I received an e-mail in my inbox from a downtown historic hotel a few weeks back. We’d stayed there several times before. It only took me a couple of minutes to decide … what the heck … hubby and I should take them up on their generous offer for a weekend get-the-heck-away. And what a deal. There was a nicely reduced room rate, free breakfast and parking all wrapped up with a fluffy red bow. Just so you know … Houston hotels do that sometimes, especially during the long, hot summer. Gotta tell ya, no place I’d rather be than hangin’ out downtown amongst all that lovely, sizzling concrete during the month of August. With air conditioned activities on our list of things to do, we took in a play at the Alley Theatre. It had been eons since we last visited the Alley. I’m guessin’ living out in the ‘burbs sometimes we tend to forget there are actually interesting cultural things to do just a few miles down the road. It was a cinch going to the theatre was going to be way more fun than our usual Netflix movie rental and microwave popcorn on Saturday night. “Remember the last time we were here?” Rick said, as we found our seats a few minutes before curtain time. Perusing the playbill, we discussed several upcoming plays we’d like to see. I liked how just as the house lights were turned down, in addition to reminding patrons to turn off all cell phones, we were told that if we had any hard candy to please unwrap the cellophane now. I thought that was an extremely cute moment. “Yep, it was probably 20 years ago. We were here to see ‘A Christmas Carol.’ I’ll never forget it. We were sitting on the very front row on the left. During a particularly intense scene, one of the actors got so close, some of his spit actually wound up in our laps,” I said. It was surely the first and only time that probably happened in Alley history. But it did leave an impression. Yep, we agreed that had we known the possible hazards of sitting on the front row we would have brought an umbrella. The spit thing reminded me of that comedian Gallagher. He was the dude that used to smash watermelons on stage with a sledge hammer. Much wiser as to the possibilities, this time our seats for “Sherlock Holmes and the Crucifer of Blood” were 10 rows back. But the spit thing of 20 years ago wasn’t anything compared to what happened earlier that morning in our hotel room. Rick was getting ready to blow dry his locks when, literally, sparks starting flying. I recall it all started with the “wah, wah, wah” of the hotel’s hair dryer. I went in to investigate. “Dear, that hair dryer doesn’t sound good to me at all,” I said, my eyes getting wider. The uneasy pulsing and obvious laboring of the dryer didn’t last long when the hair dryer suddenly stopped working. Rick paused for a moment and then pushed the reset button that had popped out on the electrical receptacle. Now what happened next was a tad frightful. Rick turned the hair dryer back on and then there was this snap, crackle, pop and poof with flames shooting momentarily out of the socket. At least Rick was standing on a towel at the time. I imagined without the grounding, my hubby of 37 years’ tresses mighta looked like that cool dude on the Food Network with the incredibly spiked blond hair. He hosts “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives.” I can’t remember who placed the call to the front desk, but it wasn’t but a couple of seconds before a nice out-of-breath lady knocked on our door. After a quick peek into the bathroom to look at the damage, she gushed, “Well this IS a historic hotel and unfortunately sometimes these things happen. We’ll get you immediately moved to a new room,” she said, ever so nicely. I’m certain she coulda left that part out about the hotel being historic. I usually think of quaint and charming when I think of historic hotels … not historic electricity issues … but we shrugged it off. Stuff happens. It was a bit of a blip on our weekend radar screen. After all, we had a spit-less play to attend later that afternoon and reservations that evening for Restaurant Week. Taking special note of the hotel’s emergency exits, the rest of our stay was uneventful and restful. Yep, I can’t wait till I get another one of those specials in my inbox from my favorite historic hotel. During out next stay we’ll probably try out the electrical receptacles before we start unpacking. Dixie Frantz is a long-time Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist since 1996. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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