Bas4: Team Shabbos

Well, it was a close call, but Bas Melech did get up before noon, and we hit the beach. It was warm, the water was blue, the sand was coarse, but not hopeless for the task of building a sandcastle. Build a sandcastle, you ask, but with what? Well, we had no buckets, but we had other things. Ma, if you’re reading this and thinking “Those towers are shaped remarkably like my pareve green plastic container,” it is totally coincidental. Trust me – don’t check the cabinets.

Behind Casa Lifeline you can see the start of a crenelated wall that wasn’t completed due to budgetary shortages. The flag is a Team Lifeline luggage tag. The engineering was done by Bad4, the architecture and design by Bas Melech. Overall, I think we did a fine job.

We tried to make a time-stop film of it being washed away by the sea, but Shobbos intruded and we had to run.
~ Bad4

Boy, have I got an idea for the next hit reality show/sitcom: Put an engineer and an artist together in a hotel room for a weekend. Seriously, I’ve been looking for the hidden cameras since I got here. Whose idea was this, anyway? (Oh, right. Mine.)

Unfortunately, I STILL haven’t found the hidden cameras so I don’t have a record of everything that happened. All I know is that Shabbos was AWESOME. Mainly because Bad4 gave me the perfect opportunity to return her jibes about sleepiness by skipping out before dessert… to sleep. 😀 (Bad4’s note: to read, then sleep. 😛 ) While I enjoyed my vacation with some rousing games, meeting new people, the Misanthropes Club convened upstairs. (Bad4’s note: I adore people… when I can hear what they’re saying. Usually. OK, sometimes.)

Other than that, our excitement consisted mostly of helpful hotel personnel turning on the lights we left off, turning off the lights we left on, and opening and closing our refrigerator.

Overall, it looks like this is going to be one of those happy-ending shows. At least, if Bad4 stops leaning on the back of my chair and making it swivel, there’s still a chance. But she’s reading this and looking for drama.
~ Bas~Melech

Some stats from the Motzai Shobbos Pasta Party:

  • There are 230 runners.
  • They range from 12-70. (There are two 12-year-olds. One is a Camp Simcha Special camper. The other is the tweenager I saw on Friday. Dunno ‘bout the 70-year-old.)
  • One runner came all the way from Australia. (The runner sitting next to me came from Israel.)
  • In total, we raised over $1,034,000.
  • The top fundraiser raised $24,000. He’s a former camper.
  • The total miles we will run tomorrow are equivalent to the distance between Miami and Anchorage.
  • We drank about a zillion liters of water and ate a fagillion pounds of pasta.
  • We are going to wake up before 4 am tomorrow in order to make it to the start line in time. I’m not sure how Sleeping Beauty is going to manage that…

Bad4: Killing Friday Morning in Miami

Woke at 7, and tried to stay in bed as long as possible for two reasons:

  • 1. Bas Melech thought it was sacrilegious to get up before 10 and
  • 2. between the hospital-cornered sheets, the inches-thick bedspread, and the numerous pillows, staying in was simpler than getting out

However, I had to get up eventually. I’m not very good at lolling in bed doing nothing. And it was already 7:30!!! I got up, showered, dressed, and davened on our veranda. We did have a view of the beach, it turned out, it was just behind a few parking lots.

I stood there, the sun glinting off the water warm on my skin, the light breeze caressing my face, the low, white city spread before me, and suddenly I felt like it was a crime, not a kindness, to let Bas Melech keep sleeping. I’ve never understood the point in going to a new location with many attractions just to sleep. So I gave her a ten-second warning that I was going to crash-land on her bed and that I am no Captain Chesley Sullenberger, and then I did it. She was entirely unimpressed with my attempt at chesed. I couldn’t budge her, even with a beautiful rendition of “modeh ani.”

With a sigh, I went out without her.

I discovered that a line is not the shortest distance between two points when there are parking lots involved. At one point, getting to the beach would have involved diving over a parking lot wall and into another hotel’s swimming pool (occupied by two old ladies gently stirring the water like soup), and then over the pool wall into the sand. I decided to go around.

The beach was deserted. Clearly, most of the world goes on vacation to sleep. I took off my sneakers and socks, left them on the sand, and walked along the surf.

The water here is a beautiful translucent blue. It rushes up the heavy, grainy sand, touching as high as it can with its lacy edges, and then retreats back.

“In New York,” I explained to the fisherman who looked puzzled when I asked him if he’d eat what he caught, “The water is murky and green and I’d never eat anything that came out of it.” He waxed lyrical on the fish he caught and how delicious they tasted.

I could have stayed there all day. But I thought it would be nice to share with my friend, so I headed back to the hotel, sneakers in hand. It seemed easier than trying to brush sand off my toes, but somehow, walking around barefoot looks less natural when you’re standing at the edge of a highway waiting for a chance to cross, with a gaggle of young men in blue shirts carrying tefillin bags on the other side studiously ignoring you.

