Last week I got this phone call from a younger-sounding female. You know already that a late-night phone call spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e. Sit tight. This is a long one.
Caller: Hi, do you have air conditioning on the Third Floor?
Me: Yes, we do. Would you like me to book the room for you?
Caller: Okay. For Friday. Put it under Sigrid’s name. There are four of us.
Me: Sure. Any dietary restrictions?
Caller: Um. Maybe…(Calling to someone in the room with her, “Michael, are you a vegetarian?!”)…Yes, one vegetarian, please.
Not unusual in itself, but when we get four guests upstairs, I want to make sure that everything is copacetic. (I learned that word in high school and try to find instances where I can use it. It means “in excellent order.” Good word.)
For example, I want to make sure they’ll be comfortable on the Third Floor with, say, the open layout or the flights of steps up. People have asked me if there is an elevator (no), if it’s really on the third floor (yes), and whether they can also use rooms on the second floor (sure, if they book them), so I try to ask questions and cover my bases when they make a reservation.
Additionally, I want to be certain our other guests are taken care of. Many people who find respite here have arranged for babysitters and prefer not to be reminded too much of their young ‘uns during their stay. That said, we welcome little kids with well-behaved parents in the separate Carriage House, rather than in the main house. There the kids can relax or laugh and scream and have fits if they want, and the moms and dads can just ignore them and not worry about their bothering other people.
Or, some guest can make it out to stay with us because they were able to lock their teen or young adult in the garage with snacks, iPhones and Netflix for the weekend. They don’t come here to listen to Fetty Wap and have belching contests, which is one of the reasons our minimum age to make a reservation is 21. So anyway, I continue with my detective work.
Me: No problem with breakfast. And your group…are you a family with young children, are you friends…are you…….?
Caller: Oh, no! No young children. Everyone’s over 18. Here’s our credit card number; you can put it under Sigrid’s name.
We finish the call, but I’m feeling a little off about this. Over 18? Does that mean they’re a bunch of 19 year olds who will be dragging kegs up the stairs when they think I’m asleep? Will they throw water balloons of the balcony at midnight? Will they all be studying for PSATs and their giant combined brain power will spark a fire? IDK.
The next day I called “Sigrid,” my contact person. Ring, ring, ring.
Me: Hello, blah blah blah, can I speak with Sigrid, please?
Same Girl Caller Who Made The Reservation: Um…no, Siggy’s not here. She’s…she’s…out!!
Me: Okay, well, I had a question about your reservation. You said you were all over 18, but our insurance requires that you’re 21 to make a reservation. I wanted to know that we have everything covered. And I’m thinking, “And I want to be sure you’re not having a frat party and barfing all over my sheets and disturbing everyone else.”
Same Girl Caller: Oh, no! I’m nineteen and the others are 22.
Me: This is not looking good in my head, what with having had a Previous Bad Experience. Okay, but are you group of friends traveling together?
Same Girl: No. We’re all cousins traveling the Eastern Part of the U.S., then traveling home.
Me: So….you’re all…family?
Same Caller: Sure.
You know I’m not comfortable with this, and then I get an email from Sigrid.
Hi, just wanted to give you the heads up, my husband is vegetarian, in case you need to make any adjustments to his breakfast. Thanks very much, looking forward to our stay with you.
And I’m like, sure. Same Caller tipped you off that I was on to you and now you’re acting as if you’re a “family” and you have a “husband” and if that’s the case, how could your family member not know your fake husband was a vegetarian when she made the reservation?!?!?!
Can you see my nostrils flaring as I’m breathing shallow and fuming?!!! The stupidest thing for me is that I was jacked up about it all week. It’s what happens when I feel I can’t pre-fix a situation.
I was deciding whether I would wait for the police when I had to call for underage drinking, or whether I would just confront them when they arrived and immediately tell them I was On To Them, and also worried that the other guests would complain that the Third Floor people were fritziehollerin’ all night and they couldn’t sleep a wink what would I do because it would all just be Too Late!!!!
I truly worked myself into a tiz. Then…then, their check in day arrived, and a certain calm came over me. You know that feeling you get when you finally say to yourself, “Are you stupid? Calm down. It’ll be okay.” This is what I got.
I could have shouted, “Alleluia, Thank You Baby Jesus!!” but instead I shouted, “You’re here!! “They had no time to consider that I might be a lunatic, because luckily they were thinking of dropping their bags and heading out for a late dinner to a very fine gourmet restaurant.
At breakfast the next day I had to confess that I thought they’d all be drunken college kids and told them the story. They laughed and Jake verbally abused Charlotte for her inability to communicate. However, I have to give credit to Charlotte. Although the family wanted to just stay wherever they ended up when they stopped driving, she didn’t want to be in The Last Room Available on a Friday night; she knew everything would be booked. Charlotte had the foresight to make reservations to stay in a great place! Pretty smart for a 19-year-old.
Although I still don’t understand how they’re all related, I’m happy that they enjoyed their stay and that nobody barfed on the sheets. (By the way, I did have their permission to tell this story. Nice people!)
And did you know you still have seven more weeks of summer left? Come on out, lock the kids up and enjoy some time away. We’ll help you make it a great weekend!