Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Broken Elevator

Okay, so the whole prospect of moving to Montana sort of got in the way of writing about the beach.

So I’ll do that now.

I was in the car that carried Tom, my Nana Jo and her boyfriend Bill. No children. My parents offered to drive up with them and I think I agreed to that in less than a second. Bill, who is in his late eighties wanted to drive the first half of the way. I didn’t think much of it until my Aunt Vicki casually mentioned that she sort of freaked out a little bit the last time she was in the car with Bill since they went downtown one time.

“I was gripping the seats pretty hard,” she admitted lightly not realizing that my eyes had grown as big as saucers as I took this in.

Wait a minute. We we driving with Bill. Did this mean I’d be sitting there in fear for the entire three hour drive?

It turns out that Bill drove just fine. I sort of watched him for a few minutes before deeming it safe. Then I pulled out a magazine and started reading in silence.

Well, not total silence. Since we were in the elderly car it meant that we had to listen to the orchestra over the radio. But that wasn’t so bad. It’s sort of relaxing to hear a pan flute playing in the background as you read all about Jessica Simpson’s relationship woes.

Tom took over the driving when we were nearly there. We went the wrong way to our condos. We were supposed to take the street way. We ended up taking the beach way. So Tom started driving on the sand and this was when I started to grip my seat in terror because it felt like we were swaying back and forth.

Then I started to wonder how in the world my Nana Jo was meant to walk on the sand. She has a walker. Was the walker beach friendly? I didn’t think so. Maybe Tom could carry her---but, I don’t think she’d approve of that.

“Well. Here we are,” Tom said parking on the beach. The condos gleamed behind us. There was a tiny hill of sand that we had to walk across to get to the office.

A silence fell over the car.

“Could you see if there is another way?” my Nana Jo asked sweetly.

So Tom and Bill decided to make the trek to the office and we watched them go up the hill.

We waited a few minutes and then Tom came back.

“Okay. I found a better way,” he said, sliding behind the wheel.

“What happened to Bill?” I shrieked. I pictured him crumpled in the sand. He doesn’t use a walker but goodness me, he’s in his LATE EIGHTIES.

“Oh. He’s waiting in the office for us,” Tom explained, backing up.

Thankfully we found a way where we walked on pavement. Whew. Then we went into the office to retrieve the keys.

The thing is, when Nana Jo booked the condo she was told there were elevators. When she went to get the keys she was informed that they were broken.

“So how much will the total be since the elevators are busted?” my Nana Jo demanded to the teenaged looking girl behind the counter who looked suddenly looked frightened.

You see, my Nana Jo is this sweet looking old lady. But she does have a temper.

“Er…we can’t do a discount because it’s not our fault that they aren’t working,” the teenage girl whispered.

“Yes it is,” Nana Jo said simply.

Then the teenage girl brought her manager out and Nana Jo was told the same thing.

However, it worked out in the end. She did get 15% off her bill.

After we had the keys we realized that we had to walk up three floors. Tom stood behind Nana Jo in case she fell. We figured he could break the fall.

“Gee thanks,” Tom said jokingly as we climbed up the stairs.

The stairs, they became my enemy. Our room was on the fourth floor. Try walking up four flights of STEEP stairs with no air conditioner when you have loads of groceries to bring up.

“Well,” I gasped as I carried up a bag of fruit. “At least I’m getting a leg workout.”

Although all the junk food I consumed pretty much canceled that exercise out.

When my parents arrived with my kids I pictured them jumping from the vehicle and shrieking that they were never traveling with my children again.

But no. They calmly exited and Natalie waved from her car seat and I was all ???

“Were they good?” I wondered. I was still worried that Mom would burst out with, “NO! They were monsters!” or the worst case scenario was that she’d cup a hand around her ear and yell, “What dear? I can’t HEAR you because your CHILDREN screamed the entire way down here and now I’m DEAF!”

“Oh, they were wonderful,” Mom said in a breezy, non-stressed out tone.

I sort of gaped at her for a few seconds. “But…surely Natalie screamed?”

Mom shook her head. “Not at all.”

Excuse me? NOT AT ALL?

When Natalie drives with me she never fails to pierce my eardrum at least once. And Mom was telling me that she was PERFECT?

“Mom, it’s okay, you can tell me the truth,” I pressed. Surely she was just being polite. She was just being a Grandma and not admitting that her grandchildren were part alien.

“I’m serious. They were wonderful,” Mom assured me.

Okay. It’s official. My kids are angels for everyone else but me. I get it.

At that point everyone had arrived. Tom and I were sharing a condo with my cousin Anna and her husband and her one-year-old son.

