Usually, I don’t find myself attached or at the whim of a guests self-report of when they will show up. I like to think that I’m a savvy host who knows that though a guest may say we will be there at 10 pm, they may show up at 6 pm or 2 am!
For this reason, I ensure that at 3 pm, the suite is cleaned, restocked and beautifully turned over!
Well, for whatever reason…Maybe it was the madness of the long Thankgsgiving weekend looming ahead or the fact that my in-laws are “checking in” (non-paying) on Sunday for…(sobs quietly)…AN ENTIRE MONTH…
But, I decided to believe the guest when they said they would be showing up after a party they were attending straight from their flight. The guy (unprompted) inquired SEVERAL times in the days before if it was ok that they show up “VERY LATE” and suggested that they may disturb us if it was indeed after midnight into the wee hours… SEVERAL TIMES he indicated that there was no way they would arrive before 11 pm, in any event.
Well, armed with the safety of that knowledge, I burst into the suite at checkout time after previous guest and like a whirlwind, set out to do some touch-up painting, overall maintenance, upgrade of the showerheads, cleaning out of the adjacent storage closet, and then in smug contempt of my situation, thought it a good idea to refinish the solid teak desk in the bedroom of the suite (oh, and paint the vintage steamer trunk while I’m at it!). After all, laughing maniacally to myself, I had all the time in the world!!!
Well, imagine my absolute state of catatonic shock when Hubby calls to me through the window in back, “uhhh, babe…?”
“Yes, love?” (thinking oh…this is the year his mother will look at my heroic domestic accomplishments and tell me what a wonderful choice her son has made and how wrong she was ever to think that I was the ne-er’ do well she-devil/ neglectful housekeeper)
“The guests are here…”
“Hmmm? What did you say, my love? It sounded like you said the guests are here, sweetheart…But that is impossible because it’s only 8 pm”
“No, they are definitely here. I am just going to help them get their bags out of the car”
“Haha. I have always LOVED your sense of humour! The guests cannot possibly be here BECAUSE IT’S 8 PM AND THEY TOLD ME REPEATEDLY THAT THEY WOULD BE HERE AFTER MIDNIGHT! Haha…You are so very funny!”
“What did you want me to tell them?”
ME: (That dragon she-devil rising slowly from the pit of my stomach with the force of a 1000 tornados) BUT, SWEETHEART… THE GUESTS CANNOT BE HERE AS WHY WOULD ANYONE WASTE MY TIME WITH A 100 MESSAGES ABOUT LATE CHECK IN TIME IF THEY ARE OBVIOUSLY NOT AT ALL SURE WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE DOING FROM MINUTE TO MINUTE? CAN YOU TEAR THEM LIMB FROM LIMB? OR TELL THEM THAT I HAVE CANCELLED THEIR RESERVATION FOR REASONS OF STUPIDITY? AND THAT I AM GOING TO DRINK WINE FROM THE BOTTLE IN A PUDDLE OF MY TEARS ON THE FLOOR? CAN YOU TELL THEM THAT YOUR EXTREMELY JUDGMENTAL MOTHER IS GOING TO ARRIVE AN HOUR AFTER THEY LEAVE AND WILL SPEND THE NEXT 30 DAYS CRITIQUING EVERY SINGLE THING THAT I DO, GIVING ME SIDEWAYS GLANCES AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY AND ASKING YOU WHY YOU DIDN’T END UP WITH THAT PERFECTLY MANNERED JULIE FROM CHURCH? Thanks, Darling!"
I am sure that that you all have experienced something slightly similar. And like the superhosts you are (even if you aren’t deemed so by the powers at be) you did what I did at that moment. You summoned all your problem solving abilities and within 10 minutes, swooped throughout the listing, simultaneously throwing things out of sight, dusting, cleaning, hoovering and gnashing teeth!
NOTE TO SELF: Never, ever, ever, ever rely on a guests own word at what time they will arrive. Never lull myself into that false sense of security again!