‘SPLORIN’ ROAD TRIP ACROSS THE USA #1 PART 3

After leaving Arkansas we set out for Memphis, Tennessee with the plan of visiting Graceland and hunting down some really good bbq. Graceland will always be a place everyone should visit at least once. In my opinion, Elvis is one of the people every generation should be made aware of. We made sure to expose our sixteen-year-old daughter to his music and movies. She’s now a fan. I do have to add we happen to have an old soul on our hands. A fact that I was made aware of when she had her earbuds in for hours and we asked what she was listening too. Bear made a joke about One Direction, which she ignored. In her perfect teenage monotone voice says, “Billy Joel. I low-key love him.” We stared at each other completely speechless. This happened in the year 2018 by the way, and admittedly was kind of a proud moment. Not that I’ve ever been a fan of Billy Joel, not that I’ve not been a fan either, but the fact that she’s not “basic” is such a relief.

I feel like I should have a warning disclaimer at the beginning of that paragraph in case the word ‘not’ is a trigger for someone.

Okay, so where were we…oh right, so we arrive at the former home of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, and once we’re given headphones and a video player to wear around our necks we then were ushered onto a bus to take us to the beginning of the tour. Once inside I started taking pictures like a madwoman.

I’ve spared you the 100 other pictures. We didn’t take the more extensive tour which includes getting to see Elvis’s cars, clothes, and records. Someday we might go back for that reason. At the end of the tour we headed to the gift shop and picked up a couple of mugs, a wallet, overpriced Elvis chap stick for our kid who was waiting patiently in California for us to return with goodies, and Elvis chocolate bars.

If you haven’t yet and you enjoy things like history, museums, pop culture, or you’re a fan of the King, make it a point to add visit Graceland to your bucket list.

Next, we got on our phones to search for a place to stuff our faces with Memphis bbq. Bear found a place called, Central BBQ, which had good reviews, but as we’ve learned everything is just a matter of opinion. Basically, our experience is going to always be a crapshoot. We always go to a place with an open mind and the hope that it will be enjoyable.

I would like to point out the sign in front of the doors to the restaurant that reads, ‘CBQ IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST ITEMS PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLE ITEMS IN YOUR AUTO.’ I don’t think I’ve seen a sign like that directly in front of the doors at any restaurant I’ve been to in California. Something like that might be around the parking lot at Walmart or malls, but unless maybe I haven’t noticed them, this was a first for me seeing that right before you walk into an establishment.

As soon as you walk in they have a wall menu for you to look over. After deciding which meats and sides you feel like indulging in, take yourself over to the row of sauces and fill up plenty of plastic dipping cups, before heading over to your table, and wait patiently for your food to arrive.

God knows I hate to say this, I mean we’re in Memphis! This is Memphis bbq! But…ugh. If our hearts were broken from the Big Texan Steak Ranch, then our souls were shattered over this bbq. Perhaps it’s our own fault for having high expectations. We wanted to be seduced and wowed with this meal. We wanted to not have any choice but to make noises with every bite. I did make one noise if I count the groan of disappointment. The best things about our meal were the sauces and the sweet tea put in cups we got to take with us. Oh, I think the coleslaw was pretty good too, thank sweet baby Jesus for that small miracle.

The ribs were dry and overcooked. The pulled pork was also dry and without any yummy factor, and Oscar Mayer lunch meat is better than that turkey. We mashed the meats, coleslaw, and sauces all up on the rolls and that made it a bit more tasty and edible. Unfortunately, it was still a disappointing orgy in my mouth. It’s like having a selfish lover, you know, you have all the necessary ingredients to have a good time, but you’re left feeling empty and unfulfilled. We, however, made the best of it.

After our soul-sucking bbq, we needed a sweet treat to maintain the will to live. We found a place called La Michoacana, a large ice cream shop with plenty of seating and so many flavor choices. We went with a banana split with three flavors of ice cream, (which escape me) strawberries, walnuts, cherries, and whipped cream. It was such a perfect banana split it almost made up for our meal.

