San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina
333 West Harbor Drive
San Diego, California 92101
As much as I rant and whine and *sigh* about not having a regular, full-time job, I really couldn’t be happier with the life I currently have. I’m not saying everything is perfect, because it most certainly is not, but the reality is, I couldn’t imagine living any other way. I have freedom, I have independence, and I guess at this point, I can officially call myself a freelanceer. Though the money from blogging, editing, and doing other “free-lance work” certainly doesn’t replace a regular corporate paycheck that pads my accounts every two weeks, with some drastic but not unwanted lifestyle changes, it does slow the drain on my savings. Even that little bit of change from GoogleAds and Amazon helps a little so that I can keep my bi-weekly indulgence.
Hey, I didn’t cut deep-tissue massages out completely. What am I, crazy? I cut back to every other week.
Priorites are different for every person. For some, luxurious material goods as afforded by six-figures are not only important to have, but define their personal worth. Things that have monetary value are far more valuable than abstract things like health, wellness, sanity, and love. I’m not saying that’s a bad or wrong way to live. For me, the bodily harm, stress, insanity, heartache and other such unsavory things simply aren’t worth six figures. Not even seven figures.
Okay, maybe seven figures, but only on the high side of seven.
I love what I have now. I love waking up, surfing the web, blogging, writing about food and fashion all day long until I fall over at night. Sure with a tight budget, I don’t get to do some of the things I used to do, but those “things I used to do” also include commuting 45 minutes each way, losing who I am in a generic office, losing my mind day after day.
But still. Every once in a while, I push myself away from my desk, lean back in my chair, look up at the tiny potpourri bear hanging from my apartment ceiling and *sigh* A year is a long enough to time to adjust to the lifestyle change, but there are times – when I’m surfing the shopping sites for stories, drooling over a pair of shoes that I'll never be able to buy, eating smartly at home instead of out to dinner, or turning down yet another invitation to “go out on the town” – when I wonder what it would be like if I had followed the expected, traditional path for me after business school. I wonder what I would be doing. I am certain that whatever it is, I would be awesome at it, and I’d certainly be making money that would put me up at an income-level with my fellow alums. I’d be able to buy those shoes, make a reservation at AOC, and party my night and spending money away in Hollywood.
The seduction of a fat salary so I can do that stuff all the time is always there for me.
But then. I am mometarily slapped with that nightmare, only to be brought back into my reality that, strangely enough, only used to be a fantasy.
A few months ago, I was hurled back into my past life when I agreed to help out with a conference from an old employer. Planning and executing these conferences used to be a huge part of my job, so they asked me to come along to San Diego to help on the day of the conference with registrations, guests, etc. I said sure, especially since they agreed to pay me. We never agreed on an amount, and I didn’t really care as long as it was something. (Incidentally, they have still not paid me and the conference was the first week of May.)
We drove down the afternoon before to give us time to settle into the megahugeconferenceresort hotel and set up before the conference started the next morning at 7:00 am. After doing our duties, we decided to have dinner. For whatever reason, we ended up at The Yacht Club. The Yacht Club is actually one of the many hotel restaurants, but by calling it the Yacht Club, and locating just outside so that it is not directly within the building of the hotel, it doesn’t seem like a hotel restaurant.
Oh, but it was most definitely a hotel restaurant. They served large-chain-hotel-grade food.
Even though tableside guacamole is about as cheesy as flying shrimp tails at Benihana, I love it. We started with that, which certainly turned out just fine but the salsa was miserable. Marriott needs to find a new vendor.
I wanted to keep my meal light with a salad the night before a big event, but sitting dockside on the patio in the early evening under gray, overcast skies was I felt a slight chill and wanted something warm. Well! I fixed the chill right away with a glass of brand-less white wine and ordered a salad anyway. You know, Caesar Salad is light. I ordered soup too, because Split Pea Soup is light, ;)
The salad was exactly what I expected from a hotel. I had only ordered it with grilled chicken at the urging of a co-worker who thought I would need more sustenance than greens dressed in pure fat. The chicken was supposedly “grilled,” but judging by the lask of grilled flavor and the scientifically perfect grill marks, I suspect that the chicken breast came already cosmetically enhanced that way to the restaurant’s kitchen, which simply de-frosted, reheated, and sliced it. I took one bite of the chipper chicken and pushed it to the side of the plate. The greens were fresh. The dressing was a little too tangy and had the aftertaste of “bottled.”
Split Pea Soup is not a favorite of mine to begin with, so perhaps I am biased. Nonetheless, the soup had little to no resemblance in flavor or texture to Split Pea Soups I’ve had in the past. The soup base was watered down from what is normally a thick, muddied green color to a thin, pale chartreuse. The breadstick that came with it was miserable. It’s sad when your breadstick can’t even hold a candle to Olive Garden.
My co-worker had a steak. His plate very much looked like a textbook presentation of meat, vegetables and starch. I tasted a piece of the steak that was deceptive in its broad flat generosity, since it was about as thick as a singel washload of wuarters. Either he inadvertently cut off a piece of gristle, or the steak was bad.
The meal overall, was not great. However, when faced with “hotel food” my tastebuds have developed an instinctive shut-down reaction over five years in another lifetime.
For five years, I lived on hotel food because I was, well, living out of a hotel for four, sometimes five, days out of the week. I worked 80 hours a week in four days, sometimes 100 hours that extended into the weekend. By the time I walked through my front door, I was so tired, I flopped onto my bed, catatonic. Sometimes I didn’t have the energy to unpack my bag, which was a good thing because I certainly didn’t have the energy to pack it before tumbling down the front stairs in my business casual when the taxicab arrived at 4 am on Monday morning. I lived off a five-day wardrobe that perfectly fit into a generic black rolling carry-on that perfectly fit into the overhead bin. I flew out of town and into town so many times that the cities started to blend together and I couldn’t figure out if I was in Seattle or San Francisco or Chicago. Or even back home in LA.
I was paid well. I was paid so well that I never got to enjoy the money I worked so hard to earn.
I said I would never go back to that.
Let’s just hope this new job job is totally different! (Oh, didn't I mention that earlier? They offered me that part-time job job. Happy me! )
** a year ago today, i think i might have had a slice of wedding cake. maybe it was just the frosting. **