Extended Monday Check In, Should We Move To Riverdale? Edition

Freed from the responsibility of being parents for 24 hours, Ben and I went dancing on Friday night ($30). On Saturday, we dropped in on a housewarming party ($15 for pastries and pretzels, a twist on the traditional gift of bread and salt) and then traveled up to Riverdale, as per the plan. The May weather hung around us as warm and friendly as a golden retriever; odds are we could not have picked a more splendid time to visit the quasi-suburbs.

Indeed, the flowers were blooming, the kids were sporting, the sun was beaming down, the dream house was dreamy, the customers and the clerks at the little grocery where we stopped to get picnic supplies ($20) knew each other by name, and all seemed right with the world — except, my God, this wholesome world felt so far away we might have been in Rivendell. Even as I smiled at the hordes of free-range children, eating cheese and blueberries on a park bench, I thought, “No one would ever visit us here. We would be good parents, and we would be good frugal folks, and we would be so, so lonely.”

At least until we made friends with other quasi-suburbanite families, I guess?

But! We had a lovely day wandering around, eating in the local diner Ben remembered from when he was nine ($20 — good fries, less impressive tuna fish), looking at the cute indie retro stores, and considering what could be.

Then the train ride home took so long I went into a kind of trance. By the time we finally reached our stop, we had heard two different kinds of musical performances — a warbling Spanish singer as we rumbled through Kingsbridge on the 1 and a violin player in midtown Manhattan who brandished her bow like a sword just before we switched to the Q — and watched the “showtime” subway dancers as we crossed the river into Brooklyn. Back in Prospect Heights, I stumbled out of the car, blinking, trying to remember who I was.

Sunday, with Babygirl safely back in the family nest, was a good reminder. A local friend texted while we were in the neighborhood playground, so we wandered to her house; then, with her in tow, we wandered back to my house to have lunch, Babygirl gabbing happily. Friend #1 left and Friends #s 2 and 3 showed up; we took beer and sunglasses out onto the steps and sat together with Friend #3’s pit bull mix. When Babygirl woke up from her nap, we set out again on foot, this time to the library, and then back; and then I met Friend #1 again as well as Friends #s 4–5 at a bar with a patio for our Not A Book Club discussion of The Empathy Exams ($10).

“You’re not going anywhere,” Friend #2 told me while we stretched out luxuriously on the steps of the brownstone in which I am currently lucky enough to live. “Why would you? Take it from me,” she added. She recently moved to West Philly for a job and bought a house. “Don’t.”

In other weekend news, Avengers: Age of Ultron made so much money that even writers are speechless.

Marvel made more than 80 percent of the money there was to make at the North American box office this weekend. … Avengers: Age of Ultron made just so much money. So much there’s almost nothing to compare it to.

Carly Fiorina has declared she’s running for President and there’s only one problem.

And, if you like games, you can buy a bundle of games for a good cause:

All proceeds from the bundle go directly to The Baltimore Algebra project, a program organized and run by students that focuses on individual tutoring for middle and high-schoolers in math. “Our mission is to carve a community of leaders as well as exhibit leadership, while remain
ing committed to the education of those in need of advancements in their socioeconomic status,” the org explains.

Offer good today only!