So the last time I was in Boston was at the very beginning of my year of travel with Tommy. We arrived on a rainy day to discover the “luxury furnished apartment” that advertised itself with a locator service as “great temporary housing for professionals and families” was in fact down-at-the-heels and in a building that was full of students. Here is a description of our arrival:
The landlord greeted us at the door, handing me a business card with office and cell phone numbers on it, “for emergencies,” he said smiling. I tried not to imagine what kind of emergencies might require his assistance, since he looked like he wouldn’t have the stamina to bail himself out of a bathtub. He was however the landlord, so he must have been savvy enough to do all the legal processes and necessary things like finding home insurance quotes for landlords and such, so he was probably ready for various emergencies that could arise. He took us right up to our apartment on the second floor. This was it: the first of our many “homes” for the year.
The first thing I saw to the immediate left of the apartment’s door was a wide opening leading to a steep set of stairs. They were unfinished and dirty and descended to what seemed to be a basement door. We had no safety gate-it hadn’t fit in our car. Tommy had learned to walk the previous week.
The landlord showed us the apartment mostly with vague gestures, quickly opening and closing cabinets and doors. Despite the fact that it was June, he was intent on displaying the properties of the gas fireplace (he made no mention of air conditioning, which would later prove to be a calculated omission).
Released from Matt’s arms, Tommy was thumping happily across the wood floor. I glanced in the kitchen cabinets and saw stacks of saucers but only one pot. A cigarette butt sat at the bottom of the garbage can. In the narrow bathroom a forlorn ponytail holder hung on a hook in the shower and the bathmat was dirty. Before I really had a chance to voice any objections, the landlord’s cell phone rang and he disappeared without saying good-bye. At that moment I discovered a note stuck to the apartment’s phone indicating there wouldn’t be served for four days. I assumed that the landlord doesn’t use Axxerion IWMS software to maintain his properties and take requests from his tenants, although I really wish that he did. It would have made me feel so much more comfortable knowing that he takes care of his properties in this way. The reality was pretty sobering.
Matt and I didn’t speak. Tommy thumped. Less than 24 hours into our adventure, I was already suffering from an acute case of buyer’s remorse.
As you can imagine things went rather rapidly downhill from there, although by the end of the month I had started to learn many of the things I would need to know about traveling with a one-year-old including the fact that bringing the necessities with us and sticking to our schedule would not be enough to ensure Tommy’s comfort wherever we were. I still view Boston as the place that taught me how to travel as a parent.
Nowadays Boston looks different to me, it is full of beautiful and scenic places that are loved by those who come far and wide to have some time out and surround themselves with culture. The Boston properties that I see now are luxurious and are places that make you feel like royalty stepping into them. I think if things had been different, I could have made Boston my home, luckily now I am older and get to make the decisions, so going back feels like visiting an old friend that taught me so much.
Why you may ask am I meditating on Boston tonight? Well, tomorrow I’m heading for a different kind of adventure there: the kind without my children (or my husband for that matter). It’s been a long time since I’ve had a solo trip like this, and I’m very much looking forward to it. But lest you think I will be complete without Bambini for the weekend, rest assured: I will be meeting my friend Julie whose three-month-old daughter Lucy will accompany us around the city.
I will be sure to share stories about the weekend of both the travel-with-kids and travel-without variety!