Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rockin Walnut Creek and Butting Heads in Willows

The word for today is “frustrating”

It started out fine, though. I woke up early and took River for a walk around the block. It was hard to find a tree in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, but we found some, which he ignored. He was much more interested in the corners of mailboxes and certain buildings. For a long time I thought maybe he was going to be too stimulated by all the activity of the city to be able to poop, but he finally did. Right at the curb in an intersection. So I guess he wasn’t shy.

I hit a little bit of traffic on the way to the studio in Walnut Creek. It is a half hour drive, so I allowed myself an hour to get there. I didn’t have my coffee before taking off, though, because that would have eaten into my one hour and it was more important to get there on time than to be caffeinated. 

Making it through the traffic, I arrived at the studio with about twenty minutes to spare. So I started looking around for some coffee. I found a deli with an espresso sign, so I parked the car and walked over to it, but it didn’t open “intill 10:00” (I suddenly felt like I was back in New York). 

So I went back to the car and asked Siri to find me a Starbucks. She found one right around the corner. So, back into the car. While finding another parking spot and waiting in line, I was trying not to get worried about being late. I kept reminding myself, ten minutes is a long time.

So, of course, I made it back to the studio and got set up in plenty of time. Class went very well. It was the highlight of my day, easily. It was so much fun and there were lots of teachers in the room, as well as some people fairly new to Nia. We all rocked out and had a great time.

My next project was to hit the market. But it was over 80 degrees and sunny, so I couldn’t leave River in the car. I asked some of the students who were still in the studio if anyone could baby sit with River while I shopped. Luckily, about five of them were glad to help. It was a strange feeling saying “good bye” to River and watching him be walked away on leash by someone else. But I kept it together and went to the store while they all walked to a local coffee shop to sit and wait for me.

It didn’t seem to me like it was taking a long time, but I noticed it was after 12:30 when I was driving back to the coffee shop with my groceries. When I arrived at the coffee shop, they were all ready to leave, so River and I got in the car and headed for our next destination.

So this is where it starts getting really frustrating:

My Mini Navigation system is set to avoid toll roads, so she was going to take me all the back into the city in order to go around I-80. So as I was headed back toward SF, I hit MAJOR traffic. Like stand still traffic. And I couldn’t get Mini to give me any other options. Fortunately, I had my heinous iPhone and Siri and it turned out that she could give me a more direct route.

As all this was happening, I got an alert that I needed to fill up with gas. I didn’t want to mix that into the trial and tribulation of getting out of town, so I just plugged onward. Siri gave me some directions that didn’t seem to match with the landscape, so I went around in a few circles until I could finally figure out how to get on the right highway out of town. 

I was hungry. I hadn’t had breakfast before class, and now it was many hours after class and I still hadn’t eaten. This was making everything seem more urgent.

Eventually I was able to navigate my way out of Walnut Creek, using a combination of Mini, Siri and my own logic and intuition. It was well after 1:30 pm before I was going 70 MPH on the highway. And now it was time to look for gas. 

Spotting a sign with a picture of a gas pump on it, I got off the freeway in Concord. Well, apparently Concord has some kind of sign ordinance requiring all signs to be hidden by trees, so it was impossible to see where anything was. I had to resort to Siri once again. “direct me to the nearest gas station” I ordered. “Yes, Sir!” she said and proceded to direct me to a Chevron. “You have arrived” She finally said. But I couldn’t see it. There were trees, more trees and a car dealership. I drove around the block and didn’t see it.

I figured it was once a gas station and is now a car dealership, so I asked Siri for a list of local gas stations. She opened up a google search that showed Gas Buddy. She was basically telling me to open up my Gas Buddy app. (sigh) which I did, and finally found a Shell station was down the street. Even though Shell makes my car run slower, I went.  And of course, if I hadn’t known it was there, I never would have found it without proper signage.

Anyway, so I’m filling up with gas and I look over at River and I see a spot on his penis. I look more closely and see it has legs. So I grabbed it and it crawled along my finger. It was brown, and I figured it must’ve been a tick. I threw it far away. It didn’t seem like it had lodged in his skin yet, but of course it added to the stress I was feeling. I imagined he was covered with them and was getting Lyme disease as I sat there.

