So – without further adieu, my recent trip to Nashville went down like this:
I had the alarm set to awaken me at 2:30 a.m. So that we could be ready and on the road by 3:30 at the latest. I even slept on the couch that night so that I wouldn't disturb my husband and the little ones as the two teens and I got ready. My plans went awry when I was awoken just shortly after 1 a.m. to my husband asking me if I smelled smoke. Yes, I certainly did smell smoke when I walked into our kitchen. The smell permeated the air the closer I got to the girls room. Mind you, we weren't trying to figure out if there was a fire, we were trying to sneak up on a certain teen who thought it would be cool to smoke in our house. It totally wasn't cool. Our household is non-smoking, for far to many reasons to name, not the least of which is my other teen daughter being allergic to cigarette smoke. The two teens sharing a room means that one was smoking up the room while the other sat there with an inability to breath properly.
Yes, this was one of those moments as a parent where you are at a loss for words for about 15 seconds then you lose your mind. I very nearly canceled the trip at this point. If it weren't for the fact that this would be the first time in ten years that my daughter would get to see her biological father, I certainly would have.
I digress though, because this blog is meant to be about a trip we took, not my parenting misfortunes. So, needless to say, after nearly an hour's worth of lectures and searching of property for more contraband the girls and I got an early start on our trip, the first half of which was very quiet.
I will spare you the details of getting there, as 12 hours in a vehicle with two 14 year old girls is enough to have the most patient of individuals ready to drive off the side of a mountain, but alas – we survived! We found our hotel, checked in, and rushed right back out to the store to grab some forgotten items. When we arrived back at the hotel, we were greeted by my daughter's father – who very politely – had flowers to give to both of the girls. We all talked for a bit and then Bri was off with her dad to go explore downtown Nashville and I took my step-daughter with me to go look around too.
My daughter claims she had the best dinner ever at The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant a couple blocks from the Grand Ole Opry. My step-daughter and I, on the other hand passed that place up to begin with because she's a very picky eater and I didn't think she would like it. I'm sad to say I missed out on the good food, but thankful at the same time that we didn't end up eating at the same restaurant since my daughter and her dad needed time alone to get reacquainted.
My step-daughter and I ate at a cozy little candy shop. There was nothing spectacular about our meal, but the wait staff in the place was impeccable. I will edit later to add the name, because I can't remember right off the top of my head right now. While on our way out, my step-daughter spotted a parent's worse nightmare - “The World's Largest Gummy Bear” - yes, a tourist gimmick. She ogled it, “oohed and ahhed” and then the begging started. Yes, you would have thought I was suddenly traveling with a five year old because she just had to have this gummy bear or she would die. Of course, as would be any parent's response facing the purchase of a twenty pound gummy bear for $40, “if you want it that bad, buy it yourself,” I said. “But, I left my money in the car. Can't you buy it for me and I will pay you back.” Okay, I am not stupid. I have been around the block a few times with this particular ploy. I will buy this gummy bear with the promise of being paid back only to never see the money – ever. Still, I relented and later you will find that indeed, an attempt was made to stiff “mom” of the gummy bear funds. Mom, had other plans, however; to make this gummy bear incident a teaching tool. I shall call it the gummy bears of economics. You see – that gummy bear, that you wanted so much that you would die without it – I hope he tastes good and that he was worth it, because you are most definitely paying for it. Yes, I know – I'm mean! A lesson was learned though, as nearly three quarters of that exceedingly large hunk of gummy sweetness ended up in my trash can, and I as a proud parent was able to say, “ I told you that you were throwing your money away!”
On with our adventure...
When my step-daughter and I arrived back at the hotel – might I aside here and let you know we were staying at the Sheraton Music City Hotel, which was beautiful – we walked into the main lobby where earlier we had been greeted by the easy lull of a majestic fountain. This time, however we were greeted by, Penguins? Seriously, this is not a dream – after a few shakes of the head and a double take – I realized what I was really seeing was a lobby full of nuns. I quickly checked my surroundings to make sure our GPS didn't send us to the Nashville Convent instead of the Music City Hotel, but no – I saw over at the check-in counter the same friendly face who had greeted me earlier that day. We were in the right place, now to find out if we were in the right dimension. Certainly, there had to be an explanation. “Yes ma'am,” the desk clerk explained, “you are definitely seeing nuns and priests. They are having their annual dinner for (insert whatever nuns and priests host a dinner for because I was too flabbergasted to really listen) and then they will be leaving.
Okay, things really had taking a turn for the Twilight Zone as I headed out to the pool area where I had spied a bartender, because, truthfully – who doesn't need a drink when confronted by God's unwaivering eye upon you as you try to make the most of a very long, very quick trip? My plans, once again, were thwarted because said bartender guy was now blocked off to the general public by all the priests and whatevers who were out there getting their “Beer-thirty” on. Okay, fine – yes, I know by this point – I am going to hell! That's obvious – stop judging me! So, we decide to go change and head to the pool because up until now, it has been a gorgeous day. My daughter is back now with her dad and they are just as confounded by the presence of so many Catholics in one place as I was. Seriously, I have never been to the Vatican and really – I have no need to go now – I think they were all in attendance at our hotel!It starts to rain – yea well, who cares – we're getting wet anyway! Just as we are about to walk out the door to the pool the bottom drops from the sky, torrents of cold wetness flood from the clouds and the winds begin to pick up and toss the poolside furniture willy nilly around the once pristine courtyard. The girls and I stand, staring at what could only be God tormenting us for all of our Penguin jokes and hysterical laughter. We wait out the freak storm from the balcony of our room and when it appears to be all over we wonder back down to try to drag the oversized table umbrella out of the pool so we can swim in it. “Hey,” I say, “Is that money floating in the middle of the pool?” The girls took note of the general direction in which I was pointing and dove for the wet green bill that had begun it's plummet to the depths of the pool. It turned out to be a $10 bill for which the two girls nearly drowned each other to reach. “Thank you,” I say to no one in particular, but meaning the religious men who were clogging up the pool side bar earlier! Karma scored a point in my favor!So, I could tell you about the rest of our trip and getting lost in the mountains for a bit when we took a scenic view, but really, what could trump all of that excitement? Oh yea, the flash floods and three hour power outage the next day, but that's a story for another time...