Back in January I had a dream that I was on a vacation with my sister and another friend. We stayed at a luxury hotel that had a man made river running through, complete with gondolas! The boatmen would row you to the elevator that took you to your room. I was on the gondola when someone else got in causing the boat to tip. I fell out but the “river” was not deep and so I was able to just stand up. Dripping wet I cried, “this is NOT luxurious!”
Then Spring came and the Herb Man said I needed a “pit stop.” Well who doesn’t? At Baking Day we were all grousing about our need to escape and the impossiblity of it. Our husbands all travel for work and we were all envious!
“I know they are working. I know it’s the job but still… They leave the house, the area, the family. It would be nice to have a breather.”
One night Laurel called me.
“I am on my way to pick you up. How soon can you be packed? We are headed to Napa!”
“I’ve had a bag packed for months. Let’s go!”
It was fun to imagine and dream and also a bit depressing as I knew it would never happen. But Laurel really couldn’t take it anymore. That night she got on-line and started researching trips. She e-mailed all of our friends to see who could run away. With in a matter of days the who, what, when, and where had been decided.
“We’re all going to Vegas! It will just be for a weekend!”
“I’m in!” I shouted.
I had no desire to go to Vegas but I knew there would be a pool and I could just sit there with a book all day.
“I can’t go,” I said the next day.
“What do you mean you ‘can’t go?'” Caren asked.
“We would be returning on a Monday. That night I have a mandatory chorale rehearsal, the next day I am going to Greeley to see Christina perform in The Heights. I’m staying the night, coming home the next day (which is Buddy’s 10th birthday), that Wednesday and Friday are more chorale rehearsals and then Sunday is a performance. It’s too much. I’ll be so busy when I get back, it’ll be like I’m gone. Man will have to get the kids on and off the bus…”
“I can get the kids on and off the bus!” Caren deflected that excuse.
“It’s ok. I’ll get a little break the night I stay with Christina.”
“That’s only one night!” Laurel cried. “You are going. It’s not optional.”
“You ARE!” they all insisted.
So I was going. I still struggled with the inconvenience it was going to cause for Man and the boys. I struggled with missing Buddy’s soccer game and with coming home and then leaving them again the very next day. I struggled with the fact that I felt like I was being held under water while living a life that would be a Great Escape to others.
A few days before I left for my trip I was talking to Lauren. I told her of our Business Trip plan.
“We are going to Vegas and staying at The Venetian.”
“Oh you will love the Venetian! I didn’t stay there but it has a river that runs through it with gondola rides. I took the gondola ride through it and it’s just beautiful!”
“What did you say? Did you say it had a river running through it?”
“Yeah, just like a man-made canal.”
“Yes, to assimilate being in Venice! You’ll love it!”
I couldn’t believe it. It was my dream! A dream that I had before I was down in the pits! A dream before I knew I needed a break! I felt complete relief! I think God knew this was coming. I would need this break and He knew I would struggle with feeling deserving or OK by it. So before I even had an inkling, He sends me this dream to confirm that it’s where I’m supposed to go! Or maybe it’s just purely coincidental but….really? I dreamt of a hotel that I did not even know existed. I grabbed the sign like my ticket to board and left on my trip guilt free!
It turned out that the other travellers were all the Baking Day ladies. Most left Friday morning but Caren and I stayed behind because that day was the school carnival and we had responsiblities to fulfill with that. I didn’t mind. The idea of running out on a night flight to Vegas seemed to add more excitement to it! At 7:00 Caren and I made a bee-line for the exit of the school.
Our flight was the most interesting that either of us had ever been on. This says alot considering that Caren has travelled to every continent (yes, even Antarctica) and I am no stranger to domestic travel. First of all we sat on the back row. The very back.
“Well, the good thing is if the plane goes down we have the best chance of survival,” I joked.
Being that I am only 5 feet tall, I don’t usually experience the sardine effect that others do on a plane but can I tell you that in the back row my knees were only about 3 inches from the back of the seat in front of me? When the seat in front of me reclined I had the back of their seat just inches from my face. What really makes this awesome is that back row seats do not recline so I couldn’t get away from the seat in my face!
