Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

‘Twas The Night Before New York

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‘Twas the night before New York and all through our home, all the kids and adults were excited and ready to go!

We packed all our bags and got all the kids on a plane, flying three hours with no whining or a single complaint.

Once we arrived we pulled our bags to a big black van, it looked like it transported an entire mafia clan.

With our eyes filled with wonder we watched the New York skyline grow, as we muddled through traffic that was terribly slow.

As we arrived we were told, “You were arriving today? I thought your arrival date was still another week away?”

Uh no, dear sweet apartment owner our clan of seven is here, you better clean this darn place or me you shall fear!

So we left our bags behind as the maid went to work, cleaning up the mess of the previous family that must have been raising a clan of spoiled rotten twerps.

We went and ate at a hole in the wall eatery filled with angry New Yorkers, that spat profanities because the clerk didn’t want to be paid with a bag full of quarters.

As I covered my youngest one’s ears from the s-nannigans and f-bombs that spewed like a cork, I thought to myself, “Yep, this is New York!”

Then the real fun began when the mice joined our family, running wild through our apartment for the mounds of candy…that had been left behind by the previous twerps, that I wish I could give a talking to about respect and that cleaning up after yourself really does work!

Eleven mice have been hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that the so-called maid soon would be there. (She hasn’t been…moving on…)

We’ve also experienced a broken TV, a DVD player that doesn’t work either, and a hairdryer that caught fire, yes the trip has been fun, but the apartment is like a plot from a bad movie starring McGyver.

The best parts of the trip have been the visit to Macy’s to see Santa, the carriage ride through Central Park, coffee in Times Square…it has been totally amazing to spend the holidays here!

So off I must go, there are more things to do, the electric mouse trap just went off again…I can smell him cooking in the other room… <—- Totally serious, it just happened!!!

Good night from NYC ~

VSK (the epic mouse catcher)

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Five Days (So Far) In NYC…And A Million Memories


I was planning on writing a blog post at least every other day….uh yeah, that hasn’t happened. We have been so busy catching mice in the apartment I haven’t had time to write. Yes, I said mice. We are up to 9 mice, thank you very much.

The hairdryer supplied by the apartment owner also caught fire yesterday as my husband dried his hair…sparks flying, smoke pluming…I think the darn mice had been chewing the electric cord…

Yes, before you ask, my father will be asking for some of his money back after this…EXPERIENCE. I will be writing a stellar review for this place once we arrive home on Friday. I say this while crossing all my fingers and toes by the way.


Despite the madness we’ve experienced here, and the fact that we caught a cab that was meant for four riders only, and there are seven us…which we were told by the cab driver, “If a NYPD cop passes by, please just have your children that are sitting in your laps, duck.”, it has been an AMAZING trip!

We took a very expensive, but well worth it, carriage ride through Central Park today. The weather was perfect, and our carriage tour guide was from Dublin, Ireland. He pointed out Beyonce’s apartment, Tony Bennett’s, Steve Spielberg’s, and countless others. He also pointed out the Plaza Hotel and the $8,500 to $14,000 PER NIGHT hotel rooms there. Well, that’s sweet and all, but I think I’d rather eat this year then spend one night in a hotel room. Good gravy, who spends that much money on a hotel room for one freakin’ night?! Oh wait, that would be Lindsey Lohan. I guess she chose to do that then pay her taxes last year. Moving on…


We feel pretty lucky to have taken our Christmas card photo in Central Park today. We did this right after we saw a guy get down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend. Incredibly sweet, and of course she said YES! Her ring was beautiful…so was he. Hello Tom Cruise look alike minus the weirdness!


Times Square…there is nothing quite like it. People watching is epic here! Yes, I saw the Naked Cowboy. He was naked with a pair of whitey tighties, a pair of boots, a guitar and hat…that’s it. I didn’t take a picture with him. He had a tendency to pinch ladies in their rears or kiss them. My husband would have punched him…and I would have let him. I’ll keep the Naked Cowboy I’ve been married to for almost 14 years instead. I don’t need to be groped by a stranger. Homey don’t play that…

A few things I’ve seen in the last 5 days that I’ve been here:

1) A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit on the Subway with a hook for a hand.

2) More dogs dressed in sweaters, rain boots, Burberry coats then I ever thought was remotely possible. People LOVE their dogs here. Too much. To the point of mental disturbance. Every food venue has a menu for your dog. I would never buy my dog a veal burger with vanilla custard, but everyone here seems to think it’s important to feed Fifi a burger instead of Purina. OMGosh…

3) Every New Yorker wears ear phones on the street. If you don’t have a pair of Dr. Dre’s Beats Audio headphones, then you’re a loser who doesn’t belong here. I fit into the loser category here. No, I don’t have a problem with that, thanks though.

4) Had a waiter tonight who was an extra in the movie “Friends With Benefits” with Justin Timberlake. He was uber-nice, and loves YA fiction books. We are now best friends.

