My evening with a cockroach


 My evening with a cockroach

I will never forget this night.

I checked into the Select Inn of Tulia Texas after a long day of air travel and driving. After getting my room key I headed off to my room. I was looking forward to a quiet night and a good night’s sleep, in a truck stop motel. Yeah, maybe my expectations were too high.

When I got into my room I rushed thru my nightly ritual, pulled back the covers and jumped into the bed.

Within a few minutes, I started to doze off. Despite the periodic truck lights peering through the gaps in the curtains as they pulled into and out of the truck stop, sleep was imminent.

Right before I fell into a deep sleep I realized that I was not alone in the room. I opened one eye just enough to see what appeared to be the biggest cockroach I have ever seen, and he was crawling up the bedspread towards me.

Because I was still awake enough to control the situation I was in, I did just that.

Slowly I slipped my right hand out from under the covers. Moving my hand towards my bed partner, I flexed and cocked my middle finger in preparation to flick my guest off the bed. He continued heading my way.

At the right moment, I let go my middle finger and sent the cockroach soaring through the air. He smashed into the mirror and fell backward onto the dresser with a loud thud.

This may be hard to believe, but, what I saw next was absolutely bizarre.  He rolled off his back, onto his 6 legs, stood up straight, stared at me and shook his head as if to say, “That’s the best you got?” He commenced heading towards me again.

I wanted to get a good night’s sleep and had to end my relationship with this cockroach quickly. I got out of bed, walked over to the dresser, reached down to the floor, picked up my shoe and smashed it down on the creature’s head. Our date night was over.

The rest of the night was uneventful.

In the morning, as I checked out the front desk clerk asked, “how was your evening sir?”

“I slept well, despite the demise of my room guest. Please offer my apologies to housekeeping.”

My evening with a cockroach was short lived.

I hope you enjoyed your stay

In the late 1990’s I slept around a lot. Nearly 75% of my nights were spent in a bed other than my own.

My job had me traveling nearly every week to somewhere in the USA and I learned real quick how to navigate Airports, rental car pickup and drop off, restaurants and hotels.

There are lots of stories related to these travels. This story is about one night in Boston Massachusetts.

I was in Boston with a my boss. We were visiting one of our branch offices outside of town. We arrived in town early enough to get a late dinner at a little diner where we also planned our next day’s activities. My boss wanted to get an early start to the next day so we decided to go back to the hotel early.

We checked in at the front counter, picked up our individual room keys and said good night to each other.

It was nearly 9:30pm when I walked into my hotel room. Nothing fancy. A typical room.

Since it was getting late and I had gotten up early that day, I decided to forego any work or boob tube and just go to sleep.

I was in bed within 10 minutes and asleep fairly quickly.

Then it happens. At 11:00PM the Fire Alarm starts going off.  It was a loud and piercing sound. “Wha Wha Wha Wha Wha” Non-Stop.

I jumped out of bed and grabbed a pair of pants and shirt.

As I dressed someone beat on the door yelling, “Fire, Fire, Get out of the Hotel Now. Take the Stairs!”

I grabbed my wallet and hotel keys and ran out of my room with no shoes on. As I entered the hallway I saw what looked like 100’s of people in different state of dress also running barefoot towards the elevators and stairs.

In masse we all ran down the stairs and out the front door of the hotel.

That’s when I realized it was now raining.

The firetrucks showed up within minutes. I scanned the building and could not see any smoke, let alone flames.

Firemen in full uniform, helmet, facemask, gloves, boots, fire coat and pants, some with oxygen tanks on, all disappeared into the front door of the hotel.

We stood around for what seemed like hours waiting for a report from someone. Finally the firemen came out. As they walked past they informed us, “False Alarm, You can go back in now.”

Like a long line of little ants, in the front door, past the unattended front desk, up the stairs and elevators, down the respective halls and back to our individual rooms we all went.

Pulling my pants and shirt off, I fell back into my bed, thankful it was a false alarm and a little miffed at the interruption of my sleep.

I calmed down fairly quickly and fell back asleep.

Then, it happened again.  At 1am the sounds started up again – “Wha Wha Wha Wha Wha” “Bang Bang, Bang, Bang” on the room Door, “You have to leave the hotel NOW! Leave the Hotel Immediately!”

Maybe they missed the fire last time. I knew I did not want to challenge authority when it came to a possible fire, so I did as instructed.

I pulled on my pants and a shirt, this time I slipped on my untied shoes, grabbed my hotel hey and walked out of my room.

The people in the hall, again in various state of dress all seemed to be walking a little slower this time. Everyone went to the stairs except one guy who said he was too tired, so he took the elevator.

Again, down the stairs, past the unoccupied front desk, out the front door and onto the parking lot.

Fortunately the rain had slowed to an early morning mist.

Again the firetrucks showed up within moments. The firemen, this time with no oxygen tanks, strut into the hotel and within moments they emerged with the same alert, “”False Alarm, You can go back in now.”

Again the group streamed back into the hotel like good order followers and back to our rooms. I did hear another guest ask, “What is happening?” as we walked past the night security guard. “I’m not sure sir. They can’t find what is making the smoke.”

No assurance of safety there.

Back in my hotel room again, I stripped my shirt and pants and fell back in my bed yet again.

Now, I could drag this out with a long winded story, but let me squeeze it down for you.

The alarm went off again at 3AM and then 4AM. Each time the same actions occurred.

My boss and I saw each other at the 4AM false alarm exodus. We agreed to postpone our days activities by 1 hour and to check out at 6AM.

At 5:30AM I got up and took my shower. There was no doubt that I was tired as I struggled to get thru my morning preparations.

I dragged my butt and suitcase out of the hotel room, down the elevator and towards the front desk, this time occupied and busy with people checking out.

My boss showed up behind me in the check out line just as it started up again.

“Wha Wha Wha Wha Wha” It was even louder in the lobby.

The hotel guests formed two different streams. One stream of people out the front door towards the parking lot. The other stream formed behind us to check out of hotel Hell.

The lady working to check us out did not miss a beat. She continued to check guests out despite the loud piercing alarm going off. I heard her tell one guest that construction dust in another part of the hotel was the reason for the false fire alarms.

Fortunately for me, none of the guests checking out in front of me wanted to make a big deal of the chaos. They just wanted to get out of there.

Before our turn, my boss and I decided for the sake of time, I would pay for both of our rooms. As the guest before me walked away, I stepped up to the front desk, handed the hotel clerk both room receipts and my credit card. She had her actions down to an art.

As she swiped my credit card with one hand and typed on the keyboard with the other, the firemen strutted into the hotel lobby and down the hall.

With a smooth flow of motions she handed me the credit card receipt to sign with one hand and held out my credit card with the other.

She looked up at me and with the kindest face and loudest voice she could must up she yelled, “I hope you enjoyed your stay.”

I can still feel the death grip on my shoulder as my boss grabbed me. He knew that I was going to open up on her and he did not want me this to happen. He had had enough of hotel hell and the “Wha Wha Wha Wha Wha” sound effects.

I love the security systems we have in life. I get frustrated and really tired when they create false alarms.

Remembering Uncle Wayne

This past Friday (1/13/2012) Rebecca and I drove to Maryland so that we could then spend 17 hours on Saturday riding from Poolesville Maryland to Burlington Iowa with her parents (Ray & Reva) and sister, Francie.

We laughed and joked and talked about life, death, family, friends, politics, religion, economics and the Internets. Never a dull moment during our non-stop trip and we arrived at our destination still friends.  A great road trip with good people.

However, the trip was for Uncle Wayne’s funeral in Burlington IA.  This was a trip none of us were excited about having to make.

We arrived in Burlington Saturday evening and were greeted by numerous other family members at the hotel. Turns out, the hotel was filled with friends and family of Emery Wayne Hoewing. We spent some time saying hello before calling it a night.

Sunday morning we met up with Rebecca’s oldest brother, Link and his wife, Frannie.  We traveled down to Keokuk Iowa with hopes of seeing Rebecca’s grandparents old homesteads.  It was a bittersweet trip.  One of the homes was completely gone and the other home was in complete disrepair.  We met up with more family members and had a good Midwest lunch at a place called OGO Family restaurant before heading back north to Burlington.

Late Sunday afternoon was the viewing where we met lots of distant family members. We spent a few hours here as over 100 people showed up to pay their respects to Uncle Wayne and the family.  It was a hard time for the family.

Afterwards a bunch of us went to a local restaurant to have our long sought after Midwestern Breaded Tenderloin dinner.

The evening ended with us meeting at the Hotel conference room. Thirty or so family members got together to tell Uncle Wayne stories and get to know each other better. We had a good time.  There was a story about Room 232, Mr. 232 and the girl who said she was going to meet me in room 232 and then didn’t.  Don’t ask.

Monday morning was the funeral.  It was a somber time for us all.  Numerous family members shared memories of Uncle Wayne.  I shared a story that I wrote titled “What Rewards have you Received.”

After the funeral we got together for a lunch provided by the Woman’s auxiliary of Uncle Wayne & Aunt Barbs church. Good people – thanks.

Afterwards we did something a little different.  We got together at Aunt Barb’s for a while, went to dinner at Gator’s and then went to the Casino.

Yes – a Casino. It was a good way to spend some time with Aunt Barb as she remembered her & Uncle Wayne’s experiences at the Casino.  Some of us lost a few dollars while a few of us won a couple hundred $$.  I did not win anything.

Tuesday Morning (5:30AM) – back on the road for an east bound trip back to Maryland. Another 17 hours on the road.  We stopped only for gas and grab & go food. Again we had a good time traveling together.

We got back to Poolesville by 10PM. A couple of hours relaxing from the road trip and then off to bed.

Finally, Wednesday morning Rebecca and I hopped into the Honda and headed south back to NC.

The entire trip was a fast paced and emotional.  We are all sorry that Uncle Wayne passed away. Yet we know that all of us are on the same journey which eventually includes death.  What’s important is to get the most from life and to give as much as you can while living. Uncle Wayne did this.  We participated in this ourselves while on this road trip.

Thanks Aunt Barb, Tina, Candi, Dean, Kyle, Ryan, Kayla, Allanah, Mary and everyone else for sharing the love and time with us.

Rest in peace Uncle Wayne as we keep your memory living on as we strive to be & do the best we can in life.

But you could have

Next time you think your hotel bill is too high you might want to consider this:

My wife and I are traveling by car from Maryland to Key West Fl. Being Seniors, after almost eleven hours on the road, we were too tired to continue, and decided to take a room. But, we only planned to sleep for four hours and then get back on the road. When we checked out four hours later, the desk clerk handed us a bill for $350.00.

I exploded and demanded to know why the charge was so high. I told the clerk although it’s a nice hotel, the rooms certainly aren’t worth $350.00 for four hours.

Then the clerk tells me that $350.00 is the ‘standard rate’. I insisted on speaking to the Manager.

The Manager appears, listens to me, and then explains that the hotel has an Olympic-sized pool and a huge conference centre that were available for us to use. “But we didn’t use them,” I said.

“Well, they are here, and you could have,” explained the Manager.

He went on to explain that we could also have taken in one of the showsfor which the hotel is famous. “We have the best entertainers from New York , Hollywood, and Las Vegas perform here,” the Manager says.

“But we didn’t go to any of those shows,” I said.

“Well, we have them, and you could have,” the Manager replied.

No matter what amenity the Manager mentioned, I replied, “But we didn’t use it!”

The Manager is unmoved, and eventually I gave up and agreed to pay.

I wrote a check and gave it to the Manager.

The Manager is surprised when he looks at the check. But sir, this check is only made out for $50.00.”

“That’s correct. I charged you $300.00 for sleeping with my wife,” I replied.

“But I didn’t!” exclaims the Manager.

I said, “Well, too bad, she was here, and you could have.”

Don’t mess with Me!

Thanks to CK for sharing this story with me

Teddy Burriss – the Fake Cop?

Have you ever played the role of Fake Cop?

In 1977 I drove down the highway in my Dad’s Chevy Blazer. It was a tall vehicle and I could see down into the cars I passed.

My Dad pushed snow with the Blazer and it had a big yellow hazard light on top of the truck as well as on the front of the snow plow equipment.

The light was one of those that spun around inside a plastic dome. If it was red or blue, it could be mistaken for an emergency or police light.

I pulled up alongside a guy in a little car who was rolling a joint.

I slowed down, pulled up behind the guy and turned on all of the hazard lights. Here we go as I play Fake Cop

He looked up in the rearview mirror as I waved him off to the side of the road.

He immediately started stuffing his weed into his mouth, chewing and drinking from a coke bottle (big glass bottles back then).

It took about 30 seconds for him to eat his weed, then he slowed down and pulled off the side of the road.

I pulled up alongside his car, waved, laughed and drove off as quickly as I could.

To this day I feel bad for the guy as I played Fake Cop.

I would have hated to have to tell my buddies why I did not bring the marijuana to the party.

This is yet another story from Teddy Burriss – maybe, just maybe you will laugh with me