Checking into a hotel is something I like to do in private. I do this because while I am kind, I know I am insanely high maintenance. One of the many things I love about my company is that we treat our employees well. We also know the value of team collaboration, so our org decided to get together on a budget. What this meant for me was amazing team building but a less than average hotel. My hotel brat reputation clearly precedes me because when I landed and turned on my phone, I had no less than 10 text messages letting me know that I was not going to like the hotel.
I stopped at a fancy restaurant for a salad and some fish and put my big girl pants on and headed to said hotel. I was strategic upon check in, however; the vast number of peers checking in were impossible to avoid. I waited until I was only surrounded by two co-workers, both of whom know I am a bit of a brat, making my inevitable check-in scene a little less of a scene.
The texts were right. This was a non-negotiable “no way Jose” hotel for me. Exterior entries just like a motel. Stairs on the outside of the building, sliding doors with the lock bar that does in fact stop people from opening the sliding door but does not stop people from smashing through it or just following me right in.
My questions to the check in guy were fair, but not really in his wheelhouse. I questioned the security, the likelihood of someone following me home from dinner and accessing my room, the integrity of the adjoining door locks and my access points relative to the parking lot. After 15 minutes of unclear answers, I took my bottled water and decided to just deal with it. The walk through the property wasn’t too bad. In fact, it was a lovely little 1990’s-ish courtyard with a small pond, lush California greenery and a fountain. It was quite enjoyable until the fountain stopped running and started making a “nails on the chalkboard” type sound for the remainder of my 300-yard walk. Heavens.
After entering one of many non-secure entry points of my building on the bottom floor, I found my room. It was directly next to the elevator. Oh no it wasn’t! They don’t have elevators, just outdoor concrete stairs- not the most ADA friendly place on Earth. Sheesh. Anyway, I pulled my non-mobile, physical key out of the paper sleeve, which was taped, not stapled, to the map of the hotel footprint. With three different swipes of my key, I finally got in. You know, it wasn’t too bad. The bedspread was the thin waffle type on the top of a white comforter, but it wasn’t as bad as the ones with no liner on the inside just the scratchy fiberglass ish material that catches on even the most pedicured toenails. There was not a decoration in sight and the “power station” didn’t have a usb option. There was one little floating shelf which was interesting. It conveniently held a single bottle of water. That must have been an Ambassador level loyalty perk.
As I always do, I started to unpack my suitcase. In this situation though the clothes were staying right where they were, clean and safe in my suitcase, but I needed to at least setup my cosmetics on my long, perfectly positioned for a double-vanity, single vanity bathroom counter top. After dropping the shampoo and conditioner in the shower and opening the box of soap that inconveniently is always on the sink not in the shower (that’s for a whole different blog). You know this wasn’t too bad. I could get past the dated decor and serious lack of guest security.
I walked from the bathroom back to the bedroom to grab my curling iron and remaining cosmetic bags. As I turned the corner, a small animal darted out from under my bed! This is not a joke. I was certain it was a raccoon or a squirrel. Terrified, I leapt onto my single vanity counter top which all of a sudden was situationally an upgrade. I was screaming at the top of my lungs and as I did, I looked down to see the most adorable little kitten I have ever seen slowly peeking around the corner staring at me as surprised to see me as I was to see it. Terrified, yet relieved I sat down on the counter and caught my breath. As one may imagine, there was a myriad of emotions running through my mind. Was I mad? Was I scared? Was I confused? Was I disgusted? I think I was the perfect combination of all these things.
Once I looked at her and it was clear that she wasn’t rabid, I slowly got off the counter top and started making all the “here kitty kitty” noises. I am not a cat person so I kinda stunk at making those noises and stunk at encouraging that cat to do what ever high-pitched command I was asking her to do. It didn’t take much for her to warm up to me and before you knew it, we were sitting outside on my little patio snuggling away. Instantly, I fell in love. I named her Four Points later known as “4P”.
Four Points was pretty cool. She loved frozen peas which is all I had to offer her. You may be wondering why I had frozen peas in my hotel room. I am pretty sure I mentioned that I am a strange bird in some of my earlier blogs. We will leave it at that.
After the shock and fear wore off, I spent about an hour getting to know and playing with 4P, and then I had to meet a coworker for dinner. All of sudden I didn’t want to leave my hotel and motel, it was so hard to leave her. I left the sliding door cracked open just enough for her to get in and out and just hoped she would have been there after my dinner. I texted a friend who went out and got her food beyond the frozen peas. When I returned to my room, I found my sliding door shut and locked. This means someone with an opposable thumb utilized the small crack in my door to enter while I was out. Hmmm. I dropped the lock bar and peeked my head out. I started making those cat noises again, trying to get 4P to come back. A few seconds later, from who knows where, pops out a man in a black one piece jumpsuit. Startled, I screamed a bit and took a few steps back toward my wildly unsecured motel hotel room.
“Ma’am, are you looking for a kitten?” – said the man in the jumpsuit.
“You know I am. Her name is 4P. She is little and looks like a grey tiger.” – I cautiously explained.
“My name is Marvin. I am the maintenance man here, and I’ve been working here for 5 years. I saw your door was open as you were out and decided to lock it up for you. (+10 for manual security) I will be right back. I think I know where your kitten is.”
Sure enough, Marvin came back with 4P in his hands and hands her right over to me. With the sliding door ajar again, she came and went as she pleased, however; Fancy Feast wet food was a luxury she had never experienced so she came more than she went.
Over the course of the three days, 4P spent every moment with me when I was in the room. On my last night, pulling my heart strings even tighter than I knew possible by a feline, she slept behind my head and softly played with my hair until we both fell asleep.
4P and I bonded, and I wanted badly to take her home. As I was packing to head home, she circled softly around my ankles making the sweetest kitty sounds I had ever heard. She jumped into my suitcase as if she was telling me not to go or to take her with me. I was so tempted to take her, and to be purrfectly honest, I still wish I did. Marvin, the maintenance man, wasn’t working on my departure day. There was no way I could take 4P home with me without letting him know. Who knows? I just may go back in a few weeks and see if we can work out a plan for that sweet little girl.
Until next time my friends, Always Clean your Tray Table.