5) A homeless man was selling Capri Sun’s on the subway today. For $5 a piece. A woman bought one for her screaming toddler. I have no idea where I was going with this…


Isn’t this picture AMAZING?! We took a boat tour of the city yesterday. Beautiful weather, stunning skyline. What a memory…

We also visited the 9/11 Memorial yesterday. I have a wonderful friend who lost her father on Flight 77 on September 11th. I was able to take some photos and offer a quiet remembrance to not only her father, but also to every victim and their families that lost their lives that fateful day. It was bittersweet to stand where so many fell and honor them. There were not many dry eyes around…mine included.


I have so many other things to post about, but I’m exhausted. Remember, I’ve been chasing mice and going to bed super late because we’ve been sharing some lovely family time in the evenings over a bottle of wine. It is times like these that I give thanks for such a beautiful family and the blessings we share. The good times and the bad times we’ve had since being here has been amazing…and I wouldn’t trade a single one for the world.

By the way, we just caught our 10th mouse. I named him Mickey….

I Love NY~


Random Thoughts From An Avid Author, Uncategorized

Oh My Gosh…Welcome to New York City…I Guess…

Rockefeller Tree

The family!

Guess what? We made it! (P.S. I hate the above picture of myself. I look like I just ate a bug…)

New York City is amazing, but it’s even more amazing at Christmas time.

Rockefeller Center…look at the gorgeous tree! We watched the tree lighting two nights ago on TV, and to be standing in front of it now is pretty darn cool.

I’ve been to New York twice before, but it’s been 15 years since I stepped foot into this busy, diverse and entertaining city. 15 years ago I had just graduated high school, wasn’t married, and didn’t have the three incredible boys standing beside me like I do now.

Mom & The Boys

So let’s recap HOW our first day in NYC was. Have you ever seen the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation? Sweet, then you’ll relate to the story below VERY well…

We fly into Newark, NJ…when you are flying 7 people to New York with today’s airfare prices, it was way less expensive to skip LaGuardia, and fly here. So we did, and we arrived with about 1.5 million other travelers. Welcome to New York.

My dad had arranged for a van to take us to the apartment that my parents rented for the week. Again, way cheaper to rent an apartment for 7 people then to pay for two $789 hotel rooms in downtown Manhattan each night and live with the rats…

We see a fancy-smancy driver complete with a snazzy driving hat holding a sign with our name. I felt like Kristen Stewart…or maybe Joan Rivers depending on how “fancy” you’re feeling. So we follow our driver with our 50 pieces of luggage because I’m cheap, and I refuse to pay $45 to check my bags, thank you very much!

We arrive at our van…a massive Mercedes van that looks like it transports the mafia to and from their lavish parties…or “shady” business deals. Anyhow, moving on…..

So my dad calls the owner of the apartment to say we are on our way. The maid answers. My dad talks loud…he repeats himself 20 times…”Can you hear me? Hello? I’m Mr. Pryor. Pryor. P-r-y-o-r. Hello?!”

The maid says, “Oh, you coming today? It’s next Friday, yes?”

My dad replies, “Uh, no, today.”

Fabulous. A family of 8, with 6 young children had the apartment before us. 6 young children that apparently ran the house, and don’t abide by the rules while they jump on the beds while eating M&M’s and Skittles while destroying the apartment. There was candy EVERYWHERE, along with pieces of clothing, a stroller and several mis-matched shoes left behind.

So we arrive…to drop off our luggage and go somewhere while the maid cleans our disastrous home away from home, because it has to be cleaned…ya know, ’cause we weren’t supposed to be here until next Friday. Super.

We head to a hole in the wall Italian place because my middle son hasn’t eaten in an hour and a half and he’s FAMISHED. Welcome to the teenage years.

We arrive home because we’re freezing and kids need to pee. Apartment is clean. Yet as we walk in, a little gray mouse runs across the living room floor, a freakin’ M&M in it’s mouth from the…um, lovely family who stayed here before us.

We chase the mouse, he disappears through a vent. The little kiddo cries. He doesn’t want to sleep here now because the mouse will nibble his toes and give him rabies. Good gravy, shoot me now.

So we go to Rockefeller Center to see the tree. There are 5 million people there, so we squeeze our way through. The oldest kiddo now complains of a stomach ache probably due to the hole in the wall Italian eatery. We find a pharmacy and buy $18 overpriced Pepto Bismal. Now we need a bathroom. Hubby takes him to “Five Guys” but to use the bathroom, you need a code. So you have to buy something to get the dad-gum code…He buys a $7 coke…

We come home, exhausted. Everyone heads to bed. Darren and I realize that our bedroom feels like a freakin’ freezer. 5 blankets and a pair of sweats later, we huddle together in bed to keep warm. If we didn’t, I’m quite certain we’d freeze to death. Sirens go by ALL…NIGHT…LONG. People scream for no reason, bottles break…oh my gosh, it’s 3am and I’m still awake….I need to pee, but it’s to cold to get out of bed, so I lay there, huddled against my husband, the blanket over my head as if I’m a young child trying to hide from monsters.

5am, someone above us decides to take a shower…an elephant wearing rollerskates I’m convinced. I still have to pee. Hold it Val, hold it…there is no way I’m venturing across the frozen Alaskan wilderness to go to the bathroom.

I get up at 7am…exhausted. I need a 5-hour energy…maybe 2.

Holy smokes, we haven’t even been here 24 hours….

Welcome to NYC!