I had a glimpse into another world this weekend. Jordan, Jacob and I stayed at the Austin Hyatt Regency, because the whole family gathered to cheer Jamie and Brandon as they did the Austin Annual Triathlon, which includes a daunting swim in Town Lake--not water I'd want to swim in. The Hyatt, where I've often gone for suit-and-tie meetings, was filled with a new crowd. There were bicycles everywhere, and a lot of very strong, fit looking women in workout clothes. Yes, there were men, but it was the women I particularly noticed--no primping, all no-nonsense. Tables were littered with healthy snacks and water bottles, and the talk was all insider stuff abut racing. Strangely, there were a lot of dogs going up and down the elevators. When we walked to the hotel from the parking lot one night, Mel said, "Look at all the bicycles in the window" and it seemed every lit room did indeed have a bicycle.
It all came to naught. Monday, the day of the race, dawned gray and rainy. When we made our way to the dining room for breakfast, I said idly to the hostess that I hated to think of my boys swimming in that water. She quickly said, "Oh, they won't let them. They've cancelled the race." (The hostess had become my friend by then--when you travel with a flirting, gregarious baby like Jacob, hostesses and wait staff become your friends; our second morning, the waiter from the day before came by and said, "Jacob, my man, how you doing this morning?" Jacob favored him with an enormous grin.) I felt a sense of relief, followed by the knowledge the boys would be really bummed out. They got up at four, were at the check-in by 5:30, first heard that the swim was cancelled, then stood around in the cold wet rain until about 7:00 p.m. when the entire race was cancelled. Brandon was home eating breakfast by 8:30, and Jamie was back in bed at the hotel. I had told Brandon Saturday that I heard it was not to rain Monday morning, and he said, "I'm praying for lightning." But when I said Monday, "You got your prayer," he said, "Standing there waiting, I was ready to do anything, but NOT pack up and come home."
When we checked out of the hotel, the atmosphere had changed dramatically. No longer electric with anticipation, it was filled with grousing--"Look, radar shows the storm has already moved on" and that kind of thing. Mel said later it was like one giant funeral.
The weekend was anything but a bust. We Alters were all together--eight adults (missing Christian, who was indeed sorely missed), seven children with five under three, and, miraculously, no extra dogs. We "hung out" at Megan and Brandon's, watching the children play. I was mightily impressed by how loving my children are with all the little ones, not just their own. They are genuinely affectionate, showering equal attention on each baby. There's absolutely no "My kid, your kid." They were all little babies to be loved and adored, and I certainly did my share of that.
Traveling with Jordan and Jacob, however, was a trip in itself. Jordan was anxious about watching Jacob in strange surroundings--justifiable, since he's walking and curious as all babies 11 mos. old are. But she was also anxious about his sleep, and I was not allowed to have a light in the room after he went to bed--at 7:30. I sat on the floor in the hall outside the bathroom in our hotel room and read. It meant I drank an extra glass of wine and went to bed early, which wasn't all that bad. The hotel bed was comfortable beyond imagination, and I missed it on Monday night when, at Megan's, I could stay up as long as I wanted but slept on an air mattress.
The neat thing is that I feel like I've had a vacation. I didn't think about work, check email, or do anything businesslike the entire time--okay, this morning I visited for 15 minutes with one of our designers but the talk was almost all personal and very little about business. And for some reason I can't fathom, it was those sumptuous hotel breakfasts that made me feel like I'd gotten away from it all. Give me corned beef hash any day, and I'm happy.