Okay so it turns out I’m an idiot. My trip was not to the Coeur d’Alene Resort it was to the Coeur d’Alene Casino which are on opposite ends of the planet (well, if you’re in Idaho). DOH! In my defense, my conference materials, printed by a federal government agency, did not contain the word casino anywhere — which probably has something to do with public policy and not an intentional desire to confuse me. Also, in my defense I will point out that although in some places the casino (like on their napkins) refers to itself as a resort hotel, when you’re looking at the big neon sign out front the word “resort” is nowhere to be seen. In their defense, I will point out that The CDA Resort is a big fancy place with not a lot of emphasis on Indians and what the hell would the government be doing hosting an Indian employment related conference there? It didn’t make a lot of sense at the time, but what the hell, I had dropped my normal completely cynical view of the feds and applauded them for wrangling such a swank place.
Anyway, all would have been fine if I would have stuck with my informative piece of paper with the conference info, which included the correct number for my reservation and transportation arrangements. But I decided to make sure I had transportation, seeing as how I was arriving in Spokane after 9pm and didn’t want to be stuck there so late. So I went online and used the Resort webpage to grab the number and called and what do you know, they didn’t have me in the system. Good thing I called. Look for the dark blue van when you exit the baggage claim.
Meanwhile, I leave work at 6pm and go to PDX and use the economy lot which I haven’t done in a while and forgot my secret routine. But I found a decent parking space under a light and near a bus shelter and I boarded the bus and here’s the perfect cute family coming home from vacation and here’s the perfect angelic blonde child, 3 or 4, tops, who has “to go.” And here’s Mom, infant strapped to her belly, toddler balanced on the seat beside her scolding her for not going earlier when she had the chance. (Like that’s going to help now, Mom!) Oh no, now Emma is crying. “Don’t think about it!” (Like that’s going to help now, Dad!) You can see where this story is going. Altogether now: “Emma!” Mom is horrified. Emma is sobbing. I’m practically sobbing as deeply buried childhood pee accident trauma floods to the surface of my fragile adult psyche. Mom makes little Emma stand there so the seat doesn’t get wet. We arrive at their bus shelter. The kindly bus driver gives me a look and then goes back to survey the damage. Mortified Mom confesses the trouble — like we had no clue. The bus driver helps them de-bus. Poor little blonde Emma in her wet shorts carefully climbs down the steps, Mom still scolding. I catch Emma’s eyes and try to give her an encouraging smile but all I can think about is her in therapy 20 years from now, relating this experience complete with the MOCKING LADY ON THE BUS. Emma, I’m on your side. Swear! Poor kid.
Back to MY humiliation (and my theory that EVERYTHING is foreshadowing). So I get on the CDA Resort van and the driver tells me that I don’t have a reservation. Well: Of Course I Do. They hear my confirmation number and with great confidence tell me that no, I don’t have a reservation. I sit there staring at my information sheet while the horrifying realization that I have made a terrible mistake washes over me. Is there any way to get out of this without looking like a complete moron? No. They want to take me to the resort which turns out is miles from my destination and they want to offer me a room which is going to cost me personally twice as much as the room the government has already paid for at whatever place I’m supposed to be going. I get on my phone and turns out another ride is coming for me. The nice van driver is at all times completely professional and kindly takes me to a different terminal (and kindly accepts my generous tip). Later I have to hike back to my original terminal because I’m being paged on the airport system “Paula Rentz, please meet your driver.” It’s a black stretch limo. I ride with three people from Ho-Chunk, where Bob and I went a couple years ago. I get to bed at 11:30pm. Hours past my bedtime. The next morning I relate this tale to the people from the government agency with a big “hee hee ho ho” and I’m complimented on my sense of humor. What else am I going to do, cry?