Sunday, March 18, 2007

Monday Morons at motels

So I'd like to talk a bit about this last trip specifically, and then a bit about travel in general.

So we were off to spend a few days in the middle of nowhere Texas, near a lake, and very near the Louisiana border. The week before we left, my husband had talked to a few people about where we were going and whether or not there would be a good motel in town and stuff like that. Several of the people had been to this little town before. He was told not to worry about that. There was a motel. No one seemed to remember the name of it, but it used to be a Super 8.

I do not quite understand why people say stuff like that. If we've never been there before, we don't know where the Super 8 used to be.

Now, maybe I lived down the street from a motel that used to be a Ramada Inn, but telling someone from out of town to go to the old Ramada Inn just doesn't help, unless the out of state person used to live near me about two years ago and happens to remember where the Ramada Inn was. Or maybe a person has visited the place so often that he knows where the Ramada used to be. But mostly, it seems like a dumb thing to say, but people say stuff like that a lot.

My husband once had to work at a mall and was told to set up in the space that used to be the San Fransisco Music Box Company. After they take the sign down, how are you supposed to know which space used to be the San Fransisco Music Box Company?

Another time my husband had to set up photography equipment at a clubhouse that we were told was "down the street from the Rock Shop" but not to worry about it, cause everyone knows where it is. Well, first, we don't know where the clubhouse is and we don't know where the Rock Shop is, or we wouldn't be asking. And everyone going to this event is not a member of your club, so maybe they don't know where your clubhouse is, and maybe they don't know where the Rock Shop is either.

So we were driving out in middle of nowhere Texas, looking for what used to be a Super 8. The mapquest directions were very bad, and at some point we were supposed to get on this little dirt road. No way. We went back about ten miles to try a different way. We found the town, but it seemed smaller than I expected. I didn't even see a Walmart. How small do you have to be to not have a Wallmart?

But, we did find a grocery store, and somebody there knew of the place that used to be a Super 8. So were were again sent about ten miles out of town, but this time directed towards Louisiana. We drove through another small town on the way there, but we found the place, and the address on their business cards stated that we were still in the town that we drove away from ten miles back. Whatever.

I do not know what kind of gerrymandering nonsense was going on when the map of this place was drawn. My husband went to look for the church that he was supposed to work in this little town. So he drove back away from almost the Louisiana border going west and then a bit south back into town. And he couldn't find the place. But again he went to the grocery store to ask for directions, and he was sent back out of town, south this time. He drove almost twenty miles and passed through yet another couple of small towns to get there, but he did find the place. And of course, there was another motel right next to the church, but it didn't used to be a Super 8, and no one told him about it, and now we already had the other room. So he had to drive forty-five minutes everyday to go to work, even though the addresses of both places were supposedly in the same small town.

But back to the motel that used to be a Super 8. The place is right on the lake, and the lake is very pretty and all of that. But lakes are wet. And it rains a lot, and it rained several times while we were there. And, like a lot of places, there is a mat outside the door so that hopefully you do not track too much water inside when it does rain. Only this place had a mat so big that it extended past the doorway's small overhang, and so the mat was actually out in the rain so that it really soaked up more water for you to step in right when you came in the door. And there was not a second dry mat inside the door. So the floor got a bit wet every time someone came in the building.

Most motels I have been in the past few years have television sets in the breakfast area, so that the guests can watch the morning news while they are having their donuts and coffee. I have thought it would be nice if the TVs were on a turntable so that the employees could watch TV from the front desk after the guests finish with breakfast. At this place, they didn't even bother with that. They actually had the TV permanently turned toward the front desk so that the guests can't see it at all. Every morning I listened to JAG during breakfast, rather than watch the news as I did at most places.

The company my husband works for wants him to send them a package everyday. Now that they use digital cameras, the package ends up being very small, so you'd think once or twice a week would be often enough and they could put more stuff in one package, but they don't see it that way. Fine. The package is picked up everyday by DHL, which is like Fed Ex or UPS, but they drive red and yellow vans. When we are near home, we leave the packages in a drop box, but when we are out of town and don't know where the drop box is, we leave the package with the front desk and call for a pick-up.

