Back in late November, I made the following excited post to my personal Facebook page:
I found the haunted room here at the new hotel!!!
Yes, there were three exclamation points. You’d think I would have immediately come here to the blog to share the story, but I was otherwise monopolized. At the time, I was deeply embroiled in my quest to complete 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. When that was done, I was ensnared by my life – or rather the lives of my menfolk. I’ve been helping my husband get pysched up for starting his new job (which he begins tomorrow – praise all the saints) and helping my son get calmed down for his first *college-level finals (and his first real date – oh-my-God, how old am I?)
* Remember, he’s only just turned 17, I’ve still got some mothering to do.
For the last two days, I’ve been concentrating on preparing myself for the next phase of this new life we’re creating. I’ve organized & disciplined the HELL out of my calendar and my planner. (When I listen carefully, I can hear them still whimpering faintly.) I’ve set new goals and recommitted to old ones. I’ve tidied up some of the pages around the blog.
I’m feeling organized, confident and hopeful. I know what I need to do next, and what I need to do after that. Soon I’m going to go get cozy, on this wintry night, with a horror movie. (We’re having the first snow storm of the season here in Minnesota.) There’s a little time now, though, to tell you my mini-ghost story.
In room 566:
Deep in the night, on a mid-week shift at the new hotel, I realized a particular room – which had never before been available – was marked as rent-able. I had noted it on the list before, because it is labeled as a king suite. As far as I knew at the time, the hotel did not have any suites. When I had asked about it, I was told that I didn’t have to worry about it because a long term guest was in residence there.
Curious now that it was unoccupied, I set the back-in-five-minutes sign on the counter and went to have a look. I took the elevator to the top floor, then walked about half-way along the hall until I came to the correct door. I knocked – like I always do – waited, then let myself into the room. I located a single switch to my left, and flipped it on. A dim light from one wall-mounted lamp oozed out to fill the room, but it was weak, and it left soft shadows in the corners. Directly in front of me there was a living area furnished with a slightly shabby sofa, two matching side chairs, a scarred coffee table and a large television encased in an open armoire that stood against the right hand wall. In the middle of the big room, a writing desk pressed up to the back of the sofa. Beyond that, against the far left wall, a low king sized bed crouched between two night stands.
I stepped into the space and let the door shut behind me. To my left there was a small kitchenette, separated from the rest of the room by a wall of its own and narrow breakfast bar. I ran my fingers along the bar top as I crossed toward the desk. I was wondering where the bathroom was, and if it was any larger or grander than those in our regular rooms. I stood next to the desk’s bench for a moment, until I figured out that the bathroom was next to the kitchenette, and that it didn’t look like it could be very spacious.
It was then, when I was standing in the middle of the room, facing the bed, that the television behind me came to life.
I spun around, thinking someone had followed me into the the room and turned it on. There was no one near the television, except for the white-haired news anchor displayed on the screen. For a few seconds, I stood frozen, then I turned in a slow circle, scanning the room for any possible spot that could conceal a person. (I have a fear of letting myself into an occupied room. It’s been haunting me ever since the unexpected occupant in room 217 spooked me badly.) Finally, I thought to check the bathroom. It, too, was empty. Even though, by then, I was convinced that I was truly alone in the suite, I looked for the room’s remote control. It was resting on one of the night stands.
One part of my mind was scrambling for a rational explanation, but it was having some trouble because another part was busy screaming, “Appliances that turn themselves on and off are classic signs of a haunting!”
At last my rational brain deduced a plausible answer: the television had to be plugged into a socket that was powered by the switch I had flipped upon entering the room. Without realizing it, I’d provided power to a television that had been left on. There had been a delay simply because some TVs take a little time to warm up. (Later, of course, I realized that some TVs from the 70’s required warm-up time, but I wasn’t thinking about how old or new the set was in that moment.)
Since I had figured out the probable explanation, one thing remained to do: I went back and turned off the only switch I had touched since entering the room.
The room instantly went dark … except for the flickering, bluish light the television continued to pour out. I had to cross the suite to fetch the remote in order to kill it.
So what do you think? Faulty wiring maybe? Or some kind of reverse sleep timer?
Or just the way things are at:
photo credit: Dfardin Licensed CC BY-NC 2.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic)
It has been cropped to square.
NOTE: This post may have been re-titled and edited from its original form,
for inclusion on The Paranormal Hotel homepage.
I have less than an hour to get something down today. I feel compelled to write something “really good” which isn’t helping. I could have started writing an hour ago, but I’ve been reading everyone else’s posts instead of coming up with something to say. I suppose it’s best to just let that go, and finish this the way it wants to be finished.
I should be pretty tickled with how well this has gone. It was nice that launching my blog coincided with the challenge. NaBloPoMo provided just enough pressure to get me to really dive into the blogosphere and figure things outs. I am pleased I managed to do ANYTHING for 30 days straight. (Consistency is not my strong suit.) I’ve made new friends. Overall, it’s been a good experience, even when it was tough to force myself to deal with the commitment.
Despite all those positives, I’m feeling a little sad and lost. What happens tomorrow?
I know only two things for sure:
1) On my 101 in 1001 list, item # 48 says: successfully complete NaBloPoMo once each season. Next year, I’ll do the autumn run in October – which should be pretty darn easy, considering my theme.
2) I’m hoping to participate in National Novel Progress Month for December, and beyond. Even if the group doesn’t tackle the task again, I will absolutely set a goal for myself and track my progress.
Oh. I know one more thing:
BONUS THOUGHT) I will be writing – something, somewhere – tomorrow. Because that’s what I do.
So. That’s it. Congratulations to everyone who finished any of the November writing challenges. And congratulations to everyone who tried.
The moon was new on Friday night. Right now, it is a waxing crescent. I care about this because I’ve been using the lunar phases as my new measurement of time. When the moon was last new, I committed to two daily tasks: meditating (for at least 10 minutes) and using two online trackers, (one to monitor my mood fluctuations and one to keep account of my routine chores.)
I’m a veteran of dozens of organizational systems, from Getting Things Done to FlyLady.net. I keep lists for everything, including my 101 things in 1001 days list. (Which is now about 6% complete.) It feels like my entire adult life has been about learning to manage my time and energy … which is not unusual for a bipolar. My biggest obstacle to effective self-management has always been my resistance to routine and repetition. This is a problem for a mother, a home school facilitator and a writer.
Common wisdom dictates that it take 21 days to establish a new habit. Or six months. Or a year and a day. Depending on what self-improvement guru you subscribe to. Obviously, there is no magic number. The key, I believe is to choose a time frame that makes sense to you.
I use Google calendar religiously. I track many of my practical goals in terms of months, weeks days and hours. Some personal tasks though – like meditation and mood management – don’t seem to want to fit inside those neat, even boxes you can find in a daily planner.
So. For the entire last cycle of the moon – from new through full and around to new again – I managed to persuade myself to honor my commitment to my two goals – even when I was dead tired. It helped that I could step outside, breathe, and look up into the sky – where Luna was showing me how far I’d already come.
In the current cycle, I will add daily yoga or walking into my day. I’ll let you know how it went, when the moon goes dark again.