Thursday, October 22, 2009
Up in Tahoe
So today, after a very late start (partly because of the book offer), I drove up to South Lake Tahoe for our diocesan convention. The convention really starts tomorrow morning, but I wanted to get here tonight, since I'm not a morning person and business begins at 9 a.m.
The hotel offers "mountainview" rooms or "lakeview" rooms; the second are more expensive. So I booked the first, but was delighted to find that I can see a sliver of the lake anyway.
In other respects, though, the room's bizarre. I'm used to accomodations for business travelers, which this clearly isn't. Not only isn't there a coffee maker in the room -- a startling depature from the norm, although room coffee is always too weak for me anyway -- but there are only two outlets in the main room. They're across the room from the bed and almost the entire length of the room from a very small table, too heavy to move, which offers the only working surface.
The most immediate problem this poses is how to plug in the CPAP. I called housekeeping and they brought me an extension cord, which will work. I'd hoped they'd point out outlets I'd missed, but no such luck. So at night I'll recharge my computer from a bathroom outlet and use the two outlets in the room to run the CPAP and recharge my BlackBerry. Oy!
Also, the lighting's pretty lousy, and the chairs are uncomfortable. Yeah, I know. Hotel management doesn't want me in my room. They want me downstairs, giving all my money to the casino. Sorry, guys. I'm already shelling out enough of my money for internet access, at an exorbitant $12/day. For the sake of efficiency -- since I have stacks of grading to do when I'm not at the convention -- I decided to have a continental breakfast delivered to my room each morning, so I can have my coffee in the room while getting work done and won't have to shower and dress to run downstairs for java. That's $11/day, too, although the good news is that there's a Starbucks on-premises and room service will deliver from there, so I'll get real coffee, stuff strong enough to deserve the name.
This is all terribly decadent, but I have to have internet to keep on top of applications for the search committee I'm on, and I have to have coffee to feel like a human being, and it's nice to feel like a human being without having to leave the room. And hey, we may still have some zombiebucks available, plus I just sold a novel, although I won't see any of that advance for quite a while (payment used to be half on signing and half on delivery, but now it's half on delivery and half on publication).
The good news is that, since casinos never want you to leave their walls, there are always lots of places to eat, ranging from the expensive to the reasonably reasonable. I had dinner -- a tasty sandwich and fresh salad -- at the Hard Rock Cafe downstairs. Hotel restaurants usually take forever, but the service was very speedy, and my waitress was great. She seemed genuinely touched when I told her I'd tip in cash instead of on my credit card, so she wouldn't be taxed on the tip. "That's above and beyond the call of duty," she told me. But being a casino waitress has to one of the tougher jobs around, and I never understand how service workers in Tahoe can afford the rents, so if I can save her a buck or two in taxes, great.
And so to bed. I hope that Starbucks comes on time!