Sunday, 23 September 2012

Fly little bird, fly!

Well my littlest bird has now flown the nest and we have all survived!!  It has been a bit of a rocky road but not as terrible as I had anticipated.

Steve, Tom and I went to the house last Sunday and pretty much moved him in, all the big stuff got done.  I spent an hour cleaning the filthiest fridge freezer you have ever seen, Steve put up roller blinds and Tom rebuilt his desk in his new bedroom.  By the time we left you could see he was really looking forward to getting into his new home and being free from parents that have spent the last 2 months insisting he was up and working 5 days a week - since he left college he has been earning his money working at the guest house, stripping and re-making beds, washing laundry and ironing all the bedding as well as cleaning and relaying the breakfast room - he is seriously house trained now!

Monday I was a total wreck, phoned my mother in floods - poor woman thought something terrible had happened!  She was saying "but Debbie he's not going to be very far away, you can go and visit and you know he's looking forward to it" and I replied "I know all that, but he wont be here and I LIKE HIM" sob sob!!!  Whenever I thought about driving away without him on Thursday I burst into tears, think I drove everyone mad.

Thursday finally rolled around and to be honest by then I think everyone felt that things had been dragged out long enough and it was time.  Of course Tom didn't realise that his dad was going out so he was in the shower so their goodbye was through a closed bathroom door - a blessing for them both I think tbh.  Tom and I got the car packed up with the rest of his stuff and headed off.  We got his clothes unpacked and his food in the fridge and then one of his new housemates turned up with her dad.  She is lovely and she and Tom seemed to get on very well.  Tom isn't into partying and socialising and he doesn't drink - which I think is unusual for an 18 year old and he has never given any reason why he doesn't drink, he just never has but I am a little bit concerned it will make it harder for him to fit in as he was very unhappy at college and part of that was due to having no friends.  Tom can be very withdrawn and quiet and make no effort to chat if that's how he is feeling, so I was massively relieved to watch him chat away with C and to hear the two of them laughing away in the kitchen as he was helping her put up pictures did my heart good, I can tell you!

By about 3pm it was apparent that there was nothing left for me to do, he was putting up his pictures, C and her dad were sorting her room and it was time for me to leave.  Tom gave me the biggest hug, told me he loved me and promised me that he would be absolutely fine - he did mention that he would be really glad when everyone left and he could put his pizza in the oven and hitch his ps3 to the big plasma TV in the lounge!  I'll admit I crumpled a bit as I drove away without him and then because of all the work that's being done at the front of the Uni there are long traffic light controlled delays I had a very self indulgent wail whilst I sat through those and then got a grip before hitting the motorway.

Em was out on Thursday evening so I cooked dinner for two for the first time in a very long time - probably since Tom was on a trip to Germany last year with college in fact.  And we opened a bottle of wine and we were both fine.  And then as I put the dinner on the table Tom rang - he couldn't get the oven to light and it was bloody freezing in the house.  After digging through all the letters in the kitchen he discovered that the gas had been cut off.  Suddenly I was in floods of tears and fighting the urge to go and bring him home.  Was so cross as I had been doing so well too.  Tom assured me he was fine, he was going to microwave some soup and watch TV wrapped in his duvet, he'd text his other housemate H who was sorting all the bills and she had assured him that she and her dad would be sorting the gas out when they arrived the next day.

We had some to'ing and fro'ing with his landlord and I have to say I am not impressed.  We have a property that we let out and not only do we ensure it is immaculate before new tenants move in we are a lot more willing to help if they have issues in the first few days and we are letting to adults with kids, not kids away from home on their own.  And we aren't earning £900 a month in rent either!

H and her dad arrived and managed to get the gas sorted and she cooked sausage and mash for the three of them for dinner so that was all good.  Saturday morning they discovered that after the 3 of them had showered their was water coming through the ceiling in the kitchen below the bathroom.  Tom rang the landlord - if you knew Tom you'd know how amazing this is! - and he is sending someone out on Monday to have a look at the shower so as they don't have a bath its a stand up wash only til Monday evening.  Again not ideal, but stuff happens at I am really happy they are dealing with it.  C was supposed to move in on Saturday too but she text the others to say she had been out on Friday night and her drink had been spiked (and I worry that Tom DOESN'T drink?) and was too ill on Saturday to move in, she is due to arrive today.  Tom tried the oven again for his pizza last night, Saturday, and again it wasn't working well enough to cook it and he sounded a bit fed up last night, he said that its getting annoying now that things aren't working properly.  I did suggest that when C arrives with her parents today he asks one of them to have a look at the oven to see if they can sort it out.  Tom is in Uni each day next week to get to know the students on his course, the tutors and the layout of the Uni and I think he will be glad to get started.  We had planned to go and see him on 6th October as Steve heads off to Africa on the 7th to climb Kilimanjaro, but I have now said we could go next weekend as well if he'd like us to especially if things need sorting.  

