From High Heels To Orthopedics Shoes!

September 2012

Our dear friends Dave & Eleanor moved from San Jose to Phoenix just before we moved to Brentwood in 2002.  Their daughter Dee & “hubby” Ken, were transferred to Reno recently and they were visiting there so we decided to go visit for a few days. We didn’t want to do that “killer” drive through LA to Phoenix ever again!! Jim & I swear, we really need to learn to edit what we take on the road.  Granted, due to our age and pocketbook not wanting to spend a dime for extras, we can bring from home, like Kleenex, cold medicines, etc.,just in case, constipation pills, just in case, 10 changes of clothes for cold and warm  weather, dress & casual, just in case.  Well you get the drift! We take so much “stuff” it is totally ridiculous. Not only that it is a pain to pack up it is a double pain unpacking!  God forbid, would that we could, going on a backpacking trip, (which  in the old days, I would have absolutely  loved). We would be crippled carrying “stuff” on our backs, & we couldn’t afford to feed the herd of mules that would have to accompany us to carry “all the rest” of “our  stuff” .           

Anyway, a few days prior to our trip, I called the Peppermill, in Reno for reservations.  I had researched  and picked the two hotels, the Atlantis and The Peppermill that were closest to Dee’s house. Atlantis was newer but way more expensive. When I made the reservations at the Peppermill, during two separate phone calls, I inquired about the possibility of us getting an upgraded room, since it was the middle of the week in an “off season” Both times I was told absolutely, just get there early between 12:00 & 1:00 PM. to personally check in. I said to myself, “ Okey  Dokey”……………that’s what we will do, Woo Hoo we’re  going to be “livin  large”!

We woke up around 6:30 am, had coffee & cereal, read the paper & washed our dishes, etc. & packed the rest of “our stuff”!!  We were on the road around 9:00 AM….perfect, we’ll make it at 1:00 PM. The weather was sunny and clear and the roads not busy. You see, “older adults” I can’t say retired, because we are not, we just have time flexibility, travel mid -week and plan on missing commuter traffic. Anyway, it was a lovely trip across the Sierras on Highway 80. The scenery was spectacular and the drivegreat. We got to Reno in plenty of time.   Of course, Jim being as efficient as he is, had both written driving instructions as well as we had our new GPS,(courtesy of Father’s Day). Well everything in Reno is on Virginia Street and half of it is torn up with new construction right now.  Our instructions clearly  said the  Peppermill was on the  left side of the road, so  we  drove, and drove, and drove, up and down Virginia St., checking our time so we could may be get there to the hotel in time to receive our free upgraded room. Well guess what…….yep, you’re right,  the Peppermill was not as tall as we thought it  would be, did not look  anything like  the brochure and it  was on  the RIGHT side of the street!!!  We could not find any street numbers on that darn street. Never thought to look to our right (Tunnel Vision an "Old People" Thing).  Anyway, we finally, happily, pulled into the hotel parking area. The valet service unloaded three weeks of clothes and ”our stuff” and we walked to the desk to check in. It was not busy at all, lucky for us.

At the desk was a lovely, smiling, charming, jovial man, named Jerome.  He looked up our reservations and I asked about the upgrade.  I asked if we could be on a high floor and near an elevator.  He checked and said, “Let’s see what we have”.  He then proceeded to show us the floor plans. They   looked fabulous.  We “heard” him say, that would be $50.00 a night, in addition to our agreed to a daily rate of $117.00, to be upgraded to this magnificent suite……well not free, but wow, what a deal, since our friends were coming, we would have more room.

While going over the coupons, maps, passes and other features offered with me, he handed my “other” Jim, the pad to sign, which had a very dark grey back ground with black fonts and looked like a dark hole. Jim had given him his credit card and Jerome advised we should use mine, since the room was in my name. Then he tells Jim to sign the pad (about 4” x 6”with a gray background), which Jim questioned, because it was Karen’s card. Jerome said to sign, it would be OK. Come to learn later that this was an acknowledgement for the changes. Back to this later.

Jerome goes over all the coupons, discounts, maps, and other misc. things to be redeemed at another place, miles away in the casino.  We then went to our “suite” # 1744. We walked in to a dark living room area with tinted windows, and I swear, two lamps with 20 watt or fewer bulbs in the tiny lamps. The furniture was dark brown leather, the molding and trims & bar very, dark brown, it was less cheery then a funeral parlor!!!!  Wow, what a depressing place.  The next day they delivered two lamps.

