My daughter made the art appearing on this card, which my husband sent to all of his pest control customers. Sure beats the standard cards you see in the mailbox! :)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I would love to see this in person one day! From the card: "The Moeraki Boulders are scattered along the beach at Moeraki, 40km south of Oamaru. The soft mudstone containing the boulders was raised from the seabed around 15 million years ago, and the boulders are being exposed as the cliffs are eroded by the sea." Otago is on the southern part of the South Island. (Thanks to Maria for this latest batch of cards, too!)
We visited this MASSIVE museum the day after we saw the zoo ... and we spent just about ALL DAY there! Highly recommended if you're in the Columbia area ... lots for kids to see and do, too. From the card: "Known as Columbia Mills and later Mount Vernon Mills, the building opened in 1894. It was the first all-electric textile mill in the world and manufactured heavy cotton duck cloth. Since October, 1988, it has been the home of the SC State Museum. On four floors, the museum offers exhibits about the state's art, history, natural history, science and technology."
"The Best Friend of Charleston, the first American-built locomotive to make regular freight and passenger runs, first chugged out of Charleston on Christmas Day, 1830. Its top speed was 30 miles an hour. In 1831, the engine was destroyed when an inexperienced crewman closed a safety valve and the boiler exploded. This reproduction was made from the original blueprints." You can climb into the back train ... the kids HAD to do it, of course! :)
Another pretty art-type card, although the image looks to be a real photograph. The card says that the city was founded in 1905, when 110 acres of land were auctioned off. More than 3,000 bidders stood in the 100+ degree sun waiting for a chance to purchase lots in the new town! Cool (hot?) stuff!
Love this map card! "Measuring 277 miles long with widths ranging from one mile to 18 miles, the Canyon is famous for its 'Grand' size. It was designated a national park in 1919." Hey ... I just remembered ... I saw the Grand Canyon when I flew out to Los Angeles on my way to New Zealand last year! :)
Friday, December 25, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
After being challenged to write a haiku poem about the best novel I read over the summer, I can't seem to stop thinking in a 3-5-3 and 5-7-5 manner.
For the novel, which was Still Alice, a tale of a woman suffering early onset Alzheimer's, I wrote:
Alive but barren
Is still Alice
But that was pretty much my first attempt. Since then, I've considered that Alice, the character in the novel, was not a leafless tree. She was losing leaves--losing them fast. But by the end of the story, she still had a few leaves remaining. So I wish I'd have taken time to ponder before I submitted. Lesson learned.
(Photo through Creative Commons by DaDaAce on Flickr)
Then, I thought of how I feel about my own life right about now:
Though northern winds blow
Though old man winter creaks near
I seek metamorphosis
Do you have a favorite haiku poem to share? I'm really interested in exploring the subject further. And I have more poems seemingly blossoming within me! I better get them down while the muse is here!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
We initially selected it based on several factors.
1. Location: across the street from the beach
2. Price: just under $100 for an "efficiency" with a kitchen and living room
3. Food: a deluxe breakfast included
4. Internet: Free wifi in all rooms
5. Reviews: A smattering of positive online reviews tossed in with the negative
All I can say is that the hotel IS across the street from the beach, so you could walk over and not have to take your car to the public lot. That's about the ONLY positive thing I can say. I can't speak to the breakfast since we didn't stay overnight -- but I'm thinking it would be nothing to write home about.
My first inclination that this would not be a good hotel was when we first arrived and had to use the bathroom. The woman at the desk gave us a key and pointed us to what I assume was the pool bathroom, locked and with a large sign that said, "OUT OF ORDER." Obviously it was not out of order, as my son and I were able to use it. I think they must keep it locked to keep the pool people out of it ... not good if you're a guest using the pool and you have to go to the potty! Plus, the bathroom STUNK something fierce ... it was dirty and stinky enough that my daughter said she'd "hold it" until we got to the room. I really had to go so I held my breathe and hurried!
Our distaste must have shown on our faces, as the woman at the desk later told us that she saw that we were unhappy when we first arrived; we were "looking around," she said. And she was right. The place looked very dumpy.
We took the nasty looking elevator up to our room on the fifth floor. At least it was a fast ride, is all I can say about that!
When we entered the room, my heart sank ... and my nose wrinkled. I wish I had taken photos, because the room was really a dump. The carpet was worn ... the lights dingy and yellow. The bathroom had cigarette burns on the counter and the floor looked nasty. The other room--where the very old, very dirty stove and refrig sit--also held the couch and a table. And for some reason, this room SMELLED something fierce. It smelled like a broken sewage line, or like someone had the runs on the carpet and just left it there to swelter in the heat.