So, with all my groceries on ice in the cooler and a tank full of gas, I was finally able to speed out of town. Yes, speed. And I’m not a speeder usually. But I just felt the need to drive 80 MPH the hell out of that area!

The toll that Mini was trying to save me came soon and hard. It was $5! to drive over I-80. Geez. But it was worth it to not have to detour through traffic, to San Francisco and back. I happily paid it.

The ride was long and dull. There were lots of trucks hauling hay, which was spilling out all over the highway, and lots of plumes of smoke as everyone seemed to be burning piles of something on their farms. It was bright and sunny and I was squinting.

River seemed particularly clingy and was pawing me a lot. I guess it was because I had left him earlier, but it was getting annoying. I didn’t let him know I was annoyed, though. I just kept gently moving him away.

So we finally get to the Studio 6. Well, actually, at first, the Mini Nav led me to the wrong motel. And I waiting in line behind two people before I got my meeting with the desk clerk who told me Studio 6 is two buildings over, just before the Denny’s. 

Back in the car. Drive 50 yards. Wait in another line. Double check, this is Studio 6? Yes it is. OK, Checked in and went to my room only to discover there was no kitchen. So we walked back to the desk and I explained how I had reserved a room with a kitchenette. The poor girl at the front desk was so stressed and flustered already by the angry person in line ahead of me. (Even River was upset by her rantings).

When I told her I needed a kitchen she said they didn’t have any. I wasn’t going to accept that, since I reserved one on the Internet just two days ago. So she did some switching around (I think she may have cancelled someone else’s reservation to get me in) and found me a room with a kitchen. It was on the other side of the grounds, so BACK IN THE CAR (by this time it was getting harder and harder to convince River to get back in).

Finally we got to room 106 and I was pleased to finally be able to shower. I unpacked my groceries and cleaned out the cooler and was going to start cooking when I discovered all of the cupboards were bare. No pots and pans or plates or utensils. I figured it had to be a mistake so I called up at the front desk and described my problem. She said she’d call me back in half an hour.

An hour later, no call. So I called back and they told me that they only supplied pots and pans for guests staying over seven days. I told them that it was silly to rent a kitchen without pots and pans and she said, “yeah.” So I was stuck. 

I wrote a complaint on Motel 6’s facebook page and I also made a phone call to corporate guest relations, who agreed with me that it was an odd practice not to stock the kitchen with cookware. She offered to call the front desk, but explained that she didn’t have much authority as the property was an independently owned and operated franchise.  She also said she would register a formal complaint with corporate headquarters.

A few minutes later, my phone rang. It was the manager of the property. She repeated the policy that the desk clerk had described and I repeated how strange it was, saying, “People who stay here for one day need to cook, too.” I explained to her how I was passing through town and that I had purchased groceries in San Francisco and was intending to cook them in this kitchenette and live off it for the next few days on the road. 

She offered to bring me a set of pots and pans if I were willing to put a $250 deposit down. I was in no mood to make waves when I was this close to getting them, so I agreed to the deposit, but made sure to ask twice if the deposit would be returned if the pots and pans were not damaged.

She asked if I was here for ‘the race’ and I said no, just passing through. So then she decided to waive the deposit and eventually brought me what I needed.

While I was waiting for them to arrive, I checked River all over for more ticks. I didn't see any, even in his ears. He's acting very mellow today, which could be due to getting up so early this morning, but of course, I'm worried that he's got Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Which is silly because the tick wasn't even attached to him, I just knocked it off him and had to pick it up off the blanket. At first I thought it was a little spider. It looked like this...
  Which, according to the website I looked at, is a harmless Brown Dog Tick. Not even noted for carrying disease.

Now it’s nearly 7pm and I am so freaking hungry that I can hardly muster the energy to cook.

But I will. So do you see now why I say that the word for today was ‘frustrating’?  I do love to cook, so I’m hoping that once I get the burner on and start peeling and chopping, that I’ll feel much better. 

On a more positive note, this motel has a back yard!  River loves that. It’s shared by all the guests, but how nice it is.

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