“As the Antlers Turn….” scene 12

Who is Marie Roberts?      

In scene 11, I had mentioned an item I bid on at the Vail Valley Partnership Awards Banquet.  It was a silent auction and I never bid on anything for several reasons.  First, I don’t need a ski vacation package and second, I’m a very frugal (cheap) individual.  But I did fall in love with one particular item that was innocently lined up with all the other items.      

As I walked by the tables looking at the donated vacations, massages, chiropractic visits, CME rides, dinners at various restaurants, hot air balloon rides and so on, I stopped and began to stare.  I was frozen to the floor in my borrowed Italian loafers and my eyes focused on the only item I would ever bid on.       

I looked at my friend and said “I’ve got to have it.”      

Just a couple of regular joes at the golf course

A Fifty Dollar bill was a lot of money in '67.

She said “It must be a guy thing.”       

The clipboard that held the sheet to offer a bid on this treasure simply stated “Minimum Bid – $250.  (increments of $25 please).       

I thought to myself and then explained to my friend  “I’m going to scare the hell out of any one else that would even consider bidding on this.”      

“What’s your plan” she asked.       

“I’ve got to get rid of the high rollers” I explained.  “I’m going to bump this bid to $275.  That will put people in their seats.”     

She looked at me stupefied, and to kind to say what she was thinking.  She did, however, say “I don’t think it will hold up.”     

I then explained “This money is coming from my new skis fund.  It’s all I have.”     

She then said “If you plan on buying new skis for $250, you better take a time machine back to 1967.”    

“Your brutal sarcasm is beginning to test me.  Why don’t you go and get us a couple of martinis.  I have some paper work to fill out.”    

I then scribbled in my bid and printed my name legibly on the clipboard.  It was 6:30 PM.   

I went back to our table.  It was time to eat.  Then it was time to check the bid sheet.  No more names. Then it was time to dance.  Then it was time to check the bid sheet.  No more names.  My plan was working.  I did scare the hell out of the high rollers.  It was 8:30 and the bidding closes down at 9:00.  I announce to everyone at our table that I wasn’t getting new skis this season.  I started to cry.   

I looked at Chris and said “I need new skis. I don’t need a picture of Arnie and Jack.”   

Everyone at the table overheard my conversation with Chris and no one had any pity for me.  I reasoned with myself and told the group “I need to give something  to my son when I die.  This will be perfect.  I’m going to buy it like a man.  Lets dance.”  

It was now 9:30 PM and went back to check the bid sheet.  Low and Behold!  Another name and a $300 bid.  It was Marie Roberts.  I looked at my friend and said “I don’t believe this.  She’s probably a trust-funder. Lets dance.”  

My friend said “I saw this Marie when she collected the item.  She was not a pretty women.”  I was puzzeled by that remark.  

The hours passed and the night was through.  I quietly walked home and thought about the only thing I ever wanted to give my son when I die.  How disappointed he will be.  

I managed to get a hold of this picture of Marie.  If you see her, could you tell her how disappointed I am.  

Let the truth be told…….When I returned home that evening I opened my door and threw my keys on the kitchen counter. Right beside the picture of Arnie and Jack. 

I, again, was frozen to the floor.  A Post-It Note was on the picture and it simply said “Thanks for being you.”  

Marie Roberts

NO MARIE….THANKS FOR BEING YOU 

“As the Antlers Turn”….scene 10

Vlasta, Jack and Gerda enjoy a glass of wine while we enjoy their company at the Wine and Cheese gathering on Tuesday

One of the pleasures of working here has been the opportunity I’ve had to meet and get to know the owners and guests that call the Antlers Hotel their home away from home. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m not shy, and if you should ask me a simple question like “How’s your day going?” it has often taken me a half hour to answer.  What I really enjoy is asking people about “their story” and absorbing what they have to say. I have heard some great testimony about success, failure, family and just life in general over the years.            

Meet Vlasta Giese, Jack Joseph and his bride Gerda.  Each one of them have a story that easily could be put into novel form.  I have chosen to keep this at 700 words or less and write the “made for movie” screenplay later.  If all three look happy in this photo, it’s because they are.  “Don’t sweat the little stuff” is what Vlasta will tell you any day of the week.  Jack and Gerda would concur.           

