Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes
This is the memory I have of almost every trip we took as a family when I was growing up:
- We arrive at the hotel.
- My mom immediately begins looking for a better place to stay.
Finding a better place to stay is the point of traveling, as far as my mom is concerned. It’s a sport. There was one trip in particular that typified this pastime: a summer trip we took to Lake Tahoe.
But I should first mention that before this trip, these were the scenic landmarks we had visited in Lake Tahoe:
- The pool inside Caesar’s, where there was an artificial cave and a waterfall that my brother and I hoarded every half hour when it started up.
- The arcade in Harrah’s, where I surrendered many quarters to Mrs. Pacman.
- The all-you-can-eat buffet at any number of fine establishments along the strip.
To be fair, there was one time we stopped at Emerald Bay for long enough take a picture. We had planned a longer sightseeing interlude, but my uncle Leon hit his stride at the craps table, and you don’t mess with a good thing.
This may or may not have been the time when the men in the family ran out of reserves, only to be brought back from the dead by my enterprising mother. She took a five dollar tip someone had left on the neighboring table, played a round of Keno that hit the numbers pretty big, and doubled the waitress’s tip before she even came to take our order. Then it was back to the tables.
Moving on up
But I digress. The summer trip we took involved swimming in the actual lake (who knew there was a lake?), riding bikes, and otherwise enjoying air that hadn’t been enriched with oxygen or cigarette smoke.
Cut to my uncle Leon, walking outside and starting to cough, “What is this?!?!”
My dad: “Fresh air.”
Of course, with all this recreation, my mom needed a project. From the moment we arrived, she started working on moving us from the cabin they gave us–room 515– to a room in the main condo building adjoining the grounds. We were there for a week and everything was booked solid, which is her most favorite challenge. She worked the front desk every day. Finally, halfway through our stay, a room opened up. It was a fancy one, too–a corner suite with 2 bedrooms, one for my parents and the other for me and my brother. Excitedly, we packed our bags and relocated.
Halfway through our first night in the suite, we realized that we wouldn’t be sleeping a wink. Our room was right above the main social area for the resort and people were out making noise until all hours. My brother and I couldn’t fall asleep and we crept over to see if our parents were awake. They were, of course. We all took one look at each other and started laughing hysterically. “Tomorrow,” my mom said between gasps for air, “back to room 515.”