It’s been 4 weeks since I told you about my adventures in a business hotel with children. And though walking through a business hotel straddling a child on each hip with one of them being half-naked was quite an adventure, that was not the end of the story.
My plan was to return to our hotel room, put my baby down for a nap, clean up and clothe my little boy, and settle in for a morning of Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. It was a good plan, a relaxing plan, but plans change; quickly. When we returned back to our room, we realized that tragedy had struck. Housekeeping had already been there. Unlike most housekeepers, this one had our room all cleaned by 7:30 a.m.. I would normally have thought this was great, but I wasn’t expecting her to arrive so early and I had not taken precautions. I had not removed Bert and Ernie from the sheets on my son’s roll-away cot.
(Fun fact ~ Did you know that Sesame Streets Bert and Ernie were named for the cab driver and cop, Bert and Ernie, from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life?)
When we opened the door, Eric still half-naked, immediately noticed that his bed was made and Bert had been placed by his pillow. Unfortunately, he also noticed that Ernie was nowhere to be found. This and the trauma of spilling his orange juice into his diaper was almost too much to bear. He was more than a little bit upset, I could tell by his little quivering chin and his big, brown, puddling eyes. My little boy’s heart was ready to break and looking at him, so was mine. I promised him that I’d find Ernie. I put a diaper on Eric, grabbed my now cranky-and-ready-for-a-nap baby, and raced down to the front desk to find out how to get to the laundry room where I was sure Ernie, hidden in the sheets was probably drowning in an industrial washing machine.
The front desk called the laundry. The laundry contacted our housekeeper. The housekeeper met me at the front desk. She didn’t speak English. She seemed to have no idea who Ernie was and looked at me like I was crazy when I tried to describe him. I finally asked the Front Desk where the laundry was, they told me it was in the basement, but guests couldn’t go there and the housekeeper would have to go and look for me. I tried to explain that the housekeeper didn’t understand what I was saying, but the Front Desk just kept telling me that the housekeeper would have to locate my property for me. After 15 minutes of going back and forth like Abbott and Costello in “Who’s on First”, I walked away. I went to our room, picked up Bert, assured my little boy that we would find Ernie, and the four of us headed for the basement.
Hotel basements are kind of creepy, but that didn’t deter me. I found the laundry and, expecting a hard time, knocked on one of the big double doors. I had decided you get more with honey than vinegar, so I decided to be sweet, at least initially. I wanted Ernie and was determined that I wasn’t leaving the laundry room without him.
An older woman answered the door. I explained my situation. She said not a word and went back through the double doors. I thought about crying, but Eric was already doing that. I was trying to think of an acceptable plan of attack, when the double doors opened and there was the woman I’d spoken to with Ernie in her hands. He was clean, he was damp, and he looked a little like a Rastafarian, but he was, without a doubt, our Ernie. I couldn’t help myself, I hugged the woman and thanked her profusely. Eric was elated, Rachel was asleep on my hip, and all was right within our little world. Thirty-six year ago and I still remember the little boy looks, and the wonderful feels of finding a friend that was lost. It was a good day, an important day for us; to most everyone else it was probably not that big a deal.