I don’t even know how to start this. Let’s see. We’re in Maryland for Christmas this year instead of Pennsylvania because Emily and Sean had Graham in September, and they volunteered to host rather than make another trip to PA. (Apparently, they’ve been up there every other weekend since the baby was born.) As a treat for the whole family (and to use up some of their Marriott elite rewards), John’s parents (Pat and John) took us all to spend the night at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel, which is one of those crazy big fancy hotels with a giant atrium and beautiful facilities and a big ice-carving show. We got our own rooms (a break from being on top of each other in Emily’s house), had dinner out, saw the ice-carving thing (they gave us parkas to wear OVER our coats because they keep the ice-carving exhibit at 9 degrees), and watched this garish, over-the-top, totally tacky and totally fun light and music show in the atrium.
Getting there, though, was a bit difficult. We were in two cars – Emily, Sean, and the baby in their car, and me, Molly, and John in the backseat of his parents’ car. The hotel is right off the beltway, in MD south of DC, first exit after the Woodrow Wilson bridge if you’re coming from VA. John’s dad was driving, his mom had shotgun, and in the backseat, John was behind his dad, Molly was on the hump in the middle, and I was behind their mom. I was in charge of directions, which was unfortunate yesterday. Just as we were getting off the highway, when the directions were like “Keep left to stay on X” then “keep left to stay on X”, then “get on the ramp towards I-95S”, but don’t get on the highway, “keep left to stay on X” – so, repetitive and slightly confusing – Pat told John to call Emily to find out where she was. She had parking questions, so John was talking to Emily and Pat, Pat was yelling advice to Emily (on John’s phone), Molly was in the middle fuming about how Emily should just unload already and park since we’re checking in and why is this conversation even happening?, and I was trying to provide John’s dad with the admittedly confusing directions across and on top of all this noise.
I was not successful.
We ended up back on the highway. Then we took the exit again to get to the hotel, tried to follow similar (but slightly different) confusing directions, and ended up on the highway AGAIN, because all of the previous conversations were STILL going on and John’s dad couldn’t hear me AND I couldn’t see very well so I couldn’t direct effectively. After we got on the highway a THIRD time, I had resigned myself to spending all night on 495, with the hotel in view but forever out of reach.
Thankfully, John VII hadn’t given up yet, and he was able to get everyone to shut the hell up long enough to make the correct turns and get us there.
Here was the view from our balcony (we had a balcony):