Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ghost Chickens In the Sky



I am in Author Heaven. One of the few perks of being an author is the ability to run away for a couple of days to work - all I need is my laptop. That's what I'm doing now. Perhaps the best anniversary gift ever - my husband, Tom, sent me away (that sounds bad, doesn't it?) - across the Mississippi River - maybe a whole mile away from my house, to stay at The Abbey for a few days so I could escape the "Mom! Mom! Look at me!" mantra and actually sleep without a cat on my face and a pug on my feet.


Let me tell you - it's heaven...AND it's Iowa.


The Abbey is a four-diamond hotel rated highly by National Geographic Magazine to boot. (I always wondered about that phrase, "to boot." What in the hell does it mean?) Anyway, it's a former cloister built in 1914 by Carmelite nuns. These women would join the order and agree to never step foot outside or look upon an outsider again. They lived in 8' x 9' cells, sleeping on boards covered with straw. They were barefoot and had permanent blinds on the windows (which is a real shame considering the fabulous view of the Mississippi from my room). Food and other necessities were put through a turn so peddlers couldn't see them - hell, even the priest delivered mass through a metal screen with a black curtain. (I think I may be overdoing the "hells" a bit. I'll try to stop.)


Can you imagine living like this? I can't. I know, this is about a vow of poverty and humility, blah, blah, blah, but come on! If I could time-travel, I'd come here in 1920 with some strippers from Chippendales, Grey Goose vodka, a poster of Clive Owen, several pair of PRADA shoes and sleep number mattresses to show these chicks what life is REALLY about.


Where was I? Oh yeah. So, the sisters eventually moved and some Franciscans bought it for a community center. In the last decade it was purchased by a couple in California and they turned it into a luxury hotel. It still has the original chapel and a museum "cell" showing you how these women lived. Each guest room is about three or four cells and the walls are unbelievably thick. It's the perfect place for a self-imposed, monastic getaway. AND, it's costing me about $100 a night. I LOVE the cost of living here.


But wait! There's more! Did I mention they have full, complimentary breakfast with eggs, sausage, fruit, etc? The best part is the professional chef they have for dinner. He delivers the menu to the front desk at 6pm for a four-course dinner (for $27!!!). Last night I had tomato soup; mixed green salad with mandarin oranges, cherry tomatos and poppy seed vinigarette; pork medallions in mushroom sauce with wild rice and veggies; and apple compote with strawberries for desert. That's right, I'm getting fat. Well, I am taking the stairs on occasion and I'm sure my fingers are working off some calories on this keyboard...right?


I'm at least hoping to see a ghost. The nuns were buried in a crypt in the basement. Last night I heard what I thought was a ghost chicken for about an hour. Yes, I'm serious. It sounded like a chicken. But, since chickens are probably not allowed in a four-diamond hotel, I'm going to assume it's a ghost.


Soooooo, Tom. I'm sorry to tell you, but I'm moving in here. That's right. I'm leaving you for a hotel with a ghost chicken. Tell the kids I love them and bring them by every now and then. In the summer, the pool is open. They should like that.


Leslie "The Assassin" Langtry

16 comments:

Tori Lennox said...

It sounds heavenly! Er, no pun intended. *g*

Christie Craig said...

Okay Leslie,

You made me want to run away from home, too.

Nothing is as wonderful as running away every now and then.

Crime Scene Christie

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I don't blame you - your poor hubby doesn't know what he's done!!!

MsHellion said...

I'm going to stop saying comments (typically after a bad date) like "I might as well become a nun!"

You have effectively changed my mind.

Plus I would have had to convert to Catholicism, but regardless...straw? Boards? never seeing the OUTSIDE ever again? I mean, were they allowed to look at each other?

I'm totally focusing on the wrong things...the converted nunnery sounds wicked-freaking-awesome, and a steal no less. I wouldn't want to return either. *LOL* Especially if I was being fed like that...

Angie Fox said...

Oh my word, you're living my ultimate fantasy - a fantastically unique hotel, yummy food and a peaceful existence to boot (and yeah, I don't know what "to boot" means either). Enjoy yourself!

Jana DeLeon said...

That sounds absolutely wonderful. Let me know next time you go. I still have airline miles.....

Estella said...

Sounds like a really good place to stay.
The food sounds fabulous!

Lucy said...

Sounds like you're having a good time. :-)

catslady said...

To boot usually means “in addition, besides, moreover”, as here in Falk, by Joseph Conrad: “At all events he was a Scandinavian of some sort, and a bloated monopolist to boot”. The phrase can sometimes contain the idea of some positive outcome or advantage, not just something additional. In this, it’s reflecting its ancient origin in Old English bot, advantage, remedy. It’s of Germanic origin and is related to Dutch boete and German Busse (a penance or fine) as well as to the English words better and best.

probably more than you wanted to know lol.

Gemma Halliday said...

Um... can I come run away with you, too?

~Gemma

anne said...

Lucky you. SOunds simply divine. What wonderful food. Enjoy.

CrystalGB said...

Sounds fantastic. :)

Kathy Bacus said...

I gotta check this out! I am so ready to make my getaway!!

~Bullet Hole~

lila n. said...

That looks so good and I am hungry :)

Lily said...

I would lovge to have a special place to escape :)

Maggie N. said...

Every mom should have some ME time!

It was super sweet of your husband :)