Resort (not so) Casual

Greetings! I missed you!

If you have never given yourself a vacation from Facebook and other various digital distractions, I highly recommend it.

I had many adventures during Lent.  Well, okay, maybe that’s overstating it.  Mostly, I had all of my normal adventures.  You know, like laundry and dishes and cleaning and all that fun stuff.

However, I do have one noteworthy experience to share.  I got to see how the other half lives.

Uncomfortably.  That’s how they live.

My husband and I got to spend a weekend at a very exclusive resort (paid for by my husband’s employer–duh.) Now, in case you didn’t know this about me, exclusive resorts aren’t my usual hangout.  Even in Hawaii, I managed to find a Best Western for $89 a night.  The closest thing I’ve ever come to a “resort” are the resort state parks we have here in WV.  And what that means is that the park has a lodge and a golf course.  Really.

Anyway, I was excited at first, because obviously we would never have the opportunity to stay at a place like this on our own.  Then my husband forwarded an email to me which germinated a seed of doubt.

It was a dress code.

Now, I appreciate appropriate dress.  I think people’s body parts should be covered in a modest fashion with clean items that fit properly.  I learned, however, that there is a whole universe of phrases like business casual, evening attire, business formal, evening business formal attire, business afternoon casual formal, and sort of dressy but still business professional.

So you see why I was worried.

The seed of doubt sprouted into full-blown panic when I read the following actual statement from the resort’s dress code: “Denim is welcome in the resort for horseback riding and other outdoor activities.” Subtlety is not lost on me, and I can read between those lines.  In case you missed it, that means “no jeans allowed.”

What I was expected to wear during my daily ramblings was something called “resort casual.” I had no idea what that meant.  I subsequently discovered that it means “really uncomfortable shoes.”

I wear jeans everywhere.  I love jeans.  Also, I love slip-on, scuffed, wide-toed shoes.  My idea of looking “nice” is wearing darker jeans and a tee-shirt that doesn’t advertise an alcoholic beverage.  I don’t own a pair of khakis or a belt.  I think I may have a button down shirt hanging in the closet, but I have no idea if it even fits.  Cotton is the primary fabric in most of my clothing.

So you can imagine how well I blended in with the resort casual crowd.  I staggered around on my dress boots (usually reserved for funerals) praying that I could make it back to the room before my ankles gave out.  The whole time I felt like I had a sign floating over my head that said, “This woman buys her underwear at Walmart.” In fact, I think that should be the name of my dress code:  Walmart Casual.  Pajama pants welcome.

For all of that, I did have a good time.  Matt’s colleagues are nice people, and free wine is enough to make any time a good one in my book.  But I was continually fascinated by the thought that there are people who live that fancy, resort casual life all the time.  I could pick them out, walking along expertly in their heels and silk scarves and shawls (yes, apparently shawls are back.  Who knew?) I even saw a woman in a fancy poncho.  They are resort casual all the time.  They must have really strong ankles.

The room was nice, although, between you and me, I think the big price tag had more to do with the location than the actual room itself.  It did have a nice big closet, and we actually had turn-down service. (Apparently rich people have trouble getting the comforter and sheet folded down just so.)  Everyone was super accommodating–I had my first ever bell-hop.  There was even a fuzzy robe provided for lounging around the room.  But I didn’t use it.

I lounged around in my jeans.








A Hillbilly in New York, Part 2

     Well, we made it back.

     I think the trip went remarkably well.  It’s taken me a few days to get this post up because I’ve been in recovery since we got home (at 4:30am!)  Also, I think I’ve spent some time digesting what all we saw, and fielding the questions that my son has fired off to me almost non-stop since our return. He didn’t have the time or energy to ask me while we were actually there.

     We saw some truly amazing things, one of the best being “The Lion King.” If you ever have a chance to see a Broadway show, do it. It’s worth the money.  There really aren’t any words that can adequately describe what it was like–just a long string of superlatives that make it sound cliché, which it certainly is NOT.  I saw what New York looks like at twilight from the top of the Empire State Building, ate lunch from Fluffy’s Cafe in Central Park, watched a performance in Carnegie Hall, walked through the immigrant registration station on Ellis Island, and stood at the foot of the Statue of Liberty. In short, I knocked about half the items off of my bucket list.

     Ellis Island was especially fascinating.  There was a quote on the wall there from a Lithuanian immigrant about how her mother said watching her get on the train to the coast was the same as watching her go into her casket. They never saw one another again. That young woman did that because of the golden opportunity she thought was waiting for her in America.  It’s an odd thought.  So many of us complain constantly about our government and our country, but some viewed it as the promised land–a place they would literally give up everything to come to. Interesting thought.

     Mostly, as usual, my son and I were both fascinated by the people.  We heard as much foreign language as we did English. And as for the New Yorkers themselves, well, I’m still undecided.  We hear that they are rude and overbearing, and upon first glance, you might take that as the truth–certainly upon entering a vehicle everyone in the city transforms into some sort of homicidal lunatic–but I’m not so sure. To me, it almost seems like something more, something different than what we “southerners” call rude.  They have become immune to tourists, and really to themselves as well. 

