Dr. Screams Haunted House in Myrtle Beach

You know how much I love haunted houses? Enough to go through one by myself! Last night I satisfied my craving to tour a South Carolina haunted house attraction by driving to Dr. Screams, one of the major players in the haunted house biz here in Myrtle Beach. Let me tell you a little bit about it.

This year the location for Dr. Screams was in a closed down retail store. For me, the structure that a haunted house takes place in is almost as intriguing as the content of the attraction itself. I walked up to the entrance of the haunted house by my lonesome and paid the $15 admission price. This marked the first time I had never had to wait in line for a haunted house. After I received my ticket I was ushered to the side of the building with 10 other people.

My ticket for Dr. Screams.

My ticket for Dr. Screams.

After about two minutes of standing outside the side door, we were invited inside. We huddled into a dark, small room where a haunted house worker gave us the ground rules. We were then able to proceed. Because I was unattached to the other 10 people and because I was standing near the entrance of the maze, I was appointed the leader. I walked in as everyone else followed behind me.

It became apparent the moment I started walking that the dude behind me was a “funny man.” He was commentating throughout the duration of the tour and using expletives when actors would jump out. It didn’t really bother me, it did seem like he was having a good time. Anyway, the funny guy had some buddies with him and then there were a few girls and a few additional guys in the group. The girls had already started freaking out from the moment they had purchased tickets.

I liked the layout of the haunted house. I didn’t feel too much pressure leading the group because it flowed in a way in that you knew where you needed to go yet you had no idea where you were at physically in the structure. There was one time where I led us into a dead end dark corner and I had to whip my phone out for some light so I could backtrack just a bit. I actually liked that brief feeling of not knowing where I was going.

The front portion of Dr. Screams Haunted House in Myrtle Beach.

The front portion of Dr. Screams Haunted House in Myrtle Beach.

In the haunted house the actors were pretty plentiful and seemed motivated to give a good scare. Unfortunately, because I was the lead in the group, the actors tended to wait to jump out at the people more in the middle. The one costume that really jumped out at me was an evil clown. Yes, I am definitely on one of those kicks.

As for the scenes depicted in the haunted house and the other decorations, I thought they were about average. Here is a stupid moment of mine: I totally missed the boat on the Dr. Screams name.

When Sidney asked me about what I saw in the haunted house I replied, “A lot of scenes depicting surgery gone wrong.”

“Well yeah, that’s why they call it Dr. Screams.”

I didn’t put the twisted medical doctor theme together. I thought “Dr. Screams” was just the general name of the haunted house, much in the same that Dr. Pepper is a general name for soda with no ties to an actual medical doctor. So with that said, it makes sense that the attraction was filled with graphic failed operations and mutilated corpses on gurneys. I understand the theme and appreciate it, but I was hoping for maybe a little more variety. I would have like to seen cemeteries, murder scenes, and vampire lairs.

When we exited the building we were ushered onto an ambulance (another “Dr.” theme that I didn’t realize until Sidney brought it to my attention). I thought this was awesome and unique! The 11 of us piled in and we were driven around to a few different scenes. For example, at one stop the doors opened and there was a fire burning with actors around it with chainsaws ready to scare us. Of course they made the ride anything but smooth and creepy music/hospital sounds played inside. I appreciated this component to a haunted attraction that I had never experienced before.

When they told us to get out of the ambulance, one of the girls in our group had had enough. Scared to tears and disturbed, she said she couldn’t go on. We left her behind as workers showed her out.

The conclusion of the attraction had us walking down this wooded trail. Actors lurked in the trees and it was a guessing game of what side they were going to jump out from. A girl in my group clutched the back of my pullover the entire time we were on the trail. Apologizing profusely, I laughingly told her not to worry about it. At the conclusion of the trail, the attraction was over.

I really enjoyed the different components of Dr. Screams in that you got to go through a traditional haunted house, ride in an ambulance, and then walk through an outside haunt. I also thought the actors did a good job and were professional. My critiques would probably be the admission price being a bit steep ($15) and the mediocre scene creations. But overall it got me into the Halloween spirit and it was so nice not freezing my butt off waiting in line. I am happy to say that I have gone through a haunted house attraction in the South. Don’t Blink.

Pumpkins and Etiquette Lesson

I have a confession to make: This might be the most lame Thursday Rundown ever. I don’t have any significant developments to write about but if you know me, you know I am good for carrying on about the most uninteresting and pointless topics. As per Thursday usual, I got five of them for you tonight! So how about we get this disaster of a blog post started?

