Snow Storm, Drinks with Friends, and The Ghana Room at the JW Marriott

Ahhhh. The first blog of the New Year. 2012. Everything is sparkly and shiny and shimmering right before me. Okay. I’m drunk.

No, I’m just kidding. I’m entirely sober.

Kealoha and I went out last night to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I was so excited to leave the house and the kids in their Nana’s hands. This has been a good break, but mostly it’s been me inside with the kids and their various step-siblings and playdates. I’ve run up and down the stairs countless times, wiped noses and asses, cooked and cooked and cleaned and cooked and cleaned, disciplined, hugged, kissed, and then repeated everything over and over again. I’ve worn nothing but yoga pants and gigantic pajamas. Getting out of the house was definitely needed.

So in the middle of a winter storm watch, Kealoha and I left the kiddos and journeyed out. I think I bitched the entire car ride…just about general stuff. How my mom drives me crazy. How her new move into an apartment complex is giving ME a complex. How the kids are so demanding. How I hate that I’ve been dieting all through the holidays and my pants are still tight. Then I asked Kealoha if he liked my new shirt. I bought it at Anthropologie and it…let’s say…highlights my excessive cleavage. He said he liked it. “It’s like an optical illusion with all those stripes.” Then I stewed in THAT for a while. I was trying to go for sexy. I ended up wearing something that gave people vertigo.

We tried to go to this dive bar The Birch Lodge. They specialize in everything fried. It’s great. And it’s all wooden in there so you feel like you’re walking into a warm wooden womb. (That’s a comforting phrase to say. Just try it.) We pulled up and could hear the football cheers from across the street. Some frantic iPhone messaging and calling later and we decided to meet at the JW Marriot bar instead. Everything in Grand Rapids was closed, but you can always count on a hotel.


The JW was quiet and peaceful. I was glad I was wearing my sexy new vertigo-inducing shirt. Anyone who looked at me would think “Oh, she’s artistic” or perhaps “Oh, I feel nauseous.”

We joined my friend Kay and waited for Ally. When the four of us were all there, we had the sort of conversation that should be destined for high literature or plays. You know, topics like camel toe, and my problem with eating smoky mayonnaise with a spoon whenever I encounter it, and artisanal cheese and almonds and whatever.

Then Kay told me that she and her hubby had booked a romantic night at the JW and ended up in the same room that Kealoha and I did for our honeymoon (three months ago. Three!). It’s called The Ghana Room or something. It’s some sort of cultural exchange thing….which is great. Like they have pictures up all over the suite to educate you about Ghana, and how much you suck for not thinking about Ghana all the time.

The problem with it is…see…when you’re on (say) you’re honeymoon or celebrating your anniversary or on a romantic night away, you don’t really want to look at gigantic pictures of an African village and the villagers inhabiting said village. I mean, they look hungry. I really am all for feeding people and recognizing cultural differences and all, just NOT IN MY HOTEL ROOM. My sister took a look at the room and the pictures hanging over the bed and said “Yeah. That’s a mood killer. I totally want to have sex while looking at THAT”. I just felt guilty. And like I wanted to send sandwiches to random villages. It made me feel like a loser for spending a bunch of money on a hotel room for a night. (Which I don’t think the JW intended with their decorating.)

There’s a time and place for building global awareness through art. But it’s not in the honeymoon suite. Somebody should write the JW a letter. In fact, maybe I’ll just send them this blog post. Pictures of flowers and cityscapes are okay in hotel rooms. Portraits are not. Unless you’re into having an audience. Which is sort of your own issue, isn’t it?

Kealoha snapped a picture of the Ally, Kay, and me. I love the picture (though I try not to look at my rolly stomach). We look happy. Last night reminded me a little bit that I’m not just a mom who wipes noses and asses and everything. I’m also a friend and a woman with cleavage so vast it can cause nausea. (Or maybe that was just my shirt.)

An hour and a half later, Kealoha and I were on our way home in the snow and sleet. The kids greeted me like I’d been gone forever. They clung to me and kissed me and hugged me and I did, I admit, feel appreciated. It’s a good reminder. They may not thank me for being there and taking care of them, but they do know I do it.

It was a good night. A great way to start the New Year. Really, what good living comes down to is friends, family, and camel toe.

You can maybe X out one from that above list. Maybe.