Poké Walk of Terror

My first venture out walking after weeks of bed turned into a terrifying little walk that I can’t stop dwelling on.

My son Karek and I took a walk to the store. On the way, we decided to detour to PokéHill, a hill in which there are multiple pokéstops and a pokégym. Hence the nick-name PokéHill. Before my girlie part pain started, I would walk there two to three times a day.

Right before we got to the turnoff, we noticed three people walking toward our street, and I thought one had a rake or something along that line. I didn’t look directly at them, and I didn’t think much of it until Karek said that they looked like they were up to no good. I asked what he meant, and he said he didn’t know, but they had a rope, and they just looked suspicious.

I decided we should not go to PokéHill, and we turned off on the next street; So did they. We sped up, so did they. I was rapidly becoming more fearful for our lives. I didn’t have my knife or my pepper spray, and the pain from the pelvic congestion syndrome I am going through was quickly worsening, trying to walk faster.

Just before we got to the next turnoff, I was contemplating calling the police. Karek looked back again, and they were gone, just disappeared. I feared they had a better way to grab us, but we safely made it to the store. Is it odd that I feel like I am in the twilight zone right now?

I don’t know if it was just coincidence or if they genuinely had sinister intentions. But what I do know is that the feelings I felt during this opened my eyes to what is going on in our world—even in our town. It is everywhere, and there is no escape.

You see this stuff all over the news and the social media—about rioting and looting and so much unrest everywhere. But it never hit home really until today. This world is full of evil people that want nothing more than to make others suffer. Why? Because misery loves company.

There was nothing racial about this; there aren’t even any actual riots here that I am aware of. There was nothing to be hateful about; they were just malicious. Perhaps they had no real intention of harming us. Maybe they just wanted to do what they did—scare us.

Now that hours have passed, Karek says they probably were walking, and it had nothing to do with us. But I was there; I believe he was scared—by his behavior and what I felt from his aura at the time. I felt fear and anxiety, and it was not just mine.

I don’t know what they were up to if anything. Karek could be correct, and we just jumped to conclusions. But who walks around town flaunting a rope or any weapon for the matter? Nobody with good intentions at any rate.

If you think about it, what are the protests and violence accomplishing that is so important? Nothing that I can see. More hate, more violence, property destruction and businesses, terrorizing innocent people, and more laws.

I have a love/hate relationship with the idea of the government going after people like this. I wouldn’t want them grabbing innocent people off the street; I realize many “peaceful” protests exist. But there has to be a common ground to get the terrorists off the road, does there not?

Until next time dear diary, Olive

The Closing: Part Two

Goodbye doesn’t mean the end. It only means that I will return or see you some other time. Take the sky, for example, the sun tells the sky goodbye when it gets dark only to return the next day once it is bright. – Frank Alile

All I can do is apologize and let him know that I will have one as soon as I can, I just started the second pot of regular, but I will begin to the decaf the second it’s done.

Of course, I apologize all over myself because that’s what we’re supposed to do, and thankfully, he is OK with it. He says he’ll come back in a bit.

Once I have all the coffee made, I message Ryan and tell him that the coffee pot quit working, and I am doing the best to keep it going for the guests.

No response, but I know he’s awake. He’s getting his kids up for school, I’m sure of it, as I would be if I were home.

He arrived on time, as usual. However, he brought me birthday/good luck flowers. That was super sweet of him.

I wasn’t sure what to say; I wasn’t expecting that.  I didn’t think he cared that much that I was leaving: Upset with me maybe, even.

Methank you!

He had a gander at the coffee pot, and it is not going to be fixable. He calls the company that provides our coffee, and they advise him that they will be sending out somebody to either fix it or replace it tomorrow.

RyanI’m going to tell the guy to change it out because we just had somebody out to fix this a couple of months ago, and it was basically doing the same thing.

I tell him about the printer, and he gets that figured out quickly. The unique tool he needed was a screwdriver. It was a deep, paper jam.

MeWe have 54 rooms, 2.5 girls no laundry. What do you want me to do?

RyanLet me call Kaydie and see if she would be willing to come in.

She answered, and I can tell by his side of the conversation that she said yes. I run three runs of fifteen rooms each and one with nine for Kaya, the early housekeeper.

