So, yes, we took a vacation of sorts last week to see some family and stayed in a hotel in a small town in Nevada.  Most people don't really know that there's more to Nevada than Las Vegas and they're wrong.  There's another four hundred miles of state with a whole lot of sand in it too.

The picture of the mountain in this post from a couple of days ago is the Shoshone Mountain range and the view from my in-laws' kitchen window.  It's beautiful country and I had forgotten how much I missed the desert.  But that picture from a couple of days ago also represents the approximate number of people you will see when you walk about in their neighborhood for a few hours.  If you're a person who likes all the amenities a city offers, living in their town is not for you.  Me?  I'm split.  On one hand, I would absolutely love to live in an area like this where I don't have to deal with rush hour traffic and loud neighbors and I could walk out on my back porch naked because there'd be no one but a few coyotes to see me.  The quiet, the country, the sunsets... they're beautiful.  On the other, the choices you have are limited for pretty much everything from what you want to buy in a grocery store to what you do with your spare time.  I, for example, would never be able to find a community orchestra to play with anywhere within a day's drive. Basically, the difference between a very small town and where we live now is this: choices.  We're dealing with some education issues with The Shortlings right now, and it's become clear to me that if we were living there and had these same issues, we would simply have to live with it. Here, we can pull our kids out of public school and put them in any number of private schools in the area if we want and/or can afford it.  We may not like our choices here, but at least we have them.  There, there'd be no such choice.  So - at least for now - I'm sticking with the big city and I'll spend time making sure my kids know how to recognize farm animals.

One of the other ways we had few choices was in available lodging.  We found one of the only hotels in the area that had wireless internet and a pool because I still had to be at least available for work and the kids really wanted to swim.  It was probably the nicest hotel within sixty miles, but it was like staying at your cranky aunt's house where if you do anything wrong, she yells at you and you're afraid to walk on the white carpet with your dirty shoes for fear that you become the root of a story to be told for generations.  I tried for a solid week to get the service staff to understand that while it's fine that their procedure was to stock the room with three towels on a normal day, we had actually paid for four people to stay in the room and we didn't think asking for four towels was an unreasonable request.  I asked for another towel.  I tried hanging up towels to reuse them because the card in the room said if we didn't want the towels replaced every day, we could hang them and conserve water.  The maid service just took all four hanging towels and left three freshly cleaned ones.  I tried setting a towel aside somewhere else in the room.  Maid service found it and took it, then left three towels. I tried directly asking the maid to leave four towels and she did... that day.  But the next day took them all and left three towels. Favorite response to my daily request for an extra towel, "Well, you're just gonna have to come down to the front desk and get it yourself next time, because my manager's not here and I can't be leaving my post to bring you a towel every day."

Me: "Right, but if you just asked maid service leave four towels for the four people staying here, both our troubles could be over."

Her: "But they're told to leave three towels.  This is how we stock the room."

Me:  "Just spitballing here, but could you ASK them to change that for this week/this room?"

She looked at me like I'd grown a third arm.

The key cards they used randomly erased themselves daily and every time I went to the front desk to ask them to fix the cards so I could enter the room I paid way too much for, I got accused of not treating the cards well.

"Did you drop it in the pool?"

"No. It just stopped working."

"Well, did you put it in your pocket with a cell phone?"

"No, I just put it in my purse."

"Your cell phone is in your purse then."

"No.  My cell phone is in my pocket.  See?" *pulls phone out of pocket and waves it around*

"Well there was probably a magnet in your purse."

"Nope.  Don't think so."

"Well, you must have done something to it."

"Can you just let me in my room, please?"

"OK, I'll fix it this time - but you can't put it in your pocket with a cell phone.  Don't put it in your wallet with credit cards.  Don't get it wet.  Don't drop it on the floor or rub it on the carpet.  Don't...."

"Do you realize this conversation just took twice as long as it did to just recalibrate my card?"

"Don't let your kids lick it.  Don't take it into the bathroom with you.  Don't..."

"I'm going to my room now."

"Don't taunt the card. Don't call the card George.  Don't....."

The other hilarious thing about this hotel was all the signs they'd hung... well... everywhere and the "fees" they claimed to charge you for breaking the rules.  I entertained myself by taking photos of all them, but looking at these below, I'm aware that I missed a few.

This was on the dryer

There's an excellent review on yelp in there somewhere.  Anyone care to write it for me?