Vacation : Happiness or Headach
“The last thing I want is to have to bail you out of jail just because it’s your twenty-first birthday!” Standing at the kitchen sink, I turn to face my daughter. We both have our hands on our hips, bent ever so slightly at the waist. I think we both probably need a “time out” and we both probably aren't going to get one.
My only child. My baby, is about to turn twenty one. I know her friends and that’s what worries me. I know they plan to bar-hop all night long. I know my beautiful daughter won’t have to buy a single drink and that’s another think that worries me. Too many stories have aired on the television of young people dying from alcohol poisoning. Not on my watch. Besides, the middle of January? Getting that loaded? She’s gonna end up in a ditch or worse.
Determined to do something special for her twenty first birthday I turn to my husband. He looks at me and shrugs. We both know it’s going to be tough. After all, she’ll be twenty one not eleven. I can’t simply distract her until she forgot about whatever it was, like I used to.
Later, Bob tells me the “Boys-2-Men” are playing in Vegas. He also tells me Jessica Simpson is having a birthday party in one of the bars at Caesar’s Palace. Since we always stay at Caesar’s. Since we like to go to Vegas. We decide, what better gift? How could she get mad?
The Weather Channel was predicting a severe storm for our area. It was to “hit” just at our scheduled departure time. With a departure time of 6:00am, and three of us cleaning up and loading up, I had set our alarms for 4:00am. Bleary eyed I shook Chris who once again stated she did not want to go, just leave her alone and she would be fine.
The winds were really whipping by the time we loaded the plane. We de-iced twice. Nervous fingers clutched my book. I was determined not to show any signs of fear….Chris had awakened with an ear ache. I could only speculate it was a ruse. I gave her some aspirin and “the look”.
Leaving a winter storm to land in balmy 90 degree weather, just made my joints want to jump for joy. We wanted to show Chris the sights; from the fountains at the Bellagio to the sky show downtown. We only had four days to take everything in!
Caesar’s Palace is big. The spaciousness of it all can be overwhelming. I took Chris through a series of “you are here” scenarios so she wouldn’t feel lost. I hate feeling lost. If you see the HUGE statue of David, turn here and there you are. If you see the spiral escalator, walk across this people mover to the statue of David and there you are. There were only two exceptions, neither of them should apply to her. I told her NOT to turn that way….only go to this portion of the casino. I would only be on this side for her to find me. She got lost. She was frustrated and angry. She did try to call me on my cell phone. The casino was too loud, I didn't hear the phone ring.
She had wanted to sleep in. She said she would find me. I told her which section I would be in and she said no problem. She could find me. She was lost for two hours. Finally, I went back to the hotel room, she was undressed, red faced, tear stained and huddled back in bed.
We didn't allow her to “make her own way” the rest of the trip.
On January 15th, we went downtown beautiful Las Vegas for the sky show. We walked from casino to casino, where she won considerably. Showing off her license, the small casino managers would by this pretty young thing a birthday drink. We, the three of us collectively, decided she needed to stop telling the casino employees that it was her birthday.
With her two foot glass of margarita, we stepped out onto the Main Street of downtown Las Vegas to watch the sky show for my beautiful daughter’s twenty first birthday. She was smiling. She was having a good time. My heart soared.
After a whirlwind few days, trying to get every show imaginable crammed into our daylight time, we went through Madam Trousseau’s Wax Museum, The Shark Tank, Watched Jessica Simpson and her sister along with their entourage walk through Caesars (Chris could have gone to the party, but didn’t want to go alone – parents not really cool company) Gaped at the buildings, laughed at each other and the rest of the tourists, lost some money and then won some money.
Boarding the plane to come home, they told us there was a huge winter storm in Minneapolis they were watching. Ok, keep us in Las Vegas another day!! Yay! Not to be. We were boarded, about an hour into the flight there came an announcement. We were going to be diverted to Louisville, Kentucky to await the outcome of the storm.
We landed in Louisville around 11:00pm, the only room available was a forty-five minute drive away. We didn’t get to have our luggage. We were given food vouchers for in the morning. The hotel did not have a restaurant and the closest one was about a mile down the road. We had to be back at the airport at 6:30am, the bus that dropped us off would be back by to pick us up at 5:30am. There was no one at the front desk to request a wakeup call with.
Setting two of the three cell phones to alarm, we crossed our fingers that the batteries wouldn’t die overnight since the chargers were in the luggage. Sleeping fitfully, one of the cell phones did actually wake us up. And the return bus was on time. No food and no coffee. But we are on our way.
Did you know, when you have a “last minute” boarding pass, the lettering is typed in RED which is a flag to get the full TSA treatment? It is. And then when four or five of these intelligent being ask over and over WHY don’t you have luggage…well, let’s just say one begins to get “ideas”. We left Louisville and landed in Minneapolis – same thing – red letter tickets – missed our plan to Michigan.
Missed our plane to Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s now Monday morning. I’m supposed to be at work. I have a new boss, who doesn’t care for me already…this isn’t gonna be good. We are moved to a plane taking us to Detroit and then to Grand Rapids. Detroit Metro has been undergoing major construction. We are supposed to take a shuttle from the landing terminal out to a takeoff terminal. Our plane landed late, we missed the shuttle therefore we missed our plane from Detroit to Grand Rapids. Yeah, I cried.
Finally ! The three of us are at the correct terminal. There is a plane going to Grand Rapids, Michigan from Detroit. Yeah, it’s gonna get us home about 2:00pm…but, we will at least be in the right city. Oh yeah…red letter tickets…this time…they hold the plane for us because I am bawling. Too many pat downs.
The cab driver dropped us off at the end of our driveway, the snow was too deep for him to pull in. I punched in the numbers to the remote garage door opener. Dragging our now snow laden luggage into the garage, the door from the garage to the inside of the house is LOCKED. All of our keys are INSIDE the house! Crap. None of us has on cold weather clothing. Light little windbreakers and sneakers. Shivering, Bob roots around in his coat pockets and pulls out a key to his car. He said he just felt he should at least take the ignition key. No keys to the house but at least we won’t freeze and we can see about getting a spare we had given to one of our friends.
The three of us pile into Bob’s car and drive to where our friend works, an Elementary School. We can’t just interrupt her class. We have to wait. After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only ten minutes, our friend informed us that she wasn’t the last to use the key, her daughter had it and was at college. We then drove across town to the college. She had the key!
Since my plant was working 24/7, and I had missed the day shift, since I was the Production Manager, I thought I would clean up and go into work. It was after I had showered and readied myself for a long night that I noticed I had a flat tire. Bob had the driveway cleared of snow, we jockeyed my car around so we could change the tire inside the garage and out of the direct wind. I called my Plant Manager for the fifth time that day and told him I would see him in the morning.