Last July my girlfriend and I traveled with our children to South Padre Island for a relaxing beach vacation at The Pearl (review to follow–one day soon).

As a mother, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. Having kids, and traveling with them, leads you to say on your toes. No problem. I get that.

But what’s more unexpected than a fire alarm going off at 4:30 a.m. on your first night of a relaxing beach getaway? Not much.

Darn those drunk, rambunctious college kids we saw on the elevator earlier that day. I wondered if their middle-of-the-night antics were responsible for killing my increasingly interesting Ryan Gosling dream.


My brain slapped me awake as heart slammed furiously in my chest, competing with the blaring siren for the loudest sound in our room.

Realizing I was half-naked, I pulled on my frayed and faded yoga pants before shaking my still-sleeping kids awake. The tiniest tinkling of our dog’s collar at home rouses them both from sleep EVERY SINGLE TIME. But this screeching fire alarm? ZERO effect.

I fought to feign calm for the sake of the kids as I dragged my groggy little bodies down nine flights of stairs, out into the sweaty, pre-dawn humidity, while not-so-calmly wondering if we were in real danger.

Turns out? We weren’t. False alarm.

After coaxing my awake–VERY awake–kiddos back into the building, and back up NINE flights of stairs (oh, joy) I realized something. The upside to our little early morning adventure was that I still had five more days of vacation ahead of me to try to relax. And that also meant I had five full days to hunt down those college kids.

Hell hath no fury like a mom whose Ryan Gosling dream was interrupted.