Several years ago my wife and I built our new home. (Oh how I wish I had better foresight of the housing market). Although our existing home was nice and at one time had adequate space, with my eldest son in high school (with friends frequently over) and youngest son Jackson in need of multiple therapists in the house frequently it became apparent that we were in need of more living space. Initially, we took the traditional approach of searching for a larger home but when we were unable to locate a home that fit our immediate needs we happened to stumble across vacant lots for sale dedicated to custom home construction.
Ironically, people apparently heard that we were considering moving and actually extended an offer on our existing home prior to us putting the house up for sale. Unfortunately, this offer would have been accepted if we were simply buying a new home but we needed 8 months now to build our new home.
We were in (what we thought to be) the final stage of construction. The housing market had softened slightly so we thought it would be a good idea to list our home for sale. Sadly, the house directly next door was listed for sale and within a couple of weeks the house two doors down went up for sale. Now, there were three homes in a row listed for sale.
The original plan was to let the sales cycle take some time since our new home was not yet complete. However, with the competing homes, it became important to actively market and consider all potential offers. We received an offer on the home but would have to move out quickly – long before our new home was built. The decision was made. We would move into an extended-stay hotel for a period of 8 weeks during the completion of our new home.
This was a reasonable plan. Eight weeks was a short period of time………or so we thought. We were moving out of a 2,100 square foot home to build a significantly larger home because we needed more space. With that said, for an 8 week period (which turned into 11 weeks) we moved into a 600 square foot living area – with two boys, a dog, visiting high school friends, multiple daily therapists and may need to work out of a home office several days a week.
Our room was down the far hallway on the third floor. This appeared to be a good location……that was until the dog needed to go to the bathroom every night at 3:00 am. It was winter, cold and raining. The first couple of weeks, I would get myself fully clothed to take the dog out. Then I realized that I never see anyone at that hour so why change? I decided that I would just go out in my pajamas. Wouldn’t you know it? The first night I didn’t get fully dressed, I bumped into two employees and another guest. Needless to say, I was not wearing the most attractive pajamas.
The next afternoon I went downstairs to the lobby – which has become almost a daily ritual. I would grab a cup of coffee and then confiscate the table in the far corner as my workstation for the day. As I was setting up my laptop, the manager came over and said hello. He mentioned that it was cold and wet last night (obviously he heard from his staff that I was caught in the weather as a result of my dog’s small bladder). He then somewhat awkwardly wandered around making small talk but obviously had something on his mind.
After a few minutes of wandering, the manager re-approached and asked if he could sit down. I said; of course. He then said; can I ask you a question? He said that he noticed that I have been staying at the hotel for awhile and that I appear to work out of a desk in the lobby almost the entire day. I asked if that was a problem which he quickly replied “no”. Looking somewhat embarrassed he then said, there has been a lot of talk among the staff that there are several young ladies that come to your room for several hours each day. Naively, I said….well that would be correct.
Somewhat stunned and confused he then said, but often when they come you spend your time down here in the lobby. I said; yes. After several minutes of uncomfortable silence, he abruptly asked; what are you doing with all the young attractive ladies each day? I quickly replied; when we first obtained our room did we not inform you all that my son was autistic and would have a number of therapist coming to the room each day for speech, occupational training, ABA, etc. Obviously embarrassed he shrugged his shoulders, smiled and quietly said: “yes you did.” As he turned to walk away, I asked…..so what were you thinking the ladies were here for? He said; “therapy” and quickly turned and walked away.
So…..in the end, I got physically closer to my family due to the cramped quarters with no privacy. I had the unique pleasure of a brisk nightly walk down three flights of stairs to take the dog to the bathroom in the wind and rain. I was forced to conduct my business via a small corner table in the hotel lobby, but most importantly for several weeks, I was assumed to be potentially running a local brothel. I love my family, but I don’t ever want to be that close to them again.
Jackson, on the other hand, developed an everlasting love of hotels. As a result of this deep-rooted affection created by our eleven-week hotel stay, we now find ourselves taking Jackson to spend a night in a hotel at least once every other month (even if the hotel is within 3 miles of our home).
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.