Saturday, August 22, 2009

In the beginning...

In case you need to catch up to this point in my life:
After 11 years working since high school, I finally get my chance at full time college. I'm in the one year AAS Fashion Design program at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT (cute, right?)) in NYC.

After a hectic summer of work, selling my townhouse, two classes, four garage sales, selling my car, packing to move in with my parents, still trying to sell my townhouse, packing and storing leftover stuff for storage, still dealing with the townhouse, packing to move to NY, STILL trying to close the townhouse sale, then packing the U-Haul and finally getting the mortgage dude to complete the transaction... I left for the road trip to NY with my parents.

We decided to take the very scenic detour through Niagra Falls on the way. First night was in Chicago area staying with my sister and bro in law. Had a fun short visit with them. Carissa gave me a funny book showing actual notes roommates have left for each other to prepare me for the shock of living in the dorms. "I lick my cheese." A great way to keep others out of your food supply. :) Then the long day of driving to the border.

We were nervous about crossing the border with the U-Haul because Dad has us on a tight schedule and can you imagine if they searched it?! A mean looking Canadian border guard questioned us and I had to dig out proof that I was accepted into FIT, but then we were good to go.

Niagra Falls was very pretty. We had a nice room that overlooked the falls. The American falls were very rocky so they were pretty because of the changing direction of the water, but the Canadian falls are the ones you usually see in pictures. Massive falling water, spray that shoots so far up and out that we could even feel it from the rooftop pool at our hotel - quite a distance away. We got there in time to take a few pictures before the sun set

The view from our hotel room.

One of my fave shots of the American falls.

Dad treated us to a nice buffet meal up high in the hotel with another great view of the falls. Then we headed out for a walk and got to see fireworks and the waterfalls lit up with bright colorful lights.

Mom and Pa enjoying the spectacular fireworks - ooh, aah.

And a little shopping in the tourist shops. "See how GREAT you look in it!" I think stores should put that on all their mirrors!

Dad and I hit the casino for a while. The casino band was hilarious. They kept doing these 80's rocker-chic songs but it was a guy with a beer belly that could sing great falsetto!

Pa had to choose between high stakes tables for blackjack, or an electronic table with a creepy computer generated dealer. I found it interesting because it would obviously save the casino money over a real dealer, but I wondered if they also programmed it so the casino would win more than normal odds. Dad ended up doubling his money though so it was great for him. I walked up just as he hit the doubled amount so I asked, wasn't he supposed to stop? He called me the gambling Nazi after that because he may have kept on playing if I hadn't caught him. Hey - double or nothing; it's his own rule!! We laughed that I made him lose money because he could have kept going on to win even more... right.

Saturday, back to the falls. We walked up closer and we could really see the magnitude. We read about several people who have attempted to cross the falls - mostly on purpose, although there was the occasional accident too. As we got closer, I couldn't believe anyone would try it. If you could survive the fall/landing, you have no way of knowing if you'll get out of the whirlpool effect at the bottom, or if you land behind the falls, how would you get out?! From what I read, it looked like the survivals over the years have been about 50%. Not good odds.

The spray got us very wet as we approached.

Look at the bottom of the picture for a better idea of scale. The people are standing on a platform for a closer view.

One thing that surprised me at the top was that I could actually see the rocky bottom of the lake before the water rushed over the edge. It really isn't that deep up there. The water was a really pretty blue instead of the greenish lake water I'm used to in Iowa.

Thanks Mom and Pa for the extra excursion on the way! It was a very fun time.

Best parents in the world.