Vlasta Giese is 88 years young and came to this country from Czechoslovakia in 1949.  She will tell you “I was very fortunate to get out.  It was just after the “Ruskiis” occupied my country and this, just after the Germans had left.”  I asked her when she started skiing and she said “I remember before the occupation I hiked up to Krkonosky with my friends.  We had to walk all the way and it took many hours.”    (Fun Fact:  That translates to skiing for more than 70 years.)  She has been coming to the Antlers to ski and hike for nearly 20 years. She also requests that we open the pool early so she can swim her daily laps.        

Gerda Joseph, age 81, left her native Austria in 1948.  She also experienced WW II and the un-welcome occupation of Vienna.  She will explain “As a child, I don’t remember being frightened as much as I was bewildered.  To this day, I don’t believe that anything else has compared to that experience.”  She also learned to ski  “after taking street cars to the city limits and hiking for miles through the Vienna Woods”.  After her migration to the States, she managed to attend Colorado College as an exchange student and returned to the University of Vienna and received her degree in 1952.  (Fun Fact:  Rob LeVine also attended Colorado College so that means Gerda was there before he was born.)        

Jack Joseph was born in 1926 in Chicago and he will tell you “Even if you’ve never picked up a history book, you probably know there were a few things I lived through that were not considered the best of times in American history.”  He also admits that “I don’t have as much experience skiing as Gerda.  I only started sometime in the early 60’s after I married her.  For me, my skiing adventures began at Indian Head Mountain in Upper Michigan”.  He thought for a second and continued, “I think they had about 300 acres of terrain back then and 400 feet of vertical.  Vail gives us a little more to enjoy”  he said with a wink and a smile.      

Jack and Gerda purchased a condominium at the Antlers in 2008 and stay for several months during the winter season.  You can spot both of them every morning at 8:30 AM heading to the gondola.  “We like to get out there before the crowds.”        

Vlasta likes to sleep in.  “I want it to warm up a bit before I hit the slopes.  Besides, the “hunks” don’t get out there until later in the day anyway”. 

Trust me….if you have not met these people in your life…be patient…and they will introduce themselves…and just make you happy…because you know them.

Greg Ziccardi

“As the Antlers Turn….”scene 9

This is the Vail Police dispatch office.  We just received a 911 call from one of your guests……….”

It was Tuesday if my mind serves me correctly.  We are in full swing at the Antlers.  Guests have arrived from all corners of the planet and there is a festive mood as the holidays are upon us.  The CME vans are pulling into the courtyard and dropping luggage wherever they can find a place to put it.  Parents are unfolding themselves from the vans and some have that look of stupefaction that stems from the 16 hours of travel to get here.  There are the usual greetings from the front desk “cool kids” as they help with luggage and get our travelers situated.  The children immediately run to make snowballs and start tossing them at the cool kids.  Mark takes one in the cheek and says not a word.  Happy, Happy, Happy.

This is pretty much the order of the days this time of year.  Check-ins, check-outs, answer a lot of question with regard to restaurants, lift tickets and ski school inquiries.  The Engineering department will get calls to fix TVs and DVD players that are not broken, fireplaces that will not light and rooms that are too cold.  It is the usual kind of thing that we handle in a typical 18 hour day. We have pride in ourselves and always remain professional even though it can get a bit repetitive.  It’s what happens after the 18 hours, between midnight and 6:00AM, that gets interesting and certainly not routine.

I was the on call manager this particular evening.  As long as I’ve been doing this, I’ve never been totally at ease when I finally do fall asleep.  Kind of like “sleeping with one eye open”.  I’m always thinking in a comatose state “Will there be a pool fire tonight or a noise disturbance that is unexplained after investigation?  Late check-ins are always common.”   Nonetheless, if I am woken up in the middle of the night, it’s nearly impossible to fall back asleep.

I have a phone in Unit 101 that belongs in the Smithsonian when I retire it.  The ring tone is unique and LOUD and it has never failed to make me leap from bed when it is activated.  There was a ting-a-ling at 3:00am this particular morning and the Police  Dispatcher explained the call.  “A guest from another unit just dialed 911 and apparently there is someone locked out on their balcony.  He is yelling for help.  I have sent an officer to the Antlers to investigate.”  The challenge was in front of me.  I will beat the officer to the punch and rescue the guest before the officer gets here.

I threw on some boots, and a jacket over my pajamas.  There was no time for make-up….  a guest needed to be rescued from the 10 degree temps.  I hustled to the back of the building  along the bike path and sheepishly started to yell up to the balconies above me.  “Hello.  Is there anybody up there?  Hello.  Can you hear me?  Hello.”

