A few days before we left for our quick trip to Palm Springs, I texted my husband: “Hey, I’m looking at the weather forecast and don’t think it’s going to be all that warm there? Should I look up activities we can do with the kids in case it’s too cold to swim?”
“Sure,” he replied. “The hotel pool is heated, though, so I wouldn’t worry.”
But of course, I worried. I always worry that things will go awry when we’re on vacation–I mean, have you guys seen our track record? We’re kind of cursed in that department. And while the travel process is certainly easier now that the girls are older (no more running after them as they attempt to lick their way through the entirety of O’Hare airport), their maturity presents a different brand of problems.
Namely, I’m afraid that they’ll be bored out of their skulls and decide that we’re the lamest parents ever.
When the girls were small, the challenge was getting them to the destination in one piece; after that, though, it was pretty simple to keep them entertained. They were content to swim and play in the pool for hours, no matter the weather. If it rained, they had video games or we’d drop them off at the Kid’s Club and they’d contentedly make friendship bracelets and paint-your-own birdfeeders all afternoon.
Now? They’re pros at the “getting there” part of the trip, but they’re a bit more challenging to keep occupied. They’re too old for the Kid’s Club and they find video games a little dull and if it’s chilly, they’re not thrilled about getting in the swimming pool. They’re also getting to the age where it’s pretty normal to think your parents are sucky embarrassments.
I’m not ready to be a sucky embarrassment yet.
I’m okay with them thinking I’m a dork, and they can roll their eyes at my jokes, but sucky embarrassment? Totally not ready. So, I spent a few hours digging around on the Internet and by the time my husband got home from work, I had a list of possibilities.
“I found a few things,” I said, handing him a drink. “But frankly, Palm Springs is not the most happenin’ place on Earth. Unless you golf or play tennis like Serena Williams or are 75 years old.”
“I’m sure it will be fine,” he said. “They will be fine.”
I hacked into a cucumber with verve. “Yeah. So. There’s a huge movie theatre with Imax-style screens, so we could see a movie at some point. There’s a small zoo and they decorate it at night with a bunch of lights and have carolers and hot chocolate, so that could be okay. Obviously, there’s a lot of shopping in downtown Palm Springs, but the girls kind of hate shopping. There’s a gondola/tram-thingy that you ride high over Coachella canyon.”
“Those sound fine,” he said.
GAAA, does the man never worry about anything?!
“LeeAnn Rimes is doing a Christmas show Sunday afternoon,” I smirked.
“I thought you’d say that. So I looked around and they have some Vegas-type lounge acts, but they’re all at night and kind of geared to the granny set…”
“Yeah, probably not.”
“But,” I said, “I found something to do on Sunday that has definite potential. Definitely.”
I waved my chef’s knife with a flourish. “On Sunday, there is–ta da!–The Holiday Drag Queen Brunch.”
Blank, dead fish-eye stare.
“Sounds awesome, am I right?” I said. “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing to think but ‘Hell to the Yeah,’ here.'”
He poured himself a bit more bourbon. “Please tell me you’re not serious.”
I gave him a look that said: Uh, yeah, totally serious.
“Let me get this straight,” he said slowly. “You want me to cancel my Sunday morning tee time so we can bring our young children to something called The Holiday Drag Queen Brunch.”
“Oh, come on!” I said. “They’re not babies. Jesus, we’re Liberals! They’ve seen gay people before. It’s not a big deal.”
“Excuse me, but I don’t think they’ve seen gay men like ‘that’ before…you know what I’m sayin’?”
“Don’t get all P.C. on me,” I pouted. “It’s brunch. How bad can it be? Besides, these girls grew up watching Looney Tunes. Bugs Bunny dressed up like a girl all the time.”
“You’re nuts.” He shook his head. “You know that, right? You are stone-cold freaking nuts.”
But then his lips twitched up a little at the corners, and I knew I was in the clear, in the way you know things when you’ve been married for 15 years.
“You’d better get on the horn and make reservations,” I said. “Seriously. They said it always sells out.”
“Huh,” I said, looking at the venue as we pulled in to park. “I pictured more of a glitzy, Las Vegas kind of place? This building looks kinda…sketchy?”
My husband turned off the ignition. “It’ll be fine.”
I gave him my worried face–the face I tend to pull when I realize that I have
perhaps probably made a dubious parenting decision.
