By the time we found our way to the rental car, we were in various states of Done. We were in Vegas, although hours later than we planned, and everyone just wanted to get to the hotel. I was probably the Done-est. I hate flying. I hate waiting. I hate letting other people make the decisions, even though I'd given myself a good talking to before our trip as Going With The Flow as official Trip Policy.
We'd talked about Phillip being the driver, but when Father-In-Law clambered into the driver's seat and started poking around, we knew the plans had changed. Phillip and I had a quick conference:
"My brother sent me directions. Here's a map. Do you want to sit next to my dad and help him navigate?"
There was a pause while I thought about how much Assertive I had in my stores, whether I really knew where we were going and how much trouble I wanted to invite. I was feeling confident, at least at that point, so I agreed.
The directions were only a few turns long. That plus the fact that you could see the entire Strip from the airport made me think it wouldn't be difficult. So I loaded the bags into the back while Phillip fumbled with car seats, Mother-In-Law watched the kids. Right before I finished FIL dashed around to the back of the car, rummaged through his suitcase and produced a small electronic gadget. (It runs in the family.) "My GPS!" he said triumphantly.
Still, I lightly hopped into the passenger seat and showed him the map. "Do you want to see where we're going?"
"What?" said FIL. He was punching buttons on the GPS. I waited.
"GeGe gave us directions," I said. "And we found the hotel on the map. It looks pretty close."
"I have GPS!" FIL informed me.
"But do you want to see on the map?" I asked again.
"Sure!" he said. But he wasn't looking at me. I don't even think he was listening.
"PHILLIP," I called to wherever he was. "I think you should sit next to your dad!"
FIL and Phillip argued over Directions vs. GPS for the first ten minutes of our trip, which consisted of 1) finding our way out of the parking garage and 2) deciding which way to turn out of the parking garage and 3) sitting at a light. At this point the argument reached its peak.
"GeGe says to turn right."
"I don't know," FIL said. "Doesn't look right."
"GeGe has been here before. He gave us directions. Let's just turn right."
FIL punched buttons. "What does GPS say?"
"Dad, we don't NEED GPS."
GPS decided to participate and said, "Turn left."
FIL swung left. Phillip crumpled up the directions and threw them out the window. Well, no, he didn't since the directions were actually a text message on his phone, but I'm sure he THOUGHT ABOUT IT.
It appeared the GPS was going to take us directly down the Strip. Phillip made it known that he was resigned to this fact via many shrugs and sighs and sarcastic "Well I guess we're going THIS way" comments. But the Strip was fine. For a while.
A few minutes later we saw that the traffic was getting sort of horrendous, and that there were also many large orange machines parked farther out in the middle of the road. A few minutes after that, all forward motion stopped. We sat.
I tried very hard to think about what a nice view we had of the Strip and whatever casinos we were sitting next to, but mostly I was tired and hungry and worried about how my kids were going to survive our big buffet dinner without a nap and wondering whether FIL was going to insist on using the GPS the whole trip and how I would survive the next several days as The Youngest which means NO ONE LISTENS TO YOU.
Several times we suggested FIL turn off the Strip and hook up with GeGe's directions, but it was either impossible to maneuver due to the packed in traffic, or FIL merged into the wrong lane. The GPS kept chirping, "Point eight mile!" "Point five mile!" and FIL would repeat this back to us, in case we were wondering if we were making any progress. (We weren't. We just wanted to be woken up when we got there.)
It took us a half hour to drive about a mile. I SWEAR. I will spare you the convoluted reasons why FIL suddenly feared we were never going to find our hotel and why he and Phillip decided to randomly turn right, which is how we ended up in some employment center parking lot on the phone with Phillip's brother. And while I couldn't hear what GeGe was saying, I could tell, based on where the hotel was (BECAUSE I KNEW) and where we currently were, Phillip was turned around and going the opposite way. Meanwhile FIL only had eyes for the GPS unit and it was utter utter chaos until I yelled, "GO THIS WAY!" from the back seat and saved the day.
Well, no, I kept my head down and prayed that we'd get there before the force of keeping my mouth shut made me spontaneously combust.
Several wrong turns later we pulled into the valet parking entrance of a hotel with the same name as our hotel. We unloaded everything and walked another mile into the lobby where GeGe was supposed to be. But he wasn't there. This was discussed in a tense phone conversation and even THAT took ten minutes before both parties realized we were in the WRONG HOTEL.
It was hardly the BIGGEST mix up of our day (and it wasn't the last) but it's the one that Drove Me To Distraction. (Drove! Ha!) The logistics of Vegas, especially with two small children, were impossible.
Here are Molly, me, my monster legs, Jack, and MIL in Caesar's Palace, seconds before Jack's Tony Award-winning meltdown, in which I play a supporting role hauling his bawling limb-throwing self out of the casino. This happened because I was all, "LET'S WALK!", which was the STUPIDEST IDEA EVER. But between rental cars, taxis and valet parking I considered stabbing myself in my own eyes a grand total of nine-hundred-eighty-four times. I have more to say about that, but I've got to cute my kids up for Lucy's birthday party.