With our bellies experiencing an emotional roller coaster we set off towards Nashville, Tennessee. Something to be aware of when you’re driving in the Memphis area is to pay close attention to the road and other drivers, more so than you normally would. It was a consistent flow of crazy drivers who drove as if they didn’t care about their lives or anyone else’s. It was maddening and terrible for my anxiety. Thank God Bear is an amazing driver, and it was a great excuse for him to release a steady flow of profanities. I may or may not have released a few myself. And we’re from California! I had no idea drivers could get worse than they are here!

Eventually, we safely make it to Nashville and check into our motel. We hadn’t planned on eating again but around 10 pm we started to get snacky. Bear had lived in this area when he was in the Army so he knew what was around. He suggests going to White Castle. I had frozen White Castle burgers from the grocery stores before, and I’d seen the movies, but I’d never been to one. As long as getting to it wasn’t going to be anything like the movies, I was okay with it. Thankfully, it wasn’t. We get to the drive-thru and I swear he must’ve ordered 50 of those things. (Not really, but it seemed like it) I see that they have mozzarella sticks and I make up a little song about how I need mozzarella sticks, so of course, I get mozzarella sticks.

My brother who is a long haul truck driver loathes them, but I found it to be alright. I’d have it again, I think people usually love or hate their burgers. Probably best if you’re suffering from the munchies I would imagine.

The next morning eating breakfast at Cracker Barrel was another first for me. We both ordered chicken fried steaks, hashbrown casseroles, grits, biscuits, and mocha coffees. (Fyi I could make a whole blog on just my love and passion and mission to find the best chicken/country fried steak in America.) I might at least dedicate a post to chicken or country fried steak.

Cracker Barrel is like most chain restaurants in that it’s solid average food, but something you can easily put in their pro column is they’re fairly cheap, especially for the amount of food you get. The chicken fried steak definitely started out frozen and maybe they all do, but some restaurants are better at hiding it. Their biscuits, however, were what biscuits should be, which is soft, with just the right amount of chewiness. The gravy gets a 3 out 5 in my book only because it didn’t have big chunks of sausage, which is the only way any gravy will get a 5 out of 5 from me. When traveling this place will do just fine.

We didn’t do a whole lot in Nashville because we wanted to get to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Before we left Bear took me to the Opry Mills Mall. I, of course, couldn’t understand why we just had to stop at this mall before getting back on the road. As I soon found out, as far as malls go, this one is pretty neat and has a lot going on inside of it.

Ah yes, “Those Animals” as they’re called, are mechanical animals they rent out so adults and children can ride around the mall bobbing and weaving on their favorite animal. As long as you don’t weigh over 500 pounds. We passed. Maybe next time.

Riding giant stuffed animals in public not for you? Walk on over to their Madame Tussauds and get a picture with the legend Johnny Cash!

Hungry and like aquariums? They have the perfect dining experience to kill two birds with one stone!

So when traveling through Nashville, Tennessee on that family road trip and an announcement is made you’re stopping at the mall, and they groan, complain, and think you’ve lost your mind, just throw your kids and significant other on a moving pink camo bear once you’re inside and everything will be fine.

To be continued…stay tuned for part 4

#roadtrips #travel #travelblog #food #foodreviews #restaurantreviews #roadsideattractions #touristattractions #humor #traveladvice #traveltips #roadtriptips #usatravel #foodpics #life #family #fun

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‘Splorin’ Road Trip Across the USA #1 (Part 1)

In April of 2018, my now husband and I took a three-week road trip starting from California all the way to the East coast, hitting Virginia, North and South Carolina, Washington D.C., and made our way down to Florida, with many stops along the way. I was a month away from my 40th birthday and had only been to a handful of west coast states up to this point. Bear, on the other hand, had lived in the south when he was in the army and had taken one across the country road trip with his mother and one with his ex-wife. However, there were still plenty of places and states he hadn’t been.

I had expressed to him that driving across the country and eventually visiting every state was on my bucket list. When I was with my ex-husband I knew that was basically just a pipe dream since he didn’t like going anywhere or doing anything. Sure, I could have tried to make this happen with a friend or something but when I pictured this adventure it was with my significant other, my partner in life, my committed cuddle buddy. But, my ex-husband was no partner, and I didn’t even want to go anywhere with him. So, I gave up my dream of traveling.