One row up and across the aisle, was a gal bolted into a neck brace. Not the soft fluffy white kind but the big metal kind that sits on the shoulders. Her personality, accent and voice were just like Amy Adams’ character on Catch Me If You Can. Saccharine. She had to move awkwardly due to the brace and kept turning to talk to her mom who was across the aisle from her.
“I’m so glad you are with me Mama! I love you!” she gushed as she reached across and grabbed her mom’s hand.
“Oh, me too darling! I love you too.”
Caren and I couldn’t help it. We busted up laughing! The whole scene was so mushy and this lady with the brace had to move like Robo Cop…it was too much!
Take off and landing in Denver is never smooth. Never. The mountains or something screw it all up and causes pretty wicked turbulence. I don’t mind. I love take offs and I love turbulence! I like the drop and rise of the plane, the shimmy shake. It’s kind of fun! It’s also fun to sit there cool as can be with your nose in your book while other people are saying Hail Mary’s. I feel like a pro.
This flights take off started as a trypical Denver departure. We shook, we dipped, the wings slanted this way and then that. But it didn’t stop. It kept going and the dips were lower and the shimmies more violent the longer it all went on. I tried to keep reading. I tried to keep cool. I didn’t want the World Traveller next to me to think I was a novice. I peeked over at Caren and saw her struggling to seem cool as well. Her eyes were closed and her face was pinched. The galley started to rattle, the plane lurched and dropped. Reflexively my hands shot to the arm rests. Caren’s hand flew to mine about the same time.
Jesus, this is NOT how I am going out! My babies need me. My man needs me. Crap! Caren is scared and she’s never scared. Give us peace and right this plane! Please.
There were a few more rattles in the galley and then the plane sailed on as if gliding across water.
Caren and I looked at each other.
“I have NEVER…! What in the…!”
“I totally thought we were going to die,” I said.
“Everything in the galley was shaking around! I thought things were going to come unbolted!”
“This is not a good start.”
“And we can’t recline! If this is any indication of what our rooms are like…”
We settled down and got back to our reading. A few minutes later Caren nudged me. I followed her stare to the gal in the brace. She had the snack tray down and had set up a salon. There were make up brushes of all kinds as well as products. We watched as she struggled to lean into the mirror to apply all of her makeup.
With just a look to each other, Caren and I were in fits again! I felt awful for basically making fun of an injured kitten but it was too much! Apparently this was the first time that her “Daddy” was going to be seeing her since “the surgery.”
“I want to look nice when Daddy sees me for the first time,” she mewed to her Mommy.
The entire flight only took about an hour and half and the Kitten spent the WHOLE time putting on make up. The WHOLE time! We began our descent.
“Look Baby!” Mama said, “The ‘lights of Vegas!’ ‘The city that never sleeps!'” We were laughing again, was were the people across the aisle from us. As soon as we landed, Kitten took out her phone.
“Mama!” she gasped, “Marcus is here with Daddy! Oh my gosh! I can’t believe they both came! I wonder who else has come…” She took her hair down from the pony tail it was in. “Is my hair OK?”
“Oh hell! The flight isn’t long enough for her to do her hair too!” Caren whispered.
We were in tears now.
“Take it back up and circle around so she can do her hair!” I squealed conspiratorially to Caren.
Then Kitten took off her brace. Took it off! After all of the struggle on the flight, she takes it off.
“I don’t want Daddy and Marcus to be upset when they see me…” she said. Caren and I kind of wanted to follow her to baggage claim to get a glimpse of Marcus. Especially after Kitten stood up and we saw a hardcore star tattoo branded on her decolletage. Did not fit the little princess at all.
We patiently waited for the plane to unload. No use trying to move out when you are in the last row. Finally the herd moved out. Caren stood up and got a look at the wall that kept our seat erect.
“This is the meanest thing I have ever seen!” she said to the flight attendants as she gave the wall a slap. “Just cruel!”
The good news is our hotel accomodations were the complete opposite of our flight. Gorgeous, welcoming and luxurious! We knocked on the door adjoining our room to our companions. They greeted us in pajamas rubbing sleepy eyes. We bid them sweet dreams and high tailed it to the casino!
(To be continued…)