Tag: Weddings

I’ll Take The Modest Hotel

Modestly priced hotels usually include hot breakfast, free wi-fi, parking, and an onsite, coin-op washing machine. Why do the fancy hotels insist on charging extra for basic amenities? The nicer the hotel, the more add-on fees. What is a resort fee anyway? I have no interest in a fridge full of high priced mini-bar food. What I need is a place to keep restaurant leftovers and the stuff from the cooler.

I’m not referring to cheap hotels with holes on the walls, stained carpets, and tiny critters looking for a new home.

I once stayed at the Ritz on a business trip. I felt fancy just saying the name of the hotel. It’s like the song.

The room was cozy but no different than a regular one. A co-worker thought she saw a movie star in the elevator. I don’t pay attention to celebrities. Not if it means giving up a free breakfast.

On another business trip, I spent two weeks with no washing machine. Dry cleaning bags hung in the closet awaiting my business. Four dollars to wash a pair of pants. I stuffed all my clothes in that plastic bag and schlepped it across the street to the Chinese Laundry where they charged by the pound.

I’ve attended conferences at swanky hotels with opulent common areas. To save money, I shared a room with three friends at the special conference rate. They squeezed us into a tiny room with no view. I think they reserve these rooms for cheap conferees. Breakfast was not included.

My daughter learned this lesson on her honeymoon. For the wedding night, she and her husband selected an expensive, historic hotel. On arrival, they discovered it wasn’t as nice as the modest hotel that housed the wedding party. They returned to the wedding party’s hotel the next morning for the free breakfast.

Smaller hotels (and motels) can include unique amenities. The Comfort Inn in Ouray, Colorado offers a squeegee and windshield washing fluid. Good for those who have been four wheeling all day and can’t see out of the Jeep windows.

I’m willing to give up some amenities to stay in a fun historic hotel. Although, more and more of these are adding the touches I expect. Someday I’ll stay in the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona on the historic Route 66. For that, I’m willing to find my own food and stream data on my phone.

I’ve dipped my toe into the world of Airbnb’s. The first one I stayed at was quite nice. Exactly as expected. The second one, however, taught me to pay careful attention to the pictures. It was beautiful, but one of the two bedrooms was inside the only bathroom. The toilet had a little room, but from the bed, we could see inside the shower. Awkward.

Four of us shared that bathroom, so we gave the early risers the bed with the shower. Wouldn’t have been so bad if there was another bathroom.

If I stay at more Airbnbs, I’m sure to find lots of interesting blog topics.

Meanwhile, give me the cheap—I mean modest—hotels. They have all I need.

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Grandma’s Not A Museum Relic Yet

When do I officially become a museum piece? I saw a Six-Million-Dollar Man lunchbox in an antique store. Surely, I’m not that old. An antique store isn’t a museum. Right?

I once visited a museum with my Grandma in the eastern Montana county where she grew up. She lived there most of her life. A museum about local history. About her history.

Pictures hung on the wall of the high school graduating classes over the years. There she was. Class of 1930.

A room displayed wedding items from the 1930’s—dresses, photographs, and artifacts.  Grandma pointed to a picture of a wedding couple, all decked out in their wedding clothes. She said, “That gal was my roommate. I didn’t like the fella she married.”

Talk about a paradigm shift. These were real people, with real stories, and roommates who didn’t like their husband.

Then we came to the telephone switchboard from the days when a person had to connect every call. A job frequently available to women. Grandma had worked a switchboard exactly like the one on display.

The old-time washing machine with the big tub and the ringer at the top was like the one she used to own. All the clothes had to be washed in the is cumbersome contraption. Then ironed. No wash-and-wear. As a single mom in the 1940’s she shared chores with her neighbor. She hated washing, but didn’t mind ironing. Her neighbor was the opposite. So, Mondays the neighbor washed while Grandma kept an eye on all the kids and prepared meals. Tuesdays, Grandma ironed and the neighbor babysat.

Next stop, a display of all the cattle brands in Eastern Montana. In her middle-aged years, Grandma lived on a ranch with her husband. She pointed out their brand. If I remember right, they called it the Lazy Heart H. Their last name started with H.

I’m researching for a novella set in the 1930’s, which brings back memories of my grandma and her stories. Growing up, I had the chance to spend summers with her on the farm. As an adult, I took my kids to see her.

A few months before she passed away I took her on a road trip and asked all the things I should have asked years before.

“How did you come to live in rural Montana?”

“My dad’s brother homesteaded here. He convinced my parents it was a good place to live. My dad operated a grain elevator in town.”

I’m glad someone thought to put pieces of her past in a museum. I was privileged to walk through the story with her.

I’ve begun to see relics from my past in a museum.

The Smithsonian History Museum has Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street on display. Not just a likeness. The actual Bert and Ernie.

I think the Smithsonian is gathering contemporary items to preserve them for the time when they become antiques. Surely, they are not relics now.

Just as I am not a relic, neither was my Grandma.

