Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Tale of Two Sisters ...

or a muddy graduation and a night at the Porn Motel.

Elmsford, New York. What do they have in common?

Dead to me, forever. Dead to me.

I'll start at the beginning -- a happy event. Oldest daughter graduating from college, Magna Cum Laude. A trip to SUNY Purchase planned well in advance, with reservations (2 rooms) at the Elmsford Motel. How did I find this lovely establishment, you ask? Ever the Girl Scout, I surfed the internet in February, well aware that motel rooms would be at a premium in May, as proud parents of eager graduates from both SUNY and Pace University would be flooding into White Plains, New York.

Enter Expedia.

Also aware that one could easily spend upwards of $189 a night at a hotel right in White Plains, I searched surrounding areas. And found the aforementioned Motel. Or should I say, Mot-hell. It was listed as a modest establishment, no amenities such as fitness room or free continental breakfast, but it had non-smoking rooms available, and an in-room refrigerator. Okay, said I, clicking on "reserve two rooms". For some reason, I couldn't book both rooms under my name, so I used the spouse's name for the second (this will be important later). One room with a king sized bed, one with two double beds (for my sister and son).

Enter arthroscopic knee surgery for Jack. Suffice it to say that men do NOT bounce back as quickly as women (no bouncing at all, in fact), so I cancel the room with the king size bed. The son is invited to spend the night at the college with older sisters (and what 15 year boy could resist), so it's just my darling sib and me making the trip.

On to Purchase, and a fun-filled day culminating in dinner at a vegetarian restaurant in NYC. I had already called the mot-hell to let them know we'd be checking in late, and all was cool.

So, at roughly 10:30 p.m., the sister and I pull in to the Elmsford Motel. My first clue that all was not right was the bullet-proof glass separating me from the check-in clerk. This was followed by an escalating "discussion" involving check-in itself -- it seems that I cancelled the room in my name, and that as I was not "Jack", I couldn't have the room. No matter that I was Mrs. Jack. No matter that the room was paid by my credit card. In a fit of pique, I called Expedia, and, half an hour later, they faxed a name change on the reservation to the mot-hell. All was well.

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The true name of this place should be "The Porn Motel." Truly. Picture this -- (my camera's batteries mysteriously faded out immediately upon entering the room) -- two double beds, with orange and brown bedpreads. A wall of mirrors. Floor to ceiling. A bathtub replete with mold. A filthy carpet. And, ashtrays. Yes, it was a smoking room. In spite of my fear of Legionnaire's disease, we turned on the AC, and opened the window.

(In the meantime, frantic calls to local "real" hotels informed us that the PGA was in town and there were no rooms to be had at any inns).

So, carefully peeling back the bedspreads, we sigh in relief at the clean sheets. I pick up the remote, hoping for a little Jon Stewart, maybe Leno and get .... a giant penis rubbing up against an unidentifiable body part. Free Porn!!!

I'll say no more on that subject, except to say that we unplugged the tv.

For those of you who don't know my sister, in all of our travels, no matter how long the stay, she is the organized type who unpacks her suitcase into the dresser drawers, lays out her toiletries on the bathroom vanity, all within the first ten minutes. This is the only time in history she did not.

What finally put us over the edge was this:
Sister: Do you see that?
Me: See what?
Sister: The peephole in the door.
Me. What peephole?

It was stuffed with toilet paper so no one could look in. Really.

We finally slept, in one position with heads on our own pillows which we luckily travel with, took the world's fastest shower standing on the world's thinnest towels, and left, never to return. Thanks to daughter's congenial roommate, we spent the next night in her dorm apartment, blissfully free from fear of fungus, bed bugs, and giant penises.

Expedia will be getting quite the letter from me, legal letterhead and all. And I will dispute the charges on my Visa. I realize there is probably a teeny tiny disclaimer at the bottom of the website, written by lawyers such as me, but there is no way this should have happened. What if my son had indeed checked in with us? And, as 15 year olds normally do, grabbed the remote? Quite the education I don't want him to have.

But all ended well, in spite of the rain,

And the mud:

She graduated!

PS There was absolutely no knitting at the Porn Motel; we didn't want to soil the yarn.


Heather said...

EWwwww!! Ew ew ew! I feel like I need to shower just from reading that! Bleah!

But major congrats to your daughter! :)

And ew!

dreamcatcher said...

Oh my goodness that was some motel! Definitely ewwwww! I hope you get a full refund via Expedia (and an abject, grovelling apology).

Glad all went well on the big day :-)