Today’s Dining Experience - It took me all of six months to do so, but I finally ate in Coastal Carolina University’s main dining hall today. This following bit of information will puzzle all of you even more on why I hadn’t dined at Hicks Dining Hall sooner…for staff members, the admission price is just $5 for the delicious all-you-care-to-eat spread. Today was the Mongolian grill lunch and even though I stood in line for 25 minutes, it was great to get a bowl of the stuff. Interestingly, Mongolian grills aren’t big in the south so I made sure to get it while I could. I also had a slice of pizza and a brownie.

Pumpkins - I talk a lot about how I love Halloween. However, if there is one part of the holiday that I don’t care too much for it is pumpkins. I don’t really like carving them, I hate cleaning them out, and I don’t care for eating the seeds. Nothing is worse than when pumpkins start to rot. However, there are two aspects I do like about pumpkins. I love pumpkin pie and I also enjoy taking a couple seeds from a carving session and then depositing them in the ground. The seeds sprout really quickly and even if you have no intention of letting/watching them grow, it is funny to plant seeds in random spots and see them poke through the earth in just a couple days.

#CCUfamily Update - A quick update on the #CCUfamily campaign I launched at the beginning of the semester: As of the end of today I have featured 48 students. That is 48 interviews, 48 write ups, 48 videos, and 48 web editing jobs. It has all been so worth it. In just the past couple months I have had the opportunity to connect with almost 50 students here on the CCU campus and develop small relationships. The “hellos” I get from them on campus and the e-mail notes of gratitude I receive have made me become that much more invested in Coastal Carolina. To check out the #CCUfamily website, click here.

Coastal Carolina University Student Body President Eliana Padron was today's #CCUfamily featured student.

Coastal Carolina University Student Body President Eliana Padron was today’s #CCUfamily featured student.

Etiquette Lesson - I feel this issue should be reserved for a Dear Abby column but I do want to briefly address it. If someone gives you an item for you to personally use such as tickets or a pass, use it for yourself or kindly give it back. I have recently seen people I am close to get burned by this. They will make a very nice gesture and give someone something and that person will in turn just hand it off to someone else to use. If you are the recipient of someone’s nice act, let them perform the nice act again (give back the item) if you don’t plan to use it for yourself.

Mikayla At Lucky #7 - Put another tally mark next to the amount of weeks that my niece has been on this planet. Can you believe she is seven weeks already? That is 49 days! I am now at the point where I am getting antsy to see her in the Coastal Carolina little dress I got her when she was born. She is almost to the age where she should be big enough to wear it.

Here is this week's montage of Mikayla photos.

Here is this week’s montage of Mikayla photos.

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Last Friday was the busiest day of the month for Don’t Blink by a significant margin. Thank you readers for all your support! I enjoy writing for you. Don’t Blink.

A Twisted Story That I Love

The mysterious/creepy accounts started to occur in Bakersfield, California, a couple weeks ago. Now the sightings have spread to Florida and New Mexico. We aren’t talking UFO’s, bigfoot, or Ebola though. Instead, we are talking clowns; and not just any type of clowns might I add. Turning up when night time falls during this month of October are gruesome, blood stained clowns. Oh, did I mention they are carrying machetes with them?

Call me a little twisted, but I love this story. It is dark, unsettling, and sinister. Just the whole idea of evil clowns coming out when the sun goes down really catches my interest. The fact that little is known about them and that they have managed to get into the heads of citizens just adds fuel to the fire. Social media has done its part to blow this story up a few degrees and we now have a national phenomenon.

One of the Bakersfield clowns.

One of the Bakersfield clowns.

Now I personally think this whole thing is a brilliant publicity stunt by the people behind the demented face paint and masks but I got this question: Why haven’t alpha male vigilantes gone berserk on these clowns?

My understanding is that while the clowns are often showcased on social media, they are also actually seen preying the streets at night as well. With the reputation of these people now established, why hasn’t a car pulled over next to one and let these clowns have it?

This photo of a clown wandering up to a random house makes me smile.

This photo of a clown wandering up to a random house makes me smile.

