Just Before Dawn

IMG_0830My husband and I had really been looking forward to our vacation.   Last Fall had been particularly busy and stressful, followed by a hectic Holiday schedule.  By mid-January, we were both more than ready for a week of relaxation in the Florida sun and counting down the days until our departure.

But then we noticed that snow and ice were predicted on the morning that we were scheduled to leave.  Unwilling to risk losing even one day of our precious vacation, we decided to leave a day early, even though we’d have to fly into Ft. Lauderdale, spend the night there and then drive across the state to Ft. Myers the next morning.  We booked a hotel that was supposed to be right by the airport, rented a car, and figured we were all set.

It wasn’t until we were leaving the Ft. Lauderdale airport that we  realized we’d left all of our hotel booking information at home.  All we could remember was the name of the hotel, so we asked for directions as we were leaving the rental car lot.  I’ll never know if the attendant didn’t hear us correctly or if she just had a sadistic streak, but the directions she gave took us no where near our hotel.  If you’ve ever been lost in a strange city at night, you’ll have some idea of the mood in our car as we searched in vain for a Courtyard Hotel near the airport.  It wasn’t our finest hour, relationship-wise.   I’ll spare you the details of who said what, but suffice it to say that we arrived at our hotel almost two hours later, tired, hungry and in desperate need of a drink (or two)….only to discover that the hotel’s bar/restaurant had already closed for the night.

We awoke the next morning to a beautiful sunny day, so we were in good spirits as we drove across Florida to the Ft. Myers area.  The room in our new hotel was spacious and clean and everything was going quite well until that evening, when it was time to head to a nearby restaurant to meet friends for dinner.  That’s when we realized that the deadbolt on our door had broken and we were locked in our hotel room.

First we panicked, then we called the front desk and asked for help.  The assistant manager came quickly, but he couldn’t get the door to open either.  The good news was that there was a door to an adjoining room, so he was able to go into that room and then unlock the connecting door and enter our room.  The bad news was that the connecting door slammed shut behind him and automatically locked, so then all three of us were locked in our hotel room.

We repeated our panicking/call the front desk routine, and they sent someone down to unlock the connecting door. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough, and all through dinner I kept wondering what we were going to do if they couldn’t find a locksmith to fix our door because I knew the hotel was full.  At that point I was beginning to wonder if the Florida vacation we had dreamed of was ever going to materialize.

But from then on, our vacation was basically everything we had hoped it would be:  a time to relax and unwind, walk along a sandy beach and just “recharge our batteries.”  I guess I forgot that sometimes we have to wait awhile for the things we want, and sometimes we have to overcome a few obstacles before we get where we want to be.  That’s just the way life is, and it’s something that I need to remember when I’m struggling through some hard times:  that the darkest hour really is just before dawn.  And all we have to do is hang in there….

84 thoughts on “Just Before Dawn

  1. Yikes! We always have flight and hotel info on our phones, saves the headaches. But getting locked in a hotel room would not probably undue the strongest individual. Looks like your view of the gulf made up for a couple rocky days. 🌴🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does, Alan! And that was going to be the title of this post…until I looked through my old posts and realized that “Good Things Come” was the title of one I wrote a few months ago. The time will come when I completely forget such things, but thankfully, it hasn’t come yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG, the description of you being locked in your hotel room and then having the attendant get stuck in there with you made me belly laugh. Glad you made it out.

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t you also think that after all the trouble you experienced on the way to your vacation spot in Florida that you enjoyed your vacation even more than if everything would have run smoothly? Often pleasure is felt more intensely after a period of frustration and pain. Have a wonderful Sunday, Ann!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very good point, Peter! Yes, the struggles we went through before our vacation finally started did make it appreciate it all the more. And honestly, if life always went smoothly, we wouldn’t appreciate it half so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, dear, Ann, I’m with your other commenting friends. That moment when the three of you were locked into your room just craved a belly laugh! All those best laid plans…and we’re reminded that there’s always something beyond our control. I hope the rest has refreshed you after such a busy year. Onward and upward!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! Yes, it was pretty funny, even though the poor young assistant manager was beyond embarrassed. Still, it all worked out in the end, and you know what? We’ll remember this vacation long after the ones that went smoothly from start to finish. That has to mean something!

      Like

  5. Hope the rest of your vacation goes well. One time we stayed in a hotel in Florida with our daughter who was about 10 or 12 at the time. When we got up in the morning she had gum stuck on her pajamas. We did not have any gum. She had not been chewing any gum. The hotel gave us money to buy her new pajamas, but it did not help us feel much better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG, that would have freaked me out too! I’m always wondering if they really changed the sheets between guests, and certainly don’t need proof that they don’t. Your poor daughter….I get she still double checks the cleanliness of her hotel rooms!

      Like

  6. It’s a relief, and actually a bit heartwarming to read about other married couples having struggles on vacation. We always do too, but we usually get over it quickly and end up enjoying ourselves. It must just be the stress of traveling! Glad to hear your getaway materialized into a nice vacation.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh Ann, it was hardly the ideal start to your holiday was it. Though I have to admit the image of all three of you locked in there reminded me of a Monty Python skit! 😂 Still, I’m glad it all worked out for the best. And sometimes it simply means we appreciate things very even more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it was pretty funny, especially now. But even at the moment I could see the humor in it, and had a mental image of the hotel sending down more staff people who would, one at a time, keep joining us in our locked room! And yes, when things go wrong it just makes us appreciate it all the more when they finally go “right!”

