Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Significant events

OK, some of you are aware of my neurosis. While others drink, smoke, over-eat or get insomnia in response to stress/anxiety, my body decided that loss of appetite, nausea or flat out puking would be a good way to deal. Consequently, this past week, I lost 5 lbs (5 lbs I can’t really afford to lose considering the freakishly small size I already am). The reason? A week with F’s parents (my future in-laws) and F’s 3 kids. I put all the blame on the in-laws (and F agrees with me, in fact, he brought it up first). They were awful, and because of that they made everyone else tense. Nobody had a good time. They will not be invited back to our home, and they claim they don’t want to come back. Fine by me. We don’t need that in our lives, much less the kids’ lives. Ugh. Terrible.

Also, this past weekend F’s oldest son (he’s 9) moved in with us. Truly, he’s a pretty good kid. Not that I’m taking it lightly by any means, but my anxiety level has dropped considerably and a good reason for that is because he is such a good kid. And pretty astute to boot, commenting “I think Grandma and Grandpa ruined the week.” Amen to that, Kiddo. We 3 are still figuring out our routine and adjusting to each other, but so far so good. Kiddo’s not liking his daycare so much – he’s got to make all new friends – but today is only day 2, and I’m sure it’ll improve with time. School starts on Sept. 2 so he’ll get to meet more kids his age and hopefully make some good friends.

So now my goal is to catch up on some sleep and put some weight back on. One good bout of illness and I’ll blow away in the wind.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I have a sense of humor, but I also have my limits, Part II

F and decided to make a “mini-vacation” out of our trip to Half Moon Bay and arrived the Wednesday before the Saturday wedding. Check-in is normally at 3 pm, but we were told that we could ask if the room was ready early, and possibly check in early. So off to the b & b we go. We got there about noon.

Now, the b & b doesn’t have a front desk – you check in at the bar. We walk in and get the attention of a heavy-set blond woman behind the bar (and after talking to her a few minutes, F realizes that this is the now infamous Dimwit he spoke to on the phone previously).

We tell her that we realize that we are early, but just wanted to check to see if we could check in early. If not, no big deal, we’ll go have lunch, walk around and come back at 3 pm. She pulls out the “reservation book” which is nothing more than a notebook-sized day planner (they don’t have a computer). She flips to that day’s date and sure enough, there we are – my name AND credit card number written down in this book. If they ever lost it, or someone stole it - hell, if anyone leaned over to look at it at the bar – all of us guests would need to cancel our credit cards.

Dimwit proceeds to figure out what I will owe for the duration of my stay – on a cocktail napkin. She then charges my credit card for the full amount (usually most places wait until the end of your stay – which tells me they are financially strapped if they need the money right now).

We’re told that she doesn’t know if our room is ready, but go have lunch and come back – she’ll know then. Fine. We go have lunch. We walk around. The town is pretty tiny, so we pretty much covered it in 30-45 minutes after our leisurely lunch. We come back. Now we’re told that they’re waiting for the locksmith because they think he’s doing something apparently mystifying called “re-keying” – something that Dimwit and her associates seem completely baffled by. “He’s 10 minutes late. It should take about 20 minutes. Come back then.” If you don’t even know what it is that he’s doing, how can you estimate how long it will take?

Whatever. We hop in the car and take a drive up the coast to see what there is to see. We’re gone for over an hour. When we come back, we’re told that the locksmith is still doing his incomprehensible “re-keying” but they don’t know if he’s actually finished with our room yet, he hasn’t come down with any keys. Heaven forbid they actually walk up the stairs and find out. It would have taken all of 2 minutes.

So F and I venture upstairs ourselves. Sure enough, there is the locksmith actually grinding new keys in the hallway. Our new key is sitting in our door. We stop a woman in the hall who is wearing an apron – whom we assume is cleaning rooms. “Can you show us where the shower is?”

“Gee, I don’t know where the shower is.” She stops a teenaged boy who’s also running around and asks him.

He seems to actually work there – he shows us were the shower is. There are only 12 rooms on the second floor – that’s the bed part of this b & b. The 13th room is the shower. Not hard to figure out. We probably should have just walked around ourselves.

F and I go up the street and purchase some wine – we’re going to need to be drunk to tolerate this place and it’s employees.

We come back. New bartender. We ask if we can check in. He sees the keys aren’t in their usual spot and decides to take action – calls the locksmith… who is, wait for it! UPSTAIRS. We inform him and Dimwit that we’d gone up and it appears our room is ready. Dimwit walks upstairs with us to our room to see for herself and exclaims “I’ve never been up here!”

No kidding. Really? Couldn’t have guessed. Please go away. I feel stupider just being around you.

We close the door and bust out laughing. This is the WORST. We can’t stay here. There is a 2 inch gap between the door and the floor – allowing us to hear everything in the hallway. When I sit on the toilet, my knees are under the sink. Whoever stayed there before us had long dark hair and sparkly clothing because there is hair and glitter all over the floor and bedspread. There is NOT that reassuring “clean smell” emanating from the sheets – which I have come to expect from a hotel of any rank. I’ve felt more comfortable camping than I do in this room.

And for the record – there WAS a phone jack in the room. No idea if it works, but it was there. No clock, one bedside lamp. The headboard was not attached to the wall, or the bed, and was on wheels, as was the bed. The top pane of glass in the window was held up by a previous guest’s rolled up luggage tag used as a wedge. We’re lucky no one got hurt.