The first day we called DHL we were told that this place was so remote that they might not get to it that day. It wasn't near the routes that had been given out that morning. They couldn't get to it before 5pm, and they thought it might not be picked up until the next morning. Fine. The next morning we called very early and told them that we had another package. They still hadn't picked up the first one, and we just wanted to remind them about that one and tell them that now there was a second one. We we came back from dinner on Wednesday night, both packages were still waiting to be picked up. We decided if they were still there on Thursday morning when we left that we should take them with us.

At some point before we left Thursday morning, one of the packages was picked up, and the other was not. What is up with that? I can understand not being about to find the place, since it is on a lake and ten miles away from the place on the map, but I don't understand why after someone found the place that they would only pick up one package after we called and told them that they needed to pickup a second package.

I get really annoyed with places that claim to have a Jacuzzi or whirlpool or spa or hot tub or sauna. This place claimed to have a heat indoor pool, and I don't remember if they used the term spa or hot tub. But anyway, it was on the sign at the front desk. And the hot tub or spa part was not marked out, so it should still be there. And the indoor pool and tub were both there, but the pool didn't seem very warm to me, and there was not a drop of hot water in the tub. There was hot water in the shower, and there was enough hot water in the sink that if you weren't careful you might get burned. But they couldn't seem to get any hot water in the actual hot tub.

I seem to have a lot of trouble with stuff like that. We sometimes pay a little bit more or drive a little bit farther to get a place advertising a hot tub and/or sauna, but when we get there we can't use it. Sometimes we just have bad luck and it just so happens that it is being repaired while we are there. Sometimes the thing hasn't worked in months or years, but they continue to advertise it. Half the time the thing is outside, and it is closed for the winter. The other half of the time it is the summer and it hasn't even been turned on because they claim they didn't think anyone would want to use it unless it was cold outside.

I really like hot tubs, but I don't care that much for saunas. My husband likes both. Hot tubs are more common than saunas. Whenever we find a place in our budget advertising a sauna, we try to go there. A few times we have found that the advertised sauna was actually a hot tub.

I can understand when a person says Jacuzzi, which is a brand name, when they actually mean some other hot tub. Whirlpool might also be a brand name, but I would still understand that it was some form of hot tub. The word spa is a bit more confusing, since it is sometimes used to mean a plastic hot tub with water jets, but sometimes it means a place where you can get rubbed with sea salt and have your nails done while you take a nap with cucumber slices over your eyelids.

But a sauna is a small room with steam. It is not a hot tub. It might be next to a hot tub, but it is not a hot tub. Nor is the room the hot tub is in properly called a sauna. If there is enough steam coming from the hot tub that you think the hot tub room is an actual sauna, then the hot tub is way too hot and someone could get killed. I understand the confusion about the word spa, and I understand if a person calls their less expensive hot tub a Jacuzzi, but I don't understand how a person could get hot tub mixed up with sauna.

Let me close with the two dumb things I did during the trip. First, when I was packing, I left the keys in the car door, and I didn't discover them there until we were on the other side of Tyler. And the other thing I did was I spent several days just across the bridge from Louisiana, and I forgot to buy Powerball tickets. And we actually went into Louisiana for lunch on Monday. But it turned out okay, since my regular numbers didn't win any money that week, and I don't regret not getting a few quick-picks either.

Oh, I almost forgot. The vasectomy reversal billboards are still up, in case anyone needs that service in Houston. We saw one going east on I-20, and we saw another one coming home on I-45.

1 comment:

nobodyinparticular said...

I do often relate things to song lyrics, as you may know. Directions by no-longer-there landmarks reminds me of this section of the song "Big Science" by Laurie Anderson, with directions by landmarks not yet there:

"Hey Pal! How do I get to town from here?

And he said: Well just take a right where

they're going to build that new shopping mall,

go straight past where they're going to put in the freeway,

take a left at what's going to be the new sports center,

and keep going until you hit the place where

they're thinking of building that drive-in bank.


I also remember the rusty VW at an important corner near White Cloud, Michigan. They used to say "Turn right at the rusty VW". One day the bug vanished, so then it became "Turn right at the place where the rusty VW used to be".

Real useful, huh?