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Category Archives: Commute

The Greenhouse Effect

When one bridge opens….

another bridge closes.

*sigh*

I think I’ve figured out why they spent so much time and money on the new bridge crossing the Mississippi.  Because the old bridges are constantly needing work.  I have yet to experience all three bridges open to traffic at the same time.

Not that I have reason to complain.  With my odd hotel hours, I rarely hit traffic.  But sometimes I forget the bridge is closed til I get there.  And then I have to take a round-a-bout way to get to the other bridge.  And the next day, I forget again.  And the next day…  well, you get the picture.

Anyway….  It’s been a hot one around here lately.  Temps reaching into the upper 90s with heat indexes well over 100.  Not atypical for this time of year, so when the AC began acting up at the hotel, I knew we were in trouble.

We have a beautiful atrium on our upper floor, with skylights making up most of the roof line.  The atrium is where we serve our breakfast and dinner.  It’s also where our heated pool and kitchen are.

Get where I’m going with this?

Throughout the day, the sun beats into the atrium, warms up the pool, and soon, we all feel like we’re in a greenhouse.  Add to that two of the AC units not working, and we got some HOT guests and employees.

The warm hotel, also seemed to make the rooms warmer.  So their individual AC units were trying desperately to keep up.

‘Course this happens on the hottest weekend of the year.  With a hotel full of multi-night guests.  And with both other managers on vacation.

Our maintenance team worked non-stop.  One on the roof fixing the main units, and one going with me into over 20 rooms trying to keep our aggravated guests cool.

I kept my smile on… and brought fans and water and even ice cream to them.  I explained their units are working fine, and it won’t be TOO much longer before the room feels cooler.  Then I comped their night and went on to the next room.

Day two wasn’t much better.  The rooms were cooling but the atrium was still hot.  I tended bar with sweat dripping down my back, and a big smile on my face.  Our guests noticed the warmth, but didn’t really complain.  In fact, just like the night before, they hung out for hours past our “dinner”, talking and laughing and having a good time.

By day three, we had all the main units working, and the atrium was incredibly cooler.  The guests that had been with us all weekend were experiencing the cool the day before they were set to check out.

That night, I heard over and over again what a great hotel experience they’d had.  Compliments were being thrown at me left and right.  I was SO relieved that this big group was leaving on a high note.  It could have been a total catastrophe, and yet, our employees kept it together enough, that our guests had had a great time.

And as the sole manager that weekend, I’m taking the credit.  Even better, my GM is giving me lotsa kudos too.  My hard work and sweat (literally) paid off.

And that maintenance guy that spent hours on the roof fixing the things.  Ha.  That was nothin’.

 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Commute, The Hotel

 

Turn of events

Every day after receiving my “ticket” in the mail, I found myself researching the Illinois laws, reading articles about it, and discussing it with anyone who would listen, and each time I would get worked up and upset all over again.

So a few weeks later,  I decided to just write the damn check and hopefully rid myself of the torture.

It took everything I had to write the check, address the envelope, and ask hubby to mail it.

That night, after working a late shift, I scooped up some ice cream and curled up on the couch to catch up with you all.  Just before shutting off my computer, I clicked on the news site for the latest weather updates.  Front and center on the first page was an article on the speed cameras.

In short, the state attorney claims the way they are collecting money is illegal, and they have suspended the radar program until they can legalize it.

I was livid!  I had just written the freakin’ check, and thoughts of mailbox diving to retrieve my hard earned cash raced through my head.

I angrily wrote a note to my hubby to remind me in the morning to put a “stop payment” on the check.  (Like I would forget…..)

I managed to fall asleep, but as soon as I woke, I went straight to my hubby.  I vented again about how I knew it wasn’t right, and how unfair it was that I’d just written the check…

he turned me towards the counter and there it was….

attached to my note was my check.  He hadn’t planned to mail it until we heard what people were saying and what the outcomes were.

I have never felt so relieved.

