Works for Me Wednesday: Hotel Freebies

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Disrespect a hotel reservationist and you may find yourself in the tiniest room in the joint, right next to the noisy elevator with a great view of the dumpster in the back parking lot. That is if you are able to score a room at all!  The flipside of this is that most people who work in reservations really do appreciate a little kindness and will go out of their way to help you.  I’ve had really good luck with the latter approach.  Here’s what you do if you know the place you want to stay but can only afford the bare minimum. 

Check internet rates first.  Sometimes the best offers are web-based only.  Before you book, try also calling the hotel directly and cross check rates they offer.  This will also give you the opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for whether it is a busy time for them.  Perhaps your dates are flexible and you can switch plans accordingly.  Use your politest voice, be honest and tell them you must book for the lowest price but be sure to mention whether you are celebrating anything in particular.  If booking online, sometimes just a nice e-mail in the special request box will do.  The agent will make a note of this and it will sometimes get you little extras.  Just by doing this I have gotten free wine, cake, special views and big room upgrades. 

Sign up for any special hotel clubs.  Sign up is free and usually involves just a couple of minutes to fill out an online form but it can get you special attention if you are a member.  This could be anything from free internet access to express check in privileges.  It could get you parking discounts in big cities, free travel kits, free passes to the gym, etc. 

Once you have booked, follow up with a call just a few days before you arrive.  Talk about how excited you are about your visit and ask if they expect the hotel to be booked during your stay.  If the answer is no, request a complimentary upgrade if at all available.  Tell the agent you are traveling with a little one and explain that even a little bit of extra space would make all the difference to you and your family.  This has almost always worked for me, whether it is the Holiday Inn or the Westin.  God bless those reservation agents, they really do want you to enjoy yourself and spread the good word about your stay!  Don’t forget to leave a positive comment card praising the name of the person who helped you.  Happy travels!

The Librarian

Works-For-Me Wednesday

I’m Not Pregnant–I’m Just Fat

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It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s time for Random Tuesday Thoughts! Here’s mine.

People will say anything. I used to think this was limited to the elderly, who, once they reach a certain age, seem to eschew all vestiges of social graces and personal boundaries and say whateverthehell comes to mind, because, “I lived through the Depression and you whippersnappers don’t know a thing, would you like another Werther’s Original?”

Obviously I'm carrying octuplets

However, once I got pregnant, I learned that apparently all bets are off when it comes to pregnant women and parents, and everyone gets to say what they want–and they won’t even offer you a Werther’s Original in exchange. Unlike many women, nobody rubbed my belly uninvited, for which I considered myself lucky. But the questions and comments–oy! I can’t even count the number of times people asked if I was having twins. I wasn’t. Mouse was just way out in front, but who asks that kind of question? I mean why not just cut to the chase and say, “Wow, you’re fat!”

Although I suppose that’s better than previous times when I’ve been asked if I’m pregnant and I actually wasn’t. All three times happened at the airport. I have an implanted medical device so I can’t go through metal detectors. I have to be patted down every time I go through security, which is super-convenient and I just love doing it. Not. Anyway, three different times, the TSA agent conducting my pat-down asked when I was due. The first time, I was so embarrassed I mumbled something and left as quickly as a could. The second and third times I realized that it wasn’t ME who should be embarrassed, so when the agent said, “When are you due?” I replied with, “Oh, I’m not pregnant. I’m just fat.”


Let’s just say that I guarantee those women will never be asking that question again.

Now that Mouse is here, people constantly comment on his size. Mouse is a stout lad. At 14 months, he’s currently 28 and a half pounds. He was only 7 lbs. 7 oz. when he was born, but he didn’t waste any time packing it on and by his 3 month appointment he was already off the charts. I have to shop for him at the Baby Gap Big and Tall store.

Won't somebody please think of the chubby kids?

No, there’s no Baby Gap Big and Tall, but if there were, it would make my shopping a lot easier.

Anyway, I get comments on his weight all the time. Most of the time it’s, “What are you feeding him?” Now how am I supposed to answer that one? Especially when I give my standard answer, “Twinkies and steroids,” they look at me like I’m crazy–as if they think I really do give him Twinkies and steroids.

Food, people. I feed him food.

And then there are the comments about his future football career. I’m not really a football fan. It took me years to fully understand the rules of the game (why is the clock still ticking and they’re just standing around? Wait, why is the clock stopped now?). The thought of my precious son crouching over and running head-first into another former customer of Baby Gap Big and Tall makes me nervous. I mean look at their heads! That can’t be good.

Then again, a friend of mine whose daughter is teeny tiny was complaining about how everyone keeps asking her, “What are you feeding her?” as if she were deliberately starving her kid to death. I guess we just can’t win.

The Scrivener

Head on over to The Un-Mom for more Random Tuesday Thoughts