Tag Archives: karma

Carmageddon Is Coming

I’ve mentioned on several occasions how much I hate renting cars, so you can imagine how pleased I was (not!) to belly up to the rental car counter again last weekend.

My life seems to flip-flop between Murphyesque fiascos and windfalls of ridiculously good luck; so I fully expected our car-rental experience to be either excellent or excrable, with no chance of middle ground.

My heart sank at the first words out of the agent’s mouth:  “We don’t have the full-size sedan you booked…”

I braced myself for the inevitable shit landslide.

But no; the agent went on to say that they’d give us a free upgrade to an SUV or mini-van instead.

“No mini-vans,” I said.

“You can go and look at the vehicles and choose the one you want,” he replied.  “Just check with the agent on the lot.”

So we did.  The lot agent confirmed that they had a Kia Sportage or a mini-van available.

“No mini-vans,” I said.

“Let’s just go and have a look,” he said.

The shiny red Sportage was brand new with a leather interior and only 78 kilometres on the odometer.  The driver’s seat was comfortable.  Perfect.

“Let’s look at the mini-van now,” the agent encouraged.

“No mini-vans,” I said.

“It’s fully loaded.  Let’s just go and look at it,” he cajoled.  “You’ll love it.”

“No mini-vans,” I muttered.  But he wouldn’t give up, so I followed him around the corner.

He hadn’t lied; the mini-van was loaded.  Leather interior, remote start, power everything… and approximately the size of the RMS Titanic.

I did not love it.

“NO… MINI-VANS!” I repeated loudly and firmly.

The agent gave me an incredulous look.  Because seriously, who in their right mind would want to zip along in a sporty red SUV when they could be wallowing down the highway in a land yacht designed to accommodate seven full-grown adults along with enough luggage to outfit an entire expeditionary force?

But at last the agent reluctantly handed over the keys for the Sportage.  And life was good.

Until…

We were at my niece’s wedding reception when my brother-in-law’s phone pinged.  “Uh-oh,” he said, and showed us the screen.  There was a severe weather warning:  Lightning, thunder, torrential rain, hail, tornadoes, and a 60% chance of the biblical apocalypse.

Our shiny new rental car quivered under the darkening sky.   I quivered, too.  We had insured the Sportage under our regular auto policy, and I really didn’t want to make a claim for total vehicular annihilation.

The sky turned as black as night and the heavens split open.  The wind howled.  The power failed.  When the rain wasn’t blowing completely sideways, it bucketed down so hard it bounced a foot up off the asphalt when it hit.

But not a single hailstone fell on the shiny new Sportage.

I found out later what a ridiculous stroke of good fortune that had been.  A giant hay barn collapsed near Tilley; two semis blew off the TransCanada highway near Brooks; the entire city of Medicine Hat was without power for a couple of hours; loonie-sized hail pounded northeast Calgary; and tornadoes touched down outside of Edmonton.

But we were fine.

Which was wonderful; but I shudder to think what Murphy is saving up for the next time I rent a car.  It’ll be Carmageddon for sure.

Maybe I’ll just stay home for the rest of my life…

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What’s That Rusty Colour?

A few years ago I confessed my lack of regard for fine distinctions in paint colour, and I should have known it would come back to bite me in the ass.

This week I’ve been doing some touchups around the house.  Nothing big – a couple of swipes of drywall compound, light sanding, and a feathering of paint to blend in the patch.

I’ve done it dozens of times over the years and usually it’s easy.  But sometimes the stars and planets misalign and the patron saint of painting goes on a bender and can’t be roused from the hangover.  Then everything that can go wrong, does; and several things that couldn’t possibly go wrong, do anyway.

The drywall repairs went smoothly (pun intended).  Then I trotted out to the garage to find the leftover house paints, which were all labelled, colour-matched, and ready to go (I thought).

I decided to start with the small patch on the bathroom ceiling.  There were two paint cans, both labelled ‘flat white ceiling paint’.  Fine.  I optimistically pried the lid off one, mixed it, and applied a test swatch.

It wasn’t white.  Nowhere near.  Nope, it was an odd rusty colour.

I repeated the process with the second can.

Same weird colour.

I was beginning to question my own sanity when I realized the rusty colour was spreading like some vile algae on the test swatch.

