Sunday, June 15, 2008

Trip to London, expensive; embarrassing your children while you're there, priceless

After more than a decade and a half of parenting, my wife and I have become experts at embarrassing our two children (actually, given that both of the children are teenagers, life with us right now is more or less a constant embarrassment, but some times are definitely more mortifying than others). Vacations are our time to shine, and the trip to London has provided some excellent opportunities.

Embarrassing moment number one was finding out that the paper thin walls between the living area and the bathroom in our flat allowed every bodily noise to be heard loud and clear. Note, this was more embarrassing to the older teenager; the younger one saw this as a great opportunity to practice sound effects when he was in the bathroom and to offer commentary when anyone else was there.

Embarrasing moment number two was getting the boys to pose for pictures in different settings. The picture at right from the Tower of London with Cathy and the boys posing next to a giant beefeater bear is a good case in point. The looks on the boy's faces really say it all. If you look closely, you can see them each saying "thanks Dad" or something along those lines.

Almost as embarrassing was making the boys share a dessert at a restaurant. Getting a double portion of a dessert instead of two separate desserts saved us about two pounds--a nice savings given the exchange rates. It's times like this where they really hate having an economist for a father.

However, the piece de resistance embarrassment-wise was running out of toilet paper and having to ask the front desk for more. Apparently, there is a toilet paper shortage in the U.K. The hotel doesn't stock the rooms with any extra rolls when you check in and only provides additional rolls upon request. Fortunately, the clerk saw my two boys with their heads buried in their hands and gave me an extra package. A perfect end to a perfect Father's Day.