Monday, September 30, 2013

Luxury sweet

Another day, another meltdown in the lobby of the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.  Story of my life.  First world problems.  Whatever you want to call it, that was the brink I was leaning towards when calmer minds (shockingly, my own) prevailed. 

So, it's Monday.  The Monday following the Big Weekend.  The Big Weekend of my high school buddy's wedding.  My high school buddy's wedding in downtown Chicago.  Downtown Chicago is apparently Never Never Land according to Capital One.

Flag.  Roughing the Passer.  Technical foul.  Something.  Capital One--you had me worked up into the state of a whirling dervish for about 30 minutes there.  And it was NOT COOL, yo. 

Imagine the following scenario (hypothetical all the way, mind you...):  You get invited to this swanky wedding in downtown Chicago, which is 'bout 3 hours away driving.  You have two young sprouts and a limited amount of money to fritter away on things other than food and electricity, so you ponder the reservation for a couple of weeks.  Mind you, it's something that you really want to do; imagine having the luxury of spending time with adults and perhaps, maybe sleeping in, even if just a bit, and not having to laboriously cut up everyone else's meal before you get to your own cold grub (now that the hubs can cut up his own food, it's only two little ones to tend to, but still).  I mean, you really want to go.  You weigh your options ad naseum until finally you decide it's six of one, half dozen of another and go ahead and book the g'parents for a weekend of babysitting and book the luxury hotel for a one-night stay cause you don't have any extra kidneys to sell to afford a two-night stay. 

You are totally and completely stoked for a 30-hour respite from all things kid, even though you know you're going to be thinking about them a lot, talking about them a good amount, and counting down the time until you get to pick them up.  And, it's your first night away from the little one, so there's that element of insecurity in that (leave directions for just about every possibility, knowing that it's really not going to matter much anyways and she's a resilient little bit of child, so she'll be fine).  You take off for this little dream getaway, literally hoping that it's going to be a dream getaway as in dreaming...sleep...lots of it. 

You roll into the big city without a hitch, act the part of a casual tourist for a couple of hours until you can check-in at the hotel, send the boy to cart over a load of stuff from the car (which is parked in its own luxury suite of a parking spot at primo dollars so that in the words of the boy "it doesn't get stolen overnight"), and saunter up to the front desk trying to act as if this feels natural so that you don't look out of place, a modern day Dorothy in the Oz of a $$$$ hotel.  You carry the to-go coffee just to be on the safe side and look the part (and cause your afternoon lull has hit you full-force, and you were just about ready to curl up in the corner of some alley and try to slip a quick nap in before the busy night ahead of you; safely, you choose to caffeinate instead, which likewise gives you a serious case of jitters as you haven't eaten for a while).  You pull out the credit card, which has a credit limit the likes of which you could have used to purchase your used car a year ago, with another grand to spare.  In other words, you feel confident in throwing down this plastic to pay for your room. 

Your check-in goes just fine and you get your room keys (two, please).  Eighteenth floor--feels exotic.  You wander away from the desk with the lovely young woman with a definite and unidentifiable accent, and wait for the spouse/your personal valet to return to the lobby so that you can find your room and therefore the richy-rich lotion that's bound to be left for you in the bathroom.  Who doesn't love a sweet little bottle of luxe lotion?  Plus, you have food with you that you're waiting to eat (remember the jitters from the caffeine?), and it seems a little gauche to hunker down with it in the middle of the lobby.  So you wait on the boy, but the sweet, accent-laden desk attendant tracks you down instead and tells you that your credit card has pulled a fast one on you: denied.  Say, what?? 

What do you do?  You mentally freak out a bit that someone has hacked your account and now you're in a foreign city with not enough cash between you to cover one night in this hotel, let alone food & gas to get you home.  It was something of a debacle involving a wasted $3 ATM fee, virtually identical debit cards, and just enough time to scarf a sandwich and wedge into a formal dress before finding an elevator to take us to the ballroom. 

But no sooner had we sat down then another good friend from high school showed up, and the good times ensued.  It was about four hours of non-stop laughing, punctuated by delish Indian food, masks, and fast dancing to standard wedding fare. 

Stayin' Alive for sure.

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