Jeremy and Carol, our first guests ever, were due to arrive the day after Christmas.
We called Jane that morning to make sure everything was ready.
“Thanks for my Christmas check!” she said. “You really got the hint.”
“I’ll bear that in mind next Christmas, not to mention my birthday and all federal holidays in between.”
The woman should do stand-up.
“So everything’s all set for our guests?”
She laughed. “You guys are as nervous as virgins on your wedding night.”
It was my turn to laugh. “Maybe. Can’t remember that far back.”
“He was only twelve,” Michael added helpfully from the other line. “Remember, he’s from Tennessee.”
“So the house looks great?”
“Perfect. They’ll be thrilled. I’m picking them up at the airport at 3:10. Everything will go fine.”
“I believe you.”
“I’ve done it a million times.”
“Hang on, Jane. Now we’re discussing your sex life?”
“Michael, get off the phone.”
“He hates Christmas. It’s an overcompensation thing.”
“Can we call you tomorrow?”
She sighed. “Sure, but is it always going to be like this?”
“Nah, “I said. “I’m sure in five or six years we’ll be much more relaxed about the whole thing.”
We called the next morning.
Jeremy and Carol loved the house. They spent the week snorkeling and biking around the island. They left a collection of sea glass on our coffee table with a thank you note.
Their last night, they got engaged.
Even by our standards, our little slice of paradise was off to a good start.
The bookings came in pretty steadily that first season. Our guests included a retired couple from Rhode Island, an accountant and his girlfriend from Manhattan, and a gay couple from Philly.
Nothing bad happened. Well, almost nothing. The island lost its water supply—not an unusual occurrence—for the better part of a day. I called the house and apologized to our guests, who couldn’t have been more gracious.
In a month it would be time for our next trip down. We asked Jane to set aside a couple of hours to meet with us, and to invite Steve, our super-talented carpenter, to join us.
It was time to get serious about gutting and renovating the lower floor.