Well, That Ain’t Right

My traveler’s curse reared its ugly head the second we entered our 3rd-floor corner room.

Up until that moment, the hotel was a normal Hilton. The neat and pretty entranceway, the lobby was over-decorated with holiday lights and blinking snowmen, but it was definitely a Hilton Hotel. I purposely chose Hilton because I wanted a high-end, luxurious place to hang out in when we were not on the beach. Sigh.

The room was so sparse and empty that it appeared it had been robbed before we got there. When you entered, you were in the “living room” area. A sofa, desk and a large old chair. Nothing matched the other. No carpets, area rugs, pillows. No overhead light. When you flipped the switch by the door, a dim round light came on in the tiny hallway that connected the living room, bathroom, and bedroom.

The light switch in the bedroom turned off the dome light. There was no overhead light fixture here either. So forget trying to find your p.j.’s in your luggage. It was dark. Oh, wait! There were two lamps by the beds. They did not shed light on the room though. They were lights to read in bed with. LED penlights on swivels, mounted into the wall between the two beds. BTW, the light you can see in the photo is sunshine.

The bathroom had good lighting, but it was noisy. They had the fan attached to the switch, so it was all or nothing. They must have purchased the T.P. and tissues from China. Thin, one-ply, recycled sandpaper. There was no toilet roll holder, so the TP sat in a cubby hole under the counter. It was sad. At least this room had a small trash can. None in the living or bedrooms, not even one by the desk.

Our “kitchen” was a long table that was nailed to the wall, like a shelf. We had a small microwave and a little one-cup Keurig coffee maker. Coffee pods, sugar & creamer were next to it. No coffee cups, however. I called the front desk and requested coffee cups. An hour later, a worker showed up with a plastic bag full of K-cups and packets of sugar & creamer. No cups to make and drink the coffee. I sighed and called the desk again, explaining that we were good with supplies but we needed the cups to drink the coffee out of. An hour passed and I called to check on our request. They asked me to check the outside of the door because that is where they probably hung the bag. No bag. They will be right up, she assured me. I found the cups hanging outside the door before I went to bed. It was a darned shame that the coffee pot did not work right. That was not much of a surprise, considering.

Below the microwave was a baby refrigerator that had NO temp controls inside of it. I looked inside it and all around the outside. No control dial or button of any kind. I asked Maggie to look for one, in case I missed it. Nope, it does not. I put my insulin on the lowest shelf in the door and hoped it would not freeze. It did not. The back of the unit was what froze things. You learned things as you go at this Hilton.

The next day, I wanted to get a different room, but Maggie did not think it would make any difference. She peeked into other rooms when housekeeping was in there and they were just like ours. I decided to give it another day. Besides, the sun was out, the air was warm and sultry, and the beach was calling us. We spent as much time in the sun as we could stand.

The winds were so strong! They did have red flag warnings out because of the wind. It was a warm wind, so that was not the problem. My beach hat was equipped with a strap to keep it from blowing off my head. But the wind had its fun with the hat anyway and the thing beat my head and face the whole time. I was not having fun, so I left Maggie happily in her beach chair, reading her book and I went back to our not-so-Hilton room. We did have a balcony that sheltered us from most of the wind and when it was sunny out we could be out and not in the room.

View from Room 301

The balcony had a fabulous view. I wrote in my journal and enjoyed the sun without wind. I caught myself dozing off, but I did not want to take a nap in our room because it was cold in there. The heater/AC controls did not change anything. The fan blew cold air 24/7 – even when the unit was turned off.

Karma must have been getting back at us for having our window open in the winter at college and freezing out the whole 3rd floor. If you or someone you know roomed in the North Tower, 3rd floor 77-78 at SEMO, please accept my apologies.

To be continued…

Airports, Gates and a Happy Surprise


Funny how things will come back to you. After not being in an airport, by myself, for years, once I got there I felt confident in how to find where I was to wait. This would not seem like a big deal to most people, but for me, it was a rare thing to be confident, alone, in a strange place.