Tally, the head housekeeper, arrives as I’m colouring their runs.

MeKaydie is coming in, and they have a lot of yellow; it should be a good day.

TallyGood. I almost called in this morning; my kids are sick, I’m sick: I’m exhausted! I’m going to ask Ryan if Evini can come in and do laundry.

MeI’m sorry. Hopefully, the day is smooth for you.

She talks to Ryan for a few then heads to the laundry room to rotate linen.

Kaydi and Celeste arrive just before the clock in time. Arelia calls just then to let us know she’s going to be five to fifteen minutes late. They get to work.

A guest has been staying for a couple of weeks now; he comes in and pays daily. One of them irritating types.

MeGood morning, paying for another night?

GuestYep, this is probably the last night.

MeOK, go ahead and slide your card.

I already added the night and got the system ready to accept payment when I saw he was headed in.

Guest: You know, all it’s going to take is one person saying they got that virus here and they’ll quarantine the entire motel, and you employees won’t be allowed to go home.

MeThat would suck. Do you want a receipt?

GuestNo, I’ll get one when I check out. I’ve been watching the news; they’re taking over motels to put quarantined people in because hospitals are running out of room.

MeWell, I haven’t heard of anyone sick here, so I doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon. Do you want housekeeping service today?

Doesn’t this guy get that I couldn’t care less about his theories?

GuestNo, you guys should be worrying about catching this virus. It’s killing a lot of people.

This guy is bloody crazy; I haven’t heard anything about this, although I don’t watch the news. But I would think I would have heard about something this big, regardless.

MeWe’re careful here. We’ll be OK. There’s still some coffee left if you want another cup before I pull it.

He wanders over and gets a cup, and heads out the door. I open up his profile and add a comment.

“Guest has made numerous comments over the past few days about a virus that’s killing people, possibly causing the motel to be quarantined, including the employees if someone reports being sick that was a guest here.”

If something hinky happens, there will be documentation, and they’ll know it was this nut. Most likely, he’s just setting it up so he can get a refund. He’d get it; corporate refunds anyone that complains about anything. Rather, they call and make us do it.

Arelia arrives just as I’m putting up the coffee. I’m mopping when she comes back from clocking in, carrying flowers.

AreliaHappy Birthday Liv! She hands me the flowers.

MeThank you! I tell her as she gives me a tight hug.

AreliaYou’re welcome. I wish you so much luck on your next adventure.

Man, I’m really going to miss everyone here a lot.

MeThank you, Arelia, you are so sweet.

She goes out on the floor to get to work. The guy that wanted decaf never came back; imagine that. The rest of the morning goes without a hitch for the most part.

Jevin is the p.m. shift; he arrives at 1310 hours, about thirty minutes early, like clockwork. He goes straight back to the breakroom.

As I’m sidetracked digging in my bag for my brush, I hear a commotion coming up behind me.

I turn around, and Jevin leads a train of singers carrying a delicious chocolate-chocolate personal birthday cake from Safeway. Mmmm. My favourite!

Following Jevin is Robbie, Arelia, Kaya, Tally, Evini, Kaydie and Celeste, all singing happy birthday to me!

I don’t know what to say; I’m sure my face is beet red at this time.

MeWow, thank you so much, all of you!

These people genuinely care about me; I feel awful leaving them. But I find myself at a crossroads, and I’ve made my decision.

The Closing: Part One

Luck is a very thin wire between survival and disaster, and not many people can keep their balance on it.
-Hunter S. Thompson

TJ went out to start the truck while I finish making sure I have everything I need for my last day. I feel like I’ve forgotten something, but I can’t figure out what it is.

LivCocktail, check. Deodorant, check. Supplement packs, check. I took my collagen, took my lysine. Sinus pills in my bag. Workshirt. Phone in my wallet, watch on my wrist. I can’t place it.

Oh well, it’s 0520 hours; I don’t have time for this; I’ve got to go. I grab my stuff and go out the door, and it’s bloody cold. Thirty-six degrees and the truck isn’t much warmer. TJ is scraping the windows.

He gets in and starts to pull out, blowing on his hands to warm them; he wasn’t even wearing gloves.

Me: ugh, I can’t wait for summer; I hate coldness!

