“As the Antlers Turn”………19

From the Lost and Found Department.

In our travels, we have all had this conversation in one form or another …

Whether you’re alone or with your spouse or with the entire family, it’s time to check out of your hotel room (or in this case, one of our well appointed condominiums).

Mom looks at Dad, or any of the kids, and says “Do we have everything?  Did you check the dresser drawers?”

Dad replies “Yes we do and I did (?) check the drawers but I will check them again.  OK, let’s get out of here if we’re going to catch that flight back to Cleveland.”

The housekeepers arrive shortly after the room is empty and ready it for the next group of weary travelers.

In spite of the thorough efforts to pack all of  your personal items, these are some of the things the housekeepers will turn into the front desk after that family, or anyone for that matter, departs.  A favorite pillow, a cell phone, a teddy bear, a book, sunglasses, shoes, medication, business documents, a wallet or an entire suitcase.

Housekeeping doesn’t always find everything though……

Tom was working in unit 208 on a remodel project this summer and found a piece of jewelry.  The fireplace was being torn out and under the old gas line was a ring.  A class ring from Exeter High School in New Hampshire.  The date was “Class of 1963”, the initials were “DB”.

It's been under a pipe for quit a while. But how long?


Tom took the time to search the web and found that Exeter H.S. is still in business and has been graduating students since the 1800’s. He called and gave the information to the Alumni Director, Sandy Parks, and it was all she needed. The ring belonged to David Blaisdell and she would take it from there.  Tom promised to forward the item.

We in turn wondered when did he visit the Antlers?  We could only speculate that it was between 1972 and 1995.  (That is quite the window).

I recently talked to Sandy Parks after the piece of jewelry was in her possession and she told me she was trying to get information on Mr. Blaisdell.  This is the next correspondence I received:

Hello Mr. Ziccardi,

 My name is Sheila Blaisdell Oliver. I just wanted to email to say THANK YOU!  To know that so many people went through so much trouble to find us, is very heartwarming. The ring could have been kept as a find but instead a chain of people have made sure that it was returned to family. This is not something that is seen very often any longer. Please thank every person involved in the recovery of this ring for us.

 I am not sure if Mrs. Parks has told you yet but my father passed away in June of 2008 and my mother passed away five months later. I wish I knew how the ring came to your facility but it would all be a guess. We moved from N.H.  to New Mexico in 1984 and stayed for eight years. My father worked with Raytheon Missile Systems and traveled quite extensively.

 Mrs. Parks said that you would like to have an article written up in regards to this. I would love to do this for you. I cannot tell you when my father was ever in that area but I can give you a brief history of him, his family and what this all means to us. If you would give me time I would love to do this. I will also send you some pictures of the ring (as soon as it arrives) and our family, my father etc.

 I am the oldest……hurts to say that! I have three younger brothers. One who has a son named after my father. The ring will go to him unless everybody has another vision for it.

 Again, thank you from all of us. Our parents died far too early and this ring coming back from the past is such a wonderful thing.

Thank you,

 Sheila Oliver

Thank you Shiela Blaisdell Oliver.

It’s obvious this story has not ended.  I will pass along the happy ending when it arrives.  Stay tuned.


Guess What We Woke Up To

We were walking around in the courtyard in short sleeve shirts on Tuesday and put on a few extra layers on Wednesday with the recent Vail snow.

Wax those skiis and boards.  Find that parka and wool socks.  Make that reservation.

It has begun.

Courtyard Scare Crow wasn't ready for this

No matter what the weather, these guys never get along

“As the Antlers Turn”………18

Twenty Minutes on Thursday Morning.

It’s October and it has gotten quiet in Vail happy valley.

The staff uses this time to prepare for the upcoming ski season.  Housekeeping is fall cleaning the condominiums to a ridiculous level, the maintenance staff is tightening knobs after they clean and the front desk is sending out confirmations for the anticipated winter guests.

It’s 10:40 in the morning and suddenly Darci, working the front desk, completely alone, chatting on the phone with a travel agent, can only watch as things UN-ravel in front of her.  She dropped the phone.

One of the three guests staying with us fills her cup at our world class coffee station and gives a polite smile and good-bye to Darci as she pushes the lobby door open.  She just wants to enjoy the sunshine on the other side.  Darci smiles and waves to her while still talking to the travel agent.  Our guest walks through the opening with an Antlers cup and the door falls off.  The top hinge has let go.

The UPS guy is coming across the courtyard with a stack of packages on a dolly and he thinks the guest is holding the door open for him.  Actually she is balancing the 100 lb door with one hand and holding her ceramic Antlers coffee cup in the other.  He peaks around the packages he is wheeling and says “Thank you.  Great day isn’t it?”

Darci is now on the radio saying “Someone from maintenance please come to the front desk!”

“Give us a minute.”  was the reply.

NOW”, was her response.

Meanwhile……Magda walked into the Lobby and wanted to help after she saw the situation but she didn’t know Miley, (Rob and Evelyn’s dog, who he was tending for the day because Evelyn was out of town) was behind the closed door of the office.  She opened it and Miley immediately ran past the UPS guy and toward the opened door that was still being held up by the guest who now has dropped her Antlers mug that has shattered on the cobblestone.  The UPS guy helped her after realizing what was going on.  He propped the door up against the wall.