Finally there was a response to my bellows in the dark.  “Dude.  I’m over here and I’m freezing my …. off.  There’s something wrong with this door.  It doesn’t open.”  He was only a few floors up and I assured him that help was on it’s way.  I hustled to the 3rd floor to consummate the rescue.

I entered the unit within a minute or two and thought it was peculiar that all the lights were on, the TV was on and 3 digits past earsplitting, and something was cooking on the stove.  I thought to myself.  “This guy works nights or he has some serious jet lag going on.”

I noticed immediately the cute, little pooch in the Antlers condominium.  He didn’t come running over and greet me as an intruder with a snarl or a bark.  He was sitting directly in front of the sliding glass door, his tail wagging back and forth.  He turned only his head around and said “Are you here to save my Master?”  I answered “Yes” and opened the locked door.

“Ohhhh thanks dude.  How does this door work anyway?” he asked me.  I showed him and said “If that’s it, I’m going back to bed.” 

 He said “Thanks again dude.  I’m going to eat my dinner.” 

 I didn’t want to have a puzzled look on my face but I know I did.

The police officer showed up just as I was leaving  and asked me “Is everything under control?” 

 “Routine….almost. Thanks for coming by.  I’m going back to bed.”

“As the Antlers Turn….” scene 8

“Only the Cool Kids”.  

Here at the Antlers, it’s a job title and the translation is “Front Desk Personnel”.  We lost a few from last season and they have been replaced through an arduous hiring process.  Darci and Chris will screen millions of applicants and ultimately decide who will be accepted to join the crack staff.  This seasons winners are…….

Sara Bangert from Buena Vista, Colorado.  She loves anything that is done outdoors.  She is recently married, loves kids, has an education degree, and a great smile.

Mark Dupont is from Morgan City, LA and still has a bit of a draaaawl.  He operates a bed and breakfast with his wife in Palermo, Sicily in the summer and returns to the Antlers to make coffee in the winter.  His hobbies include Guinness and a Movie. He also has a great smile.

Joe Pellar is from Schererville, IN and is a huge bear lover.  I thought that was why he moved here but realized after conversation that he was speaking of the Chicago football team.  He is involved in politics and loves to ski when he’s not working.  He is single, available and looking.  Look at that smile.

Dan Curtin came here a few years back from Traverse City, MI.  His football team is the Detroit Lions and that’s why he moved here.  An avid skier who loves the snow, he also hikes hundreds of miles in the summer. I’m not sure of his personal status, but I do know he’s never on the mountain alone, if you catch my drift.  Warm / Fuzzy smile.

Tyler Schiffer has assumed some of our front desk “geek stuff”.  He hails from Boston but does not speak the language.  Mr Big Time Boarder / Skier, he also is single, available and looking.  From what I’ve seen, he runs in a pack.  All smiles, all the time.

Ryan Leland is new this season but not at the Front Desk because he would not fit.  I think he’s like 6’10”.  He is the newest member of the Engineering Staff.  Originally from Seattle, he does everything in the snow.  Personal status:  has a girlfriend that is 5’2″.  Another continuous smile type.

Speaking for myself, I like everyone that has joined the Antlers Staff this season.  I asked Darci and Chris “How do you widdle down all the applicants to a few and then manage to hire such good people?”

Ratz then told me of the secret interview question “Do you know how to smile?”

Coming soon “I was on call the other night when a 911 emergency came through at 3:00AM…….”

“As the AntlersTurn….” scene 7

Let’s review.  If an accident (or incident) should happen to you and it’s totally unexpected, it ultimately makes you wiser.  It’s also been said “That which does not kill you, makes you stronger.”  The point I am trying to make here is that we all bounce back in some form or another.  Allow me to continue with a few more examples.

Magda had a surprise last year.  I remember when she told me that her and Tony were pregnant.  “I don’t even know how that happened” is what she told me.  How often have you heard that from a couple that is still reeling from the news?  Of course they knew how it happened.  They just weren’t expecting it to happen.  Now they are wiser and “do things” that will prevent another “accident”.  (May I share a little of my own experience with you Magda?  When I had my first “I don’t know how that happened”, we “did things” to…and my second child was born 13 months later.  There are some destinies we just don’t have any control over.)  Congratulations!  Isabelle is a beautiful, little girl. 

