March 4, 2021

Arizona in adventure mode

While debating changing hotels (which I realize might seem silly to some people, but lounging IN the pool was a big part of my vision for this trip), I was on hold for 30 minutes with Hilton . . . then the call was disconnected. Grr.

Well, this didn't ring true.

On and another thing . . . I called the Home2 Suites in advance of our trip . . . twice to ask what they included in their grab and go breakfasts. My GF butt likes to be prepared. The hard boiled egg and yogurt, that I COULD'VE eaten was not in our breakfast bags as promised. When I pointed this out to the staff, the front desk person said she'd get me the hardboiled egg and yogurt. She informed me:  


I packed my GF oatmeal. I would've eaten a HB egg.
 I packed cereal for Coach too. He would've liked a glass of juice, but I bought some smoothies/protein shake and stocked the fridge which is a whole other interesting story. 

Well. How is this good business sense? Saying it aloud was dumb. Skimping on your guests because you're busier? Step aside, hotel worker, and allow me to show you how to TREAT YOUR GUESTS. Even Coach was like:  YEAH, WHEN WE'RE SUPER BUSY AT MY PT CLINIC ON MONDAYS, WE JUST TELL OUR PATIENTS THAT WE ARE GOING TO WORK WITH THEM LESS. 

To avoid wasting more time on the hotel dilemma, Coach may have acted a tad hasty. He called a 1-800 # Sunday morning and asked about a room. "Too pricey." I was in the background suggesting that spending a bit more would be fine - IT WAS JUST ONE NIGHT, AFTERALL. 

Then the woman on the phone suggested a Holiday Inn Express. It had a heated pool and hot tub. He was like LET'S JUST DO THIS. Later he would realize that he never asked about the workout room. Um, it wasn't open due to covid. So, that sucked.

After we went on a hike Sunday we checked out of the 'no protein for you'  and 'no heat in the pool' hotel. Coach went inside the Holiday Inn Express to see if our room was ready. It was. The staff informed him that the pool was NOT heated, but the hot tub was. We stayed anyway. 

Our room was fine. Not nice, but fine. The place was sort of blah. Apparently emptying the garbage near the pool is not part of anyone's official job description, so they let it overflow. It was windy, on this our chilliest day. So, the garbage just blew into the pool and floated there. I pretended that wasn't happening as I sunk down into the heated hot tub that was surrounded by a wall of rocks which kept the garbage at bay. 

Not sure you can see it in this photo that Coach took. There is a tube of sunscreen. If you look closer to the wall there's all kinds of 'stuff.'

Coach took this photo and he laughed when I pointed out that it looked like I was naked. This was the hot tub at the Holiday Inn Express - note the rock wall that kept the garbage out.

On our last day, it was back in the low 70s and sunny. Perfection. After our morning hike, I took a walk through the La Quinta hotel that was across the parking lot from our dump our latest adventure. The pool was enclosed. As part of my covert mission, I entered the pool area from the 1st floor corridor of rooms. I heard a TV blaring in room 110. I decided if anyone questioned me, I would just say that I was from room 110. 

I may have missed my calling as a criminal.

So, yeah. This is why my blog is anonymous. I do embarrassing shit that I'm not willing to share with the general public who know me by name. (Don't worry, I'm still excited to throw an awesome '51 IS FUN' birthday party to invite all of you to, but we will be focused on drinking cocktails and everyone will sign a waiver agreeing to not judge me). There, now you know. I'm a coward. But not when it comes to hunting down my desired pool experience. 

Faking my status as a guest is not something I do on the regular, but I feel like it is one of my strengths. A strength that I probably won't list on a resume. 

The pool looked good and clean, but I noted there were no lounge chairs. Only regular chairs. Our frigid pool with floating garbage only offered one lounge chair. Don't people in Arizona like to recline when they sun themselves? 

When I turned to leave the pool that I was hoping to 'borrow' a bit later, I realized that I couldn't get back into the corridor I had just come from without a key card. There was no gate to exit the pool area to the parking lot. There was a lady sitting in the courtyard-like grassy area near the pool. I prepared myself to distract her while I rummaged through her bag looking for her key card.

There were double doors leading back into the lobby. I tried one of them. Locked. Just before my mini-panic attack set in, and I had to wave a white flag and ask for someone to release me back into the wild, I pulled the 2nd door handle. It opened and I made my escape. Bullet dodged, or at the very least:  suspicious-hotel-staff-dirty-looks dodged. 

We needed to check out by 1:00, so I got packed up and then laid on the sole lounge chair and focused on my book so I could avoid watching the collection of bobbing garbage. This was a hot day and the hot tub did not appeal. 

Coach joined me pool side, well - he sat in the shade in the corner with his laptop, after he checked out of the hotel. After a few hours in the sun, I was ready to cool off. I told Coach I was going rogue. I hoped he'd join me. Besides, there was no way in hell I was going to change into airplane ready clothes in the restrooms at our Holiday Inn Express. Even without looking, I could only imagine.

