Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Road Trips And A Homemade Hat

Road trips!Wait. That's not what a road trip is supposed to look like.

So we took a road trip out to Lancaster, PA to pick up a van load of honey jars weekend before last. We figured it would save on shipping costs plus it would give us an opportunity to see the factory where our containers are made. Gamber Container is where little plastic honey bears were invented! Which is probably a little bit of trivia more fascinating to us than anyone else...

At any rate, we boogied East on Sunday afternoon right into a never ending torrential downpour. We finally decided to find some place to stay overnight with plans to continue on in the morning. I kept asking the GPS for places to stay, places to eat. It kept giving me stupid answers. All I wanted was a Hyatt and some prime rib. We called multiple places looking for accommodations with an adjacent restaurant. None to be found. I mean, unless you wanted to walk to a nearby Denny's.

We finally settled on a Hilton in Harrisburg mostly because it had a restaurant and partly for the novelty. Nothing like having to valet park your dirty cargo van. The dirty cargo van which will not fit in the parking garage and is therefore parked 20 feet from the valet booth. And now that I think about it, Mark parked it really valet. Just an expensive parking spot.

Anywho, it was a splurge of sorts. Not worth it except for the cleanliness and Crabtree & Evelyn shampoo, but we can chalk it up as something we did. It was only the second time in our life we've been away overnight without our children. True story.

Oh, and I did get this for my mystery writer friend Annette:

It's a picture of a blood stain on the curtain in our room. Or maybe it's wine. Let's call it "Inspiration!" So much for cleanliness.

You see, one of my very first jobs was cleaning rooms at the local No Tell Motel. No, it wasn't really called that, but you get the idea. Sometimes folks stayed a week, sometimes an hour. The bones of the place were just fine. They even had an indoor pool. But it was, well, goonie. I know you think I overuse that word, but I've just had a lot of goonieness in my life.

In spite of its unintentional retro-ness, there was a relatively high standard for cleanliness in the joint. We were a hardscrabble group of cigarette smoking broads. No, really. We were. But we knew how to clean and weren't afraid to do it. We were fast, efficient, and hard-working. Our rooms had to pass inspection. Not so much as a tiny piece of lint was allowed on the carpet under the bed. Not a drop of moisture could remain after you cleaned the bathroom.

One of my coworkers was known for her toilet cleaning technique of slopping the bleach water all over the commode, gloved hand in the bowl up to her elbow. But. It was bone dry and clean when she was finished. Another gal would finish the rooms by wiping the carpet with a clean damp rag to bring the nap of the carpet back up. Craziness.

The not so clean side of that job: pubic haircuts in the bathroom sink, using the dresser drawers as a cat litter box, a huge amount of pee on the bed, using the plastic drinking cups to collect 'fluid,' forgetting magic mushrooms & clothes in the dresser drawers, stashing dirty magazines under the mattress, and the bestest of all, turning around to face the toilet in order to poop on the floor behind the bathroom door. Those a a few of the reasons hotels will always gross me out.

Phew! Lost focus there! Lancaster! Land of suspenders and horse-drawn carriages.

I'm not going to lie. I could not get enough of the horse-drawn carriages. We stopped at a restaurant featuring food with the deliciousness of every grandma's secret recipe combined and from my seat I could see a carriage with a grey-haired couple inside enter the parking lot, park their horse and give him a dousing of fly spray before coming in for lunch. Amish!

Then after a couple of stops we headed to Gamber Container/Dutch Gold Honey headquarters. I wished we'd planned ahead for an actual tour, but it was still a neat visit. It is family owned and operated. The air smells like honey from the tanker trucks full of sweet goodness.

We placed our order and Mark sampled some of their different honey varieties before we headed back out to the van to get loaded. What a great trip we were having. Until Mark turned the key in the ignition of the van and nothing happened. Dangit! Our combined automobile mechanical knowledge is something like "Air, Fuel, and Spark" and "Is it out of gas?" So we went with the gas theory. But what are the odds that there is a functioning gas pump 15 feet away from us in the parking lot of this factory? Excellent!