Until, I left that marriage and moved back to California, which led me to my current and last husband. He loves to travel and luckily loves to drive. He was also hoping to find a partner in life that loved traveling and was as excited about exploring the country as he is. He was also hoping to find someone who was fun to travel with and… … you know someone with, uh, a bit of a personality, which always helps when traveling. I’ll stop there it’s bad karma to speak ill of the dead…personality sufferers.

Moving on…

We’ve talked about all the places we want to go, and when I first mentioned my desire to drive across the country, not for one second did I think it would happen so soon. You see, we had just started our relationship in November of 2017 and by March of 2018, my then-boyfriend says, ‘start packing because in April we are going on a road trip!’

My first reaction was something like, ‘shut the fuck up, haha you’re hilarious.’ But apparently, he was serious. I was shocked, to say the least, but true to his word on April 7, we got in his lifted white truck and hit the road.

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The first state we stopped in and stayed the night was Arizona. Our first get out of the truck and walk around stop was Oatman, Arizona. If you’ve never been and ever find yourself stopping there one day, I hope you like jackasses, otherwise known as donkeys. Also if you’re traveling with someone like Bear prepare yourself for plenty of ass jokes, or, if YOU are like my traveling companion, enjoy being the clever one making all the ass jokes and delighting the person you’re with.

As soon as you step out of your vehicle you are more than likely to be greeted by a very curious ass. Don’t be alarmed they’re friendly, at least the ones we encountered were and I didn’t witness anyone getting kicked in the nuts, or anywhere else. The donkeys seem to hardly care about your presence. They wander throughout the little town nonchalantly without a care in the world. They might even stop and let you take a selfie with them.

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Besides getting to pet a donkey (being an animal petting fiend, this gave me a boost of serotonin and made me very happy) you can take in the Arizona scenery and browse the little shops and pick up some souvenirs. 

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While I was snapping pictures and enjoying what the town had to offer my Bear wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to get the perfect Facebook post picture. It was my own fault really, I should have known better to A. Turn my back on him around signs with the word ass on them. And B. Turn my back on him and stand in front of this particular sign. I take full responsibility for this picture. And I apologize for including it. But I, like him, can not help myself. I admit I found it somewhat amusing. Well, I should add after I was done being mortified, I found amusement in it. 

Soon we were on our way and eventually stopped to eat at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner, in Kingman, Arizona. It was decent food, but the best part was the real cherries in the cherry coke! I love me some maraschino cherries!

They also had a fun ambiance, with walls decorated with 50’s memorabilia. I, personally love diners like this. Unfortunately, one of two things I did not love about Mr. D’z was the restrooms. I only went in there to wash my hands before eating and when I came out I actually felt dirtier. I didn’t take any pictures of the restroom, which are right behind Marilyn and Elvis. To be honest I would only want to stop here again in a pinch. For the most part, these types of diners have good food, and you can’t NOT love the fun decor, but when I say they had decent food, I mean it was edible, but not entirely enjoyable. The picture I took before biting into the bbq western burger was much better than the actual taste of the burger. Now we come to the second thing I didn’t love, the bun was dry and oddly enough, even with all the bbq sauce, it was bland and tasteless. The saving grace of this sad burger was the onion ring, without it I probably wouldn’t have been able to choke down as much as I did. The bacon didn’t even help, can you believe it! Bear and I agreed the best part of this meal was definitely those cherries.

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That night we stayed in Williams, Arizona (or nearby) so in the morning we could visit Flinstones Bedrock City. If you have little ones (even if they’ve never seen the cartoon) I recommend stopping here on your family road trip. Or, if you’re like us and big kids at heart who grew up watching the Flinstones, I think you’ll also get a kick out of it. (UPDATE: I just learned after the summer of 2019 it will be closing and will be turning into Raptor Ranch, for birds of prey. Bummer. Couldn’t they put those damn birds somewhere else.) Anyways…

After playing around and reliving our childhood we set off towards New Mexico, but first stopping in Holbrook, Arizona at the Wigwam Motel to snap a couple pictures. (Which I do constantly because I’m a picture and documenting addict. I was already this way before social media.)

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When we reached New Mexico we stopped at a couple of large travel stops where Bear admired all their fun big boy toys. He was so sad to leave them behind.