Then we walked into our HUGE combo bedroom /bath.  The lighting there was probably a touch brighter 40 watt bulbs, no more. (Turns out the hotel is a “green hotel” which translates to dark & cheap to me) Anyway, the darn bed was so high you had to take a flying leap to get into it.  It had a monstrous jetted tub that I couldn’t get in or out of BUT there was a wonderful shower.  The joke was, there was NO closet for our” ten changes of clothes”, just a smallarmoire. At this point, I was really not feeling well, very fatigued, but that happens a lot, and it had been a long day.  After getting a little organized, we returned to the casino to redeem our “passes” & other misc. stuff they give you, and to get a bite to eat, we were starved.   I wanted to go to their Oceana Restaurant for lunch because I had read about it on their web site.  Well, after walking forever, we found the restaurant and it was wonderful.  Then we returned to the room. I collapsed on the bed and went right to sleep. I NEVER do that.  Dave & Ellie came over for a drink. After they left, I didn’t have the energy to gamble in the chaotic casino so we ordered sandwiches from room service and watched TV. He watched “his shows” from the living room TV and I watched “my shows” from the bedroom, (another old people thing)! J

On 9/12 we inquired about the noise above our room during the PM  & AM. They said they would look into the noise. A house keeper told us it was a party room above us. If it was, they partied all night and all day. It sounded more like construction workers. The morning of 9/13 there was a big noise, like something heavy hit the floor (a “big mama” pole dancer). Anyway, in the afternoon we drove over to Dee’s house to see everyone, had a glass of wine & some snacks, chatted and shared photos. It sure wasn’t like the old days, we all appeared to be more tired, more quiet, and just plain getting older……how sad.  At one time we were quite the “rabble rousers”!! We returned to the room and my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest and again I was sooooo tired. Anyway, even though the gambling money I had saved to “play a few slots” was burning a hole in my pocket, so to speak, again, we ordered some sandwiches & crashed again. (It turns out I was having an attack of atrial fibrillation. (I had had it before)  That is why I was so darn tired. Anyway, while typing this I asked Jim to type up his observations about the casino, he hates it.

Jim’s added his own observation of the casino which is as follows:

You walk into the casino and it looks like a Disco Lounge back in the 70's with all the colorful lights which do not flash like and no Disco Music

On the TV ads, you see all these people jumping like it is a big party.

I go into the casino and it must be Senior Citizen week for males. I watch 6 men sitting together at slot machines. They are not talking, they are looking at the machines like it is the first time they have seen Psycho (The Movie). One of them appeared to be sleeping/napping and one (an active senior citizen) would stand, put both hands on the arm, pull down, sit, and watch the wheels rotate and do the same again. The others (except the one napping) pushed the buttons.

A young lady would walk by in one those short cocktail dresses and those guys kept their eyes on the machines. If they had wives, the wives would be very proud of them.

The men out numbered the women. I guess the best place for a lady to meet a man is in a casino. Then these guys did not appear to be active senior citizens. “Where the Boys Are”

Now those boys have aged.

Not my idea of the "Golden Years".

It was entertaining to watch them for a short period of time. Then off to the pool to check out the new ladies bathing suit line for 2013 :-).

Our primary care physician is in a medical building with 2 floors and has 6 handicap parking spaces. If it was a casino there would be 18+ handicap parking spaces.

End of observation!


On 9/13 AM we got an email alert that a $740.03 charges were pending on our credit card by Peppermill. (Naturally we took our laptop as part of our stuff)  We were distraught, to say the least. We then checked our bill on the TV and there was an additional charge of $169.50 for each night. Plus the $117.00 for each night plus taxes & resort fees. What I “heard” from Jerome was $117 plus $50 for the upgrade. In actuality, our bill came to $315.27 per day, including resort fees & taxes. Moral of the story, always ask what the TOTAL charges of your will be including all the misc. charges!!!!  In addition, be sure you get a copy of this re-negotiation; we were not provided that, so when we saw the charges on our bill “after the fact” it was a shock.

I called the office and spoke to Jackie and told her a mistake had been made about the upgrade.  She was nice but firm and said NO- the upgrade was $169.50 plus the $117.00 + resort fees, taxes, etc. She offered a $25 food credit. I looked through the papers Jerome had given us and there was not a hard copy of what Jim had signed.

I have been a REALTOR® for 40+ years and always gave clients copies of all documents that they signed.

Jackie said she would leave a copy of what had been signed at the front desk when we checked out. There would not have been a problem if a copy of the charges were given to us when we checked in.

