Last year was a particularly challenging one for Michael and me. We offered a temporary home to some family members and, as a result, found ourselves with even less time together, less privacy, and less money. But when it came time for the winter break, we still wanted to take a trip to someplace special. We researched cities – okay, Michael did all the research —— finally deciding to go to Toronto. In December. When it is about 10 degrees Fahrenheit if you’re lucky. “Why?” I asked. Michael said it had museums and yoga and didn’t I want to stay at this adorable historic Art Deco hotel where we would hole up and rarely leave the bed?
So we went to Toronto, even though we did not have the money to pay for this lovely hotel. The trip there was challenging too. The landing was delayed. They had to de-ice the plane. Because the night before we arrived Toronto suffered the worst ice storm in decades. Luckily our hotel was one of the rare spots with power and was a good base from which to explore. We slipped along the icy sidewalks, ate Indian food, looked at art, and watched a movie daily. This went on for four fabulous days. On Christmas Eve we snuggled together watching the French film “Amore.” Then the fire alarm started blasting. We quickly dressed. Put on our parkas and headed downstairs. There we discovered there was no fire, just water! A pipe had burst in the dining room and water was pounding the vinyl-covered seats, then geysering onto the gorgeous art deco marble dining room floor. “Oh no!” The attendant shouted as he got on the phone to the fire department, the hotel owner, and generally scampered about – the alarm blaring at a seemingly increased decibel with every second.
Then the Canadian fire men and women arrived with their industrial strength overalls carrying hoses.
“You got a pipe burst here, eh?” one of them asked. One by one they left the fire engine, examined the dining room, quickly filling up like a swimming pool. “No need for a fire alarm here, eh?”
The hotel attendant finally turned off the alarm, the fireman turned off the water in the hotel, and we all stood around, peering at the mess. “Guess you won’t be staying here tonight, eh?” One firewoman observed.
So we packed up our things, and were shuttled to another fancy hotel, and were pleased when the first one covered the bill. The bathroom had radiant heat in the floor, the robes were cozy, the bed king-sized and featured down pillows, a featherbed and comforter. We longed for our funky place, but were happy to have the experience of two hotels on our brief getaway.
The attendant told Michael there would be no charge, considering our hardship at their hotel, and then having to leave. Upon returning to Philly, Michael corresponded with him again, and we realized that it wasn’t just that night that was being comped, but rather our entire time at the hotel! In fact there was no charge for anything!
We found a way to have an amazing trip and didn’t have to pay for the hotel. So when people say to me they don’t have money to pay for what they really wish they could have, I remind them that if they are willing to create it, there may be a way to manifest it, albeit in an unexpected or soggy way.