We all woke up to leave a minimum of an hour later than originally scheduled due to the night before’s shenanigans. For us, that’s well within tolerance.
Leaving late forced Burger King lunch at a rest stop instead of the better joints near or at our destination. A few “Vacation Celebration” onion rings eased the pain of that a bit.
Before long, we found ourselves checking in to the Havana Tower at the Tropicana. Usually we try to aim for the tower with the pool in it. Based on us never remembering which one that is, going for the one with the decent deal by the parking garage and restaurants we liked struck us as a better idea.
The room was amazingly ready…which is what happens when you drive down on a Monday instead of a Sunday like we normally do.
What was less amazing was, at first glance, the sheets appeared to be filthy.
At second glance, they turned out to be extremely clean, but covered with tiny, rending tears.
We called the front desk to report receiving bedding previously used by an aggravated baby wolverine and housekeeping turned up immediately to remedy the problem. We hadn’t rushed out of the room to the ocean as planned because of a bigger problem.
Upon arrival after the nearly three hour trip, the toilet was nonfunctional.
There was some indeterminate flow issue. The broken handle prevented us from figuring out if it was clog or tank related.
The plumber was far slower than housekeeping, and our impromptu family shore trip was rapidly devolving into an oversized seethe fest, made far worse by the condition of our post drive bladders.
Amazingly, for the second time in one summer, I was the rational one.
I figure that used up my quota for a couple of decades.
I reminded us all that we planned to swim in the ocean whether or not the room was ready, and we could use a modification of the “room not ready” plan involving a pit stop downstairs in the public area of the hotel.
At the shore, vacation relaxation finally took hold. Anabelle’s normal favorite beach activity of pretending to cook with buckets and sand toys reached a hitherto unseen level after she’d become a Food Network addict.
Anabelle learned she absolutely LOVED playing around in the waves, meaning we took turns entering the ocean, as unlike Up the Lake, we couldn’t leave our stuff unguarded at our towel defined encampment.
Rosa knew she always LOVED playing around in the waves, making her far more likely to enter the water than in calmer aquatic locations we frequent. It was fantastic watching them splashing and swimming around together.
My entire history of ocean swimming occurred on a one day visit to Jones Beach with a friend just after college. The highlight of the trip was making eye contact with the girl in the American flag bikini…
And then getting blindsided by a Godzilla surge sized wave while attempting to walk into range for a, “Hi,” before being buffeted around the surf for a while, and washing up on shore with no idea where she, I, or Long Island was anymore.
Despite my limited history, I enjoyed having fun with my daughter in the ocean as well when my wife needed tanning breaks. Having lived near both the equator and the Pacific most of her life, the lack of Lake suck pile rendered her paler than any previous year.
Note: she was still multiple shades darker than her Esposo Grande Gringo.
I decided it had been far too long since I juggled on a beach and brought my stuff. Initially, the massive oceanic wind that I had forgotten about prevented anything past two catches. Later in the day it died down a bit. Then it was the end of one of my clubs falling off that curtailed my abilities.
Though I juggled a total of approximately a minute and a half, the mandatory, doggedly determined and pushy preschooler walked over to demand I let him try, because, “I’m good at throwin’ stuff.”
Yes, I said, “No.”
No, I didn’t punt the little bugger into the sea after the first eight times I said, “No.”
As the day wore on, the tide came in, requiring far more towel sliding than I was used to in my static water’s edge experiences.
I dug trenches with my heels to try to drive the incoming waves toward my daughter’s “kitchen area.” On the rare occasions it worked I would shout, “IRRIGATION!!!”
Apparently, I left my head out in the sun a bit too long.
Instead of bringing our soggy selves directly back into the clean and overly air conditioned Tropicana, we instead dried off by walking down the sunlit Boardwalk to the giant IT’SUGAR candy store at the mall.
Thank you to the sand and salt water for introducing me to never before seen levels of chafing.
We always start off in the home of excessive sweetness picking out “a few” of the things we like in our bags. This is followed by overdoing it and realizing it would be cheaper to get the flat priced metal boxes, and then putting the bags in the boxes.
In this way, we save calories by insuring we don’t use the full volume of the box due to stuffing the bags in them.
With the sun going down, we worked our way back to the hotel, dry and confident the majority of the leftover sand fell off of us.
Then we rinsed off and left a gritty collection of dunes in the shower and bathroom in general.
Rosa’s belief that stone beaches are better gets no argument from me.
We rested a bit, and Anabelle was moping about leaving so soon after learning of her ocean love.
I launched into a combination of my patented, “Focus on the good parts” and “Focus on the now,” speeches, unaware that some seeds of thought had been planted. In other words, in this instance at least, she wasn’t just being a teenager.
We went to one of our newer regular places, Adam Good Sports Bar upstairs in the Quarter, for three spicy-riffic variations on buffalo chicken for dinner.
Going back “home,” the renovated room revealed itself to look prettier, but to have lost some functionality in the trade.
We normally live mostly out of the suitcase on short trips, but the reduced number of drawers made that a necessity. While the upgrade to a high-def flat screen TV was welcome, it removed the access port that let us plug our travel DVD player in to watch our own movies and shows.
Instead Anabelle played “hotel” something she’s done since she was capable of speech. While I sat nearby making up insane customer names and requests, she told me over and over again not to spill the chocolate peanut butter imperial stout I got at the little wine store before returning.
So of course I spilled it on her towel. Ignoring the princesses on it, the bizarre combination of scents immediately transferred it to be “my towel.”