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Holy Hell Week

They’re back!  Yep.  My favorite *cough* church group is back in town, and they are just as big a pain in my rear as always.  Seriously.  This group brings out the worst in me.

It started the week before they arrived.  We were oversold 30 rooms – a sickening amount. With this group, if they can’t come, they don’t cancel. They call a friend and let them have their room.  Our hotel, located right next to the convention center, with free food twice a day, is THE place to stay for these elderly men and women on a budget.

So when the oversell numbers weren’t moving, I began making calls to relocate people.  Anyone who booked outside the group block were targeted.  In total, I relocated 11 guests.  A very time consuming and un-fun task, as NOBODY wants to be in a hotel 7 blocks away.  They want ours. Even if we pay for one of their nights, they want ours.

Between that, and a few cancels, we worked out perfectly.  But sheesh, it was an exhausting task.  And it didn’t end there.  The group is in the hotel for 8-10 days, and every day they do something that really tests my patience.

Room 563 found a dead roach in their room. Right near the entry way.   A roach not native to our area.  The same guy who found a bug in his room last year.  Sorry. Don’t believe ya.  NOT giving you your money back.

Then there’s the lady who went on and on and on about how terrible it was that our front desk agent charged the wrong card.  (The only card he was able to get money out of.)  I explained that to her.  Told her her card declined.  I would refund the other credit card when I got payment from her.  And then dismissed her.  NOT giving you your money back.

Then there was the lady who swore up and down I promised her a wheelchair accessible room and because she didn’t get it she wasn’t able to shower all week.  I told her in all our conversations before checking in (and my god there were many), we did not discuss the accessible room.  But if she stays again next year, I’ll do my best to reserve her one.  Then she went upstairs and found a bug in her room.  The first complaint didn’t get her what she wanted, so she went for plan B.  Sorry.  NOT giving you your money back.

And there were so many more.  They all know our hotel’s policy of giving money back should their stay not be satisfactory, and every one of them looks for a way to make it happen.  We didn’t clean their room properly.  They don’t like the new pasta.  Their room’s too far from the elevator.

So when the hotel lost water early Sunday morning due to air in the city water lines, I about cried.  I knew they would all be at the desk wanting their money back.  We stayed strong as a team however, and explained it was a city issue, not a hotel issue, so we would not be refunding any money.  Only a few rooms wore us down to the point that we refunded some of it.

I tell ya I am exhausted.  I finally lost it, if you can even call it that, when a lady called to ask if her UPS package had been picked up.  I explained it had not, and she went on a rant about how we promised her it would go out that day, and we should have told her UPS doesn’t always come every day, and now she was going to have to call them to schedule a pick up and shouldn’t we have offered to do that for her.  I impatiently told her I would call and schedule the pick up.  “What, now you’re getting crass with me?  Let me talk to a manager.”  I am the manager, I responded.  “You’re the manager?  And you’re talking to me that way?”

**Sigh** Yes.  I am.  I’m sick of the way your group is treating us.  We’re working our tails off for you.  Responding to your every need.  Feeding you two meals a day.  And patiently listening to you bitch about everything.  My patience is running thin.

That’s what I wanted to say.  Instead, I took a deep breath, apologized, and let her know I would make sure the package was picked up.  Even better, I would drop it off at the UPS location near my home.

I left work that night mad at myself.  I usually don’t let people get to me that way.  I like to make them feel bad about talking that way to me by remaining patient and friendly long enough that they eventually wear down and start talking nicely.  But this time I stooped to their level.  Ugh.

I finally have a few days off.  Much needed days off.  It’s gonna take me a few days to decompress.  I plan to do nothing stressful.  Mario has a bowling match I’m excited to watch, and tomorrow we’re having lunch with Amp to celebrate his 20th birthday.  I hope to be my old self when I return to work on Saturday.  I don’t like my church group self.

