Saturday, December 31, 2011
It was supposed to be simple.
Drive to Nashville. Visit Alexa and Susan. Spoil the kiddo with a stay at Opryland, currently the headquarters of A Dreamworks Merry Madagascar Christmas, cause, you know, nothing says the holidays like Shrek inside a casino-sized hotel that made out with a mall and gave birth to a theme park.
The reality saw our little black cloud pull into Nashville with expired tags and get pulled over pretty much the second we arrived in town. With Alexa unexpectedly having to work most of the weekend, we cruised over to Opryland, and I swear to god, if they had an app for it? The man would have filed divorce papers on the spot.
I had been to Opryland once before for a photography conference, just after the holidays. The hotel was all decked out with giant Christmas trees and lights and - here's the catch - minus the 20,000 or so people that comprise the holidays at Opryland. So while I was expecting the labyrinth that is Gaylord Opryland, none of us were prepared for the multitude of Mississippi State bowl gamers, Cheer Nationals with its hordes of disturbingly painted, groomed, and undressed, dancing preteens, and most of the rest of the country that thought Christmas with two million pounds of Alex the Lion ice was the way to salute the season.
Throw in some overpriced pizza, gastro distress and an 8:30 bedtime for the four of us in one hotel room, and you've got a magical evening consisting of one screaming child, one crying adult, and another who looked like he was about to pull a Jack Torrance and run through the halls of Opryland with a baseball bat. But I meant magical in that Declan screamed repeatedly throughout the night approximately 4 feet away from his sister and not once did she wake. Not once. Bottle that shit and you could cure insomnia.
The next day proved more of the same with missed naps, aimless driving along 40 to makeup for said missed nap, impromptu car repair, epic traffic and a meltdown so tremor-inducing that we had to bail on visiting with Alexa and Susan just to get back on the road. I'm glad that Harlow loved her time meeting the different Dreamworks characters and hope she treasures the memories as we will not likely take another family roadtrip until 2020 or the coming apocalypse forces us to travel to higher ground. All I know is that we'll be getting separate hotel rooms.