With three weeks of school left, I made a promise to my weary kindergartener. If he could stay on “green” for the remainder of the year (more or less…), we would take a trip and stay in a hotel–with a POOL! Naturally, I already had an idea for a weekend that would be perfect for such an adventure–Memorial Day weekend!
He was (mostly) good for the rest of the year, so the trip was on. I had a couple of events that I really wanted to attend in north Alabama on Sunday and Monday, so we decided to just stay in the area Sunday night and kill lots of birds with a minimal number of stones.
I had planned to splurge and stay at the super-nice hotel in the area that has the coolest indoor/outdoor pool setup ever. It has a water slide and everything. Of course, breakfast wasn’t included, and it was going to be about $200 for one night, but (insert justification here…). Right?
I kept putting off making reservations for the hotel, and then on Monday, I decided to quit my job. That price tag started to look a LOT bigger. I didn’t want to skimp on Zander’s reward, but paying $200 for the use of a pool and a place to sleep for a few hours seemed REALLY extravagant. Michael and I kept going back and forth about it so much that we found ourselves arriving in Tuscumbia with no reservations and no decision made.
Michael decided to use the time that Mom and I were at the baby shower (one of the two events that determined the timing of this trip), to take Zander to a few of the hotels in the area to “inspect” the rooms and pools. They looked at the expensive hotel as well as a few others that we had discussed. On a whim, they also looked at the hotel that was right next to the shower location.
Once they picked us up, it was time to decide. Since the hotel stay was his reward, Zander got to make the final call. We both knew that he was going to choose the expensive hotel with the killer pool. We were prepared for it. We were wrong.
You see, Zander is very much like his father in many ways. One of those inherited traits is the desire to avoid large crowds. The expensive but cool pool was currently home to about 100+ people. Zander had no desire to swim in a pool with that many people, regardless of how cool said pool might be. He chose the hotel right next to us.
The hotel that he chose had an awesome staircase that both of the boys loved walking up (and down, and up…). It included a hot breakfast…with a WAFFLE MAKER(Zan was thrilled with this “extra”)! The best part though, was that the pool was completely empty. We were able to swim in any area of the pool that we liked. We weren’t splashed by poorly behaved children. I didn’t have to worry about the baby if he wanted to swim “alone” on his float (of course, he didn’t know how close MeiMei’s hands were to him…he just knew they weren’t holding him). None of us had to be self-conscious about what we looked like in our swimwear. We were just free to enjoy being together and on vacation.
In the end, the “frugal” choice was not a compromise or sacrifice at all. It was actually a much better value than the “better” hotel. We paid half as much money for so much more enjoyment.
I love how this journey into life on a single income is changing my perspective about so many things. It is so easy to assume that paying more means getting more. In reality, it is often buying the bells and whistles that you won’t even use or appreciate.
I am going to spend some time thinking about all of this in these last few days of May. By Friday, I’ll have a frugal challenge for myself (and any of you that want to play along) for the month of June. I do love a good challenge!