Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Low Country Bribe
I'm in flux right now. Last we spoke, I was in New Mexico! Can't tell you how many more trips I've been on since then, but trust me, it's been a few. I've settled in to the fact that I'll be writing more soon due to a career change that will be happening in December. No more road warrior. Just a clear cut focus on what I've always wanted to do and that is...write! So here's my latest journey. It's a bit long, but just had to share! As for my latest adventure,(you all know the luck I have,)I recently returned from a trip to St Simons, GA. For those of you who've never been, let me just give you a bit of information from the viewpoint of a Yankee gone south. Now my idea of St. Simon's island, a small barrier island off the coast of Georgia, (near Jeklly Island, yeah like I knew where THAT was.) I've always heard the area around there was high-falootin' and I was prepared to dress to the nines for this convention. It took a long time to get there. Yankees have no patience for any of that. We want things now! You finally get close and you have to drive over what I thought was a hundred mile bridge, through a swamp, past a small town and FINALLY you burst into St. Simons. This little place consists of an airport, a golf course and three small shopping/dining areas. Not one to be discouraged, I forged on to the "St. Simon'd Resort and Spa," where I'd be staying for the next three days. The checkin desk was two miles from the hotel and they made me sign a form that said I'd be charge EVEN IF I checked out early. The "contract" also said I have to pick up any dog poop that my pet leaves in the room. That should have been the red flag, but being the optimist, I signed and drove across the street and around the golf course. That little piece was the "pretty" part of the entire journey. After another 45 minutes of driving up and down every driveway in the "St. Simon's Resort and Spa" looking for the street name, which I might note was posted on a road sign for every street EXCEPT mine, I finally stumbled across the hotel which was located on a driveway behind the convention center, which you could not see from the main drag. Here's where it gets fun. The "hotel" was really a complex of attached condos numbered from A to F or G or some letter. Finding my building was as hard as finding the road. When I did find it, I realized that my room number was on the third floor, only after walking the full length of five building all numbered in the 300's. My room was 345. Unlike any other place I have ever stayed, they don't number the rooms on the first floor 100, or the second floor 200, no instead every room on every floor is a 300 number of one sort or another. I bumped into more people careening up and down the hallways of this place than I ever had, all of them swearing not so quietly to themselves as they hauled forty two pieces of luggage and a gaggle of children behind them. At least I wasn't the only one! I flung open the door to my room and understood immediately why the contract had to be signed. It was a big room, but the furnishings were as tired as I was by that time. Looking at that lumpy bed and foam rubber "boing" pillows sent shudders up my spine. I actually expected since I was on an island, and this was a resort, that I'd be overlooking the ocean. When I flung open the windows I instead saw a marsh. A big marsh. The rickety balcony had a screen surrounding the balcony that had holes big enough to let goats in. Two plastic chairs that had seen better days stood there saddened, I am sure, by their surroundings, begging me to sit. I'm not that foolish. Yes, I did call and ask to be moved, explaining to the woman at the checkin desk that she'd have to hold on a minute while I whacked the trail of red ants that were making their way from the four inch gap under my doorway to the sink in the none-too sturdy toliet. "I'm sorry Miss, but YOU signed the contract. We'll have to charge you even if you leave. Besides, there are no rooms on the island this weekend." It was late and I was trapped. I took my suitcase back down to the car, not wanting any bugs to return home with me. I'd get my clothes as needed. I spent the next couple of hours trying to turn on the television. First the batteries were bad, but I usually carry batteries with me. Don't ask. When I could get it turned on there was only one channel, a cable channel that told me if I'd only start taking a product called "Colon Blow," I'd be skinney as a rail by Friday. The commercial was on a loop and played continuously as I readied myself for bed. I stepped in the shower, which I had turned on 10 minutes before I got in, only to find a clump of black hair nestled in the corner of the tub, halfway up the wall. Now either someone left their toupee there or they had very, very short legs. The clump wouldn't move either even when I tried to move the shower head toward it. That also was an issue as the three drops of water in the shower head had no intention of ever coming out. In the end I opted for a sponge bath from the toilet, which is another issue. Once flushed, the toilet ran on and on as though all of the plumbing in the entire "resort" had been plumbed to this toilet. Quiet when I arrived, the one flush must have sent a signal to open the floodgates because the sound coming from the toilet for the rest of the evening sounded like Niagra Falls. I couldn't make myself crawl into the bed nor could I lay on it's bedspread as I am sure the contract I had signed meant that it was up to me to clean up the dog poop I swore was on that bed. So I slept in the corner of the room in a straight back chair with a balcony door that wouldn't close, allowing mosquitos the size of vultures to invade the room, a bed even a dead man wouldn't lay on, a space under the front door that would allow a full grown man to crawl unders and a gusher in the toilet that was actually quite soothing. So, moral of this story? Don't sign a contract before you see a room and don't, I'll repeat that, DON'T stay at the St. Simon's Resort and Spa....for any reason. With that, for those of you interested in hearing the latest on my manuscript, "The Edge of Redemption," I had some good news that it was chosen as a semi-finalist in the Association of Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis Contest for 2012. Although I didn't win, I was humbled by the award and encouraged to keep writing. I've also been chosen again to be a judge for the East-West Writer's Contest and look forward to all of the stories I'll get to read. So lots of good things going on. Funny how God leads you in ways you can't understand when you are going through the tough times, but in the end he's always right on, putting you where you belong, when you belong there, and everything turns out better than you could believe. Praise God! And as for your book this blog? Try out Hope Clark's new book called "Low Country Bribe." It is a delightful mystery with a fiesty female dectective named Carolina Slade. By the way, that's what I felt like during my own "Carolina" stay! Enjoy! I'll stay in touch!