      Liked by 2 people

    • It was unnerving, which probably made it harder for us to deal with. The area around the Ft. Lauderdale airport is very confusing, to say the least. And nighttime makes it even harder, I think. Luckily the rest of our vacation went well!

      Like

  8. Wow! Sounds like one of “those” memorable vacations. We had one going to TX one year, gal fainted on the plane, plane diverted. Road closed due to fires, road maps sold out to find detour, car engine on a car we passed had flames coming out of it, finally when we made it to our hotel they didn’t have my reservation. OMG!!! It is one I will never forget.

    Liked by 1 person

      • It was great (as far as I can remember) after that. But all those events one right after another stick out as the most bizarre vacation we have experienced. It was like after we saw the guy driving down the road with his engine in flames we thought we had crossed into the Twilight Zone.

        Like

  9. “sometimes we have to wait awhile for the things we want, and sometimes we have to overcome a few obstacles before we get where we want to be.” This is so true. I hope after crossing all the tests you had a wonderful vacation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! And yes, after our rough start, we did have a good vacation. Honestly, so much of my life goes like this: things turn out well eventually, but they don’t necessarily come easily for me and my family. But I’ve begun to think that’s good, because that way we appreciate the good a little bit more!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We’ve been locked in our hotel room and it was an awful feeling. We’ve also had someone give us the wrong directions, perhaps maliciously, and that was an awful experience, especially at night. But if nothing else such experiences have made me appreciate when things go smoothly. Also it’s so pretty around Ft. Myers that cares disappear, don’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, being in the Ft. Myers area in January really did make up for all the inconveniences! And now we have a funny story to tell about a vacation that did end up being pretty nice. Sometimes the bad experiences do help us appreciate the good ones even more!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve experienced similar instances and feeling on what is supposed to be the perfect _(fill in the blank)___. Like others I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of the hotel manager trying to help. I’m so glad your vacation turned out like you wanted.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Lorie! I think we’ve all had setbacks that we didn’t see coming, but we get through them eventually. And our vacation did turn out to be a good one, it just had a rough start!

      Like

  12. Funny story, Ann. Trips never ever go exactly as planned, but your hotel room debacle sounds like a sit-com episode. Our latest travel debacle was a flat tire in a rental car on a gravel road in Chile. The lug nut wrench was made of super soft metal and bent as soon as I started turning it. We finally completed the tire change, only after the help of the local police. Happy to hear the rest of your trip was smooth sailing. Hopefully ours will be too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it would be a little scarier running into obstacles in a foreign country! But I also know you are used to international travel, so I hope that helped. And I hope you will post a lot about your trip to Chile and the South America…with lots of photos!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. There are moments in life when we can laugh or cry…it is better when we can laugh, and then move on! I am glad your vacation turned out to be a happy thing! I do believe in that old adage, ‘good things come to those who wait’. It does sound like one of those ‘I Love Lucy’ moments…everything in a tailspin, but then then the moment of ‘recovery’. The best things in life sometimes come after the worst moments…odd, but true.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s so true, Linda! I don’t think we really appreciate the highlights unless we have to either wait for them or struggle for them a bit. We did just laugh, (except when we were driving around Ft. Lauderdale, lost, at night…our mood wasn’t so great then), and in the end, it was all worth the trouble. And you know, I almost titled this post “Good things come” until I checked and realized I’d used that title a few months ago. Great minds think alike, and so do ours!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. It really is true that the worst experiences make the best stories — at least, in time. This one was a doozy. I suppose my #1 bad experience was the year I had to evacuate for Hurricane Rita with my mother and my cat in the car with me. It took us fourteen and a half hours to make what should have been a three hour trip because of the traffic. I’ll not get started on the details, because once I start I can’t stop. Suffice it so say we made it, and you got out, and who knows what the next “experience” is going to be?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That evacuation trip must have been so scary, wondering if you’d get out before the hurricane hit! I’m glad to hear you did, but I imagine it’s an experience that will stick with you for a very long time.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. When you went on your holiday, I remember reading about the sudden dip in temperatures in Florida and wondered if you had gone there. I’m real glad that it all worked out for you, Ann. I know how much you needed that break.

    It’s tough to weather tough times. But suffering sweetens joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes we had a couple of cooler days while we were there, but we just used those days to do some touring of local nature sanctuaries. It was still a lovely vacation after a rough start…and you’re absolutely right, suffering does sweeten the joy. You know, if we hadn’t had those misadventures, we probably would have complained about the cool days. Instead, we enjoyed them and appreciated them!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Brenda! It’s a pattern I’ve noticed in my family’s life: things don’t come easily to us, but with work and patience, they do come. Which is probably a good thing, because then we don’t take anything for granted!

      Like

  16. What a very apt thing to say, Ann, especially now! And I’m sorry to admit it but I had to laugh out loud when I read about the connecting door also locking you in – there’s a good story waiting to be made into a movie there. 😉 Glad you got out in the end!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.