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9 Comments

Posted by on November 17, 2016 in The Hotel

 

Tour de Mounds

Another good couple of weeks has been had by us may-as-well-be empty nesters.  Mario still lives at home, if you can call it that. But between school,  the play, work, and band, she’s never here. (But when she is, you can bet we know it.  Just sayin’.)

Hubby and I have continued our field trips into the city and surrounding area on my days off.  Last week, we visited the history museum in Forest Park.  It currently has a Route 66 exhibit that was quite interesting.  I knew we were on the route, but I didn’t realize how big a stop St. Louis was along the way.

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It was quite windy that day, but that didn’t keep us from eating at The Boat House restaurant on the lake near there.  LOOKS beautiful, so it was worth anchoring down our napkins and water cups, and sometimes even our table.

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We weren’t so lucky weather-wise today, but I was determined to visit the Cahokia Mounds.  I somehow avoided this field trip during my kids’ elementary years, and I have been itchin’ to get there for a while now.

It’s amazing to see these hand-made “mounds” dating back to the 1300s.  These would have been a project to build during this day and age, yet back then, they used homemade shovels and baskets to carry dirt from one place to another.  And as the mounds got bigger, they had to climb the mountains with the dirt!  Sheesh we have it easy these days.

Monk’s Mound was especially impressive.  Who knew I had my own little “Incline” right in my backyard?!

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View from the top. Not quite as good as Pike’s Peak. But not bad for Illinois

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This week also marked Mario’s Senior Night for band.  Hubby and I bundled ourselves up to watch the only performance we’ll see this year.  The band’s getting smaller and smaller each year, but they did a great job.

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Here’s your chance to play “Where’s Mario?”.  My hint is the same as Abby’s – she’s the one in the white hat.

So yeah, a couple of good weeks.  Had a birthday in there too.  This one kinda came and went with no real fan fare.  The boys all sent me texts which was nice.  (Thanks to my hubby for reminding them.). Mario wished me a happy day on her way out the door.  And then I headed to work.  That’s my kind of birthday.  They’re much easier to forget if there’s not a lot of hoopla….

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2016 in Everyday Living, Family

 

Oh The Guilt

I think about it everyday.  Honest I do.  It’s just sooo hard to put pen to paper these days. I got no excuse really.

Except maybe the seemingly endless days at the hotel.  Actually, that’s a pretty good excuse.  I’m going with that one.

They’re fun days though.  We had three conventions in a row.  Two were pretty needy, but this last one has been a blast.  Single occupancy, young National Parks people.  They like to have just enough fun.  Not so much that they become trouble, but enough that they’re fun to be around.

It’s been good to have these guys inhouse.  We’re going through some changes at the hotel that have most of us a little sad.  Our GM received a promotion to regional manager.  And while we’re all excited for him, it means he’s no longer with us on a day to day basis.  The absence of his quirky, energetic ways has left a huge hole in our hearts.

That hole will remain for another month or so.  The new GM has been named, however he needs to wrap up some work at his hotel, and won’t start til the beginning of the month.  I’ve taken on some of the GMs responsibility, which I really love, but when added it to all the responsibilities I have already, PLUS trying to run a busy hotel while short one manager…  well…  by the time I get home, I’m tired.  And all I want to do is read what someone else wrote rather than write my own.

But the guilt has overwhelmed me, so here I am.

My days haven’t been all work and no play though.  On my off days, Hubby and I have been playing hometown tourists and going on field trips.  St. Louis has so much to offer, and I share it all with my guests, but I rarely take advantage of them myself.

We’ve been bike riding along some river trails.

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We’ve dined in some favorite local restaurants. (It was fun making him squint in the sun.)

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And we’ve toured the Anheuser Busch Brewery.

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And this is just the beginning.  We have a whole long list to get through.  But for now, I gotta get back to work.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on October 11, 2016 in Everyday Living, Family, The Hotel

 

I Dood It!

My big ride this past weekend was everything I had hoped it would be and more.

I arrived early Saturday morning, unpacked Grace from the vehicle, and trudged through the mud, courtesy of some pretty bad storms the night before, to my team’s tent.

