I love hotels. We don’t get many chances to stay in them, especially not nice ones. As a teenager, I was fortunate enough to travel with my mom and her second husband as well as my father and his wife (not all together, of course. My parents don’t have a Bruce, Demi and Ashton thing going on) and had the opportunity to stay in many fancy shmancy hotels. There was The Plaza in New York, The Hyatt Regency Maui, The Shelbourne in Dublin, Hyde Park Hotel in London (I’ve also stayed at The Savoy), and The Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego.
Wait, you’re thinking. Isn’t this the same whiner who complains about how rich other mommy bloggers are and bemoans her relative middle classness? Oh, yes. The very same. I, myself, have never been rich, but I was the stepchild of a rich man for a few years (about four or five, then he was no longer my stepfather and eventually no longer rich) and the daughter of a rich man for a few more (my dad did very well for himself in television and still does some freelance writing and directing in his sixties, but alas, our lives are nothing like they were in the decadent eighties). You see, I KNOW what I’m missing and that can sometimes make the envy all the more acutely painful.
Hotels. What I love about hotels is everything, especially the smell of the freshly laundered sheets and towels. I now use a diaper service, and the clean diapers have the same smell. Odie has often caught me with a clean cloth diaper pressed to my face as I inhale deeply and let the sense memory of slipping bare feet into smooth, white, high thread count sheets wash over me.
Then there’s the lack of STUFF. No clutter on the surfaces. No unopened mail piled high on counters or dirty dishes overflowing the sink. No dirty laundry on the floor. No stacks of ungraded papers. Just clean, dusted, polished surfaces and floors.
Room service! Let’s forget, for a moment, about the nearly 50% service charge and the over-priced food that is always cold by the time it gets to your room. People bring you food while you lounge in your complimentary bath robe and slippers in front of your “free” HBO. Now that, my friends, is living.
I’m about to take a PG-13/R-rated turn here, so you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Two words: hotel sex. A strange bed, no clutter of your daily life to remind you of your mundane responsibilities, no chores to do, and the excitement of being on vacation (even if it’s just twenty minutes from home) all add up to super friskiness. It was certainly more spontaneous before the baby came into our lives (not to mention louder), but with a little creativity and a very sleepy baby, it still works.
This past weekend, we stayed at a place called The Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins, Colorado. Here’s the link: www.thearmstronghotel.com. The website describes it as a “boutique hotel” and it’s located on a busy street with many restaurants and bars. My frat boy hubby practically foamed at the mouth when he saw the location, and we both sort of wistfully wished for a babysitter so we could do some pub crawling. Although, given the college town vibe of Fort Collins, we would definitely be the “old people in the bar.” Our room was quite charming and I was not expecting to be so impressed. The price was about $140 a night, and that money won’t even buy you a Holiday Inn Express room in California, much less the King suite we got at The Armstrong. Stupid California high cost of living. Because of the low cost, my expectations were low. I was delighted by the decor, the polite staff, the hotel cat, and the basement jazz. I would definitely recommend this hotel. Except… Well…
We checked in, dumped our stuff, then headed to the church (two blocks away) for a rehearsal (Odie was a groomsman in the wedding). It was Baby V’s first church visit. I once considered having her baptised, but Odie and I are lapsed Catholics (he made it to his first communion, but I never did) and it would have probably required a bit of work on our parts, which seemed hypocritical because we really have nothing to do with the Catholic faith beyond a family history. A pretty distant one. Plus, we’re pretty new age-y, pagan hippie people. I mean, I named my baby after the head priestess in The Mists of Avalon. So I was more amused than mortified when my baby reached for the font of holy water, plunged her hand into it and said “WATER! DRINK IT!” I mean, she has a point.
After the rehearsal dinner, we three weary travelers were happy to return to our soft king-sized bed in our clean, clutter free room (the pillows sucked) where I nursed my baby to sleep in the middle of the bed, then sat up to watch some tv while Odie passed out with exhaustion.
And then, twelve a.m. rolled around and we heard the train. First, a very distant, harmonious sound every few seconds. Then closer. And closer. Closer still. Until it sounded like the train was going to come crashing through the wall of our room. Odie and I both sat bolt upright in the bed, watching Baby V twitch and thrash slightly, but luckily stay asleep. Phew! Close one.
Shortly thereafter, as we drifted back toward sleep, the noises from the neighboring room belied the thinness of the walls at the Armstrong Hotel. There was a party going on next door. The neighbors were making so much noise, it was hard to fathom exactly what they were doing over there. But if I had to guess, I’d say they’d all buttered their hands and were trying to pick up and hold empty bottles. Failing, the bottles were crashing from their slippery hands to the floor. Or maybe they were bowling.
They were also slamming the doors repeatedly and talking loudly. One young man in particular holds a special place in our hearts. The place where we keep people upon whom we wish terrible, ulcerating herpes, embarrassing facial tics, uncontrollable diarrhea, and a seat next to Hitler in Hell.
Because not only did we have to listen to his shrieking donkey laugh through the tissue-thin walls, but at 3:00 a.m., he announced to his compadres: “I GOT A SECOND WIND! LET’S GO EAT! WHY ARE YOU ‘SHUSHING’ ME? STOP SHUSHING ME! COME ON, BRITNEY, YOU TOTALLY HAVE TO COME EAT! STOP SHUSHING ME! MAN, I TOOOOTALLY HAVE A SECOND WIND!” And it’s like he was standing in our room, it was so loud.
At this point, when Odie heard the door open and crash closed for the eighth or so time that hour, he stepped outside and I heard his soft, reasonable voice say, “Hi, fellas. Look, I know it’s Friday night, and I’m really glad you got your second wind. And I truly hope Britney can be convinced to go eat with you. But when you come back from eating, for the sake of my wife and my infant daughter, can you please keep your voices down?” One young man looked surly and ready to fight, but the other apologized and seemed chagrined.
And when they came back an hour later? Yeah, they were just as loud and obnoxious as they’d been all night. Why didn’t you call the front desk and complain? You wonder. I don’t know. I guess because we thought nothing would happen. I spoke to the kind gentleman at the front desk the next morning and he assured me the hotel would’ve thrown them out. Either way, though, we’d have lost our sleep, whether listening to Loud Drunk Guy beg Britney to go eat with him, or listening to them pack up and leave.
And the train came back around four a.m. First, a harmonious sound in the distance, then, well… you get the idea.
As the breastfeeding mother of a toddler, this was nothing new. I haven’t slept in years. But poor Odie. I’ve always taken the night shift to give him the rest he so desperately needs for work. And he truly needed his rest in order to be a groomsman the next day. Sadly, he had to settle for bags under his eyes (or so he thought — he looked gorgeous) and the thick, wool-headedness of the underslept.
Wherever you are, Loud Drunk Guy from Fort Collins, Colorado, I hope you’re sleeping tight. And I hope the bed bugs bite.
And I hope Britney never calls your ass again, you douchebag.