If there’s one thing that my wife and I are proud of, it’s our home, as humble as it seems in comparison to other houses. We enjoy our little urban nest, appreciating it for what it is and what it will be as time goes on and we’re able to put more effort and time into it. And, for those friends and family of ours who know how to get a hold of us our doors are open and we’re happy to share if you need a place to stay.
I should warn you, the guest accommodations are far from palatial. The bed is a hand-me-down, an unwanted cast-off from my father-in-law when he consolidated homes with his fiance a couple years ago. It still has the same grandma-esque yellow, flowered comforter that he had bought for it. And it’s not necessarily in a guest room, per say, but the least dingy corner of our vast, unfinished basement, right next to one of the radiators should you stay on a cold, winter night.
As a perk, there is a guest bathroom for you. It’s small, but not horribly tiny, and has a shower stall. Pay no mind to the last few scraps of wallpaper that I couldn’t pick off, or the strange burn mark on the countertop, or the paint flaking off the medicine cabinet, but you will find spare toiletries in there should yours be an unexpected visit. The shower is functional and someday I’ll find that last place where water manages to leak out. And please do mind the sign on the toilet, as it’s a polite reminder to hold the handle down until everything in the bowl has flushed away. The basement bathroom may be falling apart, but it’s at least kept clean, right?
To steal a line from the cinematic spectacular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, “It ain’t the Hilton… Um, let’s face it, you’d be better off staying at the Hilton.”
Perhaps this is true, perhaps not. What our “guest suite” lacks in polish is made up for in our eagerness to make your stay comfortable in spite of the less than posh setting. Breakfast? You bet we’ll feed you. A ride to or from the airport? I’m your man. Entertainment? You’re staying under our roof, of course we’ll spend time with you. Take you places. Light a fire in the backyard. Crack a few beers.
Ultimately, this is what the norm is for me. Family or friends are in town? Make sure the sheets on the spare bed are clean, and move all the boxes of crap off of it while you’re at it. Things don’t need to be luxurious if you’re honest and giving. This is especially true with Chops, as I spent the first half of my years there living off of people’s couches and good will so I could be at rehearsal on time. Now that we have our own house and it’s so close to the corps’ facility, well, we can’t help but turn around and do the same for those in the corps that need it.
And, yes, the idea of running an actual bed and breakfast has crossed my mind. I’ve only stayed in one once, but the idea of having an old home that is open to (paying) guests where you serve fine breakfasts and conversation seems like fun. Also, it just so happens, that our fair city has within the last couple years enacted an ordinance that legally allows for people to run B&Bs. The law was unprompted by anyone outside of the council chambers, too, as the news story in the local paper that reported the ordinance just seemed to give a wink and a nudge at anyone willing to try it. Like many things that seem interesting to try, though, it would also take up more time and money than I have to give to endeavor (much like my bike shop or book store), so I will be content with serving wayward drum corps members and family passing through.
Eventually, things will be better. There will be walls around the spare bed, a heated floor (we do have hot water heat, you know), a bathroom that isn’t falling to pieces, the dehumidifier and water softener not so loud in the middle of the night to wake you… The list goes on and on. It’s not the Hilton in form, but it’s better treatment than what you’d get there. Just like the main living space of this old house, there are big plans for the guest quarters and until the day comes that I finally put that coat of paint on fresh wallboard in the guest bedroom we’ll just make do with what we have.
Just a quick footnote: I had originally titled this post “Come and knock on our door”, but changed it after remembering my college apartment that I had shared with two women. That, truly, was a zany situation of “Three’s Company” proportions at times… That is, if “Three’s Company” was retooled to be a drunken college melee. Cruel and Naughty, you were great roomies, and I’m sure that by now my liver has recovered.