It’s been 7 years now that we’ve been playing hosts to Acadia National Park visitors from around the country and world. Our oceanside apartment has proven to be quite popular. Still, I have deep fears of making big mistakes which could stick out like a sore thumb in our on line reviews.
Foremost in my disaster scenario would be a double booking. Imagine losing track of who was coming when and having to deal with a situation where two groups expected to occupy the apartment at the same time. Airlines do this all the time of course, but for me it would be an embarrassment of the highest order. I don’t know what I’d do, but hiding in a closet would seem tempting. It hasn’t happened yet.
The next tier of cataclysm would involve plumbing. These problems have happened already. We started out with one well, which is considered adequate for a family, but is only rated at one gallon per minute. For several years we cut back on our usage on our side, putting off showers and flushing. This gets old. So does having to remind people to conserve. In 2012 we added a second well. It was expensive, but has pretty much eliminated the water supply issue. No more embarrassment about dry taps.
Then there’s sewage. I have been following a strict schedule about pumping the septic tank every few years. At $300 per, it’s also not cheap. The alternative however would be worse, considering that the apartment is, shall we say, downstream. The apartment requires a sewage pump to lift it to the septic system, which brings us to the next embarrassment, the failed sewage pump. I guess these things only last 5 years, and when they fail it’s in the middle of the night on a weekend, with people staying of course. Fortunately it was discovered before it overflowed. So first thing in the morning I was off to Home Depot to get a replacement. Now imagine lifting the sodden old device out of a tank in a closet and moving it through the living room of people on vacation. Memorable. Next time I’m replacing in 4-1/2 years, before it stops working.
Yet another plumbing-related embarrassment happened which I was totally unprepared for. It was fall, and raining hard for two days. My house has perimeter drains which collect the ground water and send it by gravity, to the ocean. What I didn’t know, is that the big pipe which went to the shore was clogged with tree roots. The rain water found its way into the perimeter drains and began gushing out of the floor drain in the laundry room. From there it found its way to the aforementioned sewage tank and then got pumped into the septic system. And yes, it was the middle of the night on a weekend (when pets get sick too). I mopped until morning and then got rid of the roots.
I like to allow my guests to borrow our kayaks. Once I had just tied up to my mooring after pulling my lobster traps, as the kayaking party was coming back. I jumped into my dingy and pushed off. Then I realized I had left the oars in the big boat. I toyed with the idea of paddling wildly with my hands or begging for a tow, but the wind was blowing toward shore (more or less) so I just sat there and tried to look cool as I slowly blew ashore.
Now we come to my most recent embarrassment, the lost check. The morning after our guest wrote it, I stopped at Home Depot and when I left for the bank, I couldn’t find it. I went back home and tore the place apart, trying to find it. I thought, “It’ll turn up”, but days went by and it didn’t. I knew I’d have to tell my guests, but it did occur to me that I could just let it go. Problem was, it was nearly $500, an amount I would trade (some of) my dignity for. My break in the situation occurred when I heard a loud crash from the apartment. Probably a platter. I can’t express how glad I was that I now had the potential for matching embarrassments. That was my motivation for sending a confessional email (cowardly, I know) explaining the lost check. It all worked out and the bank made $32 in stop-payment fees. After the guests got home they emailed me saying that Home Depot found the check and shredded it. Hopefully this was the 2014 calamity of the year.
We’ve had no break-ins, fires, drownings or broken bones, so by comparison the above embarrassments seem mild. This is nothing like the time I sent a turkey rolling down the driveway just as our Thanksgiving guests (my in-laws) were arriving (it was on fire). Or the time I drove into the ocean at Lamoine Beach when the town removed the signs for maintenance (it was dark). Or the time Martha Stewart talked to me and I didn’t recognize her (she did look familiar). Will you catch me in an embarrassing situation if you stay here? Probably.