Darcy was walking to work one sunny, dry, gorgeous morning and missed a step by Billy’s Restaurant.  After the tumble, she came to rest on her back and was mad as hell.  “No excuses.  That was really stupid and my shoulder hurts.”  It still hurt in May, June, July, August, September and in October the doctor diagnosed the problem.  She works everyday in pain and you would never know it.  (I only know it because she reminds me a half dozen times a week when we have coffee in the morning.  Don’t mention this to her when you check in.) She is scheduled for surgery in the Spring. 

When I saw this picture, it reminded me of that scene in “The Wizard of OZ”.  After further review, it’s Amy.  Her setbacks can be read in the American Medical Journals. Too numerous to mention is an understatement.  She will greet you at the Front Desk during normal business hours with a smile and if you need to talk to her anytime after that, she has a private line at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic.

Our most recent mini-drama involves Randi.  A couple of Saturday’s ago, she was simply gliding to chair 17 after a Yonder run when she created a traffic jam.  She just fell.  “I’ve fallen” she said to Danny “and I can’t get up”.  She has been working around here on crutches and will be having fix-it surgery on the knee this week.  “The doctor says I’ll be back in just a few weeks.”  In the mean time, we miss her on the slopes and the bowling team (not necessarily her average, just miss her on the team).  She is quite the trooper and only cries when she is alone.  Time goes by and she will heal and be dancing at Oktoberfest before you know it.

  Finally, I need to give  myself an honorable mention.  I slept the wrong way two weeks ago and my neck is still stiff.  I whine and cry about it everyday to anyone that will listen.  But I’ll be alright.  I’m wiser now and I avoid sleeping on the couch, between the cracks.

We have some new employees on the “Only the Cool Kids Staff” and I’ll be introducing you to them soon…..

“As the ANTLERS TURN….” scene 5 by Gz

I was feeling a bit stupid standing there thinking I was some sort of Green Hornet who had rushed to saved the place from burning down.  Now I was thinking, “I wonder if I could use the women’s changing room since the other would be out of order for awhile.”                  

It was after midnight now and a crowd was gathering.  Rob showed up and stood next to our newly hired Preservation Manager who was questioning himself and the decision to accept employment at the Antlers.  They watched the fire together and only sober thoughts ran through their heads.                         

 A 25 year vet, Rob thought “the end of an era.”               

Tom thought “I’ve been working here for 2 weeks and the pool burns down.       

Tom ponders Antlers interview tactics

 What have I gotten into?”                          

We had a lot of guests in house because the skiing was great and they all had a birds eye view from their balconies.  I was on the other end of the pool deck wondering why there was no water coming out of the hoses.                

The only fires I have ever been around are the ones I’ve started.  I was setting them as a wee lad burning my plastic army men behind the garage.  When I matured to adolescence, I started them on the High School Campus after a football game.  Now that I’m really mature, I’ve been spotted behind the Antlers sitting next to my campfire on Gore Creek.  Always under control of course.  I’ve never seen a “real”  fire when the the red trucks and sirens and lights flashing and uniformed officers were needed to put the thing out and they have those really cool plastic hats and I wonder if they really slide down a pole and….                                 

It’s amazing how professional they are.  I remember now all the equipment being put in place.  The hoses being dragged around to proper position.  They were  methodical and efficient. After the set up,  I heard the a radio call to “hit the water”.  Within minutes, the inferno was extinguished.  Man, there is some serious water pressure that runs through those hoses.                  

We wanted to blame the cabana boy but we didn't have one

  The mess  that was left the next day was not a pretty site. Our crack maintenance crew had the well roasted building torn down and shoveled away with-in a couple of days.  Now a   decision needed to be made. We were in the middle of ski season and who doesn’t want to swim a few laps and use a hot tub after an exhilarating day on the mountain? Should we keep the pool open? El Jefe called an emergency meeting and wanted input.                    

 Knowing I was one of the people who took advantage of a hot tub after a day of skiing, I decided to give my 2 cents worth.  I was thinking selfish selfish but didn’t want to appear as such.   So I said “We have to keep the pool open.  I would…I mean our guests would be totally upset if they had know where to soak .”    

           

 Tom offered the thought of building a wall where the fire left most of the damage.  “That will keep inquisitive minds from falling through the hole.”              

