28 May 2016

Weirdest places ever slept, part 4, God's house

As part of our day job related fund raising, we travel to all kinds of places and hotels. Sometimes when it is in our nonprofit world, we stay with friends or the locals offer to put us up. This is great as it saves money as we raise it. Several churches have had space to host us and we've always been grateful, but it's also some of the strangest sleeping quarters I've experienced.

I don't know if any of you have ever been in a huge building alone as a kid or an adult. As a kid I remember we'd play hide and seek in the basement of the church I grew up in while the adults ate finger food and drank punch upstairs somewhere. It always seemed like you'd get spooked and run like you'd never run in your life down a dark hallway. Also my dad used to rent "computer time"  in a big office building in downtown KC. I'd be the only person on the 10th floor poking in people's desks and such. Then I'd go even further down to the bathroom and get spooked and run like mad back to the computer room that was completely sealed and sound proof. My dad wouldn't have heard me yelling or running or anything the way it was set up. It was great fun.  I give you this as way as background to the places with dark hallways that might effect odd places I slept as an adult.

The first time we slept in a guest room inside a church it was in a smaller community, but the church could probably seat a couple hundred people. We had a compulsion to walk around and see everything just so we knew where we were at and how the land lay. My significant other sneaked into the sanctuary and tapped on the cymbals while I was in another part of the church getting a drink or something and tried to say it wasn't him. The church folks had thoughtfully put a lock on the door of the room.

One nice thing about a lock is that you are in a huge building alone and it's nice not to feel vulnerable. Two is that folks arrive at all kinds of early hours for church services and you'd like to not introduce yourself in your skivvies.

So another time, another religious institution, the guest room was actually a large lounge with six sofas that made into beds. So you just picked one and opened up. While it was a big space (besides being in a big building) it very distinctly wasn't a single bedroom. We dressed in the attached bathroom.

Well, putting it mildly I'm not an early riser. The early risers in this rural farm community were getting coffee going behind a folding curtain that attached to our room. My significant other got in the shower and gave me a moment to awake. I started worrying this big room was a Sunday School area and I should get moving. I traded the sofa room for the bathroom only to hear pounding on the door of our area. I was about to turn on the shower when my man opened the door and said that I needed to hurry they were going to have to turn off the water.  The snow storm had frozen and broken pipes which were filling the heating system with water. Uhm, okay, no pressure.

When I came out to join in the donuts and early morning church rituals, you could hear the water pounding in the heating vents like tribal drums. Really weird sound.

Okay, so another room another state. This time attached to the men's bathroom as this was the only bathroom that had a shower. My spouse taught me that it is inappropriate to balance one's makeup bag on the handle of a urinal, but honestly you just work with whatever space you have and there wasn't any. We stayed in this arrangement for eight weeks. It was in a urban spill from a very large city. The kitchen was in the basement which meant walking through the sanctuary (in the dark) and down some stairs and hallways to the kitchen for hot water or microwaves etc. So I had to psych myself up for the journey (see the paragraph of childhood basement running above!).

It was fine and we didn't mind. These are just the little challenges you don't think of unless you stay a place as unusual as the back of thousands of square feet of public use space. After a few days, someone from the pastoral family mentioned that we needed to double check the side door by the sanctuary (not the one we used in the back dark parking lot!) because it didn't always latch and sometimes homeless people came inside to get warm. No big deal but it was best to check. Yeah. Note to self check the doors and the dark hallways on the way to the far away kitchen.

So then my significant one had to leave for another meeting and I got to stay there completely alone for two weeks. It was fine. Really. So maybe yes, I ran a couple times thru dark hallways, but I was grateful for somewhere to stay. It probably helped the intensity of my prayers!

15 May 2016

Weirdest Places Slept, part 3, Place of the Dead

We spent a big chunk of life only going to visit people we knew when we went on vacation, grandparents, college roommates, that sort of cheap and comfortable vacation where you see your people.

When we started traveling for work reasons, we went a lot of places that hadn't been on the agenda financially or as major destinations. We had some meetings in New Jersey, New York,  and other east coast locals so we drove from the midwest. We didn't used to plan for hotels and on these trips a lot of people host us so we were just winging it.

In the middle of New York somewhere far from civilization, we found ourselves too far to go back and too far to go on as the wee hours began to make us sleepy. We finally took the next exit because we saw a sign for the "White Horse Inn." Taking a dark exit far from everything we'd seen for some time, we drove another 10 miles or so into the woods and discovered the White Horse Inn was a pancake - dinner place and they were locking up. We really needed to stop for the night so we asked if there was anything near by, a bed and breakfast perhaps?

An older fellow pointed us to a campground just a few miles down the road (still further into the deep dark woods and away from the highway) and they had a hotel on the grounds. Perfect.

It was dark and late, we could have missed it but somehow saw the turn. No lights or anything, it was one of those old methodist camp ground type things with the little victorian cottages surrounding a main green. (This sort of thing though this is not the one.)

We parked in front of  a white clapboard two story hotel, relieved and tired and wondering where we were. We'd passed no towns of any sort.

My significant other checked us in while I stood by the luggage at the bottom of the stairs looking at a painting. Not an experienced artist, but well meaning. I looked at the caption and it said, 'painted by Mary SoandSo in a trance.' Trance? I looked around further and there was a quilt done in a trance.

When my honey came up with the keys, we sort of put some things together he saw at the front desk and what I was seeing and realized we'd just checked into a camp for people who like to talk to dead people. Mediums, spiritualists, and such. Uh oh.

It was so late, we were tired and now paid up so we just went to our room, even though this would not have been a place we would pick out of website to stay. Let's just say it's not our spiritual cup of tea.

It was a lovely old room with wood floors and metal bed. You know how those old eastern board places don't have a/c? Well, this was one of them. We had the lights off in a few minutes since we were beat. My man was gleefully speculating if the curtains were blowing in the summer breeze or ...? I fell asleep. He told some family members who were completely terrified for us that we'd stayed there.

It was a lovely old camp ground but as we drove away each little cottage had a sign for a psychic or a medium or something. It struck me as a vaguely sinister environment with a quaint veneer over the top. A little arsenic and old lace.

Taking a different tact on the same trip later, we stayed in a hotel near the highway that had a hot tub the size of a car in one half of the BEDROOM space. Ick. And when I turned on the TV to porn,  we were really skeeved out. I think I slept on top of my scarf. Let's say, this may when we began to realize we needed to plan a little more carefully.