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Monday, March 9, 2015

Retake: An Iron on the Floor

Friday I traveled northward from South Padre Island, Texas toward the eventual departure destination of Houston. Anticipating my first tub bath in over six weeks, a four-pound carton of Epsom salts rode shotgun. I arrived at the half-way point on North Padre Island to find that the guided bird walk at Mustang Island State Park was cancelled due to blustery conditions.

Bundled in a long-sleeved shirt, hoodie, raincoat, and gloves, I donned my binoculars for my own “look-sea”. Silly girl. Only a handful of gulls and some brave house sparrows managed to stay grounded enough to peck in the sand for food. I did meet a merry threesome of ladies from Minnesota acting like they had never seen the ocean. With my finger inadvertently on some special button, the camera phone whipped out 27 shots of the auspicious occasion (of which I have none)!

 I continued to explore up and down beach access roads and rain-made marshes along Mustang Island. I spotted many of my favorite shorebirds: Ibis, Common terns, Willets, and a lineup of Great Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets! 

The day soon grew darker and I decided to check into the hotel and prepare for the long-awaited bath. I shed my layers and placed toiletries at their stations, shotgun Epsom at the ready. Plenty of time for a shower to fix my hair, then a bath after dinner, I planned. I turned the shower handle to midway between blue and red. Cool water. I pushed the handle to mid-red. Still cool. I pushed the handle as far as it would go. A little warmer. Okay, so it needs to run longer to warm up, I muttered. Standing in naked anticipation, I waited. I opened the sink faucet to red. Lukewarm. Five minutes more. I checked the shower water. Nope. I called the front desk clerk who called the maintenance guy. Thirty minutes later came a knock on the door. So I had to get (re)dressed. He tested both faucets, stepping on the clean bathmat all the while (my facial grimace was not pretty).

He quickly departed, stating he knew the source of the problem and that he would return. I made a phone call and rearranged my suitcase. Tick, tock it was five o’clock! I calmly resolved to get dressed and have dinner. On the way out, I inquired about the status of my hot water. “It’s fixed,” was the clerk's reply. I reported that the water was still cold and that the fix-it fella had not returned. “It has to run longer (than ten minutes) when there are so few people here, and we just had a new water pump installed. He probably went to the Holiday Inn to get more tools,” she offered. At this point, I assigned my angels to the case and set out to find a “Doc’s margarita”.  

I followed the GPS to the water’s edge and onto the causeway. “Take exit,” it said. A short gravel road took me under the bridge to narrow beach where I found a family of stray cats, laughing gulls (yes, loudly laughing), some fishermen, and a flock of White Pelicans! I snapped a few shots of them and the sweet GPS lady said, “Get out of the car and walk to your destination.” 

I looked up and saw neon lights spelling “Doc’s Seaside”. Too bad there was a several hundred feet of water between us! 

Back in the car and over the bridge I went to the second “troll road”, this time leading to the treasure: a real bird’s-eye view, amazing food, and my last island margarita! 

The return to the hotel was joyfully uneventful and the clerk, who readily recognized me as “room 222”, assured me that the hot water was fixed. With sweet anticipation, I juggled a full 1.5 liter bottle of water, a small purse, a dessert box (for later), a notebook, and the keycard to open the door. No green light. Again... Nope. And why is there an iron in the way? Downstairs at the desk, I held up my card. She didn't even ask, just re-swiped it and handed it back. Got it. I picked up the water bottle and the iron (I had not trusted the dessert alone on the floor while I was gone), then checked the closet. There was already an iron hanging on the wall. Hot water? In thirty seconds. Yes!

Sinking into the hot water, I heard the blup, blup of the tub's overflow and I was there! I rejoiced as I envisioned happy little magnesium cells swimming through my skin and into my bloodstream.
While an iron sat outside the door on the floor.

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