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In the desert

     I did not step into that sheets-all-over-the-floor room at the hotel in Palm Desert. I stood outside, wondering what to do next because I sure didn't want to lug my luggage back down those stairs to the lobby. Hopefully I eyed the housekeeping cart to my left.

     Minutes later a housekeeper with kind eyes appeared. Kind eyes aside, no, they weren't going to clean the room—not for a couple of hours. She called the desk clerk, who offered me a room down the hall. Wa-a-a-y down the hall. Closer to the elevator—you know, the one that wasn't working and wasn't due to be fixed until who-knows-when.

     But I liked this room. Right at the top of the stairs, overlooking the pool, with a nice little balcony to catch the breezes in this ninety degree weather. So I said I'd wait. Could I leave my suitcase in the room? No. You can't put anything in there until you're checked in.

     Wha-a-a-t? I have to carry it all the way down to my car and then lug it up again when the room's ready? Yes.

     Thanks be to the housekeeper with the kind eyes. The kind mouth below them voiced the words I wanted to hear: she can leave it here, on top of the safe in the closet. I thanked her profusely as the desk clerk took my key card, explaining they can't give you a key card if your room isn't clean.

     I'm on shaky ground here. They have my suitcase, my key card and my money and I have nothing. Add to that, the desk clerk arranging all this would be off when I got back. No worry, she says, I'll leave a note for the next shift that this is your room. Yeah. That's reassuring.

     It turned out alright. My suitcase was still there, my new key card worked fine and the room was all dressed up in clean linens appropriately decking out the beds. Meanwhile I had discovered Louise's Pantry down the road, with the best chicken salad and chicken noodle soup ever.

     After checking in—for real—I sat by the pool, enjoying the ninety-five degree breezes and wishing I hadn't forgotten to bring my bathing suit, until time for dinner.

     A note here: due to the dangers of imbibing too many calories, I often replace dinner with dessert. Tonight dessert won. A warning: if you're going out for dessert, do not believe every website menu that showcases desserts. Lucky me. I found a place that served desserts just a block away. I walked to John's Restaurant, salivating over all the desserts they might offer and congratulating myself for walking in the heat. Burning the calories.

     Unlucky me. Bread pudding. A whole wall full of menu choices; one dessert. I ate it. It wasn't bad. It wasn't delicious, either. But it filled that spot until something better would come along.

     Which it did—the next day in Idyllwild. Loved Idyllwild! I roamed the streets after filling my sweet tooth with a home-made cherry Danish at The Town Baker. Thinking I should eat some real food, I also had an egg 'n cheese croissant. Later in the day I strolled past Idyllwild Ice Cream & Jerky. Ice cream? U-turn! Inside I spied Double Decadence Chocolate Fudge in the case, murmuring softly to me.

     I ordered a single scoop on a sugar cone and stepped outside, ready to wallow in double decadence. Balancing the huge scoop of ice cream on the skinny sugar cone, I got two licks in before my double decadence toppled off its cone onto the dirty black pavement at my feet.

     There's more. See you next week!

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