Rob ultimately decided to add some water and keep it open

Construction began that spring and anyone staying here (and me) in the interim, shared pools and hot tubs with our neighbors until we were proud owners of a brand new, state of art, swimming pool complex.  This one has new changing rooms with showers, hot hot tubs, gardens that are unsurpassed and we even threw in a couple of  flushing toilets.         

     Action and “you had to be there to appreciate it” scenarios are still developing, so no tease for the next scene. It’s getting busy here so just stay tuned……      

 

It was worth the wait

 
 

             

“as the ANTLERS TURN…”scene 4 by Gz

Not Hogan but kinda sounds like him

  Ben and Hogan were working the front desk this particular evening.  Ben was playing video games and Hogan was writing a thesis titled “Currency, Inflation, Social Engineering and Why I Need a Break”.  It was quiet until the phone rang and Hogan answered.  The person on the other end, who was an employee of the Marriott said,  “We just dialed 911.  There is a fire behind your building.”                      

 Hogan, who had no inflection in his voice, ever, said “Thanks for the call”.  He hung up, looked at Ben and said “The pools on fire”.  Ben jumped to his feet knocking over his chair and ran out the lobby screaming “You call Rob and I’ll tell Greg!”  To this day, I don’t know why he didn’t just call me.                       

Hogan picked up the phone and dialed Robs cell number.  There was no answer on the other end so he just left a message.  “Good evening Rob.  This is Hogan at the front desk.  The pools on fire.  Other than that, everything is normal”, and he hung up.                          

Not Ben but kinda looks like him

I remember Ben as a big guy with a genuine smile.  Not this night however, He was just a big guy in panic.  After he nearly had beaten my door down to make the announcement The pool’s on fire!  The pools on fire!’, I watched him run down the hall.  He went to the right and turned around, shouted an explitive, and fell over a bench.                     

    

I went to the pool in what I would consider a fast, walking pace (I was trotting) wondering how that pool water started on fire (I’m originally from the Cleveland area).  I arrived and was almost relieved to see the men’s changing room was totally engulfed in flames.                         

 For those that haven’t been here before the fire, you need to know of some of the attractions of the original pool area.  Frozen boards that had splinters, the “portable hot” tub never stayed hot, an ice rink around the pool from splashing, but we did have gas heated changing rooms with no toilets. 
              
 I was amazed at the height of the flames when I arrived.  You really couldn’t get close to the action and while some employees and a few guests stood there doing a rain dance, I said to myself, self “Do you remember where the gas shut off valve is?”       

I had to deduce that the flames were being fed by the natural gas and turning off the valve should slow the burn.  The fire department hadn’t even arrived so I thought I would take things into control.  I didn’t have a flashlight when I went below the decking area to find the gas valve.  First thing that happened was a confrontation with an old pipe in the dark.  I walked right into it and it didn’t give an inch.  I fell on my derriere and exclaimed “THAT’S GOING TO LEAVE A x!!x!#! MARK.”  I persisted and crawled through the rumble and dirt to get to the valve.  I could see now because the wood deck was on fire above me and it was giving off plenty of light (and heat).                          

I thought to myself, self  “Who in the hell do you think you are? Antonio Bandarus?  What in the world are you doing  down here?”  I got to the valve and turned it off, went back up to the deck and the Fire Department had arrived to save the day.  I felt the blood flowing down my face from the losing battle with the pipe below and then I heard an officer in blue yell at me to “Get Back Now!”                          

He turned to his comrades and yelled to them “Does anyone know where the gas shut off valve is?”………..           

“As the ANTLERS TURN….” scene 3 by Gz

Myrna has been working on the Antlers Housekeeping staff for 5 years and like the rest of the crew, goes about her business everyday without anything to write home about really.  This was not one of those days.     

She’s a small girl, I would consider her almost petite, and very soft spoken.  We could have taken bets that the deafening scream did not resonate from her. Did I mention that she is zoophobic (the fear of animals)? The Antlers is a pet friendly lodging establishment and she is never scheduled to service rooms when a dog or cat checks-in and brings their owner.     

Rob should have told Darci, who should have told Gladys, who should have told Myrna why the guest in 524 moved to 604.  Suspecting no surprises, Myrna and Ramona arrived to do their duties after the radio call.     

Poor thing….She was stripping the sheets of the hide-a-way bed and when she pulled them off, a little fury Marmot lunged out of the ball of sheets and directly at her.  Its front paws got stuck up in the large pocket of the smock she was wearing.  One claw got tangled up in the material while the other three little legs thrashed about ripping at her clothing.  Hence, the scream.     

