Well, yeah, it's been awhile since I have blogged.
It seems like it's been longer actually, because so much has happened since I blogged last, but I'm not going to try to write an update. I'm just going to jump in again, starting with a story that I have to get down in writing while it's still fresh in my mind.
Julia was coming home for her break, for All Saint's Day, and so John and I decided to go pick her up.
It is a pretty easy drive, and I have been wanting to see the Franciscan campus.
John just wanted to see Julia.
So I thought that I had better find a place to stay in the area.
I looked on Expedia, and went through all the available options.
A lot of the rooms were more than I wanted to pay, but most of those were places that we have stayed before, and been happy with. I did find one place that had a single room for 60.00 and sounded really cool!
It had great reviews, and the pictures online were just amazing. The story was so interesting.
It is called the Aspen Manor Resort. You have to look at the website to see why I was so taken by the chance to stay there. I was thinking that I was going to be able to experience local history, and soak up the warmth of old woodwork and antiques. I was looking forward to the amazing views and walking through the chapel.
I had no idea what a totally bizarre experience it would be, just to check in. I am still shaking my head...
We were running a little late, but I had spoken to someone a couple of days before to confirm my reservation. I wanted to call and just let them know that I would be checking in a little on the late side, but there was no answer just a recording that said that their office hours were 8:00 to 5:00 and if this was an emergency (emergency?) to call this other number. Well, it wasn't an emergency, but I thought it a little odd that there wouldn't be someone to pick up the phone.
I dropped John at the college so that he and Julia could spend some time together while I went to check in.
I had to drive back across the river into West Virginia to get on the right road, and then I had to drive about five miles through a couple of very tired little steel towns. The neighborhood looked pretty rough, but I turned off the main road and up a gated driveway. The driveway was very dark and the road was winding and bumpy. It was about a mile to the place where you could start to see signs of habitation. The places that I could see looked rather shabby and worn, maybe they were caretakers homes or something. I got to the main building, and I must have been at the back, because it looked nothing like what I saw in the pictures. At all.
I went into the "lobby" which was really just a hallway with a desk in a recessed area. It really looked pretty thrown together.
I looked for someone to check me in, but there was just a sign on the desk with a number to call, so I called it. A male voice said that he would be right down.
I was looking around and wondering where all the antiques were. This hallway and reception area looked pretty institutional and a lot like an old run down nursing home, which, as it turns out, it was. When the guy got there he seemed to be a bit confused about where to put me, and whether or not he was going to be able to find a clean room. My concern was growing as I looked around and really couldn't recognize anything that looked like what I had seen on the website. The guy finally found a key to the room that he said was reserved for us, but when we got to it, after wandering down several twists and turns and hallways, he turned right around and said "No, this won't work." and when I looked around behind him to see what the problem was, I could see that in the bathroom the toilet was lying in pieces. Back up to the front desk, through nursing home halls painted a calming pinkish beige. Past several "guests" that looked like they might possibly just live there, and well, just made me rather uncomfortable. It was like everyone there knew each other and I was kind of a curiosity. I'm not kidding, it was like a very odd dream.
When the "concierge" finally found a key to a room that was apparently going to suit us, we traced that long hallway once more and as we were passing through one of the sitting areas I saw a guy standing over a table covered with magazines, peering at them intently. I was shown into a room with two twin beds and a bath with a "shared" shower. "Oh, but you don't have to worry, no one is in the other room." Umm....yeah.
So, we left the room, and my bad feeling just kept getting worse. I looked at the table that had held so much interest for the guy that was loitering in the halls. He was gone, but on the table were at least a dozen "GQ" magazines, just the type of reading material that I want my son walking past on his way to our room. I took the key from the guy, and he promptly disappeared. I had pretty much made up my mind that I was going to have to find another place for us to stay, even sleeping in the FUS Chapel on a pew would be fine.
I called Tim and told him what I had just seen, and he said to just write it off and try to find a room in another hotel. There was Hampton Inn about a block from the college, and I walked into the lobby at about 10:30. God is good. The place was clean, friendly, and they had a nice double room on the ground floor. The doors were all on the inside.
I didn't even care about the price tag, and they did give me a pretty good discount. I think the guy at the desk felt sorry for me.
I still had the key from the other place, so I went back to the school, picked up John and Julia, and we all drove out the the Aspen Manor Resort, where I got out of the car for about 30 seconds, ran inside, threw the key on the desk, and ran back to the car.
I wish I had taken pictures....