There are a few things I can count on during our time in Palm Springs at the Ace Hotel. Currently the only place I can sleep these days that doesn't openly resent the fact of checking in with an army of four boys wielding skateboards, floaties, swords, suckers and squirt guns. In fact, anytime we're there I feel almost at home. In familiar quarters where we are all easily entertained. Welcomed even. The Staff, quick to stop and chat with any one of the boys whenever they pass. Treating Leon like he's part of the team, watching his dutiful role as unpaid water boy filling paper cups of water for strangers who look dreadfully thirsty. And Rex blazing around barefoot on his brother's borrowed skateboard. Making friends by pulling old school stunts borrowed from the Dogtown doc he watched last summer.
In the lobby Hayes is sloppily feeding Oliver, the resident puppy on site. Receptionist laughing overhead as he spills food and water all around their feet in sweet attempt to feed (and hug) the dog at the same time. Arlo, doing backflips (until I wholeheartedly forbid them anyway) in the water to the applause of three very impressed (freshly tanned) dads on vacation from their families for a short "summer regroup" with the guys. As is their long standing start of summer tradition. Who appear genuinely fond of the ten year old with so much poolside gusto. And even the 2 yr old, who's piercing cries for juice and cars, and crackers and balls don't bother them as much as it should because, well, they miss their own kids who are "about the same age" at home waiting anxiously for their return. So we talk about two year olds, and the importance of time away, about kids being kids and and the crazy way people judge each other's parenting. We are all in agreeance. And it feels nice to find that. Even in strangers you know you'll never see again.
At the photo booth I complain (to no one in particular really) about the new polka dotted curtain backdrop in the booth, and then have my card shut off (like it does every time I'm there) because my bank still hasn't figured out my love affair with photo booth is real, and wrongly assumes swipe 4 is a red flag for theft when really I wasn't even through the last string of kids in line for their own strip. I curse the fact of it and head outside to put the baby to bed and find the closest thing I can to a "nap." Which is really just me splayed out in the shade with a magazine while Denise cries about the laptop she dropped in the spa when she went to collect the litter of paper cups left behind by our kids. We google tips and keep our hopes high. But she makes the mistake of trying to fix it with a blow dryer that ultimately melts two keys and doesn't do much in way of wired resurrection either. The end all fate of it, we still await.
The photo shoot we are hired for to shoot a lovely kiddie linen line comes together in a few short spurts spread out over the course of three days. As best as we can manage with 6 hyped up kids in bathing suits always headed for the pool. Impossible to wrangle with any plausible direction or order. So we bribe them with candy and the promise of another cold lemonade. Then eventually loose our patience because none of it's working and I resort to yelling and begging, landing somehow on an ill decided lecture about the horrific work conditions plauging the poor kids in China. Which is maybe not the best move but grabbed their attention enough to tie up the shoot which I figured at least informed them of the triteness of such complaints. I mean, having to jump around a cool hotel with their friends for a few photos isn't necessarily what modern hardships are made of.
After lunch we all watch with steady intrigue as a Japanese TV personality star is photographed by six stylish sidekicks by the lounge. The kids all wonder (aloud) if it's a "he" or a "she"and we hush them partly because neither one of us are actually sure yet, so we all sit in silence watching them take 100 photos of a flamingo shaped bag and then later find the shots under the hotel hashtag and see that this individual has close to a million followers, and is apparently a big deal over seas. We get lost in the feeds we find that night and regret the hour we spend eyeing weird selfies and kids on fancy boats throwing money like rain, instead of trying to find real cures for broken, burned, and wet electronics.
At the end of it we drag an exceptionally heavy couch to the art wall for a shot and laugh hysterically as the kids dance and somehow slip out of the former sulk they were stuck in and become giddy, like the remake of the Friend's sitcom intro. Which, when the added soundtrack of the show is attached to, essentially becomes a fantastic snapchat video we both replay (for our own amusement) too many times to even count. Even Mike, who's dropped by for the night, praises it with serious complement.
In other hours Denise is wedged inside of cutely fruit shaped floats, usually debating a salad but most times settling on fries, sipping a speedy gonzales and craving a nap before the night's end where we both wind up watching karaoke in that black dim lit bar with sun burns and bathrobes because some traditions, they just write themselves.
In the end we are all back home together, exhausted but refreshed. Her with a water logged laptop and me with an untimely (mid job) broken camera (hence the stock photos inserted above) But the job is done and the kids are rested and everyone's now aware of the instant praise a backflip into the pool can warrant, and the hard cold truth about kids in factories who would donate a limb to be forced to "work" for slurpees and gummy worm rewards. And that vacationing with animal shaped accessories and waist length blonde weaves can in fact be career for some.
Thank you, Palm Springs.
Till next time.