I've ventured on the eighth grade trip to Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore many times in the past. It's my last few days to spend with these friends and the end of hectic years. The five day trips often fall mid-summer or even in August. This year though it commenced three days after school got out. I find the adventure therapeutic in some strange odd-ball way that really can't be justified or explained to the uninitiated in the middle school game. The last day is always the same: a straight shot from outside Philly. Wake up, pack, eat, head home, arriving in the school parking lot around 5. This year though, starting from day one, it was anything but rote. Heading to NYC, you expect traffic. This year, however, it seemed worse than ever. It threw Day 1 off completely. We always head to South Seaport, under the Brooklyn Bridge, for a beautiful cruise aboard the Zephyr and then dinner. Easy. Not this year though. We fought traffic all the way. Everyday. So yesterday, it was back to New York for our cruise at 11:15. Traffic reared its ugly head, but we made it with but 15 minutes to spare. Now, if the story ended here and we headed back north at 1, everything would have been rosy. Arrival would have been pushed back a bit, maybe until about 8PM, but workable. I'll just say this. Someone offered the idea that a swing to Times Square would be the 'cherry on the top' and just a super-memorable way to end the kids' look at the City. Wrong! So very WRONG! I've bored you enough, but let me just end with this. Buses pulled into the school lot at 12:15 AM. It ended up asix day adventure, not 5. Happy Friday! ps Hated the traffic; loved our kids!