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But life goes on and so did we, all the way to Amarillo, Texas that night. Where we had dinner at The Big Texan Steak Ranch, home of the 72oz steak challenge. Bear had been there once before and really liked it, and this was my first time, also my first time being this far east. I was a Texas state virgin, and I think my anxiety was starting to kick in. But, let’s get back to the restaurant because I need to express our disappointment. I hate to say it, especially since I had such high hopes after seeing this place on the Travel Channel, but I wasn’t super impressed. Bear agreed, he had a better experience before. Now maybe it was because we arrived at 9:30 pm and they close at 10:30 pm but they should still put in as much effort taking care of the customers and without a doubt making sure the food was on point. The wait staff were very busy, however not with patrons, with gossiping, and doing so loud enough for us to hear.

The staff aside I really wanted to love this experience and be able to rave about the food. But, I suck at lying. I know I’m kind of repeating myself saying how much I wanted to like it, but that’s how much this food hurt my feelings. My Ceasar salad, the dinner rolls, and his baked potato were the most decent parts of the meal. We would have liked a bit more edible meat on our steaks, most of it honestly wasn’t chewable, and sadly my favorite comfort food, the mac and cheese wasn’t the worst but extremely far from the best. I needed to add salt and pepper and even after that it barely had any flavor. It was noodles coated with yellow stuff, it doesn’t even deserve to be called mac and cheese. I know it could have been worse because on our last road trip I had worse at Lambert’s Cafe in Missouri. That mess was straight up Kraft (or an off-brand) boxed macaroni and cheese. It was pitiful. Not to mention the fact they have the nerve of charging three extra dollars to get that crap as a side dish. For $3 extra it better be some southern grandma home cooking mac ‘N’ cheese! I’ll get to my full review of the “Home of the throwed rolls” later on.

Now I know many people love and adore The Big Texan, but they were off their game that night.

After this disappointing meal, we found a motel and settled in for the night. The next morning the restaurant we ate breakfast at more than made up for our last meal experience, thank God in Heaven. That and more will be in part 2. This post is probably already too long, and we’re only in Texas!

Stay tuned…

My Dirty Secret

I feel like I have a dirty secret, even though nothing about it is dirty or much of a secret. It’s more like something I’ll throw out in conversation, but I definitely don’t go into much detail once it’s been brought up. Ok, so here it is (deep breath) I live with anxiety, and panic disorder (frequent panic attacks) with depression for the cherry on top. Insert eye roll for the people who think these are made up things that attention seekers proclaim they have. Trust me, I wish they were in the same category as unicorns and men who change the toilet paper roll. Unfortunately, some people add to the illusion that these mental health issues are a myth, and give us legit disorder having peeps a bad name. There are in fact those attention seeking basic bitches who love ugg boots with booty shorts in freezing temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes (nasty, no one makes a good one) wear way too much makeup, all around plastic and fake inside and out, and CAN NOT WAIT to tell you all about their anxiety and how shook they are because their latest Instagram selfie only got 8 likes, so they had to buy three new pairs of lululemon leggings to calm themselves down. ( I do love leggings though) But, enough about them.

When I was fairly young I knew what depression was. The circumstances I was living in as a child could chip away at any amount of joy or happiness that tried to make its way inside me. Sadness was so a part of daily life, that to me it was normal.

My father made every second of every day a lot more difficult than it needed to be. He was a bitter, angry and manipulative man. He never took a day off from his mental and emotional abuse. School wasn’t exactly a safe haven either. It’s the classic story of fat girl with glasses gets bullied. Ya know, mean girl (boss) tells mean girl (minion) to spit in my face, and then everyone has a good laugh. Classy, am-I-rite. However, was any of this the cause of my depression or was I born this way? I don’t know.

