Sunday, October 03, 2010

party like you're in Burlingame

On Friday Lola turned eight. When she came downstairs, she asked us if we'd seen "the Ancient Romans." As she explained in great detail, Lola saw "Ancient Romans" taking down the leprechaun posters she'd put up last St. Patrick's Day and putting up posters about Lola's birthday. We went out and looked. The posters said "WOW 8 YEARS OF LOLA" (where the 8 was giant and the top loop of it made the O in "WOW") and "SIGN HERE IF YOU HAVE A GIFT" and "DRAW HERE IF YOU ARE HAPPY." We signed the poster indicating that we had gifts in store for Lola, and we drew to indicate we were happy. Lola was ecstatic.

At school, the Sober Husband handed out nut-free chocolate chip cookies to Lola's classmates. At home, I did our packing and errands. After picking up the girls at school, we drove to get Lawyer, Jr., Lola's best friend from preschool, and then the Sober Husband. Then we were off for a night of craziness in scenic Burlingame, California.

I wasn't feeling the birthday party fever this year. Every year for the last ten years, for the children's birthdays I've made invitations painstakingly by hand, prepared party decorations (this sometimes went over the top, particularly for Iris's "Dragon Tales" themed third birthday), baked a cake, made food for both the children and any parents who might linger, made punch, obsessed over the party bags, etc.., etc.., and this year I didn't have the energy. I'm recovering from August still: I spent far too much money on going to Burning Man, and my ankle hurts pretty much all the time from my injury. (Sidenote: I saw a foot and ankle specialist, and while my X-rays came back fine, it turns out that I injured the ligaments and the major nerve on the side of my leg. I can anticipate another six months of pain, and I got an ankle brace to help). Also, I've been having problems with the girls' school, and the money woes, chronic pain, and stress added up to take away any energy for putting on a party.

Luckily for me another child at Lola's school had a birthday recently, and her family celebrated by taking her and one of her friends to a hotel for the night, so they could swim in the pool. These two children drove everyone crazy with jealousy going on and on about this, and I decided to turn it into a trend. I spent an evening online browsing hotels of the mid-peninsula on the theory that everything is cheaper out of the city, and I ended up getting a suite in a hotel in Burlingame with a big, lovely heated pool and a gorgeous tropical atrium with a little river full of koi. Best of all there were two large rooms: one room with a fold-out couch and a big TV for Lola and Lawyer, Jr., and another room with two double beds and another big TV for Iris and the Sober Husband and me. "This bed is mine, the one across from the TV!" Iris said sternly.

At check-in I got a complimentary Anchor Steam. I loved this hotel.

Everyone swam (the children swam right up until 10:00 p.m., as the pool had "Adult Only Hours" 10:00 - 12:00). Iris watched TV. Lola and Lawyer, Jr. stayed up very late indeed; I fell asleep at some point to the sound of their voices muted by the closed door between us. Iris had insomnia and reported the next day that she'd gotten up around 4 AM and gone in and stared at sleeping Lola and sleeping Lawyer, Jr. She imitated their sleeping positions. Although Lola and Lawyer, Jr. laughed uproariously, I said, "Iris, that is CREEPY."

In the morning Iris watched a documentary about root beer on the history channel (as her cheap parents don't get cable, a hotel is a rare opportunity for Iris to wallow in all the channels) while Lola and Lawyer, Jr. played. We went to the free hotel breakfast, which was the best free hotel breakfast I'd ever seen, with pancakes, French toast, pastries of many sorts, and omelets made to order. The children went swimming again for a very long time, and eventually I took Iris back upstairs to get more cable viewing time while the Sober Husband supervised Lola and Lawyer, Jr. in the pool and in the sauna.

Finally it was check out time. No one but the Sober Husband wanted to leave. "I'm not paying for another night of this!" he said. "Pack up!"

Before we drove away, I made the children walk around some trails by the bay. Iris and I saw an albino mallard, which made our day. Lola and Lawyer, Jr. were physically exhausted and dragged slowly towards the car. Lola fell asleep in the car on the way home. After some sleep, she hugged me very close, thanking me for taking her to the incredibly luxurious and exotic land of Burlingame, California.


Caroline said...

Brilliant. BRILLIANT. I only wish I had thought of that before promising Cici a birthday party this year.

PS the nonsense word for security on this post is "defur". How ironic, given past issues, no?

J9 said...

Hmm, I might have to do this as well for my winter babies who never get swim parties and are quite indignant over it. my word verification is stlogin - is that the saint of fogotten passwords?

Claire M. Johnson said...

I did a similar thing for my son when he was 10. Except I had four boys (mistake), and they put me in a smoking room (although I had asked for a non-smoking room). This was when I was having the never-diagnosed heart suckage. After an evening spent making sure they didn't drown, I shoved the kids in the room with the television, closed the door, picked up my book, and promptly couldn't breathe. I managed to get the door open and the breeze from the atrium provided enough fresh air so that I didn't suffocate but it was close. I ended up texting my husband to call my SIL to come take care of the kids and TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL.

Can you imagine? I'm responsible for three kids, not my own, and I can't breathe. Fun times.

I pass by one of these hotels (and I know the chain of which you speak and, yes, the breakfasts are AWESOME), and I can't help but hitch my breath a little.

Of course, my son still had a great time because he didn't know I was going into some sort of atrial fib thing or near-fatal asthma thing. He did think it weird when he woke up and there was his aunt. Ah, kids. To be that wonderfully clueless.

Carroll said...

Caroline spoke for me too -- BRILLIANT! Way to turn a coup into a trend too, Lady. Really -- all-around excellent!

hughman said...

i remember as a kid staying in a hotel and no matter hotel it was it always seemed very exotic. the little soaps and shampoos were my favorite (i was a huge fan of The Borrowers and i pictured them using them). this sounds like lots of fun for everyone.

also, iris watching a root beer documentary made me laugh. out of all the shows available on cable. ha!

Dread Pirate Davi said...

Happy Birthday, Lola!! =D An outstanding way to pass one's birthday. ^_^