February 13, 2006
Why do hotels hang towel bars in the shower?
Many a hotel room that I have visited have towel bars in the shower. Why? Well, in some of them it's obviously the only location where there is enough room to put a few towels that are still accessible from within the shower/tub. But it seems weird.
Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous.
Don't worry though, it seems that I wasn't hurt that badly and I was able to travel, both to home and on my next business trip.
Last week, I was in Detroit teaching a class and proctoring a certification exam for Red Hat. On Friday, There was no way to make it back to the airport (approximately 37 miles from training center I was working at) in time for the last possible flight from Detroit Metro airport to get me home to Salt Lake that night. So, I missed it. I ended up staying in the Westin Hotel, attached to the airport terminal.
Every Westin I have stayed in has been a great Hotel; comfortable beds in which you always get real rest when you sleep, the rooms do not feel cramped and tiny, but well balanced. Believe me, there are plenty of worse places to go.
In this particular Westin, there is a towel bar in the shower/tub. Of course, it's on the wall opposite from the shower head (well, double shower head, in this case, which is very nice :) ). On Saturday morning, I awoke to my alarm and a wake-up call (always have a backup when you're in a hotel) at 4:15am. I phoned Delta Airlines to see if I could get on the "full" flight at 7:15, direct to SLC, or if I would just have to wait for the next available flight at 5pm, which went through Atlanta in order to get home. It turned out that the flight was just under 1/3 full when it left.
I decided to add another 45 minutes of sleep to the 3-1/2 hours I had just interrupted. The alarm reset and another wake-up call scheduled, I rested as well as one can in only 45 minutes. I got up, did some stretching, had a couple of glasses of water and turned on the shower to warm up the space. After gathering & setting out my fresh clothes I went to climb into the shower.
Of course, not wanting to get water all over the place while climbing in to the already running shower, I pushed the curtain into the space to block the water and went to step in against the wall. I had forgotten about the towel bar and was looking down at my feet, so that I would not slip or stand on the curtain and fall down. That's when I rammed the top-front of my head into the corner of the towel bar.
Mind you, this is not the first time in my entire life that I have hit my head on something. But this time, the corner of the towel bar in the shower at the Westin Hotel at the Detroit Metro International Airport is a square corner; it was sharp. It sliced my scalp open about 4-5 centimeters in length. There was plenty of blood, though I would not say a "lot" of blood, and it hurt. I sat down on the edge of tub immediately and pressed my hand to the wound. A few drops had already dripped onto the floor and the towel laying there.
I increased the pressure until I saw no blood dripping and went out of the bathroom, to the room phone and called the front desk. I told them, "I hit my head on the towel bar trying to get in to the shower and am bleeding. They sent up someone from security. Before he got there, I pulled on some pajamas. He took a look and said that it was bleeding more than I thought, when I pulled my hand away, it was completely covered in blood, but there wasn't much flowing. I resumed the pressure to get it stopped. The security gentleman phoned the airport paramedics and soon I had two fire paramedics, a police officer and the Westin's security man all in my room.
After asking me questions of varying kinds in an interesting order (obviously, to gage how lucid I was and see if I had a concussion) they seemed happy with the results. The paramedics cleaned up most of the blood he said that it wasn't even as bad as he first thought. In fact, he didn't think that I had to have stitches but I would get them if I wanted to. If I did, it would mean a trip to the hospital to have it done and I'd be right back on the 5pm flight. I decided to go home on the morning flight. He told me that would mean that I could not wash my hair for a few days, probably a week or else I could start it bleeding and even create an infection.
I'm OK. But you probably don't want to be around my greasy hair in a few days. I had a bit of throbbing until after I slept for 3-1/2 hours on the plane back to Salt Lake. Since then, I've had a bit of headache, but it has been lessening each day.
The woman running the front desk that morning called me yesterday to see how I was doing. Today, I received an email from Mr. Julius M. Johnson, Director of Security/Valet for the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport. I am expecting a couple more emails and phone calls, at least, from managers and executives at the Westin. I continue to function just fine (except for the greasy hair :( ). This injury is the kind of thing that could leave a permanent bald spot, but only time will tell if that happens. Beyond that, I do not, at this point, believe there will be any permanent damage to my head.
That particular location has only been open for about a year. I would suspect that mine could be the first serious injury involving those towel bars. I am a reasonably safety conscious individual and am a seasoned business traveler. I was being careful to not fall down and, indeed, I did not. But those towel bars are dangerous. I hope no one else has to split their head open before the Westin decides to soften the edges of those towel bars. I have some ideas in my mind of shapes that would both function well and fit in to the decor and style of the space without those dangerous, sharp outside corners.
Posted by lamontp at 1:54 PM
October 29, 2005
Fun in Florida
This morning, at approximately 8:30 am, I arrived at the airport in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida to pick up my wife, who flew out to spend the next week with me. Of course, I will be working during the day this coming Monday through Friday, but we will have this weekend and the evenings, together.
Her flight was a little delayed, so I ended up waiting around in the airport for her. Of course, I could not go through security to meet her, so I waited near where she would be coming out. The one thing that can be irritating sometimes about flying or meeting people who are flying is that some delays are considered short enough to not be worth reporting to the masses. In many cases these unworthy-of-effort-to-report delays are long enough to make you wonder whats going on. Her flight was about 1 hour later than "advertised", even on the display boards in the airport.
So, I had tried to phone her and see if I had just missed her and she was waiting for me somewhere else in (or outside of) the airport. It's such a small airport that I didn't think it likely, but, you never know. She actually answered her phone just after I saw her walking out through security. She asked me, "where are you?" and I said, "About 30 feet in front of you." She thought that was pretty funny, as she had looked up and saw me as I answered.
