CHAPTER 79 Hotel California

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copyright 2015 Chris Smith All rights reserved.

"The FDIC announces that the number of "problem banks" increased from 252 insured institutions with $159 billion in assets at the end of fourth quarter of 2008, to 305 institutions with $220 billion of assets at the end of the first quarter of 2009. The FDIC also announces that there were 21 bank failures in the first quarter of 2009, which is the largest number of failed institutions in a quarter since the first quarter of 1992."


May 2009

We decided to try the local Best Western first. Dad knew someone who worked there, so he thought we could get a reasonable deal on a room.

"You guys go get us some lunch. I'm hungry. Something cheap. Maybe the Mexican restaurant up the street. The budget for lunch is ten dollars U.S. Then meet me at the Best Western," Dad said.

"Okay," I said.

Mom and I got in the car and headed to the restaurant. When we got there we looked over the menu. The cheapest thing to buy was a burrito and we could get two of them for under ten dollars. Mom and I would split one between us.

Then we headed over to the Best Western. Dad came out of the hotel's front doors and climbed in the back of the car.

"So what did it go?" I asked.

"Well, the gal I knew that worked here no longer works here. And the front desk has no interest in me or any deals for veterans or bargaining for a room. They want their room rate, period. They'd rather have the room empty, than rent it out at a discount."

We sat in the car in silence. We were at a loss. We had no clue where else to go. But we had to figure something out, or we would be sleeping in the car tonight.

We could have tried to stay at a friend's houses. But we didn't have a lot of friends and most people still didn't know what was happening to us. If we told, we'd have to explain. We'd have to answer the questions. Then we'd leave ourselves open to be judged again. It had ended pretty badly the first two times we'd reached out for help. No, thanks.

If we stayed a friend's place, we had no idea how long we'd be dealing with our present circumstances. And that wouldn't be fair to anyone else, to impact their lives with our problems.

We had all thought the Best Western was a sure deal. Now we went from having hope, to having none again.

Finally Dad said, "Let's go."

"Where do you want to go?" Mom asked him.

"I don't know yet. But let's drive back that way," Dad said as he motioned back towards the way we had just come.

So we started driving back through town. It felt different driving through town. Normally we'd drive right thru, make a turn, and head towards home. But we didn't have a home to go to anymore.

As we drove by The Hotel, Dad said, "Pull over here."

Mom parked the car, and Dad said, "Yeah, let's try this and see what they say. Just park somewhere."

Dad got out of the car and walked into The Hotel. He was gone for about five minutes or so. Then he came outside and motioned for us to come in with him. Mom and I got out of the car, locked it and followed him inside.

We'd eaten several meals here, but had never stayed here. We'd paid for several business associates to stay years ago. But I hadn't been inside the rooms.

"Okay, I think I got a deal for us. But she wants to show us the room and we'll see what you guys think," Dad said.

The owner, Agatha, walked out and greeted us, and introduced herself. Then she said, "Well let's go up and you can see the rooms I have in mind."

We followed her up the old staircase. She showed us three rooms. One choice was a set of two rooms that had an adjoining bathroom, and the other choice was a single room with two beds. All of the rooms seemed very nice, certainly an upgrade of the conditions we'd been living in on the temporary housing, the Main House on Parcel B.

"I think the two rooms would be better, so your daughter can have her own room. If you don't mind sharing a bathroom," Agatha said.

"No we don't. This is great. Thank you," we all said to her collectively.

"Okay, well let's go back down and I'll have you fill out our registration card," she said as we made our way back downstairs.

We'd gone from having no place to stay to having a room! I was in shock. I thought the KOA campground or going up to The Shop was a sure thing. But here we were, with two rooms at The Hotel. Wow!

Dad filled out the paperwork, and Agatha turned over the keys. She had agreed to his room rate request of $60 U.S. Dollars a night, total, for both rooms. It was an amazing deal. Plus she didn't require any money up front. She said she'd rather have the rooms occupied and get something for it, then sitting empty and get nothing. Boy, her attitude was a huge change from the Best Western we'd just come from!

Dad and I were relieved. I was grateful. And we had a T.V. too! I hadn't had T.V. since I'd been evicted from my home, the Cabin, on Parcel B which had been over two weeks ago.

Mom was lost to her huge depression. She'd been forced out of the last home on her Farm, and had to leave her cats. So for her, nothing in her life was good. She couldn't see one ounce of goodness anywhere.

Once we got the keys to the rooms we started hauling all the stuff we'd shoved into the car up to our new temporary home at The Hotel. It took us about an hour to unload everything. Dad brought three suitcases for both he and Mom. I'd brought two suitcases and a few grocery bags of stuff. I'd insisted we bring a micro with us so now I could still do the hot compress on the eye. I'd also been smart enough to bring a large cooler that we could use as a temporary fridge.

Dad pulled out Bob Proctor's book "You Were Born Rich" from his backpack and started reading.

That night we took our showers. It was the first time I'd had a formal shower in weeks and it was glorious. After showers Dad walked down the street to get dinner from a nearby BBQ restaurant.

Then we all sat together eating dinner and watching T.V. We had to settle into a whole different life off the Farm. I had no idea what the future would bring but I tried to keep my hope alive.

After all, what else was there?

Adapt and survive or perish. Sink or swim. Do or die.

The new sky above us was shifting the perspective. Change was here, whether we wanted it or not. And there was a storm on the horizon coming for us all.

Cars Repossessed = 1

Foreclosures = 2

Evictions & Lock-Outs = 3

Days of Eye Infection = 26

Days Moving = 40

Breakdowns = Too many to count

Total Days Dealing with Foreclosures = 207

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep."

Robert Frost

American Poet


"The only true happiness is to learn, to advance, and to improve: which could not happen unless we had commenced with error, ignorance and imperfection. We must pass through the darkness, to reach the light."

Albert Pike

American Attorney, Solider, Writer, Freemason


To be continued....

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