TJ: 36 this morning; maybe it will drop down to 35 right as it starts to sprinkle, and we’ll get some snow early. Then have a high of 60.

Me: oh yea, that would be nice, hey? I’ll already be at work, so you wouldn’t have to drive in it, hehe.

We pull into 711, and I hop out to make us each coffee for the last time, this early. His: sugar, chocolate, and caramel Colombian dark roast. Mine: Cinnabon decaf with stevia rather than sugar.

This guy that works at The Rainbow Store walks in while I’m stirring: he’s nearly always there before me.

Me: I beat you today.

Patron: yes, ma’am, you did.

He chuckles.

Me: “Have a great day!” I say.

As I walk away, taking my typical path to get to the cooler with the water bottles. I grab two 33 oz Pure water bottles, carrying one under my chin to the checkout.

Me: yesterday, we accidentally drove right past here without realizing it till we saw Wal-Mart. We stopped at the little store on the hill, and can you believe this? They didn’t have any coffee!

Clerk: Wow, that sucks.

Me: yea! Well, have a great day!

Clerk: you too, dear.

I get back in the truck, handing TJ his coffee and putting mine in my cup holder. I shove one water in my bag and drop the other on top. We pull out. The first light we hit is red.

TJ: gotta stop for all this traffic out here. He says blandly.

Me: yea, I don’t think they have magnets under this light. They should have magnets under all the lights and use magnets at night and timers in the daytime.

TJ: you think?

Me: yes, dude, I should be running this town. (I chuckle). Yea right.

TJ: you should, or maybe go for president.

Me: it would be pointless to be a city official if I can’t actually make a change. Like, I know how to make things run smoother, but the people even in control don’t want that; they want chaos.

TJ: that’s probably true; it doesn’t mean you can’t try. You could go for mayor.

Me: No, then I’d be a target. Hmm, I wonder if the mayor is a puppet, like the president.

We arrive at the motel. I grab my bag, walk around the truck, and kiss TJ goodbye as he hands me my coffee. “See you at lunch, mow,” I say.

I walk into the lobby, and Rodney is mopping the floor. I set my stuff on the counter and go back to clock in. I have two minutes. I sit down and clock watch.

We are supposed to submit our hours daily, so I submit the previous day’s hours once I clock in each day. My reasoning, if I must take the time to submit my hours daily, I’m going to get paid for it.

Today will be the exception as it is my last day. I’ll submit all my hours at the end of my day because I will not be back.

I go to the front and pull out the til I’m going to use, and start counting.

Me: how was the night?

Rodney: Good, very calm and quiet. Happy birthday.

Me: Thank you!! Any complaints?

Rodney: nope.

Me: oh, nice!

Rodney: the printer on node one jammed up while I was printing the audit. It’s going to take a unique tool to get in there and get the paper out.

Me: OK, I’ll tell Ryan when he gets here. As long as I have one working, that’s all I care about. Lol.

I finish counting both tills and get logged into the tablet. Yes, we have to check people in with tablets. Stupid.

Anyway, once it is finally logged in, I print all my necessary reports. Usually, I also print everything for maintenance, but it’s Billy today, and he won’t use the stuff I print; only Robbie appreciates my pre-printing.

Rodney: oh, one of the coffee pots are leaking; I kind of don’t want to put it out.

Me: oh, so it decided to leak instead of exploding this time, huh?

Rodney: yea, I guess, lol.

Me: oh well, we can’t afford not to put it out. We are required to have a decaf; despite the fact, nobody drinks it. I can’t only have one regular pot made at a time, and we have no spares to my knowledge.

I drink decaf, but I haven’t drunk the motel coffee since I found out Matilda had poop under her nails. I am a semi-germaphobe, and even though she’s gone now, I can’t forget. Her germs are forever permeated in everything as far as I am concerned.

Rodney: yea, I guess you’re right.

He goes to the back to clock out, and I take the coffee pots out to the lobby and get them all set up.

Rodney: “Have a good day. “

He says as he walks out the door. I double-check he brewed the second pot of regular and checked the lunch bag that TJ packed me. He put cookies in, yummy.

I check the schedule and see we have two housekeepers, an early housekeeper, which I call a half, and no laundry person with 54 dirty rooms. Wonderful.

I’m not making the boards until Ryan gets here because I don’t know how he will want to break it up, and I’m not running them twice.

