Thursday, November 16, 2006

Scottsdale Princess

It will surprise and, I hope, delight you to know that the finance industry cares deeply about disaster preparedness. "What if a tornado whips through Indianapolis and the computer holding my bank account history gets swept out the window and broken into a thousand tiny pieces on the street, and I need to get to that information that day, but the employees are too busy picking glass out of each other's hair to answer my phone calls?" Chances are, your financial institution has a plan for just such an event. You might not know anything about it, but trust me, there's something in the works. I know. I work for a financial institution. Our building is sitting over an active faultline. We have a plan.

Point being, every few months we're required to exercise our plan. This means that a bunch of us get on a plane and fly to a secondary location and get everything up and running, to prove that we'd be able to do it in an actual emergency. I'm not sure how much more I'm supposed to say about the actual plan itself, and it's pretty boring anyway unless you're me or the disaster recovery coordinator, and it's not the point of this post. The point of this post is this.

ResortSuites Scottsdale can kiss my ass.

We all stay there, because maybe we get a good rate, or maybe it's our disaster recovery guy's habit to put us there. I didn't mind it in May, but this time? Oh, this time they've really pissed me off at every turn.

Speaking of 'turns', here's the microwave in the suite. ResortSuites is like an ExtendedStay America type of place. You could come in there and set your family up for a good long while. I think it might be bigger than our old apartment, and it has a full kitchen...sort of. Here's where the trouble started.

I came back to my room after two days of all work and no sleep. I just wanted something to eat, a cup of tea, a nice hot bath, a little television time, and a good night's sleep before getting on the plane the next day. My room smelled like smoke, like someone had been sitting in the kitchen and smoking for the past five years, and they'd passed away from starvation due to the shoddy service at the restaurant downstairs, and their vengeful ghost was now living in the air vents, still smoking. To be clear, I'm not usually bothered by smoke. I'm not one of those passive-aggressive, (cough-cough) "Someone must be smoking nearby!" half-whisperers. But this wasn't your ordinary "this must have been a smoking room at one point" smell. It was like the gaming floor of Circus-Circus in there.

"Ah, well. Too much trouble to complain now. I'll just reheat my food and sit in front of the open door while I eat it."

Here's the thing. See how there are buttons and dials on that Reagan-era microwave? I couldn't make the damned things work. The buttons made a satisfying clunking sound when pressed, but they didn't seem to do anything else. "Time?" Clunk. "O.K., temp?" Clunk. "Start. Light's on, thing's making noise. Good." But after five minutes, the water in my teacup was still cold. "The hell?" So I tried to turn up the temperature, but the dial spun freely under my hand. I pulled off the nob and made the adjustments I needed by turning the stem. At this point, I'd been in the kitchen for ten minutes. The Ghost Smoker had forced secondhand smoke from about twenty cigarettes into my face and hair.

"Take the picture already, toots! I'm dyin' in here!" -- Belligero

I finally got the water to boil for tea, and reheated a leftover turkey sandwich on the electric range. I'm not used to electric ranges, and this one hadn't been used since the fall of the Soviet Union, so now the kitchen smelled like cigarettes, the first time you run a heater in the winter, and burnt bread. I ate quickly, trying to minimize my time in the kitchen and looking forward to taking a bath in the least smoky room in the suite. I watched a few minutes of 'The Rundown' on my laptop, choked down the dry, slightly blackened sandwich, and headed back to check on the bath situation.

I'd brought bath oil with me, even going to the trouble of decanting two ounces of it into a travel-sized bottle and putting it in the stinking TSA-required Ziploc bag of appropriate size. I was proud that I'd thought ahead. I was looking forward to a hot, aromatic soak.

