My 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….