“Honey…What Is This Bug in the New Roll of Toilet Paper?”

Subtitle: Never have sister make your Orlando hotel reservations.

They’ll suck but you’ll have stories to tell for years.
Let’s turn back the time machine to February 2, 2006. Expediadotcom spits out a reasonably priced king/non-smoking hotel reservation for major dad and myself, at a venue only 1/4 mile from Lake Eola and the weekend art fair. Who cares if it’s a pretty room, I think, since we’ll be gone all day long. Then I PAY IN FULL for said reservation at this…place.

Orlando Centroplex Travelodge
409 N Magnolia Ave
Orlando, FL 32801

Fast forward four months.

The night before we leave Banglacola, I phone the hotel’s desk clerk to let them know we’ll be a late arrival. “Noted” says Michelle, “In the computer. Have a safe trip.” Nice girl. Rental mini-van packed, Scotties in puppy prison and off we go the whole long 450+ miles, arriving at the hotel to claim our PRE-PAID reservations at 9:30 p.m.
“Reservations for ths and major dad?” I ask.
“Oh, I see you’re prepaid,” Michael the night clerk says. “So just fill out these two lines. And we don’t have a non-smoking king available, only a smoking double.”
“You’ve had my money for FOUR MONTHS, I phoned to let you know we’d be a late arrival and you DON’T HAVE THE ROOM I PAID FOR MONTHS ago?”
“Only a smoking double, sorry. But it does have a balcony! The non-smoking rooms don’t have that. I’ll leave a note for the manager and you’ll be a priority tomorrow. Room 238.”
Blahblahblah. Sorry, nuthin’ I can do.
Well, f*ck me to tears. “This whole situation is completely unsat!” Blahblahblah. Sorry, nuthin’ I can do.
Up we schlep to our balcony room, slide the keycard, throw open the door and are immediately assaulted by the most maloderous, vile reek imaginable, made even more nauseating by the heavy, warm wetness spewing from the crusty air conditioning unit.
“That’s what you get for going cheap,” major dad waxed philosophically.
“I am going to be ill,” I said and made a beeline to the door leading outside to fresh air from our balcony. “Oh, f*ck me to tears.” The carpet was sticking to my feet and squishing with every step to the door. Which, once opened, was just as quickly slammed shut. The ‘balcony’ consisted of a small, once-white, plastic chair and table set, maimed and burned through with cigarette scars, glazed in black goo and something suspiciously vomitous. Ditto the ‘carpet’ lining the ‘balcony’ floor.
So we turn the wretched, belching A/C unit down to it’s coldest setting. We’re hoping to have all the noxious odors in frozen suspension by the time we return from finding a place that’ll serve food after ten p.m. When we got back, sleep was possible if we breathed through open mouths. Dangerous, but possible.
Bright and early I’m down those stairs like a shot and into the office to meet the manager, Scott the Hutt.
“We should be able to get you into a non-smoking king by this afternoon.”
SHOULD?!! You’ve had my money for FOUR MONTHS!”
Blahblahblah. “Room 226 is a non-smoking king and he’s just checked out. But it’s not clean. So take your bags with you and come back this afternoon and it might be ready by then.”
Back up the stairs to the dragon’s den, passing the maid on the way. I notice she’s standing in front of…226. I let her know we’re changing rooms, please clean 238 since we won’t be in it anymore and she asks what room we’re moving to. “226! Right here,” I said. She says she’ll be glad to clean that room first and, true to her word, we get to leave our bags there, instead of dragging them all over Orlando for the day. (My gentlemanly major dad rewards her handsomely for her kindness to us.) Before I get into the van, I pop back in to see Mr. Hutt, tell him what we’ve accomplished on our own and get the key codes changed to our lovely, fresh room. Bliss.
Orlando was hot, the Downtown Art and Living Expo was pretty much a bust (and a whole ‘nuther post) and we were glad to have the tent, art, glasses and racks packed up early Sunday. Back at our lovely, fresh room, we were scraping the leavings of a 98°, 12 hour day off and looking forward to dinner before 9 p.m. The roll of toilet paper was about finished, so I unwrapped a new one and…there was a bug. Burrowed into the roll and visible only after a few layers of sheets had come off.
“Honey? What kind of bug lives in toilet paper?”
“I don’t know. Bring it here.”
“I can’t. I flushed it. But I’ll show you the hole he made.” And dutifully I did, presenting the roll for inspection.
Back to the bathroom with the curious roll, shut the bathroom door to take a shower and…
“Is this a termite?”
No. Actually it was hundreds of them, pouring forth from the quarter to half dollar sized hole eaten through the base of the door jamb. In that short two minute period enough had emerged to be in the sink, cover the floor and march their winged way up the sides of the toilet. major dad smashed and wiped with toilet paper, then flushed. I’d get paper towels damp and wipe the miserable bug schmushes clean from the floor. And the whole time there’s a slow, inexorable, one-by-one drip of termites from the jagged, woody chasm, like entomological water torture. Man of action major dad calls the desk.
“Michael? This is major dad in 226. You’ve got this bug problem. Do you have any Raid?” Of course he didn’t, but he did offer to PUT US IN A DIFFERENT ROOM.
“No thanks,” said major dad.
So we went out to dinner, came home with a can of Raid and nuked the whole site. It was the only way to be sure.

