Category: Family

This is one of those posts that I should have written a long time ago but didn’t. My sister reminded me of this all-but-forgotten event over the Thanksgiving holiday this last year. When she told me I said, “You know, I should blog about that.” My dutiful wife sent me an email labeled “Unicorn poop, Migration of Jupiter into Uranus, and Ice chucking in Vegas.” What can I say: it was a fascinating conversation that wouldn’t have ever happened if I was at my parents house for the holiday. For the curious, I found that I had blogged about Uranus already. It’s somewhere: I’ll link it later. (Found it  Warning you here tho, that post is NSFW. If you cannot handle raunchy suggestions, just don’t go there.) Just don’t ask about the Unicorn poop. Mostly because I don’t remember. I think it was just a tag to make me go “wtf? I wasn’t that drunk, was I?”

As I believe I have mentioned before, my parents run a home improvement business. They’ve sold and installed carpet, Vinyl, stoves, tile, cultured stone: the whole thing. My father was a jack of all trades- master of EVERYTHING. Last year I called him and said, “Hey, I need to fix a water leak in my sprinkler system.” He talked me through it. I called him and asked, “How do I replace an electronic trigger on my drill?” Again, he talked me through it. He’s probably forgotten more on home improvement and small electronics in the last year than I have ever known how to do.

I should state for the record that this happened in the early 90’s. Every year around the beginning of the year, my parents would attend the Surfaces Floor show in Vegas. In years past my parents had someone keep an eye on us or my eldest sister would. I looked up the show this year to find that it traditionally takes place this week. Ironic that I decided to start writing this at 1:00 am, no? My parents usually attended the show with my uncle who ran a store of his own in a different city. This year, for whatever reasons I cannot remember, my parents took all of us with them. The plan was to meet my uncle, who brought his two children with him and we’d stay in the hotel room for a few days while they were at the show. We were left mostly to our own devices.

After much debate, I’ve decided that my uncles children will go unnamed; not because I fear them getting in trouble but because I’ve not really communicated with them in a few years and I just don’t really feel right about it. So I’ll just call them thing 1 and thing 2. Thing 1 was older, about my age (at the time), and generally more level headed, although I believe at the time I thought that she was just mean.  Thing 2 on the other hand was hyper active and often being yelled at by thing 1 to calm down.

Vegas! This was a treat in itself. When it’s 20F degrees and snowing in Utah? Yes please! And to skip out of school in the process? OOOH yes! In full disclosure here: I don’t remember why this happened, and how my parents were suddenly okay with pulling us out of school for this. it’s likely that I simply didn’t question it. A chance to skip out of school for a week and run to Vegas? It felt like an illegal con that I could get away with even if I told everyone. Now, if my memory serves me, and it usually does, I would have been turning 15 that year which means it was my Freshman Year in high school. My eldest sister was 17 and had a job that she couldn’t skip out on. I remember that my mom wasn’t too thrilled about leaving her home, but there wasn’t much she could do about it.

The show lasted almost a week. My parents left us and our cousins, who had the adjoining room in the hotel, while they went to the convention. I think the idea was that one of us kids (likely the next oldest, Heather) would keep us in line. The first day we all had a little trepidation about being left in a hotel room in Vegas and we stayed in one room and played card games most of the day. I got seriously bored after a while and left. I wanted to explore a bit so I went out meandering around. I decided that I had been gone long enough so I went back towards the elevator. When I got in with someone else I asked them what floor, he told me and I punched the number. He thanked me and gave me 50 cents. And the light-bulb clicked on in my head. I went back down to the bottom floor held the door open and waited. I spent what seemed like an eternity escorting people up and down the elevators, taking them to their floor hoping that someone would tip the “Bellman.” I’d seen TV shows. I knew how this worked: rich people checking into hotels, rolling out 100$ bills like it was nobodies business. I had it all figured out. I couldn’t believe that no one else had come up with this idea first! I had it all to myself. I was going to go home a filthy rich person- Scrooge McDuck Style swimming in my money bin! Until my sister showed up and escorted me back to the room. When we returned she announced to everyone where she had found me. Someone asked me what I was doing. “I was making money.” Heather rolled her eyes at me so I held up the $2.50 in quarters that I made in the elevator. Everyone was shocked. I was disappointed: no $100 bills for me today. I saw it on the TeeVee so it had to be true!

The next series of events is a bit of a blur of time. I don’t know how many days had passed or what transpired to cause the next series of events to occur. I remember being pretty upset at Pauline because she’d stolen my idea! She was in the elevator day after day. Much to my relief, she always come back empty handed so I still felt superior; I hadn’t been one-up’d by my littler sister. I was going to be upset if she got that one guy who was going to roll out a $100 bill to her because she was “cute.” My cousins went to great lengths to convince me that she would be the first one and for no other reason than she was cuter than me. Well, that and girls are far superior to boys. I think I put on a brave front but I still worried inside. The next thing I remember is white buckets.

