Tonight will be our last night at the Residence Inn. Tomorrow morning, the moving van will arrive at #9 and we will officially live in New Hampshire. And although I'm anxious to get this party started, and although hotel life has been a form of purgatory, and although there's only space for one fastidious person in this room, it actually has not been that bad. And I might actually miss it????? It's an incredibly unique experience that has its perks. Here's a peek into what life has been like for the Nilnoo's at the "RI."
BREAKFAST: We start each day in the hotel lobby where they provide a self-serve breakfast area. At first, we ate box after tiny box of sugared cereal, sneaking extras upstairs for midnight snacks. We were like "Which one will it be today?! Sugar Smacks or Corn Pops? I'll have both! No - 2 of both! And I'll pack a few in my beach bag for the road!" Sometimes we ate our tiny boxes of happiness in bed. While we watched TV! We ate them like our mom would change her mind and take the forbidden cereal away........which she eventually did. Perhaps our greed was putting the hotel out of business. Or maybe they were making a statement about childhood obesity. Either way, now we get dispensers of Raisin Bran, Cheerios, Rice Krispies and generic Frute Lupes.
After breakfast, before we go back upstairs, I change the lobby TV from Fox News to MSNBC.
THE ELEVATOR SPEECH: Taking the elevator to your front door presents lots of social opportunities. You know how your gaze shifts from the LED floor indicator, to your watch, to the elevator door and back to the LED floor indicator? Liam doesn't do that. For him, every elevator rider is a potential friend, even Asian men with brief cases who don't speak English. He'll introduce himself and launch into his life story faster than you can say "speaking english no please." It goes something like this: "I'm Liam. Actually, I'm from Minnesota. We're moving. First we went to Duluth. Then Wisconsin. Then Michigan. Then Canada. Then New York. Then Massachussetts. And then here." (this is where I smile real big in hopes that the elevator mate doesn't say "I didn't ask.") Then there's the basic: "So......I'm in room 491. What room are you in?" And you know what? They always tell him!!! 100% of the time they give him their room number!!! But sometimes he elaborates: "So.....it looks like you're going to 3. We're going to 4. My family is me and this is my mom (I smile and wave) and this is my dad (Mike looks at his watch). I don't have any brothers and sisters. Which is lucky. Cause brothers and sisters are annoying."
THE FITNESS ROOM: The hotel fitness room has been a handy place to get away from the confines of our room (and the people in it). I've been known to go down for a workout as late as 10pm - when everyone is in bed and I need to erase their whining from my memory. It has treadmills, elliptical trainers, free weights, and a big TV blasting HGTV ("which house will our couple choose? Stay tuned to find out!"). If you're wondering why Liam is pictured on the elliptical instead of me, it's because no one will take a GD picture of me. God forbid someone else should pick up a camera. It's like I don't exist.
TV IN BED: Our hotel suite has two rooms: a sitting room with a giant flat screen TV, and a bedroom with a giant flat screen TV. The ratio of TV size to room size is such that the picture seems to be inside your brain instead of in front of your face. Turning off the TV would be like turning off your brain. So we watch a lot of TV. In bed. Cause we can. And once we leave this place, no one will ever ever ever have a TV in their bedroom. So I'm letting Liam bask in the fluffy, lazy comfort of it all. And I'm basking in the sweet freedom that comes from not-parenting.
HENRY & BEEZUS SAVED US: However.........one day I blew a gasket when I thought I saw Liam's brain dripping out of his ear. So I turned off the pictures in our brain, I mean the TV, and I declared it a TV-free day (I know, you're all saying "oooh! Rookie mistake!). At first we all stared at each other in silence like we'd lost all ability to use our hands or form sentences. And then I rifled through our carefully packed (by me, of course) activity bag (which was untouched. who needs activities when I can just watch these pictures in my brain?). I pulled out a copy of Henry & Beezus by Beverly Cleary and started to read. And each time I finished a chapter and put the book down, Liam asked me to read another chapter. And another and another. We read over 100 pages that day. Out loud pages, not reading silently to yourself pages. That's HOURS! And then he wanted to play cards. And then he wanted to paint. And then he wanted Mike to draw a barge. I felt like Henry & Beezus had transformed our room from a den of wickedness to a scene out of Little House on the Prairie.
And we swim. Everday we swim. And swim. And swim. And swim. But we still can't tread water (come ON!!).
THE MARKETPLACE: There's an area near the front desk known as "The Marketplace." You can choose snacks, candy, drinks, microwave meals and ice cream and then tell Bryan at the front desk to charge it to your room. That's free, right? This is where Liam discovered HOT POCKETS. If I could let him watch TV and eat Hot Pockets in bed every day he would be the happiest boy on the planet (and then maybe the whining would end?! oh the temptation!). Every day Liam asks if he can get a King Size Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. And every day I say, "But you don't like peanut butter." And every day he says "I know but it's King Size." Someone recently asked him what his favorite candy was and he answered King Size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. And I, of course, said "But you don't like peanut butter." And he said (come on, say it with me now) "I know but it's King Size."
THE HOTEL BAR: One of the perks of hotel living is that someone cleans your room every day. And it's best to get out of the way so they can do a thorough job. So we often go down to the bar for a ginger ale while we wait for our clean room to appear. Liam chats up the bartender. I read USA Today. Then we return to a room with no towels on the floor, no dishes in the sink and a freshly made bed.
LIAM'S NEST: This is where Liam sleeps. In a sleeping bag on the floor between the bed and the air conditioning unit. He doesn't complain. He doesn't know that children have been put into protective custody for lesser things. He happily snuggles into his nest with Lobsty, Pinchy, Tata, Dogfeet, Fuzzy, and New Fuzzy and drifts off to sleep singing the national anthem.
At which point, Mike and I go out into the sitting room to watch copious amounts of HGTV. And that, friends, is your peek into a day at the "RI." I know it sounds crazy, but we might just miss it.