I didn’t know anything about anxiety, or panic disorders until 2012 at the age of thirty-four. I had my first full-blown physical panic attack three days after my mother died. I had every symptom of a heart attack and it sucked. I went to the doctor and had tests done and all that good stuff. For the next 2 years I was in and out of the doctor’s office quite frequently. Anxiety was now a part of my daily life and the panic attacks kept coming, so I started on some medication. I had also started doing extensive research on anxiety and panic disorders. And even though I don’t recall having a panic attack before that day, I started to realize anxiety may have been with me since my childhood. My mother would always call me a worry wort, or a nervous nelly. Turns out, it went a lot deeper than that. I felt I had it all under control for a while. The medication I was on seemed to be a good fit, and the first year I came off the meds everything seemed to be stable.

Unfortunately, my anxiety and panic attacks are currently far from under control anymore. It’s all back and worse than before, taking on different twisting, puzzle like forms. I-kid-you-not, looking up at a tall building has triggered a panic attack. Like, excuse me! How grossly rude is that! I mean seriously, I can’t even look up! Such bullshit. I can barely drive anymore, not that I was ever amped about it before, but now except for taking my kid to school it feels like an impossible task. Literally, impossible. That’s another thing everyone needs to understand. People with these mental health issues have limitations. They just do. It’s a shame that these legitimate limitations can make you appear selfish, stuck-up, lazy and sometimes even a crazy bitch. For instance if you ask someone with social anxiety to go to a party full of people they don’t know, and they explain that they can’t do that…listen to them. It is not that they won’t. They are not just nervous or shy. Now it doesn’t mean that they can’t work on it through therapy, or medication, and in their own time be ready to socialize the night away. Just remember, it is not something they can just chill out about. These mental prisons we live in will prevent us from doing things that are easy peasy for most people, including very regular, everyday things.

The real kicker for me right now is I’m actually happy. I’m absolutely positive this is the first time in fact that I’ve felt this elusive real contentment and happiness. (disclaimer: except of course when my daughter was born) Isn’t that just the cruel joke of the universe…you can without a doubt be blessed and depressed at the exact same time! Anxiety and depression have found a way to coexist in the same space as joy and happiness. Again…bullshit. I still thank God I found the most extraordinary human to share my life with. I literally could not have dreamed up a better and more supportive man. Of course we fight, we disagree, we have our stubborn moments, ya know like every relationship ever in the history of time and space. But, I have never felt more loved and cared for. It has been the most amazing shock of my life. There was this clear moment where I had the “happiness epiphany.” We had spent the whole day with my daughter, and they were really starting to bond. They were making fun of each other, they were ganging up on me…it was adorable. It was just a really good day. And on the drive home I was overwhelmed with a feeling, that made me think, ‘what the fuck is that?’ …Oh wow. Is this…happy?

Which makes it more difficult when you run into negativity of any kind. I must protect and guard my precious happy bubble like a newborn baby. I’m not a victim in any way, but after being born into a raw deal, and one bad circumstance after another, followed by poor choices, things that can only be categorized as learning experiences, paying my life dues one way or another, and never getting to live my own life, basically always having to do what other people wanted me to do. I have earned the right to be selfish. The good kind of selfish. Because, that is a real thing…I swear. For my own sanity I am no longer available for people pleasing until further notice. Which is actually EXTREMELY hard for me not to do. I like everyone to be pleased and content, and if I don’t do what someone wants me to do I feel like I’m letting them down. And that guilt leaves the door wide open for a heavy depression to set in.

I remember when I was 9 years old and my mom signed me up for swimming lessons. I was in a class of about 7 other girls my age. Our instructor was an arrogant 18-year-old boy. On the 2nd or 3rd day of class while we were practicing holding our breathe under water he starts to get angry and yells at me, “You’re not going deep enough under the water! I can still see the top of your head! Do it again!” Embarrassed, I do it again. When I come up for air he yells the same thing. I can feel my eyes getting ready to gush tears and the heat in my face from humiliation. Nonetheless, I do it again. When I come up he still isn’t satisfied. He comes over to me and without warning puts his hand on the top of my 9-year-old head and pushes down, and holds me there. I panicked under the water. When I was released I got out of the pool and walked out of the class, and waited for my mother in the locker rooms, who had seen everything from the bleachers.

That has been a large chunk of my life. Being forced under water. My ability to breathe has always seemed unimportant to the people around me. If I drown, I drown. So be it.

