Who Wants To Drive Through The Cactus Patch?


It's a well known fact that the churches in Galena, Illinois routinely grow a spring mustache.

I meant to tell this story last week but I ran out of time.  I recently took a little R&R trip with the honey to Galena to shed the doldrums of working life for the excitement of not being at real life for a few days.  We intentionally picked the week of Easter because we didn’t want bratty kids, loud noises or crowded places.  We rolled into Galena about two bells, and decided to walk about the town and see what was there.  I had been to Galena a few times, but I’ve never actually walked into any of the shops.  I decided that Galena is just like Valley Junction in Des Moines, or the Old Market in Omaha, or the Haymarket District in Lincoln, or a thousand other little shopping districts in Anytown, USA; except Galena has slightly better architecture.  I mean, if you’ve been into one blown copper store, or one meat and cheese store, or one antique store, you’ve been to it all.  I don’t give a shit about local artists and necklaces and Galena tee-shirts.  Why would I overpay for clothes in Galena when I could get the same thing at JC Pennys?

We made short work of the Galena main drag, and headed to our resort.  There were things that were good about the place we stayed.  But the good stuff doesn’t make for a better story, so here are three things that happened that made this a memorable trip:

1. Upon check in, we went to our room, and low and behold, it was the wrong room.  I tried to adjust the thermostat, but it fell off the wall.  So then I called down and mentioned the mechanical failures, as well as the fact we had sprung for the big room and gotten the sort of big room, (no hot tub).  The desk jockey said she would see if we could get an upgrade and yes, it was available.  But I told her, it isn’t really an upgrade if it’s what I ordered to begin with.  We did find a good drinking spot 10 miles east in the town of Elizabeth.  Shark’s Roadhouse, it was called, and they have an awesome drink special nearly every night, including $1 bottles on Wednesday.

2. In our new room, we actually crashed early and got up for our spa trip the next day.  I’ve never had a massage, and it was pretty nice.  I could see how they become a habit.  I got back to the room prior to my girlfriend, who was doing a couple things at the spa, and I ordered pizza.  We rolled down after she got back to pick it up, and I’ll be damned if they didn’t give it away to someone else.  They asked for my name.  I don’t see how hard it would have been to get that right.  In the resort’s defense, we were immediately comped some drinks, and they made us another pizza right away.  However, when we got the pizza, it was wrong.  But I’m an adult, I can pick black olives off if I don’t want to eat them.

3. That night, I decided to fire up the hot tub and have a soak.  So I started the water and then went out to continue watching reruns of Mythbusters.  (I don’t have cable, so I have to make hay when the sun shines.)  I went in to check on it and I thought the water looked a little dark, but I also had the light off.  So I fired it up and the water was a deep murky green.  “What the hell is this?” I shouted.  I got the night desk jockey on the phone and asked her.  She didn’t know why it would be green.  So she sent the maintenance guy up.  He didn’t know.  So meanwhile I’m pretty pissed because it’s becoming obvious they didn’t clean the tub.  So I drained it and ran it again in case it was the water itself coming out of the pipes.  It was clear as a bell coming out, but again, it was still green when it was full.  So now it’s almost midnight, and finally I get a call from the desk jockey and she lays this story on me about how the weekend before they had an all Irish wedding, and as a prank the groomsmen put green food coloring in the tub.  Our exchange went something like this:

Desk Jockey:  “….so it turns out it was the groomsmen playing a joke.”

Me: “So you guys didn’t clean the tub.”

DJ: “Well, we cleaned it, but we didn’t know they had dyed it green.”

Me: “That’s not true.  If you cleaned it, there wouldn’t have been any green left, and it would be cleaned.”

DJ: “Well, it’s not our fault, we didn’t know.”

Me: “It may not be your fault but it’s your responsibility.  Do you have a cleaning service?  Do you have maids?  What am I paying for if I can’t use this thing.”

DJ: “Well, sir, they cleaned the tub, we just didn’t know there…”

Me: interrupting “You didn’t clean the tub.  If you cleaned the inside, you failed to clean the jets.  If you failed to clean them this time, you probably have failed before.  If you don’t clean out the jets, people are sharing bathwater.  If your Irish wedding consummated the marriage in the sink, then what you are saying is it’s okay for the next guest to relax in their sexwater as long as they don’t know about it.  The only difference is that I know about it because the water was the color of grass.”

DJ: “…………….Well.  Do you want us to come and clean it?”

Me: “Yes.  I want you to come and clean it last week before we got here and clean the jets out, too.”

DJ: “I’m sorry sir, I can send someone up right now to do it for you.”


At that point I just told her I would speak to the manager the next day.  Which I did, to moderate success.  I know I was more pissed off than my girlfriend, she doesn’t use in room hot tubs anyway.  The lesson is, if you go to a hotel, maybe don’t spend the money on the in room tub because it’s going to have bathwater or worse lurking in the jets.  Have faith, though.  It won’t be the hotel’s fault.

The more I think about the trip, though, the more I realize it was pretty nice.  We got to relax and put the phones away and the computers away for awhile, and I highly recommend shedding the tether of technology and picking up a book or something any chance you get. We rounded out the trip staying in Cedar Rapids and visiting my old roommate Billy from college and his wife and two boys.  In today’s world, there are a lot of crappy parents and bratty kids.  I think it’s important to point out the anomaly does exist, so a shout out to Billy for having two very well-behaved and well-mannered children.

Possibly the best thing to come out of the trip was another restaurant in Elizabeth called the Welcome Inn.  They have the best chicken strips I’ve ever had in my life.  These things change lives.  If you are within 50 miles of it, it’s worth the drive to have some.  Also, they make some bomb ass potato salad.  All around, a cheap, great place to eat.

I picked up giant magnetic mustache, and there will be some fun had with that sooner rather than later.

Vacation is almost always fun, even when it sucks a little bit.  I have this problem internally that I feel like I don’t always enjoy things as much as I should, and I don’t always feel the value towards some things that maybe I am supposed to feel.  I’ll even realize this in the moment, and think to myself, “I should really be enjoying this more, soaking it all in and remembering it.”  For whatever reason that isn’t me, though.  I usually get more enjoyment out of telling the story later, and remembering that it was fun and that I had a good time.  I don’t really know what that says about me.  Maybe nothing.  Maybe everyone is that way.  Maybe the fondness with which we remember something is way more important than the something itself.  That sounds a little misguided, though, to cherish the memory more than the making.  Is it better to find more joy in something as time goes on or to find no joy at all?  To me, that sort of sounds like when I watch a movie for the tenth time or a fifth reading of a book.  I always notice something I missed the first time.  And usually, the more I read or watch something the more it grows on me.  Maybe that’s the explanation.  The more I think about a good memory and relive it in my mind, the more fond of it I grow.  Or, maybe I’m just a classic dipshit.  I suppose a little internal reflection and a little dipshittedness could make a good goulash.

Seriously, run some bleach through the jets after each visit.  That’s gross.

~ by maxaverage on April 17, 2012.

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