The plans for this month are all messy: Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Minneapolis and finally home.

I arrived in Washington for a meeting with several chemical engineers from England, France and Italy to compare notes about plastic floors and walls in sterile areas. We were to present our findings to a U.S. chemical association. All was well organized as far as I could figure.

My arrival in D.C. was late, very late. The hotel had canceled my reservation because I did not show up before midnight. It has happened before, and the hotel also charged my credit card for a one-night reservation even though they canceled.

“But I’m here, as you can see.” 

“Sorry, madam, but it’s too late to check in.”

He suggested I go to another hotel where they have vacancies and he will send my deposit in advance of my arrival so there is no problem about the credit card. OK, I think I can manage. However, there is no shuttle and no taxis to take me there at this hour. I noticed the busboy is ready to take his leave after working all day and he suggested giving me a ride to the other hotel and at this point I accepted, considering the alternative.

In Washington D.C.? The murder capital of the US? I have no alternative, so I agreed to pay him for his trouble. He put my suitcases in his old dilapidated car, removed the old fast food wrappers from the seat and away we went.  

I forgot to leave a note for my colleague about the change in hotels and after four hours sleep, the next morning I jogged to his hotel to let him know I actually had arrived. He had thought I was delayed in transit, so we had a laugh after I told him of my mishaps.

The meetings went well and again I left for the airport in transit to Minneapolis, with a short wait in St. Louis where the fog had stalled all arrivals and departures. After a four-hour wait, we left D.C. en route to St. Louis to catch the Minneapolis flight.

We were so late arriving, the Minneapolis flight had left and the next flight was four hours later. I have a gold card, meaning first class accommodations, and had no problem looking for the Ambassador Club to wait in comfort. No such thing, as the next flight was full and I was on a waiting list, no matter my gold card.

We arrived in Minneapolis and the ride to the hotel was great. However, my reservation was for the next day and the hotel was full. I know I had arranged for the hotel myself, so I don’t understand the mistake. I don’t want to come back tomorrow, I’m already here. I’m tired, I’m hungry and I’m ready to yell at somebody.

I’m laughing hysterically and the clerk calls the hotel manager to see about a sedative for me. They don’t understand how this week has been, they don’t care either.

Fortunately, someone canceled a reservation and I was assured of a room; not as large as I had organized, but a room nonetheless with a mini-bar, a shower, a bed and clean linens. They promised an ironing board and an iron, like I want to spend my night ironing my clothes.

Morning comes and the local rep who was supposed to make arrangements to see clients the rest of the week tells me he’s sick and can’t work. What else can happen?

Weber, a former Cedar County Republican reporter, continues to contribute occasional columns.

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