Guests: TOTALLY DELIGHTFUL.
Lessons: MORTIFYING. Go ahead and judge; we’ve earned it.
We’ve been renovating our cottage for … well, excruciating months. It was supposed to be done in JULY. We just had final inspection, right under the wire for our first guests to arrive yesterday.
The night before (the first night it was actually ready for occupants), my spouse and I stayed there to get a feel for it. But mistakes were made (and discovered).
First discovery: Our hot water heater CLAIMS to have capacity to fill our soaker tub. LIES.
Solution: Getting a new, MUCH bigger heater on Friday. $$$ (We’re all electric, so an on-demand system is a non-starter, alas.) Also preemptively refunded a night’s stay with a message to the guest before she checked in.
First mistake: We had a friend stay in the unfinished space last week (an emergency). In my cleaning, I checked every single drawer in the place but one – the one with dirty underpants in it. My guest was nice. I died.
Solution: Apology and thanks to guest. Disposal of offending undergarments with extreme prejudice.
Second discovery: Our wifi, which worked really well for us when we stayed over, was spotty for the guests and kept dropping their zooms this morning.
Solution: Hassled cable company, called a neighboring business with a fiber connection (and they generously offered to let our guests use their wifi) and finally solved the problem by moving one of the hubs for our mesh network so it was closer to the guest cottage. Guests were very kind about it and said they appreciated the hustle to resolve it.
Third discovery: We had used the stovetop but NOT the oven. Which is new. And requires 30 minutes to an hour to off-gas, with smoke. The guest discovered this when she was making dinner tonight.
Solution: Offered to cover cost of take-out for guests, which was politely and very kindly refused. Guest, who deserves to be canonized: “It’s really no big deal, we started doing home exchanges in addition to Airbnbs and we have seen it all! This is really small stuff; this place is absolutely amazing.”
Y’all, the past three days have taken a YEAR off of my life. I’m so, so, so aware that this could have been a very different story with a different guest – and am, of course, dying that this is happening to a paying guest. (For the record, and in my defense, I had actually lined up a FULL MONTH of non-paying guests to help us shake out the kinks, but we had a zillion construction delays and, when we offered to cancel reservations, our guests said they’d risk it. Still. It feels horrible.)
Thank heavens for patient, gracious and kind guests – the ones we don’t often hear about here, but who make this worth doing. And if you think I’m planning to comp these folks their next stay in town as gratitude for their role in making us better, you are absolutely correct.