     When we were travelling, we wore matching tee shirts. So, we stood out.  Our commander-in-chief would ask some random person waiting on the train if we were picking the right one to get where we wanted to go, and immediately that person would become very helpful and courteous. They would sort of look around at us like they hadn’t noticed us before–which I fully believe to be the truth. It’s not so much that they are rude, it’s just that you have to penetrate beyond that cocoon that they have enveloped themselves in to find the real person underneath.

     I guess you’d have to be  a little immune to it–there are umpteen billion people there bustling about, tourists and locals alike, and at times you are literally squeezing through crowds. There’s no way you could say “excuse me” to each person you nudge or bump.  I’m reminded of Crocodile Dundee when he went to NYC, and he tried to greet everyone and be polite. If you haven’t seen the movie, I’ll give you the answer–it didn’t work. So everyone just goes along with their own lives, headed to wherever they are headed.  Another point–I don’t know where they are going, but boy are they in a hurry!

     Don’t get me wrong–there were rude people there just like there are everywhere, including right where we live. Business Bitch Barbie, for example, ran right over our friend Lucas, and rather than say sorry, she had an expression on her face like she stepped in something stinky. To add insult to injury, she ran over his foot with her Business Bitch Barbie rolling briefcase accessory.  I called “Excuse us!  Have a nice day!” after her, but I didn’t get a response, of course.

     So, there are rude people in New York, and there are nice people, and mostly there are just regular people doing what everyone does–working, shopping, going to school, just living.  It was an awesome trip–so much so that I want to go back on a private vacation so I can explore a little more. The city impressed me, and I can see why so many not only flock there, but thrive there.  I recommend it highly to anyone who is looking for a vacation destination, just listen to a little advice–take plenty of spending cash, wear your walking shoes, see “The Lion King,” and watch out for Business Bitch Barbie. She’s hell with that briefcase.

A Hillbilly in New York, Pt. 1

     Yep, you read that right–we are going to New York City.  A friend of mine is a music teacher, and she is taking a group of her kids to perform in Carnegie Hall (practice, practice, practice) and she invited us to go along! How cool is that?

     I am VERY excited.  Now, I’m not what you would call country.  (I’m actually coal camp.)  We’ve travelled a quite a bit–Philly, Atlanta, DC, Birmingham, Knoxville, Pittsburg, Charlotte, Baltimore, and a few others–but still…..this is New York City we are talking about people!  We are going to see the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, just to name a few.  We’ll leave Tuesday evening and be home late Friday night.

     I am also VERY nervous.  Not about the trip–like I said, we have been to a place or two, and the only part that makes me nervous is the bus ride. What I am nervous about is walking away from my life for four days.  I’m sure to most people that sounds a bit drastic, but that may be because you don’t know how anal retentive I can be about certain things.

     Primarily, I’m nervous about leaving my daughter. My sister is in good hands, and she’d rather be where she’s going than with me anyway, so I’m not really worried about her, but Evelyn doesn’t really understand why we just sort of disappear for four days.  I don’t have any way to explain it to her.  She’ll be with her dad and The Grandparents, but I worry.  It makes me wonder if she is maybe a little bit more aware than I give her credit for, because now, to make me feel even better, she is sick.  Her teacher called from school today to inform me that she was running a fever and lying around. I picked her up early and she has slept in the chair ever since.

     Thanks, Evelyn.

     I know all of my guilt is self-inflicted, but that doesn’t make it any less.  No matter what, in my mind, no one can care for her the way I do.  No one.  No one can read her and understand what she wants the way I do.  I’m just going to hop on a bus and be hundreds of miles from her, which is bad enough, but now I’m going to do it while she is sick.

     Don’t get me wrong–I’m going anyway. I’m nervous, not stupid.  I have WAY more separation anxiety than Evelyn ever did (I still cry on the first day of school. Really.) I imagine every possible thing that could happen or go wrong, and I have a great imagination. I miss her so much that sometimes I lay in bed in night when I’m away from her and cry. I’m just a great big girl, right? (I miss my husband too, by the way, but I know he can feed and clothe himself with minimal assistance.)  I just have to suck it up and have a good time.  This will be the farthest I’ve been from her in a long, long, time, and the farthest I’ve ever been while she was mobile and able to get into a lot of trouble.  The last time I was far away from her, she was basically like a potted plant.  She couldn’t even crawl. Now she’s like a damn cat–just five minutes of not watching her and all hell could break loose. So you see how my mind works.

     But anyway, I’m very excited.  We will never have another opportunity like this again.  My OCD acts up a little when I pack, and I always remind myself a little of Melvin Udall in “As Good As It Gets” when he’s packing for the trip to Baltimore. I even have a list. (People think the fact I make lists and keep things organized is because I am organized, but really the opposite is true. If I didn’t keep things in order, I would never find anything again. Ever.) Anyway, we are all packed up and ready to go.  Evelyn and Matt will drop us off at the bus tomorrow afternoon, and I’ll laugh and joke and wave frantically as we pull away.  I’ll save the tears until everyone else is asleep. I do have my reputation to uphold, after all.

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