Sunday, August 22, 2010

Motel from Hell

My husband and I just returned from a trip to Glacier National Park.  Stephen insisted we stay at a motel as close to the park as possible so as not to "waste" any of our time driving to and fro.  Well, the motels IN the park didn't have vacancies in the same room for the two nights we wanted, but one of them referred us to the nearest motel outside the park.

The website of the privately owned motel was nice--as were the photos of the place.  I called and spoke to a very nice young woman who answered all my questions.  I didn't mind that we wouldn't have a television or telephone in our room--who needs the boob tube on vacation?  Wireless internet was a plus, as was the heated outdoor pool--which is open 24 hours a day.  That got my imagination working overtime...

Anyway...after spending the day in the car--4 hours from home to the entrance of the park at St. Mary, followed by driving Going to the Sun Road--we arrived at the motel at about 7:00pm.  At check-in, we were required to pay for our entire stay--none of the pay-when-you-check-out which is typical of every other  motel or hotel at which I've stayed.  (This should have been a clue.  Come to think of it, so should the fact that they didn't charge my credit card when I made the reservation.)

The front desk clerk told us the breakfast cottage was open 24 hours a day and we could help ourselves to coffee, tea, and hot chocolate whenever we wanted.  A light continental breakfast would be served from 6:00am to 10:00am.  I know I'm messing up the chronological order of my story here because we didn't have breakfast 'til the next day, but, folks, did you know that "light continental breakfast" translates to TOAST?  Yes, toast.  Period.  As in a large basket filled with loaves of bread (white, wheat, rye, whole grain, etc.) sitting next to a couple of toasters.  Butter and jam were provided.  So was plastic dinnerware.  Whoopee!

Back to the chronologically correct recounting of my story and our check-in.  Each room, the motel manager explained, offered wireless interent.  We were not to be surprised, however, if the service didn't work on our laptops.  Seems that some laptops got the signal and others didn't.  Those that didn't, she said with a smile, nearly always picked up the signal if the guest sat outside his or her room in a chair.  Yup, just what I want to do at the end of the day:  sit outside in a lawn chair with my laptop propped on my lap, providing the local insect community with a much better meal than I was going to be served the following morning.

Our room was clean.  That's the only good thing I can say about it.  90% of the floor space was taken up by the king-sized bed.  Honest to God, we were lucky if there was 3' of space between the edge of the bed and the three walls.  The bathroom had even less space.  When sitting on the commode, if I clasped my hands in front of the center of my chest, my elbows actually hit the wall on one side and the shower stall on the other.  The bathroom did NOT contain an electrical outlet.  Not even an ungrounded two-pronger.  Which meant I had to blow dry my hair in the bedroom without a mirror.  Needless to say, I wore a baseball cap for three days in a row...

An 8" fan on the dresser supplied the cooling system.  The two small windows slammed shut immediately after being opened because the ropes inside them were broken.  We were able to prop one window open about 6" after we stuck the ice bucket in the openeing.  Of course, the ice bucket blocked half the airway.  The other half, however, was more than adequate at providing sound bites of the conversations exchanged by people swaying in the hammocks outside the pool and the fellow who arrived and left at all hours...on the motorcycle he parked three feet from our window.

Talk about false advertising!  I will be penning a much more articulate letter to management once I've calmed down.  I may even find myself laughing in a few days.  In the meantime, I'm focusing on the fact that the motel was clean.  No mildew in the microscopic shower stall...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My New Kitty is FAMOUS


I'm looking forward to a brainstorming session with one of my friends/business associates later today.  Both sides of my brain love brainstorming:  the Right Side - because it's so darn good at it, and the Left Side - because it's so darn lousy at it!

Seriously, when I brainstorm with other people, I find myself coming up with TERRIFIC ideas - much better ideas for them than I come up with for myself.  Why do you think that is?

I think it's the result of several things.  First, we don't usually have as much of an emotional investment in other people's writing and business projects, so we don't have fears, biases, and "favorites."  Furthermore, the success or failure of those projects seldom has a direct effect on us and our lives--other than having to listen to the other person share the details of their success or failure.  Second, the lack of emotional investment allows us to be truly objective:  we're viewing the other person's project from outside the box, their box, and have an entirely different perspective.  And third, if we trust the person/people with whom we're brainstorming, we're more relaxed during a session than we are when we're sitting alone in a room, banging our heads against the wall, hoping a good idea will get knocked into our thick skulls.

During my last brainstorming session with this buddy, she came up with the sub-title for my series of business books, as well as a tagline for what I do.  How's that for benefitting from brainstorming?

What are YOUR thoughts about brainstorming?