The cameras have since been replaced with actual cops in cars.  And many times during my long commute I will see people pulled over and being handed tickets.  THAT’S the way it should be.  We should be able to face our accuser, and we should have the chance to take it to a court, (a REAL court) if we deem it unfair.

A picture of my car with no proof of my location, no proof of my speeding, and no chance to face a court of law, is no way to “ticket” someone.  And the fact that it’s not going against my record is proof to me that they KNOW they can’t prove me guilty.

So my check still lays on my counter, and I continue to follow the stories.  I feel somewhat vindicated, so to celebrate, I bought the new purse I’d been eyeing, and I may even buy some new shooz.  THAT’S how my hard earned overtime money SHOULD be spent.

 

 
12 Comments

Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Commute, Everyday Living

 

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Are you sitting down?

I’ve got some shocking news.

I had a day off.

And that day off was followed by ANOTHER day off.

I know, right?  Two in a row!  With a normal 40 hour week!  I’ve never felt so relaxed.

My paycheck came in last week.  The one that included all my overtime from a couple weeks ago?  19 hours over to be exact.  I’ve been thinking of ways to spoil myself with all the extra dough I earned… a new purse… a shopping trip for the boys… a shopping trip with Mario… new running shoes…

Then yesterday it came to me.  Literally.  It came to me in the mail.  And suddenly I knew what I was going to do with the extra money.

I’ll be writing a check to the City of East St. Louis for $240.

For the second time this week I cried.

I drive 100 miles round trip 5 days a week.  I haven’t had a ticket or a wreck or have even been stopped in over 27 years.  I am a cautious and conscientious driver and pride myself on it.  (Now’s not the time to bring up any past posts about my driving habits….)

For the past few months, the city has been “working” on the interstate going to and from downtown St. Louis.  For the past two months there have been cones blocking one lane in each direction.  For the past two months, I have seen NO workers doing anything on these roads.  For the past two months, most commuters have slowed down from the 65 mile per hour speed limit to about 55 miles per hour.  I tend to drive with the flow of traffic…..

Which led to receiving a picture of my car in the mail, with many other cars around me, and a notice to pay the hefty fine.

I wanna fight it, but I’m too tired.  I get that they’re wanting to keep the workers safe, but there’s NEVER any workers out there!  It kinda makes me feel like they’re setting us up… just block off some lanes and set up a camera and just like that, the city is no longer poor.  (One of my co-workers got a ticket as well…)

So that’s what I’m doing with my hard earned overtime money.  I’m giving it to a very poor community with the highest crime rate in America.  Perhaps I can write it off as a donation.

In the meantime, I’m keeping my horsey whoa-ed, and hoping I’m not trampled by everyone else.

And in a sick way, I’m hoping they’re all receiving tickets too…..

 

 

 
18 Comments

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Blunders, Commute

 

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Round About

“Is this a game day?” I asked my hubby as I waited for a line of cars to leave an opening for me to squeeze into.  I had just gotten off work, and was surprised to see a traffic jam on the street in front of the garage.

I continued to wonder where they were all coming from as my hubby filled me in on his day.  We only have a few minutes to talk after work, because as soon as I get into Illinois, it’s “hands off” my phone.  Being that Illinois is right across the river from my hotel, we have to speak fast.

While we were catching up, I managed to cross the couple lanes of traffic in order to make the next right turn.  Another right at the next corner, and one more right at the next corner would take me onto the bridge and heading home.

Except that road was blocked.  And all traffic was being diverted onto the one way street in front of my garage.

So THAT’S where they were coming from.  And now I’M a part of the jam that was blocking the garage exit.

“The good news is we have extra catching up time,” I joked with my hubby.  I felt a little like Griswold in European Vacation.  “Look kids!  It’s Big Ben the hotel again!”

I’ll be glad when all this construction is done.  Our hotel is literally surround by construction sites, all in an effort to make the Arch grounds more pedestrian friendly.  It’s a good thing, I suppose, but they’re taking down bridges, and dispensing of roads, and quite frankly, it’s a mess.

