Another Day Another Silver Dollar            

There’s another aspect of business ownership that a lot of people probably don’t take into account, and that’s the amount of expenses that can come with owning a business of any sort. Over the weekend we found that there was a leak in our roof, as can be expected when you own a property that is centennial. It’s a little difficult to find a company that can handle this type of job, which is why we hit it lucky calling one local Louisville roofing company, who has just the skillset needed to turn the tide that was making it’s way through our ceilings. Fortunately the issue was in my sisters room and not one of the guests, not to say that my sister should be the one with water dripping on her forehead.

Things like these can surely put a hit into your pocketbook, but fortunately we have been popular enough this season that we didn’t have to figure out somewhere else to save money. We enjoy doing all we can for our guests, and so when we need to cut down on quality in one department or another, it’s something that truly upsets us. My grandparents have always passed on the wisdom that if you do all you can for your customers, they will stay loyal. And that’s true to a point, we have certain elderly couples that have been coming here since they were newlywed couples, and some guests that have been recurring from years gone by, to last year alone.

This house is like an extension of ourselves, so when we can’t present it in the best life it’s something that we truly take personally. I’m not sure if all owners feel this way, but personally I wouldn’t want to rent from someone who didn’t. Those who look only at the bottom line, miss all there is above and beyond it. And it’s the people that truly make this place worth staying in, and by people I talk about our guests. The various lives of strangers that have passed through these doors, the years of stories that we have heard.

Today is my gardening day, so I probably shouldn’t linger on here. Presenting the best possible curb appeal is also one of our golden rules, and the weeds aren’t going to pull themselves out. At my mid thirties I already feel like an old man on these days though, so much bending and scooping, by the end of it I just want to soak in a tub of Epsom salts until I look as old as I feel. But there’s something about the work when you look back on it, when you start by looking at something you want to change, the end result, as you stand there and get to be the first to admire all that you’ve done that makes the work seem not to be as bad as you may remember it. So off I go, until the next time we meet internet friends.

Early to Rise            

As I alluded to the in the last entry, and I’m sure left a jealous pang in your hearts, the smell of fresh baking is pretty much what wakes me up every morning. One of the major benefits with owning this place alongside an accomplished chef is the free food. Now, of course breakfast is essentially free to all our guests as well, as it’s something included in their rate, but for me, I really get a free breakfast, well outside of both of us paying for the supplies, but I remise, as this is kind of getting away from me now, back to the jealousy. It has pretty much become my adulthood routine, to wake up, have a delicious breakfast and start to see to the guests checkout.

I’m not sure what most people think is involved with running a bed and breakfast, I’m pretty sure that there’s this idea that it’s just living a normal every day life while also having other people in your home, but to be honest, there is a fair bit of work that goes into it every single day. From the point of waking up, there’s wake up calls to be made, turn down service while people enjoy breakfast, sign outs, then taking care of all the amenities when people check out. This includes full cleaning, laundry, care for the public areas, reservation checking, calls and much more. Outside of the things we need to do to keep the place in steady supply.

Essentially what I’m saying is that it’s not just a matter of sitting at home and allowing other people to pay you for the pleasure of their company. But, it’s a life that we had grown accustomed to since childhood. In fact, they’re aren’t many times in my life that I wasn’t sharing home with at least another half dozen people. There were people we fondly remember, some we remember not so fondly, and a wide swath of others that have come and gone in a blur. They say that it takes a village, and I’m sure that’s true, as that’s pretty much how we were raised.

There have been some times where we had no guests for a period, and honestly, it leaves one wondering what to do with themselves. Being so used to so many people, the quiet can get discomforting, the lack of work and things to follow up on makes one seem lazy, we’re just too used to always having something to do and someone to do it for. That may be part of why I chose to take up blogging, not only to get the word out on a demographic that is probably underrepresented in today’s day and age, but also just to have something to do with any of the downtime I find myself having, until I turn off the lights, remembering all I have to do in the morning, when I am once again awoken by the delicious smell of freshly baked goods, jealous?

Aloft In a Loft            

Oostlander Loft is a third generation bed and breakfast that has been in my family for over a hundred years. When my grandparents immigrated here from Norway there wasn’t that many job openings for a freshly landed family that didn’t speak much English, and why they chose Kentucky of all places will always be beyond me. I remember hearing stories about how the locals couldn’t pronounce the name, the hardships they faced at times, and all manner of tales that I’m sure most families of hundred years old U.S.A. had faced at times. But they loft had always been well received. You could blame my grandmothers cooking, or my grandfathers outward demeanor, but there was something charming and attractive about the location to the locals.

When my grandfather passed away and my grandmother was too old to run the business herself, ownership was passed onto my father, who married a local chef and really expanded on the breakfast aspect of the business. This was the location in which myself and my two sisters were raised. Being the middle child, I may have been the most rambunctious, but it was a pleasant childhood filled with new faces every weekend, and new people to talk to from day to day. It taught us to be mindful of strangers, how to make small talk, and not to be afraid of things being different from one day to the next.

My youngest sister wanted nothing to do with the business, deciding at an early age that she wanted to grow up to be a princess, before eventually settling working admin at a local company, so when my parents decided to retire, ownership passed onto my eldest sister, though she was more interested in the kitchen than anything. So I came in to operate the hotel side of things. I remember always hearing that you should never work with family, but our experience couldn’t be farther from the truth. Both of us playing to our strong suits has kept this building up and running for a century, and hopefully will do so for another.

As I sit here now, in my mid-thirties, having known pretty much only the bed and breakfast my whole life, I do think of the world outside, what it is that I’ll do to make an impact on not only the world I live in, but the live I live in it. We have made our voyages back to our homeland, we have seen distant relatives in distant countries, we have answered for why we still choose to live here in this country rather than countless others who only see through the eyes of the media or movies, and have a very different picture of every day life here. But when I wake up in the morning to a full capacity, the smell of fresh muffins coming from the kitchen as my sister is hard at work, it brings home the feeling of home that this place brings.