I felt a little out of place among the more experienced riders with all their gear – padded shorts, spiked shoes, etc.  I had on capri running pants and some old tennis shoes.  (Now full of mud.)

We started the ride as a team, but to me, the pace was too slow.  I powered up a hill and continued to ride at my usual speed until the first rest stop.  I waited there until the rest of the team arrived.  I hooked up with a few of them, including my boss, who agreed that if we were going to do the 100 mile trail, we better pick up the pace.

Even still, I felt the pace was too slow.  But since I’ve never ridden more than 30 miles in a day, I figured it was probably best they were pacing me. I had fun pushing the two guys to keep up with me though.  I’d hang with them until a hill, and then I’d race past them to the top.  They’d eventually catch up and then fly past me the down hill.

All the while, they marveled that I was riding without padded shorts, and that I could power up the hills without clips.  (Clips?  What are clips?). I just shrugged my shoulders.  “I don’t know,” I told them.  “I just pedal.”

I did hit a hard stretch about 60 miles into the ride, however.  We turned onto a 15 mile stretch of highway with a slight incline and the high winds (leftover from the storms) directly in our face.  I’d never been more happy to reach a pit stop.

The last 20 miles were filled with more hills, but as we climbed closer, my heart swelled with pride.  Me, a “rookie” as they called me, had ridden my first century ride.

8 1/2  hours after we started, we crossed the finish line, and immediately pedaled to the beer stand.

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Jack, Me and The Boss

 

 

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Close up of my proof

After a quick shower at the gym, we headed out for a much needed dinner.  You burn a lot of calories riding a hundred miles.

Afterwards I didn’t feel like pitching my tent in the mud, so I laid blankets down on the floor of my hubby’s Tribute, and tried to sleep.

I awoke Sunday morning, a little sore, but determined to ride the 75 miles I’d been bragging about the last few months.  Getting back on the bike was a little uncomfortable at first, *ahem* but soon I was feeling good.

So good that when I got to the 100 mile cutoff, I decided to go for it again.

The rest of the team thought I was nuts, and maybe I was, but I love a good challenge.   This time, without anyone to slow me down, it only took me 61/2 hours.

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It was a great weekend.  Riding with thousands of people all there to support the same great cause was pretty heartwarming and inspirational.  I immediately signed up to ride again next year, and I’m making my hubby go too.

As for me, I’m quite proud of what I accomplished, especially since I just got my bike a few months ago.

Now on to find my next big challenge……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
9 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2016 in Health and Fitness

 

Mopey

I moped around for the first few weeks after returning from Colorado.  It’s just so beautiful there, and I could go from trail to trail to trail everyday, all day if I wanted.  (And I did wanted.) I SO didn’t want to come home.

Hubby, seeing how much I loved it, asked if I wanted to move there before moving to Florida.  I hadn’t really considered that, but YES!  Except they have winters there.  But I could deal with that.  Right?

I don’t know.  Seems like every time I go somewhere, Nashville, San Antonio, Florida, Colorado, I never want to come home.  Maybe what I really want is to NOT live here.

I’m tired of corn fields.  I’m tired of not having anything fun to do close by. I suppose that’s why I like working in downtown St. Louis.  Things are happening!  But’s it’s an hour away.  Sigh.

Mario is a senior this year.  When she graduates and moves away to college, we will likely move too.  Still not sure where to, but it’ll be far from Smalltown, USA.

In the meantime, I’m preparing for my big MS ride next weekend.  Having that to look forward to helps keep the moping at bay.  I love training for something and pushing myself physically.  175 miles in two days should do the trick.

Grace has been behaving nicely.  Just brought her in for a check-up, and she’ s feeling fine.  A little tweak here and a little tweak there.  We’ll be a great team come race day.

After that, well, I’m sure I’ll come up with something to look forward to.  Probably planning a trip to anywhere other than here.

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Posted by on September 3, 2016 in Everyday Living, Vacation

 

To the Top!