What you might not be able to see in this picture is that the top of that stopper says "PUSH". I pushed. Stopper popped back up. I tried again, stopper popped back up. "I know that's the shower valve, but maybe if I pull it out..." Three seconds of spray from the showerhead pummeled me before I could push the shower valve closed. It's a thing I do, unintentionally spraying myself in the face. "Huh. Maybe there needs to be water in the tub for the seal to stick." Ran water until it covered the stopper and my hand. The stopper stuck for a few seconds. I took my hand away and clapped gleefully to myself. I'll point out again that I was a little overwrought due to lack of sleep and inhaling the smoke of a dozen phantom Salems. When the stopper popped back up again, I lost it. "You SON of a BITCH!" I shouted. "You STAY DOWN, GODDAMMIT!" I violently pushed the stopper down several more times, but didn't get a better result. My hair fell in my face as I dropped my head in defeat. Smoky, damp hair.

I took a shower, and as I stood under the spray, the humor of it all finally hit me. One phrase ran through my head. "This place is bullshit." I don't know how it happens, but at some point during an interlude like this one, I hit the point where that phrase makes me laugh uncontrollably to myself. Maybe I was just exhausted. "Bullshit!"

Out of the shower and staring into the mirror, the whites of my eyes bright pink from the air in the room, "...and why is the sink not set straight into the countertop? Bullshit!"
"The light switch is cockeyed, too! Who built this place, cactus-drunk hobos?" No, I don't know what I meant by that. I chuckled as I repeated it to myself anyway. "Cactus-drunk hobos."

Maybe you can't see it in that picture, but trust me. That switch is tilting about five degrees to the right. The sink is set about four degrees off to the left. It's not square with the wall. We notice those kinds of things. We're a contractor's nightmare. I called Accountant Boy to tell him my tale of woe.

"...and the light switch, too!"

"Honey, maybe you should take a hot shower..."

"I tried that, but THIS PLACE IS BULLSHIT!"


"No, because stupid Arizona is on stupid BULLSHIT MOUNTAIN TIME, so there's nothing on except the news, and I don't care about a broken traffic light in F%*KING TEMPE! And the TV set's too small to watch from the bed, but I can't leave this room to turn on the bigger one because the rest of the place smells like my uncle's old bathrobe."

"Make yourself a cup of tea, then."

"I can't, because I used the last of my bottled water on the last cup, and the tap water tastes like it came out of our aquarium and was filtered through three layers of the foot end of my pantyhose."

"...well, maybe you could..."

"Put Buddy on the phone. He'll understand. Besides, I want to tell him about the quail I saw in the parking lot."

"I'm going to go now. You can tell him about the birds tomorrow."

"Wait! Did I tell you about the running water in the next room that wakes me up every morning at 3:12???"

"'Night, sweetie..."

"Don't hang up! If you hang up, then I'll only have the ants in the sink to keep me company!"


I won't even go into the bed situation, because there's no way to describe how uncomfortable the beds are. Some of our team ended up sleeping on the little couches in the front rooms of their suites, but that wasn't an option for me, because of the risk of disease from the air quality out there.

"Thanks for telling us about those things, and we'll certainly get someone up there to fix them for the next guests."

How nice for the next guests.

"That's surprising, because this is a non-smoking resort..."

Oh, yeah? Someone should tell the Entity living in room 3037, then. He didn't get the memo.

No real apology, not discount on the bill, no nothing. They suck.

Kiss my ass, ResortSuites Scottsdale. Next time, I'm going to leave my company-provided suite empty and I'm going to spend my own goddamn money and stay next door at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. That'll show you. That'll show you but good, you bastards!

You know, maybe I still need to catch up on that sleep...


Batty said...

Ummm... stay at home, have some chocolate. Order in. Don't do any work. It's cheaper and so much more relaxing. Most of all, it's not run by people who don't care if you're having a good time or not. You deserve to have a good time.

Bezzie said...

I'm soooo sorry, but I'm dying of laughter! It's funny, but it's not!!!

I laugh because I've stayed in too many hotels like that....I'm so sorry your hotel sucked...

LadyLungDoc said...

Have the ants shown up yet? My stay at the dodgy suite hotel was compelte with ants.