Back in June, like every June, my husband went to a conference. This conference dealt with the handling and marketing aspect of cattle, so yes, there truly is a such thing as a cattle conference. I’ve gone a couple of times. Once I took our son and we had lots of fun, and another time I went with the intention of learning something and I had absolutely no fun, so this time I decided to take my son along again. We had lots of fun, but we will not remember this trip for that. We will remember this trip for the insanely awful hotel that these cattle people chose to stay in.
We had stayed in this hotel before for previous conferences. It always seemed a little sketchy, but we skated by without any mishaps. This year we weren’t so lucky.
First, when we arrived we received an outside door room, which I assume is unsafe since alleged rapers and robbers don’t have to walk past the 120 pound, nerdy guy at the front desk during the night shift. Oh well, after driving three hours with a three year old, I was willing to take anything so he could burn some steam flying from one double bed to another to the recliner and back again. Then we got in the room, and it was a smoking room. This didn’t fly with me. I was pregnant, so the smell just made me feel even worse, but the hotel was booked solid and we couldn’t get into another room until late that evening, if they could even find a nonsmoking room, so we had to deal with it. So much for making a reservation, huh.
After we dropped off our bags we went to the gas station before the meetings started so my husband could get beer. The conference is really just a ruse. It’s really the one weekend out of the year when unsociable people become sociable because of their love of cows and beer. When we returned to the room the key card wouldn’t work on our door, a sign of trouble to come, but hindsight is 20/20. My husband quickly got it fixed, and we went on our way. He went to the conference, and we went hiking at a nearby nature trail.
When we returned we went swimming. This lasted about 20 minutes, five of which were actually spent swimming since we had to make multiple trips back to the room because my son would climb out yelling, “I have to poop! I have to poop!”
Back at the room, I dried off my son and turned on a cartoon so I could go to the bathroom and wiggle my pregnant body out of my swimsuit, which was a workout. Just as I got changed I heard the door open. Thinking my husband was returning I continued brushing my teeth at the sink until I saw the door shut through the reflection in the mirror and no one had entered. I walked toward the door thinking I had put the chain on and my husband couldn’t enter when my three year old said, “That lady was looking at me.”
“What lady?” I asked.
“The lady that opened the door.”
“That wasn’t your daddy?” I asked frantically as I finally reached for the door to check it out. No one was outside.
I continued to ask my three year old about who it was that opened the door, but I was distracting him from his cartoons. After examining the door I convinced myself that I hadn’t shut it completely. It was a little tricky, and someone must have just come to the wrong room and opened the door because it hadn’t been latched for the key card to work. It was disarming, I was panicking, yet my three-year-old could only tell me, “That lady was looking at me.”
Was this going to be some repressed memory that was going to make him shy around women later in life? Would he be forever scarred by this encounter? That was seriously running through my head. Looking back now, I wish it would scar him a little. He does not no stranger danger and likes to ask people inappropriate questions. He needs something to hold him back.
In the back of my head the latch idea didn’t seem legit, but I had convinced myself. When my husband returned I just happen to have the door open, checking the latch again. I told him about it, and he made sure to chain the door when he came in and double check to make sure it was latching. We went to bed. Of course, he went easily and I was paranoid, waking to every noise.
Finally, sleep came, but quickly went. At 2:00 A.M. I heard a rattling at the door, and my super sensitive mom ears perked up quickly, while the rest of my senses trailed behind.
“Oh my God, they’re coming back to kidnap my three-year-old,” I thought to myself as I groggily tried to jump out of bed. I wanted to kick myself for allowing him to sleep in the bed closest to the door since my body was not catching up to my brain. Then the door actually opened (thank goodness for the chain), and my heart jumped into my throat. In what sounded like a drunken man’s voice, I screamed, “GET OUT! Get out of here!”
A woman on the other side quickly shut the door saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry, sorry!”
By the time I got to the door and looked out the window, no one was there. My husband was completely startled, sleeping through most of it, and my son didn’t even budge. He was happily sleeping away. I explained what happened to my husband and called the front desk, but of course, no one answered.
So it was time. They had pushed me to the limit. They had asked for it. I was going to march my pregnant self up to the front desk and give them a piece of my mind (if I could make it inside the hotel without getting killed).
When I entered the lobby, the 120 pound nerdy desk clerk knew what was coming. It was obvious he already knew something because he was apologizing all over the place when he saw my mommy battle face charging his desk.
I ranted for a while with my list of problems which is summarized below:
Once my rant ended he explained that something was wrong with their computer, and it wasn’t saving the information that someone occupied that room, so they were basically giving away our room when someone would check-in. Each time that would happen, our key card would deactivate, therefore, someone had been in our room when we went to the gas station too. So far, they had given away our room three times and still hadn’t fixed it.
I didn’t trust his computer and told him to put a post-it on it that said our room was occupied. I would have left right at that moment if I was just with my husband, but moving a toddler in the middle of the night would have been a nightmare. After emphasizing again that a manager BETTER call me in the morning, I returned to my room in a huff. I double-checked the door latch, chained it, put a chair in front of it, and laid in bed with my son, blocking him from the would-be kidnappers that I was sure were coming. And no, I did not sleep.
The next morning my husband went to the conference, and my son and I got ready for another full day of fun out on the town. As I packed up our stuff, what do you know, the housekeepers tried to get in because the room was still listed as vacant in the computer. The bright yellow post it had been discarded when the new shift arrived. By this time I was giving up, but they called the front desk for me and gave them the what-for that I was too tired to give.
Eventually (two weeks later), a manager did get back with me and our room was free. My husband saw this as an extra bonus during a very educational and all around enjoyable weekend. Obviously, he felt safe that any criminals would get me first, since I was closer to the door. I saw it as my right since cattlemen have terrible choice in hotels. There’s a Holiday Inn next door, so if I go again, you’ll know where to find me.