Monday, July 26, 2010

Lake Tahoe So Far

Good things so far:

  • We left with things in good shape both at work and home, so no unfinished business is hanging over our heads, and we will be going home to a clean house and yard, unless some disaster hits while we're gone.
  • No one has thrown up or otherwise gotten sick or injured, except Ann bit her lip when she hit herself with a paddle.
  • The resort is very beautiful and clean and high class, with lots of amenities, plenty of handy stores around, and excellent concierge and valet service.
  • Ann has been providing good, cheap food. She got these delicious meals made at a place called Dream Dinners, and she brought enough for the whole Tahoe portion of our trip. This is good because taking our crew of seven even to a lousy restaurant can easily approach $100. We have a full-sized kitchen and have divvied up the dish-duty days among four people, so no one feels too much pain. Plus, as we usually do while on vacation with the kids, Ann and I are sneaking away for a fine-dining experience, just the two of us.
  • Our resort accesses a private lake beach that is great. We got an inflatable raft, and the kids are having a great time. Believe it or not, I'll even go out in the little raft.
  • We just got back from renting bikes and taking a terrific 90-minute ride along the lake and up into the woods. I would like to do that again while we're here.
  • Last night just Ann and I went on a sunset walk, and there were a lot of clouds so it was spectacular over the lake. We strolled past a casino where Elton John was playing in an outdoor venue right on the Nevada/California state line, and we stood outside for a while with tons of drunk, smoking people freeloading on the great sound. I'm not a huge fan, but he does have some excellent songs, I admit. Having Elton's voice and keyboard float through the whole area really cast a spell on this little town last night.
  • Ann and I have our own private, enclosed room, and I've been sleeping great. This has been a clock-free vacation for me, so I have no idea what time it is when I wake up, we eat when we want, and sometimes in the afternoon I honestly don't know if it's 3:00 or 5:00 or 7:00. I like this timeless feeling.
  • I have been reading a ton, which is bliss. I'm almost done with the 1,100-page The Stand. Last night I dreamed that the LDS Church was having Sunday School classes read The Stand as a way of studying the last days, and I was pissed off because I've had several bad experiences of getting censored in Mormon culture, and yet the church was tolerating all King's profanity and vulgarity.
  • It's been a little rainy off and on, but that has served to cool things off and slow down our pace a little at times, which I welcome.
  • I love having Ann be our tour guide. I just drive, go where I'm told, and do what I'm told. If it were left just to me, we'd probably rarely make it out of the hotel!
Complaints so far:
  • I don't know if other people's kids are this way, but our kids are so often demanding and irritating and stressful. I would like to have lots more stretches of time without people constantly interrupting me and asking me to do stuff, whether go to the pool, load the dishwasher, play chess, etc. And I know Ann deflects some of that stuff away from me, so it could be a lot worse!
  • It's not a two-bedroom villa like we often get in Park City, but rather a one-bedroom. So the five kids are all out in the lounge room. There are two pull-out queens, so they can all sleep comfortably, but that room is always a wreck and Hannah Montana is always playing on the TV, so I hardly even go in there (we have our own TV and DVD player in our bedroom, but I haven't even really watched a movie yet, since I'm so into reading The Stand). And with two beefy teens, let's just say the place often needs airing out.
  • One bathroom. 'Nuff said.
  • With our vacation club, we get no maid service unless we want to pay extra, which we don't. So we're constantly running out of towels and stealing extras from the maid carts or the pool. The carpets really need to be vacuumed every day, but we have no vacuum handy (I suppose we could request one), and we have to gather up all our own trash and throw it out into the hall. Plus, I'm pretty tired of seven people's wet bathing suits and beach toys all over everywhere, sand on the tile floors, etc.
  • Everything costs so much. I'm glad we're not eating out much, but we're spending almost $200 to ride a gondola up into the mountains, $500 to rent our own powerboat for half a day, etc. I agree with Ann that it's silly to come all this way and not take full advantage, but then again it's difficult to see all my hard-earned book money disappear so fast, especially when we could save it or spend it on making some household improvements, paying off this low-interest loan we have, or replacing our beat-up purple minivan, which is coming up on 200,000 miles. Ann and I went to Europe two years ago, China last year, and now this full-family two-weeker, so I'm already pushing for taking a year or two off from expensive traveling. In 2011, I hope all we do vacation-wise is spend our week up in Park City, and I think Ann's in agreement.
  • I've really been wanting to work on my own novel as part of vacation, but I can't seem to find fifteen continuous minutes to really concentrate, let alone the minimum of two hours I usually need for a productive session. And even when I do have a little time, I waste it doing stuff online or typing things like this. Although I love typing this current novel, I hate having it hang over my head and feeling guilty when I don't work on it as much as I think I should, which is a dumb way to feel about a hobby.
  • Although beautiful, the lake is too cold for me to even consider swimming in. The resort pool is also too cold for me, although the resort has some great hot tubs with plenty of heat. I'm a real wimp when it comes to water and simply won't get in unless it's quite warm. 
  • I'm a little nervous about the powerboat, because I think Ann thinks that she's going to water ski and that I'm going to do a competent job piloting the boat. From when I water-skied as a kid, I remember it as a fairly complex, dangerous thing to do (both my mom and I were injured while water skiing).
Bottom line: I like Lake Tahoe a lot, and if you're a member of the Marriott Vacation Club, I recommend trading your week to spend some time here. And I like that after our full week here, we get to have a second vacation visiting our brothers in Vacaville and Danville.

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