Ants in the pants

You know, sometimes I feel like things happen to us that really are too ridiculous to be true. Like maybe we, for whatever bizarre reason, magnetically attract “incidents.”

Ben had to go to Minneapolis for a couple days. He had to be at the airport in Spokane by 5:00 am this morning. Spokane is an hour and a half away. So, rather than me driving him up at 3:30 am, we decided to go up to Spokane last night, stay the night in a hotel near the airport, then I would drop him off at 5:00 and drive home – with plenty of time to get the kids ready and out the door to school. Are you with me on this? I don’t see anything outlandish in this plan. We weren’t really being reckless, or taking crazy risks. We were staying in the Ramada Inn in Spokane for heaven’s sakes, and Papa and Nana were babysitting the kids.

The first sign that things weren’t going to be wholly swell was when I went to turn back the crackly polyester bedspread and found a hair on my pillow. Pretty sick, but I told myself that I was feeling hyper-sensitive because of the noticeably weird smell in the room, that I was probably being ridiculous, and that it was most likely one of my own hairs that had somehow drifted down onto the pillow as I bent over. It was a possibility at any rate. I pushed the thought out of my mind, turned the pillow over, and climbed into bed.

Somewhere in the dark hours of the night, the fitted sheet began creeping off of the mattress. Off of all four corners. Unstoppably. Nothing would keep that thing on there. That’s aggravating enough at the best of times, but on a hotel mattress it’s pretty overwhelmingly bad. The mattress pad was rumpling up beneath us as well and curling into a wad, and am I right in saying that no one ever wants to have to come into contact with a bare hotel mattress under any circumstances whatsoever? You’re all with me on this I’m assuming. Gives me the creeps just thinking about it. Anyway, it was due to the shifty nature of the sheet that we discovered that the mattress was split open and the stuffing was coming out the side. Yep.

We had requested a wake-up call at 4:30 am, but just to be on the safe side we set the alarm also. The alarm went off as planned, but the wake-up call didn’t put in an appearance until 15 minutes later. And you know, for a hotel at the airport, they ought to realize that wake-up calls really shouldn’t be rounded off to the nearest quarter hour. Anyway, we had already hopped up and gotten ready to head out . . . and as we were doing the last run through the room Ben picked up the wet towel off the floor. Guess what he found on the wet towel. Ideas, anyone? Well I’ll tell you. Ants. Whole platoons of ants, swarming all over the towel. They were everywhere in the carpet – and in the course of the night they had managed to get all through (and I do mean all through) our luggage.

The really festive thing, was that as we were checking out, Ben mentioned to the woman at the desk that we had been afflicted with ants in our room. And you know what her response was? She said, and I kid you not, “Hhmm. Well . . . did you have food with you?” We hadn’t, as a matter of fact, and we told her so. But honestly! Can you believe? As if, had we been rash enough to have food in a hotel room, we clearly would have brought the ant plague down upon ourselves through our own reckless behavior! I enjoyed her ability to take the high road on the whole ant issue.

I came home in the wee hours this morning with my bag riddled with swarming ants, and I of course dumped everything into the washer in the hopes of drowning them all. The empty bag is still sitting on the front porch full of them. But then there’s Ben, poor guy. In Minneapolis. With a tight schedule, and all the clothes I so diligently ironed for him . . . all full of ants!

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33 thoughts on “Ants in the pants

  1. Oh my word – your mom told me about this episode this morning, and I could NOT believe it!! That is completely appalling. I also heard that they gave you a generous $14 discount on your room…how nice of them. 😉

  2. oh. my. goodness.

    I once had a dreadfully icky hotel experience and the mere remembrance of those sheets-soiled-by-persons-unknown is enough to make my last meal rise menacingly into my throat, even now, some 15 years later. But thankfully I was able to leave the icky-ness behind when I checked out. How utterly horrifying to have the little vermin accompany you home… and your husband on his trip as well! Oh dear me.

    *Note to self: avoid the Spokane Ramada Inn at all costs.

  3. By the way…. I absolutely adore the new look! It reminds me once again how desperately my own blog is in need of a little freshening up, shall we say. Sadly, I have precious few blog-freshening-up-skilz in my own arsenal, so I scrupulously avoid the task.;)

  4. LOL! That reminds me of the fairly swanky hotel we stayed at for one night on our honeymoon, where we discovered some total stranger had left behind their briefs in the bathroom. I refused to even think about what else the cleaning staff might have missed, since they apparently failed to notice them.

    I hope the ants leave his luggage soon… but I have this horrible vision of them hopping ship and infesting some other strangers luggage!

  5. Ok, another story added to the many reasons I hate staying in hotels. This is why I like camping, I know who has slept in my bag and there is something a bit more clean and wholesome about ants in the wild. By the way, we have never had ants attack us in our tent. We did have crazy chipmunks chew through our tent once, but they were really cute and duct tape took care of the hole.

  6. My husband was with your husband and Scott Anderson last night when I called to see how the conference was going. My husband, Joe, was having a great time hanging out with Ben and didn’t mention anything about Ben stopping to scratch any itching ant bites! :)

  7. Funny, well, not really funny, but my hubby and I have a gross Spokane hotel story as well – it was quite a few years ago. Icky bed, icky shower, icky floor. What do you do when you’re tired, and it’s late, and you’ve been driving for hours? So, does anyone know of a decent place to stay in Spokane?

