Didn’t we fight a war over this?

I cannot believe I have to deal with this in my own country

bathroom 4

So last weekend, when Mr T and I went to Chicago for Open House Chicago and the sewer treatment plant and the concrete factory, we stayed overnight downtown because he had a free hotel night and we thought well why not?

This way, we get both days of OHC plus I get to see my boss from the Peace Corps, who was in town for her new company’s annual meeting (only I didn’t get to see her because there were riots in Chile and she had to figure out how to evacuate the exchange students she is in charge of, but that is not part of this story except to say I was very disappointed to go another year without seeing her and also to say that I AM NOT THE X in a bad relationship with a boss).

So we checked into the hotel, which was a fancy hotel, and discovered we had been upgraded to a fancy room, where they don’t hide the snacks in a fridge but leave them out so you see the M&Ms the second you walk into the room, which is brilliant marketing if you ask me. I mean, if you are a person who can afford $370 a night for a hotel (before taxes), then sure why not pay $8 a pack for M&Ms?

(That is not us, BTW. We do not pay $8 for M&Ms. We go around the corner to Walgreen’s and buy them for $1.50.)

We surveyed the room – s – a living room, a bathroom, a bedroom – three rooms for 13 hours, most of which would be spent sleeping –

Oh. Wait.

I need to interrupt here.

The plan was to spend most of the time in the hotel sleeping.

When I am at home, I don’t get to sleep. Much of it, I admit, is because of hot flashes. (Do hot flashes burn calories? Need to google that.)

But more of it is The Man Keeping Me Down because of Work, which requires that I get up at 5:54 a.m., and The Cats, who even on the weekend, demand to eat. Even if Mr T feeds them, they wake us both up. They are Siamese. They are noisy.

There is no peace in my life.

I was really excited to spend the night in a place where I neither had to work nor to feed cats.

So guess what happened?



And because the company never answered my email, I am going to tell you the brand of the clock so YOU NEVER BUY IT. Don’t buy Soundfreaq. It’s defective. Just. Saying.

(See? I am still traumatized by the experience and can’t even remember what I wrote about a week ago.)

(Also note to self for work trip this week – check alarm clock first thing after checking into hotel.)

Back to the bathroom. Which I now realize you have already seen. But about which I am going to complain again and put in context.

I don’t expect much out of life. I have already surpassed expectations. None of my grandparents went past 8th grade, even though they wanted to. My mom’s mom wanted to study art in Paris. Her dad wanted to travel the world. My dad’s mom was a voracious reader and armchair traveler. I don’t know what my dad’s dad wanted – he died when I was four.

But just by virtue of graduating from college – from high school! – I already had the luxury of a life of the mind that they did not get to have.

And then I got to work indoors at work that was not physically demanding. My income was not dependent on the weather or on the commodity markets.

I have it so, so easy.

So yeah – I don’t expect much – I am happy to have a roof over my head and food on my table and to have it come SO EASILY. My life and work are a piece (pieces?) of cake compared to my grandparents and my parents.

That said.

I have a complaint.

And that complaint is about showers.

When I travel.

To Europe.


I know this is totally a first-world problem.

I know.

Why can’t Europe get its act together with showers?

The technology exists to give users a great shower experience! Is it because the technology was (I guess) invented in the US that the Europeans don’t want to use it? Because I have NEVER had a good shower experience in Europe. Never.

And now they are exporting their Evil Shower Ways to the US.

bath 3

This is what I’m talking about. This shower was in Spain somewhere. (We won’t even get into the location of the toilet paper.)(Or the fact that there is no logical place to put the soap and the shampoo.)

What the heck is up with having only half a door? Why would you not cover the entire shower space? Guess what happens when you do not contain the shower?

Water. Gets. On. The. Floor.

And, more importantly, the user gets cold.

bath 2

And what about this one? At least this shower (also in Spain) has doors that close, but again, nowhere for the soap and shampoo. Nowhere to prop the foot to shave the legs. And so small that every time I turned around, I bumped into the lever, which changed the water temperature and pressure. And if I hit the bar on the left, I burned myself, as it was scalding hot.

I know Spain has great engineers, because I work closely with my company’s Spanish office. Maybe Spain outsources shower design to a country with really bad engineers?

bath 4

A ledge, which is nice, but again with the half-door. Germany! WE HAVE A WAY TO KEEP THE USER WARM AND TO KEEP WATER OFF THE FLOOR!

It’s almost like Europe wants people to be cold and dirty.

I never thought we would adopt those ways. I never thought I would find a European shower in the US.

I mean, I do think Europeans are more sophisticated and advanced than Americans in many ways. I certainly appreciate their approach to holidays and vacation. It’s almost impossible to schedule a meeting with my German co-workers in August. It’s annoying but I get over it pretty quickly in the interests of solidarity.

And it’s the vacation ways I want from Europe, not the shower ways.

But it’s the cold shower that I get, not the vacation. I get a shower with only half a door. A shower with a lot of air space that’s impossible to warm. A shower with the controls far from the source of the water. Fancy hotel with the $8 M&Ms, you are doing it wrong.






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