I'm writing from a hotel room on the edge of Louisville, Kentucky. We are a mere four hours from Central Ohio - piece of cake drive tomorrow. Last night's stay at a Knights Inn was rough to say the least. Several lights didn't work, the fridge didn't work, the neighbors were rowdy, and I swear someone knocked on my door at 5:39am. Bean wanted to take a bath, but I determined that she was already much cleaner than the tub, so nope. This night, I will sleep. Well.
But I digress.
I could probably start a new blog dedicated to the searching out and use of the public bathroom. Life on the road in unknown territory has developed this new keen gypsymomma sense. I like to imagine myself, standing astride a bathroom entrance, feet firm and fists on hips as I scan (like the Terminator) for sink, soap/sanitizer, good lighting, and toilet paper (y'all know - one oversight is all it takes.) And I can quickly determine if Bean will be able to reach the sink by herself, have to be lifted on a knee, or need a hoist up onto the counter to wash her hands.
My growing-up Bug presents a new challenge. He has become annoyed by having to go into the women's room: partly because Bean sees the women's symbol and declares "this one is for the princesses!" and partly because older women still declare "look at the hair!" and tousle him. Yea, he's pretty much over going into the women's room. Which begs the question: when do I let him go into the men's room by himself? Not yet, I hope.
The worst is when we have found a fantastic playground, but alas, the restrooms are locked up for the season -b.u.m.m.e.r.
The best is discovering the "family" restrooms - aaaahhhhh - privacy....well, at least from strangers.
So, we have found some rotten bathrooms and been pleasantly surprised by others. The following are the best from our recent travels:
Joe's Crab Shack, Kemah, TX: Clean with colorful, handmade wall mosaics of various sea creatures - the three of us had to peek into each stall to discover all the different ones
McDonald's Playland, Grenada, MS : restroom located in the playland area - so we don't have to scurry and get 2 pairs of shoes on to dash through the restaurant to restrooms when Bean shouts "Mo-om, I gotta go potty!"
Any SuperTarget, TX: They each have a shorter sink, lower soap dispenser, and towel roll for shorter people - no hoisting! They're usually very clean, too.
Space Center Houston, TX: small white tile, very clean, great lighting, very cool entry with oval shaped vestibule with flat wall in middle to shield ladies from outside eyes, plenty of stalls and the handiest stainless steel stepstools that fold out from under the sink for short ones. Leave it to NASA.
Memorial City Mall: Large, newly renovated, "family" restroom, all tile - the best part - one big potty and one cute little short potty
Sidenote: I have also discovered a new phenomenon in the south - charming rest area/visitor centers. Very different from the cement and stainless steel rest areas of the north - you know, the ones that make you gasp when you sit on the cold potty seat.
The first one is in Beaumont, TX on I-10 East - brand new building, immaculate bathroom, volunteer staff who made up "goody bags" with water bottles, stickers and mints for Bug and Bean while we used the facilities, cup of coffee for me
Another one we found is just inside Mississippi on the Louisiana state line on I-45. Think Cracker Barrel: rough-hewn log construction and fireplaces flanked with leather furniture, rocking chairs and too many tapestry throws and pillows. The staff again charmed my kids and offered them Sprites and chatted with me.
Of course, the best potty trips are the ones escorted by Sweet Daddy or a grandparent.