  8. Not sure how you might feel about involving government authorities here, but calling the county Health Department where the hotel is located would be the thing to do if you consider it appropriate.

  9. oh yuck! Please call the manager and also the main number to the hotel chain. No one in upper managment wants their hotel to be swarmed with ants. You may end up with credit for a couple of nights later on down the road.

    Oh..at least they weren’t bed bugs.

  10. Well now. You do seem to attract incidents! And this time you didn’t even have to leave the country to manage it. I, for one, am rather pleased that the tradition of Merkle misadventures is continuing right here in the good ol’ northwest, since it means the entertaining stories will continue as well. Keep up the good work!

  11. Renee, I’m completely with you! My in-laws think we’re a little bit strange, but unless we really need to drive until 11pm and be on the road 8hrs later it’s the tent for us. I think I’ll take the bears and raccoons roaming around over the ants thanks 😀

  12. The split mattress with the stuffing spilling out was enough to gag me! How do you know, Pamela, that there weren’t bed bugs? I agree; upper management should be informed of the condition of their hotel. – Yuk. Our consolation, blessedly, is that Jesus is with us and meets all of our needs, and at least we have beds to sleep on.

  13. Unbelievable! This reminds me of when our family stayed in a hotel called The Scottish Cottage somewhere around Oklahoma City. Worst night of my life. A strange smell hit us the minute the door was opened, and when we opened the bathroom door there was mold on the shower walls and on the floor. I had to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor (which smelled REALLY odd). To confirm our fears, my two little sisters broke out in rashes that week. I sincerely hope the Scottish Cottage has gone out of business. :)

  14. I really think you can’t go by franchise names, though, so be careful about telling stories on particular brand names (though I love the Suppurate reference.) We’ve stayed in both appalling and very nice locations with the same sign out front. Local management is what’s to blame, and yeah, I suppose you could say there are franchise-wide standards, but somebody’s got to know there’s a problem before the franchisee gets in trouble.

  15. How weird about not being able to post on the purse! I went and checked the settings, and I’ve tweaked a few things . . . so hopefully it will work now!

  16. When I was a 14 year old boy, my family moved from Texas toSpokane WA. We stayed at my Aunt’s in Idaho for a few days. I guess that nobody noticed until too late that some of the Texas roaches came with us. My aunt was less than amused to find them suddenly all over her house. I think she forgave us. Eventually.

  17. Funny coincidence: Shortly after reading this, I visited my husband’s cousin’s blog. She and her family are Americans living in (you guessed it) the UK. And her post was all about their recent saga of eradicating bed bugs from their home—bed bugs that they had picked up in a hotel. Your American ants sound downright friendly after reading about those British bed bugs! (Aren’t you glad to be home?)

  18. Pamela is absolutely correct that upper management wants to know when there is a challenge like this for any guest. I am the General Manager of the Ramada you visited and certainly apologize for the inconveniences you encountered.
    Please know that this is not our normal standard. Guest feedback is extremely valuable to us and we utilize each guest response by continuing to focus on making each and every guest experience the best it can be.
    We were notified by the person that made your reservation of the problems you encountered. I immediately investigated the items she called about and viewed the mattress in question. It appeared the casing seam around the top of the mattress had lost its stitching, therefore exposing the inside of the mattress, springs & stuffing. It was not an old or necessarily excessively worn mattress, but was immediately replaced. We would never knowingly expose a guest to this.
    Regarding the ants, unfortunately this colder time of year they seek to find a warm place. We have a contracted pest control service here in the hotel twice a month t avoid any type of problems. Unfortunately sometimes those pests still get through. For the other posters thoughts regarding bed bugs, you can be SURE that it was not bed bugs.
    Although not the normal way we visit with guests concerning any problems, I appreciate being able to post to your blog regarding your recent stay.
    I would like to provide you with a discount during a future stay. When calling to make the reservation, please ask for me and I will personally assist you.
    It is our hope that you will give us another opportunity to serve you. Again, I apologize for the inconveniences during your stay and hope to see you during your next visit.

  19. Wow. This is actually worse than our bad hotel story, which involved horrors such as cigarette burns in the sheets, old dried-up toothpaste on the bathroom counter, and a night full of rodents running around in the ceiling and chattering at us through the air ducts. All in a four star hotel which we later discovered was condemned two weeks after our stay. I seriously think your ants story tops all that. I’m curious to know how you end up being officially rid of them.

  20. All right. I just laugh so loud at these stories. I’m so sorry you have to experience them though!! You’re a great story-teller if that makes you feel any better! My worst experience with a hotel (actually a B &B) was on our wedding night. We showed up straight from our reception, me a blushing bride with a veil still on my head, only to find out that our reservation (which had been confirmed by my husband weeks before) was canceled. And to make matters worse, they had just rented the room to another couple two hours before our arrival. After some major juggling (remember it’s a Bed and Breakfast so not too many rooms) they got us a place to stay. All they offered us was a free dinner for our trouble. And we sat in the waiting room for a few hours! My poor husband. I think they figured that we were too young to cause much of a fuss. It was still a great night but it was quite a shock.

  21. Denise – thank you so much for your gracious comment! I appreciate it that you took the time to investigate our little issues, and let us know that you’re addressing them! Thanks!

  22. Oh my! Bekah, I do think you all attract such interesting situations to your lives, partly because you handle them with such a great sense of humor, and give so many of us a lot of laughs in reading about them. Thanks for the entertainment and lessons in contentment.

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