The background noise
Wednesday October 23rd 2019, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Life

“Marriott, Mom. Always stay at a Marriott,” my older son told me after the fact.

The last two times we traveled to Salt Lake City to visit my folks we stayed in…interesting places. The AirBnB that was halfway remodeled, half horror: the tall glass door between the bathroom (glass. why.) and the kitchen with green paint slathered in broad horizontal strokes for privacy’s sake was unique. The owner told us not to sit on the couches because one monster four foot painting had fallen a few days prior (it had one edge resting on the couch on the left) and she was afraid the one on the right might go, too.

Two, the Quality Inn, chosen simply because if Southwest had linked to it it had to have been vetted, right?

The elevator didn’t work. When we asked about it, the guy went into the control room and got the doors to open for us but it smelled sharply of smoke and complained screechingly that it didn’t want to do this anymore.

The place had a thick vinyl fake-wood flooring that I recognized as having a thirty year to lifetime warranty, depending on your vendor–but in the elevator the edge of it was just destroyed. That took effort. At least it was under warranty–and yet there it was.

Yeah, not going there again. But there was no way we were going to inflict one more burden on Mom just then, it was definitely going to be a hotel.

Checking online: sold out, pick another day or place…

Michelle (who had been at that AirBnB too) urged me, Stay somewhere nice this time. Your father just died. You need to stay somewhere that makes good memories this time.

We had enough frequent flier miles to cover the last-minute airfare, rather to my surprise, so maybe we could splurge a little.

Which is how I booked at the Radisson downtown. Real close to Mom, so we wouldn’t have to spend precious time in the car when we didn’t have to. We wanted to be with family, not traffic.

Turns out they were having an ALS conference there, ie Lou Gehrig’s disease.

We checked in. We found to our annoyance, or mine, anyway, that all parking was below the hotel and was listed at $15/hour. It wasn’t till after the trip that I found to my relief that it’s $15/day for hotel guests; the hourly rate is for people going to the convention center across the street. Phew.

There are four elevators. Two go down to the parking. They did not work. They would not be working for two to three more weeks and by how it looked, even that was a contractor’s wishful thinking.

I could just see the ALS folks going, Oh yay. Thanks for telling us, guys.

But! If you called the office they would send a cart or van to come around the building and under there to pick you up and bring you to the covered main doorway. Which, when it’s raining and your ears have expensive electronics in them or the sun’s out and you’re allergic to it, you do.

Unless the van is picking people up from the airport and the cart is ferrying someone else somewhere else.

Someone from the office took our car keys and brought our car to us instead. Which was far more than I expected and my thanks to them for going below and beyond.

The toilet tended to stay running unless you jiggled the handle.

Thursday, housekeeping after we were gone for the day did not jiggle that handle.

We came back to a completely flooded bathroom, but at least it was contained to that space. We were dog-tired and just wanted to crash so I used a bunch of the towels and then we decided not to wait however unknowably long it might take for someone to come–we just wanted to go to bed.

What is it with hotels and smoke alarms flashing brightly all night? I actually got up to see if there was a fire anywhere. There wasn’t. Sure they want guests to be able to see it when they need it but why cry wolf all night every night? And why place it at the foot of the bed? In other hotels it was on the wall and you could cover it, but this one was on the ceiling. At home if the alarm flashes like that (remember, I take my ears off at night) you need to get out and call 911.

As of the time we left they had not yet fixed that toilet.

So I was talking to one of my cousins after the funeral and told her what Michelle had said: Make good memories. Stay someplace nice. And then I guffawed at the irony of it all and in appreciation of how Dad would have loved telling the story for years to come.

So, well, then I guess we (sort of) did.

5 Comments so far
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Never a dull moment!!!

Glass half full (despite the empty toilet and the full floor), huh?

Comment by Suzanne in Montreal 10.24.19 @ 8:08 am

Those sorts of things are no fun at the time, but do make for great stories and memories afterward!

Comment by ccr in MA 10.24.19 @ 12:28 pm

We all have our frequent user preference. I generally go La Quinta or Hilton family and normally on the cheap side. Not a fan of AirBnB. Hope they gave you some credit!

Comment by Holly 10.24.19 @ 3:56 pm

Ho Jo, free parking and close to everything, right on that corner

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 10.24.19 @ 5:53 pm

I’ve heard the accomodations where your father went are really top notch!

Comment by LauraN 11.01.19 @ 6:18 pm

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