My grandchildren will probably see the Six-Million-Dollar Man lunchbox and Bert and Ernie when they visit a museum. I can tell them how my sister had the same lunch box and how we watched Sesame Street on one of the three channels on our T.V.

Until then, I’ll live large and create museum worthy memories.



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Two Years, Two Weddings, Two Moves, Oh My

. . . because life is an adventure.

We moved to the suburbs last year, after thirteen years in a small Colorado mountain town. I wrote a blog about the plethora of choices in the suburbs.

Now, we are moving again. This time to a small town in rural New Mexico. I welcome the slower pace. But the move and the buying and selling of homes might do me in.

At the same time, both of my kids have found the love of their lives. Can’t complain about that.

I’m becoming an expert in things most people do only a few times in their life.

When my daughter announced her engagement, I suggested we purchase magazines with to-do lists and ideas. Hers was a three month engagement. But, magazines are so 1980’s. There’s an app for that. A cell phone contains everything a modern bride needs for wedding planning.

Couples create their own wedding website, thanks to advertisers who want to market to the happy couple. And with an Amazon gift registry, distant relatives can have gifts sent directly without ever touching a piece of wrapping paper or tape.

I mentioned the wedding website to my future daughter in-law, who opted for a six month engagement. She already knew all about it.

I can recite from memory the prices and current trends for cakes, decorations, dresses, flowers, and photography.

At the same time, I’m gaining expertise with moving compaines. Which one charges by the hour and which one chages by weight and mile? What kind of snacks and drinks the moving guys prefer. The oranage Gatorade remains untouched, in case you were wondering.

The junk hauling service is my new best friend, but don’t tell my husband. I point to an item in the house, no matter how big. Then, a couple of strong young men throw it in a big truck, never to be seen again.

I’m finding that moving requires two steps. First for house staging. Second for the actual move. A potential buyer can’t imagine their new home when it is too full of our junk. House staging has become an art, with my real estate agent scouting model homes for ideas. She says she’ll turn my bedroom into a “romantic retreat.”

And then there is the repair of all of the little things. Each requires a separate contractor. Double pane windows have come unsealed. Electrical outlets need upgrades. Paint that chip in the wall from when we moved in. Fix the front step. All the tasks I’ve put off come back to haunt me.

I’ve met many interesting people. One man came to inspect the water heater and barely spoke. Didn’t even introduce himself at the door, just showed up at the appointed time wearing a shirt with a company logo. A handyman talked so much he barely had time to work. So many looks and personalities, so many characters for my novels.

So many experiences to feed my writer’s brain. A few of which will show up in future blogs and fiction.

Yes. Life’s an adventure.

That’s what I tell myself when it all overwhelms me, and I want to hide in the closet with a novel.

Princess For A Day

I have weddings on the brain. My daughter married in August and my son will marry in May. Two weddings within a year. I only have two kids. Of course, I’ll write a blog about weddings.

Princess for a day. That was me when I married. Like ladies in waiting in a novel, my bridesmaids dressed me and catered to me. Even my mother gave into my whims.

When my soon-to-be daughter-in-law and her mother went to see the wedding dress restoration lady, I invited myself along. The restoration lady commented that wedding dress styles haven’t changed much since the last royal wedding, that of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. She expects styles to change soon, when Prince Harry marries. Perhaps because every bride wants to look like a princess on her wedding day.

That comment took me on a time trip.

I married a month and a half before Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. Everyone said, “You look just like Sarah Ferguson.” Princess for a Day. But I had imagined more of a Disney princess than a modern-day princess.

My son is getting married a few days after another royal couple. His fiancé is lucky that wedding dress trends won’t have time to change before her wedding.

Most grooms aren’t as interested in being a prince for a day. I took my husband to be measured for his father-of-the-groom suit. Most of the customers at the tux shop wore jeans and T-shirts. Some wore camo and baseball caps. I doubt wearing a tux is a dream come true.

The tux shop had a color matching chart that looked surprisingly like the paint department at the hardware store. Apparently, they understand their customers.

Cake tasting has to be one of the groom’s favorite activities. My son loves cake. No one cared about the taste of the cake when I married. It was all about the carefully crafted frosting roses and the fountain with colored water underneath.

Now it is all about the taste. Naked cakes with real flowers are all the rage. I asked the baker if it was sanitary to put real flowers on the cake. Eeeew.

No bugs on my daughter’s cake. It was lovely. I’m sure my son’s cake will be lovely and bug-free as well.

Do real princess brides create the cake trends too?

I Googled Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding cake. No live flowers there. The description says “elaborate gum paste flowers”, whatever those are. No naked cake either. Fondant. Looks pretty, but tastes terrible.

And the royal cake was fruitcake. Fruitcake!

An eighty-thousand-dollar fruitcake. No wonder they were auctioning off pieces.

Apparently, Pintrest reigns when it comes to wedding cakes.

My daughter loved cake tasting. She wants to take her husband to a bakery and claim to be engaged so she can do cake tasting again. I told her to just buy a fancy cupcake, but what’s the fun in that?

Cake tasting is part of being princess for a day. And doesn’t every bride want to be a princess? Without the fruitcake, of course.