To us, these were not any ordinary buckets. They weren’t money buckets though. As much as I’d like to say that I made some serious bank, it didn’t happen. No, they were White Ice Buckets. The outside of the building had tall trees and a 2 foot divider between the windows, so you couldn’t look into the window of the room next to you. If you leaned out far enough, it was just enough that you could throw ice into the adjoining window. We spent a good long time attempting to throw ice at each other via the open windows. We all took turns leaning out the window to throw Ice. At first, we were all a little nervous about it but not because we were leaning out of the 3rd floor window. We were nervous because there was a cop car parked in the lot below. We reasoned it’d been there since before we came and that it was just parked here for some reason. We didn’t really think about it a whole lot at first. We were all having very little success in actually hitting the open window. More often than not, the ice would end up hitting the divider or the tree so we started arching the ice up to try and bounce it off the divider on the other side of their window. In the middle of this, we started hearing taunting from below. A couple of teenage boys on skateboards were taunting Thing 2. Thing 2, not wanting to shirk off a taunt, responded by throwing ice at them. They started picking up the ice we’d thrown at them and throwing it back. They couldn’t quite reach the window. Thing 2 ate this up. Watching it unfold was heavily entertaining. Until thing 2 made a throw that went wild. I wasn’t at the window at the time. I just know I heard someone say “thing 2 just hit the cop car with most of her bucket.” All of us froze for a second, nothing happened, but the boys looked at each other and bolted… fast. Thing 2, not to be dissuaded by the lack of encouragement just started throwing ice at everyone, at everything. Not 10 minutes later, another police car showed up. Thing 2 made another wild throw hitting the police car. Everyone’s jaws dropped and then we all dropped to the floor as fast as possible. We heard the car pull in and Heather ran to get Pauline (who was in the elevator). Thing 1 and 2 showed up in our room seconds later with two packs of cards. With everyone gathered in our room, we quickly handed out cards trying to seem as if we’d been in here the whole time. Everyone was being super quiet. When Heather and Pauline returned, Pauline was super confused and demanded, “what’s going on?!” Kristi blabbed, “Thing 2 hit a cop car with ice!” Pauline’s jaw dropped as ours all had and thing 1 got upset with Kristi chastising, “You shouldn’t have told her.”

Shortly later, our parents showed up. Everyone acted like all they had done was play cards all day. My uncle made a wise crack about how he was surprised we hadn’t all gotten in trouble yet. Glances went around the room, everyone looking at thing 2. Thing 2 didn’t look at anyone. I don’t think that anyone slept that night; I certainly didn’t.

The next day it rained and our ice-escapades were done. There wasn’t even a discussion about it. It was just silently mutually decided. My sisters all gathered in thing 1 and 2’s room except Pauline who had once again beat me to the elevator. I was upset: this had happened for multiple days in a row. I was feeling rejected and after the night of no sleep, I laid down and crashed. I awoke to a buzzing noise and then the sound of people in the hallway. I opened the door to see armed men in uniforms running the hallways. My first through was “THE POLICE FOUND US! WE’RE GOING TO JAIL!” I picked up the phone, called the next room and in a gasped voice explained to thing 1 what was going on. She relayed the information and Heather grabbed the phone, I was instructed to go to their room. I opened the door slowly, saw that the hallway was empty, and ran as fast as possible to their door. I got in, sat down, and thing 1 was handing out cards again. The buzzing noise continued for what seemed like forever. When it turned off we all stared at each other in silence, waiting for a knock at the door. The knock never came. So we sat in uneasy silence . Thing 1 looks at Pauline after she’d joined us from the elevator and says “What happened?” Pauline swears that she didn’t know. It just went off and she wasn’t sure why. They talked about hearing someone run down the halls but not thinking anything of it because people are just loud. Thing 2 just seemed to be relieved that it wasn’t her this time.

The next day, I didn’t have to race Pauline to the elevator, she didn’t want anything to do with it. Therefore I resumed being the Bellhop. About an hour or so in, no one had come and I decided I was done. I hadn’t made anything more than the $2.50 the first day, and as far as I knew Pauline had come up completely empty. As I reached down and hit the button for the floor I was staying on, the back of my hand hit something: a switch and then a loud buzzing noise happened. I panicked for a second then saw the huge red switch that said “Alarm.” I flipped it to the off position and it stopped. I laughed to myself and thought “Nope, I’m keeping that one to myself.”

It’s been 20+ years and some details are probably a little hazy. 99% of this happened exactly how I’ve described it. There is one detail that is intentionally incorrect. I’ve left it that way because it is something that everyone remembers; something that everyone else thinks happened. No one knows it isn’t true; except for me.

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