When I first decided to move to Montana almost eight years ago, I ended up staying in a hotel for a few weeks.
I was very excited about my new adventure, but looking back, I didn’t enjoy my stay at the motel. The hotel room was the type of dirt housekeeping couldn’t fix, the walls were thin enough that I could hear the people next door even though they were whispering, and I felt bad for my cat, who didn’t know what to make of the situation. The room also didn’t have ESPN, which was just weird, especially when I was trying to watch an NBA playoff game.
After Peaches and I had worked hard for a week, the girls came to visit, and moments after arriving in the motel room that smelled like a cross between a New York City subway car and a roadside bar shabby, they exclaimed that they were hungry.
I had just bought a newspaper and was overwhelmed, so I was delighted with their suggestion to go out for a nice dinner. After a tough week trying to learn a new city and a new job, I was craving a steak and maybe some ice cold beers as well.
Dinner was exactly what the doctor ordered, and after that we all went back to the hotel.
As much as I loved having company, the already claustrophobic room was even worse now with four people and a confused cat.
There wasn’t much to debate about the TV, as they only had about six channels, and the girls wouldn’t have chosen ESPN even if they had it. Instead, they played on their electronic devices as we prepared to spend the first night together as a family in the Treasure State.
Even though we had just eaten a huge dinner, within about two hours one of the girls mentioned that she was already hungry. Of course, it was the teenager I’m pretty sure I saw devouring an entire steak moments ago.
After about an hour, the hunger complaints started to intensify.
I knew after my brief stay the week before that the town didn’t have a pizza place, so we headed to the town pump next door so they could get something to eat.
I still remember Mya grabbing an egg salad sandwich.
I was shocked. I thought she knew the rule, you never get an egg salad sandwich or sushi at the gas station.
As much as I warned her, she didn’t listen.
A few minutes later, we all returned to the room with way too much food. Of course, that included the egg salad sandwich she’d finished seconds after she walked back into the room.
The next hour we spent eating junk food and finding accommodation, which was much easier in 2015 than it is today.
Flash forward to two hours later, and Mya was in the bathroom, courtesy of an egg salad sandwich from the gas station. I tried to warn him not to, but sometimes you have to live and learn.
Probably not the best life lesson when you share a small hotel room with three other people.
The smells of that experience still haunt me.
We were going to find a home in the next few days, so there was no staying at a motel for a while.
The next time we went on a road trip, Shayla stared intently at the gas station sandwiches. I think it was Mya who told him not to. Hopefully Shayla can pass on this sage advice so she doesn’t end up with a sick child in a car or motel room.