I walked through the lobby, of this my 3rd hotel, as a fake guest. I stared intently at my phone trying not to look lost. I got myself set up at a chair and positioned my  book (The Boys in the Boat - highly recommend) near the edge with a few towels. Then I entered the pool from the stairs on the opposite side.

Um, IT WAS BEYOND COLD. There is no way they had the heater on in that pool, even though I'd done my homework and called to ask if it was heated. I thought of all of you, my readers. I could not disappoint. I'd come this far. I crossed that pool prepared to dodge an ice burg. A few high-pitched, squealy sounds escaped me. I propped myself on my elbows at the edge. I read my book till I could take it no more. Coach showed up and enjoyed the shady area. For my last hour, I moved to the hot tub and sat either in it or dangling my feet in it while I read. 

Can you see my shivering? Photo backdrop
 compliments of La Quinta Hotel.

Well worth the adventure. 

As anticipated, the bathrooms were clean. It was like they rolled out the red carpet for their favorite fake guest. We changed, ate an early dinner nearby, and headed to the airport. 

Expect happy highlights of the trip to be sprinkled into my upcoming posts. I still have to write about Lulu, my first bikini wax, the 'oops' moments during Coach's class taught from home, and a collection of chuckle-worthy grocery shopping experiences.

If you were eagerly awaiting the finale of yesterday's post, then I look forward to hearing from you. Maybe you were busy enjoying beautiful spring weather - wherever you are, and whosever pool you needed to sneak into to thoroughly enjoy some sunshine.  ;)  Suz keep an eye out for yours truly. I might just hope the fence one day.

Care to share your worst hotel experience? (I wouldn't call this my worst experience, but it kept things interesting).


Suzanne said...

I love the pictures of you in the pool - looks very relaxing if you don't know about the garbage/icebergs!
(also please check your email!)

Anonymous said...

Our weirdest hotel experiences were on a big trip with the kids heading west from Illinois - South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado & Utah, usually staying 1-2 nights at each hotel. We will never ever take a trip that long again. We had repeated toilet problems to the point where every new hotel, the first thing we did was flush the toilet. In Cortez, Colorado, we had an okay room in an okay hotel (your standards go down on this type of trip). We did have toilet problems (it shot water back at you) but a guy came (twice) to fix it and it was better. Then we went to lock the door and realized it really didn't lock. Like it had been busted open. Like for a drug bust. Yikes! It was near the end of the trip and we were worn down so we just stayed, putting 2 chairs and a dresser in front of the doors.

Kari said...

You are making me envious. Pools, palm trees, 70 degrees. Although, we have been having mild weather here, so I can't complain.

Sorry, you had to dodge the garbage-bergs though. That is kind of icky.

Ernie said...

Suzanne - It was so great that the weather was so ideal. Not too hot. I encouraged Coach to go golfing. He considered it but never ended up doing it. I guess looking at me soak up the rays from the shade was enjoyable for him. Ha.

Ernie said...

Anonymous - Those are some unattractive hotel issues. When we drove to Yellowstone in '10 Coach worried that we wouldn't be able to score a hotel when we wanted. It was also dicey to be willing to drive as far as you needed to if you were locked into a reservation. We had some gross stays as a result of his "let's decided to drive this many miles on this given day - bam, here's a place, let's reserve it." One place smelled SO BAD. The kids are older now, so fingers crossed that we can make fewer stops on the way to Yellowstone this summer.

Ernie said...

Kari - Yes, it was delightful there, and so very kind of Chicago to have milder temps when we returned. Spring is ON THE WAY! I am very pumped up about that. Garbage in a pool should be avoided when possible, but hey we're talking to the woman who soaked in raccoon infested waters on her deck over the summer . . . so we know I have high tolerance for ick.

Beth Cotell said...

Thankfully I don't have any hotel horror stories! Life with you is certainly adventure! Never a dull moment fir the Shennangans!😁

Pat Birnie said...

You are hilarious - sneaking into the pool in the other hotel; in spite of the garbage. I would have been so afraid of 'getting in trouble'... Having garbage floating in the pool is ridiculous. You'd think they'd improve conditions during this tough, hardly anyone is traveling covid times!

We used to have a house in Florida and often made the 24 hour drive if we needed to move stuff there or back to Ontario. Our strategy was to grab a motel about 14 hours in, sleep 5 or 6 hours then finish the drive. Many of those weren't classy to say the least. Once, I was in the bathroom (ahem, seated) and a mouse ran under the door then back out!! thank god it was morning and we were packing up to leave!!

Ps LOVED the video on your Monday post. Those wee ones on top of the car were so cute. I do not know how you kept a straight face!! Reminds me (as always) of when my guys were little; at one point my 2 or 3 year old decided to start using the f-word. (no idea where he heard it....). It was so cute in his baby voice, and the hardest thing to scold him without cracking up!>

Suz said...

