Ramada: you can freeze to death and eat soggy cake!*

*To be fair, the soggy cake was not Ramada’s fault.

Neither of us slept last night, not more than a couple of hours.  The bed was super uncomfortable, the kids didn’t leave the pool for at least an hour after we went to bed, some light (maybe from the A/C unit) was glowing too brightly, and I was fuh-REEZING.  I can’t sleep when I’m shivering, there weren’t any extra blankets, and we were too tired to figure out the A/C plus it was mounted really high on the wall.  We were both awake an hour before the alarm went off, awake enough that we just got up at 3:30 instead of waiting for it, and then our flight to Seattle was too short for napping (only 30 minutes in the air).  We are going to crash so hard tonight.

So with the uncomfortable bed, the mildewy smell in the room, and a couple of other things, I think I have validated my resistance to Ramada hotels over the years.  I mean, last night the price was right and obviously it was okay, but given a choice, I’ll choose something else.

The last time I can remember staying in a Ramada was for our first anniversary, 2001, in San Diego.  John and I had just driven across the country for the first time, moving from Newport, RI to San Diego to get to my first ship.  We didn’t have a place to live yet; the plan was to find an apartment within the first few days and stay in cheap hotels in the meantime.  When we got there, we spent a night or two in a Motel 6 (where one night I got up around 3am and got in the shower because I thought it was morning), and then decided to splurge on the Ramada for our anniversary night.

Mom had packed the top layer of our wedding cake in dry ice for the cross-country trip.  The dry ice lasted until we got to San Diego, and then we replaced it with regular ice for the last day or two.  We realized that might have been a bad idea when we started to unwrap it in the hotel room.  There was some dripping, and we moved to the bathroom sink.

First layer of aluminum foil: water from the ice. No big deal.  Next layer of foil: more water.  Next later of wax paper: water and a few crumbs.  That’s when we started to worry.  Next layer (foil or wax paper – can’t remember): more water, more crumbs.  When we finally got to the actual cake it was pretty water-logged.  The middle was still edible, but I can’t say it was good.  Still – we ate it.  I mean, not the whole thing, but enough to count.

Not nostalgic

We spent last weekend in Norfolk visiting Brian and his family (Hi, Brian and family!).  It was really nice to see them and hang out (they make Norfolk FUN!), but I found on the drive in and the way out that I’m REALLY not nostalgic for that area.  We lived and worked there for two years.  We bought our first house there.  We adopted Roxy and Riley into that house.  I got out of the Navy there.  I got my first post-Navy job there.  There’s all that history, but when we drove around and through, my feelings were mostly of the I’m-glad-we-don’t-live-here-anymore variety.  There’s nothing WRONG with it.  It’s a perfectly nice place to live.  But.  I don’t think back on my Navy years with fondness (neither does John), and down there, where nearly EVERYONE is in the Navy or has a tie to it, it’s pretty much impossible to ignore.

The dogs are the one thing I AM nostalgic about, of course.  I miss them terribly, and it was nice to drive by our old house and remember them playing in the yard, but they spent most of their lives in the Ashburn house, so even that is somewhat overshadowed by the Navy presence.

We moved away 10 and a half years ago.  I’ve been out of the Navy officially for nearly 11 years.  My Navy phobia hasn’t waned.  Okay, “phobia” is too strong.  Discomfort.  Not going back there.

But the house – the house was good to us.  It appears to have lost ALL character in the last ten years (along with the bushes that used to be in front and flowered practically year-round), but let’s blame the owners for that.  Also, winter and brown grass and no leaves.


Let’s live up to the name of the blog a little, shall we?

While going through just about everything we own, John found a couple of boxes of cassette tapes.  We threw out all of the commercially made tapes (we’ve got all that stuff in other formats by now, if it’s something we still like), but then we had to go through the ones we made.  Some were easy to throw out.  Some – not so much.  I took a drive by myself over the weekend, so I popped in a pink and yellow Memorex tape labeled “Susannah’s Favorites” that I made when I was about 11 and discovered two things.

  1. I haven’t changed.  The first song on the tape was “If This Is It”, Huey Lewis and the News.
  2. I did not understand the concept of a mix tape.  The first FOUR songs on the tape were by Huey Lewis and the News.  The next four songs were from The Little Mermaid.  The next two songs were by Kylie Minogue, and on the other side, there were three or four in a row by Debbie Gibson and then by Paula Abdul.  Apparently, I liked my music in blocks.

Now you know too much.

After all this time, I still bleed blue. A little. Enough.

I don’t think I have to tell any of you how little I care about sports.  That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching a game of whatever here and there (I’d rather go to a game than watch one on TV, not that that happens very often), but for the most part I don’t care who wins.  The other day was different, though.  UK playing Louisville in the Final Four – hell, yeah, I had to watch that one.  (Let’s ignore that I don’t care even a little when they play each other during the rest of the year.  The NCAA tournament is different.  It is.)

So even though I didn’t go to UK or U of L, even though I haven’t lived in Kentucky since 1997, even though I’ve only been to ONE college basketball game in my life (and that was at GW, not either UK or U of L), I HAD to watch this game, and, like I have during every game I’ve watched since 1987, I cheered (and gasped and yelled) for UK.  (Are you thinking that that last clause sounds like I root for UK even when they’re not playing?  Well, maybe I do.  Even though it makes no sense.  I’m loyal that way.)

Why 1987?  It’s more complicated than just that that’s the year we moved to Kentucky.  That’s the year I had to pick a side.  Or else.  Picture 8-year-old me.  I was in third grade, brand new school, brand new state.  One of the first things I remember somebody saying to me at school was completely unintelligible.  “Yookay or Yoovell?”  “What?”  More insistently, “Yookay or Yoovell?”  I had NO idea what they were saying to me, and they couldn’t understand what was so hard about the question.  (I don’t even know why it mattered right then.  It was too early for basketball season, and football doesn’t really count in Kentucky.)  Somehow it got through to me what they were asking, but I still had NO idea what the right answer was, or why anyone cared which one I picked, and why won’t they stop asking and leave me alone?  I remember asking them which one they were for, getting more Yookays then Yoovells, and going with the Yookay kids.  (It was the right answer for several reasons.)  Somewhere along the line I made the mental switch from Yookay and Yoovell to the actual school names, and then Allison introduced me to Travis Ford and his three-pointers (Not literally, of course.  She didn’t know him, but he was only 5’6″ and rarely missed, and she had a crush on him.  We were 14.), and I started watching games.  Just in time, too, since that was 1993-94, and the championship wins were ’96 and ’98.

I fell off the wagon after that, though.  I watched the ’98 tournament by myself in college (I couldn’t believe I knew so many people who didn’t know what March Madness was) and then paid very little attention to basketball except for the occasional UK game (and that one UNC game we watched the night of Jess and Chuck’s wedding).  Even though I enjoy the games when I watch them, the paying very little attention part is still true and unlikely to change.

Still, UK playing UofL in the Final Four is pretty awesome (especially with Rick Pitino (the UK coach during the years I cared) coaching UofL now), and I didn’t want to miss it.  And considering what a good game it was, I’m glad I didn’t.  Even John watched it, although he was rooting for UofL (For reasons unknown.  Out of a sense of balance?  An appreciation of how well they were playing?  Solidarity with Mark?  Sheer orneriness?)  UK won, I cheered, and the championship game is tonight.  I could watch it.  I might watch it.  What time does it start?

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  The game doesn’t start until nearly 9:30?

Yeah…I’m going to bed.  UK, you’re on your own.