1. NEVER step bare foot on hotel room carpet no matter how nice you think it looks. (The carpets are only cleaned once a year.)
2. NEVER use a hotel comforter. (My husband likes to play this game where he traps me inside the comforter which results in me having a panic attack. Fun!)
3. ALWAYS wipe down the toilet seat before sitting. (You can't be 100% sure that they've been thoroughly disinfected. Apparently the Regulator had friends who worked housekeeping in high school and she's never looked at hotel rooms the same since.)
For the record, I follow these rules religiously. I have even added a couple of my own.
1. ALWAYS check for bedbugs. (You don’t even want to know.)
2. ALWAYS avoid touching shower curtain with anything more than your nails. (I almost cried once when the entire thing got stuck to my body.)
3. ALWAYS avoid letting your bare skin touch anything within the hotel room. Particularly upholstery. (It can't be disinfected.)
I guess I sound like a germaphobe. I guess I am a germaphobe. Damn you Dateline and your black light, damn you. Anyways, during my most recent travel fail, I learned that these rules do not apply to 20 month olds. Let me back up…
We rang in the New Year with family in Charleston. It was fun (aside from the fact that Lydia woke up no later than 5:00 AM. Every. Single. Day.) The morning we were scheduled to leave, Lydia woke up barking. BARKING. I never believed that a cough could actually sound like a bark, but I stand corrected. Watch out fellow flyers, we’ve got a barker on our hands. Good. Times.
We made it as far as Atlanta and were trying to console our little barker when the delay to Cleveland was posted. First an hour, then two, then three…then CANCELLED. Throughout the four hours we were in the airport, Lydia managed to touch a piece of chewed gum stuck on a chair, pick up a furry-looking French fry and bark in the face of at least five people. I have rules for the airport too, but I was forced to abandon them after I watched Lydia pick up and promptly consume an M&M she found in between the cushions of two seats.
Lucky for us, the airline put us up in an airport mhotel. I threw the ‘m’ in because “hotel” is a loose term. I didn’t even need a black light to know that the comforters on the bed hadn't been cleaned since the early 90's. And, I know, I know, it could have been worse. We could have been stuck sleeping in the airport. Now that would have been an epic blog post.
Anyways, within minutes of unlocking the mhotel door, Lydia had cuddled up on the bedspread, wedged herself between the wall and the bed making contact with bedspread and carpet simultaneously, put the remote control in her mouth and touched the toilet seat. My head almost exploded. Because our luggage was on its way to Cleveland (how that works, I’m not sure), I used a bar of soap to wash my hair and scrub down Lydia, attempted to “comb” my hair with my fingers and threw the barker in an unsanitized mhotel-provided pack-n-play.
Silver lining? She was asleep within seconds. Bark + one hour flight + four hours in airport + touching as many pieces of germ-infested mhotel furniture as possible = one tired baby.
Flight from Charleston to Cleveland: $300
Tetanus shot to clear baby of any germs ingested via the dirty M&M: $145
Mhotel Room provided by the craptastic airline that stranded you in the first place: $0
Child sound asleep in potentially swine-flu-infested-mhotel-provided pack-n-play?