Then my Nana Jo and Bill, my Uncle Bob and Aunt Vicki and my parents were in another one.

Many groceries were carried up those evil stairs. By the end of it we were all red faced and gasping for air. It didn’t help that it was over 100 degrees outside. I was close to saying, “Groceries be damned! I need to sit! This is supposed to be a vacation! I shouldn’t be close to death on a VACATION!”

“Can we go to the beach?” Tommy begged, grasping his hands together.

“In a little bit. Mommy is trying to breathe properly,” I said, rubbing my sore calves. I cursed those horrible wooden stairs and wondered why the condo management didn’t put fans in the corner of each landing for its poor patrons who have been rendered elevator-less. I mean, it’s common courtesy for goodness sakes.

“Can we go to the BEACH?” Tommy wondered ten minutes later.

Goodness sakes. I longed for a nanny at that point. You see celebrities vacationing with their children but they actually get to relax. They just send the kiddies off with the nanny and they lounge around with fruity alcoholic beverages.

“The beach?” Tommy squeaked five minutes later.

“Don’t you want Spongebob?” I gestured to the TV.

Tommy shook his head. “No. I want to go to the BEACH!”

“We’re here for a week. There is plenty of time to go to the beach, I assure you,” I promised, resting back on the couch. I pressed my water glass to my forehead. Couldn’t scientists figure out a way to stop Texas for getting so HOT? Maybe create a built in air conditioner in the sky somehow?

“You know what would be fun? Going to the beach,” I heard Tommy say to Tom.

Needless to say we went to the beach less than an hour later....


  1. sounds like quite the adventure. Can't wait to hear the next chapter.

  2. my kids do the same thing, they are perfect for everyone but me. Why?

  3. Yep! My kids are perfect! That's what everyone else says. They apparently don't know them very well. :)

  4. I've been thinking the same thing - about keeping Texas (and the whole globe for that matter) cooler... NASA needs to launch this super thin silver material umbrella-like thing into orbit so its over Dallas-Fort Worth around noontime every day.

  5. An 80some year old driver would freak me out. Glad it went well.

    And yes, it is mandatory that you go to the beach immediately upon arrival. I'm still laughing that you tried to bribe him with TV with an ocean out the window.

  6. It cracks me up - every time my kids are with my parents, I expect them to act the same way they do when they're with me. But no. Somehow, the lack of my presence turns them into these well-behaved little angels.

    Go figure.

  7. Steps are the devils work. They are evil and must be destroyed...

    All buildings must now be equipped with working elevators or escalators. Whatcha think?

  8. Ahhhh...a typical family 'vacation.' I've yet to figure out what a mom's vacation really is...
    Hope the kids had fun and made some great memories at the beach...

  9. I think that kids just love to make their parents miserable.

  10. Stopping in from SITS to say hello...
    I can't believe that they didn't give you a room on the ground floor, or even the second. But the 4th?? I would have gotten my 15% too. Good for Nana Jo!

  11. Kids being angels for everyone else is usually the norm. I know I was a little rat that way. We've discussed getting an air-conditioned dome put over our house too. Perfect weather, all the time. LOL

  12. we should have totally switched vacations! while we were at the beach, my nine year old thomas just wanted to go back into the house to play wii!

  13. Why do our kids act so good for Grandma? My son flips out everytime we put him in the buggy at the grocery store. But for my mom, nooooooo, he's a perfect angel. Traitor.

  14. My little man is always perfect for grandma. He seems to know who will spoil him rotten.

  15. I've got to remember that elevator discount the next time I find anything out of order in a hotel! Brilliant old lady!

  16. I'm sorry you had to live in the Texas heat. I've been dealing with it for months.

    I'm glad you're back! I thought you'd abandoned me for a book deal...

  17. Grandmas are magical creatures and the laws of nature do not work in their presence.

  18. Your mother was freaking lying!!!!! I would put $100 on it. FULL OF SHIT!!!!! The kids behaved the same way for her as they do for you. She was just trying to have a nice vacation for herself and you. Bless her - she really loves you.

    And 15% was not enough off the bill - they promised an elevator. When did it break? They should have called to let you know of the change. I would have been all over that one....

    ok I will calm down now. Just ridiculous carrying luggage and groceries up 4 flights with kids tagging along.

  19. it's like an unspoken rule amongst children...they will behavior for everyone BUT the parents...those little hooligans!

  20. Your poor grandma! They should have given her a much bigger discount. How awful.

    Hope the beach treats you better than the condo folks.

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  23. Navigating broken elevators, swaying car rides, and steep stairs adds a touch of adventure to your beach vacation. New York NY Divorce Attorneys


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