So its been up and down but not as emotionally wrenching as I had anticipated and for that I am grateful.  I think once all 3 of them are in, their courses are underway and the house isn't falling apart around their ears they will all be very happy!

So here's to Tom and 3 years of hard work, great fun and making life-long friends!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Piss, pubes and pants

Haven't written a guest house related post for a while and today I have been "inspired" by the loveliness that surrounds me!

Being a guest house owner isn't quite as glamorous as many people seem to think.  Oddly we don't start work at 8am and finish at 9am and then sit around working out how to spend our millions, although I would have millions if I'd had a quid for every guest over the last ten years that has asked me "what have you got planned for the rest of the day, now that breakfast is over?".  One or two have made that mistake when I wasn't having a good day and been forced to listen to the litany of tasks I had planned.  Oops.

Being a guest house owner does give  you a real insight into peoples lives, often much more of one than you'd care to have.  Take for example one of our regulars who stays four nights a week.  He comes down for breakfast and chats away to me in sure and certain knowledge that within the hour I will be cleaning his toilet.  I can tell you that this man pisses like an incontinent goat whilst scratching his bollocks; I know this because the rim of his toilet is splattered with old piss and liberally scattered with hundreds of pubes.  Seriously that is way more information than anyone needs to have, but I have to have it so I thought it only right I share.  I do not understand this.  I would not be able to look someone in the eye if I knew that they knew that I was a filthy bastard, but he has no problem with it at all.  Amazing.

Then this afternoon a new guest arrived.  As he was heading back out to his car he spotted our laundry room and wondered if perhaps I might be able to do a load of washing for him, life has been chaotic lately and he was en route to Paris so if I could just do a load of laundry for him that would be a big help.  I was sort of inclined to point out that oddly enough my life was pretty hectic and the mere fact that he had arrived to check in an hour before the earliest check in time, right in the middle of my working day, had made it yet more hectic, without having to stop and do a load of washing for him, but I didn't.  And so I found myself 5 minutes after meeting this man filling a washing machine with his dirty underwear and socks and wondering what other walk of life would find you manhandling someones used y-fronts as part of your job.  Obviously anyone medical I guess, god love them.  I am not a caring sort and yes, I did just hear you all say "no shit Sherlock" in response to that startling revelation, so I never had any intention of getting up close and personal with the nether regions, their out pourings, off droppings or outer garments of the great British public and yet here I am doing just that.  Funny how things work out.

Here's a little list of the things that I can assure you if you do in a guest house, B&B (what is the difference, I have no idea) hotel, motel or Holiday Inn you WILL be judged:
1. Not using the toilet brush. Do you leave it like that at home?  Oh and if you keep flushing that will eventually go away, so please don't leave it for me to discover when I lift the lid on your toilet.
2. Blowing your nose on the paper napkin you were given at breakfast.
3. Leaving the paper napkin you just blew your nose onto on your side plate next to your toast crust and marmalade. Even typing it makes me gag.  One of our other regulars does this frequently. There is a special place in Hell for him.
4. Park like a twat. Look around you.  Are there white lines?  Here's a plan - use them as a guide and attempt to park between two of them.  
5. Ring at 10pm on a Sunday night to make a booking.  For November.  Or any date that is more than 12 hours away. 
6.  Try to book a room to use with a prostitute for two hours in the afternoon in a local B&B.  Go to the Travelodge, they don't give a shit why you want the room.

That's a little starter, I am sure given more time I could come up with a hundred more minor violations which would be hanging offences if I had  my way, as I said, I'm not big on caring. Do you have a similar list of things that the people you come into contact with via your work do that makes you want to kill?  I bet you do!  Don't hold back, tell me all about them please.


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