Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: CHECKING IN OR OUT (hotel/motel on vacation) (08/27/15)
TITLE: Checkout Now!
By Judy Allen
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Being a single mom, and self-proclaimed miser, means when checkout time is eleven we’ll be out by 9:30! My sons say there’s some OCD mixed in there, but all tests say – normal. We don’t rush out because I cannot afford another day’s stay; I’ve been blessed with a great job and my husband’s life insurance. In fact, before he passed away, he told me to take the kids to Disney World upon the first anniversary of his parting. Guess you’d have to know him. I took the kids, as he requested, and we had a weird time! There was fun, some tears and lots of late night reminiscing about their father, but Mickey was always smiling.
However, the reason we rush out overly prompt to checkout is because of the time we didn’t! Yes, I’m a miser, but don’t have to be - it’s the single part that evokes the rush. When my husband was alive, he took charge of our first-born and I managed our youngest. Both our sons have ADHD and seriously, there were days when that “H” governed all of existence. Now, I was on my own.
We took that trip to Disney. It was great as far as Disney, and one of the most gigantic feelings of emptiness since losing my husband. It was nearing midnight, on our first night there, when I threw
myself across the queen-sized bed in our hotel room. My sons, ages eight and ten, reluctantly agreed to share the other queen in the room.
An hour later, one of them was whistling some tune he had heard in Cinderella’s castle and the other was crackling his popcorn bag, attempting to retrieve the last few kernels from the very far corner of that bottomless, uncooperative, sadistic popcorn bag! I sat up and gave them both “the look!” The look was followed by “the groan” and after that, “the sigh” as I squeezed my pillow to my ears. I have no idea when they went to sleep, but when I woke up at six o’clock one of them was curled into my back and the other hanging off the foot of my bed. I couldn’t help but to do a double-take. That popcorn bag was still near his hand!
We had four more days of sharing and memory making on that trip. The night before we left my sons actually asked to sleep with me. Therefore, we all piled in and they slept. My mind was full of princesses, lovely gowns, magic, cotton candy, and more popcorn. I looked at one of my sons and then the other, and prayed a while, then drifted off. Checkout time was eleven - we woke up at noon!
I jumped up and gave the ultimate groan! One of my sons nearly fell off the bed and the other bolted up throwing his blanket over my head. I couldn’t figure out how I had not heard the “knock-knock” of housekeeping or families laughing as they walked down the hall. And we were on the pool side of the hotel. How did I not hear the diving, the splashing, or the lifeguard telling kids, like my sons, to stop running and dunking each other?
We threw our stuff into our suitcases and I rushed around tidying up our room, which is another indication to my sons of my definite OCD. “What does it matter?” my ten year old asked. I dropped onto the carpet to chase popcorn kernels. “It matters,” I replied, bumping my head on the desk as I re-emerged. They both held their laughs, good thing for them, and we dashed down the hall to the lobby.
As we took off I was driving like a “crazy-woman” - as I am told - and again my oldest says, “Mom, what does it matter?” I sat at the stoplight in a huff. When my husband was alive, we were never late for anything. We would never have stayed past checkout. And he would be doing the driving and he would not have tolerated late night whistling or bag-cracking or my sons throwing themselves over my exhausted body or… “It doesn’t matter,” I answered, slowing my speed and giving them my good kind of sigh.
“Can we go again next year?” my youngest asked happily. “And take Jason?” I’ll admit, the thought of taking my six-year-old nephew, also with ADHD, made me speed up again! However, we went and somehow checked out on time.
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