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Motel Negative Six

Nastiest motel ever. Motel 6 at 7707 Lee Highway, Chattanooga.

We only stayed here because it’s where our youngest daughter’s rowing team was staying.

I have low expectations when it’s this cheap — you can expect thin, rough towels that they are stingy with. Ditto for the cheap mattress and thin pillows, plus the use of an exterior stairway instead of an elevator. I was even fine with expectations of thin walls and noisy kids (who were surprisingly quiet, though). I hoped they would have a hair dryer as I didn’t pack one, but I was philosophical when I saw that they did not. But check this out for Room 215.

NEGATIVE FACTS:

  • The floors LOOKED clean. But this morning after my shower, I dried off, got mostly dressed and put my makeup on. When I went to put my socks on, the bottoms of my feet were BLACK. Ew, ew, ew. I’m not a clean freak and I’ve certainly had dirty feet before, but that was GROSS.
  • No trash can or bag.
  • No spindle in the toilet paper holder.
  • Husband couldn’t completely lift the toilet seat because the toilet tank leaned over onto it.
  • Probably close to a dozen cigarette burns on the edge of the tub.
  • A partially peeled off paint job on the tub.
  • No shampoo or conditioner.
  • A busted doorjamb on the bathroom door so you couldn’t even click it closed, much less lock it.
  • The bathroom doorknob was hanging loose.
  • The bathroom door (back side) was FILTHY.
  • One electrical outlet was either partially burned on had some dried opaque stain. I didn’t check closely.
  • Cigarette burns in the blanket and on the bedspread.
  • Curtains were half off the rod and had cellophane tape on one end and what appeared to be nail holes along the edge of the other side.
  • Not a big deal, just ugly: The old TV mount was left on the wall when they installed another TV on the dresser.
  • Inside of the microwave wasn’t throughly wipes out.
  • The door and wall next to it had clearly not been wiped down in a LONG time.
  • Not in my room, but one of the kids on my daughter’s team reportedly picked up the remote control in her room and a few bugs came crawling out.
  • Our daughter’s room had no heat.
  • Oddly enough, this hotel was OVERBOOKED and out of other rooms. We were tired and it was late, so we stayed anyway.
  • I pulled bedding off and checked for bedbugs but I didn’t see signs of them. The mattress was seriously stained though.

For my peace of mind, I’m glad I had no black light to check for stains on the blankets.

And it makes sense that the room number on the wall next to the room’s door had Braille on it. The blind are probably the only reason this hotel has a two- or three-star rating (depending on where you check).

NEUTRAL FACTS:

  • Our room smelled strongly of fragrant pipe tobacco (not smoked, just the tobacco). That actually didn’t bother me. Made me think of my maternal Papaw.

POSITIVE FACTS:

  • The mini-fridge looked clean.
  • At least they had no bedbugs, and there was a fart fan in the bathroom. Fancy.

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Dia’s magic for the fat gal’s closet

I’ve been pretty happy with the clothes my Dia.com stylist picked for me the past couple of months. We’re still getting to know each other, so I’ve had a few returns, but she’s also found some things within my budget that delight me — no easy feat when you’re plus-sized.

Biggest hits so far:

  • A denim jacket I just couldn’t say no to, and I cannot wait until it’s cool enough to wear it.
  • A soft “vegan leather” clutch purse in a neutral shade of wine/brown that goes with everything.
  • My white jeans that fit like a dream, even on my fat butt and poochy stomach. ;o)
  • A navy blouse with a super flattering neckline.

Biggest regrets so far:

  • A gorgeous white linen blouse that was perfect in every way except for how the front buttons gapped across the bust. That would drive me crazy to have to use double-sided tape to keep that shut. Also, I know I’m too damned lazy to iron linen regularly. So I sent it back. With a lump in my throat!
  • I haven’t found a summery maxi dress from them yet. Both they have sent me are that cheap-feeling double-knit polyester, and y’all, I have already lived through the ’70s once and don’t intend to do so again. (It’s kind of odd, because every other single thing they have sent me has been really high quality material and well-made.) Mostly, I didn’t like the loosely gathered waists. I’m just too big for that. I need an empire waist or no waist.