This is what the Arch grounds look like now.  If this picture was backed up a little further, you would see my hotel off to the right.  The “park” in the middle is what I drove around only to be diverted back up the street in front of my garage.

Arch grounds before

This is what the Arch grounds will look like by 2015.  Or so they say.

arch grounds after

It’s certainly much greener.  And it DOES make it easier for people to access the Arch without fear of crossing a busy highway.  And in a way, it’s putting our hotel on the Arch grounds.

So it’s all good, but sheesh.  For the next year, we’re in for quite a mess.  And if I’M doing round-abouts in an area I’m pretty familiar with, imagine how our out of town guests are going to feel.  That is if they can ever make it TO the hotel to be our guests.

traffic sign

 
10 Comments

Posted by on February 28, 2014 in Blunders, Commute, The Hotel

 

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Stranded

St. Louis has been hit with the worst snow storm and the coldest temperatures it has seen in 30 years.

We had a few days warning, so since I had a three day weekend, I hit the stores on Friday, along with everyone else, and picked out a few things from the meager choices that were left.

After working six days in a row, I was thrilled to be snowed in at home for three whole days!

Make that ONE day.

My first morning off, I got a call from the hotel that we were holding 200 rooms for a big company in St. Louis. They wanted to have their employees downtown and ready to work on Monday.  Could I come in on Sunday to help with the check-ins.

* sigh *  of course I would.

To ensure I could make it to work, I would drive in on Saturday evening to stay the night.

I spent my day off preparing my family for a few days of being snowed in, and then packed my bags for a two night stay at the hotel.  Something I swore I would never do. The idea of wearing my pajamas in my place of business bothers me.

I managed to get to my room without running into too many employees.  My only awkward encounter was chancing upon our security guard sitting in the dark fitness center at 5:30 Sunday morning.  “Uh… I’m watching the children…” he muttered as he quickly unplugged his phone and got out.

Nice to know he’s on top of things and our hotel is safe and secure.

The snow came hard and fast while we awaited the news on whether or not the 200 rooms were really needed.  By mid-afternoon, the company decided to close their business on Monday, and so the block was cancelled.  My help was not needed.

But since I was there, other employees were called off allowing them the ability to stay home and avoid the unplowable roads, and allow me the ability to DO something while I was stuck there.

Back at home, my family was climbing the walls.  After having almost 2 weeks off for Christmas, they were excited about returning to school this week, so the news of a snow day was surprisingly unwelcome.  And the second snow day was met with groans.  I have a feeling there might be a third.  The roads are still snow packed, and with the subzero temperatures, the road chemicals are useless.  Wind chills are hovering around -20 degrees, so being outside is not an option either.  I felt blessed that I could at least work.

I made it back home Monday night.  Slowly and carefully in the Acura, while my sweet but useless Mustang remained safely in my garage.

I’m back on another long stretch of work this week, but another long weekend lies ahead.  At least for now.

The view from my new 'couch time' spot.

The view from my new ‘couch time’ spot.

The view from my room early in the day.

The view from my room early in the day. The bridge I cross every day is barely visible.

city streets

Empty city streets.

The view of Busch Stadium from my hotel room.

The view of Busch Stadium from my hotel room.

Our back yard and neighboring field.  It LOOKS pretty anyway.

Our back yard and neighboring field. It LOOKS pretty anyway.

Hungry birds.

Hungry birds.

Our very own Cardinal

Our very own Cardinal

Mrs. Cardinall

Mrs. Cardinal

IMG_4244

Lunch Time

And now….

I’m ready for my flip flops.

 

 

 

 
16 Comments

Posted by on January 7, 2014 in Commute, Everyday Living, Family, The Hotel

 

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The age old question

So I’ve been working.  A lot.  Which means I’ve been commuting.  A lot.

For the past two years, construction crews have been building a new bridge across the Mississippi to help alleviate some of the congestion.  Yay!

Except now, it’s starting to cut into my drive time. Boo.

It already takes me an hour to get to work, and with two of the three normal traffic lanes closed off, it’s even longer.

And with all that time, I got to thinking.

