Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hotel hell

I am spoiled.  I don't deny it.  I even readily admit it.  One particular area of my rottenness is travel accommodations.  My company lets me stay in anything that will let us have a government rate and is under per diem.   These days, that is practically anything.  My favorite places are Country Inn & Suites, Hamptons, Hiltons and Marriots.  Each of these franchises tries to top the other one when it comes to the comfort of their guests...particularly when it comes to how comfy their beds are.

Well, as it happened, when I went to book rooms for us in Tuscaloosa for Panhellinic Day (the monkey is planning on rushing in the fall), none of my usual stand-bys had any vacancies (there was a marathon being held that weekend as well).  In fact, the only thing I could find that still had a non-smoking vacancy was a Super 8.

Now, I was prepared for the experience to be slightly more economical than my usual.  However, our stay ended up being, well, pretty horrific.
Pulling into the Super 8 parking lot, it looked mostly innocuous...nothing too fancy...but not too ramshackle either. 

Something I didn't catch right away????  Notice the bottom row of windows?  Yes, the first floor was half-way underground.  Good news during a tornado, I suppose, but it was weird being below street level...kind of like Lavern and Shirley.  And it had a funny smell...not exactly moldy...kind of what you would imagine an earthworm would smell like. 

This was the lovely view out of our window. I kind of had to stand on tip toe to even see out. Of course the view got better at night: 

That's when the pretty lights from the TRAVELING CARNIVAL right up the bank from us would brighten the night sky. I didn't get any audio, so I can't share with you the sounds we enjoyed from our room...the clanking of the poorly bolted together rides...the screams of the people riding the poorly bolted together rides and the music blaring from each ride and booth...all happening concurrently. 
Not that there was any real danger of Jeff or I getting any sleep whatsoever.  For one thing, the mattress appeared to be about 75 years old.  It groaned and and made dying-spring sounds whenever we shifted our weight.
It was also squished down at the head by about 3 inches.
We are used to sleeping in a bed with an elevated head (Jeff has a hiatal hernia and this helps his heartburn issues).  The Super 8 bed was like the antithesis of our bed at home.  I felt like I was standing on my head.
Also?  I was afraid to get under the covers.  I have walked this earth for 44 years without suffering a bed bug bite, and I intend to keep it that way, I assure you.

We had rented a separate room for the girls (my niece is starting at Alabama next year as well, and met us down there).  They at least were on the non-carnival side of the building.  Plus, teenagers can practically fall asleep standing up, so they did alright.

Neither Jeff nor I got much sleep at all.  Even after I went to the front desk to get us two extra pillows to make up for the mattress lean (I had to show my drivers license to the guy at the desk before he gave me the pillows).

That made for a long, long day the next day when had to sit through the parent's portion of Panhellinic Day. (The girls' portion was all about the wonderful, happy, fun time you have as a Greek.  Ours was all about how much it's gonna cost you.  It is not cheap.)

So, lesson well learned.  Book early and pay the extra for anything going on in T-town.


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