I expect this violent response because I know personally how people react when they see a somewhat disturbing sight that they know doesn’t belong. In my early years of high school, just for fun, my friends and I would have fun with an alien costume. It consisted of a stereotypical alien mask with this long purple hooded robe complete with an intergalactic belt and a space thing you wore around the neck. Most often it would be me who would get inside it. During random days of the year I would stand on the side of the road and wave to cars that passed by…sometimes I would even stop them in the middle of the street. While many people would just laugh at the idiot in the alien costume, I did experience a couple times where the person or people in the car became very hostile toward me. In one instance, the guy threatened to do bodily harm to me. Looking back on it, I don’t blame him.

I guess my point is if people got so worked up about a dude in a corny alien costume, I can only imagine how bad some want to get their hands around the neck of a clown that very well could be giving their kid nightmares. Why haven’t there been any “revenge on the clowns” stories yet?

I am curious to see if the evil clown population spreads to even more states. South Carolina is real close to Florida, maybe we will get some roaming our streets. Let me make this proclamation: All clowns are welcome at the Alexan Withers Apartment Complex…the only stipulation is that you must take a selfie with me. Hope to see you soon. Don’t Blink.

Taste of the Town

Tonight I went to a food extravaganza. Billed as Myrtle Beach’s “largest culinary/social event of the season” I attended the 31st annual Taste of the Town event. Held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, over 50 area restaurants set up booths and brought some of their best dishes with them.

It was originally my girlfriend’s idea to attend Taste of the Town. Coincidentally, the parish I attend, St. Andrew Catholic Church, puts the whole event on. After mass this past Sunday I purchased a couple tickets on the church’s steps for Sidney and I. I mean how could I go wrong?: Girlfriend wanted to go + Church fundraiser + Lots of good food = NO-BRAINER.

Me holding the Taste of the Town tickets in the car.

Me holding the Taste of the Town tickets in the car.

Today after work I dashed over to the convention center and met Sidney. We walked inside the facility, went right to the ATM, purchased food/drink tickets, and then started to sample. My strategy at first was to walk around and scope everything out before hitting up the various booths. That lasted all of two minutes. The moment I heard someone say chicken macaroni and cheese I was passing over tickets. Yep, the first dish I enjoyed was mac and cheese from the Hard Rock Café. It was the start of many different entrees to come.

Here are some of the dishes we had. The upper left corner is the chicken macaroni and cheese. The top  right hand corner is a fried green tomato. The bottom right hand corner is buffalo chicken dip and the bottom left hand corner is a burrito with rice.

Here are some of the dishes we had. The upper left corner is the chicken macaroni and cheese (The Hard Rock Café). The top right hand corner is a fried green tomato (Sea Captain’s House). The bottom right hand corner is buffalo chicken dip (Remedies) and the bottom left hand corner is a burrito with rice.

In a pure gluttonous rage I also had a burrito, buffalo chicken dip, deep fried mac and cheese, a Philippine dish called palabok, and a cheeseburger. Those are just the entrees. For dessert I had a peanut butter cupcake and molten chocolate cake. To wash it down I had an American wheat beer and a Mt. Dew. Talk about delicious/irresponsible eating!

Here is a montage of some more of the items we ate. The top left hand image is the deep fried macaroni and cheese. The top right photo are the cupcakes...I had a peanut butter cake while Sidney had red velvet. The bottom right hand photo is a cheeseburger (River City Grill), and the bottom left image is the

Here is a montage of some more of the items we ate. The top left hand image is the deep fried macaroni and cheese. The top right photo are the cupcakes (Coccadotts Cake Shop)…I had a peanut butter cake while Sidney had red velvet. The bottom right hand photo is a cheeseburger (River City Grill), and the bottom left image is the

It was a pretty cool event. I have been to many like-minded events in the past that took place in similar convention centers and outdoor public areas but there was one difference: Those events were always beer or wine fests. Instead of passing over tickets for liquids all day, I was handing them over for solids…nice little change if I do say so myself. It was also nice because the crowds weren’t too overwhelming and the lines weren’t too long, something that you usually run into at events like these.

Sidney and I ate ourselves silly.

Sidney and I ate ourselves silly.

Tonight I spent $40. The first $20 of tickets went super fast, especially since we each got a beer. However, we had our second $20 worth of tickets last us forever. We hit the wall at about the time we purchased our first entrée with the second round of tickets. We became so full and miserable that I literally gave my last four tickets away because we weren’t going to use them.

At the end of the night, I was giving my tickets away.

At the end of the night, I was giving my tickets away.