Wednesday marked the day of my real reason for making the trip back to Colorado.  That was the day I planned to beat The Incline.

The months leading up to my trip, I worked diligently to strengthen my legs and my stamina, knowing I’d have to overcome the altitude and lack of oxygen.  I was also determined not to slow down Abby, who I know is an Incline expert, and who agreed to make the trek up with me.  Heck, she went just the week before to test it out for us and beat her best time.  So yeah, I was bound and determined to not look like a sloth.

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The trail started out relatively flat, but got steep pretty quick.  I was breathin’ heavy right away, but soon fell into a groove.

There wasn’t much talking going on, as I was saving my breath, but I managed to sputter out a few words.  “What kind of time are we lookin’ at?”  And “Ugh, I thought THAT was the top.”

Every once in a while, I picked my head up to look around and admire the view, but mostly, my head was down and I trudged along.

At times, the people in front of me would “pull over” for a drink and a rest.  I just kept on going.  I basked in the glory of passing someone, even though it seemed to take a great deal more effort.  Abby would say good morning to each person we went by.  I barely managed a grunt.  Hopefully she was polite enough for the both of us.

As I took my last step, I turned to face Abby only a few steps behind me.  34:05 she stated with a smile and a high 5.

34:05!  WAY better than the 50 minutes I had set as a reasonable goal for a flat lander.  And only two minutes slower than her best time.  My chest swelled, and not just from trying to suck in the thin air.  I was proud of myself.

imageWe wandered around the top of the incline a while.  Abby pointed out the guys who were lifting a barbell over their heads.  We questioned how they got it up there, but then got our answer when they took it apart, split up the pieces, and ran down the mountain.  We just stood out of the way.  Best to let them go first.  They were making me look bad anyway.

We made our way down the 3 mile trail, occasionally having to get out of the way of runners.  I could barely keep from skidding while walking.  No way was I gonna run.  Besides, I remember how painful it is to run down a steep hill.   And I t was nice chattin’ with Abby.  I didn’t want to ruin it by panting through it all.

By the time we got down, I was starving.   We went to a place known for their big portions, and they didn’t disappoint.  I’m ashamed to admit I couldn’t finish it all, but I gave it a great effort.

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We went our separate ways for a little while to shower and rest up for our next set of stairs at Seven Falls.

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Here’s where I was proud of Abby.  She’s afraid of heights, and I know from watching my Hubby, that fear can be paralyzing.  But she pushed her fears aside and climbed up the steep “ladder” where we were awarded with beautiful views.

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I went first on the way back down, hoping to block her view.  It’s really is a steep drop, and this is only from halfway up….

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It was a great day.  Everything I dreamed it would be and more.  Abby, thanks for sharing the day with me.  And get ready!  I’ll be back for bigger and better things…..

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Posted by on August 20, 2016 in Friendship, Health and Fitness, Vacation

 

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The Fun Just Got Funner

Our first day in Colorado merely whet our appetite for outdoors adventure.

After we caught our breath from the climb at Red Rocks Ampitheater, we grabbed some lunch at the Airplane Restaurant and headed off to Garden of the Gods.

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Probably one of Amp’s favorite places.  Lots of rocks to climb.

 

The following morning, we met up with Abby for another tour of Red Rock Open Space.  She gave us the tour last time we were out, and. Amp was so impressed he wanted to go back.  This time there was water, which made it even more beautiful.

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Chip, seeing Colorado for the first time.

Amp, begrudgingly allowing a selfie for the sake of the blog.

 

 

 

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Shadow and Abby.

 

We said so long to Abby, and then moved on to Palmer Trail and Helen Hunt Falls.  The longer we went, the more we realized we were flat landers trying to keep up with the natives.

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But boy was it beautiful.

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We wanted to hit one more trail, but storms were brewing.  We got to see first hand the hail and flash floods Abby often describes on her blog.  Luckily we were safe in a car and not stranded on a mountain.

Our day may have ended abruptly, but to me the best was yet to come…….

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Family, Friendship, Vacation