The day before Mother’s Day, I hit a personal breaking point. I’m a stay at home mom. My job is 24/7. There are no breaks from it. In the past, I have coped with this by a precarious balancing act. During the school year, I have approximately six hours to myself each weekday when there are no early releases or school holidays. Four times a year – Thanksgiving week, Christmas break, spring break, and summer break – my job becomes full time nonstop anywhere from one to ten weeks. It’s tough, but survivable, especially as my kids have gotten older (2007 was the worst year for me). But then there was that whole covid thing, and in early March 2020, my kids came home for a week of spring break and never went back to school. Now, we’re all home full time, and while I’ve had maybe a half-dozen times left alone in the house for an hour or so, I haven’t had a break in WAY TOO LONG. And this makes me very, very cranky.
So like I said, I hit my breaking point, and the day before Mother’s Day, I announced that I needed a personal vacation. I didn’t really want to GO anywhere. I just wanted some time ALONE. With SILENCE. What I really wanted was to fly off to somewhere I’ve never been but don’t really need to explore (my first thought was Albuquerque – they have nice weather!) for a few weeks in an AirBnB, so I could just be alone. But we’re not rich and this is not something we could really afford. Instead, Jason and I decided to put me up in this longterm hotel here in San Antonio, just for a few days/nights, as a kind of mini-break. Something to ease my going-insane-brain.
That was this week. I checked in Monday afternoon, came home Friday morning.
We chose this particular hotel (which I won’t name) because of our past experience here. When we relocated here in 2017, we had a few weeks before closing on our house, and had to stay in a hotel. Since Jason’s employer was paying for all the relocation expenses, this was fine. Originally, we chose a different hotel because it was in an area we knew to be nice, only to discover that the hotel was…not nice. So not nice that we canceled our reservation after the first night and moved to a different one. And we enjoyed our time at this new hotel. They had social/dinner nights M-Th, and breakfast every day. The place was clean, the employees were nice, the other guests were nice, our suite (for five people) was spacious, the furniture was good quality, they allowed pets, and our experience was generally positive. Positive enough that when our house exploded in 2018, we packed up the family and temporarily moved back into the hotel (above).
Here’s the thing. Hospitality is one of those industries hit hard by the pandemic. I can’t blame the overworked, understaffed, underpaid employees. When my room was…not as clean as I would have liked, I didn’t complain. It wasn’t their fault, either, that my mattress was so old that the springs gave giant metallic bangs when you sat on it and was a rock to sleep on. Breakfast was a sad affair, all pre-packaged, cheap stuff, but hey, it’s a pandemic and you can’t exactly have the waffle maker out for people to use. Social night had been reduced to T/W only, and as I discovered, consisted now of a miniature snack and a plastic cup of cheap wine/beer if you wanted. An all-around lackluster experience.
Even better? The ice maker broke on my floor. I called it in. Half a day later, I went to get ice, but the machine was open with a ladder next to it, no employees in sight. I headed to the elevators to go to a different floor and met an employee who was also waiting for the elevator. She saw me, screamed “Sh!t I forgot the ice machine,” and ran off. When I got downstairs, I discovered puddles of blood all over the elevator lobby (looked like someone dumped raw meat in the garbage and it leaked everywhere – I took this photo several hours later when it still wasn’t cleaned up). I got my ice, went back upstairs, and the ice maker there was chugging away very loudly, closed with no ladder by it now. Halfway between the machine and my room, there was a giant bang from the machine, which then clunked to a stop. (I didn’t use that machine again…)
I feel bad for them. I really do. I’m sure the CEO of the company who owns this hotel chain hasn’t seen his profits cut or diminished. All the loss of profit has been hoisted onto the understaffed, underpaid, overworked employees, which is why I’m not complaining. (I wish more people understood this and stopped attacking the poor bottom-end employees!) But it makes me a little sad to be taking my “vacation” in this sort of situation.
My plans had been to do yoga every day, to read, to blog, to get caught up on shows I wanted to watch, to listen to podcasts, maybe to go for walks, etc. Yeah, no. Not doing yoga on a floor I know is not clean. Haven’t really felt like blogging. It was raining or 90 degrees each day. Mostly just scrolled mindlessly through tiktok instead of watching shows. I have been reading, though. I got this giant pile of hold books in from the library right before I went to the hotel, and I’ve read (or tried-to-read-and-culled) quite a few. Books read: Night Theatre, The Haunting of Alma Fielding (audio). Books culled: Rule of Wolves, The Mountain Between Us, Into the Wild. Started: Strong Women Life Each Other Up. I also started watching Britain’s Best Home Cook, rather than watching Shadow and Bone like originally intended. I drank wine and way too much iced coffee and was generally a bum for the week.
Now I’m home again, and I’m not sure if the week helped or was just a waste of money, because what I think I really want is to be able to be home alone in silence again, rather than just in silence. Oh well. I’m not ungrateful, I promise. I’m just tired of living in a pandemic, like everyone else. Plus it’s May, and y’all, I’ve said this before but I’ve just got to say it again…May is so tough for me! 😦