Yep, there were rust flakes in the paint.  I’d like to say ‘I’ll never understand why paint comes in cans that rust and wreck the paint ten seconds after you open them’, but the truth is I do understand.  It’s a diabolical scheme to force us to go out and buy a whole new batch of paint for every single project, no matter how minor.

So I succumbed to the inevitable and headed for the paint store.  Little did I know that my karmic debt was about to be called in, with interest and penalties:

  • I was in a hurry (first mistake) so I asked the paint person for a quart of flat white ceiling paint, took the can she handed me, paid, and left.
  • She screwed up. It was untinted neutral base, which is translucent.  Back to the store, stand in the returns lineup, then go back to the paint department.
  • Decide to get drywall primer instead, thinking that’s what I had used as a finish coat last time anyway. (Second mistake:  relying on my shitty memory.)
  • Discover the drywall primer is also translucent. Back to the paint store.
  • Find FLAT WHITE CEILING PAINT. They don’t have any quarts; only gallons.
  • Buy a gallon of paint (approximately 20 times what I need for my small patch) because it’s only $7 more than a quart, and I’d spend more than that in gas, time, and annoyance going somewhere else.
  • Take the paint home, open it, ascertain that it is in fact the right paint and the right colour.
  • Paint over my patch and feather the edges onto the existing painted ceiling, finally accomplishing the ten minutes of work that I set out to do about eight hours ago.
  • Go to bed, not exactly happy but at least relieved.
  • Wake up the next morning to discover the new paint has dried to a different shade of white than the original, so now I have to repaint the entire ceiling.
  • Slit my wrists, staining the ceiling a very unpleasant rusty colour indeed…

How was your week?

P.S. I’ll be away from the internet most of the day today, so I’ll catch up with comments as soon as I can in the evening or tomorrow.  ‘Talk’ to you then!

New discussion over at the VBBC:  Is John selfish or supportive?  Click here to have your say!

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Karma’s Dicking With Me

As you may know, I’ve got a big birthday coming up next week. So since my friend Swamp Butt also turned fifty a couple of weeks ago, we decided to get the gang together and go to the mountains for a joint birthday bash.

A good time was had by all, and a better time was had by a couple of us who shall remain nameless. The obligatory insulting age-related gifts were given and received with varying degrees of grace, and somebody might perhaps have had a shooter:

shooter

When the waiter arrived bearing a martini glass full of whipped cream and told us it was a Muff Dive, I declined on the grounds that I bat for the other team. But once he explained that there was a Blow Job submerged in the cream, it was all good.

The object of the game is to slather the victim in equal parts whipped cream and humiliation by forcing them to drink the shooter hands-free. I think I took the fun out of it when I inhaled the cream and tossed back the shot so fast they barely had a chance to snap the picture. (Swamp Butt didn’t fare quite so well. Apparently whipped cream is not a comfortable sinus rinse.)

Hubby and I had splashed out on a fancy hotel that night, so we put on our best behaviour and checked in trying to look like responsible adults.

And guess what I saw when I went into our fancy-schmancy king suite?

First the expected granite counters, leather furniture, yadda, yadda:

hotel room

Then this:

dick window

Yep, somebody had drawn a dick on our window. The rest of the suite was absolutely pristine, and that’s partly why the smudged window caught my eye. I probably wouldn’t have even identified the subject matter if I hadn’t been lying on the couch at exactly the right angle to see it against a dark background.

Summoned by my uproarious laughter, Hubby asked what was so funny. When I pointed out the misplaced genitalia, he agreed that this was clearly another instance of my bad hotel karma. Things like this could only happen to me. In fact, I challenge you to find anyone else who’s experienced both a rappelling nudist and a dick-print on a hotel window, in separate $200+ per night hotels in two different countries. (Though I guess the statistical probability of seeing both at the same hotel might be higher.)

But karma still wasn’t finished with me. When I went into the bedroom, I discovered the hotel’s scratch pad and pen lying on the writing desk. And guess what their slogan is?

“Sleep with the best”.

I nearly laughed myself sick. It was all I could do not to print ‘Complimentary dick with each night’s stay’ under the tagline.

But I didn’t. It’s that whole ‘responsible adult’ thing.

And speaking of which, I had actually intended to clean the window before we left so the hotel staff wouldn’t think we were the guilty parties.  But then I thought, “Nah, what the hell. Why not share the joy?”

Besides, I was a little squeamish about touching it…

What’s your funniest hotel experience?

