Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Preparing to Leave Town

I’ll take a vacation soon. When I leave, I call-forward my phone to a colleague. He’s covered for twenty years and does a fine job, but I have to prepare the ground.

I warn Virginia Mastey. When Frenchmen, tourists or residents, want a housecall in Los Angeles they call her, and she calls me. I have no idea how she built this business; it’s only a sideline, and she charges less than the going rate. The visits are easy, but no other hotel doctor will work for so little.

I warn Inn-House Doctor, a national housecall service that also cares for foreign airline crew laying over in Southern California. You might assume that airlines flying into Los Angeles board crew overnight at nearby hotels, but they often bus them twenty to fifty miles away to Long Beach or Orange County. I live eight miles in the opposite direction from the airport, but Inn-House pays generously for long drives, so I go. Sadly, my colleague lives fifteen miles even further, so Inn-House must make other arrangements.

I remind my colleague that if two international travel services (I won’t name them), call, he should not refuse them. I will mail him a check on my return and handle billing myself. These services take months to pay and require repeated, pestering phone calls. Other hotel doctors won’t work for them.

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