I briefly wonder if I should have packed for a singles event, instead of cramming my junkiest stuff into a knapsack.

As we waited for the light to change, a female running posse exited and started jogging up the block. It was a mother, teenage daughter, and tweenager, all running together. How cute! But how on earth did they manage to raise all that money?!

“Hey Bas Melech! Let’s go skinny dipping motzai Shobbos! Nobody will be on the beach and there’s no lights! It’s 100% kosher!” I said as I burst into the room.

A groan from her bed.

“So can we go?” I asked. Her head turned left, then right, eyes firmly shut.

“Aw…” There are some distinct disadvantages to vacationing with a Bas Melech. I am avenging my disappointment by putting up yet another post without her. Take that, sleepyhead.

Bas Melech Live from Hollywood, FL

This post is by Bas~Melech. She’s kind of tired and not particularly coherent, so keep that in mind. ~ Bad4

As Bad4 already revealed, she had plenty of time to trash our room before I arrived. My trip was not as eventful as hers; ever unathletic, I chose instead to gracefully pirouette through airport security. My excitement came later: As I sought company for my sojourn to the hotel, a dude approached. After ascertaining that we were both headed the same way, he asked why I was running, but before I could launch into my stirring motivation as explained here, he volunteered his own deepest interests. They number two: Running and math. I still held out hope of finding a young gentleman here. There was another dude with us, too; he offered to share his opera tracks with those of us looking to update our itunes before the race. Nice.

He redeemed himself, though, by helpfully offering to arrange a group ride for the Team Lifeline participants on board our flight. After strolling around Miami International (“Airport taxis always overcharge.” Well, what other kind is there at the airport?!) he found us a very recent immigrant indeed who calmly assured us that he knew exactly where our hotel was. For some reason (maybe it was the 30-second pause before his response?) we felt neither assured nor calm about riding with the fellow, but he had already taken our bags hostage in his trunk.

Let’s just say I got to the hotel… eventually. By that time, as you’ve already learned, Bad4 had ample opportunity to trash our beautiful room. She’d even had time to get in the first two marathon posts AND take a decent nap, rendering her annoyingly perky for one who has just been woken from a sound stupor by a traumatized and drained roommate falling in. Literally.

After admiring the toilet paper origami and water bottles and ascertaining that the refrigerator was not, in fact, monitoring our usage to bill us later, and that the internet would not, in fact, work from the comfort of our big, cushy beds, I was ready to explore (albeit quickly losing consciousness).

More to come, but first I need to get an edge on Bad4 with a few z’s.

Arrival in Miami

I stepped out of the terminal and braced myself against the cold. It didn’t come. I breathed out slowly, so I could watch my breath puff. It didn’t puff. “I don’t think we’re in New York anymore…” I thought. I wandered over to the taxi stand and signed myself up for a shared ride to the hotel. Then I stood there idly, waiting. I realized I wasn’t feeling terribly excited. You’d think I walked out of airport terminals surrounded by palm trees all the time. Heck – you’d think I walked out of airport terminals all the time! I was in Miami! Slowly I started smiling.

People claim that between Starbucks and McDonalds, you can’t tell American cities apart these days. So untrue. I would recognize Miami in a moment. It looks just like in those car racing games. Unlike in New York, where we build things tall and dark, Miami likes them low and white. Or at least light. And their trees are less shady.

I struck up a conversation with the lone guy sharing my ride in the 16-seater van. He was from Haiti, returning from post-op surgery in NY. He was glad to be out of the cold again.

I haven’t been in many hotels, so maybe my judgment is off, but I thought this place was classy. Waterfall in front, loads of marble and mirrors, and the room looked like a picture from Architectural Digest. Or it did, before I made it look lived in. Bas Melech never got to see it like that. When I first saw the shower my immediate thought was, “It would be a pity to use that and mess it up.” The toilet paper was pointed at the end. The beds bounce nicely. The patio had a table and chairs and a view—of the parking lot, but nonetheless, a view.

My favorite part? This notice near the towels:

“Dear guest, Every day millions of gallons of water are used to wash towels that have only been used once. You make the choice: A towel on the rack means “I will use again.” A towel on the floor means, “Please replace.” Thank you for helping us conserve the Earth’s vital resources.”

Imagine if I tried that at home!

I immediately set about ruining the picture-perfect room by throwing my stuff around. Food went into the fridge. Jacket over the chair. Crocs on the floor.

There were two liter bottles of Evian behind the sink. “How nice!” I thought, really impressed now. Then I leaned forward and peered at the label around their neck. The credit card I’d given them downstairs would be charged $5 for each bottle violated. “How cheap!” I was indignant now. It seemed crude. I went back and checked that there was no price tag on the toilet paper. There wasn’t. Well, time to explore now. The woman behind the desk said something about a 24-hour fitness center and recreation room. And what about that gorgeous swimming pool I saw in the pictures?

~ from the hotel lobby