Friday, July 07, 2006

Dining Out and About

We went to three dining outs - dinings out? - in Alaska. It was a nice chance to wear a pretty dress (for me naturally) and not have to leave my high-heels at the door and walk around all evening in my slowly deteriorating panty-hose (no really, that's what you do in Alaskan houses, you slip your shoes off. Everyone does it so you don't track in mud and grit from the road-sanding. It's just when people are wearing formal dresses that it looks a little odd). We didn't even have to get a sitter - the unit got a rotating group of single people who volunteered to ride herd on the whole under-12 crowd.

One year we had it in the nicest hotel in downtown Anchorage. You knew it was nice, because when we walked in the door Dee Dee Jonrowe was doing some sort of press-conference/photo shoot thing there, and she's practically Alaskan royalty. We nearly didn't make it upstairs because the dozen or so puppies she had brought were so utterly entrancing.

The unit had rented a large suite for the kids, and we parents just opened the door and callously slung our offspring in. By the time we got there, there were already about 18 young of varying size, and two slightly dazed looking airmen. The noise level was impressive, but not yet deafening.

'Don't worry,' another parent said to us as we shut the door. 'I asked, and the babysitters get rotated every hour. I don't think anyone will be permanently damaged.'

Maybe sworn off breeding for life, but not permanently damaged, no.

It was a nice evening - the inevitable choice of halibut or vegetarian for dinner and a great after-dinner speech (the best moment of which was when the speaker, fed up with the overly-zealous unit photographer, finally gritted 'son, you flash that damn thing in my face one more time and i'm gonna stick it...'). Every half hour or so one parent or another would wander out to make sure at least the majority of the children were still breathing.

Kirk got tagged for one of those trips, and came back laughing.

'You'll never guess who they have watching them right now.'


'Lt (naming one of the other officer peons - the single one).'

Hmmmm.... nice guy - interesting but nice. He was the sort of person who could focus on only one thing at a time, but had enormous interest and energy, so whatever it was he did with every fiber of his being. He was also slightly deranged when it came to outdoor sports.


Turns out he had the entire crew, twenty some children ranging from 11 down to 2 solemnly lined up and down the hall, legs stiffly in front, vigorously running imaginary rapids in their kayaks.

'Left! LEFT!' He was shouting when Kirk came around the corner, 'remember, there's that huge rock I told you about right there and it'll tear your boat out... now RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT, dig deep dudes, dig deep!'

Faces grim with concentration, they all swapped their invisible paddles to the other side, leaning with the force of the turn.

He took them down the run three times that hour, but he didn't lose a single one.


Anonymous said...

Oh my God. That's brilliant! What did the kids say about kayaking in the hotel hallway?

For Kirk said...

Loved it! Of course, some of the parents were a little unhappy that our entertainment for the evening wasn't that good.