Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Amenities Include: Chance of Felonious Sexual Assault

"California knows how to party." - Tupac Shakur (also Lauren quoting 2Pac on several occasions over the course of three days)(also me quoting Lauren quoting 2Pac once I understood the reference after scanning the hip hop annals of my suburban youth memories)(this whole experience was like a Quoting Inception but way rappier).

San Diego, California.  I came, I saw, I got a little sunburned even though it was overcast almost the entire time.  After three days in southern California I'm only left confused as to why anyone lives any other place in the United States.  It is amazing.  But every great journey has a misstep or two. *enter wisps of ominous music*

Here is the recap to Day One: The Great Trip Westward.

We left Detroit around 3:30 p.m.  Our first flight was just a short hop to North Carolina where I had just enough of a layover to buy pretzel chips (score!) and root beer.  Our second flight was a five and a half hour cross-country adventure where I managed to snag the window seat. This was both a blessing and a curse as I have a bit of a nervous bladder.  My nervous bladder only rears its ugly head (punny!) when I fear I won't have ready access to the facilities.  This manifests mostly while traveling, and the thought of both a "keep seat-belt fastened" sign and of climbing over other travelers fourteen times as needed caused me to need to pee almost the entire flight.  Thankfully Jesus loves me and seated me in the row directly across from the mid-plane potties and gave Lauren and I a seatmate who was intimidated by our beauty I'm guessing did not speak English as a first language and compensated by smiling a lot.  He happily got up four times so I could do my business.

We landed in San Diego around 9:00 p.m. California time.  For those that can math, it felt like midnight to our sleepy, hungry bodies.  We took a shuttle to the car rental place, and a new employee was completely thorough in his collection of every scrap of information that needed to be exchanged.  He thought our Michigan drivers licenses were not ghetto at all, because apparently he had never seen a state give out stickers to put on the back of your license when you have a change of address and not bother to print a new license with your current place of residence. Also, Michigan seemingly has the longest drivers license numbers in the history of license numbers, and he questioned if maybe Lauren and I got the last ones offered in our state. (Seriously, Michigan has one letter and 12 numbers.  Is this excessive?)

It's a bird ... it's a plane...
No, seriously.  It's a plane.
We were moving right along - and by that I mean sloooooooower than I ever thought was humanly possible to rent a car - when we were given the rundown on the rules of car rental. This is a poor time to ask,"Is crack okay?" when told not to smoke in the vehicle.  Just trust me on that.  Finally we made it out to our sweet little California ride just in time to witness a plane fly right over our heads.  I captured it with my awesome photography skills.

Next we headed to our hotel.

Lauren put a lot of effort into finding a decent place to stay at an affordable rate. Since she is fairly familiar with San Diego, her main concern was location and found a place close to the zoo, Old Town, and some of the beaches we would be visiting.  I checked the website before we left and was excited to see a nice fitness center and a continental breakfast with waffles. (One totally cancels out the other, natch.)

Look at us.  Eight hours of cross-country travel.  Hungry bellies, tired bodies, and? trust and optimism.

However.  Sometimes the internet (who promised a lovely hotel) is a big fat liar.

After passing a bazillion hotels on the way to the Quality Inn Sea World Zoo Area hotel in San Diego, CA we finally saw the green and white sign like a beacon in the distance.  We pulled into the dark parking lot (clue #1 we might soon be a statistic) and passed the "fitness center" (a cinder block room with the door propped open to anyone on the street at 9:45 on a Tuesday night with a treadmill, fan, and a weight machine)(clue #2) and went to check in.  This is a dramatization of what happened in the "lobby" (clue #3).

Lauren: Hi, I'm here to check in.  Last name _____.

Clerk #1: Yeah, we have you in room 235.  Three nights ... but someone is already in that room. (Clue #4).  Hey, Clerk #2, the computer says someone is already in their room.

Clerk #2: No, no one is in there.  Just override the system.  That room is okay.

Clerk #1: I don't know how to do that.

Clerk #2: (Comes over and messes with the computer)(Our key cards come out.)

Lauren: Thanks.

Clerk #2 to Lauren: Heeeey, that's a nice bracelet.  That's from Tiffany's.  And your purse! Oooh, this is a rich lady! (clue #5)

Kelly: (Laughs because she loves it when people are unapologetically inappropriate.)

