- July 2006
After hours on the road we finally pull up with our gold minivan to the hotel entrance, the clock confirming we’re going to be an early check-in. We eye each other with anticipation when a soldier-looking guy with white gloves knocks on my window. I ask him if I can help him. Turns out, he wants to help me. He wants to take our luggage.
“Hmm.” I wonder nervously. Before we left Williamsburg we cleared the shelves in one of the groceries, and thought we’ll smuggle the piles of shopping bags in by ourselves. Now my husband reminds me to get our money’s worth. So as the bell-hop loads our odd and sloppy belonging onto his cart, I openly gesture my mister to give a tip. Yoelish fishes something out of his wallet, but with worrying uncertainty about the proper number a tip-bill should be.
Our entrance into the lobby is a grand one. We stand there, tasting the reality of our dream. As I relish every crystal in the chandelier, my husband embraces the waterfall. Couches, paintings and five-star staff – we’re off to a wonderful start.
Things get even better as we slip into room 752. I take in the ugly floral bedspread, the useless minibar, the smaller-than-pictured balcony. It’s all a source of great excitement. As I start to work my way through our suitcases and worry about a fridge for my milk, my husband is already busy piling the bite-size shampoos into our bags. He pretends he’s helping out a mighty load by checking the programs available on the TV. “This is cool!” he delights.
Well, I’m not sure. I furrow a brow and try to make out a whole picture on the screen. Yoelish is pounding at his remote. Click, ball game. Click, news reporter. Click, killer. Click, crying gal. Click, cartoon. Click, another ball game. Click, medication ad. Click, another news reporter. My husband points eagerly at the remote he’s kidnapped. “I wish we could have one of those!”
Yeah, keep wishing.
Dinner time comes around with loud reminder from my stomach. We’ve read all about the hotel’s fine restaurants, and find a corner table in one of them. Yoelish digs into his little boxed microwaved kosher serving with gusto, ignoring that it's half boiling and half frozen. For some reason, my appetite is selective. It averts my eyes onto a neighborhood pile of fries and little drool-drops are released from my glands. I hate Meal Mart.
What to do next? Not a question at all. There’s a gym in this hotel, and to us Chassidic peopes it’s like a manual amusement park. I peddle the pike. He runs on the treadmill at 8. This is so fun.
When we’re done sweating, we go over to what I call the aqua museum. It’s a glass enclosed section, the inside a hole filled with water. We press our faces onto the window and watch a fat, hairy guy sit around in the sauna. When the pool gets empty, we venture in for a half second but run out like the FBI’s most wanted water-thieves.
At night, my sleep is flavored with a special treat of affection, as I can put my arms around my husband in the queen size bed. It’s almost like in the movies; only in the movies they don’t have to kick the blankets around so much till they are covered with a decent piece of quilt.
Morning comes early, as we sit outside and watch the sunrise in our sleepwear. It’s been a long time since we’ve been so alive. It’s been a long time since we remembered how much we love each other.
Well, we got to love the vacation too, so we cut all the nostalgia short. I shower and get dressed, while complaining non-stop about looking out of place in the layers of headgear. When my husband starts with the shachris and tefillin, it’s payback time! I indulge in a good car insurance ad. Ahhh.
Our day’s activity is golf. We set out to rent the hotel’s clubs, balls and cart. If you think golf is for old rich guys only you’ve get another think coming. My husband and I love golf.
We speed the little car up and down acres of grass. It’s like NASCAR with a romantic setting. I hold on tight. It gets as close to a private plane as it’ll ever get for me.
It just becomes a little sticky when a snobbish group of players in shorts and sneakers seem not to like us. No problem, the local mall will appreciate us more.
Arriving back at the hotel at night, with piles of expensive toys added to our name, we feel above the world. My guilt for leaving the kids behind is a little appeased. We inch closer, fingers even brushing a bit. I’m all smiles.
Out of nowhere a yiddish couple emerges. This is a disaster. They see us and quickly look away. I rush up to our room, taking the stares for security, and refuse to leave again.
“You think they know me?” I beg my husband for no as an answer.
“I don’t know”
“She wore an uncovered sheitle. Maybe they’re Monsey. Maybe they’re Baro Park. Right?”
“Maybe” he gives me another unsatisfying answer.
“Think they’ll tell my mother that you wore a cap?”
“Who cares?” He’s totally not getting it.
It takes some coaxing to drag me out again, this time I look 100% Lee Avenue presentable. We stroll in the hall, my confidence just partially recovered.
In the bar, I wonder who the sick inventor of dim lighting is. High stools, I’m not sure why they’re there. We order two beers from the bartender.
Oh. I have no idea. A beer is a beer, like everyone knows. I remember the big highway ads and I confidently order Budweiser. I hear my husband say Heineken. Probably they advertised that where he traveled.
I try to nurse my beer, but it’s not working. I can’t make it go down my throat. The other end of the room is starting to interest me more.
We both get our sticks, and load a pile of colored balls onto the billiard. I try not to make it seem so obvious that I am just doing what the other pool players are doing. Yoelish aligns his stick like an expert. He bends over. He decides to come from three o’clock. He hits.
Amazing! I tell him he’s a pro. Never mind five of the balls that are rolling their way out of the bar. One ball actually made its way into the sack! Did I marry a genius or what!?!?
You’d hear us make our way back to the room, with spasms of giggles. By now, you can be Jewish and see me. I don’t even care.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
See, yours truly and her mister will take off for a two day escape – alone! Between a neighbor, my parents, and my nagging worries, I think the kids will be fine. With all the preparation I’m doing, I can’t resist indulging in a pre-vacation vacation; a nice trip down memory lane....