Home Away from Home ... by Cindy Beck

© Cindy Beck, 2008
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, home, hotel, Salt Lake City, elevator, YourLDSNeighborhood.com)

“I don’t know whether it was the irritating noise or the cramped space, but I swear I’m never spending another night in a hotel room!” I said to my husband, Russ.

He shook his head. “Forget the noise and the tiny room. It was probably your slip-and-fall in the bathroom that convinced you.”

Russ had a conference in Salt Lake City for a few days, and I’d thought it the perfect opportunity to go along, hole up in a room, and write. It’s impossible to say why that thought even flew over the cuckoo’s nest, because I seldom get a lot of work done in a hotel. The reasons for that are varied. Mostly, they center on time spent taking our dog, Corky Porky Pie, out for a walk fifteen times a day to insure an empty bladder (the dog’s bladder, not mine) … and changing rooms.

Yup, I said, “Changing rooms.” It seems no matter how many years in advance we reserve our little home away from home, we end up with less-than-stellar accommodations. One time, we had a hotel room that I swear had a disease living under the bed. Another time, the lighting was so poor the cockroaches were mugging each other.

“Hey look,” I said to Russ, when we walked into the hotel room in Salt Lake City. “No diseases and no cockroaches. Instead, the staff has put us in a coat closet next to the elevator.”

Russ leaned over, picked up the TV remote and pushed a button. Then he pushed it again. “The television doesn’t work, either,” he said, slightly annoyed.

“We can live without TV. Don’t call the front desk because they’ll send up a maintenance guy.” On our way up to the room, I’d seen the maintenance man standing in the lobby. I have a finely-tuned brain that picks up on vibes … the pleasure of someone eating rich, milk chocolate; the happiness of couples in love; the thoughts and plans of serial killers.

The maintenance man definitely did not bring chocolate to mind.

“If that creepy guy shows up to fix the TV, Corky Porky Pie and I are outta here.” I snapped the dog’s leash onto his collar in preparation, as Russ dialed the front desk.

Two men showed up. The first one started working on the problem, and the second one walked in through the open door a few minutes later. It was the man from the lobby. Neither the dog nor I could fit under the bed, so we hightailed it to the bathroom.

It got tiring, sitting on the commode for half an hour. And who in their right mind wants to lie down on the floor with all the germs? Corky Porky Pie and I finally reached a compromise.

“You settle your short, fat body on the floor, and I’ll settle mine in the bathtub,” I whispered to him. Then I stretched out in the tub, fully clothed, and waited until the two men left.

Sleep eluded all three of us that night. Every time someone got in the elevator, the contraption would give a, “whiiiiine, cheeeese, cheeeese” sort of squeak, followed by banging that seemed to come from the bowels of the earth. It did this every few minutes, as people moved up and down the twelve-story hotel. All night long.

After an entire night of whine and cheese by the elevator, I convinced Russ we needed to change rooms. So it was, while Russ attended the conference workshops, that I repacked our belongings and loaded everything onto a luggage cart and headed down to the seventh floor.

Except when I got there, the room was only half-ready and the maid spoke little English.

“Will you be done soon?” I asked.

She shrugged her shoulders and gave a smile that said, “I don’t have a clue what you’re saying.”

We exchanged a lot of hand signals. I hoped they meant she’d finish the room shortly, but she could have been telling me to take a long walk off a short pier.

Corky and I paced the halls, trying not to pressure the woman so much that she forgot to do something really important … like cleaning the room. When she finally finished, I pushmi-pullyued the baggage cart through the door. It felt a bit cool in there, but at least the noise of last night’s elevator was absent. I looked at the dog and he looked at me. “Ahhh, finally a decent place,” I said, flopping back onto the bed …

(To be continued in Cindy’s next blog.)

What's playing in my head: Home on the Range (by Brewster Higley and Daniel Kelley)

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Unknown said...

Cindy, you slay me! This is so funny and yet, I feel for you. I really, really do!

Nichole Giles said...

Boy, my friend, you have the worst luck with hotel rooms.

And yet, you always have a funny outlook and a great writing subject.

Good blog.