After collecting her luggage, we went to the hotel, gave here the "grand tour" and dropped the bags. Then, we went out for breakfast (at an IHOP. After that, we went to an Air Force museum located on the fringe of Eglin Airbase, the Air Force Armanent Museum. However, as my wife had gotten little to no sleep in her overnight traveling, she decided to go back to the van about two-thirds of the way through. I finished looking around and took her back to hotel for a nap.
All in all, we had a great day. Many people hear about my wide travels and say, "Wow; it must be fun to visit all those interesting places." or "Wow; it must be nice to dine out at such nice restaurants all the time." It is; the food is great and I see sights that are as varied as you can imagine...but I (almost) always do it alone. This time, I get to have the company of my beautiful bride. What more could a fella ask for?
Posted by lamontp at 2:36 PM
October 25, 2005
Good News During a Long Trip
This evening, I purchased a plane ticket for my wife to fly out and join me on this long trip. This will be the first time that she has accompanied me on a business trip outside of Utah.
This week, I'm in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. Many have called me a brave man for flying to Florida this week. Well, Ft. Walton Beach is in the (more or less) far wester part of the panhandle, so I'm not anywhere near the Hurricanes flying around here.
The thing that is different about this trip is that for the first time, I will not be able to go home for the weekend. So, after a little bit of discussion, my wife and I decided to have her come and spend the second week with me in Florida. I already have the hotel room, I already have a rental car (which she can not drive, but she doesn't want to anyway) and I even have a food allowance. As long as we're smart about watching the food spending, all I have to provide is a plane ride to get her here and back home. Delta AirLines to the rescue.
One advantage of traveling as much as I do is that I have a lot of miles saved up. Heck, I have miles with 6 different airlines that can be used with about 40 airlines worldwide. We used miles to go on our vacation to Australia/New Zealand last December-January. Booking the tickets that way meant that we had to spend a few days in Japan and Guam as well. I only have to pay for the gate fees/taxes for each time we landed somewhere, which was 11 times over 5 weeks for that vacation.
For the ticket I booked tonight, I spent approximately US$70, because there's an extra US$50 charge for booking using miles less than 14 days in advance :(, plus 25,000 miles out of the over 100,000 I currently had. She will leave Friday evening and arrive Saturday morning.
I'm really looking forward to it.
Posted by lamontp at 6:21 PM
June 26, 2005
Worth Their Weight In Silence
After a few phone conversations with Crutchfield, they shipped the Bose headphones (from Virginia, by the way) which Stuart & I had ordered on Monday, June 20th. They arrived at Guru Labs offices on Thursday. However, as I was in Austin, Texas at the time, I did not pick up my pair until Friday evening on the way home from the airport.
I left on my next trip, to Cincinnati, Ohio, the following Sunday, June 26th. It was a direct flight and I was upgraded to "First Class" (it's domestic so it's really Business Class, but we do not need to go into that now). This is the first time I have used them "on the road" and I must say that the experience was magnificent.
Both Bryan & Dax have had the Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones for nearly two years now. I have had the opportunity to "thy them out" on occasion, in the office. I already knew that I liked the sound, fit and comfort of them. I was also already well aware of the limitations of the noise canceling capabilities. For example, voices come through just fine and many times music will to (though greatly flattened out, I think). They work best at filtering out both white noise and gray noise.
Shortly after takeoff this afternoon, I slipped my new headphones on, plugged the airplane adapter into the on-board sound system, and flipped the switch. A moment later, the noise canceling kicked in. The difference, though noticeable, did not seem too large. As I wanted to watch the in-flight movie, I decided that even the small, perceived difference was still a good improvement.
About an hour later, I was unable to hear what one of the stewardesses was asking me, so I lifted the one side of the headphones off of my right ear and could not believe the difference. It seemed as though the noise of the jet engines rushed in to pound on my eardrum. The difference was nearly deafening. At that moment, I thought to myself, "This is what I had been subjecting my ears to all these years of traveling, and I didn't even realize it was that bad, until now. I will never travel without my Bose Quiet Comfort 2 headphones, again."
They truly are worth every penny I paid.
Lamont R. Peterson
Posted by lamontp at 9:33 PM
May 24, 2005
On the Road, Again...
It's been a little more than two months, but I've finally got my first road trip of the 2005 training season.
It seams that we have a lull in the (travel) action each year around February-April. This year, we were rather busy just into March and made it most of the way through May before the trips started up again.
On May 15, I boarded a flight to Hartford, Connecticut via Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. Evan was also traveling; to Minneapolis. I tried to phone him and see if he was going to be on my flight while I was in the Salt Lake City Airport, but never got through to him. Yesterday (the first back in the office after this trip), I found out he had been stranded and could not get out to Minneapolis until Monday afternoon. Kinda funny, eh?
This was my first time in Connecticut or, for that matter, New England.
The training center provides a lot of training. Their systems are all Sun Microsystems SPARC workstations. Because of this, they rented some IBM T23 ThinkPad notebooks. There were some small issues with getting the classroom setup, a couple of bad hard drives in the notebooks and one with some bad memory, but overall, it was the smoothest setup with rented equipment I have had. Derek was quite happy that I fixed everything for him.
The students were one of the most fun bunches of guys (no women, this time) I have had the privilege to teach. They were on the ball, had the competence to really follow along with where we were heading and asked some great questions.
In summation, I can not think of a much better way to start the traiing season.
Lamont R. Peterson
Posted by lamontp at 2:41 PM