Wednesday, May 26, 2010

“What a day this has been/What a rare mood I’m in…”

Yes. It has been one of those days. Allow me to elucidate.

This morning, my Mom makes a cameo appearance here at Rancho Yesteryear with a 12 pack of Pepsi One and some fried chicken she scored at Publix (eight mixed pieces for $3.99; a deal you can’t even to begin to beat with a stick). She had called the day before to let me know she’d be by and asked if she could run the prizes in TDOY’s Nick Carter, Master Detective giveaway by the post office for me. (Note to the winners: mission accomplished…the sets are on their way.) I accepted this generous offer—she was going right by the USPS on her grocery run—but I thought she was going to come by my place first before getting groceries. (I had a couple of additional items on my list. But no biggie.) While she was here, she notifies me that my father will be by later…he wants me to book a hotel room for our family reunion trip in June.

I don’t remember when Dad arrived at Castle Yesteryear…but I do know that when he left, it was three months later. This is no reflection on him, but rather a manifestation of one of the Big Lies in the hotel bidness, perpetrated by celebrity spokesman William Shatner and that big pimp guy with the tattooed hands that makes him look like Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter (1955). Shat would have you believe that there are cheap hotel rooms just for the taking at Priceline, and all you have to do is “name your own price.” What a load of old cobblers.

First off, my mother is—well, I don’t want to say she’s “picky” because I want to stay in the will…let’s just call it “particular” about where she stays when she’s traveling. Of course, I made certain my father was aware of this, though if memory serves me correct he sort of scoffed at her “particularness,” grumbling: “She’s not on the corporate dime anymore.” (This is true; she retired when she turned sixty [mumble].) The city closest to the family reunion had a Hampton Inn, which is Mater’s preferred brand of hotel chain…but everywhere I went—Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Orbitz—the rates for a Hampton stay were the same. (And with all apologies to Mr. Shatner, the rates were not the price we wanted to name—although we did think of a few choice names…but this is a family blog.) And when my father resigned himself to the fact that no matter where we booked the room we would pay the same rate at the Hampton—we even checked the rate at Hampton Inn.com, foregoing the Priceline/Travelocity, etc. discounts…and it was the same freakin’ rate!—we tried to book a room with two queen beds…and kept getting told there were none available. He called the hotel to find out what’s the dealio and the lady told him they were booked tighter than a tick because someone was getting married that weekend.

So, we had to fall back on Plan B…staying at a hotel that was probably not going to pass muster with Mumsy. The only problem with this (apart from her being unhappy) was we couldn’t find a hotel that had rooms with two queen beds. We even tried hotels fifty miles away from where we had to be…no soap. So Dad reasoned—and I kind of have to hand it to him, he’s pretty sharp for an old codger—that with what we were going to pay to stay at the Hampton, we could get two rooms with one queen bed in each. The hotel that we want to stay at had a bar on the premises (and really, that’s pretty much all I require as far as lodging goes) but when I tried to book two rooms at GetaRoom.com, I was told a) my father’s Amex card was no good (he about blew a gasket when this happened—contrary to gossip, he does pay his bills) and b) by the time I used a different card, the hotel had mysteriously sold out. (I know how this happened—my father called the hotel before we booked it via GetaRoom because he didn’t believe me that we could get the rooms cheaper that way. This no doubt alerted the woman he spoke with that something was in the works for that weekend, and she then blocked any further online reservations from coming in. I’m about 99% on this because we tried to book these rooms with another online reservation place and…no dice. Can’t say that I blame her—I would have done the same thing myself.)

So Dad and I finally find a hotel that has two rooms—both with queen beds—in the vicinity of the reunion site, and once again I try to book them through GetaRoom.com. And once again, I go through the long, painful reservation process…only to be told that the rooms I’m booking are sold out. So I calmly picked up the phone and dialed GetaRoom direct, spoke with a customer service agent who was most accommodating and booked two rooms for the dates of the reunion with absotively, posilutely no fuss.

Yeah, right…in the Bizarro World! I was on the phone for what seemed like an eternity trying to get the lady on the other end to understand my reservation instructions…and this wasn’t easy because a) English was her second language, and b) my voice is still not back to normal strength. (If anyone’s talked to me on the phone they know that I sound like Mr. Moose from the old Captain Kangaroo show.) When I finally completed the transaction I was wishing that not only had we been able to book rooms in the hotel with the bar, but that I was there throwing back a few.

I still haven’t found the time to look at Breaker! Breaker! (1977)—when is this blogathon due, anyway? The 30th? Oh, well…I’ve still got plenty of chances to get it in. Though if I don’t, I have a sneaking suspicion that my inability to sit through this movie a second time will become a running theme here on the blog, replacing the missing-in-action Serial Saturdays presentation of Jungle Queen (1945).

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4 comments:

Stacia said...

I rarely travel, but when I do I always have the problem of rooms showing as available but never able to book them. And I'm like you're mom, I am PICKY as HECK about my hotel rooms after paying huge bucks for really awful rooms.

I wanted to see "Breaker Breaker" so bad when I was a little kid, I'm jealous that's your Chuck Norris choice. (I'm not reading any of the contest entries yet just in case someone else chose my movie, which is highly likely.)

Stacia said...

And holy cow -- I just realized your link to Jon Swift under In Memoriam wasn't about the person discussed in the blog entry he wrote, but Jon Swift himself! I missed the news that he passed, apparently. That's beyond awful. Terrible news.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

And holy cow -- I just realized your link to Jon Swift under In Memoriam wasn't about the person discussed in the blog entry he wrote, but Jon Swift himself! I missed the news that he passed, apparently.

I was greatly saddened to hear of his death as well -- and like you, learned of it only after clicking on a link that led me to the Skippy the Bush Kangaroo blog, where they had a banner up in memoriam of his passing.

I didn't know Jon--never even got the opportunity to meet him in person--but I did swap a few e-mails with him from time to time and was always humbled by the fact that he was always supportive of what I do here. He's most assuredly a missed presence; some of the essays he wrote were genuinely worthy of his namesake.

VP81955 said...

Kudos to your mom. Anyone who likes Pepsi One is a friend of mine.