Thursday, February 4, 2010

How Many "Licks" Does It Take To Get To The "Center" Of The Mrathon

This is the hour in which I would be running, but alas, it seems I now have some time on my hands. So what excuse do I have not to blog?

A week ago, at this time, I was on an airplane with my husband and Bam flying to Miami. Also on the same plane - my friend Rayli.

I was on my way for a weekend of inspiration and camaraderie with about 250 people all running on behalf of an organization called "Chai Lifeline" in the ING Miami Marathons.

(Chai Lifeline is an organization that provides
a plethora of services to sick and disabled children and their families...)

We arrived in Miami after 2 PM and invited Rayli to continue with us to the car rental since we were all going to the same hotel for the weekend.

Getting the car took an eternity because a line of 6 people were waiting for one employee. This was seriously cutting into my pool and beach time, but what was I to do. Rayli was hanging out w
ith Bam outside in the fresh air while Hun and I were signing our lives away for a car. I got a great deal on "Hotwire" for a full size car from Thursday until Monday. The total would be 120.00 for 5 days. Of course, then we got a "Triple A" discount bringing the total down to 115.00, which broken down is roughly 23.00 a day (it was 16.00 a day and this price includes taxes and other crap). Then they tried to sell us the extra insurance (which if you don't know by now is a total scam, because your own car insurance is good enough), but I was curious how much. 19.00 a day??? That's more than the rental.

Anyway, we went outside to get our car, and I was only slightly nervous that after offering Rayli a ride, would we be able to get the luggage and baby stroller in the full sized car with Rayli? We might have to put Rayli on the roof, but we shall manage. But just then, we were offered a free upgrade (the word upgrade is all relative) because the recent Toyota recall had diminished their car collection and no full size cars were available. So we got ourselves a sweet............


A Toyota Sienna, to be more specific,
which is great because that is what I drive at home and who doesn't want to keep driving a "Mom" car on vacay in Florida, even though they left 3 out of 4 kids home in Chicago? But now Rayli had a secure seat inside and the Toyota Sienna would be helpful later as well, but that story comes after the race.

It was now after 3:30 (I know this, because we were also informed that if our car was returned at 3:30 on Monday as o
pposed to our planned - 5 PM, we would not be charged a percentage of another day .... whatever, that won't happen)

We arrived at the hotel about
4 pm to check in.

Hun was parking the car after the luggage was unloaded and I waited online behind Rayli to check in.

Rayli asked the really hot Latin lo
oking hotel employee if her room had a King? It did not. He asked her if she wanted to wait so he can find one with a King, but she opted to get to the room, and off she went.

When it was my turn with Miguel, yes, I called him by his first name, because I wanted me a sweet room, I asked if I had a King bed. He told me I did not. I asked him if he would look for one because I did not want two beds and a crib taking up an entire room.
I also asked if I could get a room in the newly renovated "Ocean Tower" overlooking the Ocean (which would normally cost extra, but we had a group rate - so I figured, I'd try). I also asked him where he was from and told him I really liked his HOT AS HELL accent. Yes - I was totally flirting.

If you must know, Miguel is from Portugal. He then asked me if I was from the States?


"You should go to Spain, Portugal and Italy."

Just then, Hun showed up and I turned to Hun and said,

"Miguel says we should go to Spain, Portugal
and Italy. Let's get on that right away."

Miguel had to check 3 different floors, but he fo
und it. I got me a sweet room in the "Ocean Tower", King bed and huge balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I also asked him to please have a crib sent up to our room.

Hun and I had absolutely nothing to eat all day. I usually have sandwiches and fruit in my carry on but for some reason, we were rushing and neither of us ate all day. We spent the next hour unp
acking a bit, freshening up and figuring out where to get some GOOD food. When we were ready to leave, the crib had still not arrived, so I called down to request it again. At the same time, after exploring my hotel room and noticing there was no refrigeration (even a mini bar - however there was an empty cabinet that was obviously supposed to house the minibar) I needed to request that as well. I already knew that the hotel charges for refrigerators, but I am Orah - and I do my best to get out of paying for things that should not require payment. I was also armed with the knowledge that all my friends in the other tower had refrigerators in their room already that they were not paying for.

I called down and spoke to Dominique (she was no Miguel, so I just had to be matter of fact with her).

"Hi, Dominique, I requested a crib and it has not arrived yet."

"Oh, I will make sure that comes up as soon as possible."

"Oh, thank you so much, I appreciate that Dominique."

"Anything else I can do for you today Mrs. F.?"

"Actually, I noticed the empty cabinet that should have a fridge and my friend in the other tower has a fridge and I coul
d really use one."

"Well we can have one brought up, but just so you know, a fridge is $15.00 a day for the first 3 days and then no charge."

(a fridge is almost as much as my car rental. Unless I can drive a fridge, uh .... big fat no to that price.)

"Well Dominique, I have a baby and things such as formula and baby food that requires refrigeration, and I would really appreciate if you could waive that fee for me."

"Uh, okay ... I will waive the fee, but just so you know, for future reference, a fridge is $15.00 a day for the first 3 days then no charge."

(Yes - I heard you the first time, overpriced, nic
kel and diming hotel employee)

"Well thank you Dominique, I appreciate it."

Free car upgrade - check

Free room upgrade - check

Free refrigerator - check

Do you think I could get a really good meal for fr
ee? Hmmm, we shall see.

We went to "Grill Time"


However, I did not take into account when we arrived, that some schools were still on Winter break and I might need reservations. When we arrived, I was asked if we had reservations, the place was packed from wall to wall and people were waiting for tables. So with a growling stomach and lump in my throat, I answered,


"I am sorry, there is no way I can s
eat you."

