One of my recent columns about the odd happenings at the inn was so popular I decided to write a second installment. This time the joke was on the innkeeper, not the guests. All I can say for myself is that I was convinced I had plenty of time before guests arrived to get this done, but apparently I was wrong. So here it is. The names in this case do not need to be changed to protect the innocent because you all know who I am, and I am clearly not innocent.
Not long ago, I was expecting some regular guests to check in who were driving in from Ohio. Our normal check in time is 3 p.m., and generally these two are much later than that. So at around 1:30 p.m. I decided to dye my hair, which was grossly overdue. I took off my top, glooped up my head with red hair dye and set the timer for 30 minutes, according to the package directions. About 20 minutes into the 30 minute set time, the front doorbell rang. Our guests apparently miscalculated the timing and forgot that there was a time change this time. So they arrived an hour early.
In my frantic freak out mode, I ran around our room looking for something to throw over myself, since I most certainly couldn’t greet our guests completely naked from the waist up. A robe? No, that wouldn’t work. A sweatshirt? Nope. Can’t put it over my head, or it’ll get dyed red. So I grabbed a zip up sweater. Then I needed something to cover my glooped up head. A baseball cap? Again, not going to work because I don’t want to ruin the baseball cap. Then I reached for my little beanie cap I use when it’s really cold but opted against it because it’s a children’s cap in the shape of a kitty cat with ears and whiskers that looks ridiculous. I thought that would be even worse than the glooped up head. So I just bundled my head up in a bath towel and settled on that.
All the while the doorbell is ringing nonstop. Our guests probably wondered where the heck we are. So with my pseudo covered up head and body, I run toward the front door. Fortunately right at that moment my husband arrived home from the grocery store and rescued me from my humiliation. Our guests were none the worse for wear. Me? I was winded and had developed a flop sweat, and needless to say everything was covered in red dye. My clothes, the towel, the floor, you name it. It took a wee bit of cleanup that wasn’t necessarily on the agenda for that day.
The moral of the story? Never assume that you have time for anything if you are expecting guests. They don’t often follow a pattern, and they generally show up when you least expect them to. We got a good laugh at it, and my hair is now a nice shade of auburn. Next time I will wait until I have a day off to dye my hair.
Monika Sudakov is the chef and innkeeper at the Chestnut Street Inn in Sheffield. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.