Tuesday, April 9, 2013

High Roller Spring Break

I'm not sure how, but I survived Spring Break. (EIGHT school days off...it was a long one!)

In fact, Sunday night I went to bed feeling all bluesy around the edges. We'd found our new routine just in time to disrupt it again. I didn't want them to go back. I wanted everyone here. Also, I wanted to stay in bed 'til 8.

Isn't that just how I am? Wishing for the thing that isn't happening? (The answer is yes.)

It has me thinking about how infatuated I really am with predictability. I've been pondering the rhythms of our days and the way they treasure-map the path to my sanity.

But I digress.

Over Christmas break we were supposed to take a trip to Kansas for a few days. Then Calvin's health hit a rough patch and the doctors nixed out-of-state travel. The kids were kinda bummed about missing out on the family reunion and sackcloth-and-ashes grieved about missing out on a night's stay in a hotel.

So that was our consolation prize - A night's stay in a hotel!

(A word of advice from someone who knows: Never pass up a photo op with a drab duck. You'll just never be sorry you have it.)

But then two tires went bad and there was much teeth gnashing.

They understood, in their own way. We laid it out as the simple truth that it was: We need to buy two new tires. We don't have money for both. The car is more important. We'll make it up to you.

Spring Break = Making it Up to You

People, we took them to the Comfort Inn 20 miles away. Sixty bucks for the night. Two double beds.

They were so geeked, you don't even know.

We used the side door because Cory insisted on parking at the end of the building, closer to our room. Like it was a true, throw-back motel with the room doors on the outside. The second we made it inside, this conversation ensued:

Ruby: It smells...different in here!
Silas: Yeah, it smells fancy!
Calvin: It's the pool. And the nice carpet.
Mommy: It's chlorine mixed with stale cigarette smoke trapped in the kinda-dingy burgundy carpet.

(Pretty sure Cory was the only one who heard me. I'm not here to be a dream crusher.)

The kids raced around our palace and practiced switching on all the faux brass light fixtures. They slid around on the nylon comforters. (cringe)

It might as well have been Disneyland.

They threw on their suits and Daddy took them swimming while I drove down the street to Marshalls where I found THE BEST EVER bathing suit for $30 with the original $190 price tag still attached.

Dear Marshalls,
Please uphold your commitment to keeping orignal tags on all high-end merch.
I thought the bathing suit was sort of interesting, but only after I spotted that tag did I realize how truly breathtaking it is. After all, it's not so much about looking good as it is beating the system.
Very Truly,

After our afternoon activities, we did what anyone would do on a fancy vacation: dinner at Golden Corral.

People. It was expensive. But I'll sing its praises for the rest of my life or at least through Fall. It just opened a few months ago and buffets always require a certain degree of bravery, but I'm a believer now.

Dear GC,
Thank you for making your mashed potatoes from scratch.
The blue cheese crumbles on the salad bar were a nice touch.
I'd like the recipe for your guac.
And I'm very sorry I took four desserts. It was really too much.
Ever Yours,

Back at the hotel, we were closing in on bedtime. And that's when things got interesting.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Earlier, at dinner, I noticed Silas walking around with both hands tucked so adorably in the front pocket of his hoodie. I distinctly thought to myself, "He doesn't usually do that! He's the cutest ever."

(Silas at a cross-roads.)

Fast forward. We're back at the hotel. It's time for jammies. I pull the hoodie over Silas's head and an unidentified object flies out of his kangaroo pocket and lands on the floor. It looks like a restaurant pager, but GC didn't give us a restaurant pager....

Calvin gasps. Louder than necessary. "Ummmmmmmmmmmmm! I saw those at Ace today!"

Silas stares at the burgundy carpet.

He's been caught. Red-handed. With a clip-on, battery-powered, flashing, bike reflector. Classic Silas material. And he kept it hidden for over 7 hours.

Once again, we did what any awesome parents would do: "Silas, if you steal something again the police can come and take you to jail."

(Keep in mind, jail is not at all theoretical to our shorties.)

Silas cried his eyes out. "You're making me sad! I don't like you to boss me! Don't boss me! Daddy is mean when he bosses me! You're making me saaaaad! I don't like it when you boss me! Etc..."

We read a chapter from our book and the kids were out.

It had been an emotional evening.

The next day?

Free hot breakfast, more swimming, community zoo that we have passes to from last season (cousins Jack and Macy met us there!) and lunch at Culvers with gift cards scored by Calvin from one of his past medical procedures. (Our pediatric Hematology/Oncology clinic does not mess around.)

Immediately after this picture was taken, Silas went ahead and tossed his plastic fish-food cup over the edge of the fence, onto the ground. Like that episode of Mad Men when Don throws his picnic trash onto the grass then drives away. Almost exactly like that. (Uncle Kevin hopped the fence because he's heroic like that and environmentally conscious.)

It was hill-billy perfection.

So much fun.

So almost entirely free.

We'll not be re-thinking this wheel.

ps - Bike reflector was returned using this script: "My name is Silas. I stole this from your store. I'm very sorry."

pss - My friend Nici wrote today about their spring break, which was pretty much the opposite of ours in every way. Truly beautiful and maybe a bit envy-provoking. Like ours. (Not at all.)

What was your spring break high point?