@ A Very Nice Hotel



We’re back from our stay at a Very Nice Hotel, a fine dining experience, a delightful breakfast buffet, all thanks to the City of Austin.

Not funded by the City of Austin, but thanks to.

Last week the C of A turned off the water (10:00 p.m., turn handle of faucet, Surprise!) and rendered our residence plumbing-challenged. We thought it was just the usual grit in the kitchen faucet’s aerator, but it wasn’t, and rapidly the challenge grew. Cold water in the sink slowed to a trickle. The challenge spread from the kitchen to the shower upstairs. The maintenance man installed a new cartridge but that didn’t cure it, and by the time the challenge moved back downstairs to the water heater, it had ballooned into a curse.

The maintenance man took another whack at the problem. When that  failed, the plumber came, and he and the maintenance man together took some whacks. A bunch of them. For two full days.

Yesterday evening, the end of Day #2, when they said our shower would be out of commission all night, we ran away from home.

This was Plumber Day #3. He and the maintenance man spent hours running up and down stairs–which, if you’ve ever seen our stairs, you know is no mean feat–and sitting outside on the sidewalk fiddling with metal part-looking thingies, and cutting out a section of the bathroom wall, and occasionally saying, “Rocks,” and attaching hoses to air compressors.

This afternoon a loud “OW!” floated down the stairs. I braced myself for news of disaster, but it turned out only that the maintenance man had pushed a lever and inadvertently taken a shower.

They frequently assured us as they passed between the front door and the stairs that they “will get this fixed.” We sat in our recliners working on our laptops and said we were sure they would. What we meant was that we recognized they were doing their darndest under horrendous conditions. The manager said she’d never seen anything like it. A few other units had minor issues, but ours was a mess. Location appeared to be the reason. We’re way at the end.

The day could have been as stressful for David and me as it was for the surgical team, but early in the process, we adopted an attitude of shared stoicism.

Late-breaking development: We overheard that the water heater had been turned back on and in about forty-five minutes, the water would be up to shower temperature.

“Does that mean it’s fixed?” I asked David.

“Sounds like it,” he replied.

We were afraid to ask.

Later-breaking development: Curse removed. Challenge completed. Water on. Everything works.

Cats left the bedroom where they were confined from early this morning to a few minutes ago. The front door stayed open (hose running through from outside) all day, and with errands to run, we weren’t  around to catch them if they tried to escape. We didn’t think they would–escaping would have required walking past the upstairs bathroom, where strangers and tools and hoses and stuff were headquartered. But you never know.

William is his usual unconcerned self. He came down, sashayed through the living room, and took his pill like a real trouper. Fight-or-flight Ernest came down, paused with front paws on the floor and hind paws on the bottom stair step, looked around, and went right back up. He’s down again, had supper, and is lying behind David’s chair.

Cats are fine, plumbing is fine, humans had a vacation of sorts and are fine.

This was our second stay at the Very Nice Hotel. (Note: It’s even Nicer than I thought. I looked it up. Wikipedia says that in the array of the company’s holdings, it’s classed as Upscale. Who knew? It seems a run-of-the-mill Very Nice, and rates are quite reasonable, but I should have known, because the restaurant claims it has 12,000 ways to make burgers.)

Anyway, we first stayed there last fall, during the Great Flea Invasion. William and Ernest hadn’t been outside in nine years, but the fleas came to them. Every safe, non-toxic, biodegradable flea killer known to man was tried and didn’t work, so we gave in and used a nasty chemical that required everything in the house be scrubbed on our return. Cats, already scrubbed by the veterinarian, stayed at the hotel with us.

We intended to stay only one night, but I said I wished we could stay two, and David said fine with him, so we did. I liked it. The cats didn’t.

I also liked that yesterday evening, when David learned we wouldn’t have water overnight plus part of today, he immediately called for a reservation. We spent one night. The cats stayed home. They have their own water bowl and other accommodations here and are not addicted to nightly showers.

So all is well. And David and I go back to Daily Life happy and secure in the knowledge that if we ever again face invasion by either blood-sucking parasites or the City of Austin, we can vacation at a Very Nice Hotel only a mile away.


10:30 p.m. David said we don’t have hot water.

No matter. This afternoon, the maintenance man came downstairs and said, “Miss, is that you in that picture up there?” I said yes. He said, “Wow.”

The picture is hidden in the upstairs hallway. It was taken after I graduated from high school. I was wearing the formal my mother had made from white watered taffeta and trimmed with seed pearls.

The maintenance man is about one-third of my age.

Who needs hot water?