My mental and emotional health is important, and I have been trying to get to a point where I can say that with confidence, and without guilt. Any negativity, bad occurrence, running out of milk, irritating inconvenience, or one not-so-nice word from someone feels like an electric needle stabbing my brain, which then flows through my whole body. It’s like my brain says, ‘Oh hell no. That crap is not allowed under any circumstances. But since we are running into a problem let’s just get rid of all the good feelings we’re having and replace them with an ice pick in your head and crippling depression shall we.’ Cool.

The problem is with the anxiety being at an all time high and depression trying to be my best friend, I hate to say it, but my mind is too fragile. Not to be confused with being weak. I think another misconception is someone with anxiety/depression is mentally weak. And that is SO far from the truth. I simply have limits, which will not allow me to do certain things, or handle certain situations without some form of a breakdown. I can’t allow things anymore that will threaten my well-being. Even later that day when I had the “happy epiphany” something happened that wiped away my good, positive feelings. I wish I had the tools to not let that happen, but that isn’t the case right now. I can’t get on medication at the moment so I’m sorta just riding this out. I’ve been told to look into cbd oil, so I was going to do some reading on it.

This is crippling. This is debilitating. This is a prison. My mental health at the moment seems to be made of glass. A lovely, delicate, over priced glass vase in a well-to-do little shop run by arrogant, self-centered, snobby women and it must be protected at all costs or the owner will lose her effing mind, destroy everything in her path and end her journey heavily sedated in a mental hospital. However, the big bear like guard of the shop would never let that happen. (The man who is reading this as I type)

Thanks for reading!

6 Hours

My record for shortest employment use to be thirty days when I was seventeen. Now, at the age of thirty-six I have beat that record. Recently, I lasted one day-six hours to be exact, at a resort with a great ocean view. Just to be clear, I quit. To date I have never been fired from a job. I’ve been cleaning houses for extra money, so I thought a housekeeping job at a motel/hotel wouldn’t be much different. Cleaning is cleaning, wiping away germs and fecal matter of strangers is the same anywhere. Right?

I was hired at one of the nicer places in my town, but now I’m thinking I may have had a better experience at one of the smaller, “please come in, WE HAVE HBO,” establishments. I was hired at the end of my interview, and before I left, the manager of the resort introduced me to the head housekeeper, who was to be my trainer. I was also introduced to my first problem.

If you’ve seen the movie, “Pitch Perfect,” you know all about the character, Lilly, the quiet whisper girl, no one could understand. This was my trainer. 100%. No exaggeration. I guessed at everything she said and responded appropriately. I also questioned my hearing since her vocal level didn’t seem to be an issue for anyone else around. I assume they’re just use to it. Like, how a mother is usually the only one who can understand her rambling toddler.

I had a few days between my interview and first day on the job, and in that time I convinced myself that when she trains her voice probably elevates, and goes into vocal beast mode.

It does not.

On THE day I arrive at ten in the morning, get introduced to other employees, who all seem nice, but there seems to be some issues in the air. I’m ushered into the back office to fill out paperwork, and the manager turns on her heels quickly back out to the front, mumbling about someone not showing up for work this morning. A straight up no-show without calling. I dreaded those when I worked in retail. Another employee arrives and introduces herself to me. After a couple pleasantries she asks me if I smoke.

“No,” I said.

“Good,” she says. “Those girls that smoke on their breaks will stab you in the back.”

A “hmm” facial expression is all I could muster. I didn’t have any desire to pick up what she was putting down. I had only been there ten minutes for Christ’s sake! I didn’t want any part of workplace hostility.

My trainer had been shoveling a giant waffle in her mouth, quite loudly funny enough, and also heard everything Ms. Positivity had to say, and didn’t say anything like, “That’s inappropriate.” Or maybe she did say something, how would I know. Once I finished the paperwork I came to the conclusion that Ms. Trainer might be storing pieces of waffle in her mouth, and must whisper to keep them in place.

In any case it was time to learn how to clean the rooms.

