April 26, 2010

Atlantic City

This is Day 6 of the teachers' union strike. In the early morning hours of Day 4, I stumbled upon an advertisement for a steeply discounted hotel room in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Two hours later, my kids and I hit the road.

Shortly after arriving at the hotel, I began to sense that something was out of place. It took my toddler sticking his arm elbow-deep into a potted plant to realize that that something was us.

"Why are there so many grandmas and grandpas here?" my daughter asked me.

During our stay, we were the only hotel guests who were not foreign tourists or had been bused in from Leisure Village.

The retirees we encountered during our visit fell into two groups: those who crossed themselves and muttered "God Bless" as we passed, and those who wondered out loud what kind of mother would bring small children to a casino...as if casinos aren't family friendly.

If the sight of me with my brood and my cooler full of juice boxes made the other hotel guests nervous, it shouldn't have. We had no interest in the nickel slot machines; we were there for the Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool. Most of the time, we were the only people in the pool area. You can understand then why my kids were a little put out to find a man swimming laps there one morning.

"Look at his flippers!" my daughter said excitedly, pointing at the man's aquatic footwear. All convened at the pool's edge for a closer look.

"Stay away from him," I ordered, drawing an imaginary line down the side of the pool.

Despite having 90% of the pool to themselves, my children were drawn to the swimmer like dolphins to a fishing boat. Even with constant corralling, they still managed to swim closer to him than I would have liked.

Eventually, one of my kids swam into him.

"You're done for a little bit," I said, yanking my son out of the pool by his armpits.

I apologized profusely to the man and offered to buy him a breakfast buffet.

The man declined my offer, fearful that the meal would also include four underage guests.

As it turned out, we did see the man and his wife in the buffet line a few hours later. Everyone was very excited.

"There he is! There he is!" they cried in unison.

I pondered my good luck and eyed the nearest exit.

"Do not.." Before I could finish, my son bounded over to the couple. I closed my eyes and cringed. Tapping the man on the arm, my son smiled and said, "Hi! Do you remember me?"

I'm not a gambling woman, but I'm going to bet that the man did.


Evie's Story said...

Classic! Thats awesome! BEtting your kids are wonderful entertainment for the old folks who LOVE it Im sure!

Vindiciti said...

.....and say what? I'm dying to know.

Love it! I never can wait to read your brilliant writing.

Sara said...

This just makes me laugh. With 10 siblings, I can relate to this kind of stuff happening all the time!

Parenting Ink said...

Hilarious! Kudos to you for braving Atlantic City with 4 kids by yourself. Sometimes the thought of a long car drive with just my 2 scares me.

meghannamarie said...

I think it is great you took this time while the kids are out of school to take them for some adventures. I think elderly people need to be more understanding when a mother takes her children out. I have 4 kiddos myself and I get so upset when I get those comments about my crowd when we go out!

Susan said...

I'm just impressed you got 4 kids ready and packed in 2 hours!!

Jennifer said...

Hooray for swimming pools and other attractive distractions. So much better than getting them endless Netflix videos, which is what I would do. ;)

the thrifty ba said...

we used to have a beachhouse on brigantine (just outside ac, closer to harris) and i have so many wonderful memories of being the only person under 35 watching shows (i swear i saw tom jones there once). and when driving by any given casino, my nana would say the car wants to go to the casinos!
sorry about the teachers strike. the shore is MUCH better in the summer! (of course then you dont have old people but young, drunk barely dressed people)

GypsyNurse said...

Brilliant!! I live in Jersey.. and I so get what your kids are saying!!! Too funny... should have head down a little further.. prettier and more to do!

jen said...

Just found your blog and loved the Atlantic City story. I have so been there (not AC, but kid-humiliated).
I read your profile, and I was pleased to see someone else with a fairly useless day-to-day degree. Mine is in Medieval Art History. So, if you ever feel the need to discuss the Carolingians or the Ottoman Turks, or even Gothic influences today, I'm here!

Overthinking Mama said...

thats hilarious!! :-)

Miss A said...

Absolutely classic and awesome. And of course you're there for the huge pool...it's not like you're sitting the kids down at the slots for hours each day (although they may like that even more...)

As for the strike, my district was out for 9 days last year. It was awful for everyone involved (i'm a teacher).

Hoping talks go well with the two sides in your area!

Eric M. Sales said...

I love your posts- it's so funny, I come from such a big family that 'I could only imagine' LOL!

Thanks for posting.


Emmy said...

Wait was that end of the story or did you leave off what else he said???

That sounds like a great idea for a mini vacation.

Tom and Karen Mortensen said...

You are a brave woman.

Cari said...

Oh meanest mom! For being so mean, you sure are hilarious. What a talent!

Sweet August said...

Bahaha. This is great. :)

Blog Buddy said...

Ha! This so reminds me of growing up with my eight siblings...you never knew what could happen next...My dad would have us sing to the old people. He thought we were the Von Trapp Family!

Chris said...

Gee, you left out the best bits of this story in Am Lit class this morning. You are so very, very funny and have a wonderful way with words.

Se'Lah said...


Learned of your blog from Chris earlier today. This is a hilarious post. You're quite brave to do Atlantic City with 4 children.

one love.