I decide to eat my cookies for breakfast rather than oatmeal. Bad me, but they’re so delicious! Unfortunately, this also means I’ll skip my a.m. supplement pack, which puts the whole day off. Oh well, it’s my last day and my birthday; I’ll indulge.

Halfway through my first one, a woman comes in for coffee.

Guest: Is there something wrong with this coffee? It looks like water.

Me: Um, I’m not sure; let me check it out.

I walk out there, and sure enough, it looks like coffee water, so I take the pot to the back and grab the other pot.

Me: I’m so sorry about that. Something must have happened when the pot was brewing; this one should be good.

I run back to dump it and start another one.

Guest: uh ma’am, this coffee’s not even hot.

I walk out and look at her coffee, and it too looks like water, so I walked to the back to check on the pot I just started, and it looks like just water’s coming out. I grab a cup, slip it under the stream, and then stick my finger in; it’s cold.

That explains a lot. Yesterday we had some issues, including myself getting burned all over my wrist and hand. It wouldn’t stop brewing: I had to flip the breaker to stop it.

Luckily, I had coconut/e oil in my bag with everything I might need and nothing that I do (usually).

Besides having to redo a couple of pots of coffee, I’m freaking out trying to figure out what I’m going to do.

I remember we have this extra pot that Matilda had in her apartment before she was—finally—forced to move out (two years after all managers were evicted from their on-property flats). I’m just going to have to use that.

I run out and apologize to the guest and tell her that I’m going to make a pot with a regular home pot, and it will be a couple of minutes, but I will get coffee out for her.

Thankfully, she is very kind and understanding, not what I was expecting. Thankful for that gift on this, my last day.

I get the coffee done; that takes a while. A standard household, 12 cup coffee pot is pretty slow. But, it is better than nothing at this point.

After I get that part out to her, I start the next pot thinking, “OK, I’m going to get the two coffee pots of regular out because at this point I have a line, then I’ll do the decaf.”

I sit down and guess what; somebody walks in and asks me if I have decaf. Seriously? Nobody ever drinks the blasted decaf!”

to be continued.

Olive Tsetsiliya Kotov

An Olive Kotov Chapter Series

Meet Olive; she is 5’3, 139 pounds, and just turned 40 years old. Her hair is naturally black and silver, which people assume she pays good money for; she keeps her nails extra long and loves pink, sparkles, and unicorns!

She enjoys going out to breakfast with her husband, TJ. Her goals are to be a famous writer and professional bodybuilder; 9% body fat, 18 inch-around arms, and big.

She wears a cocktail of colognes, which she calls her LivCocktail and Old Spice deodorant. She gets many compliments about it, which makes her smile inside.

She bikes in the morning at 0200 hours; at least when she worked at the motel, she would lift weights after work. She hasn’t figured out a new routine yet.

Olive was employed at SeaBay Inn for about eleven years total over the last twelve. Six years as a desk clerk, before that she was the Head Housekeeper and emergency desk.

She quit because of the manager, Matilda. She was a bully with power and got away with everything, including, but not limited to, stealing from guests and the company.

Olive’s mom, Farah, told her she should never go back unless Matilda begs her. Well, thirteen months after Olive’s departure, she did reach out to her.

Matilda needed her on the desk. She agreed with the stipulation that she would not put Olive out on the floor except for emergencies. Except for a few times in the first month, Matilda held to her word.

A franchise company recently purchased SeaBay Inn. Olive, suspicious of their intentions, allowed herself to be laid.

Olive has been married to TJ for seven years this July. Together, they have six grown children; he has a 22-year-old daughter, Mernie. Olive has a 23-year-old daughter, Nastasya, and two sets of fraternal twins, Ludis and Lera, 19, Karek and Katja, 21.

TJ is the assistant foreman and captain of the Horatio Point for Blue Sea Oysters. They live in a cozy three-bedroom house, which TJ painted grey with purple trim, Olive’s desire. He would move mountains for Olive; she is pretty spoiled.

She is so spoiled that TJ is in the process of building her removable coverage over the back patio so she can workout outside during the rainy season.

He’s already gotten her a bench, weights, a curl bar, and a rowing machine. She ordered herself a stationary bike, which she’s been failing miserably at using for the past couple of months.