What are the odds that the very owner of the whole shootin' match comes out and personally sees to it that you are fueled up and on your way? She pumped the gas herself. And so Mark got to hear a little of the history of Gamber and rub elbows with the boss of it all. Pretty sure he liked that.

So the gas did the trick. For all of 107 miles of the turnpike before the real source of the problem cropped up again--fuel pump--and left us disabled on the side of the road. But long story, um, still long--safety patrol showed up within 2 minutes, tow truck within 20 minutes, and our local mechanic within a couple of hours to tow us 128 miles home.

Then, this weekend we took another road trip clean across the state to fetch this:

It's like a cigar store Indian, only it's a bee. It's a chainsaw carving in white pine and it's Mark's belated birthday present. It's not quite 6 feet tall and weighs a couple hundred pounds. It meant leaving our house around 12pm Sunday and arriving home again at 3:30am Monday morning. Versus our plan of camping in the van with sleeping bags. Umm, so that's that story.

Let see, Homemade Hat. There was a really lovely Summer storm Monday evening. I stood in the doorway enjoying the breeze, watching the clouds roll in when Lily showed me her new hat:

It's a wire hanger bent into a pointed 'hat.' She called it her Storm Hat or some such. Basically, the single most awful hat to wear during an electrical storm. And I told her as much. Doesn't stop her from wearing it.

Aaand, YoYo caught us a mouse. But then he took it back.

There was a Big Wig at our house. Well, just a big wig. Yikes. The girls get on these wig kicks sometimes...wigs all over the damn place.

Umm...Got Admiral a new saddle pad.

It's grippy to keep the saddle from slipping. I didn't mean to get a picture of Mark with that Heineken bottle in his hand. But since I did--you know why you shouldn't drink and ride?

Because then you'll have to pee:

And then when you get off to pee I'm going to take your picture.

I'm happy to report no one fell off. Even though Nikki gave it shot bucking me off when I made her canter in the yard a bit.

Now would this sweet baby horse act like that? Isn't she shiny? Pony!
I think that wraps it up quite nicely. Over 'n Out. Ten Four, Good Buddy.


Jen said...

Sounds like you had an interesting/fun time. I love Pennsylvania, so beautiful there.

I used to clean hotels in Australia as a part time job. Needless to say it was one of the nastiest jobs I've ever had. Good times!

Emily said...

That bee totem pole is goonie. Championship.

Becky said...

You need to blog much more about your motel cleaning experiences. I am all ears.

And the bee totem pole is awesome! Truly.

Great honor.

honeypiehorse said...

Wow you got quite a trip out of that!

Michele Renee said...

What a couple of weekends!! I LOVE the picture of the cat. And the hubs on horse with beer.
I have gotten so that I always go to Trip Advisor forum before going to a hotel to read up on the dirt.

Amy said...

Such riches! Where do I EVEN begin? Have missed your posts! :)

That bee sculpture thingy is about the coolest thing ever. How come no one ever got me one for my birthday? It makes me want to fly to PA and buy your honey.

And I died a little inside when I read about the pubic haircuts. I am way impressed though, at the work ethic of the cleaners. I wish all motels could be so meticulous. :) i agree--do tell more about that.

Love Lily's hat--hey, at least she's keeping herself entertained!

Sara said...

What a post! You've been busy, lady! Love the picture of the cat and mouse. The horses look amazing. I've wondered on the logistics of drinking and riding. We had a stallion that drank. What is the ticket fine for a drunk horse and rider?

Love the "hat". Bummer about the fuel pump. Love the sculpture! Just amazing!

I think I covered everything. :)

Anonymous said...

Whew - I am wore out just from readin' about all that activity & adventure.

FTR (which if it isn't up there with IMHO, imho it should be, For The Record), I'm with Becky and want to hear more Confessions of A Hotel Maid. We, your audience, await!

Michelle Johnson said...

Sounds like you guys had quite the trips. Glad you made it home safely. Love your pictures. And, those motel confessions... whew. I think people do those things because they don't have to clean up after themselves. Have a great day.

Annette said...

Thanks for the picture of the blood smear just for me. It's nice to be thought of. ;-)

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