Sunday, November 6, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I'm home. 

I took a quick(ish) trip across the state for work. It's nice to have a change of pace. It's nice to see another town. It's nice to see colleagues I don't ordinarily see. It's nice to have a king size bed all to myself instead of sharing a queen size bed with my husband and daughter. It's....nice.

Have I said that I don't travel well? It's not my favorite thing in the world. I don't understand why, and I did try to figure out what my problem was with traveling in general on this trip. Let's break it down.

1 - Packing. Easy, I like to make lists and usually don't forget things.

2 - Getting to the airport, parking in long-term parking, checking in. I don't mind logistics. This was fine.

3 - Security at SeaTac. Oh my.  First of all, I hate checking bags. Even when it was free, I hated checking bags. I don't trust that my bags will actually make it. On this trip I had all my training stuff (computer, presentation materials, etc.) on top of my clothes. I had my purse, my laptop bag and my little rolling cart carryon. I didn't try to fit my purse into my laptop bag before leaving, and guess what - it didn't fit so my plan of consolidating to a carryon and 1 personal item was becoming more complicated. I was going on a tiny plane where you have to give up your carryons at the gate so they can put them in the luggage part of the plane. Didn't want to temporarily put my purse into my carryon since it wouldn't be with me for the flight. So I had to empty my purse of any of the bigger stuff and try to squeeze it in my laptop bag. Take out liquids, take off shoes, take out laptop, I was soooo slow, had accidentally left a barrette in my jeans pocket, and I got a free thigh rubdown courtesy of the TSA. I don't think I'd ever been touched like that by a woman. Security sucked because I had all those bags to consolidate, hauling everything through, getting searched (which was my own fault for not getting out my barrette), etc.

4. Got some food, waited for the plane. Just fine, check.

5. Plane - it was a small one. Engines are a little noisier than taking a jet, but it's still fine. I like to fly and have been since I was tiny. No problem. I'm chatting with the lady next to me. I have two Larry the Cable Guys behind me. They are interesting to overhear. They are salesmen for a mining (as in minerals) company. They talk about guns, four wheeling, purty women, beer, and Fox News. When we disembark, I take a look at them. They look very much like Larry the Cable Guy, and they both have on camouflage hats.

6. Got to downtown just fine by taking the bus. A co-worker had been on the same plane, and we took the bus together.

7. Checked into the hotel, looked at my room*, co-worker immediately calls and wants to go eat (remember, I had eaten right before my flight) and check out the town.

8. Went to an alehouse, ate a few of his onion rings, talked.

9. Toured downtown with him. Window shopped, went through the library, took a walk in the park, listened to him talk. He's a talker. I'm not. He has women issues. Men come to me with their relationship issues. Free therapy and all.

10. Meet friends at a martini bar. I eat dinner there. I'm obviously not going to get drunk since I have to be up at 5am and give a four-hour long presentation. Dude, I'm not suicidal. We try to talk. It's loud, there's some guy singing, it's crowded, me getting headache. I'm done. As in, I want to get out there and be by myself. This introvert is maxed out on social interaction.

11. I split off with a different co-worker (a quieter one!), and we go to the mall because she needs to get something. I ask for directions to the closest place to get candy for my training tomorrow (I bribe people with candy).

12. Get candy by myself, walk home by myself through downtown. It's late and dark and there are some sketchy people. But holla, I'm by myself!  I don't care what I have to do because I finally can hear myself think.

13. Get back to the room*, cannot sleep due to all the commotion of the evening plus being in a strange place, plus nerves about the next morning, plus being nervous that the alarm won't go off (I'm always afraid I'll oversleep when I'm not familiar with the alarm clock because the volume's not quite high enough or I didn't set it right). Get approximate 45 minutes of sleep ALL night. Seriously, I hate sleeping in strange places. Finally give up at 3am.