While she’s not working, she should have more time to get her biking and workouts each day. Hopefully, she won’t find excuses to put it off.

All her workout equipment is in the second spare room right now. She has exercise posters up and some pictures of bodybuilders she dreams of following in their footsteps.

TJ has the first spare room for all his musical instruments; drums, guitars and amps, and even a karaoke machine he got Olive for Christmas one year.

He recently soundproofed the walls to play whenever he wants without bothering the neighbours—this is where he goes when he gets overwhelmed and needs his TJ-time.

They have a dog and a cat who or best friends. Hurricane is a brindle rot/black lab/pit, and Ceirin is a black Egyptian mow housecat with big round eyes; Katja calls them “moon eyes.” She found Ceirin wandering the street in the middle of the night.

Olive is 327 days dry; she tries to use working out or playing criminal case, one version or another, to distract herself. Even on days she doesn’t have time to play them, she does her best to get her spins done.

The daily battles not to have a drink become easier as the days and weeks pass; some days are still really tough when there are extra struggles out of usual.

TJ and Olive recently discovered a channel called MeTV that has shows like “Wagon Train,” “Gomer Pyle,” “Mash,” “Perry Mason,” and some other excellent shows on it that are old. It’s her favourite other than Netflix, even over Netflix.

TJ’s daughter, Mernie, is going to school at OHSU. She’s planning to travel to other countries and give women and children a voice that doesn’t have one. Olive isn’t sure that’s the best thing; it’s pretty unsafe, but somebody has to do it, and it is Mernie’s choice.

Nastasia is Olive’s oldest daughter. She works just up the street from their home at McAndy’s Market, and she’s a hard worker. She has a great guy, Shane; he works for FedEx. They’re super perfect for each other.

Karek is working with TJ and going to college to be a computer programmer. He spends most of his free time online with his friends.

Katja is working at Brick Austere, an art dealer down the road. In her free time, she is out partying with friends.

Ludis is having the time of his life at OSU on a basketball scholarship. He has not yet chosen a major.

Lera hasn’t decided if she wants to go to college yet, holding down three jobs, a workaholic. But she is considering being a child protective worker.

TJ and Olive live a pretty simple life. They’ve got great neighbours, just outside of the crappy part of town. They’re happy; that’s what matters, right?

Prologue

An Olive Kotov Chapter Series

Dear Diary, I’m going to miss my wikalicious coworkers. They are all pretty amazing. I feel like I am abandoning them, but I have been worrying about the team and sacrificing myself far too long. It is time for me to take care of myself.

I thought it was all because of matilda that I was not too fond of it there, but it was not only her. She has been permanently gone for months, and I am still so unhappy; it is my very most unfavourite place.

It has literally been making me sick. I assumed I had another gallbladder attack recently, but I detoxed with lemon charcoal, and it didn’t help like it usually does. So I concluded that it was not my gallbladder.

I decided to try some apple cider vinegar with the mother. Low and behold, it felt better for about twelve hours. I have a stomach ulcer! I believe it is at least 75% the fault of work stress. It was so bad the last few mornings that it was making me nauseous.

Every day I work, I get a gnarly sinus headache by about 1300 hours, most certainly from the vents. On days that I didn’t work? None. This has been happening regularly for quite a while.

It took much deliberation to decide whether to stay or go upon the company change over. Cons far outweighed the pros in staying. The nail in the coffin was this.

I took a vacation at the end of last year, requesting fifty-four hours; it was approved by management. I had ninety-four hours available according to my pay stub and the time system on the clock-in computer; I was paid for twelve!

I didn’t find out until I got paid after returning in January when I barely received a check. I contacted HR and sent them copies of my requested and approved hours and pay stub, also showing I had 94 hours (which were not on my current paystub as of my contact with HR).

I requested the hours; they were approved in the management system, and I paid no attention to it after they were approved. Why would I? Why would anyone?

Other people had their max hours appear as well. I assumed they changed the vacation time to more like TJ’s, where it all goes on on a specific day of the year, and you have twelve months to use it or lose it rather than accumulation over time. Corporate previously said changes were coming; it made complete sense.

Yea-yea, I know what TJ says about assuming, “assumption makes an ass of oneself.” Well, I got my just desert, right?

