When we got here after a long 2-day drive it was nice to learn that local families felt safe in a hotel that was bordered on one side by Les Titties Gentleman's Club and on the other by the Vick Hubcap Emporium and Doberman Stables. It was also reassuring, when we pulled through the barbed wire automatic gate, that the hotel was patrolled by an armed ex-convict walking a Rottweiler around the parking lot, and there was a line of couples at the check-in desk who looked like they were only planning on using the room for 30 minutes at most. The clerk reminded me of Pee-Wee Herman's character in "Cheech and Chong's Next Movie".
Mrs. Grumpy, concerned our children might be allergic to Rottweiler teeth, immediately called my parents and begged them to find us a room at their hotel, explaining that I wasn't comfortable with the pleasant looking place she'd picked out (LIAR!). Fortunately, there was plenty of space there.
We went over to that hotel. My mother was waiting for us by the curb, and had thoughtfully brought a large metal luggage cart out for us. We loaded it up with all the junk a family of 5 travels with: clothes, extra clothes, clothes I've never seen before in my life but magically appeared in our trunk during the drive, hangers, Nintendo DS, DS games, DVD movies to make them watch (at gunpoint if needed), a portable DVD player, Lunchables, Uncrustables, Inedibles, magazines, books, coloring books, puzzle books, stuffed animals, medicines, suntan lotion (3 strengths), 2 cell phones (with both car and wall chargers), bags of toiletries, snacks, 12-packs of Diet Coke, coupon books, hats, sunglasses, pool toys, sand toys, hotel room toys, crayons, pencils, paper, juice boxes, a roll of film (WTF? we only have digital cameras!), my faithful laptop, AA batteries, AAA batteries, batteries of a type not seen since Edison made them, books, cameras, glue, tape, and other assorted items Mrs. Grumpy felt was essential. By the time we were finished the luggage cart was sagging in the middle and looked like it was on the verge of collapse. And so while Mrs. Grumpy led the kids off I went to pull the cart up to the room.
After dragging it around the parking lot looking for a ramp a few times, I asked my mom how she'd gotten it off the sidewalk. She said she hadn't seen a ramp, and had just pulled it down. This was easy when the cart was empty. But it wasn't now. And I'd be damned if I'd unload it, push it up on the sidewalk, and reload it. So off I went on a 12 mile hike pushing the Grumpy Expedition 2009 luggage down onto a local street, around a restaurant in front of the hotel, and finally up a ramp in the handicapped space on the far side of the building. And of course the place's only elevator was located on the other side of the hotel, back near our parking space. By the time I found our room I was half expecting to see my picture on a milk carton (“last seen pushing a luggage cart with possibly stolen goods”).
I staggered into the room, covered in sweat and desperately needing to pee. The clan looked at me with their best "where the hell did you go with the luggage" glares. It was hot in the room, and Mrs. Grumpy was over in the corner fighting with the air conditioning unit. It only had a power button, but nothing to control temperature, and was blowing warm air. So while I gratefully stumbled into the bathroom, she called maintenance.
They sent up a guy who showed us the temperature control, which was in a large wall-mounted box, marked "TEMPERATURE CONTROL" positioned in plain site that we’d somehow missed, or thought was a piece of abstract art, or something. We were idiots. He didn't tell us that. But you could tell he wanted to. I know the look. I give it to my stupider patients all the time. I'm sure tonight I'll be posted on his blog "Grumpy Maintenance Guy".
After such an exciting day we took the kids out for a deluxe dinner at McD’s. We pulled into the drive-thru. It was awesome. We heard this:
Mrs Grumpy: "We'd like 3 chicken chunk happy meals".
Male voice on speaker: "Okay, that's 3 chicken happy meals and what did you...” (cell phone ring noise) “Hello? Hey bitch! I'm at work! Don’t call me here! You think I got nothing better to do than listen to you yap!” (coworker's voice in background) “Hey! Keep your ugly nose out of my business and go flip some burgers or something! Sorry ma'am, what did you want to drink with those happy meals?"
Good night, Colonel Kurtz, wherever you are.