Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Family vacation: Mile 421

We’d been driving an hour and we’d still yet to puzzle out how last night’s baby sitter racked up more than $200 in phone bills on the room phone during a three-hour stint watching the kids in our Wintergreen Resort condo.

Valerie had gone to check out while I was getting my toes done. She said she stared bug-eyed at the bill and calmly maintained that there had to be a mistake. Or many little mistakes.

Entrusting their beloved daughters to a complete stranger is a leap of faith many prudent parents would never make. So much could go wrong. It might be a bad fit. The sitter could be addicted to drugs, porn or homicidal boyfriends. Leaving your precious little ones with someone like that could have harmful consequences that could forever scar a family.

But Val and I had been invited on a swanky wine tour along the Blue Ridge Mountain’s most scenic spots so we figured what the hell?

Our sitter was clearly a caring person. It’s just that she might have cared more for talking to her boyfriend more than caring for our kids. I didn't care either way. They kids were unbruised. The place hadn’t been set on fire, nothing was stolen and Val and I had enjoyed a real swell time.

So many new parents are fraught with worry about the new responsibilities. I remember when my wife became overwhelmed, I’d remind her, “Look, nobody says we have to be good parents. It’s not like they’ll take away our driver’s license or something.”

But it was still stunning to see $200 in phone bills. I speculated maybe the sitter was pining for a heroic boyfriend marooned on a rescue mission in remote, quake-torn China.

Turns out the phone calls were made just over the mountain about 10 miles away. I hope she didn’t get in trouble. Hotels tend to get grabby whenever any unsuspecting innocent picks up a receiver.

We’re heading on the second leg of our trip to Nashville, a town where I moved in 1985 when I got my first job at the Nashville Banner. I left three years later because I was ambitious to find a better-paying position where my idea of a splurge would be something more princely than a pizza with pepperoni and sausage.

My brother still lives there in a house decorated with inspirational sayings that cynics like me always make vicious fun of.

But I won’t do that this time. That would be unnecessarily rude. In fact, I intend to offer some uplifting and inspirational sayings of my own, one’s like, “Let’s Go Pens!”

We’ll be spending our nights watching the Stanley Cup finals and hoping Pittsburgh can come back and beat Detroit.

No comments: