The Convenient Truth.

I have a major problem with all hotels.

They think we’re stupid.

Like, super stupid.

Like, don’t-understand-that-when-a-Mom-says you need to take a nap because you’re sleepy actually-means I need you to take a nap because I’m temporarily tired of you stupid.

My main beef with hotels is this ever-present piece of literature – a variation on which every hotel now gallantly leaves behind for its guests.

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This one is especially good because it has the two takeaway phrases in all caps. The rest of it really drives home the point but they wanted to make sure that just in case you skimmed it, you received the guilt trip they’re trying to carve into your soul.

WASH THE TOWEL, KILL THE PLANET.

But no. See, we’re NOT stupid, hotels. You do not have top level executives that have bleeding hearts for the worthy cause of the conservation of the planet. Your top level executives are only interested in a different kind of green. And we all know it.

You want to buy less laundry detergent. And hire less launderers (is that a job?). And wear out less towels and sheets. This is what you are interested in.

But environmentalism is such a convenient excuse for you. Just like the pleather industry was saved by the growing trendiness of veganism and the resulting term “vegan leather”, your own industry was prevented from becoming washed up by blaming it on the planet.

Don’t think we can’t see that. Just don’t.

(But as a side note, all of the airline’s PR companies should totally copy and paste. “Sorry, we cannot serve meals on this flight because RAIN FORESTS. You must pay for your checked baggage because POLAR BEARS.”)

That particular hangtag was a the hotel we lived in while our house dehumidified. Since we stayed there for five days, it gave the children a chance to explore all the facets of our room, including the above hang tag. With regards to it, I got to overhear a precious moment between my children.

Noah: “Ali, what does this sign say?”

Ali proceeded to read him the entire hang tag, then offered the commentary: “See, it’s our responsibility to save the earth and not get our towels dirty.”

So maybe the hotel is just trying to guilt four and eight-year-olds, which is working. But, as their mother, I do not take lightly my responsibility for their full education in cynicism, so I quickly stepped in and explained the hotel’s actual angle of profitability and staff reductions.

“You love the maids you’ve gotten to know, right? You don’t want them to lose their jobs because YOU decided to reuse a damp towel, DO YOU??”

(But we did reuse our towels, because we’re good earth citizens. And Ali wouldn’t let me place my hatred of hotel propaganda over the saving of the planet. Ugh, firstborns.)

Signage in hotels is often special, though, and that hotel also had a couple of other gems. Such as the no diving sign, warning of the grave consequences of sprouting bright red Guy Fieri hair if attempted.

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And my favorite, the pool sign that blatantly discriminated against my friends with 5+ children. Or told them that they have made unsafe and insecure choices in life. Or both.

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(I checked with said friends, and some of them agreed. It is neither safe nor secure to have more than four children.)

But this past weekend, we stayed in an especially fantastic hotel with regards to signage.

It was a Wingate by Wyndham, which isn’t a brand I’m terribly familiar with. But I was irritated right off by their inconsistent use of the letters Y and I. Couldn’t it be Wyngate by Wyndham? Or Wingate by Windham? They’re just asking for us to be confused.

The first sign I saw was the list, in descending order, of all Wyndham-brand hotels. I find these types of lists both informative and embarrassing – informative because you can quickly find where you fall on the food chain of their brand, and embarrassing for the chain because you find out just how low they’re willing to claim as their own.

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That’s right, Wyndham Resorts. You’re just fifteen steps above a Knights Inn. Which is basically the same staircase. Which means you just paid $500 for a stay at the Knights Inn.

(Also who would have thought that a Super 8 could be four steps above anything? And the HoJo is three steps from the bottom? Remind me to never EVER get within 800 feet of a Knights Inn.)

We arrived in our room to find out that Wingate is excited-like-it’s-2008 about having wi-fi,

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And that they put this thoughtful sticky note on the bathroom mirror, so that when you step out of the shower, you can KNOW that you look like you deserve some magic.

IMG_1294(Hey creepy due with the aviators. Quit staring at me. AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR HAND.)

Even the staff was fantastically special. We desired to sleep in, so we put out our Do Not Disturb sign, as one does. We left our room at 10am for the day and removed the hang tag.

As I was walking down the hall toward the two housekeepers, one was flipping out.

“I cannot POSSIBLY vacuum all of these bleepity-bleep rooms! I just don’t have time for this bleepity bleep! What the bleeping-bleeper-bleepit do they think they’re doing, scheduling us like this?!”

I got within five steps of them when they checked up, smiled, and said, “Hello ma’am!!”

Housekeeper Number Two said, “What room are you in, honey?”

“Room 205.”

“Okay…lemme check my list here…”

Feeling quite fearful of them dragging their negativity into my room and spewing it all over my pillowcase, I said “Oh it’s okay. You don’t have to clean our room.”

But then Chris, who missed the first half of this exchange, walked up behind me. “But if you have a chance, that’d be great.”

Housekeeper Number Two looked up at him and said, “OH – you were the room that had a Do Not Disturb sign on your door this morning. And you see, I marked it right here on this list. So I’m afraid we cannot clean your room today. Because I already marked it. On my list.”

I agreed with her that this made perfect sense and hurried Chris onto the elevator before he asked for toilet paper or some other rage-inducing item.

But when we got back to our room that evening, I unapologetically hung our other hang tag. Yes – the one that has a variation in every hotel – just for funsies.

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That’s right, Wingate. I see your ridiculously unrelated guilt trip and I call your bluff. I don’t mind killing a white fluffy bunny so I can have clean sheets today*. GO KILL ME A BUNNY.


*No superfluous linens were received nor bunnies were harmed in the making of this blog post. The writer does not encourage the death of any bunnies, regardless of the super high threadcount sheets they can be made into.

This is How I Feel…

This Is How I Feel

This is how I feel about dyed armpit hair.

This is how I feel about a Facebook invite to play Dragon City.

This is how I feel about sixteen year olds wearing cut-off mom jean shorts.

This is how I feel when I realize a single Facebook friend is selling Mary Kay, Rodan + Fields, Advocare, and Young Living simultaneously.

This is how I feel about thirteen year old boys having 20,000 followers on Instagram and all they post is sultry selfies. #goodhairday #eyes #smolder

This is how I feel every time I see a beautiful, historical storefront turn into a Vape Shop.

This is how I feel when Pinterest tells me that two dozen ten-color polka dot cupcakes topped with individual Pixie Hollow icing dioramas are easy to make.

This is how I feel when I realize exactly how messy my house has gotten – and that it’s at least 25% my responsibility to fix it.

This is how I feel when I catch the first whiff of whatever is to be the fiery Facebook topic of the week.

This is how I feel when the Dead Sea Mineral Lotion Kiosk Man tries to accost me and rub things onto my arms.

This is how I feel about silk shorts trimmed in Pom-Poms.

I feel this:

What makes you feel that?

Going Pro in Chick-fil-A.

The struggle is real – every single time.

I coach myself.

“You can do this. You were born for this.”

I do a few warm-up drills.

“Reach to the back seat reach to the front seat reach reach reach”

I breathe deeply, attempting to tune every muscle of my body for the exertion that is to come.

Chick-Fil-A Cow

It all happens in less than ten seconds, but therein is the problem. The amount of things that happen in that ten seconds is tantamount to the peak of human ability.

The time has come for the frantic Chick-fil-A pass-off.

One, Two, Three, HUT!

“Hello ma’am I see you have two kids meals with lemonades, a three strip meal with a large iced coffee, and you need Chick-fil-A sauce?”

“That is correct.”

Breathe. You can do this. You do it every week. Way too many times every week.

“Your total is $16.71.”

I hand her my credit card and the marathon begins. Her Ursula-like Octopus arms begin shoving items at my car window in a blur of speed.

Grab lemonade! (“Thank you!” “My Pleasure.”) Pass it back to Ali! Grab other lemonade! (“Thank you!” “My Pleasure.”) Pass it back to Ali as well so Noah doesn’t miss the handoff! Grab kid’s Meals with one pair of fingers and credit card and receipt with other pair of fingers! (“Thank you!” “My Pleasure.”) Set everything down frantically so that she doesn’t toss iced coffee into the car to meet time quota! Grab Iced Coffee! Grab my food! Check for straws and Chick-Fil-A sauce! (“Thank you!” “My Pleasure.”) and DRIVE.

Once again I have completed the feat of the Chick-fil-A Drive-Through Ultra Marathon. All moms in the south are put to this test continuously, as all moms in the south feed their children a diet almost entirely consisting of Chick-fil-A, with a peach thrown in here and there for good measure*.

The drive-thru attendants are finely oiled machines, experts at passing three bags of food into your car while simultaneously swiping your credit card and brewing your fresh and amazingly inexpensive iced coffee. You get the feeling that they’re wearing shock collars under those maroon shirts. If they don’t get all your food out that window within fifteen seconds or neglect to say “My pleasure” every time you say thank you, they will be jolted with a thousand Waffle Watts©, and won’t be able to get that smell of burnt peanut oil out of their hair for weeks.

And then, at some drive-thrus, the pressure has been mounted even further: they now use real, live humans standing in the road to take your order, meaning that you have to know exactly what you want without the aid of the menu board. Sure, they wear a tiny menu written in 4 point font on a thumb ring, but unless you brought your binoculars (and it’s ill-advised to look through binoculars at a woman standing twelve inches from you), it will not suffice.

But ultimately, all of the training, all of the conditioning, all of the physical exertion, all of the mental distress is completely worthwhile: because it keeps you from having to go inside – where there’s a Playplace. Just waiting for your children to climb to the top, get stuck, and panic. Then find half of an abandoned Waffle Fry to eat while they wait on you to slither up to their rescue.

But even that is worth it because of the gift of Chick-fil-A. Or, as my children put it so eloquently,

Ali: “Who doesn’t like Chick-fil-A?”

Noah: “Robbers. Only robbers don’t like Chick-fil-A.”


* Generalizations and exaggerations may be present in this statement. And in this entire blog post. Except about the Ursula arms. They definitely have Ursula arms.