It’s time for a change of scene when on day two of a Nor’easter-related electrical outage, you become emotionally unhinged upon seeing a brigade of Eversource trucks lined up on White Oak Shade Road.
Because I’m a multi-Bombogenesis survivor and a lover of a man in uniform, the sight of utility service engineers felt like gazing upon the Allied Troops rolling triumphantly along the Champs Éylsées. Oh, the joy, the newfound hope, the promise of better times…
My kids were barely at school in March and soon New Canaan Public Schools will commence its Spring Break. (Insert eyeroll.) We Gelvins have had a lot of togetherness. That’s not a bad thing, if you are one of those really good moms. You know, the ones who offer platters of organic, non-GMO crudité and expertly diced fruit for afterschool snack. Or, the moms who play rounds and rounds of old-timey board games because they love them.
Nope, that is not me or my modus operandi. And I cannot stand board games—it’s a genetic thing. Perhaps I just need “help”—and I don’t mean a nanny. I mean H-E-L-P.
My sanity was recently saved by a quick jaunt to The Bahamas. Before you get all judge-y, it was not as glam as you may think. My older sister, Mary (did I say, older? much older), begged me to help chaperone my niece and five other girls on Spring Break. She made a convincing argument about free room and board. One issue was that we had to share a bed. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Not so. This is the same person, who on childhood family vacations was my motel ‘bed-buddy’ from hell. On lengthy trips, Mary would freakishly grow out her toenails to produce switchblade-like talons that could claw at my shins if I dared move past her arbitrary demarcation line. So I figured, game on – it’s time for sisterly retribution. Let’s see what she’s got.
The girls chose to stay at The Atlantis (the antithesis of wonderfully sleepy and low-key New Canaan), where throngs of spring breakers were congregating. Basically, rabid, caged party animals were unleashed en masse and descended upon a resort filled with unsuspecting vacationers. Luckily, no one goes to Atlantis for relaxation. The resort is a mind-numbing combination of Disney, Sea World, Six Flags, Carnival Cruises and Reno—where quesadillas are $46 and the drinks taste like fruit-flavored Purell.
Fitting in somewhat, or just going with the flow, my chaperone role quickly evolved into ‘Aunt Susie, Spring Break Advisor.’
Who doesn’t love a promotion and a smooth job transition?
My role was to entertain my sister, keep her relaxed, while offering safe and sound, veteran party advice to my niece and her buds (all of legal drinking age). Their biggest concern, and rightly so, was trying to maneuver through the herd of sloppy barflies who blocked access to the clinging-to-life bartenders. It was like I was born for the job.
During my hours off the clock, I nervously checked my email and voicemail to ensure that my kids were doing well back home. But all the calls were from “the other men” in my life: Mike Handler, director of Emergency Management (also my pick for Connecticut governor 2018) and Dr. Bryan Luizzi, superintendent of schools.
The messages, which I like to think are just for me, were recorded updates about an incoming storm and school cancellations. I felt relieved that Mike and Dr. L had everything handled back in New Canaan. It was just the sense of calm I needed to prepare myself for the intense frenetic energy given off by the Spring Breakers, who were holding the resort hostage.
In a desperate act, Mary and I went on a solo mission to find a tranquil spot away from the sonic boom of the pool’s club music and the visual assault of scantily clad partiers grinding on each other. We canvassed the furthest corners of the resort, hoping to stumble upon a quiet leper colony with wait service. But apparently, if you want to read a book, meditate or even hear your inner thoughts at Atlantis, you are wasting your time. I openly laughed in someone’s face who walked by me with a book.
Yeah, ok sucker, where do you think you’re going to read that? Wherever it is, pleeeease take me with you. Abduction is fine. You can even claw at my shins.
While Mary and I did not find much tranquility, we enjoyed our mini-break and had a lot of sisterly laughs. Plus, we slept like angels. I’m pleased to report, my sister no longer goes on the attack to mark her nocturnal territory. Mary is an efficient sleeper and an early riser. Naturally, I am the opposite. I could sleep for days on end, but Starbucks-fueled Mary had the world to conquer and lounge chairs to stake out. And since I was not mauled in my sleep, I figured I could drag myself to an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet — if she insisted on paying.
My days away from New Canaan were good for a personal reboot, but I was happy to return to my charming town – free of table dancers and thong bikinis. Plus, my sanity-saving mini-vacation powered me through three Nor’easters (or was it four, Mike Handler?) and multiple electrical outages.