He sighed heavily, then chuckled. “Babe. What are we gonna do? We’re already here.”
“You’re right,” I said.
And then I did that other thing I always do when I’ve made a dubious parenting decision. I weighed my options–now that I was already ass-deep in the thick of it–and realized I had two of them:
Option A) tuck my tail between my legs, admit I’d made a hasty and crap decision and insist we book the Hell out of there.
Option B) pretend that this little activity was an ingenious and totally normal thing to be doing on a Sunday morning and Go Big, suckers.
“You want another margarita?” the waiter asked.
“I dunno,” I said, studying the glass. “This thing’s as big as my head.”
The waiter huffed out a laugh and shot my husband a look. “I suggest you get another one–both of you. You’re gonna need it.”
“What the heck did that mean?” I hissed, watching him leave. I rubbernecked around the room, considering. “Okay, there aren’t any other kids here, but…look! There’s that table in the corner with 5 guys who are totally geezers and there’s 2 grandmas at the table over there. There’s a guy in army camo pants, which is even more impressive than the old people, if you ask me.”
“Gee honey, you’re right.” My husband grinned wickedly. “There’s old people and young people and black people and Mexican people and white people and all kinds of people–well, except KIDS–so what are you trying to do, honey? Make yourself feel better?”
I’d just opened my mouth to tell him to stuff it, but just then the biggest, tallest, most unattractive Jessica Rabbit lookalike ever to walk across the stage in a red sequined ballgown strutted in.
The room erupted in sound. Applause, foot-stomping, hoots, cheers, catcalls.
“So re-fill those drinks, because as we girls always say, ‘The more you folks drink, the prettier we get.”
Hoot, holler, clap, whistle.
Jessica batted her heavily mascara-ed eyes. “Also, this might be a good opportunity to sashay up to the cashier and get those dollar bills, because as much as we girls here love you, we love your money even more, and believe me, honey–it takes a lot of cash to look this cheap.”
WOO-HOO, YEE-HAW BAYBEE!!
I sneaked a look at Miss M., who was clearly considering ducking under the table.
I patted her leg reassuringly. “S’okay, sweetie.”
I looked at the envelope on the table marked: entertainment gratuity.
“Why do we need to get dollars bills?” I whispered into my husband’s ear. “There’s an envelope for gratuity right here.”
He looked puzzled, too. “I dunno.”
We ain’t smart.
Clearly, there was a reason for dollar bills and while the show wasn’t…risque, per se…it was full of innuendo and glitter and shake your bootay and many sequins and the biggest-ass wigs you’ve ever seen. None of which helped to make these drag queens more attractive but they put their hearts and souls into showing the world a good time and the crowd went wild.
The grandmas and the grandpas and the blacks and the Mexicans and the white suburban folk–singing and whooping and waving dollar bills like nobody’s business.
It. Was. Awesome.
After the initial shock of seeing these big, hulking, be-wigged and be-sparkled drag queens slither and shimmy through the room, the girls quickly got into the spirit of things and were soon cackling and singing along with everybody else.
At one point, I looked across the table at my husband and just shook my head.
“I know. Mother of the Year,” I said sheepishly.
“Go Big or Go Home, Babe.” he smiled.
After that little adventure, the rest of the trip was a bit anti-climactic.
We arrived home to snow and bitter cold skies, but it felt good to be back. Christmas was full of love and laughter and crumpled wrapping paper and a little white dog who was very glad to see us.
We had a bit of a debacle with our holiday ham, however. Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I spent a few days fretting and staying up past midnight waiting for the arrival of our gi-normous, gi-spensive Honeybaked Ham, which somehow went MIA during the holiday shipping madness. On Christmas Eve day, 2 days after our ham was to arrive but didn’t, I made an emergency trip to the grocery store to purchase ingredients for Holdiay Meal Plan B. Several hours after shelling out for the backup surf and turf, the Christmas HamMiracle arrived on our doorstep.
At least I know what I’m serving for New Year’s Eve dinner, eh?
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, surrounded by people you love most. . I always suffer a little from post-holiday burnout and malaise, but I’m trying to work through it. I got a few new cookbooks from Santa that I’m anxious to experiment with, and I’ve been spending a lot of quality time on the floor with Mozzy, which should cheer me up in no time.
Much love to you, readers. You really are the best.