Tag Archives: Snakebite
Aside

NoTel, No More

6 Mar

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Hot Damn had a little swim in Lake Me followed by a sobering attitude adjustment this week.  See, I’ve always had a secret smug satisfaction with some low-key character traits that set me apart…you know, the sort of things that used to make Big Daddy coo, “You’re not like other girls…”  Of particular pride is that I am not a hotel snob.  If my bags are packed, who cares where I’m sleeping.  AmIright?  I know this is my personal truth.  Don’t believe me?  Check out these two compelling examples:

1.The summer my brother and I traveled across Europe, each armed with a Eurail pass, a hostel membership card, a deluxe backpack, $2000 in travelers checks (in lieu of a credit card) toted in my flesh colored money-belt and absolutely no plan.  We happily slept on trains, benches, sofas and sometimes beds.  The less money we spent on accommodations, the more we had for fueling the wanderlust.  I washed my hair in train station sinks and never held a blow dryer.  It was cool.

2. A motel just outside of Charleston, S.C. called The Lord Ashley Court.  You had to pay a $10 deposit to have the phone activated in your room. The cable for the TV dangled from the roof and was snaked through the window.  There were rollie-pollies on the shelf above the sink.  I stayed here two years in a row during Spoleto.  The first year was by process of elimination, the second year was a choice.

So, this week Snakebite and I needed to spend just one night in Sewanee, Tennessee.  Our options were slim and it was the Best Western Smokehouse Lodge that was both recommended and available.  I did briefly pause at the $72 per night reservation, but then recalled a darling Best Western where I once stayed in Chaing Rai, Thailand on the banks of the Mae Kok river.  That this would be just fine for us girls for a scant 12 hours was a given.

My Facebook status when we finally got checked into our room:

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When we checked in at the front desk, the “lobby” was kinda packed with what I thought might be the stragglers from the weekend’s mountain family reunion/meth-cook recipe swap.  Lotsa mullets, jeans without back pockets, hoodies that had seen better decades and extreme smoker teef.  Turns out this was the lodge’s cracker-jack staff on perpetual break.

On the bottom floor, our room overlooked a parking lot flanked pool and a retention pond.  The walkway outside of the room was built of peeling painted wood decking boards.  Any time someone walked the plank it was loudly announced.  It was also super slippery, which I didn’t realize was foreshadowing.

A well rested Snakebite on the gangplank

A well rested Snakebite on the gangplank

We got 2 queen beds, piled high with pillows stuffed with…cotton balls?  We sat down at our tiny laminate table to our Sonic feast and rallied for the saddest Oscar party ever.  Before you judge me for feeding my sweet daughter Sonic as a sit down supper, know that my choices were a skeevy Pizza Hut, Hardees, McDonalds, Waffle House (which my digestive system will not abide) and the adjoining restaurant which tempted with offerings such as fried frog legs, fried chicken livers, fried catfish fillets, fried pies and something called a BeerCooler, a bargain at $3.  Probably, their food was awesome in a country cookin’ way, but at this point I just couldn’t belly up to the food jamboree.  Sonic’s sweet ‘tater tots was THE healthy option.

Look at all of the dirty, smudgy human paw prints.

Look at all of the dirty, smudgy human paw prints.

Once I began tending to my evening face-wash-tooth-brushing routine I discovered that we had been furnished with just 1 bath towel.  So, I had to undo the lock-chain on the door (the deadbolt didn’t work so much) and go back to the front desk.  I tried not to touch the actual door as I think CSI will be coming back to lift someone’s prints in the near future.  But in the present, at 8:30pm on a Sunday, they hadn’t gotten to the laundry just yet.

On the way back to the room I pit-stopped to get some ice and that’s when saw the vending options…

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Because what else do you need to compliment a 2-liter of Mountain Dew?

I don’t know if the machine hasn’t been restocked in years, or if it was full on Friday and the methy guests snarfed it all up over the weekend.  Either way…

With the Oscars underway, I brushed the ladybugs off of the top of my bed, secured my handgun, plus an extra loaded clip, by my side and settled in.  And by in, I mean on top.  I wasn’t getting under anything.  After I plugged in the window-unit heater, I had to turn up the sound on the TV every 4 minutes to compensate for the noise, then turn it back down 4 minutes later when the unit rested.

Ready for anything

Ready for anything

During commercials I fielded texts from friends with helpful advice like, “send pictures” and “check for bed bugs”.  That last one had the same effect as the annual lice letter from school.  I immediately became, and have remained, itchy.  Thanks, Claire.

My morning shower didn’t do much to quell my scratching.  My focus was trained on the wallpaper that was caulked to the top of the wall against the waaay water damaged popcorn ceiling.  I’m not real clear how the ceiling height even passed code.  Yet another thing about my visit that had me scratching my head.  Oh, and there was a shoe print on the outside of the bathroom door…like someone had locked herself in while her abuser was trying to get in a kick to the spleen through the closed door.  Shudder.  Who can get clean in that set-up?

Gross.  Just very, very gross.

Gross. Just very, very gross.

