Friday, August 21, 2009

Hotel Stories: Help!

I’m crashing. Tired of making the best of hotel life. Wondering why no one seems to be even considering buying our home. Concerned at the thought of double house payments, double utilities, double maintenance costs. Realizing that even with my diatribes about hotel food quality and nutrition, it is saving us something like $300 to $400 a month in food costs, and that is serious. We only have to buy five meals a week, and that is quite a savings.

People ask me how do I manage living in one room for 15 months, and I usually quip something positive and grateful sounding. And, don’t get me wrong--I am grateful. But, the positive thing is wearing down. I need to believe there is some end to this “temporary living.” I can see the advantages. Of course, there are some. But, really, we have to get serious about what we jokingly refer to as Plan B. We really don’t have one worked out yet.

Any ideas? Help!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hotel Stories: The ugly truth about soft drinks

In ongoing commitment to preserving the life and health of children, I must make a protest about an ugly truth that prevails in America—I don’t know enough about other countries to comment about them.
We talk so much about choices, especially encouraging parents and children to make them healthful choices. We talk about obesity, and its growing peril to our nation, our budgets and ourselves. And. We have connected the dots on how choosing daily consumption of soft drinks adds calories at a level that simply skipping them could dramatically change the statistics on weight gain. We even have school changing their vending machine options to encourage better beverage choices, i.e. fruit drinks and water vs. soft drinks.
But, with all of these facts being true, I continue to be amazed at the number of venues where soft drinks are the only beverage being offered to children. I have observed this at picnics, church suppers, sporting events and family gatherings—and now hotel social hours.
Tell me why, when we offer adults alcohol and soft drinks as their two beverage choices, we cannot find a way to serve milk or apple juice, or even water to the children? For that matter, why wouldn’t that be an option for the adults also?
We seem to have become a nation who considers soft drinks a beverage Really it is not. Yes. They are drinkable. But, do we really want to classify a zero nutrition liquid a beverage in the same category as milk, juice, and water (which by the way does have minerals and health benefits), especially when we are talking about growing children? And, do we really want to send the message to children that this is an acceptable part of eating a daily meal? And, do we really want to have growing children become synonymous with increasingly obese children?
And, beyond obesity soda pop has a pathway you might want to consider before handing a can of the bubbly to your kids. John Tesh’s website reports the research on this:
In the first 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. That’s 100% of your recommended daily intake. And the only reason you don’t vomit from the sweetness is because the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor – so you’re able to keep it down.
After 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver reacts to this by turning any sugar it can grab into fat. And at this particular moment – there’s a LOT of sugar in your system.
After 40 minutes: All caffeine is absorbed. Your pupils dilate, blood pressure rises and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. 
The “adenosine” receptors in your brain are now blocked – preventing you from getting drowsy. You also start producing more dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works.
And 60 minutes after you drink a soda: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc that was on its way to your bones - to your lower intestine instead. You also have a sudden urge to go to the bathroom, so you end up flushing all of those nutrients OUT of your body, as well as sodium, electrolytes and water. Then as your body quiets down, a sugar crash kicks in - causing you to feel irritable and sluggish. Not to mention you’ve emptied your system of the nutrients it needs to hydrate itself, and build strong bones and teeth. And all this’ll be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours.
So, John and I ask you: Is drinking soda worth all that!
Okay, maybe a cola at a special occasion. Maybe one at a baseball game. Maybe at a picnic, now and then. But, really, I implore you, let’s get good stuff into our kids for the daily fare. Let’s not make a treat into a daily beverage. Let’s all think about our choices—especially beverages at meals.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hotel Stories: House and pet sitting situations wanted

We are officially the longest term residents of our hotel. The Kentucky family returned to their unsold home and made other arrangements for the New England job. They stopped to say goodbye. It felt like a relative telling family about their whereabouts. We too would like to move on—at least that’s what we keep saying. But the transition to another form of temporary living isn’t easy.

We have now placed ads on Craig’s List for house and pet sitting situations. Everyone tells me how wonderful Craig’s List is, and how in the first twenty minutes they sold everything they had on the list, or they obtained whatever they were looking for.

My experience on CL has not been so glowing. My first try using the site was to attempt to sell my family heirloom, black walnut dining room set. I received three offer to send me thousands of dollars if I would just return a portion of their generosity with my own check for a mere fraction of the total. These letters had that tone you know is not native to modern America, and, were obvious scams. I got a couple of queries asking for pictures, which I posted on the site with the ad, but to no avail. The dining room furniture still resides in the unsold house in IL.

I have to admit that we did get legit replies to an ad for Jay’s motorcycle. Automotive stuff and tools seem to do best on CL as far as I can see.

As for our need for a house sit, we have so far received four attempts to scam us into a credit report, several pleas for us to rent a property, with no follow up from the pleader, making this too seem like a credit report scam, since they went on and on about our financial health requirements, and did not call when we said we would talk to them. We also got a couple of Realtor replies letting us know how easy it is to get into foreclosures.

Really, do these people even READ what we post as our ad needs? Apparently not. They don’t appear to even read our email replies. It makes a person kind of testy after awhile. It seems to bring out the latent discontent of hotel life to have a potential reply for a better situation, only to see it is an attempt to take advantage of an already difficult state of being. I mean, why would people not understand that hardship is not the time to visit with more hardship? I know. It is merely human nature. I just get a bit discouraged that so many are so willing to pounce when things are already down.

We did consider trying out two week stints for vacationers, but learned that the taxation regulations in hotels change when the stay is less than 30 days. Once a resident has a 30 days stay, and it continues without disruption, the state no longer considers that a hotel stay, but switches it to a residency status. Residents don't pay hotel taxes the same as short term guests do. Well, doesn’t that say it all? We live here. Even the state agrees.

We have a library card, get mail here, and it’s getting kind of comfortable. But, that has to change, doesn’t it! We look forward to getting something other than bogus replies, and moving on to long term house sitting. Anyone? Snow Birds? Sabbaticals? Just let us know.

In the meantime, our home continues to have occasional viewers, and we continue to hope for a sale before the end of summer. But, this is August. Almost mid-August. Hope has not sprung up in vigor for quite some time now. But, nevertheless, we do still hope.