Checking out the next morning, I turned the keys over to Scott the Hutt and mentioned the termites.
“If they’ve eaten through a second floor structure, you have bigger problems than just our room.”
“Oh, I am sorry…blahblahblah…bug guy just here Thursday.”
I’ll bet he was. Him and his seeing eye dog. So back to the van.
“That’s what you get for going cheap,” major dad waxed philosophically.
We left the Raid on the nightstand for the next guys.

22 Responses to ““Honey…What Is This Bug in the New Roll of Toilet Paper?””

  1. Rob says:

    Sorry it turned out like that, ths, but loved the story. You’re a generous soul. Waxing philosophically in my bride’s presence is hazardous to my health.

  2. The_Real_JeffS says:

    I’ll bet the maid took the can of Raid. For her self-defense.
    But if you are going to have pictures of brain sucking bugs, why not a picture of Denise Richards?

  3. Thanks, Rob. He was such a sport, I couldn’t bear to rip his head off. Since I made the reservations he’s been saying “we’re staying in a WHAT?” And he was right. Jeez, I HATE that!
    She HAS NO BRAIN, Jeff.

  4. Nightfly says:

    ‘Course not, Ms. Sister – the bugs must’ve gotten to her.

  5. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Who said anything about Denise having brains, THS?

  6. Kathy K says:

    I think I stayed in it’s sister lodge once (in Kissimmee).
    Yes, it was a Travelodge.

  7. Kathy K says:

    P.S. No visible termites – just lots of palmetto bugs and cockroaches.

  8. Mr. Bingley says:

    They crunch real nice if you chew ’em slow.

  9. That was in a Travelodge? Color me shocked. Seriously. I have never yet seen a bad Travelodge.

  10. Exactly what I was thinking when I made the reservations.

  11. Mike Rentner says:

    You’re far more tolerant than any woman I’ve ever met! I hope you had fun.

  12. Mr. Bingley says:

    I’m sure she socked major dad for a couple of nice meals, eh Sis?

  13. John says:

    I got married a dozen years ago this weekend, and I come from a real small town (~ 400 people when I lived there). Instead of having people stay at a chain in the county seat (about 20 minutes away) my mom booked a block of rooms at a local motel that people who visit the local Civil War battlefield used to use. I said “why not?” – it used to be a good place when I was a kid. Unfortunately, it had changed owners.
    I was pretty much as you described, minus the huge infestation – there were only a half dozen denizens making sporadic appearances in each room, but there were a couple of huge early-rising roaches in the shower of the room that my wife and her sister were using. I still have not heard the end of that – and not just around this time of year, either. I was seriously considering asking if letting that one rest could be my anniversary present, but first of all I don’t think she could actually deliver for more than 6 months, and second, I think she’d hurt me for asking.

  14. Mr. Bingley says:

    Would it help if you said to her “Honey, at least the bugs made sure you weren’t late to the service like you are to everything else” in your most sensitive, logical voice? Women are pretty understanding about such things, I’ve found.
    They’re also pretty good with knives.

  15. (To the tune of “The Lion Sleeps” tonight:
    Weeeee eee eee eee
    Wiener wiener whack away…

  16. John says:

    She’s pathologically early. So I could say that at least she had time to recover before the service, but I won’t.
    She’s pretty good with guns, too, even if she does prefer the 9mm and 7.62 x 39mm.

  17. The_Real_JeffS says:

    Sounds like my kind of woman, John! Lucky man! Just don’t forget to wear the IBA.

  18. John says:

    JeffS – she also reminded me this morning how much she loathes clothes shopping.
    And she’s a fellow chemist.
    Yes, I am a lucky man.

  19. The_Real_JeffS says:

    If you don’t buy your wife clothes, I hope you either buy her lotsa ammunition, or plenty of jewelry.
    I was recently reminded that, when all else fails, buy her jewelry. Non-zirconium jewelry, that is.

  20. Quick learner, Jeff! Something shiney is always appropriate. have I introduced you to Kcruella yet? For something shiney, she might just be willing to overlook that you don’t like baseball.
    And I’m the one who owes major dad for this, big time. He only went to help me out. Thank God Friday night’s dinner was, bar none, one of the top 5 of our lives, since saturday and Sunday were pitsville. Our two days recuperating in Jacksonville helped, but he’s been a really, really good sport.

  21. John says:

    Jacksonville? That’s on my pilgrimage list. Did you go to the bar that Skynyrd owns?
    And JeffS – she does not like jewelry either. Although she is not averse to the odd trip to exotic locales.
    Ya want I should clone her?

  22. Nope. Didn’t know they owned one, either. Dinner here Monday, here on Tuesday and we stayed here. Highly recommend all. Wandered San Marco and the whole Avondale district and what a pleasent time for a quick, two day jaunt.

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