Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let The . . .
I'm back from the Romantic Times Convention and had a great time except for the . . . yes, you guessed it: Bedbugs (screech!!!). I was fortunate not to have them in my room, but a good friend of mine wasn't so lucky.
So here's the thing: this kind of stuff freaks me out. I'm a bit of a germaphobe as it is, and after having dealt with a louse in the house I'm completely paranoid. Apparently with good reason.
I'm at the airport about ready to get on my flight and decide to look up the Westin Bonaventure on Trip Advisor. I see a number of reports of Bedbugs (on Yelp, too) and start to freak. My friends take pity on me, and we use Yelp to find a nearby hardware store that carries the spray. It took a while to explain to the taxi driver that we wanted to make a short detour, but eventually we are on our way, only to find out that Yelp has let me down for the first time: the address was wrong. Ugh. So not wanting to run up a huge taxi bill we decide to just go to the hotel.
At check in, I relay my concerns to the desk person, and she absolutely assures me (reiterating what I'd been told on the phone) that they DO NOT have bedbugs and that all those trip advisor reports were false. I have some land to sell you in Florida, too. This went on for a while, and she even gave me her card, which unfortunately I can't find. Anyway, I'm trying to believe her, but much to my friends' amusement I overnight bug spray from Amazon.
I get my room and take all the precautions: no luggage or anything on the floor, check the mattresses, etc. All my friends do this with their rooms, too. Everything seems fine until two days later one of my friends texts me: she'd just killed a bedbug on her comforter while she was eating breakfast. OMG!!! Boy was I glad for that bug spray. Talk about feeding the paranoia.
To make a long story short, the hotel moved her right away, comped her room, etc. On the surface their response was appropriate, but the underlying response was appalling. There was an attempt to dismiss her concerns ("Are you sure it was a bedbug" yada yada), and only did they admit she was right when her roommate happened to be in the room when the exterminator came and she quizzed him. Turns out there was the makings of the colony behind the bed at the baseboard. To me, there seemed to be a concerted effort by the hotel not to acknowledge the problem. So BEWARE the next time you are traveling. Ask questions and don't take "no" for an answer.
I came back and did the full "de-bedbugging" even though I didn't seem to have any in my room. The cost benefit analysis isn't even close. These things can be a nightmare. Big pain in the you-know-what, but I wasn't going to take any chances.
Okay, enough of my rant/public service announcement. The conference itself was really fun. That's me pictured with two of the cover model finalist hopefuls. I think the guy on the left was first runner up. He definitely had the best, or shall we say most appropriate, physique for my sort of covers. Cough cough muscles cough cough.
The big talk everywhere was the changes taking place in the industry, specifically the decisions by a number of authors to turn away from traditional publishers to self-publish on Amazon. I suspect we are only seeing the beginning of the changes in the industry.
My bedbug experience has me a little traumatized. I'm not sure what to do about RWA in NY. I've heard that hotel has had problems, too. Ugh... Anyone else have any phobias?
(P.S. Laurie, I tried to respond to your email but it keeps bouncing! Not sure what is going on).