(put on the charm Orah.)

"Is there anything we can do about this, we just arrived from Chicago and have not eaten all day and drove all the way h
ere from the "Eden Roc", maybe we can figure something out???"

"Well, if you want to eat at the bar - you can do that..."

Hell yeah I'll eat at the bar. It was just the two of us and Bam. We had a lovely, and might I add, romantic corner where Bam sat in his stroller happily and Hun and I dined with the same great service as anyone at the tables. In fact, the manager felt bad for us and offered us our choice of complimentary glasses of white or red wine. I took white! We also got free dessert - so I guess I can get free food as well. At least some free food.

Notice my huge glass of FREE wine. Oh, and the diet coke was also free.

And the company - PRICELESS!

I can still taste that meal, it was so yum.

We left the restaurant and spotted the oddest scene in the next parking lot. Two bulky, biker looking guys were feeding approximately 20 stray cats and also three raccoons. So of course I made Hun pull over so I could get out and take a picture.

When I pulled out my camera, one of the biker guys said,

"you can take all the pictures you want of the cats, just none of me."

Of course, that statement had my mind making up all sorts of stories about this guy and what he might be hiding from.

Of course, this one picture I have (stupid FULL memory card) does not even capture the scene. There were another 20 cats off to the side eating at the obviously, exclusive "Feline" party. And these 3 raccoons could not get into the "VIC" section (that's Very Important Cat - for those who could not figure it out). They just looked a little pathetic and desperate, and eerie with those nocturnal glowing eyes.

We continued on to "Publix" for some essential weekend groceries and returned to the hotel.

I was a bit miffed at the fact that my baby was now asleep (after he unloaded something so nasty that needed to be changed in the back of the van in the Publix lot (another reason the van and its folded down back seats came in handy), and yet there was still no crib in the room four hours after I initially
requested it.

So I made a little phone call.

"Hello Mrs. F. this is Dominique, how can I help you?"

"Hi, I need to put my baby to sleep, but it seems no one has delivered the crib that I asked for while we were out for the past three hours."

"Well, when was that requested?"

"Four hours ago, when I checked in .... oh, and then again an hour later before we left for supper."

"Well I will have someone bring that up now."

"Thank you."

For nothing, wench.

So we waited, and in the meantime, noticed a message left on the hotel phone.

It was from "Audrey" at the front desk. She wanted to know if we received the fridge and THE CRIB."

After another 20 minutes and still no crib, I called down again.

"Hello Mrs. F. this is Dominique, how may I help you?"

"Dominique, my baby really needs a crib and this has been taking a long time."

"Oh, Mrs. F. our runner is very busy and there are other people waiting for things before you."

"Uh, Dominique, you may refer to people who have requested things in the last 20 minutes or hour, but I am waiting for a crib I requested at 4 PM and it is now 8:20 PM and if it takes your "runner" over 4 hours to get every one their requests and needs met, than I think you need to have a little talkie talk with your "runner"."

"Well, who did you put the request in with?"

"When I checked in, and then actually, I believe with you, and I know the request was put in because someone named Audrey left a message on our phone asking if we received the fridge and THE CRIB, a loong time ago."

"I will call Audrey and get back to you."

"Please do that."

And 2 minutes later, my room phone rings.

"Hello Mrs. F. it's Dominique. I see that the order was put in, but for some reason it was closed. I don't know why that was. I am sorry for the inconvenience. Is there anything I can do to compensate for the inconvenience?"

"Uh ....."

YES! But I can think of so many things....

"How about I give you 25.00 dollars credit towards your stay?"

"o .... kay...."

"I also see you have an Internet charge today..."

(I totally thought I would be without Internet, but Hun needs to work...)


"I went ahead and adjusted that charge for you."

"Thank you."

So, 25.00 back in my pocket, as well as another 15.00 for the Internet charge.

The crib was late, but not a bad day for upgrades, freebies and refunds.

Oh, and that rain shower, shower head in the bathroom, and really deep jacuzzi tub,


And that was day one in Miami, more or less.

Did you think I could possibly post it all in one day?

That's jut not the way I roll.

Just a few more "licks" to race day.

8 have shown Orah a little love:

Rayli said...

tie Rayli onto the top of the car?!?!?! thanks orah. and just so you know i liked my room! and i could not understand a word miguel said!

Orah said...

That's cuz u do not speak the language of "love" and "flirt"

Anonymous said...

MMMMMMMMM, Miguel from Portugal sounds hot....who cares if u can't understand him (Rayli) - probably better that way anyway.
Yummy food, upgrades, hot tub, and some raccoons/felines mixed in, what more can u ask for in vacay in Florida while ur freakin friends were freeezin in Chi-town!!??
- Miss S.

adinab said...

serisouly rayli..just give him the smiley and bat your eyelashes! what other communication is necessary. and orah..i saw pics of rayli's room and it lloked awesome...can't imagine what the upgrade looked like! said...

oh girl! I have to a lot to learn from you!!!!

Impressive discounts and credits. Love it!

Now looking forward to hearing about the marathon :)

Lesli said...

Holy cow girl, you know how to work!! I need to take you on vacation with me!! I am never lucky enough to get an fact I usally end up paying a great weekend!

elisha said...

could you give classes in negotiation skills? i'm glad you had good food-too bad you couldn't bring some back for the rest of us?!!

Heidi @ Tayterjaq's Rebels said...

Sounds very impressive so far. You definitely need to right a book on your negotiation skills...or at least a blog post. If this keeps up, you'll come home with more money than you left with. LOL