Darci yelled to Magda “Get the dog!”  She got back on the radio with her next announcement.  “Does anyone know where Rob is?  His dog is out and he’s fighting with Maggie in the courtyard”.  (Maggie is Chris’s dog and apparently they didn’t hit it off.)  Miley ran to the wild, not interested in a dog fight.  Tom, Ryan, Cayatano and Magda split up on the back side of the property. I was on the fourth floor and heard this exchange.

“Anybody see her?”

Tom:  “I’m on the bike bath.  She’s going west.”

Ryan:  “Did you say east?”

Cayatano:  “I see her.”

Tom:  “See her too.  She’s on her way up Forest Road.”

Magda:  “Please, please, please get her.  I’m the one that let the boss’s dog out.”

Tom:  “This dog is friendly until you get close.  Then she bolts.”

Ryan:  “It’s a Border Collie.  They’re friendly and smart.  She’s playing games with you.”

Tom:  “I don’t have time for games.”

Darci is now on the phone calling Rob’s cell.  “Miley got out.”

Rob calmly assures Darci that it will be fine.  “I’m in 506 and I’ll be right down.  I’m sure she is already having separation anxiety and is looking for me.”  He hangs up the phone and runs toward the creek thinking “Evelyn is going to kill me.”

I come down to the lobby and see the door leaning against the wall.

“What in the world is going on?”

Darci looks at me and says “All I know is I’m the only one here, the phones are ringing like we’re giving away free units for Christmas, dogs are running through the lobby and fighting in the courtyard, the front doors are falling off, everyone is out looking for Rob’s dog who is probably in Eagle by now and (she takes a deep breath) it’s only eleven o’clock.”

I turn and look toward the courtyard and Rob is riding one of the cruiser bikes and right behind him is Miley.  Her tongue waging in the breeze and a smile on her face.

Ryan comes back to hang the door and Tom meets with a contractor who has just pulled in.  Normal again.  Except for Darci who decides to take an early lunch.  She walks away and I hear her mumbling “You can’t make this [expletive] up.  I’m going to happy hour.”




No, no … it’s today!

Saturday, August 27, 2011 – It’s 11:00 and the groom is asking, “Why isn’t our brunch set up at the pool?”

“Um, your farewell brunch is tomorrow.”

“No, no … it’s today!”

“Uh-oh … well, it says right here in the contract you signed, that brunch is on Sunday the 28th, that’s tomorrow. But if you think it’s today, then I guess it’s today.”

“Good, because we’ve got fifty hungry guests and family members waiting at the pool.”



Now Magdalena’s pretty expressive, and she’s certainly shown concern before, but never quite like this.  OMG, what are we going to do?!

“A” number “1” … is Chef Barry available?  Yes, he’s in the kitchen.  Better yet, he has all the food on hand, but hasn’t even started to PREP!  Happily, he’s not your typical chef.  His response?  “Let’s go, I’ll do the best I can.”

All hands on deck … both guys working today from the maintenance department, Chris and Ryan, drop what they’re doing and are immediately moving tables and chairs from the conference room down to the pool.  So is Rob, the GM.  The housemen stop stocking the linen closets with sheets and towels and are now bringing down table linens.  Katie’s gathering up everything we need for the bar.  Antlers front desk staff is pitching in as they’re able.  Magda’s coordinating with Barry, figuring out what we can prep the fastest (turns out to be the fruit tray) and get it down to the pool so the guests at least have SOMETHING.

“Greg, can you bartend?”

“Oh man, I would … I want to … I wish … but I can’t.  I’ve got an obligation I just CANNOT get out of.”

“OK, who then?”

“Rob … you’re elected”

“No sweat, only one problem … I wasn’t really working today.  I just happened to ride my bike in.  That’s why I’m wearing my biking jersey and shorts.  It’s all I’ve got.”

“It’ll have to do.  Can you make a Bloody Mary?”

“Are you kidding?”

Fast forward twenty minutes … some guests are drinking Mimosas, others are munching on the food as fast as it comes out of the kitchen.  The bride’s family has gone from being livid and thinking that we’re totally incompetent, to realizing that we are super-humanly compensating for a mistake that wasn’t really ours.  In minutes, their appreciation is over the top.  Rob’s tending bar in his spandex regalia, garnering more than a few questionable looks.  That is, until people understand “the rest of the story”.

Soon, we’ve served the breakfast burritos that Barry has miraculously put together in nothing flat.  One of the best compliments of the day is when a groomsmen says, “I’m from Texas … we know a thing or two about burritos … and this is the best breakfast burrito I’ve ever had!”

Adding to the surreal nature of the morning, at one point Mr. Chatty Bartender Rob asks one of the guests, “So where are you all from?”  “Thunder Bay” is the response.  “No Way!” says Rob, “My BFF George “The Peach” Nickerson is from Thunder Bay!”

“Doc Nick’s kid?  On Algoma Street?”  Ya shoor, yoo betcha.  (just another Vail / small world episode)

Our only regret?  Nobody took any pictures.  Darn.  Oh well.  Bottom line, at the end of the day, we pulled off what would have been impossible for most others, but as they say, “No problem for high steppers like us.”

Although he didn’t focus on the “Miracle Brunch” as much as we might have, here’s a copy of the actual review posted by the groom’s father a short time later …