Days fly fast and furious, so fast they blur the scenery of our days like a fast disappearing car speeding through the landscape of our lives. I catch a glimpse of something, hold the picture in my mind’s eye, steal a moment to write it down but can no longer capture the image.
The parents of boarding school students who visited in June for graduations blur and morph into the parents dropping their kids off at summer camps. They come from New York City or as far away as Madrid and Tokyo. A young father from Hong Kong is talking to me about clouds. His daughter is bored and anxious to get going. “You have been talking to her forever,” she complains.
She is attending day camp. Dad drives her there each morning and picks her up at the end of each day. I am not sure how he spends his week alone. One day he requests yogurt parfaits that we make the night before and leave in the lounge refrigerator because he and his daughter are leaving at dawn to go horseback riding before camp.
A mother/daughter team arrives with plans to see a movie at the Pleasant Valley Drive-In in Barkhamsted. The daughter decides to dye her hair fire engine red while she is here and destroys a bath towel. It looks similar to the face cloths guests have used to wipe take-out pizza from their chins.
Laundry is endless. During our first week here Rich had an argument with the owner over the budget for a new dryer. “We can’t find a decent dryer for three hundred dollars,” Rich told him. “We do thirty loads on a busy weekend,” I chimed in. He flipped out. “That’s not right,” he said. “You don’t do thirty loads.” He yelled at Rich that he would not tolerate being spoken to this way. “This isn’t going to work,” he said as he stormed out the door. A short while later his wife came by to make peace and clean up his mess. We soon learn these outbursts are not rare occurrences.
We managed to find a five hundred dollar dryer marked down to four hundred at the Lowe’s Memorial Day Weekend sale. We received the go-ahead to spend the extra hundred but there is a three hundred dollar limit on each individual purchase with the inn’s debit card so we have to visit the bank to lift it for forty eight hours. Despite the extra hundred dollars spent, the dryer is inadequate for large loads of towels and certainly King size comforters. I suppose I will find myself at a laundromat someday when I have time which I can’t imagine at the moment.
One evening a German bicyclist sets off the driveway alarm. He is on a three week bike trip throughout New England. Another afternoon a bicyclist calls to make a reservation when he is twenty-five miles away. He has been pedaling since Miami and is ultimately headed to Bar Harbor, Maine.
A handsome, attractive couple who are academics from Yale spend a quiet mid-week reading and writing in their room and dining out in the evening.
We do our best with the gluten-free, lactose intolerant, vegetarian, vegan, peanut and seafood allergy types. In the special notes guests can add to their on-line reservation one woman alerts us to the fact she is an octo-vegetarian. I don’t even know what that is but she comes and goes without making us aware that she is the octo-vegetarian so I guess we didn’t kill her.
Rich and one of our guests talk music and realize they were both at the same Grateful Dead concert at the University of Massachusetts in 1979.
Cleaning the bathrooms and the deep, wide whirlpool tubs is a pain in the ass. There is hair everywhere. Long hair, short pubic hair, the hardest to capture black Asian hair.
The toaster needs to be dropped twice when set on low but on any other setting burns one side of the bread. We buy a new toaster. The pilot on the oven keeps shutting off but it’s a classic old beast and the problem is hard to solve. Rich has tried numerous times. The vacuum could throw out your shoulder. In fact it may have thrown out the former innkeeper’s shoulder. She stopped by to pick up her mail and told me she is having surgery for a torn rotator cuff. We drive to a vacuum repair shop in Torrington and Rich finds a replacement belt for the upright. It helps somewhat.
Bickering increases between Rich and Michelle and me. “I am doing more work than both of you.” “Dad is stealing my tips.” “We’re tired of hearing about your ankles.” Tips are a rare occurrence although most guests know we are the managers not the owners. When did people stop tipping? When the minimum wage no longer kept pace with the growing cost of living? This small, kind gesture gives us fun money, dining out money, drinks at the pub money.
One weekend Vinnie, a construction crane operator from Long Island, was here to attend his brother’s wedding. Rich brought him ice for his cooler full of beer and received a twenty dollar bill. Michelle brought him extra towels and she also received a twenty. I delivered an ice bucket to his room and once again he pulled another twenty out of that huge wad of cash. We all reported back to each other and after the day’s guests had been checked in we walked to the Wood Creek Pub to celebrate. Michelle recommended we place tip envelopes in the rooms but somehow we never got around to it. We are suffering from overload but realize we work better together than not.