Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hired and Fired

David Letterman heard that I've been spending my time in Orlando, and he asked that I provide a witty, non-political Top 10 list. Oddly when on vacation, I don't tend to sleep well, so the witty part I may fall a bit short on, but I can at the very least do the non-political part, right?

As this may be my only gig for the beloved Mr. Letterman, let's get a good drumroll going, shall we?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Top Ten Things You Need To Figure Out Before Going On Vacation:

Number 11: (ok so I thought of an extra one; I'm getting fired already!)
Check every clock in the room.
I've failed to do this before and been woken up at obscene hours by very loud radio alarms due to someone's really poor sense of humor. When I checked the clocks in our room this time, one was on the wrong time altogether and every other one had an alarm set to go off between 2 and 4am. Yeah, really funny, people.

Number 10:
Does where you're staying provide the typical hotel amenities?
Lucky me, the hotel I stayed at had a washer and dryer in the unit, including detergent. That meant I had to pack way fewer clothes than I would have otherwise, and with the way the airlines are jacking up fees on everything, less luggage is a good thing!

Unlucky me, the hotel provides shampoo and soap only. No conditioner. No lotion. Whoops. I was sort of counting on using the good Marriott products, as I love the citrus smell they have. See above on the less luggage part.

Number 9:
Find something to do if the weather isn't exactly what you planned.
"Record lows" droned the tv weathermen the last two days we were in Orlando. Granted, record lows for Orlando aren't quite the same as they are for, say, Anchorage, but when you're planning on spending your days outside at the pool... well, let's just say we didn't spend our last two days at the pool. And Orlando is sort of an outdoor kind of place.

Number 8:
When traveling, bring along a jacket and long pants, even if you don't think you'll need them.
See above on the record lows thing. And honestly, even when you're traveling in a climate that stays warm like it's supposed to, indoor places like restaurants tend to accidentally turn the air conditioning down to meat locker. As my mommy always says, Don't forget your restaurant sweater!

Number 7:
Don't forget a thermometer and Tylenol, especially if traveling with children.
So you all heard about Little Miss's ER trip for her burst eardrum. I didn't mention our other incidents with her. While on Zithromyacin for six straight days -- not missing a dose, mind you -- Little Miss had a fever of at least 100 degrees. I have a feeling a visit to the pediatrician is in my near future. And on Tuesday morning, she was flying like Tinkerbell with my mom. I didn't realize it as I bent down to pick up a dropped piece of paper, but she was flying to me. I figured that out when I stood up right into her mouth. My head still hurts. Fortunately, as we all know by now, mouth injuries bleed a lot, but that doesn't always mean they're serious.

Number 6:
Travel with the magazines and Pull-Ups in your suitcase.
When you pack for your trip on the way to vacation, you always pack well. Things fit. It isn't too heavy, and it's all good. Somehow by the time you make it to the end of your vacation and try to repack, it's a different suitcase. My like the pants you wore on the trip down, it somehow magically shrunk. By traveling with magazines that you read and then discard and the Pull-Ups that are well used and discarded, you've suddenly created extra room and relieved weight in your suitcase. But shhhh don't let anyone else in your traveling party in on your secret.

Number 5:
A flashlight makes a great tool while on vacation.
Inevitably, your room will have a light that inconveniently doesn't work. Voila, flashlight! Or you need to find a way to keep the wee ones quiet while others are sleeping -- flashlights into a darkened bedroom for a "monster" search! Or better yet, go on a Woozle hunt at night to sneak in some exercise!

Number 4:
Find out if your hotel is at all under construction when you'll be there.
The hotel we stayed at has some neat features. They have the duck shaped paddleboats that you can go out on the lagoon with and burn off some of those traveling calories. And they have surrey bicycles that are great for the whole family to use when it's getting too chilly for the pool. And they have one of those huge climbing mazes that are a great way to burn off excess energy after dinner and before bedtime. Yeah. All but the boats were closed due to construction. And the boats were in a different location that some people had a difficult time locating. It's a good thing that no wee ones remembered this and had been promised some of these activities. And if you believed that, I've got a bridge to sell you!