When I got there with the cage trap to catch the bear cub, she was lying in the corridor with a cool compress on her forehead.  I stepped around all the others that were trying to compose her.  I poked my head into 524 and turned back around and asked “Has anyone seen a bear in this room?”     

I never saw the little pest, but I was sure now that it was cowering somewhere in the condominium.  No need to interview Myrna on the validity of  its presence.  I set the trap with a carrot donated by Katie and left the area.     

I don’t particularly like animal surprises either, so without admitting it,  I commandeered an army to check the status of the animal trapping.  It was now our job to safely entrap the intruder and relocate it to a place where he could be free to raise a family of its own.  It had been hours and myself, Darci, Amy and Randi went to check on the progress.     

We opened the door and the four of us, looking like Larry, Curly, Moe (and Shemp), poked only our heads into the unit.  Darci went in first and the rest of us followed.  You would have thought it was the introduction of a new infant. “Ahhhhhhhh.  He is Sooo Cute.  Ohhhh. Look at him.  Look at those sad eyes.”  Then he hissed.     

Murray the Marmot never touched the carrot

There he was, resting comfortably in the confines of his new prison cell.  He was under arrest for breaking and entering and the damage he had done to a private residence without a permit.  The carpet had been ripped back at all the doorways, pictures were knocked ajar, wooden blinds had been eaten and screen doors torn.     

We never figured how the little marmot got into the unit, but we were all happy it wasn’t a bear.  Myrna was fine after a bit of a rest and some therapy.  She actually got a new smock and went right back to work.  The guests that were “inconvenienced” were fine after our apologies and actually stayed an additional night. Tom, the Antlers Preservation Manager, took our little bundle of joy home with him and found a nice place in the forest where, as rumor has it, he found a girlfriend and they are homesteading somewhere above Minturn.     

……..As I have mentioned, it’s October and things are relatively quiet around here.  Because there is a lack of continuing excitement, I thought I would go back in time a bit…….     

I was on call this particular evening in January of 2003.  It was 10:30 pm or there abouts, and a knock on my door.  No, let me clarify.  It was a pounding on my door, as if the whole thing would come crashing down if I didn’t answer in seconds.     

I was in my Big Labowski Robe and hurried to the door to see what in the world I had done to make someone so mad at me.  It was Ben from the front desk and his eyes were as big as saucers and panicked.     

“The pool’s on fire!  The pool’s on fire!”……….

“As the ANTLERS TURN….” scene 2 by Gz

…….Rob was not crying at his desk this day.  He was visibly upset though.  He looked up at me and explained how the day had started.

“The guests in 524 just called and they were in a bit of a rage”.  I immediately got concerned for lack of confidence in myself.  (I was thinking “Oh man oh man.  I know whatever it is, it has to be my fault.  He can’t fire me today. I have a wedding to pay for in the spring.  Just take it like a man. I don’t even know what I did wrong.  Oh man oh man”.)

He continued “The way they were explaining it to me.  They were up all night because of the sound of dishes being moved, carpet being ripped up, blinds being chewed on, and so on.  They are NOT happy”.

“Any ideas what it is?’ I asked him, now totally calm knowing it wasn’t me moving that stuff around and eating carpet.

“Well, he got up in the middle of the night to investigate and saw the shadow of an animal, and this is his account, about the size of a bear cub running across the floor and then behind a chair.  He called from his cell phone this morning and they’re having breakfast.  He wants us to address this immediately”.  Rob sat back in his chair and took a deep breath.  “I think what he’s most upset about is the fact that he had to put a blind fold on his wife to get her out”.

I was concerned, but had my doubts.  “What would you like me to do?” I asked him.

El Jefe tilted his head and starred slightly to his right as he does when he is contemplating a reply to a question.  “I’m going to change their reservation and move them to another condominium, move  their luggage, put a bottle of wine in their place, with a sincere apology, and discount their stay.  If you could do me this favor.  Put one of those cage traps up there that we catch chipmunks with.”

I was fighting back laughter when I replied “You know Rob, what you just told me is a 1000 to 1 scenario but if there is a bear up there, we’re going to need a bigger trap”.

He looked at me steely eyed.  I said “I’ll go check it out”.

