Well, that was a heck of a 48 hours, even by the standards of a stay-at-home, COVID-19 world. Let’s see, it went down like this…


Speaker chaos. Realized we need a plan for where to stay for 24 hours while the stinky gases from our crawl space insulation dissipate. Quickly made a reservation at the Residence Inn Mariott in Bothell. We decided to pay for Thursday night so we could go there first thing Friday morning, and then Benji said he wanted to sleep there Thursday night.


Normal-ish day, except at the end Ian and Benji moved in to the Residence Inn for the night. I went back home, packed my stuff, fixed a flat tire on my bike (of course), and started setting up my new Kickr. Oh, and I arranged with my boss that I’d take Friday off, which proved to be a very good idea.


Finished packing and loaded up the car early. Tidied the kitchen because I hate leaving a messy house even only for one night. At just about 8:00 sharp the exterminators arrived with their insulation truck. I skedaddled and let them get straight to work.

I won’t go blow-by-blow for that extremely long day, but here are some highlights.

Benji’s Highlights

Without a doubt, he’d say food first, second, and probably third. We ate vacation food during our stay, including Froot Loops, lots of sugary bread from Hillcrest Bakery, and take-out burgers and deep-fried mac’n’cheese bites from Zulu’s.

Vacation Food
Vacation Food Is Delightful
Yep, that’s Benji enjoying Froot Loops in his room.
Tasty Bread
Drinking milk from a wine glass, because it’s what we had.

Benji’s and Mommy’s Highlights

We both enjoyed the fact that our room was directly adjacent to a gravel path and wetland/pond area. I didn’t have to work very hard to persuade Benji to come with me outside to toss rocks into the pond. As soon as we started tossing things into the water, several curious ducks and a goose paddled right over and made it clear they expected handouts. Unless they eat rocks, we disappointed them.

Throwing Rocks into the Muck

We also pretended to be characters from a book series we’re reading (The Mice of the Round Table – thank you to Colleen for the books!) and found twigs to use for swords. I stepped in dog poop in the grass outside our room — par for the course at this motel, honestly.

In the afternoon, all three of us went for a walk on the gravel path, which actually goes quite a long ways (I think it’s called the North Creek Trail). I’ve been on it before, many times, when Benji was littler and he went to pre-preschool at Kindering in Bothell. It was Ian’s first time on the trail, and he enjoyed seeing the wetlands. I like that trail, even if blackberry brambles cover large swathes of it.

North Creek Trail
Very dangerous tricks on the retaining wall. On the other side was a fairly long drop into a marshy stream covered in blackberry brambles.

Ian’s Highlights

I’m not sure, but I’d guess he’d say getting a little work done, going for the walk on the trail, and having Zulu’s take-out for dinner.

The Experience

The motel quality never ceased to amaze and surprise me. Everything was beat up, dirty, old, or a little bit broken.

We walked up to the door and it had a huge dent in it. A chair had nasty stains on the arms, a hole in the back, and a crooked leg. One of the handles on Benji’s bedroom doors was broken and one spring had sprung out and was just dangling loose. The tub had blobby patches covering chips in the enamel and the “permanent” mat was coming loose at one end. The kitchen faucet sprayed everywhere and could either be turned on 110% or at a trickle. A smoke detector mount on the ceiling held no smoke detector (there was another one elsewhere — safe, I guess, but strange). We never figured out how to turn on one lamp inside; I think the bulb was burned out. I’ve slept on Therm-A-Rest pads more comfortable than that bed, which woke me up every few hours in discomfort. The lamp posts outside tilted at crazy angles. The landscaping involved blackberry brambles, thistles, and nettles. Dog poop nestled in the grass like landmines.

In short, quite the place to retreat for 36 hours.

Residence Inn

Even so, I remained thankful that we had somewhere to go, that it was three whole rooms, and that we had the resources to pay for it at the last minute like that. Benji reiterated numerous times how much he “loved” it there. And, honestly, having a break from our own home didn’t go amiss. I just wouldn’t have minded if the break didn’t involve so many actual broken things.



By about 10:00 on Saturday, we were all ready to go back home again. When we got back, we unpacked and I spent way too long getting my Kickr to talk to the Wahoo phone app. Eventually I called in the big guns, and Ian got it sorted out so I could finally do a ride. I didn’t set up Zwift or any subscription rides; just ran a route on my Wahoo Elemnt while watching a movie. It was strange. I can see why people do the subscriptions — I rode for 60 “miles,” and without anything to look at, that gets real boring quick.

First Kickr Ride: No Flats
No flats!

After I finished my ride, Ian recused himself to his office to spend the evening doing remote D&D with his group. Benji and I watched Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope for Benji’s first time ever. I was super excited, and so was he. Fortunately, he loved it.

First Watching of Star Wars Ever
Benji’s first time watching any Star Wars movie ever!

With that we settled back in at home. Goodness only knows when we’ll get back out again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.