First I’m taken to the housekeepers supply/ laundry room. It was a hot mess. Clean sheets were thrown atop a table, mangled and twisted. The shelves where you were supposed to grab most supplies, such as, towels, blankets, different sized sheets, and comforters were mostly empty. Random supplies were strewn about. The entire layout didn’t make sense. The room was in desperate need of an organizing makeover. Ms. Trainer was grabbing this and that, moving from here to there, without explaining one single thing. The only thing I learned was the manager was also the owner…I guess. I was sure of at least every fifth word out of her mouth throughout the day. And it was the owner’s husband doing the laundry, making the different sized mangled sheet pile larger. I meet another housekeeper talking with Ms. Positive, who walked in shortly after I did.

She proceeds to start talking about the no-show.

“She’s probably with Carly’s husband. She’s too busy with everyone else’s husband to show up for work.”

The owner’s husband says nothing.

I’m already over this work environment. I don’t care if the smokers are backstabbers, and I don’t care if no-show is a homewrecker, what is worse than all of that, is gossipers, and cliques. With no sign of an authority figure putting that crap in check. Sure, maybe informing me the smoking circle carry knives was doing me a solid, but I should be able to make my own decisions about people. And maybe Ms. Positive has a perception problem and is a raging bitch.

Moving on from that, we have put cleaning products, towels, and sheets on a cart. Ms. Trainer is going to do a few rooms with me, and then I’m supposed to do a few alone. Normally, a housekeeper would do eight rooms at least in a six-hour shift. Only spending thirty minutes or less in each room. And the faster you are, the more money you make. We go to another supply room where you get toiletries, coffee, and cups for the rooms. She explains all this stuff goes into a caddy, which then goes on the cart. Every housekeeper has their own caddy, but there aren’t any extras, so I’ll have to figure something out. Oh, okay.

On to the first room. First we strip the room of used sheets, towels and garbage. Ms. Trainer has suggested not to wear gloves, but I could if I wanted to. She said she worked better without them, so I chose not to as well. As soon as I picked up my first dirty, wet towel I regretted that decision. So gross, so gross, was all I thought.

I always wore gloves when I cleaned houses. Plus, I knew who I was cleaning after.

Notice, I did not say we stripped blankets or comforters. I already had a suspicion I wouldn’t be replacing the top comforter, but the blanket?! Ew. I was told only if I see a stain or if it feels wet, do I replace the blanket. Ew. We proceed to strip and make the beds, two queens. They’re not strict on folding corners of the top sheet and blanket underneath, but I did get a lesson on folding the top sheet over the blanket (that was last washed God only knows when) at the head of the bed, which was way more complicated than it sounds. Instead of tucking the ends under, they are left hanging, that means your double fold had to stay. Mine continued to come undone. A hot panic attack flash washed over me. It was one of those simple, yet complicated things. Logically you know you’ll get better over time, but this was making me angry. I wish I had a picture to show exactly how she said to do the fold.

Next we moved on to the bathroom. Pretty basic until I watched her make fans and a swan with wash cloths. She didn’t ask me to try while I watched, even though that would have been a good idea. I was shown all the other basic cleaning stuff, and then we went to the next room. After repeating everything two more times my back was killing me. Since I was hit by a drunk driver in 2005 my back hasn’t been the same. Making the beds and the constant bending became torture. I still did my best to move like I wasn’t in any kind of pain.

I was supposed to do three rooms by myself, but Ms. Trainer only left me alone for the final room. Before I started I took a ten minute break. I only brought an energy bar with me. No water or anything to drink, not very smart on my part. I was told I could buy a water, so I go in the back office to get money out of my purse. A nice young lady tells me there is a container of water in the refrigerator, and random cups on top of the refrigerator I can use. At this point my throat is painfully dry, and my back feels like it’s been stabbed twenty times with one of those kitchen knives, you know the ones, the ones in the movies people always get stabbed with. So I grab a cup, pour the water, and gulp. I glance down to see clumps of dirt and dust floating in the water. The young lady is at the only sink washing cups, and she knows I already drank from the cup, so how do I wash it without her knowing I already drank dirt. Or at least I guess that was my thought process, I don’t know, my brain was fried, I was working with a low-level of brain functions, and I was miserable. So miserable, and so full of not caring I continued to drink my dirt water. Oh, hell yes, I did.

In my solo room I finish Making the beds and I am very ready to throw up. I vacuum, dust, sweep the balcony, wash sliding glass doors, scrub the toilet, bathtub, get on my knees to wipe the bathroom floor with a cloth, as I was shown, and that dirt water is definitely not agreeing with me.