Just around the corner from Rob’s office is the front desk and Pedro, one of our more knowledgeable front desk employees whose only problem is he never knows when to stop talking, overhears our conversation.  He proceeds to tell Darci, the mailman and 2 other guests that “there is a bear in house.”  Ratz has told him countless times to “Speak when you’re spoken to but try to limit your response to a half day”.  Rob approaches them and explains the room move.  “Could you update housekeeping for me?”

This is the type of conversation that goes on between the Antlers Front Desk and Houskeeping litterally dozens of times a day.

Darci is on the radio and says “Front Desk to Housekeeping”.

Gladys answers “Go ahead”.

“There was a little problem in 524 this morning so Rob moved the guests to 604.  So 604 is a check-in and the guests are already moved and 524 is a check-out and the room is dirty.”

“OK. Thank you.” and then Gladys relays the message in Spanish to the crew that is responsible to clean 524.  These gals are good and when it’s time to clean a room, it gets done.

Five minutes later there was a blood curdling scream and there were reports it was heard as far away as the Vail Marriott……

“As the ANTLERS TURN….” scene 1 by Gz

We live in a resort town and it just happens to be Vail, Colorado.  We are the employees of the Antlers at Vail.

My name is Greg, The Director of  Nothing,  and in my years here I have been witness to a wonderful business practice at our little condominium resort.  I also have been surrounded by borderline insanity with regards to day to day operation of this place.  The purpose of this ongoing series is to share some of the things that go on around here that you probably wouldn’t know or hear about without me making it public.

I’ll promise this one thing; what you read in the coming months is true and almost factual.  I will reserve the right to embellish on any one situation I deem obligated to report.  The characters are real, although I’ve changed the names of a few to protect their innocence.

Let’s get started….

It’s October in Vail and our little town sleeps this time of year.  We are in transition so to speak.  A lot, but not all restaurants and shops close down for vacation purposes, hotel staffs are working shorter hours and the weather usually starts its change from glorious fall days to cold rain and spitting snow.

Not this year however.  I don’t remember such beautiful days through September and this far into October.  People must have heard of the pleasant season we are having because there are more guests staying with us this time of year than I can remember.  Good for them I say.  Take advantage of the reasonable room rates and delight in the surroundings.

It’s 6:45 am and Darci, our Front Office Manager (she should have 2 titles;  the other one being What Goes On In the Back Office Manager), is unlocking the doors to the Lobby.  She is constantly amazed how early people get up as 4 guests are waiting with coffee cups outside in their pajamas.  One is reading the paper and leaning against the sign that says “Lobby Opens at 7:00 am”.  He asks Darci, as she fumbles with her keys, “What time does the Lobby open?”

She turns on the lights and is escorted to the coffee station to begin the first brew of the day.  She checks messages after settling in behind the front desk.  ” You have…19…new …messages….to listen to your …messages.

Meanwhile Rob (El Jefe), as a testimony to how nice the weather has been, is still riding his bike to work.  He peddles away at 7:30 in the morning and the only thought that runs through his mind is “I’ve got to win the Sole Power Challenge.  I’ve got to win the Sole Power Challenge” (more on that later).

This particular day was going along at a routine pace.  Chris (Assistant Mgr or Director off All Things Big & Small) is on vacation.  We just call him Ratz.  There is no real relevance to this except that the front desk gang have a tendency to relax a bit more when they are at work and he is in Italy (more on that later). 

I love my coffee and will make several stops a day to the Lobby to enjoy a cup and today was no exception. I say hello to everyone before going to the back offices to check the mail.  “Darci, I heard everyone went out last night to celebrate a perfect strangers birthday. Did you get enough sleep last night?”

She looks up and says “Greg you know me better than that.  I never get enough sleep.  I could sleep 14 hours a day and still take a nap.  And we did go out and she wasn’t a stranger.  Amy knows her because of Yvonne when she lived here.  Yvonne knows her because a good friend of hers knows her Uncle in Des Moines.”

“Certainly sounds like someone you would lay down and die for.  I hope you weren’t required to bring a gift” was the only thing I could think of saying.  “Is El Jefe in yet?

“I didn’t see him but I know he came in through the back door and went right to his office.”  She went back to starring blankly at her computer screen.  No chit chat with me today.  I can see that.  Poor girl didn’t get enough sleep.

I poked my head into Rob’s office to say hello and I saw him sitting at his desk with his head in his hands.  Very uncharacteristic.

“Good Day Rob.  Is everything all right?”  I really thought he was going to lift his head up and I would see the swollen eyes and tears running down his face…………tbc