I enjoyed doing something a little different in my community that I have now been a part of for almost six months. It was nice to see/sample many of the restaurants I drive by to work each day. Next year if I go I will eat less and make sure to hit up at least one of the several BBQ restaurants that had a presence. Don’t Blink.

Surrendering A Part of Me

Today my weekly trips to the DMV in Conway, South Carolina, came to an end. Please, don’t feel bad for me. Registering my vehicle and obtaining my South Carolina driver’s license proved a bigger ordeal than I originally thought. Showing up to the place when the line stretched long, not having a measly single signature on a piece of paper, and not thinking about carrying my birth certificate everywhere I went resulted in me making four different trips to get my state driving privileges in order.

And when it comes to DMVs, if you have seen one, you have seen them all. I am a nice guy and I would never wish four trips in less than 40 days to the DMV on my own worst enemy.

Today a lady decided to bring her dog inside the DMV. I guess he was getting his driver's license?

Today a lady decided to bring her dog inside the DMV. I guess he was getting his driver’s license?

During today’s lunch hour when I walked out the door completing my encore DMV trip, it should have been a joyous occasion. Unfortunately, I trudged out with my head hung low. While I had gained a brand new, spiffy looking South Carolina license, I had lost my treasured Montana license.

Check out my new South Carolina driver's license!

Check out my new South Carolina driver’s license!

When I presented to the lady my Washington state birth certificate with a Montana driver’s license, she looked at me like I was an alien. “Well that’s a first,” she said in astonishment. For however long she had been working at the DMV she had never seen a Washington birth certificate nor a Montana license. I aced the vision test and paid the fee. She then told me I could go sit down and wait for the camera desk to call me up. She said this while still gripping my Montana license. Seeing my license clutched in her hand tipped me off that things in South Carolina are different and that I wouldn’t be getting my old license back. I still made a pathetic plea in the form of a question: “Um, you can’t just punch a hole in that and give it back to me?”

No luck.

I will never see this license again.

I will never see this license again.

I know it shouldn’t be that big of a deal but I have a semi-weird obsession with my old driver’s licenses. They tell the story of where you have been and how you have aged. My Montana license told a big part of that story and now it is most likely shredded in a South Carolina DMV waste basket.

Because I am weird and because I plan for worst case scenarios, I did snap a photo of my Montana license before I got called up. I was hoping I would get to delete it when I left the DMV but now it will hold a permanent spot in my iphone’s memory. In case you are wondering, Montana issues the coolest/most durable licenses followed by South Carolina. Washington is the cheapest state with flimsy/uninspired licenses.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some of my past licenses.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some of my past licenses.

A connection to Montana removed but a root in South Carolina planted. Even if I don’t have the license to validate that I lived in the Big Sky state I still have the memories. Man, that sounded corny! Don’t Blink.

Lazy Weekend in the Books, Busy Week on Tap

Sorry to those readers who look to my Sunday evening blog posts as ones that might have a little more substance than the other ones during the week. Quite frankly, this one is pretty straight forward and simple.

I have not had a more low-key weekend for a long time than the one that is just getting over right now. Yesterday I got to enjoy the pool on an 80-degree day in late October…that there is enough to validate my move to Myrtle Beach. Then in the evening I just watched football. No frills, no trips, no amazing stories. Just relaxation.

The major event from today was going to a small South Carolina town called Marion. I went with Sidney to her grandma’s house for the Mathis family’s monthly birthday gathering. About 22 people gathered to recognize the family members who celebrated October birthdays. I got to enjoy a delicious chicken bog, eat yummy cake, and meet some more members of the Mathis Clan. It was a nice little outing.

Sidney and I on our way to Marion, South Carolina, today.

Sidney and I on our way to Marion, South Carolina, today.

This evening I went to campus and covered the Miss CCU Pageant. The kick off to Homecoming week, the pageant had fifteen young ladies competing for the 2014-15 Miss CCU Pageant title. I enjoyed watching our talented students battle it out in front of a packed house for the coveted title. A student by the name of Natalie Francis Harris was picked by the judges as the winner.

The pageant got started off with a group dance number.

The pageant got started off with a group dance number.

As I just mentioned, Homecoming Week is now underway. This marks the start of a very busy week for me that will ultimately culminate in the Homecoming football game on Saturday. Lots of events to cover and some late nights to come. But it is my first Homecoming at Coastal Carolina and I am excited! GO CHANTS!