14.  Pack, get ready, go over my presentation, check out at 5:30am.

15. Go to training, set up, give training, it goes well, get ride to airport.

16. Spokane airport is heckuva lot easier than Seatac through security and to the gate. Change to an earlier flight.

17. Not a full flight for once, it was nice to have more space, and it was a jet so less noisy.

18. Arrived at the farthest gate at Seatac. Had all my crap (aside from presentation materials that I got rid of at the training), instead of calling for a shuttle to my car (10 blocks away from the airport), I just walked it (in heels). Less than an hour of sleep the previous night, been standing in heels for 4 hours at the training, walking through all of the airport plus another 10 city blocks in heels and carrying all my shidizzle, whew...I was wiped. And for some reason, probably because I'm kinda sick right now, the pressure on the ride home really affected my ears and they wouldn't pop. And I was hungry. So kinda cranky and just want to get home.

19. Drove home.  30 hours for the entire trip.

Conclusion: I really, really, really dislike not being in my own bed.

* I was staying at the best hotel in the city. I didn't pick it, someone else did, but I wanted to check out the reviews before I got there. 4.8 out of 5 stars on Expedia. If I was picking a place on my own, I would have stayed somewhere not as great.

Sooooo...with that hype, I was expecting 4.8 stars. I was expecting the finest hotel stay of my entire life. I was expecting to concur with all those reviews that said this was the best hotel ever, that it would redefine my hotel expectations from there on out.

I probably shouldn't have read any of the reviews. No expectations is probably better to have. Shoot, I forgot to take pictures. You would have liked a picture tour. A picture tour, on reflection, would have been awesome for this blog.

* The room had a wild animal theme. Elephants, leopards, rhinos on the walls, leopard accent pillows, leopard chaise lounge. I'm not kidding. It was a leopard print lounge chair. NO WAY was I sitting on the leopard chaise lounge chair without testing it with a black light.

* Headboard was a mirror that went all the way to the ceiling. My first thought: I wonder if they clean the mirror after every visitor.

* The room wasn't really impressive. It was newish. I think the hotel opened earlier this year. It was nice, yes, but it did have some tackiness.

* My complaints really have to do with the bathroom. Expedia touted the rooms saying that you could take a luxurious bath. I love baths. And it was a nicer hotel, so maybe I could possibly actually USE the bath. A hot bath would feel so nice... But it was just a shower.  Let us discuss definitions. A bath is a bath, and a shower is a shower. You cannot take a bath in a shower.  Well, I suppose you can, but it won't be a pleasant bath lying on a tile floor as water pelts you from above. So, anyway, that option was out. I decided to take a shower when I couldn't get to sleep. Maybe a hot shower would help me doze off. So I turned on the water, waited for a bit, and it's COLD!  Maybe I'm doing it wrong, play with the handle, and it's even colder when I go the other way. Decide to wait, maybe it takes a while to warm up. It takes 10 minutes for the shower to warm up enough to get in.  TEN MINUTES! I feel like the worst water waster in the whole freaking world, but I'm not taking a COLD shower in a 4.8 star hotel. I want a freaking hot shower.

* They have liquid soap in this hotel. In the shower they have dispensers for shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. I hate shower gel. I like bar soap. Call me old fashioned and not very girly. The hotel products have this weird smell to them. Not a clean smell. It's that musky androgynous cologne smell. I can deal with that for the hair products, but the shower gel ... ick.

* They have liquid hand soap at the sink that's different than the clear shower gel. It smells weird too, but worse that that, it looks really weird. I was having a hard time getting it out, the pump had this weird delayed reaction, and I ended up spilling it in the sink. It started coming out like Dawn dish liquid, that blue tinge, which was fine. Then after that it turns yellow...okay...with streaks of brown...ummmm... then there's green dots in it. I'm staring in utter awe at this rainbow colored solution with an interesting consistency & look to it.
I should have taken a picture. It was even more amazing than the wall o' mirrors and leopard lounge chair. It looked like a big ol' pile of snot. Needless to say, I went into the shower for the slightly less offensive shower gel to wash my hands with.

* I would prefer the Days Inn with their little bars of clean-smelling soap in both the normal looking bathtub and next to the sink. Bonus points for little bottles of clean-smelling shampoo and conditioner.

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