Once a year maybe two if we’re lucky, we head to central Nebraska to go pheasant hunting. For the last five years we’ve stayed in a little town in central Nebraska at a national chain. The rooms have always been clean and the staff very friendly. Last year we didn’t go hunting because I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had my surgery about the time we normally go hunting. When I called to reserve our room a man answered with a very heavy accent that made conversation a struggle with a lot of repeating on both our parts. I was just hopeful that I had actually made a reservation and there would be a room for us when we got there on Friday evening. It turned out that we would have been better off if we haven’t gotten the reservation. The name had changed and was no longer a part of the chain. The man at the front desk was the same one I spoke with on the phone. In person he was not very friendly, I don’t think he ever smiled in his life. He spoke loudly and repeated everything I said. Granted I had a difficult time understanding him. I tried but I am not good at accents. He gave me the room key cards and pointed to the direction of the room.
We drove around the building found the room and started unloading. Evidently the new owners were economizing. The room was tiny with one bed, my mistake, I usually ask for two beds but having missed a year I forgot. There was a piece of cardboard taped to the wall presumably covering a hole. Spackle and paint must be very rare in this part of Nebraska. There was no in-room mini coffeepot, good thing we brought our own. The towel bar over the sink had no bar, just the two mounting brackets supporting the missing bar. The sink stopper was lying on the sink next to the sink, not in the drain for some reason. There were two bath towels, two hand towels and two wash cloths. One roll of toilet paper and no Kleenexes. There was a small refrigerator that sounded like it was on its last leg. Mitch’s favorite thing about the room was the hand written piece of paper with the new name of the hotel taped to the telephone in the room. Vary classy.
The bed was a full size bed, not queen size bed mind you, a full size. At least the television worked. I walked back to the front office and asked Mr. Happy for a roll of toilet paper and a box of Kleenexes. He handed me a roll of toilet paper and said that I had to wait for housekeeping the next day for the Kleenexes. I said that there were no Kleenexes in the room now and I wanted a box today. He said that I had to wait for housekeeping tomorrow. Customer service 101 was a class he evidently skipped. I walked back to our room toilet paper in hand and started to get ready for bed when I realized that I forgot my contact lens solution. Mitch offered up a bottle of water for me to use. Thanks but I don’t that would have worked. I jumped in the car and buzzed across the highway to the Walmart for contact lens solution and squirt cheese for the dogs to hide Charlie’s pill in. I should have bought two pillows and pillowcases, but I hadn’t seen the pillows before I left the room.
While I was gone, Mr. Happy knocked on the door of our room. It took Mitch a minute to answer thinking it was me and that I forgot my key. Anyway when Mitch finally answered the door the dogs bounded out in front of him and out the door before he could stop them. Mitch always thinks that everyone loves dogs. He looks at our dogs as big friendly dogs that love everyone, he forgets that a lot of people are apprehensive around dogs, especially large dogs. Mr. Happy was a few feet away from the door with a plunger in his hand thinking that because I asked for a roll of toilet paper I must have clogged the toilet and we were under water. He took one look at the dogs romping toward him only seeing giant brown monsters with poisonous venom dripping from three foot long fangs coming to eat him. He waved the plunger back and forth in front of him like a light saber warding off the evil creatures of darkness. Of course by waving the plunger at the dogs Charlie saw it as a threatening act causing him to bark and growl at the man. Orso just wanted to be petted by someone new and just kept moving toward the man. Mitch got them under control and shooed back into the room and turned to Mr. Happy. He asked if we needed a plunger to which Mitch politely declined.
I came back contact solution in hand and finished getting ready for bed. That’s when I realized I should have bought pillows. The bed had two pillows on it, one small pillow and one smaller pillow. The bed had a definite tilt to it. The foot of the bed was higher than the head of the bed. Sitting on the bed felt like sitting on quarter inch plywood laid over springs, not comfortable at all. To top it off, Orso was disoriented and clingy, making himself at home across the foot of the bed, shortening the length of the bed by two feet. Mitch on one side, me on the other and here comes Charlie making himself comfortable between us. A full size bed is large enough for the two of us, but add in one hundred eighty pounds of dogs and the bed gets really small very quickly. Charlie wasn’t happy with the hardness of the bed and kept squirming around flopping on my stomach. We laid there for about thirty minutes listening to the refrigerator cycle on and off. I finally couldn’t take it anymore got up and unplugged it. Between Orso at the foot of the bed, Charlie squirming around in the bed and a bed that felt like sleeping on plywood neither one of us got more than a couple of hours sleep. If I hadn’t been afraid of what disgusting things had been ground into to the carpet I would have slept on the floor.
We lasted until about 4:30 in the morning, that was all my lower back could take. I got up and noticed a puddle of water on the credenza next to the refrigerator. I looked down on the floor at the shotgun cases directly below the fridge and saw that two of the four cases were wet. Great. Neither one of us thought about the refrigerator defrosting when I unplugged it.
Mitch took the shotguns out of the cases to see how wet they were, salvaging three. One of mine, my back up shotgun took the brunt of the water. He dismantled it to dry out. I turned on the water in the shower turning the knob all the way over to the hot side in order to get the water warm enough, pulled the flow knob to shower and can only say that the best part about the shower was that the water was wet. I realized I forgot soap and reached for the bar of soap offered by the hotel. I picked up the package to unwrap it and discovered that it was already open and the bar had been used. Super disgusting.
It was going to be a long three nights. This trip was starting off a high note for sure.