I was stressed out, got to the front desk and there was a long line, I started having another attack of atrial fibrillation, so we decided to leave and deal with this later. We cancelled our two days in Tahoe and came straight home so I could see my cardiologist.

Most screens for credit card have a light background so you can see the charges, and then some screens aren’t legible if they are on an angle, according to Jim, the only thing visible was his signature. It was simple: $117/night plus $50 upgrade for each night. That is easy to remember.

The problem with the pad would not have been an issue, if we had received a hard copy of the invoice at that time. Once the documents were faxed, I feel it was still misleading.If Jerome had quoted a total cost per night of $315.27 then we would have made other arrangements.  We never heard that figure.

If you look at the acknowledgement faxed to us, 9/14, signed by Jim, how can one read on such a small screen, if you can’t see the print.? The print on the fax copy, from the top of their letter head to the bottom below Jim’s signature is 8¼” x 7”. All of this was on the 4 x 6 screen. Then black print on a dark grey screen. In other words, the body of the acknowledgement Jim signed was not legible. His signature was visible.

When we returned home (after unpacking all our stuff) I E-mailed a detailed letter to the Hotel Director, for the Peppermill, Dave Fuller. It wasn’t that we didn’t have the funds to pay, it was the principal of the situation.  I explained our expectations, our disappointment with the “dark noisy suite”, and frustration with their checking in process.  I admitted it was certainly partly my fault, for putting so much trust in the “jovial Jerome” and not asking the right questions.  I made no demands whatsoever!!!  The next day I received a phone call from Dave Fuller and we had a 30 minute, wonderful conversation.

Among other things, I told him that I felt they had to change their sign in procedures and that he should personally check out room 1744.  In the letter we detailed that the screen that we had signed was totally illegible.  Much to my surprise, he totally agreed with me and said that they were going to change their check in procedures, etc. immediately.  We got along famously, he was the nicest guy and also he was going to look at 1744 when we got off the phone. Jim told my kids that the Hotel director “fell in love with me on the phone”, but I have always lived by the principal of “you get more with Honey than Vinegar”

So……………three morals to this story are: 1) Ask “the question, what is the total?” 2) Get a hard copy of everything you agree to, especially when the rate is being adjusted. 3)  Be nice to everyone all the time, even if you have a problem, it has personal, and can also have financial rewards.

Honey vs Vinegar...Honey Wins!

He (Hotel Director, for the Peppermill, Dave Fuller)  told me on the phone and in a lovely follow up letter, that we were invited back for two nights in one of his brand new luxury Tower Suites, and that he would personally make our arrangements, and it was to include all taxes & resort fees, etc. and that he was really looking forward to meeting us. I guess I made him laugh on the phone, and I’m sure his job is stressful so it was a relief to talk to a “happy, even though disgruntled” customer.  It will be great because our friends have just sold their home and will be moving to Reno…………….so we will be going back to Reno soon to reconnect with our friends and enjoy one of the Peppermill’s new Tower Suites and of course meet our “new friend Dave”.

Have A Good Day,


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Tracy Dr Trehan;'s Office | Reply 28.09.2012 17.02

wow. ur an awesome writter! Love ur stories!

Karen 04.10.2012 15.23

Thanks Tracy!!

RACHEL C | Reply 28.09.2012 16.40


Karen | Reply 28.09.2012 11.59

Thanks everyone, It does pay to be nice to people. I have tried to do that all my life, it certainly makes my life happier!

Heather | Reply 27.09.2012 19.19

Good job telling us to make sure of the facts. I am currently checking out a cruise advertised (great price) but will call the cruise line to be sure it's OK.

Mary | Reply 27.09.2012 18.29

I agree 100%, you get more with honey than vinegar, even if it is pretty hard to be nice in certain situations. But I'm happy that everything came out good.

Marcia Heinrich | Reply 27.09.2012 17.32

Karen and Jim,

Thank you for including me in your email list to receive your blog. Love hearing about what's going on in your "larger than life" life.

Ina Rae | Reply 27.09.2012 16.05

Way to go, Karen! You are a winner! I'm glad you are my friend and Red Hat Sister. Ina Rae

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05.10 | 02:51

I would love to help you clean grout!!

03.10 | 06:37

Love this! Thank you for sharing!

02.10 | 19:05

Sis, want to help me clean my grout?

02.08 | 23:38

I too am an avid fan of Joan. I attended two of her workshops at GATE conferences in CA. She is one of my career inspirations by far. She is AWESOME!

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