* * *

By the way, if you ever get the chance, eat at the Grizzly House in Banff, Alberta, Canada. It ain’t cheap, but it’s a blast. A holdover from glory days of the 70s, it still retains the original telephones at each table so swingers could call each other from across the restaurant if they liked what they saw. The night we were there, a complete stranger dialled our table and sang ‘Happy Birthday’! The fondues are delicious – everything from traditional cheese to exotic meats. I went for it all: wine, salad, cheese fondue, bagna cauda, shrimp, scallops, lobster, Brome Lake duck, and kangaroo, with the traditional Toblerone chocolate/fruit fondue for dessert. YUM!!! (And ouch. I kinda hurt myself. But it was good pain.)

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Bad Hotel Karma

I don’t know what I did in a previous life to deserve this, but I have bad hotel karma.  Here are a few of the more memorable examples:

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  I arrived, only to find that the door to my room had been recently kicked in.  And repaired.  With packing tape.  Yeah.  Big splinters out of the door frame, all held together with clear tape.  It looked as though somebody had gone out the window fast, too.  They’d almost gotten it back in the frame afterwards.  There were just a few gaps here and there.

Many people would consider this ample reason to vacate.  Instead, I went out to buy a bottle of wine.  I was young(er), and this made sense at the time, for reasons that escape me now.  Because usually I’m a beer drinker. 

I stood in line to buy an overpriced bottle from off-sales (if you’re from Saskatchewan, you know what I’m talking about).  A creepy-looking guy was in line behind me, so I stepped aside to let him buy his beer first.  When I returned to the parking lot with my bottle, he was still sitting in his truck.  I drove away.  He followed me.  All the way back to the hotel. 

I discovered shortly afterwards that he was the hotel manager.  I didn’t know whether to be reassured or not.  He hadn’t actually been following me, specifically, as far as I knew.  But he was definitely creepy.  And he had a key to my room.  Not that he’d have needed it.  He could have farted in the general direction of the door and the whole thing would have given way.  I didn’t sleep well that night.

Manitoba.  The only hotel in a small town which shall remain nameless.  It was definitely a deluxe establishment, with a bathroom on each and every floor.  Three, in total.  I spent the night sleeping on the doormat on the linoleum floor, because it was both cleaner and more comfortable than the bed.  The cattle in the adjacent feedlot started bellowing at four in the morning.  The smell was unspeakable.  But I’m willing to concede that this one may have been more a matter of poor choice than karma.

Lest you think that my ill fate arises from the fact that I’m a cheapskate, allow me to present another hotel experience.  Swanky high-rise in Vegas.  Two hundred bucks a night, back in the ’90s.  (No, I wasn’t paying.  So I’m cheap.  Shut up.) 

At two o’clock in the morning, some nutcase rappelled down from the roof past my twelfth-floor window.  Hooting and hollering.  Feet bouncing against the glass.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.  I didn’t get up to look.  I just didn’t want to know.  I heard the rumour later that he was naked, so I guess I should have looked.  You don’t see naked guys rappelling every day.  I’m thinking that he’d have wanted to be careful putting on the harness, though.  Maybe that’s why he was hollering.

Lethbridge, Alberta.  Another hotel, another night.  And no, this one wasn’t cheap, either.  There was an ill-fitting connecting door to the next room.  Around midnight, the neighbour stumbled into his room, immediately lit up a cigarette, and dialled an escort service.  The cigarette smoke drifted under the door.  He demanded, “Sex!  Lots of sex!”  Middle European accent.  Every word clear as a bell through the useless door.

Since I was awake anyway, I sneaked out of my room to get something from the car.  He caught sight of me and thought I was his hooker.  I’m not quite sure what he found attractive about my baggy jeans and sweatshirt, but then again, he was pretty wasted.  I ignored his bawdy shouts and lay low until the real hooker arrived.  She was wearing a nice little black business suit.  She was much more tastefully dressed than I was.  Should that bother me? 

I sneaked back into the room and called the front desk.  They declined to acknowledge that there was a problem.  Fortunately, the guy had all the staying power of wet toilet paper.  If that was his idea of “lots of sex”, no wonder he had to pay somebody.  He was done in minutes, the hooker left, and I actually did get some sleep that night.

Bad hotel karma runs in our family, too.  If my sister ever writes her memoirs, don’t miss them.

Got any bad hotel stories?  Come on, I know you do.  Share, share!

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