Number 3:
Figure out where the pools and activities and restaurants are around the hotel.
This one I figured out when staying at the Luxor many moons ago. I had requested a pyramid room because that just sounded so cool. I went to the desk bleary eyed early the next morning to request a move to a tower room, as the noise never stopped. When I look around at some of the rooms by the pool, or when I listen to the karaoke and bar music, I heave a big sigh of relief that I made sure our room overlooked the golf course instead. Granted, there are vehicles running by outside our room regularly all night long, but any room would hear those.

Number 2:
Make sure you liberally use that "Do Not Disturb" sign.
Wee ones need to nap? Stick that sign in the door. You're taking a shower? Stick that sign in the door. You're eating breakfast? Stick that sign in the door! I have a huge pet peeve of being interrupted by housekeeping, especially on the day I'm checking out when I clearly haven't checked out yet and it's 8am. Of course that also means that we went without housekeeping service for three of our eleven days, but that's a small price to pay. No comment on housekeeping actually calling our room at 3:30 to see if we wanted housekeeping service that day. Guess who had been sound asleep at 3:30. Maybe I should add a tip about turning off the ringer on the phone!

And the Number One Thing To Know Before Going On Vacation is....
Always travel with grandparents.
I have not had to take a single child to the nasty, yucky, putrid public bathrooms in and around Orlando. For one who detests public restrooms, this is a major blessing. And I think I brushed only one set of teeth the whole trip. The best part? The Disney Classics book that was read 18 kajillion times? I only read one of those stories.

And there you have it. My very own top 10 -- ok, 11 -- list! And now you understand why I've been immediately relieved of my duties by Mister Letterman. Sorry, sir! I know this wasn't up to snuff, but I tried.

PS We had a full kitchen in the hotel, and I could see where people would leave a lot of stuff behind -- their pool toys, extra food, souveniers they forgot, etc. I had noticed that when I saw housekeeping carts in the hallways, I noticed that frequently some of what guests had forgotten included soft-sided coolers. It took until Day 8 before I realized that the housekeeping staff owned those coolers. And that they put whatever leftover food they wanted to keep in those coolers. In one way, I was sort of hugely creeped out by that. On the other hand, I'm really glad that some food at least isn't going to waste!


Outnumbered2to1 October 30, 2008 at 7:45 AM  

I loved the top ten. I always have number 7 covered as I pack a mini pharmacy in a "sick bucket". You know, gotta have your bases covered.

Elizabeth Byler Younts October 30, 2008 at 7:58 AM  

of course my fav is #1. :-)

Mia Celeste October 30, 2008 at 10:09 AM  

Lots of good tips. Thanks for sharing.

Kellan October 30, 2008 at 11:37 AM  

I love your list - especially #1 - how funny! This is a good list and should be printed up for all traveling parents.

Have a good day - Kellan

Sam_I_am October 30, 2008 at 11:44 AM  

I think I need to bookmark this and come back when I have kids and feel brave enough to take them on vacation :-) good list!

Cookie October 30, 2008 at 11:56 AM  

You didn't brush your teeth??? Sorry, I couldn't resist ;)

It really is hard to travel with kids. You are lucky to have grandparents to help. My mom uses a wheelchair, so not much of a help. Oh, and she's a few thousand miles away. And she panics on airplanes... Not exactly the best travel "helper."
My MIL doesn't speak English and lives almost 10,000 miles away. While she's good with the kids, commumication is a challenge.
So I mean it when I say, "You are lucky to have those grandparents to travel with."

Momma Trish October 30, 2008 at 5:47 PM  

Good list!

A big one for me to remember on our next vacation is to use a phone card. 'Cause long distance from the hotel is outrageous!!

Anonymous October 30, 2008 at 8:44 PM  

Funny post! Here's a slight change to bringing the Grandparents: Make sure they already LIVE in Orlando so you can stay with them and accompany you and the kids to Disney while you and your hubby go on some rides by yourselves :) My dad and stepmom live just outside Orland LOL! I found you on SITS.

AndreaLeigh October 30, 2008 at 8:51 PM  

Hello, I'm stopping by from SITS. How funny! This is great advice, though. Stuff we all forget sometimes!

Ashley October 30, 2008 at 9:56 PM  

I admit. I usually set the alarm clock to go off at an unusual time in the middle of the night.
What can I say - I'm a rebel!

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