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Have an awesome week as we inch closer to the big holiday at the end of the month. One thing is for sure, I got the itch to do a lot of Halloween activities this year. Haunted houses, ghost walks, dressing up, passing out candy, and having fun…I want to do it all! Trick or treat. Don’t Blink.

Ordering Off a Handwritten Menu

Yesterday for Boss’s Day our office went out to lunch at a very eclectic restaurant. In fact, I found more charm in this distinctively southern restaurant than the all-you-can-eat country home cooking buffet we went to last week. I am going to have fun telling this story.

Once again, we went deep into Conway, South Carolina, for our meal. This time though, we were headed in the direction of a place called Donzelle’s. Tucked away in a dusty mini strip mall was our lunch spot for the day. Parking was a goat rope but somehow the four vehicles we brought inside the disorganized parking lot managed to fit. I was literally rubbing my hands with excitement as we walked in because I knew I was going to get a real kick out of what I saw.

Walking into the restaurant!

Walking into the restaurant!

I was not disappointed. We walked into a complete blast from the past. A non-alcoholic bar greeted you as you walked in to your right. Basic tables and chairs covered the majority of the restaurant floor to the left. There were some booths on the sides. Old, crooked photos covered the walls. Because they didn’t have a table that could accommodate the 14 of us, I sat at a four-person table with three of our graphic artists.

First cool/eccentric thing I noticed? We had pieces of cake waiting for us at our tables. Donzelle’s had a sign that read “Life is too short, eat dessert first.” Next incredibly cool thing? The lunch menu was handwritten on a sheet of paper. I had never ordered off a piece of computer paper before. Take a look at that menu though…kind of a cool combination/variety to choose from, huh? (And I am not being sarcastic. I love how you can choose a main entrée and then choose three side items). I ended up getting the chicken bog with butter beans and rice & gravy. I decided not to venture for any of the bottom four choices.

The famous handwritten menu. What will you have?

The famous handwritten menu. What will you have?

Regis, one of our graphic designers, ordered the same combination I did. However, the waitress asked him if he wanted any onion rings or French fries thrown on the side. How random is that? I couldn’t help but smile. He opted for the onion rings. As we were ordering I sat back and watched as loads of people entered the restaurant. It didn’t take long for that place to fill up.

Speaking of not taking long, our food was out in no time. The waitress put in front of me a big plate of great-looking food. After our table was served she asked if we would like any corn bread or rolls to compliment our meal (free of charge). We said “yes please” to the corn bread.

This food was delicious

This food was delicious

How was the food, you ask? The best southern food I have had so far! It beat out the place we ate at last week, Radd Dew’s, by a long shot. That chicken bog was absolutely incredible as it definitely stuck to your ribs. Corn bread was very tasty and the rice and gravy hit the spot. I demolished my plate, eating every morsel of food in front of me.

Speaking of plates, I mentioned in last night’s blog post that we presented our boss with a plate with his face on it. His name is Bill Plate and surprisingly no one had ever given him a similar gag gift in his life. The reason why I bring this story up is because when we gave him his Boss’s Day gift we were all laughing like hyenas that the entire restaurant stopped what they were doing/eating and stared at us.

Some of the photos on the wall.

Some of the photos on the wall.

After chatting about the random photos and discussing the smothered beef liver that was on the menu we got up to pay. One-by-one we went to the cash register where the owner asked us what we had and then charged us accordingly. Don’t ever think about paying with a credit or debit card at Donzelle’s. As we walked out into the South Carolina sun I had the same smile on my face that I had when I walked in. Don’t Blink.

Shortest Thursday Blog Post Ever

It has been a long day and it is late so how about I speed through my run down Thursday blog post in record time? Five random topics are coming at you right now!

Subway Flatizza Review – I never thought I would break down and get something at Subway other than a sandwich but yesterday it happened. I forgot my peanut butter sandwich at home so I went to our campus Subway to get lunch. The menu seemed to grab me by the throat and force me to order the buffalo chicken Flatizza. I obeyed and paid the consequences. Although it looks delicious in the picture below, I would have been much happier with a cold cut combo.

I won't be eating a flatizza again.

I won’t be eating a flatizza again.

Sweet Plantains – Today at Coastal it was our Hispanic Celebration Day. The various student clubs of Hispanic origin came out to Prince Lawn, our center of campus, to showcase their heritage. Available for all to taste were appropriate delicacies. One of these tasty food items was a treat called sweet plantains. To describe it simply, think fried bananas covered in cinnamon and sugar. It was my new food item for the day and I have to give it two thumbs up.

