Monday, September 22, 2014

Hoteling it. Or packet madness!

(From a few days ago)

One of our hotels

Damn packets! I swear everything comes in damn packets of some indestructible plastic that can't be opened with anything less than kitchen shears. We stayed at this hotel a couple of years ago and I'd gone to war with the long skinny packets of shampoo and body wash for showering. I'd tried tearing them across with no luck; tearing them lengthwise from the skinny zig-zag ends, no luck. I used the tiny scissors in my tiny Leatherman tool to snip the ends off, then awkwardly tried to keep them propped upright in the soap dish in the shower until I could get to them. Eventually, I learned the surprise rapid rip. Catch it unawares.

This year, I lost my tiny Leatherman to security in San Francisco, but I remembered the surprise rapid rip technique. The packets have changed, more square than long, with an appropriate little notch toward the end of one side. I line the packets up on the little shelf in the shower, "shampooing" and fluffy body gel (or that's how I translated it) in the packet to the left, and just plain shampoo to the right. I confidently give the body gel version a rapid rip, and the surprise is mine as the gel bursts forth volcano-like. I barely manage to catch it on my bath scruffy. 

That wildly torn packet on the left spewed its shower gel.
The shampoo at the top behaved slightly better

Really, I'm just happy to wake up this morning. By the time I finished dinner last night, I knew I'd eaten too much. I don't want the chef to think I don't like the food by abandoning half of it.  Instead, I overeat and risk undoing the thousands, or maybe 10s of thousands of dollars for medical procedures?

Little trickles of GERD burn my throat as I lie down to sleep. Soon it grows into a full-blown acid attack. And in this hotel room far from home, I wonder: how do I know it's just GERD? How do I know I'm not having a heart attack? You know what they say about women and heart attacks. What did Rosy O'Donnell say about symptoms? Maybe I should unlock the deadbolt on the door so somebody can find me if?

With amazing calm, I ponder what it would be like not to wake up. What an inconvenience it would be for my tour leaders, my sad children, and Sister, who wouldn't put it past me.

When I wake up at six to go to the bathroom, I am feeling fine. I go back to bed for another hour until the alarm rings.

I'm pleased to discover that the temperature of the water in the shower is just right. I "guessed" that that might happen if I pushed the button on one of the "faucet" handles when I tested out the techy hardware.

A lovely shower, with almost mood lighting

Handle on the left end controls on/off, hand-held or overhead water source.
Handle on the right controls temperature and I think the button sets the temp you like.

It goes so well until I run into the damn packets.  And until I notice that I left the cushy French bandaids for the bottom of my feet across the room. (The podiatrist has advised me that the balls of my feet hurt so badly because there is absolutely no fat for padding on my feet. Gel orthotics are recommended but I didn't have time before I left for the trip to get them. I substitute French gel-filled blister bandaids.) 

I didn't want to walk across hotel carpeting in my fresh, clean bare feet. On top of the usual grime to feet from tramping around all day, a well-meaning friend had insisted I try on her "very comfortable" shoes, shoes she had been tramping around to most of the same places I had. I felt uncomfortable in someone else's perspiration dampened shoes and couldn't enjoy the marvelous fit. I want to preserve the clean feel. I stretch a pathway of towels across the carpet to the table to reach my fancy French bandaids.

My clean pathway to the table from the shower

The lovely French blister plasters

I had a packet issue with soap at the previous hotel. When I arrived, three little bars were each armored in unbreachable plastic on the shelf above the sink. After a struggle, I managed to pop one packet open. I got a couple of hand washes out of the little bar, then left it on the shelf for later use. After the cleaning people came, the open packet was gone, replaced by ... Well, you can guess. This happened every day of our stay there. At least the shampooing/shower gel came in little bottles that were possible to open. I took to washing my hands with shampoo.

The small rooms, the tiny elevators, the other quirks in modest French hotels, even the room where the bathroom really isn't a bathroom, don't bother me, but the packets are driving me crazy.

Flowers at a French breakfast table

I keep falling asleep at night when I'd like to blog, so no guarantees about the next installment.


  1. I don't expect you to die on a trip, please,,

    1. The whole piece is tongue in cheek. Take it in that spirit!