Now it’s time for towel origami. I have to make two fans and a swan. The swan was supposed to look like this…

towelswan

Pretty basic as far as towel swans go. But I could not do this to save my life. By the way, I already spent an hour and fifteen minutes in this room. I was told normally first timers take forty-five minutes at the most. My back wasn’t going to allow that. This towel swan was not going to allow that. At least I didn’t have to attempt something like this…

towelswan2

My lack of towel origami skills almost pushed me to walk out before my six-hour shift was over, and let the manager know I would never be returning. I’m not generally a quitter, but the reality was my body was not going to be able to keep up with the demands of this job. Plus, making shapes with towels is stupid. When I walk into a motel/hotel/resort I could care less about the shape of my towels.

I found Ms. Trainer in another room. “Could you show me how to do the swan again?”

“I’ll do it later,” she said. Again, I’m assuming. But yeah, the effort she was putting into this training matched the effort she put into the volume of her voice.

The six hours end, and I walk up to the boss to thank her for this great opportunity, but this occupation isn’t for me. But before I can say anything she says, “I know today was kind of rough, but I hope you come back tomorrow?”

“Sure, sure,” I said. I very much punked out.

When I got home I cried from the pain in my back. I cried at the thought of returning the next day. I cried remembering how the stark white towels mocked me with their lack of swan shape. I cried wondering what the hell sort of disease I drank from that cup.

At eight o’clock the next morning I called and said I could not continue working there. She thanked me for at least letting them know.

So with that my career as a hotel slave was over. And I will never have to knock on a door and say, “Hello, housekeeping. Housekeeping.” Knock, knock. “Housekeeping!”

Things I Should Do In 2014

NOT RESOLUTIONS

**Purchase a purple zip up hoodie.

Reason: I love purple. Why do I not have one already?

**Start watching Breaking Bad and Dexter on Netflix.

Reason: I think I’m just supposed to so I can be accepted by society.

**Learn how to sew/crochet.

Reason: No. Never mind. I’m already bored with thinking about it.

Seriously though who wouldn’t want to be able to make this…

Cozy: Like a boss.

**Try to control the actions of others more…wait, I mean relax when people don’t do what I know is best, and work myself up to an anxious ninth level of hell state. Plus, not to get anxious in general…about everything.

Maniacal Musings Part Three

1. In October I came across a television show called, “The People’s Couch” on the Bravo channel. For thirty minutes I watched people, watching T.V., and having exaggerated reactions to reality and scripted shows.

It was inane. This show was based on a U.K. program called, “Gogglebox,” which I hope was in some way more entertaining than this. I felt like I time travelled to a future where humans have become completely brain dead, and Kim Kardashian was president. How else could such a thing be available on my television. Thankfully, for my sanity it was cancelled after only three episodes. Sadly, I found an article titled, “People’s Couch Cancelled too Soon.” Bullshit. It should have never existed in the first place. And for future reference if you want a realistic view of people in their home watching T.V., the average American doesn’t watch it like this…

Or this…

peepcouch4

They watch it like this…

And like this…

2. Now let’s completely change the subject.

The only truth I know about life: One day your mom is telling you not to forget to wear a jacket, and before you know it, she’s shelf decoration in a box that looks like a 5th grade paper mache project.

(Picture: Not actually my mother, but similar.) This is what you get when you haven’t picked something out around here, so it got me searching for new options. And my God, there are some interesting options…

The chocolate box urn for a fair price of $1,200. I wouldn’t mind this as my final resting place.

Now this next one is very practical…

The urn ashtray. Price unknown.

For the diva in your family, which is actually titled, “The Diva Urn”

Or for someone who just loved purses. Also, if you desire to conveniently carry them around. $995

Now, for the one that was sold out on the website decorativeurns.com…for Dr. Who fans

Because who wouldn’t want the Doctor Who police box urn as a birthday gift. $950

And last but not least, the most classy one of all… $2.58

The best part about this: I got to start a conversation with my husband like this, “So I was looking at urns today, and I know what I want to put you in…”

AreUseserious2

Happy Holidays!