So if you’ve been following our journey, you know we are now mostly unpacked, finding our way around the new area, and becoming BFFs with the local grocery store staff. We are both anxious to figure out what the “typical” day will be like, and what roles we will need to play.
And then we quickly discover: THERE IS NO TYPICAL DAY!
The closest analogy I can provide is that this new role is like prepping for a major party at your house every single day. You have to clean, make the menu, grocery shop, bake, cook, clean some more, organize extra activities for your guests (spa treatments, reservations, wine tours), mow the lawn, fill the bird-feeders, wipe bird-poop off the Adirondack chairs, sweep the front porch, scan each room for stinkbugs, skim the pool, fill the foyer ice pitcher with flavored water, turn on all the little accent lights, vacuum one last time, and set the dining room tables. That’s all before 3:00pm, when the first guests start to arrive…
Check-in is in between 3 and 8pm. When we interviewed innkeepers about their “best” and “worst” parts of this job, their responses were unanimous. We naively thought they would say something like: “cleaning bathrooms”, or “handling challenging people”, or even “no privacy”. Instead, time and time again, they would reply: “Check-in”. We thought that was so odd until we experienced it ourselves. You are literally held hostage from 3 to 8 each day, never knowing when someone will arrive. If you are cooking dinner, you drop everything. If you are eating dinner, you drop everything. If you would love nothing more than to change into your eyeglasses and sweat pants, forget about it. This was initially an adjustment for both of us, just as our fellow innkeepers predicted!
We also quickly discovered there were so many wonderful benefits to our “typical” day. For one thing, since the tables are set and everything is planned out the night before, our alarm usually doesn’t go off until about 7am. This allows us both to enjoy some coffee, the morning news, a quick shower and last-minute preparations before the 9am breakfast is served. After breakfast, our guests are excited about the plans they have and are out the door. At that point, we clean up the kitchen, start the dishwasher, and freshen up the guest rooms. We’re done with all that by 11am, and then it’s time to start ramping up for the afternoon/evening ahead. More of the same: groceries, cleaning, baking, answering phone calls, watering our flowers, and getting ready for that next “party”!
As time goes on, we have learned to appreciate all the benefits of this new lifestyle. We make it a point to stop and listen to the church bells at noon and again at 6pm. We walk all over the property to get our exercise and stay strong. We LOVE interacting with each and every guest and have learned something special from each visitor. It’s a priority to end each day by sitting on our front porch, looking out at the spectacular views and reminding ourselves how blessed we are to be here.
So our Pittsburgh friends were absolutely right when they asked us “Do you have any idea how much WORK that is going to be??” I’m not sure we did know exactly then….but we do now…and we are still loving our new adventure!!!
Well written! So I take it you are not okay with a 11:45 pm check in? 🙂
Ha! The good news is that we have adjusted easily to late check-ins with a Plan B…we provide a four-digit front door code for our guests, leave a few key lights on in their room, and agree to greet them in person at breakfast. This way the late arriving guests aren’t rushing through crazy traffic. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, Plan B has turned out to be a very good option for all!