My morning started at 4:15 am with a wake-up call and hustling to get dressed and re-packed to catch a 5:15 shuttle to the airport. Hotel room coffee is mediocre, even at a Hilton. My adrenaline was pumping enough to make up for it. When I looked in the fridge for a bottle of soda, on my way out the door, I gasped. My insulin was also in there and I had completely forgotten it. What a horrible feeling! Complete confidence buster for sure. I thanked God for my guardian angel who, once again, saved my butt.

I made the shuttle with 2 minutes to spare.

My flight to Dallas was crammed full and I boarded with the “C” Group, so I was surprised to see an aisle seat open, not too far back. A young mom, with a 2-year-old, had the middle and window seats and motioned me to sit there. I did. She laughed and told me that no one wanted to sit there because of her child. I said that I was a grandmother and children did not scare me. Aside from some turbulence when we climbed and descended through the clouds, the flight was uneventful. Exactly how I like them.

After landing in Dallas, my first priority was a restroom, then to find what gate my flight to Harlingen was departing from. No flights to Harlingen were on the boards yet, so I hung around gate 8 and checked the texts that I missed while in Airplane Mode. A couple from Maggie, a few hours ago that she had just landed in Dallas for a long layover.

Dallas? No way! How did I not know that her flight stopped in Dallas?

Her next text said, “Wait! I think we will be boarding in Dallas together! Text me when you get here.”

Me: “I am here in Dallas, at gate 8.”

Maggie, “I’m at gate 10, can you see me?”

Me: “Whoops! I’m at the wrong gate. The notice on the board says we leave from gate 19.”

Maggie: “Are you at the airport? “I’m at gate 19.”

Me: “Me too!”

I stood up and looked around the gate. I recognized her right away, she was facing away from me. I snuck up on her and stood right behind her. “Hey, Roomie!”

How could we have gone for months without realizing we would meet in Dallas and fly to Harlingen together? I was sure that after I booked our flights that I compared them. Apparently not. The one-hour and 15-minute flight (pardon the pun), flew by. We landed at 5 pm, got the car and our bags, and we were on the road to South Padre Island by 5:30.

The sun had not gone down yet but was rapidly sinking into the west and would be dark soon. When we saw a Sonic drive-in, we decided to have dinner there for old times sake and we were starving. We were going to get to the island in the dark either way.

To be continued…

White Christmas and Then Some

It began snowing in the wee hours of Christmas morning and did not want to stop. As expected, we lost power later that day, but the generator was full of gasoline and it was not too bad. The household was at 6 people and 2 dogs for a few days.

Between the two storms, 2 more couples arrived, 2 kids and a dog. We were all here together! A very rare occurrence. Of course, it was chaos, noisy and crowded. 12 humans & 3 dogs snowed in, without power. Hours of shoveling to make a path for vehicles to get onto the road, so we could navigate to town and get cell service. A generator will power a house, but not the internet and telephone services.

I needed to book a hotel room by the airport if I was to make my flight out Thursday morning. Weds afternoon would bring the second big snowstorm and no way was I going to miss my flight out of here! The airport was a 2-hour drive away and at sea level, so safe from snow. With that chore done, we climbed back up the hill and had leftovers for dinner.

Now I had to pack. Ha! My brain was absolutely not ready to do this a day early. It took me hours after dinner and before lights out to get almost packed. Then the next morning while the overnight snow was shoveled out of the way, I spent another few hours making sure I had enough of my diabetic supplies, meds, and undergarments. The house was cold (except in the front room where the wood-burning stove was.) I knew it would be a warm 80 degrees in Texas, so I had T-shirts, a bathing suit, long sleeve shirts, and a sweater. I forgot to pack my capri pants. I forgot to pack a skirt. No sunscreen. Oh well. They had stores in Texas and I could not pack anymore. My suitcase and carry-on bag were stuffed to the limit, and I was done.

I kissed and hugged all concerned and happily left the chaos. Sure, there were a few twinges of guilt, but I got over them. Hubby and I rode with our oldest son in his 4-wheel drive car. When we got to the lower elevation, the rains pounded us all the way. A quick hug and I was dumped (their word) at the hotel and they needed to hurry back before the heavy snow started.

And so, on Dec. 29, at 2:30 pm, the adventure begins…