More about the houses in a bit, first about my classes!
Sheraton – Seeth-ing is Believing!
I will never stay at another Sheraton if I can help it in my whole life. I am officially on record, you can hold me to it.
Upon my arrival in Minneapolis I rented my car (a white PT Cruiser this time…), and drove to the Sheraton to check in. I noticed Vivian Hoxbro waiting by the desk. We chatted, and apparently they didn’t have a room for her (!) yet. When I checked in my room was ready, so when I asked about Vivian’s Room apparently there was no problem. Odd. After I checked in I didn’t go to my room but drove down to Northfield, Red Wing and Cannon Falls so I could see each property in as much light as possible. When I returned to the Sheraton to move into my room at 7:00 I was stunned to find that instead of a room I had a full-out sauna (well, this IS Minnesota…)
The room was HOT! The Twin Cities had been experiencing a heat wave, but even when I turned the thermostat DOWN and opened the window the full 6″ it would go, the room still steamed. I called down to the desk and they were very little help (they said they’d like to help me, but there was nothing they could do…) They also informed me that internet for the room would be $10 per day and that it wasn’t wireless. I was steaming, and not just from the room, so I decided I’d do better to go to a Hampton Inn, Comfort Inn – basically any nice mid-range hotel where internet access is generally FREE!
(Why is it that there is usually a charge for internet at the ‘better’ hotels, but at the mid-priced and downright CHEAP hotels quite often it’s free? Why, could it be that the “better” hotels deal with the corporate traveler on an expense account…?)
I called the Original Sewing & Quilt folks to let them know that I’d be moving to a hotel with a cooler room, and after meeting with them in the lobby – and with a man from the Sheraton – I was moved into another section of the hotel that actually HAD air conditioning. The internet was still $10 per day. The room was much cooler, and I was seething slightly less. Other teachers, though, had very hot rooms.
The organization for this show wasn’t as seamless as the Chicago show, but as that experience with the OSQE folks was so good, I’m willing to chalk it up problems OSQE may have had dealing with the Sheraton. (I noticed several instances where folks approached someone at the front desk with a problem, only to be told, “I would liketo help you, but…)
My Combo Class was HUGE – 34 people (I thought it was limited to 24.) I don’t mind the extra folks, it was a good class and just took a bit of jumping around to keep everyone’s attention (I’m good at jumping…) But it was frustrating because I didn’t have enough hand outs.
I had brought 28 sheets, but I had a feeling I’d need more, so I went to the Sheraton Business Center (only open until 5:00…) to see about copies. I was told by the staff person that copies were $.25 each, and because mine were two sided it would be $.50 per copy. Yes, he said, he knew that Kinkos only charged $.10 per copy, but the gas it would take for me to get to Kinkos would be more than $.15 per copy…
So not only do they charge two and a half times the local rate for a copy, they rub it in to their ‘captive audience’.
At the front desk the fellow on duty said he’d really like to help me, but – I interrupted him and said, “Great! I’d like 5 copies of this – thanks so much!” Stunned, he made the copies.
When class started and it became clear that we were still a couple of copies short, I announced to the class that if they shared the handout I’d email a pdf file of the sheet to anyone who didn’t get on. Just then a worker from the Expo came in and I thought, “How great – someone will make 5 more copies for me!” But instead I was told that I-should-have-known-that-I’d-have-34-students… When I explained that the limit for the class was set at 24, I was corrected – “No, it’s 36!” I realized it was useless to discuss it – I was just happy to get some additional copies of my handout.
The next morning I went to Kinkos and made 40 copies of my Cabling handout – I was well stocked – and visited <a href="
http://www.yarnzilla.com”>Yarnzilla (an absolutely TREMENDOUS yarn shop!) to pick up some Malabrigo for the aforementioned mitered jacket. Then back to the Sheraton where I had about 20 minutes to scarf down my lunch and check my email. I had been told there was wireless in the lobby when I purchased my $10 per day access account, so I was confused when I couldn’t check my email as I had lunch.
The man at the desk said that he’d like to help me, but there was an additional $10 fee to connect to the internet from the downstairs lobby area. He was a trainee, and apologized that he wasn’t more experienced. I told him that even if he’d been working there for 5 years I think he’d probably have the same thing to say,
“I’d like to help you, but…”
It’s down to – at this point – three houses. One in St. Paul, one in Red Wing, and one in Cannon Falls. The houses in Northfield were both too “cute” and too expensive (and a trifle too old – we really would like to find a house built between 1910 and 1930 if possible…)
There are more houses that I wasn’t able to see this week, but I feel very good that three of the houses I didsee would do very nicely for us. The St. Paul house is the easiest choice – it’s well located, nice yard, move-in condition and has beautiful space. It’s on the high end of our price scale, but the location is very nice.
The Red Wing house is magnificent. If I could run away with a house, I’m afraid Gerry’d be having soup for one… (sorry, Gerry)
Seriously, this is most like my dream that I’ve seen. The details, the space, the flow of the rooms and even the colors of the walls are exactly as I’d like them to be. On the down side, it’s in – Red Wing.
Nothing wrong with that – it seems like a cute town – but cute can make me itchy. Also, when we stopped for lunch I was accosted by the MOST determined Mormon missionary I’ve met (and I’ve met some determined ones) He followed us across the street, even when I asked him to leave us alone. Finally I told him I reviled him (1st Peter, 4:14) and he went away happy…
While we were there some local kids were sledding down what would be (?) our front yard, so we chatted with them. They were really great kids, friendly and fun, and close to Max’s age, too…
But the house is removed from the kind of living that we’re used to. Specifically, it would be a long, long drive to Hebrew school for the kids, and Gerry thinks we’d be the only Jewish family in Goodhue county. I don’t think either of us realized how much of a sticking point that would be, but we have to think hard on that and find out what our spiritual options are. (We could always ask my LDS friend ..)
The house also seems a bit isolated, but that’s part of its charm. There are 3.5 acres that go with the house, but much of that is vertical (hill behind the house) and oddly shaped. We’re waiting to get a plan of exactly WHERE the land that goes with the house is, that will help us make our minds up.
The Canon Falls house would be an easy call – it’s big, has a great layout and all of the rooms that we require. But there are some serious questions about the condition of parts of the house. It’s the
cheapest, but I’m thinking after we did the work that may need to be done on the house, it would probably run roughly what the Red Wing house costs. Both, however, are much cheaper than the St. Paul house. Location, location, location…
So now I go home, we wait to see if our lovely little house will sell, and if it does we’ll be back to look at the homes again and [hopefully] make an offer which will be accepted. What a lot of juggling and dancing this is – I’m very tired!
My flight was supposed to leave at 6:45, but it’s been delayed 2 hours so I’ll be getting home around 1:00 am. Oy. Since when did Sheraton begin managing Continental Airlines?