Me with a sweet plantain today and then on the right is the pan filled with the tasty treat.

Me with a sweet plantain today and then on the right is the pan filled with the tasty treat.

No Plan Weekend – After several weekends of traveling and action-packed adventures, I have no plans this weekend. Check that, I have one plan: Watch football. I am psyched for the Notre Dame vs. Florida State unbeaten clash and you can bet I will be cheering on the Fighting Irish. I am so sick and tired of hearing about Jameis Wilson that I hope he has a terrible game and Florida State is handed an overwhelming defeat.

Boss’s Day – Today it was Boss’s Day. My office celebrated by taking our boss, Vice President of University Communication Bill Plate, out to lunch. Tomorrow I will write about the doozy of a restaurant we went to but for now I just want to wish Bill a Happy Boss’s Day. He is a great person to work for and I am very thankful to him for hiring me.

For Boss's Day, our graphics guys gave Bill a "Bill Plate".....get it?!

For Boss’s Day, our graphics guys gave Bill a “Bill Plate”…..get it?!

Another One of Those Niece Updates – Mikayla is now six weeks old. The one development I should note is that she is starting to lose her hair! I don’t know the exact reason why but my girlfriend pointed it out to me (by looking at photos) and my mom confirmed it. However, she is still as precious as can be. Without ever even meeting her I miss that little peanut.

My niece, Mikayla, at six weeks old (my parents with her on the bottom left photo).

My niece, Mikayla, at six weeks old (my parents with her on the bottom left photo).

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Did I make good on my promise or what?! I told you this would be a short blog post. Have a great night everyone and close out your work weeks on high notes tomorrow. Don’t Blink.

Opportunities at Work

Today at work was one of those days where I got to do what I like most: Interact with students. Two specific instances provided me with this joy.

At noon today I had the opportunity to speak to a room full of business students about mobile media and how Coastal Carolina University utilizes it. Our business school is called the Wall College of Business so each year they host an appropriately named event called “Wall Connections.” No classes are held on this day to allow the students the chance to attend the festivities that include speakers, presentations, and panels. As this year’s theme was mobile media I hosted my own breakout session titled “Coastal Carolina Social Media + Mobile Media.”

I am not the best presenter so it was not like I was chomping at the bit to get up in front of the students and talk for 50 minutes straight. But I took a lot of time to prepare and the moment I knew my technology was working I didn’t have as many butterflies as usual. Once I started talking everything went smoothly. Throughout the presentation I tried to keep it as interactive as possible so I received a lot of feedback from the students. It was asking them questions and hearing their input that I enjoyed the most. A faculty member came up to me after my breakout session and told me he would like to have me back in the future so at least I knew I didn’t totally bomb it.

Presenting today gave me the excuse to dress up in a suit.

Presenting today gave me the excuse to dress up in a suit.

Later that afternoon I got to meet a student who I will have the chance to mentor for the duration of this academic year. I accepted an opportunity to join a new program at Coastal Carolina University called CINO Legacy. This endeavor matches a staff member with a student. From now until May twice per month, the staff member is to meet with the student on a variety of subjects ranging from resume building to job searching to interviewing. Matches were made based on questionnaires that both the mentor and mentee filled out.

I am matched with a senior from Philadelphia named Lauren. A communication major, she has a strong interest in social media and marketing in general. Today we just got to know each other as we talked about our backgrounds and interests. She likes social media AND sports (she loves the Philly pro teams) so we will get along just fine. I look forward to updating all my readers on how this rewarding opportunity for me progresses.

It seems like each day at Coastal I am afforded the chance to engage in experiences that will make me a better professional. Who knows what tomorrow will hold. Don’t Blink.

Our Hotel Nightmare

Out of all the hotels/motels/inns I have stayed in during my now 28 years on this planet, I have never had such a disgusting experience as I did on Saturday night. It marked the first time that I have ever got up and left a hotel before even giving it a one night chance.

As with any college town that holds large football games, lodging inside the city limits is scarce. To try to make a reservation just a week beforehand is near to impossible. When Sidney and I went to Clemson the first time a week ago we stayed in a little town called Simpsonville. About 50 miles away from Clemson, we stayed in a Comfort Suites. It was a very pleasant, modern hotel with nice rooms. When we checked in that night I tried to reserve a room for the following week. No such luck. Everything was booked.