Lauren: (Laughs nervously) Yes, I'm rich.  That's why we are staying at the Quality Inn.

We all laugh.  Then Clerk #2 tells a long story about a family with a Hummer and lots of gold chains that could not pay for things like electricity and food but it was okay because they were on a budget and chose to spend the money they did have on nice material goods.  Kelly could not argue against this logic because ... 'Murica. It's their money, yo.

We left the lobby with our key cards and drove around the building.  This is a good time to show you what the website conveyed our experience would be:

Palm trees, blue skies, happy, cheerful, safe.  Not an ideal place for, I don't know, drug deals and human trafficking.

This is how you should alter that photo.  First, picture it at 10:00 p.m., but take away any source of lighting for safety.  Nothing in the parking lot, nothing by any of the exterior entryway doors, nothing around the three flights of stairs you may need to climb to get to your room.  Also, add a shirtless man sitting on the guardrail alone in the dark totally not looking fishy at all who stares silently from ten feet away as you park your car.

Now, when you and your traveling companion, both delightful young ladies in maxi dresses and GIRL'S VACATION! finery, grab suitcases from the trunk of your car, imagine looking up and seeing five different groups of men, some fully clothed and some in various states of relaxation, staring down from three floors of the hotel and watching silently as you strain to find your room.   Feel their eyes as you walk up the stairs and find your room.  It's kind of like in the movies when "fresh meat" new prisoners enter a prison and all the other prisoners welcome them from their cells above by showering them with flaming toilet paper. Except at the Quality Inn in San Diego it is totally silent and there is no flaming toilet paper even though you might welcome it because it would be a source of light.

When you finally reach your room you will attempt to make eye contact with the lone gentleman standing twenty four inches away because you saw on Grey's Anatomy that people who are going to harm you will have a harder time doing so if they see you as a real human being and not a potential victim, but it is too dark to commit to this and you will wait anxiously for your friend to open up the freaking door already. This is when your key cards will not work.  Either of them.

You will make your way back down to the car, casually stow your luggage inside, climb into the front seat and serenely get as far away from the establishment as possible.

It was like Thelma and Louise.  In a way that is nothing remotely like Thelma and Louise, but involves two girls and a car.  So, you know, exactly like it.

Ohmylanta was it the most ridiculous situation.  This is probably when I got the giggles.  I was so hungry it hurt. I was tired.  Lauren was coping masterfully with the situation.  She pulled over and called Expedia.  I called Brian.  It was 12:30 a.m. at home, but he was still up and spent the next half an hour trying to find us another hotel.  From Michigan.  We worked the California side of things and quickly realized that in Southern California in July, in the middle of two conventions including a huge LGBT convention and the beginnings of Comic-Con, there just simply wasn't much available.

We walked into the Residence Inn in Mission Valley and pleaded our case.  They were at capacity, but took the time to search for us until we found a place that could take us. *sigh of relief* *Shout out for Awesome Customer Service*

This is where we finally landed at 10:30 p.m. California time.

Hilton on Harbor Island

Not too shabby, eh?  Stay tuned for Part Two of the recap to Day One (Whaaaa? How can there be more to day one?!) subtitled, "Oh, I thought you guys were high," said our new friend Omar.


  1. Can't wait to hear more! I am relieved that you all found a less scary hotel! Or was it? I will stay tuned! :)

    1. A totally good hotel, don't worry! Best start to a vacation ever ;-)

  2. Oh my word! I had a recent hotel stay that was somewhat similar, only instead of scary men we saw two prostitutes. Awesome. The first one was just suspicion, but the second one confirmed it. It's a skeeerry world out there!

    1. I would've been singing "Pretty Woman" the whole time. Because I believe in personal safety over fun anytime ;-)

  3. SCARY! But it makes for damn good bloggin material! I cannot wait for part 2!!

    1. Thanks, Kate! The mind of a blogger is funny - on one hand I was totally freaked out; on the other I was all, "I cannot wait to write about this!" :)

  4. Glad you made it out of there safely! Eye contact is always important!

    1. Gotta love Grey's for providing vital safety advice. I mean, it *is* a medical drama.

  5. Oh that is terrible! Between LGBT and Comic Con, the people sound a little different than your typical Michigander!

    1. I want to move to San Diego sooooooo bad. It was a bit of a culture shock, though ;-)

  6. What an awesome story. I can't wait to read part 2!!


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