Some people like to travel and get away for the weekend. I’m not one of them. My idea of a great vacation would be spent on the couch, with the hubby, being able to watch an entire episode of "Blue Bloods" without interruption. An hour would be fine.
In my hour of escape, dogs wouldn’t have to pee, kids wouldn’t need rides and toddlers wouldn’t smack their faces into the solitary solid object remaining in the living room. No one would call, e-mail, text, break up with a boyfriend or suddenly remember that during off season for school supply shopping, they desperately need a neon yellow 2 inch binder.
A getaway that didn’t involve going anywhere? Since I’m not a fan of driving, flying or any other modes of public transportation, the hermit in me thinks that sounds divine.
We just returned from a road trip to Iowa State University where my son competed in the USA Diving Spring Region Championships. Despite my general disdain for travel, I was looking forward to this little jaunt. I enjoy watching the sport of diving and the hotel’s website showed photos of what appeared to be a soothing looking hot tub.
The hot tub is the sole enticing factor for making any hotel seem appealing to me. Well, that and not having to brush my teeth in the supposed “sitting area” is a plus, too.
The five hour and 50 minute “with traffic” promise turned out to be slightly misleading. It wasn’t traffic that I had to worry about. As soon as we crossed the mighty Mississippi, Iowa greeted us with a snowstorm that appeared almost blizzard-like. Fields of corn were erased by whiteout and cars and semi-trailers slid right off the road, dropping into roadside ditches. There were no guardrails, but perhaps that’s to keep those wayward vehicles from bouncing back into traffic to be struck by other cars. No one seemed to slow down there despite the conditions.
My knuckles turned as white as the weather as I attempted to keep my rental car on the road toward our destination. I had left two hours earlier than the mapping software said I needed to, hoping to slip into that hot tub before my son needed to be on the boards for practice.
After an eight plus hour trip, we checked into the hotel only to realize that we had no idea where the university’s pool was located. My attempt at googling an exact address for the GPS was a failure. Thank goodness my daughter had friends who attended school there and were able to give us an intersection.
We made it with about a minute to spare and I had two hours until I had to retrieve him.
I slipped into my new suit that slenderizes some curves while enhancing others and flip-flopped my way down a frigid hallway to the pool area. I probably should have realized that we were staying in a hotel for a children’s diving event and that those kids might gravitate toward the aquatic amenities. The hot tub was jammed packed with splishing, splashing, screaming rugrats. I retreated back to the hotel room and started to read a book in the sitting/tooth brushing area while waiting to pick up my son and drop my daughter off to meet up with her friends. Same usual evening events, just a different locale.
Far from a fairy tale, I did feel a bit like Goldilocks. The bed was too soft, the food in the hotel’s restaurant was too cold and so bad that, should I ever want a career change, I certainly could work there as a chef. It’s good to have options, I suppose.
Besides one other annoyance that first evening, which will be handled today with a carefully crafted letter, the kicker came when my son went to join his friends in the pool area and somehow managed to badly scrape his foot and knee in the hot tub. Preferably, you need both of those injury free for diving.
He whined about the sharpness of the hot tub as blood trickled from a now bald spot on his usual fleecy knee. Perhaps “My hot tub’s too sharp” is a more modern version of the Goldilocks story.
In the morning, I awoke before dawn to give the steamy bath a try. My son was right; each step in the tub poked at the skin. It felt like sharp gravel, but the warm jets were soothing. I cautiously submerged myself and if I didn't move, was able to relax for a while. And then "Sesame Street" ended and once again, my peaceful time was interrupted by the little ones.
And just like home, there wasn’t a towel available when I needed one, either. I had to run back through the frigid hallway, dripping and goosebumped. Did I mention that I'm not a fan of hotels, really?
My son didn’t have his best meet, but the whole weekend wasn’t totally a freezing, drippy mess. I had a lovely time at the team dinner party on Saturday night and I did get to read an entire book. I also found a website offering deeply discounted Jacuzzis for the backyard.
I’d buy one, but it would probably always be full of rugrats and then I’d never have a towel. I think I’ll save them as my road trip specials.
Do you like to travel and stay in hotels or are you like me and need a day off after a supposed getaway? What’s your favorite (or most dreaded) part of hotel stays?