It was our first business trip with Adam since the baby girl was born.
And all three kids were sick.
And all the hotels in Maple Grove are weird.
Weird as in expensive, no continental breakfast, and with little teeny, tiny little swimming pools.
Normally we get a King Suite because it best suits the size of our family and the amount of time I end up being in the room with the kids. They have room to play and sleeping spaces are at least somewhat divided. This time, however, the husband booked us a King studio because it had a "kitchen."
Kitchen is such a strong word. We had a little refrigerator, a microwave, a nice little counter with a sink (all of which is typical of King Suites), and a - wait for it - dishwasher. What in the name of all that is good in this world was I supposed to put in that dishwasher? There were no dishes hiding anywhere in the room, and silly me forgot to pack our dishes. So apparently the difference between a suite and a studio is a dishwasher.
Weird, I tell you.
But the lack of a free breakfast (which is kind of a big deal when you are traveling with kids - it's something to do and look forward to every morning and it gets you out of the room - oh, and it's FREE) and decent size swimming pool (seriously, the pool was embarrassingly small, which is probably okay since I forgot to pack the big kids' life jackets) was supposedly made up for with the granite counter tops and the ridiculously unpractical, ornate bathroom sink which my tall 5 year olds couldn't reach (but not too worry - I retro-fitted the bathroom as only I could and fashioned a stool out of the fancy little toilet paper and hair dryer storage box).
Weird hotel, meet weird mommy.
One redeeming factor of our room was the floor to ceiling windows on the east and south sides of our room. Lots of sun light streaming in for the sick big girl to lay in, lots of warmth (almost too much during the day) for our winter weary bodies, and a 3 story drop for the baby girl to marvel at and watch all the cars.
I had little expectations of this trip and had done basically no planning. People, always do a little planning. I get the whole "be flexible" thing. But as I've said before somewhere on this blog, flexibility implies that there was structure to begin with. And structure is so beautiful. At least to me. I thrive on it and I think most kids thrive on it.
The fact that I didn't really have a plan is just down right weird.
We did manage to spend some time shopping in the city's lovely shopping complex - me and three sick kids. One of them wrapped up next to me in the Moby, one of them in the stroller (and way too big for it), and the other one skipping and dancing along from shop to shop on the no-snow, sun drenched sidewalks.
I have a feeling we looked a little weird.
We also hit up the local library to do some school and find a way to spend an entire afternoon out of our hotel room so the professionals cleaners hired for the week could shampoo the carpets in our room and clean the air conditioning unit. Yes, the one week of the year that we happened to stay at this hotel was the one week of the year that professionals were there to deep clean each room. Did I move the pack 'n' play, 3 suit cases, lunch box, and large bag of books and toys off the floor to make it easier for them? Nope. Did they actually get to our room when they said they would and when I said I could stay away for the entire day? Nope. Did I put up the "Do Not Disturb" sign every other day that we were there to keep them away? Yep. Was the maintenance manager friendly and understanding and a father of two young kids himself? Yep.
And I'm sure he thought I was a bit weird.
There was a huge activity center in the city with a great pool and large climbing thing, but Jack was too sick and tired to enjoy any of it and fell asleep in an adirondack chair. Totally weird for him.
This trip had the potential to be one of our best, but it is going down in the books as one of the worst. Not because of all of the aforementioned, but rather because it was one of the trips where the husband doesn't get back to our room until the kids' bedtime. And when that's the case, it makes me wonder, "What's the point?" It's not his fault, though. The husband really has no control over how long the days get, and there's really no way to predict before we leave home if his days will get that long - at least that I've found yet. And trust me, I've been working on a formula for predicting the length of his work day since before we were married.
This trip was so not-great, in fact, that I did something completely unprecedented for me. I packed up the kids and all our stuff and left for home a day early. Yes, you should be shocked. It takes a lot for me to accept defeat and give up. I felt just guilty enough about it, though, that in one last attempt to redeem the whole week, I took the kids out on a walk on one of the many lovely trails in the area before heading for home. It was a sunny, above 40 degrees day, and it felt great.
I would love to say that Jack-Hammer took the grossly out-of-focus photo below, but no. That was me.
He took this one.