Let me begin by saying that I was afforded the unique opportunity to again visit Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center to see off more than 3,000 of Tennessee’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment – the finest National Guardsmen the world has to offer. They are headed back to Iraq.
But that’s really another story. Because when I am writing about them, I am in my element. And today, I am going to rant. Not about that experience – because it was grand beyond words. I’m going to rant about the trip back. And for any of you who’ve ever taken a road trip, maybe you’ll concur with this scenario.
The trip back actually began on Friday, in the middle of the night, when my daughter woke up sicker than a dog, throwing up every ounce of food she’d ingested for the last month, I suspected. And that’s when the plan to leave on Saturday morning and make a drive from the Gulf Coast to the Bluegrass State in one day flew out the window, as it were. In fact, it crossed my mind to stay in Gulfport, MS for one more day and night. But in the back of my mind, I feared she would get sicker and we would be stuck.
So at some point very late in the morning on Saturday (which was already early afternoon on the east coast after the time change) we finally left. Colton and I had had the best of the motel’s continental breakfast, while Hannah was able to choke down some Fruit Loops and yogurt. Oh, sure. Maybe that hadn’t been the best for her, but that was what she deemed appropriate to stomach, if you will.
Five hours later, no one had asked for food, we stopped for gas, got a few snacks and continued our way north. And Hannah’s status deteriorated. Not to the point of really bad, but to the point of “I really just want a warm bed and a cold pillow.”
We fought on, though, and made it within three hours of home, when we’d all had enough. The temperature had dropped about 30 degrees. And instead of seeing palm trees, we were seeing snow flakes – and signs for motel rooms.
We opted for an exit that promised a plethora of hotels. I was looking for a cheap-with-standard-perks room, determined not to pay $100 for a place to sleep for a few hours.
Which is when we saw the sign: Continental Breakfast. Free High-Speed Internet. Lowest Rates.
And the rates were cheap enough, on the face. So we checked in, the kids got comfy, and I went to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal for Colton and a small box of Fruit Loops for Ms. Sick, who also requested a small milkshake.
I returned to discover that McDonald’s hadn’t included the ketchup packets I’d requested. Drama One.
And I noticed that this large hotel room lacked a coffee pot. Drama Two. I’d have to awake and walk into the continental breakfast room looking like a haint in order to wake up.
I wondered what would be next, as I grabbed the ice bucket and headed to the ice machine, which was (wait for it….) frozen.Yep, that’s right. The ice machine was frozen. As in not working. I should add that the nice lady at the front desk granted me admittance to the refrigerator where I could get ice from ice trays. I should also add that she asked me to limit my share to one tray… Drama 3.
I guess it will come as no surprise that the high speed internet wasn’t high speed. It wasn’t even working. Drama.
The sheets on the beds seemed fine at first glance, although I quickly discovered that the bottom sheet wasn’t even fitted.
HOW CAN THAT BE??? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO RUN THIS HOTEL??? Drama.
Granted, these thoughts came in the middle of the night and I was too tired to act on them.
When the sun finally rose, I did what I knew I would do: threw on some jeans, grabbed my coat looking like something out of a B Horror movie and headed for the Continential Breakfast room (the same place I’d cracked the ice tray only hours earlier). As I pulled out the cofffee cup, I thought of my measuring cups at home. I wondered how these people had found a way to purchase bathroom-sized dixie cups in styrofoam.
I got two cups, while noting the sign:
“If you plan to fill large cups or a thermos, please ask front desk attendant first.”
Yep – my caffeine was gonna be rationed just like my ice.
I made three trips back to the breakfast room – with those two cups in hand, for a total of eight ounces of coffee, best case scenario.
Nevertheless, Hannah was awake and feeling like a new person. We were three hours from home, Cracker Barrel restaurants are never more than a couple exits away, and a night in my own bed would come on this day.
And it occured to me that eight hours away, men and women were hopping flights on C-130s to cross the pond to Iraq.
In truth, I had no dramas.
Filed under: Headline, Liz's Rants · Tags: 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Add new tag, Coffee, coffee break with liz and kate, Cracker Barrel, humor, Iraq, McDonald, military, Motels, Road Trips, TN 278th National Guard