I do apologize for the length of this post, but there is really no shorter way to paint you this picture. So this past weekend me and my sister traveled from Connecticut to Iowa to visit our grandparents. Because the airport in Dubuque, where they live, is smaller than most town’s local Target Super Center, we decided to fly into Chicago and rent a car to finish out the trek. Our flight got in around 11pm so we thought it best to stay in a hotel along the way. Though I do take full responsibility for the troubles outlined below, I just want to make it clear that I booked a hotel-with the mind frame of “ok we are going to get there after midnight and leave first thing to get to grandpas so let’s just go with whatever is the cheapest. Worst.Decision.Ever. In fact, as a result of this hasty decision, I have lost all future booking privileges while traveling with my sister.
Ok, so let me start by saying that I’ve been known to stay in some sketchy establishments. There was that time in Ireland where me and Stef stayed in the most sketchy “bed and breakfast” ever. Literally, I was nervous one of us (or both of us) were going to be kidnapped by the guys from New Castle in the room next to us. And then there was that time I was on a business trip in Santa Barbara and my flight got cancelled and instead of going back to the four-star hotel I was at originally, my at-the-time-boss thought it was fine if I bunked up at a motel in the ghetto right by the airport. Surprisingly, no one knocked on my door looking for crack.
Anyways, I degrees…this was much worse. Here we are in Rockland, IL, and things are looking pretty good. We see a Holiday Inn and Marriott, followed by a Kohls, Longhorn Steakhouse, and my personal fave-Starbucks. There was tons of stores and I could tell we were on the main drag. Cool. A few miles go by and more and more space lies between stores, the lights are dimmer-clearly we are driving into the depths of hell. I should have know better since the main light to the hotel was barely on. It was kind of flickering like a motel light would in a horror movie right before he main character gets murdered. But hey, what were we going to do-we did have a $42 reservation. So we go in.
The guy at the front desk was nice enough, but let’s remember, you don’t have to be smart to be nice. After standing at the front desk for approximately 15 minutes while he tried to figure out how run my credit card, we finally got our room key. Room 205, which ironically was in the basement. This was an obvious sign that we were walking even deeper into the depths of hell. This level smelled. It went from smoke, to mold, to another smell that I can’t really really describe, probably because my senses were being numbed at this point. You know, part of the body’s defense when it begins going into shock-I’m pretty sure that’s what was happening here. Finally, after walking by numerous doors with dogs barking in a frigid hallway we made it to our room. Phew!
Just kidding. This too only added insult to injury. There was caked on mildew on the faucet sink. So bad, in fact, that I literally felt it was a better option to not wash my hands at all than touch the sink, or the water that may (or may not) come out of it. There was cigarette ash all around the bathroom (in our supposed non-smoking room), and literally shit stains in the toilet. All of that aside, all we wanted to do was go to sleep. With a Nalgene 3/4 full of water, we figured we had enough to get through the night for the two of us if we rationed properly. So we slipped into pj’s and turned down the sheets. This is when shit got real. There was no sheet on the bed. Seriously. No.Sheet.On.The.Bed. OK, no that’s not completely fair. There was a sheet…but we had the option to sleep between the sheet and the disease-ridden comforter, or the sheet and the disease ridden mattress. Either way, I was not willing to take the risk. I’m sorry…the second I left the hotel I thought “shit I should have taken pictures!”, but seriously, I was in survival mode and the only thing I could think about was getting out alive…so you’ll have to use your imagination here…even if you think you’re letting it go wild, you’re probably not far off from what we encountered.
We couldn’t stay there. So I did what anyone would do, we put on our shoes and my sister pulled around the car while I pulled a Jo Anne. If you’re unfamiliar what this means, Jo Anne is our mom, and in the right situation, gets really angry and does something magical that results in her getting her way. It all started in a nail salon circa year 2000, but we’ll leave that story for another time. Anyways, I walked up to the front desk, rolling suitcase in hand and told the clerk we are leaving and never coming back. Though he looked extremely confused, he was nice about it, which didn’t give me the opportunity to get as angry as I wanted to, however, given the situation, you’ve gotta think this is not the first time this happened.
10 minutes later we ended up in a clean, newly renovated room at the Hilton, which we were very pleased with. Ironically, outside of our fourth floor window was a huge dumpster which we probably would have ended up in if we didn’t make the move.