Writing from my Balcony in LA

For three years, I have endured Lance going on business trip after business trip to sunny, warm, gorgeous Los Angeles while I stayed home. As a teacher, you don’t get too many personal days (as is expected considering the amount of scheduled days off teachers are already given). Even if I had the personal days, I wouldn’t want to leave my kiddos for such a long time in the hands of a substitute.

I know, I have trust issues.

Each time he went away it always happened to be when the cold front decided to come to New Jersey. One time, the carbon monoxide alarm went off only a few hours before my bedtime. After a mild freak out, I called my dad who told me to turn the heat off until he could come check things out. I ended up sleeping over my parents’ house for a nice chunk of that trip. Another year, we were experiencing negative temperatures while Hubby had comfortable 70 degree days. I was piling extra blankets on my bed, while he was telling me how, with the wind, it  had been a little chilly that day.

Though being unemployed certainly has its negatives, being able to go on an LA trip for once was a top-of-the-list positive.

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Compared to his last two-week trip to LA, this was a short trip. There was a two-day conference he needed to attend and  then we had a three-day weekend to do whatever our hearts desired.

Since I have been spending most of my days writing, this was perfect for me. Not wanting to get off track due to going on another trip*, I planned to write in our hotel room during the time he was at the conference.

*It took me about a week and a half to get back into my routine after my birthday trip.

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Our reaction when we discovered he didn’t need to be in until 11 am on the first day.

There wasn’t too too much within walking distance of our hotel. Well…okay…alright…maybe there was an open air mall and maybe I went to it once, twice or a few more times on my own when I should have been writing.

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Aside from the excitement of actually visiting LA, it was also fun to be right where Hubby has been so many times without me. I finally got to see the places I have only seen through texted pictures.

Like this office building across the street from our hotel…

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I don’t think I would want to work in the offices over top the square of emptiness.

No matter how cool it might be.

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And the palm trees, you all know what a sucker I am for palm trees…

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Despite the allure of the mall only a five-minute walk away, on Hubby’s second day of conferencing, I decided to buckle down, lock myself in the room and continue writing until he came back.

It started out pleasant. I finished up a few blogs I was drafting to post during the rest of the trip and feeling rather accomplished. Then I looked at the clock and realized I had at least another two hours before he would be back.

While the desk in the hotel was a definite step up from my Target brand desk at home, the room was so cold I couldn’t bare to continue writing there any longer.*

*While yes, of course, I could have lowered the temperature, I think it is that mentality of “I’m not paying for it, so I’m going to abuse it” that pushed me to leave the air set at 68 despite the chill at the tip of my nose.

So, I went out onto our balcony where the sun was shining and the air was quite comfortable.

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Initially, I was faced with the issue that the tiny table outside was not high enough. Not allowing that to stop me, I brought myself down to the table’s level.

For the next ten minutes, everything was fine. I shimmied one of the chairs behind my back to lean on as I wrote, pulled the cushion off the chair and sat on it, kicked my legs out under the table and was perfectly content.

Then the metal of the chair started digging into my back and no amount of reducing my leaning into it could convince my brain that I could endure the metal bar behind my back.

I went into the bedroom closet, grabbed that extra pillow they leave in there and put it over the edge of the chair.

Problem solved.

20151015_143815I continued writing this way for an hour or so before deciding I needed another change. This time, I brought the ottoman from our room out onto the porch, as well as the side table that was next to the chair that the ottoman belonged to.

This setup was now perfect and I continued to write in this fashion until Lance texted me that he was on his way back. I returned our hotel room to its normal self, brought my laptop back to the desk and, because it was still cold and I didn’t want to mess up the bed, pulled out that extra blanket they have in the hotel room closet and laid under it to rest my eyes a little until he was back.

When we returned to our hotel room after a night on the town, we decided to preorder tickets for the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. The desk had become piled with Lance’s work computer and other things that just like to take up space in a hotel room, so I brought the laptop to the bed, got under the covers, the extra blanket still laid on top of the bed, and started ordering our tickets. Simultaneously, I was eating a bag of chips I purchased from the grocery store down the street, next to the open air mall.*

*I promise, all of these details do matter.

As I continued eating my chips and ordering our tickets, I felt something crawling on my neck. I grabbed it, and pinched between my fingers was an ant.

Ants really aren’t a big deal. I have about five who continue to stalk my sink at home despite the fact that I have traps out as well as little to no food there for them. A few years ago, we had an entire colony of ants attacking my espresso maker. That was a little horrifying. Five or less? Not a big deal.

When I had killed three ants, I started to worry that perhaps these fancy, multicolored, organic chips, that had been my only chip option down at the grocery store, might possibly be the problem. I got up from the bed, laid the laptop down on top of the extra blanket and started inspecting everything. The chips appeared to be ant free and as I looked closer at the bed I discovered one, no, two more ants.

After killing them, I was now starting to freak out a little. I truly thought I was going insane. Where were these ants coming from? I lifted my laptop up to inspect the bed further and found no less than fifteen ants crawling on the blanket directly where my laptop had just been sitting.

Your mind does crazy things when crazy things are happening. First, I thought the chip bag had been infested. Then I determined the bed (which we had already slept on two previous nights) was infested. Somewhere between the two, I thought it might just be me and I was finally having my first nervous breakdown involving ants who takeover the world. It wasn’t until I lifted the laptop that I realized my laptop was infested. Somehow from my few hours on the porch, ants had been drawn to the heat of my computer and decided to hang out there for the entire night, only removing themselves once I brought the laptop to my bed.*

*At least, this is the story my mind has created. It could still be something completely different but I’m not willing to take my thoughts there.

I quickly scooped up that extra blanket and sent it out of the room on the balcony. After over inspecting the bed, I deemed it free of ants and able to be slept in.

For the rest of the trip, I left my laptop on the desk, the blanket out on the porch and avoided the ottoman and pillow that had spent the afternoon with me outside on the balcony. Sometimes I catch myself wondering just how those ants managed to stay inside my laptop until later that night when I brought it over to my bed, but then I decide I really don’t want to know those details.


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