Friday, June 08, 2007

Albuquerque, Day 4

Hotel stuff. Since I’ve been to Albuquerque several times, I had no problem being a hotel hermit for the day.

As I mentioned yesterday, the bed here is the standard mattress and box-spring variety. My husband is probably unaware that he was tossing, twitching and snuffling shortly before five a.m. as he sleeps through everything, even his own sleeplessness. I, on the other hand, don’t. So, by the time he got up at a little after six, there was no way I was going to get back to sleep. I gave the fitness room a shot, and took a spin on the recumbent bike. I brought my e-Bookwise and iPod shuffle to help pass the time. I could still feel the difference in altitude and accepted the default 20 minutes on the machine rather than my usual 30.

Another hotel “rule” that’s been holding true is that no matter when you come back to your room from somewhere else, the maid will be cleaning it. It happened after our excursion Tuesday when we were ready to flop onto the nearest flat surface, and again today after I decided to work down in the atrium for a while. The fact that I didn’t go anywhere yesterday seems to help prove the point; I ended up having to call to get the room serviced because nobody had shown up by 3:30 in the afternoon.

I spent most of the day on the final run-through of my yet-to-be titled short story and final edits of Starting Over. On the mouse pad in the room, there was an ad that said, “…remote printing allows you to print remotely from your suite or from nearly anywhere you have internet access…” and gave a URL. I found it intriguing and checked out the website. According to the site, this hotel is part of the program, and all I had to do was create a passcode and then upload a document to their system. According to the site, the pages would be printed and waiting at the front desk.

This sounded a little too generous, especially for a hotel that charges $10/day for internet access and doesn’t have the wireless it advertises in all the rooms yet. I called the front desk and the manager on duty had never heard of the service. He thought they’d print 10 pages for free at the Business Center if I brought the doc on a flash drive, but I read him the blurb from my screen, and he said to give it a shot, because he wanted to learn the system. (The hotel’s only used this new provider for 6 days). So, I cut 3 chapters from my manuscript, figuring a hard copy would give my eyes a break from the laptop screen, and sent them through the system. I planned to read them while I partook of the evening’s happy hour (which they call a ‘manager’s reception’).

The manager wasn’t at the front desk, but the young fellow on duty wanted to check out the system, so we went to the Business Center and found … nothing. The computer provided a link from the desktop to the site, however, and my document was listed as available to print. Nothing happened. The guy tried a bunch of different things, and although the computer said “printing”, it still didn’t appear. He promised to check with the manager, so I took my e-Bookwise to the bar and read some more of Lise’s book while I had my Margarita.

After I finished, I went back to see if they’d found anything, and the manager said he could no longer find my document in the system at all. He was very apologetic and deducted the internet fee for the day from the bill. I said I’d go back upstairs and resend the document, but he wanted to see things for himself first, so we went back to the Business Center and he pointed out a box kind of like an oversized keypad for debit card transactions that said, “enter your 6 digit passcode” which the other clerk hadn’t seen. We punched in my number and … nothing. But on the table was a stack of papers, and the one on top was the cover sheet for my file. Somewhere during the hour, it had wound its way through the system, and someone must have been in the room to remove it from the printer and stack it neatly on the table. (The Business Center is just a room with 2 computers, a printer and a fax/copy machine—no personnel).

So we all had a great time and everyone learned something new. There’s no charge for the service, and I think I’ll give it a shot with 3 more chapters tomorrow. I spent the rest of the evening in the room and enjoyed the sunset over the mountains from my window. Mountain views aren’t possible in central Florida!

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