The system will not let you request days off if you don’t have the hours available, period. You cannot even request a day off without pay if you don’t have available hours. So if you need to ensure you have a regular day off for something important, you must tell the manager and keep reminding them to be sure you are not accidentally scheduled.

Let me say my schedule has been the same for years. But I tell you what, every single time I needed to have a typical day off—for something and forgot to request it off, something happened, and I’d end up getting scheduled for that day! No joke.

Anyway, I had not heard anything back from HR until I contacted them late last month. She replied and stated that she sent a report to the payroll system programmers about its glitch. She said there is nothing she can do about it and apologized for any inconvenience it may have caused.

She then informed me that I need to be more careful when requesting time off and not ask for the time I don’t have. WHAT?! She’s telling me their error is my fault. Seriously?

That was it that made my decision. Moving to a new company is not the right choice for me. This blatant disregard for what is right is a sign for me to run. I know I can do better; I’ve learned. I was just too scared—time to spread my wings and fly.

Since I decided, I have had zero regrets. Things keep happening, reiterating that I chose the correct path. It’s like God is making sure I don’t ignore the signs.

I’m going to work on getting myself into school for creative writing and work on my professional bodybuilding goals. Though I have been doing it for headed to eleven years, hospitality is not for me.

No more being yelled at by people because their mommy didn’t pay for their room or the rez center or 3rd party booked the wrong room type. The rez center doesn’t charge cards when making reservations, which is a common misconception by guests. They think we’re double charging them and don’t want to pay.

No more bowing down to the wankers looking for a freebie with lies because “the guest is always right,” and we have to kiss their feet no matter how mean or rude they are to us. They’re right; we’re wrong. It’s infuriating.

The wifi sucks; there is no shampoo or coffee in the room, no pastries in the lobby; it’s not a fucking Hilton, but that’s what they expect. There is also no store within walking distance, that is our fault as a desk clerk.

No more surveys from disgruntled guests—dictating what our job ethic and effort are by giving us crappy scores: Hot tub being down, housekeeping issues, maintenance issues, check-in issues because the tablets freeze (which were never intended for business use in the first place). But to the guest, we’re the incompetent ones trying to check them in.

The end of a scoring system directly reflecting our personal score, which has nothing to do with our actual friendliness or work ethic, or even anything within our control. But it certainly justifies little to no raises in the eyes of a corporation that sees us as numbers. 

Some travel agencies tell guests that we have a pool, exercise room, complimentary breakfast, et cetera. that’s who., They post pictures of suites as standard rooms and even images that aren’t our rooms. Who gets the angry guest? The desk clerks, that’s who.

Don’t get me wrong; some good people stay there.  But there is not enough good to outweigh the bad. No more getting paid barely over minimum wage, to be treated like shit by self-entitled assholes.

Maybe I can finally forget about that crazy psycho, Sean. I worried about him coming back; it’s been two years, maybe three, but I’m still terrified of him. He was insane, utterly sick in the head.

There is no more worrying about staffing shortages, machines breaking down, coffee pots exploding on me, guest catastrophes, being robbed, diseases, and germs.

No more homeless destroying rooms, defecating and urinating all over everything except in the toilet, ruining beds, and forcing us to put spaces down, therefore getting us in trouble with the corporation for having rooms down.

No more tweakzombies ripping mirrors off walls to do lines or leaving needles under mattresses, in towel shelves, and the back of toilets. Having traffic at all hours of the night bothering other guests, just being the pieces of shit that they are.

The people who bought the motel flip houses, doubtful they know anything about running a motel. They have money signs in their eyes, mercenariness.

Health insurance plans are doubling in rate with no fewer copays, maybe higher. Pretty sure they don’t match your 401k, and raises will likely cease. Who knows if they’ll even keep people not making minimum wage very long.

They already made them sign a contract stating there is no guarantee they’ll have a job once 90 days pass. They can be fired at any time after that with no reason or penalties, and the employee can’t do anything about it. Not even confident they can get unemployment if that happens—zero job security: corporate greed.

What I’m trying to say is that I did not make my decision lightly….and I pray my now ex-coworkers are okay, that either they get to keep their jobs or find something better that deserves them.

Here’s to a new chapter in my life!

Until next time, Olive Kotov.