Sometimes, I wish life could just stop for a few minutes. Get off the ride, step aside, and then get back on. I wish I never got sick, didn’t sprain an ankle or the weather cooperated.
But life doesn’t stop, and neither does hosting. That is not the case. Life happens. I’m actually writing this post after a record 3-day migraine after I had to clean for upcoming guests. It isn’t a vomiting, turn off the lights and “why must you breathe near me headache,” but I’m not at my peak. I’m moving a bit slower than usual, and I need to pause while I clean for the guests.
So, what do I do when life happens and I have guests arriving or already in my home?
I let them know.
I sprained my ankle twice in one year. The first time, I had these lovely guests from Spain–a husband and wife staying with me while he was in New York for 42 days taking an English language course. I sprained my ankle in my home towards the end of their stay and these guests helped me out for the remainder of their time. They brought meals to my room and helped me as much as they could.
What could I do? Accept their help.
The second time I sprained my ankle was during Hurricane Irene in 2011. I had rented my entire home to a couple from London who were getting married in my backyard, and I moved to my friend’s house. The wedding was scheduled for the day of the hurricane.
I came to the house to provide flashlights, fill the washing machine with water, and hurricane-proof my backyard. As I was bringing chairs down the stairs, I fell and couldn’t get up. Thankfully, my neighbors heard my scream, jumped the fence, and helped me. I ended up with crutches and not able to take care of my home for over a week, which was during the high season with tons of guests coming and going. Fortunately, I had a cleaning person who could help me out at a moment’s notice. I just couldn’t do much but delegate from the sofa.
During a Thanksgiving holiday I left town, so my guest had my entire home. I came back early from my holiday because I was coming down with a cold. My guest was appalled and decided to stay with her family instead of with a sick host. I reassured her that I would stay in my bedroom and not contaminate her space. But we did share a bathroom, and she chose to leave. No, I didn’t refund her any money. I was surprised by her behavior, but I also understood it.
In every instance like the ones I just described, I make sure I communicate with the guests about my situation and have the backup community to help me out. Now, it’s not just friends who are hosts but also people who have cleaned for me and know my home. You cannot wait until you have a situation to get a cleaning person. Teach them your home and your ways while you’re home to catch any shortcomings. Create a document with a checklist and photos. Remember, no one knows your home like you do.
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And make sure you take the time to take care of yourself to be able to take care of your guest.