Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Detroit (part one)

Well, Plymouth and Livonia, actually.

Before we even left, though, here's an alarming image:

That jacket fit six months ago. SIX MONTHS.

We were in the airport and they announced our flight was leaving. "Well, time to go plunging to our deaths," I said. "Hey, at least if there's an afterlife, we get there together."

"Hashtag TABS," Eli 13.0 said.

"What's that?"

"Total Afterlife Ballers," he said, laughing.

While we were on the plane, Eli began speculating. "This is too small to be a 747, or even a 737," he said. "Is there a 727?"

"It doesn't matter what model it is as long as it's not the Boeing 911," I said.

He laughed. "That was a very bad model."

If there is a farting old lady who blows her nose for an hour, she will be sitting within one row of you.

At check-in, the hotel was bizarre. "You can't have hockey sticks in the rooms," said the desk clerk.

"What? Seriously?" I asked.

"You can check them and leave them behind the desk," he said.

"Not doing that," Eli said to me. "I'd rather leave them in the car. They might get stolen, but they won't get lost."

"We have the Red Wings account," said the clerk. "They leave their sticks behind the desk. We have some coaches staying here this weekend." I wanted to say 'show me their sticks and we have a deal', but I didn't.

Then we had to sign this incredibly strict code of conduct sheet. I was afraid we'd get thrown out if someone sneezed.

As it turned out (we found out from a friendly waitress), they've had all kinds of trouble at the hotel in the last year. Drunken, rampaging wedding parties, drunken fights, a guy with a gun (that was kind of funny--in Texas, some hotels hardly want you to check in WITHOUT a gun, which is why I wouldn't mind moving to Michigan)--all kinds of trouble. Good grief.

However, one huge benefit of this hotel is that it's attached to a mall, which has a California Pizza Kitchen, which is Eli's second favorite restaurant. With camp ending at 6:30 at night, getting dinner efficiently and getting back to the room is important, and this setup is a huge benefit.

We were walking through the mall on Saturday night before camp, and it was just all tremendous. A walkway from the hotel to the mall. Fresh cookies. An ice cream place. A Godiva chocolate stand. Five restaurants. "I guess I can scratch 'stay in a hotel attached to a mall' off my bucket list," I said.

When Eli eats at CPK, I've eaten there so many times that I'm sick of everything. Then they added a flatbread with chicken item, and I've been eating that every time we go (at least once a week). We looked at one of the other restaurants in the mall, and while I was looking at the menu, I said, "Thank god they have chicken flatbread."

"What a relief!" Eli said, laughing.

Later that night, we found a half-off sale on jerseys, and Eli scored big:

It's a Jimmy Howard Winter Classic jersey, and it fits perfectly over his goalie gear.

We saw an old-school, ornate phone in the hotel lobby, along with a nicely lettered sign that said "LOBBY PHONE. RINGS AT FRONT DESK." The front desk was, at most, twenty feet from this phone, which made me burst out laughing. Here's the phone:

And here's a view of the front desk from the phone:

Yeah, I don't get it, either. I know I'm just not understanding what they're doing, but I guess it wouldn't be funny if  I did.

We had a Japanese station on our channel guide, so of course we turned to that immediately, and in a huge stroke of luck, a game show was on. Japanese game shows are weirdly wonderful, and so wacky that they make Loony Tunes look sedate in comparison.

In the game show we were watching, there were two teams answering questions, and then they played a game. One team featured people of no determinate theme, while the second team featured some kind of boy band. Sort of One Direction kun, perhaps?

The way the game worked: there was a giant faux-pachinko machine on top of the playing field, and at the bottom was a treadmill where the "catcher" ran. The catcher had a giant basket on top of their head, and they had to catch the balls as they came rolling off the giant pachinko machine. But the catcher couldn't see what was above them, so the teammates had to call out which slot they should be under.

The treadmill started at a walk, but quickly increased speed, and kept increasing. In short order, the catcher was running at a full sprint, trying to catch a few more balls before they face-planted on the treadmill.

Like this:

It was entirely delightful, really. American television isn't nearly silly enough, at least in a fun way.

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