I was going to start this post with the way my trip this week started. Which was with me pulling out of my garage to head to the airport, only to discover that I had a flat tire. But I thought “there is no way my faithful readers are going to believe that this is the start of another story barely over a year after it was the start to the first” (let alone that this is the 5th time in a year). So I decided not to start with that. Even though it is 100% true.
Instead, I want to start with another phenomenon that seems too bizarre to have happened twice. A Bomb Cyclone.
I am pretty much convinced that whoever coined this phrase, is trying to get as much play out of it as possible before the next new and never before heard of weather phenomenon takes it’s place.
Like a “Grenade Tornado”. Or maybe an “Uzi Hurricane”.
I can’t think of any other reason I had never, in all my years, heard of a Bomb Cyclone, until a month ago, let alone how one could never have occurred before the year 2019. And yet we have now (supposedly) had 2 in a month.
I saw all the signs on the highway on my way to DIA, flashing Blizzard Warnings and alerts to expect travel disruptions.
So I can’t say I was very surprised when I woke up yesterday morning to an email saying my 7pm flight had already been cancelled.
Since I was in the lovely Bay Area, where it was gorgeous, and sunny and in the 70’s and where all the trees are in bloom, I wasn’t even that upset about being stuck another night in that climate, as opposed to dealing with a blizzard back home.
I was a little less understanding this afternoon, however, when I landed at DIA a little after noon, to find less than an inch of snow on the ground and completely clear roads.
Evidently the biggest weather event that CO ended up experiencing yesterday was a 60 degree drop in temperature. From a balmy 80 degrees on Tuesday to a chilly 23 degrees on Wednesday.
But in Colorado that just means you throw on your North Face fleece with your shorts and flip-flops.
So I got to spend another night in CA thanks to the “Little Blizzard that Wasn’t”.
(Just a thought for the future: Could we maybe wait until we actually see a snowflake before we shut down the city?)
If it wasn’t for this fantastic overreaction, however, I wouldn’t have a story to share with you this week, so for that we should all be grateful.
Since my flight was cancelled, and I was rebooked on an early morning flight out of Oakland this morning, I found myself in need of a hotel.
I haven’t spent any time in Oakland, mainly because Oakland is not a place one spends any time. However, I do know that there are areas of Oakland you do not want to venture into. With that in mind, I was pretty adamant that my hotel needed to be very close to the airport.
Unfortunately, while on the phone with our travel agency trying to find such a hotel, the only one with an available room, was a Radisson about a mile from the airport.
I have never stayed in a Radisson before, and it definitely would not normally top my list of places to stay, but the pictures looked okay, it was near the airport, and in an area I knew was okay, so I took it.
Or so I thought. Oh, what a difference a mile can make.
I arrive at the hotel at a little after 9pm, and as soon as I pull into the parking lot, I realize the area and the hotel may not be quite as ideal as I had anticipated. I actually sit in my car for a few moments trying to decide if I actually want to check in. But after weighing my options, I decide that this is still a (maybe marginally) safer option than sleeping in my rental car on the side of the road, so I decide to just bite the bullet and just get to my room.
Just to paint the picture for you, the hotel is a 1950’s style motor court hotel, with two floors of rooms, that all have exterior entrances that open off the exterior corridor, and all look down on the central courtyard and the pool.
Think of every hotel where the person who does not want to be found in every tv show and movie you have ever seen has been, and that was this hotel.
I check in, and get to my room as quickly as I can, and decide to just turn in early and try to get these few hours over with as quickly as possible, hoping that I don’t wake up in an episode of Law & Order.
In all fairness, the hotel interior had obviously been recently upgraded, and despite the retro, art-deco 70’s era decor they chose not really being my style, it was clean and comfortable.
And despite the fact that it smelled like spaghetti-O’s and had this continuous, low volume ticking that sounded like the timer on a homemade bomb, coming from somewhere I never did locate, my room was pretty decent.
So I decided to just get in my pj’s try to forget the outside and the area, and just pretend I was in any of my normal hotel rooms for the next few hours.
I had just got in my pj’s, arranged everything for a quick departure in the morning, and was just getting ready to climb into bed with my book, when there is a knock at the door, followed by a pause, and then a male voice saying “Maintenance”
Because of course there is. If I was writing the script for this tv crime drama, I couldn’t have written it any better.
Which is also the reason there is no way I am opening that door.
I hesitate a second trying to decide what to do, then try to put on my most intimidating “I’m a Judo black belt, don’t mess with me” voice, walk close to the door and say:
“Umm, maintenance for what?”
No answer. I am actually just starting to think I actually had scared him off and turned to go back to bed, when there is another knock, followed by a brief pause, and then the voice announcing “Maintenance” again.
Seriously. This writer is obviously a pro, and is following the recipe for a successful crime drama to a T. I can almost hear the “this is not going to end well for her” music swelling in the background.
“What are you here to fix?”
“I am here to fix….. that thing that is broken. Someone call the front desk”
Oh, in that case! Please come on in! That thing, that evidently neither one of us knows is broken, definitely needs to be fixed.
“I didn’t call the front desk. There’s nothing broken here”
I stand there and wait for over a minute, but I must have sounded way more scary this time because there is nothing else from his side of the door, and I assume he is gone.
I am definitely not going to pull aside the curtains and look out the window that makes up the entire wall to the right of door, however. That is a sure fire way to make the creepy music hit a crescendo when the psycho’s face is in the window.
(Seriously. whoever thought an exterior wall made of glass was ever a good idea in a hotel??)
I double check to make sure the deadbolt is secure, drag the armchair in the corner in front of the door for good measure, and decide if ever there was a night that sleeping pills were invented for, this was it. At least then I can say I slept through any nefarious events that might occur in the course of the night.
Thankfully, the sleeping pill does it’s job and the rest of the night passes uneventfully (at least to my knowledge) and I am up and out and on my way to the airport bright and early this morning.
I also want to take a moment to thank the airlines and air traffic control, that were so concerned for my safety, that instead of allowing me to fly in a non-blizzard, they allowed me to have a night in Hotel California instead.