Verdict on Dia.com: RECOMMENDED to any of my plus-sized gal friends. You pay $20 a month for the stylist fee; if you keep any of the five things they send you, the $20 gets deducted from that. If you buy all 5 things, they add an additional discount. You can ship back any returns or exchanges for free. (Shipping to you is free too.)

I haven’t taken any photos of me in my Dia clothes yet, but you can see some other Dia customers in their new duds over here: https://www.dia.com/gallery.

SPECIAL REQUEST & FULL DISCLOSURE: If you decide to check it out, please consider using this link — I get a little kickback if you give them a try: https://www.dia.com/r/1i3e4. Thanks!

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Book review: “Every Day” by David Levithan

As young adult novels go, “Every Day” by David Levithan is a pleasant read. It’s one of the books that attracted me with its fascinating premise rather than its writing style, which is plain and sparse enough that the writing itself fades into the background of the story (and I’m fine with that).

The main character, “A,” wakes up in a different body each day and has done so since his/her earliest memories. His sex, gender identity, race, and mental/physical health conditions change according to the body occupied for the day. I’m going to say “he/his/him” for the rest of this review because that seemed to be his usual gender identity and also for simplicity’s sake in discussing this.

There are a few spoilers below (mostly just the first bullet). Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (But after all, this is a 2012 book, right?)

Things I liked

His love interest, Rhiannon, realizes that love alone isn’t always enough to make a relationship work. More young women should be emotionally and mentally strong enough to separate “want” from “not good for me.” She’s honest when she tells him that the complications of his existence aren’t part of the life she wants. (Reminds me of when I broke up with a long-ago boyfriend who was a decent enough guy but not quite right for me. He was headed toward a future I didn’t want, and I didn’t see myself living a contented life with someone who “joked” by constantly putting me down. Dominance in the relationship was a must-have for him. Also, he felt as if I had to stay with him unless I convinced him that the decision was right, as if dating implies a marital contract and I required his permission to leave.)

The book explores some of the “how” puzzles and the “what if” complications that make the premise so pleasing. What if that day’s body is depressed or injured? What’s his moral responsibility to save or help that person, or at least not fuck up that person’s life with the day’s actions? Does the person whose body is occupied retain any memories? What’s it like to be a gay person and feel utterly at home in that person’s skin? What’s the range of how far he jumps into another body? What if he’s not alone? Can he learn any control of the process? Are there others like him who haven’t developed a moral compass? How much does the mind have to struggle with the body and its needs, flaws or addictions? (Quite a lot, actually.)

Getting it just right: The description of jumping into a suicidal girl’s life for a day felt very real.

The book leaves some questions unanswered: I like not having every conclusion spoonfed to me, so my imagination can fill in the blanks. What’s the mechanism for his consciousness jumping? What in his life led him to have a moral compass? What are his views on religion? What has helped him cope with the loneliness? How did he escape becoming mentally ill?

It wasn’t a Pollyanna ending. I’m usually ambivalent about endings that aren’t heartwarming, but this one worked, at least logically. He made a selfless decision that was right for the girl he loved, a decision that was true to his values. But my heart ached for hm just a little. It was a bittersweet ending, and I wanted a glimimer of happily-ever-after possibilities for him, even in the far future. (Then again, he’s just 16. There’s a lot of life ahead.)

Things that made me think “Meh”

I didn’t like the cover. It looks like a fancy ARC rather than a fully designed book. It wasn’t enough to deter me from buying it, obviously, but I wouldn’t have explored this book if not for the recommendation of a reviewer I like.

The one thing I really detested

The last quarter-inch thickness of pages is a separate prequel story about the same main character. So that meant that the ending sneaked up on me. SO disappointing when I was expecting a richer closure to the book. It just STOPPED. I wanted to pinch the author and drag him back to his keyboard and say, “No, no, no, no, no. Uh-uh. Get back to work, buddy. Seriously, damn it.”

Hmmpf. I’m still miffed.

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