Our next venture out, we are looking for a new hotel. Thank goodness for the Holiday Inn Express! And the wonderful, competent and NICE manager, who hooked us up for the remainder of our stay AND gave us a discount he didn’t need to.

We [heart] him.

F and I decide to take advantage of the b & b’s 24 hour cancellation policy. F calls the b & b and talks to Dimwit, who is none-too-pleased that we are staying just the one night and cancelling the rest of our reservation. F feeds her some story about friends’ plans changing and now we’ll be staying with them. Not trusting Dimwit to actually take action, we immediately go back to the b & b and physically watch her credit my credit card.

Now she has to update the reservation book to show that we’re only there for the one night. She starts to erase the check-marks on the following days, and is at a complete and utter loss of what to do when she realizes… [you might want to sit down for this]… that the reservation was written in PEN. [Gasp! The horror!] She quite literally does not know what to do. She is dumbfounded. She actually has to call her boss over and ask what to do - in a manner indicating to us that we just made her life a living hell. Cross it out? Scribble it out? White-out? Who knows?! The options are mind-blowing and who knows which way is the right way?! Eeeek!

F and I have a nice dinner at the Moss Beach Distillery – having the first serving of what would come to be clam chowder every day. It took us approximately 6 hours to officially check in, and during that time we decided we couldn’t stay there. That night we found gum on the wall. A dangerously protruding nail. Plastic taped over our smoke alarm. F was lying on his back in bed saying “I don’t want my skin to touch the sheets!”

The next morning we ventured to the communal shower in our shower flip-flops (thank goodness we remembered to pack those!). The grout in the bottom of the shower was covered in black/green mold. The floor was stained gray with grime and dirt.

The only redeeming thing about this b & b was the breakfast. It was wonderful. I can’t tell you enough how much we enjoyed the freshly baked goods, homemade preserves, and made-to-order omelets.

Sadly, the joy of breakfast was not enough to entice us stay.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I have a sense of humor, but I also have my limits, Part I

In college I was blessed with two amazing roommates. We were all fast friends from the start, and now I consider them as close as family. We are all rather different, and not surprisingly, have chosen very different paths in life, which have us far-flung across the country. Roommate M was my roommate during orientation, so really, my very first official roommate ever. Roommate K lived a couple doors down freshman year, but I spent more time in her room than my own, so we started out more as “pseudo-roommates” than anything else. Through college we all lived together in one iteration or another. Sophomore year K and I lived together while M was our RA. Junior year and senior year all 3 of us lived together in suites. We still refer to each other as “roommate” and probably always will.

OK, enough back-story.

This past weekend M got married. She’s been living out in CA for the past few years, so that’s where the wedding was held. Also, she and her beau (A) decided to plan their wedding in 7 months. From what I’ve heard, this is an almost impossible feat – what with people planning 1-2 years in advance and all. From what she was telling me, her options where somewhat limited.

But they made arrangements to have an outdoor ceremony and reception at a bed and breakfast in Half Moon Bay, CA. It would be beautiful (the weather is always nice) and it would be convenient (we wedding guests could all stay at the bed and breakfast or any number of other b & b’s or hotels in town). Now, being a bit rustic in theme, the place didn’t have bathrooms in every room, and those that did have a bathroom, didn’t have a shower. There was one communal shower, otherwise you took a bath in your room. No TV’s. F and I thought this was great. We’ve been camping, we can handle this. In February we made our reservation for the “safari” room (animal print bed linens and bathroom). Rawr.

Sometime in March the owners of this b & b sold to some new owners. New owners who know absolutely nothing about running said b & b. New owners who subsequently fired the entire staff and hired friends & family members. Things went downhill from there.

About a week before departing for Half Moon Bay, F and I were starting to think about what we should pack (shut-up, this is what we do) and he was wondering whether or not to bring his work laptop. He called the b & b to ask if they had wireless internet, or phone jacks in the room so he could dial up. The conversation went something like this…

F: Hi, I was wondering if you have wireless internet at the b & b.

Dimwit: Gee, I don’t know.

F: You don’t know?

D: I don’t know. Um, I see people with computers.

F: OK… that doesn’t answer my question.

D: Well, the computers are open… and on! – the people are using them…

F: Right, well, that still doesn’t answer my question. Let me ask you if there are phones in the rooms.

D. I don’t know that, either.

F: You don’t know if there are phones in the rooms?

D: No, I don’t.

F: Would there be a phone jack somewhere I could use?

D: Golly, I wouldn’t know that, either.

F: Do you even work there?

D: Of course I do! This b & b has an early 1900’s theme, so we try to keep it that way, very old fashioned.

F: Then I’m going to assume there are no phone jacks outside of the one you’re currently using.

D: Um… yeah, I guess so.

F: So, if there are no phone jacks, that would mean there are no phones in the rooms, are there.

D: Oh yeah, I guess that’d be right.

I talked to M a day or two later to relate this sad, sad state of affairs. She informed me that they had had much worse interactions, needing to call almost every day to make sure that plans were written down and being followed through. It got to the point of several screaming matches and the venue was almost changed 2 weeks prior to the wedding due to employee incompetency.

To be continued…