the URL. Interesting article.


    James Vega Reply:

    Oops. HTML got swallowed — “<br />”.


  2. John Goerzen

    Thanks. Got that fixed.


  3. Family updates | The Changelog

    […] As you probably know from reading my recent blog posts, we spent a week in New York City. Despite some behavior issues from Jacob, it was a good trip. Oliver took his first unassisted step in our hotel room there. As I wrote, the boys both loved the subway. […]

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