Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Sometimes I think I run a hotel. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I live in a hotel, I just think that I am the manager, clerk, cook, baker, handyman and housekeeper for a hotel. Unfortunately for the guests, I do not have a different uniform for each of these staff positions, just my Biggest Loser sweatshirt and pajama pants from Target. My name tag reads Banji because no one is allowed to call me Mrs. Ganchrow under penalty of death. If you were to look up the ratings, I would give myself about three-and-a-half out of five stars, the star and a half being lost for inappropriate language used around minors and lack of bathrooms (and the vodka in the freezer). The good news is, and don’t read this the wrong way, the only guests that usually stay at this hotel are boys and they don’t even need a bathroom, just a bucket or a water bottle or a patch of grass in the yard. (If you are the parent of one of the young men who has stayed here, don’t worry, they have never needed to resort to using any of those things.)

They do, however, need constant food and drink and that is always provided. I might lose another star because we are not a “green” hotel and I use plastic cups and paper plates. If I did not use paper and plastic, I would lose yet another star for the amount of inappropriate language used when I would have to wash all of the plates and dishes. So, even though most guests have not learned how to throw out their plastic cups and paper plates, it is still easier than using real ones. (Again, if you are a parent of one the boys who has stayed here, it is okay that they don’t throw anything out…it is included in the cost of the stay. Though, I really wish I knew why some of these boys can play hockey for hours on end but cannot make the walk to the garbage can and place the used cup in it—isn’t that like scoring a goal?)

Apparently, because of how I have devoted my life to catering to every whim of my sons, reservations are not needed. Just show up and you will have a bed (with clean linens), fresh towels, snacks and room service. This policy works in reverse, because you can cancel at any time without notice or penalty. I also run a hotel shuttle service. Guests can call from bus stops, restaurants or other people’s homes and they will be picked up and dropped off where requested. Tipping, however, isn’t allowed (it is also frowned upon and would be really, really tacky.)

If, while staying at this hotel, you become ill, I also become the doctor. Hopefully, you have no allergies to Advil because that is the medicine on hand and, perhaps, some old penicillin. However, we once had a guest show up who was the color of a cucumber and I quickly called his mother and had him escorted from the premises because I only clean up vomit if I have no choice (and I usually don’t). My bedside manner isn’t great, if it is a guest. He usually gets put in quarantine and if he leaves the sick area, I follow him around with Lysol and Purell to avoid him infecting the other guests. I have often thought about investing in face masks, but I have to see what the budget will allow.

The truth is I love having all of these kids sleep over. They are respectful, adorable and funny. They bring out the best in each other and they make the hotel a great place to be. The guests sometimes use the recreational facilities located in the basement; this includes ping pong, mini hockey and assorted games and toys. As the handyman, I often look forward to discovering new holes in the walls and seeing how I can creatively cover them up so the boss doesn’t find out. But it is all good, and they love coming back.

A few weeks ago, I kept running into parents who were thanking me for hosting their son/daughter at a get together that I hosted in my hotel. Back story: Two days before this little soiree, I had same day surgery. All is well, thank God, which is why I can discuss it so freely, but I was told to stay off of my feet for a few days. “Ha, ha, ha,” I said to my surgeon and then proceeded to explain to her that I had already cooked and frozen food for the hotel guests that were coming for the weekend. And even though I went to sleep very early Friday night, apparently, I had about 40 kids over. The assistant manager, aka husband #1, was on call and he did a pretty decent job because I slept through the ruckus and woke up to an almost clean house. But every time someone thanked me I just answered, “You’re welcome. Make sure to fill out a comment card so we know how we did!”

Yes, running a hotel can be quite challenging but, if it makes your kids happy, you are happy, and if you are happy then everyone is happy! Looking forward to the next check-ins…..

Banji Ganchrow is a self-proclaimed writer who spent many a night at the Concord Hotel. Good times kids, good times....

Sign up now!