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4:06 p.m. - 2007-03-30

No Rest for the Wicked

I can’t believe its Friday already. How quickly this week has flown by. I’m going to blink and it’ll be Easter. That is …. If I survive that long.

I did, however, survive another Retreat. You all know how much I love me some retreat. This one was one that I was Administration too, so it was on a different plain.

But very true to my nature I chose to stay off-site from the Retreat. I value my sleep and my boundaries too much. So I found a hotel that I knew (or thought I knew) and made a reservation. That was a couple of weeks ago.

Upon arriving in the little town of Lake Cowichan, I drove directly to the establishment that I thought my room would be waiting.

My first, shiver of apprehension came when I couldn’t locate a Front Desk/Lobby. My only choices were the Pub or the Restaurant. I chose the restaurant to make my inquiry. My second shiver of apprehension came when the directed me to the Pub to check in.

What kind of establishment was this?

I found my way into the smelly, smoked filled pub, and was met with a “sorry – no reservation under Mugwhump”. I didn’t know whether to feel relieved or upset. I had given my credit card number for the place. So I called the 1-800 number I had on me, and found that I’d indeed gone to the wrong establishment.

Getting back into my vehicle I felt the stress leave my shoulders. I was not looking forward to having to pass through a bar over the weekend to make my way to my room.

I continued my drive through town, and blinked. I couldn’t find the place. Doubling back …. I still couldn’t find the place. On my third attempt I had success, but the black cloud of doubt quickly descended on me again.

Did I mentioned that it had been raining for several days, and there is nothing I like less that driving the Malahat (highway up island) in the rain, and then being lost in a strange town, in the middle of nowhere – in the rain? Well, I wasn’t exactly ‘lost’, but you get my drift.

I checked in to my weekend abode, and was told by the young lady taking my payment that she’d been having some difficulty with the key to my room. She hadn’t been able to get into my “Honeymoon Suite with King Size bed”. (Supposedly their best room). After the paperwork was completed we headed to the room. We both tried the key, and could not get it to budge. The clerk decided that she would move to me to a ‘lesser’ room, and we entered this one without excited. It was larger all in all, but dark, and in my thoughts was probably far less attractive than the room that I had originally been assigned. But I accepted, and tried to settle in.

Not five minutes later my young clerk excitedly came back to my new room to say that she’d managed to get into the “Honeymoon” suite, and it was still mine if I wanted. Without to much thought I accepted, and we made out way to it.

Once in …. I almost immediately began to mentally recant my decision. This room smelled …. oddly, and although a much nicer (more comfortable size) I could hardly envision a honeymoon taking place in this room regardless of any starry eyed couples ideas. But I was tired and just wanted to relax before heading back to a long night at camp. I took the key, and made sure that I would be able to get back into the room later.

After my duties were done that evening at camp I found my way back to my smelly, odd “Honeymoon” suite for some TV and some shut eye. The key let me pass without incident or complaint, the room still smelled odd but I felt I would get used to it. However, while commencing my night time rituals in the washroom I poked around a bit. Low and behold I found a Hot Water heater hidden behind a curtain. Actually you could hardly miss it because it sat so close to the toilet you had to hold your feet at an odd angle. But what tweaked me to the water heater first was an extremely wet bath math that hugs the toilet. My first step onto the mat was a discomfiting thought to begin with, but as my imagination ran wild it conjured up all manner of things ‘wet’ that could be found in front of a toilet. It was not pleasant. But I determined that because the general smell of the place was not of urine base, and in particular the mat didn’t smell like it I discreetly put the mat out where it could dry up a little. This is when I found the hot water heater.

The find of the heater was not so astounding so much as the thick black mould that was growing behind it on the wall. It was then I knew from whence the ‘odd’ smells were coming from.

At 11pm at night, and no front desk I felt my only alternative was too tough the night out and speak with someone in the morning. I was simply too tired to deal with it then.

The next morning there was once again no staff to be found, and I needed to get to camp.

So I’m sure you can guess that I chose to tough it out the last night of my weekend there.

My morning rituals were underway, and as I stepped into the obviously poorly renovated – one person only in a “Honeymoon” suite – shower, I looked behind the shower curtain to find …. what else …… more black mould. This time I was grossed out and seriously thought to myself – just get dressed and go back to camp and shower there. But I didn’t as I knew there would be limited shower use there. The trooper that I am said – tough it out for 30 more minutes.

After my shower I plugged in my blow dryer. I felt, for some instinctive reason, that I would need to choose my electrical plugs carefully. Did I mention that the only source of heat in the room was an electrical plug-in fake fireplace?

I think it almost goes without saying that within 5 seconds of trying to dry my hair – I blew a fuse. One incredible bright spot was that the electrical panel for the entire establishment – was in my suite. The jury is still out on whether whoever built/renovated the place was a complete twit, or a complete genius. Either way – I was able to quickly get my electricity back on track and my ass out of there.

I was definitely going to contact the hotelier on this one.

Long story longer – I wasn’t able to contact management until I was safely back into my own home much later that day. When I told the Manageress about my problems with the room she put me on semi hold while she went directly to the areas in the room that I was speaking of.

She expressed her surprise at my finds, but did not offer one single apology. Needless to say I will never stay there again, and will definitely NOT recommend it, but have no complacency on sharing my misfortune at finding the “Lake Cowichan Riverfront Hotel”.

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