When I returned to Myrtle Beach that Sunday I tried calling other hotels in the Simpsonville area to get a room for the next Saturday. As I wrote about last night, Sidney and I were traveling that way again for the Clemson-Louisville game. Everything from the Holiday Inn to the Hampton to the Quality Inn had no vacancy. I only had one option: The Motel 6. With rooms available I made a reservation. Hey, I didn’t need anything fancy, I just needed something that had a bed and was clean.

After the 3.5 hour game, the brutal traffic, and the drive itself, we arrived at the Motel 6 in Simpsonville at around 10 p.m. The building looked okay from the outside. We walked in the lobby and I checked in as a seemingly mentally ill rando stood at the counter looking at us while the employee had me sign papers. We went down the hallway past a wide open door that led to the guts of the building and further down to our room door. I opened it up and we walked inside…

The only way I could describe it would be a prison cell. It was uncarpeted, the limited furniture was plastic cheap, the bed wasn’t even a bed (it was basically a mattress with pillows), and the bathroom was scary. However, we were starving and we just threw our bags down and left to go eat at Applebee’s. Throughout our meal I had a slight sense of dread. I knew our hotel room was a hell hole but I had hope that it would be adequate enough for me to fall asleep immediately upon my head hitting the pillow. I thought I could do it.

We returned to the room a little before midnight and that was when our eyes were really opened to the filth that surrounded us. First thing I noticed was that the toilet seat had human feces still on it. As I almost vomited Sidney called me out to look at the comforter. It was covered in dark hair which Sidney said was most likely from a dog. I showed her the scene in the bathroom and while in there we noticed that the shower was full of hair, the bathroom drain was rotted, there was dirt in all the corners, and the toilet paper roll had not even been replaced from the previous guest.

This was the toilet scene.

This was the toilet scene.

I returned to the main room area and pulled back the sheets. They looked about fifty years old and were no longer white…they had taken on a brownish color. With the exhaustion from the 4 a.m. morning, the long day in the sun, the emotionally draining game, and the heavy traffic, I made the mistake of attempting to see if I would fall asleep if I hopped in the bed. Big mistake. You know the feeling of clean sheets you should get when you go to a hotel? Well, I got the complete opposite. I felt absolutely dirty with those sheets touching my skin. It gets worse though…

Sidney was by the curtain putting stuff into her bag when she called my name in disgust. Crawling on the curtain was a bug! I can do snakes, spiders, and rats but I can’t do bugs. I started calling every single hotel in the Simpsonville/Greenville area to see if any hotel rooms had opened up last minute. While I was doing this, I had to go to our door two different times because it sounded as if someone was banging on it. False alarms on both occasions. After I made it through the whole list of hotels I shook my head in helplessness…there was not one room available.

Sorry for the low quality/blurriness of this photo but I was too chicken to get close to it.

Sorry for the low quality/blurriness of this photo but I was too chicken to get close to it.

We started going through our options. We could somehow try to stay the night in our nightmare hotel room, drive all the way back to Myrtle Beach, or sleep in the car. I asked Sidney to truthfully tell me if she would be able to sleep at all if we stayed. She said no. We picked up our bags and exited the room. Sidney went to the car while I went to the front desk.

As anyone will tell you, I usually eat money before I complain but in this instance something needed to be said. In a respectful and bashful manner, I addressed the hotel clerk who looked like the greasy haired guy from “Hardcore Pawn.” I told him the room was not working out for us and we would be checking out. I showed him the bug photo…he said it was “the season” for them. I showed him the feces on the toilet…he asked me if it was actual shit or if it was just chipped paint. Despite his horrendous and insulting excuses, he went back to his little office which was in plain view of me and texted on his old model phone for about five minutes. He then came back to the counter and asked for my card. He swiped it and refunded my $80. He gave me a genuine apology as I thanked him for the refund. At least it ended on a good note.

 

I got in the car with Sidney and she informed me that she had called around in Columbia and that the Hampton Inn there had vacancy. I called the hotel back in a heartbeat and made a reservation. We drove the 90 minutes to Columbia and felt completely relieved when we walked into a large, clean hotel room at around 1:45 a.m.

That was the first and only time I will ever stay at a Motel 6…even if there are absolutely no other options. Driving an hour and a half longer and paying $50 extra dollars is well worth it. It was truly a disgusting experience. Thank you to Sidney for being patient and to the Motel 6 employee for apologizing. It helped make the hotel nightmare not as bad. Don’t Blink.