When I agreed to an ex-deal with the Bacolod branch of a national chain of hotels, I knew that I wasn’t going to be sipping a margarita on the roofdeck bar, or sunning languidly by the pool for a sweet hour or so. This was work, so I went off to work-disguised-as-a-staycation one weekend with Mother.
The concept of this staycation was to get away from it all for a while and give my mother a change of environment without her traveling too far. It was how I wanted an aging parent to enjoy the good life while she still could. So, how did I prepare for this overnight staycation? It took careful planning just so that I brought what I thought I would need for the stay. With an elderly person in tow, I paid attention to so many details.
There would be lots of picture-taking, so, taking along my trusty Samsung J6 was a no-brainer. Since my pictures should paint a thousand words, I chose outfits that were not flashy. I felt that subdued colors would fit right in the low-key but upper-class image of the hotel. Other considerations were: 1) what accessories do I take to match our outfits, 2) shoes, bags, 3) Mom’s clothes, 4) Mom’s medications, 5) we shouldn’t forget her cane!..and 6) my laptop, and 7) the right make up colors.
More questions came barging into my mind. “Did I pack my contact lens paraphernalia?” “Do I insert our swimsuits in our luggage?” “My poor dogs, how do I feed them?” You see, featuring an establishment also requires taking care of the personal stuff like household concerns. We had to leave the house like that – no caretaker – since we had no stay-in help. With no choice, we prayed to God to watch over it while we took our weekend vacation.
It helped that the hotel staff was hospitable and courteous. This attitude lessened my anxieties and made me want to focus on how to put the hotel in the best light as possible through my blog. Mom was thrilled by our room and counted herself so lucky to be vacationing in such posh surroundings. I had to remind her that I was here to work. She promptly changed out of her street clothes and into lounge wear, and crawled into bed to nap. Gee, thanks for the help, Mother!
It is not a walk in the park taking care of an elderly parent especially one who is 86 years old, rather spoiled, strong-willed and suffering from dementia. If it is annoying having a child ask a question a gazillion times, try dealing with an adult who once bossed you around and told you what to do all the time. From the time we unpacked and took off the bed covers, Mama complained how cold the room was, how heavy the pillow was, how difficult it is to get off the bed, how dark the way to the toilet was (I switch off lights when not in use in ALL rooms), how hungry she was… “What? I have to get dressed again? Can’t we have dinner in my pajamas?” I wish I went alone, but, again, I had to remind myself that Mama was the star of my blog.
Taking pictures was the major activity for the staycation, or what proof would I have that we had the time of our lives at the hotel? Blogging means taking photos of as many details as one can of the subject – the non-slip bathmat to show the hotel’s concern for their guests’ safety, the toiletries to show the quality of shower gel, soap, shampoo/conditioner, toothbrushes, etc. that the hotel pampers the guests with, the kind of tea and coffee in the caddy, the terry bathrobe and slippers, the swimming pool, the restaurant, etc. The restaurant and the food during buffet breakfast took most of my attention. Food porn is a huge industry, you know. *wink, wink* A blogger tries to put everything in a good light. This is work, you know. I always look for the good. Always. Unfortunately, Mama didn’t have a care. She was there to enjoy herself. Of course! So, she was not much help with taking photographs. She was clumsy with Yesteryear’s point-and-shoot cameras; I do not expect her to fare any better with a cellphone camera. To exemplify, let me tell you how it went.
The succeeding four photographs were memorably hilarious. This was taken on the way down to the restaurant for breakfast and I took the opportunity to shoot while we were the only persons by the pool. I made my mother sit down at where the scene would be perfect, then, I gave my mother the instructions to hold the camera like this, and be sure to focus it like this, and press the button like this. I walked to the pool “ramp” in the middle like a model would take to the catwalk. Every time I felt she had taken a shot, I would run back to where she was seated and check. It was getting sunnier and I was getting hungrier, but work is work. Needless to say, I should never trust my mother to take pictures. On the other hand, she came up with some cool ones that my friends called “abstract”.
This one photograph took the cake:
Our staycation may not have gone seamlessly, but here’s what I can say: it did make me and Mama bond despite the fact that it was to satisfy my end of the deal. It also made me a better and wiser blogger. Okay, next staycation!!!