Friday, May 13, 2011

Of Course I Can Bring That Up To You!

New word that I should not use at work: "wonky."

It's interesting working at a hotel where I am not the sole employee on duty. At the Inn I had to do anything the guests needed. Leaky ceiling? Let me check to make sure the guest in the above room hasn't drowned. Clogged toilet? I will most certainly wade through the bathroom for you. Need your sheets changed because your kids smeared something across them? Of course I'll make your entire bed for you! Why else am I on duty but to serve every random request?

At The Orchid, it's never just me. We have a waterfront dining room that will be open at nights and housekeeping and a night manager are here until midnight. Thus, when a guest needs something done, it is not up to just me to fulfill their request. This novelty led to a somewhat scatter-brained situation earlier when guests came down to the desk and asked for a spoon and whether or not we provided laundry service. As I started to tell them where a laundrymat was on the island, Susan*, the night maid on duty, whispered from the back that we could do the guests' laundry. She then told me to call my supervisor Jenny to ask about the procedure. Jenny asked how much laundry the guests had and when I told her I would ask when I brought them a spoon Jenny said, "And then the office would be empty."

"Yes?" I replied, not quite sure how I was supposed to remedy this. How were the guests going to get their spoon if I didn't bring it to them?

"You cannot leave the office unattended."

"Yes..." I said again, still unsure how this spoon was supposed to make it up two flights of stairs.

"Is Susan there?"

I turned and looked at Susan. "Yes."

"Then Susan can bring the spoon up to the guests and while she is there she can collect their laundry."

"Yes?" (This is obviously my go-to word when I'm having a brain freeze on the phone.)

Susan, who can hear all of this, nods her head and leaves the room. Jenny explains the rest of the laundry procedure and tells me to call her back once I'm done. When Susan returns, spoon in hand, I tell her what room needs the utensil and she leaves again. As it turns out, the guests did NOT need their laundry done, but simply wanted to know if the service was available. I thanked Susan for delivering the spoon and she looked at me like I had lost my mind. "It's my job," she said. "You stay in here and I run things up to guests." This is really going to be quite the concept for me to wrap my head around.

Wednesday was my first day going off island since arriving on Mackinac. The experience wasn't necessarily anything to comment on, but what was exciting was the ferry ride back to the island. While I was running my eerands, Mackinac Island was hit with a minor thunderstorm. The storm itself didn't reach me, but there was some heavy rain that trapped me inside a Walmart where I hungout in a Subway with a group of older women who apparently use the Subway Walmart as a regular hangout (seriously entertaining). Mackinac Island is situated right on the Straits of Mackinac, which is a strip of water that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron as well as separates the Lower Peninsula from the Upper Peninsula. Today it is a major shipping lane, creating strong currents and active waves even on a clear, calm day. This is then greatly heightened during stormy days, like Wednesday.

I rode an afternoon ferry back in the company of nearly fifty retirees who were all enrolled in community college and on a field trip. I know it might sound odd, but tourist really warm my heart and I was having a hard time not staring as everyone kept taking pictures of each other on the ferry. The moment we left the dock the ferry began rocking exaggeratedly from side to side, which only increased when we reached open waters. Our windows were completely covered in the white foam from large waves and there were even a few instances when you could see right into the blue water beneath the wave. Each time the boat came crashing down it was accompanied by a chorus of screams and gasps. I was half expecting everyone to clap once we made it to port.(I later learned that the ferries had actually been shutdown in the early afternoon due to the rough waters so maybe we were one of the first boats to attempt to cross over.)

Tomorrow the wait staff arrives, which, from what I understand, means that's when the craziness begins, too! I will also work all morning/day shifts next week, which will present me with loads more opportunities to mess up. Let's hope I will at the very least get some entertaining stories out of it all!

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