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Monday, January 3, 2011

Vacation Adventures, part 2

"It's freezing in here!" I wish I had a nickel for every time my wife has said this. During our treacherous trek across New Mexico, she said it again. We were trying to get to Havasu, NV in time to celebrate Donna's birthday (Dec 31), but the weather turned on us. The driving was tension filled (see blog below) and slow. When it was no longer safe for me to try to drive any further because of the weather and because of the tension fatigue in my back and arms from fighting the steering wheel, we stopped in Acoma at a casino/hotel we had visited on our way east.

The room looked very nice, and we settled in, and Barbara recited her famous line. It wasn't exactly 32 degrees, but it was rather chilly. In order to accommodate her needs, I walked over to the unit which was spilling out tepid air into our room for the purpose of setting the heat a bit higher. The unit was built with dials to regulate the AC and the heater. But the knobs for these dials had been removed! I reached into the empty hole in the casing to see if I was able to grasp the stem on which the missing knob had been affixed. My efforts were vain, however.

As I lay recuperating on my bunk, I noticed that prior to the blower on this tepid unit there came a distinct electronic "click" from the opposite wall. Sure enough there was a thermostat located there. I struggled to my feet to report to Barbara that the number in it's window recorded a "72" degrees. She said, "I don't care what it says, it is NOT 72 in here." I agreed with her. There were buttons on the thermostat, so I attempted to adjust it. I found that the only change it would let me make was whether or not to show the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit. At least this proved that the "72" it kept reporting was not a decal.

Then I decided that if I cannot adjust the temperature setting, then I was going to fool it into thinking the temperature was less than it actually was. I went down the hall to gather ice cubes at the machine. I tied them in a plastic bag, and affixed it to the thermostat with a rubber band. Surely this would give us an extra blast of heat. But alas, this unit kept throwing tepid air into the room, and turning off periodically, pretending it had responded to our need for heat.

At this frustrating turn of events, it occurred to me that this was a casino. My experience is consistent with the casino philosophy. We all know "the house never loses." Barbara had earlier observed a woman feed $20 into the penny machine, only to come away in a few minutes with 11 cents. Right after her, another woman came to the same machine and threw away another $20. You see, they are rigged to give the player the allusion that she is in control, when she is not. Okay, that describes my frustrating experience with the thermostat. The whole place must be rigged!

We both cuddled together in one of the two queen beds and shivered through the night. When we decided to try the road again the next morning, we opened the outside door only to be blasted in the face with the coldest air these Californians have felt for a long time. Now THAT was freezing! We found out the next day that the temp was only 4 degrees. We were glad to have a nice car that threw good, hot air into our faces in rather short order. We picked up our water bottles only to find they were frozen. They were not even slush, but solid bricks.

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