What IS the correct way to merge when a lane is closing?

I recently listened to a debate on the radio about the right thing to do.  And of course, I agreed with the guy who thinks like me.

Some people believe you should merge as soon as the first “lane closure ahead” signs begin.

Some people think it’s okay to stay in the soon-to-be-closed lane for a little while longer, and then merge.

And some people, ahem, think you should use the lane until it actually closes.  Then merge.

The people who merge right away find themselves sitting still in a long line as other cars pass them in the not-yetCLOSED! lane.  I’m sure they are seething with resentment that their lane is not moving because the late mergers are pulling in front of them.  I know this, because I used to be one of them.

It didn’t take too many times of sitting in a long line, foaming at the mouth, to see the error of my ways.  Traffic flows best when you continue to use all the lanes and then merge once the move-over arrows are blocking your progression.  Or maybe I just flow best when everyone merges and I continue to use the not-yet-closed lane.

In my search of the correct way to merge, I came across this article.

I’m actually the kinder, gentler merger. (After I’ve passed the line-uppers of course.) Which one are you?

IMG_0751[1]

At least I keep my distance.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Commute, Mustang

 

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Today I Was the Tortoise

Two hours.

TWO hours.

TWO HOURS!

Two hours of shaking legs, a nervous stomach, and clenched hands.

Two hours of blasting heat, a steaming face and unblinking eyes.

Two hours of driving through the treacherous storm that has passed through much of the country it seems.

BUT.

I made it.  And I’ve never been more proud of my rear wheel, sucky-on-snow-and-ice but fast any other time Mustang.  I’m even a little proud of it’s driver.

The snow and ice had been coming down for about 3 hours when I finally got off work.  I was offered a free night’s stay at the hotel multiple times, but since I didn’t have to work the next day, I declined.  I was determined to take it slow and easy, and be able to enjoy my evening at home.

When the exit gate of the garage opened, and I saw a Mustang directly across from me spinning its wheels as it tried to get up the hill, I took it as a bad sign. But I wasn’t giving up already.

I turned onto that same street and drove about 10 feet before getting stuck in my own rut.  I backed up a little (easy to do since it’s downhill) and tried again.  Nothing but spinning wheels.  Backed up.  Spun.  Backed up.  Spun.  I had just about given up when a heroic snow plow came by.  I backed up onto the cleared path and finally was able to make it up the hill.

My relief didn’t last long, however. The entrance ramp onto the bridge crossing the Mississippi was backed up.  Some cars were spinning wheels, others were able to get around.  Not wanting to lose momentum, I went around them too, only to fish tail my way across the bridge.  The bridge normally has four lanes, but no one knew where they were, so we all just kinda clumped together.  Scary for me, since my car is known to spin out.

I stayed in first gear all the way across the bridge, trying to stay in other car’s tracks.  I could sense the people behind me getting antsy, but I knew my car’s limitations, and wasn’t risking speeding up.  Once into Illinois, I shifted to second gear, and there I stayed for a good hour.

The fast lane appeared a little cleaner, but I wasn’t willing to go fast.  So I kept my 20mph pace in the slow lane, while others zoomed around me at a good 30mph.

It seemed any time I let up on my concentration, I would fishtail, so I remained hands clenched, eyes peeled and mind focused.  A few times I felt comfortable enough to shift to third gear, but then something would happen and I’d pull it back to second.

Meanwhile, the sleet and freezing rain continued, and my windshield  iced over quickly.  To avoid this, I blasted the heat on defrost.  This worked well, but my face was on fire.  Anytime I lowered the heat, however, the ice would start to form again.  I figured seeing clearly had more priority than a cool face, so I continued to blast the heat.

When I pulled into my drive over two hours later. I almost felt like weeping.  Never had I been so happy to be home, and so relieved to be safe.

Even after all this, I’m glad I chose to come home, but I hope never to have to drive in this stuff again.

Unless I have these:

snowtires

Or better yet, this:

snowmobile1

 
21 Comments

Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Commute, Mustang, The Hotel

 

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