Ok ... I thought. We'll just buy a few air fresheners ... we can make this work ... we won't be in the hotel much anyway .... After giving myself and my kids a pep talk, we decided to log online to see what we could do for dinner. But--there was NO Internet.
I found the little card that tells you what to do to troubleshoot Internet issues, and then my husband got on the phone with the Internet folks. Turns out that there was nothing the guy on the phone could do--he said he would have to call down to the office to have them "reboot" the system. At this point, I wasn't freaked out because something similar had happened to me at a Hampton Inn in West Virginia ... where the support people had to call the office and get them to reboot the system. My husband called down a little while later to ask if she had it worked out .. she said she had "one more thing" she could try.
By this time, we noticed that the room had started to get uncomfortably hot. Seems the AC unit in the bedroom section--where we all hovered because the smell in the other room was putrid--had stopped blowing cool air! We decided to get out of there and go to dinner ... hopefully everything would be fixed by the time we returned. Hubby went to the office in person before we left so he could express upon her the importance of us having Internet, and to report that our AC was not working.
We drove around for a while and found a pizza place off the island ... ate and then returned. Our first stop was the office. Hubby asked the woman at the desk if Internet was up yet ... and she went off on us with an attitude. "I sweated in that phone room and it's not even my job ... the Internet won't be back tonight because noone else is here." I asked if it would be ready tomorrow and she said yes. Then we asked about the air ... she said she "forgot about it" because she was trying "so hard to please" my husband! She offered us several times to let us leave right now, without penalty, telling us that we had obviously been unhappy since we arrived ... "looking around," or so she said.
I won't repeat all the verbatim; suffice it to say that the exchange continued back and forth until I got pretty hot, asking her if she expected me to kiss her butt and get on my knees to thank her for TRYING to fix the Internet for us. At that point, I knew I better get out before I said something I REALLY regretted. I told her I couldn't believe her attitude--she said she couldn't believe mine! She told me that this whole encounter was being video-taped and recorded ... I was like, "Good!" Looking around for an unseen video camera, I said to the air, "SEE! This is the attitude I'm talking about!"
She told us there were plenty of hotels on the strip and that we should find another one. I told her that we needed Internet to find another hotel -- she told me I was "CRAZY" to think I needed the Internet to find a hotel considering I was on a strip lined with them. Did I mention that it was nearly 9 pm and that we had been up and packing and traveling since 7 am that morning ... with three kids?
I didn't want to leave without having a place to stay ... and I didn't know what else to do ... so we went back to the room. She grabbed the maintenance guy and said, "Go up with them RIGHT NOW and fix their air. And you better fix it or God help you!" I could not believe this. So when we went back up, the AC had cycled and was working again.
He left ... and shortly after, so did we. I asked my husband to apologize for me when he went back down, because I wish I hadn't have lost it. He said that she apologized too, then proceed to rail on and on about how she works 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, yada yada yada, blah blah blah.
After stopping at maybe seven or eight places, we found Ocean Park Resort, which is where we wound up staying.
That is our horror story.
Let me warn you that the negative reviews you read online about the Quality Inn on Myrtle Beach are TRUE. The photos make the place look clean and fresh--it is anything but. Even the pool looked skanky and green--not something I'd want to swim in. We've taken our chances on places with mixed reviews in the past, and we've always been in luck, feeling that the negative reviews were written by people who were "too picky." But in this case, we were wrong. The Quality Inn is a TRUE DUMP that I suggest you avoid at all costs.
Also, if you're planning your first visit to Myrtle Beach, know that there are MANY more places on the strip that you won't find by looking online. I'm almost thinking that you get a better deal if you can drive down there and then find a place ... this way you can also see it in person before you commit. I wouldn't do this on a weekend or during a holiday, but it's probably an okay strategy for weekdays and off-times.
In any case, I hope you have better luck than we did! :)
EDIT: By the way, you can read my review of this place at TripAdvisor as well. I wrote that review the very night the incident happened, so it was fresher in my mind at the time. See it here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/members-reviews/CarolinaRen.
Ocean Park Resort was pretty nice overall, not a hotel but a condo complex, and pet-friendly, at that. Our unit was pretty run-down and well-worn ... and the beds were NOT comfortable. But, we had an OCEAN view, microwave, stove, full-sized refrig and COLD air. And, frankly, compared to our experience at the Quality Inn, we initially thought we had found paradise!
The pool you see in the image is really a large hot tub ... it was VERY hot and VERY relaxing :) We would stay again ... and would recommend this resort for the price.