I'm SO glad Coach took some cute pics of you; naked or not, you appear happy.
I was SO waiting to read that you complained to the La Quinta people about the pool NOT being heated....that would have put me over the edge of your fake hotel guest stays. YOU crack me up.
If anyone deserves some time in the sun (to cook) it's you.
Oh, to answer your questions, NO ONE IN AZ lays in the sun. IT is TOO DAMN hot.
I don't heat my pool in the winter, too much $$ but I will hear the hot tub in a hot minute.

We checked into a ritzy hotel in NYC for my 40th birthday. We got our keys, headed up many flights on the elevator, walked to OUR room, opened the door and THERE WAS a couple in there. Luckily, they were just sitting...sitting next to my 3 dozen roses gifted to me by the Coach.
Oh, the hotel got an earful for this mistake. They gave the same room to 2 couples.

Charlie said...

Sorry, I’m guilty of eagerly anticipating your second post before commenting! I’m so envious of your lovely sunny weekend getaway and I am totally that person who would use facilities in another hotel (if they were nicer than mine of course). I love staying in hotels, during the pandemic I have really missed this and I can’t wait till our next break, whenever that might be. What does drive me mad though is doing the research to make sure hotels have facilities and services that you require and then getting to said hotel and finding out it doesn’t. Really annoying.

Ernie said...

Beth - No bad hotel experiences? That's it - I'm calling you to book us our next room. Things do often turn into an adventure.

Ernie said...

Pat - Coach was opposed to sneaking into another hotel, dang rule follower. Eventually he grasped that I wasn't taking no for an answer. The reason I snuck into the pool was the pool that we switched to HAD GARBAGE in the pool, the La Quinta did not. I know, all those pools and hotels are confusing.

A mouse in a hotel would send me OVER the edge.

I babysat for a little guy who called his pacifier his 'sucker', but his 's' came out like an 'f'. His older siblings used to take his pacifier from him in church just to hear him say _UCKER.

Oh, that video. Yes. It is a fav. I lost most of a year of videos and was so glad that I had that little tidbit saved somewhere separate. It makes me laugh so much. I wish I didn't sound so cranky, but really what other way to make them get the NOT DOING THIS AGAIN message.

Ernie said...

Suz - I thought about telling my readers that I complained to my sneak-in hotel that they hadn't heated the pool as a joke. That would really be pushing it. On my drive to dancing tonight, I called the Holiday Inn customer service people to make them aware that garbage floating in a pool that we were told was heated is fairly unacceptable. They gave me 5,000 points. (insert image of me bowing).

I'm glad we have some photos too. It really was relaxing and sunny and wonderful. The pool issue was a bit frustrating, but I'm always up for an adventure. I think Coach would prefer that I retire my adventurous side. Soon.

That hotel story is THE BOMB. So damn hilarious. I mean can you imagine if they were INDISPOSED? Or active? How horrid would that have been to get that image out of your mind. Hope you got a free night out of it. See, that's what I'm good at . . . finding an angle.

Ernie said...

Charlie - Do not apologize. I admit that I cringed a bit yesterday when so few comments popped up, thinking I'd annoyed people during these less than easy times with my travel drama. Maybe I need to limit my I'M NOT ONE TO COMPLAIN, BUT . . . posts.

Oh, I have very little shame when it comes to sneaking into places I don't belong if it seems harmless enough and I'm not taking anything physically. It reminds me of another time Coach and I traveled to a course. Now I have to add that story to my list of posts to share. Goofy situations follow me and that makes for an overwhelming list of things to write about. Where to find the time? Maybe I should go away by myself and hang by a pool and only blog. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Sorry you miss traveling. I still can't believe this whole pandemic is still going on. I laugh at how I thought it would only last a few weeks or a few months and I was RACING around trying to get projects done while I wasn't sitting. Here we are, almost a year later - still with so much cancelled.

Bibliomama said...

Traveling. Hotels. It's like you're in a whole different world. I've always thought when people sneak in and use the pool at a hotel they're not staying in on tv it looks really fun but I think I'd be too nervous. I went to Washington with two girlfriends years ago and we stayed in a "guest house" that had once been a beautiful multi-storey house with a gorgeous spiral wood staircase, but it was old and falling apart and gross. The back yard was full of old fridges and a chunk of our ceiling fell in during the night. As we were leaving, a gay couple from across the street came over to ask us how it was because they'd always wondered if they should put up guests there and we were like NOOOOO!

Ernie said...

Ali - Staying in hotels is a whole other world. It's odd to think about how other people have recently slept in that bed. I guess, best not to go there.

It was awesome to sneak into that hotel. I figure that if I was caught I could just play dumb, like REALLY dumb and say that I was lost . . . that I was checked in across the street.

Bummer that the place you stayed in hadn't been kept up. Was it an airbnb? The chunk falling from the ceiling reminds me that a few months ago a chunk fell from the ceiling of the grocery store about 30 feet from where I was shopping. That's an alarming feeling.

Bibliomama said...

No, this was way before AirBnB was a thing. We found it in an actual paper guidebook. I believe it was called the Columbia Guesthouse. I assume it's either been gentrified or condemned since then.

Ernie said...

Ali - Ah, got it. Funny to think that it is hard to remember the time before airbnb. ;)