The good news is that we woke up alive that morning.  The bad news is that the crappy weather system forecasted for Tuesday stepped it up and blew in early to wrap my car in an impenetrable ice condom.  I don’t have a scraper for my windshield, so I of course appealed to the concierge.  No help.  They would not let me borrow a scraper.  I guess they thought I’d either keep it for scraping my meth pans, or use it as a shiv and shank them.  Luckily, 15 minutes of the defroster going full tilt coupled with the edge of a Starbucks gift card cleared enough ice to let me drive to 4 different gas stations in search of a scraper.

What did I learn from all of this?  I need to keep an ice scraper in my glove box?  Done.  I should keep healthy snacks in the car?  Yep. Or is it that I’m no longer as traveler carefree and cool as I once I was?  That summer when I slept in train stations?  I was 17.  And my weekends of slumming it at the Lord Ashley Court?  Early 20s.  Things have changed, I’m older with excellent credit and it’s time to check myself and recalibrate.  Damnit.  I do like fancy sheets, marble bathrooms, pristine door jambs and in-room safes.  I like a fleet of kiss-ass front desk staff.  And even though I may not order a fruit cup and La Croix from room service, I NEED that option.

So long hostels, motor-courts, motels and couchettes.  I’ll be at the Four Seasons if you need anything.

Skylarking

5 Apr

Get packing!

This past Saturday, Big Daddy decided that we needed to get prepared for our upcoming family trip.  That is happening in June.  Whatever.  The first bullet on the list was luggage.  What do we have?  Who’s taking what?  What are we checking?  Carrying on?  And yadda, yaddda, yadda.  This type of minutia is beyond tedious for me, especially double-digit weeks out from departure.  Oh, well.  In marriage, we humor one another and compromise all the way to the finish line.

Who knew that the luggage inventory would make Snakebite cry instead of me?  Apparently, we are raising a new-millennium Veruca Salt.  She began weeping that she thought the cruise was only twelve days, and WTH is this business about packing for eighteen days.  And then the statement that rocked our Saturday got vomited out between gulps and gasps…, “But, I don’t want to go to Europe, again.”  Where. Have. We. Gone. Wrong?  Am I raising a “me-me-me monster” by giving kick ass opportunities, or am I just dragging my poor kids into my own wanderlust and expecting them to be thrilled at how lucky they are and how they won the parental jackpot?  Is that so hard to get on board with???

Da plane! Da plane!

In earlier blogs, I have discussed how we stuffed a juvenile militia in a ‘wagon and rolled our happy asses down to Daytona Beach.  Granted, I did get to go on some pretty great trips before I ever got a high school diploma, but I also got left home.  A lot.  My Mom and Step-dad, Carolyn and Tom to you, belonged to this group called The Skylarks, here in Atlanta.  Basically, it was like having a part-share in a Boeing-720.   It was better than any country club.  For parents.  The Skylarks flew to Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda at least a couple of times a month.  This group, would never be allowed today, because you just showed up and went.  Sometimes they would have “mystery” trips.  You’d call in a couple of days ahead of time and get the packing list.  It was on your descent that the captain would announce where you were landing.

My first trip out of the country was a Skylark’s trip Curacao.  The plane was like having a secret access pass to a nightclub.  Everyone knew each other and was loaded by the time we landed.  My brother, Chris, and I still talk about that trip and what we did.  Chris was allowed to “casino” and won enough money to buy some YSL cologne at the duty-free shop.  On another Skylarks trip to the Bahamas, the brothers gave me Jim Carroll’s The Basket Ball Diaries and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye to read while they ditched me at night and went to the resort clubs.  I was almost twelve.  The one time mom checked in at our room, she was pissed.  I later majored in Literature.  Who knew that being abandoned by skirt-chasing brothers would shape my academic future and influence me into a major that makes no money.

Vacation inclusion was not the norm.  Usually, us kids were secured at my Grandparent’s house.  It wasn’t the sort of multi-generational fantasy camp that most people think about when you say “Grandparent’s house”.  We didn’t bake cookies, go to the circus or play games together.  I don’t think they really liked kids all that much.  I always felt a bit jipped when we got picked up late Sunday afternoon by a couple of giddy, sunburned parents.  While my folks were swigging margaritas and dancing in a conga line on a beach, I was white knuckling it through episodes of Lawrence Welk, back-to-back Wild Kingdom and low-sodium meals.  So, now, as a parent, I take those kids everywhere!  I think that I’m doing the right thing, but… is this one of  t h o s e  things?

Will the real Veruca Salt please stand up?

One of those things is giving your kids something that you fantasized about growing up, only to have the shit disappointed out of them once they are out of college and off the parental dole.  I think it is probably a natural instinct to want to give your kids beyond what you think you had, be it material things, “quality time”, or just showering them with opportunities.  Give them too little; they’ll resent me.  Give them too much; they’ll still resent me.  Do nothing= still resentment.  I can’t win either in any scenario.  So we’re doing what I want to do. Because, really, it’s all about me.   And they’ll learn to get through it.