July 11 2018 – today’s one thousand words
It’s a Bed and Breakfast – such a simple concept – people need a place to sleep and they need a meal to get the day started. However, the breakfast part has always seemed like an add-on to me. Like someone was trying to make something out of nothing, so they added a meal onto the name in aid of continuing the typing for a while. Bed and …baggage. Bed and …rain gutter maintenance. It’s kind of arbitrary. Although, you’re supposed to have something to start your day.
Gunter Miller had the same thought. He’s owned the Charleswood Bed and Breakfast for thirty years. Just five years in, he decided when there was just too much to do – that he’d change things up a little. Maybe provide some hands-on fun for guests. Gunter has always loved work. Gunter thrives on work. Gunter thinks everyone in the world is just like him. He thinks that everyone in the world either loves work as much as he does – or they just don’t know it yet.
It just kind of evolved from there.
The sign over the front door is the first thing you notice – and it changes;
Bed and Here comes Winter!
Bed and Autumn leaves
Bed and Spring Cleaning
Bed and Dog Days
With the season of course.
Then the cute little room titles are another indication something is different, and they too change with the season.
Bed and Spring cleanup – vacuuming.
Bed and Spring cleanup – windowsill dusting
Bed and Spring cleanup – mattress turning
Bed and Spring cleanup – fence painting
The conversation in your room is the hook; ‘so, we’re up early in this part of the world. What’s planned for your day tomorrow? ‘
‘You’ll be finished your chores around 9:30 if you really get at it.’
‘Let’s see – if you pick up the rake and get started about half an hour before she does – you can have half the lawn done before they need to follow you and bag.’
‘As you can see – it’s just two panels of fence per guest – so the two of you should be finished up to that spot by then – and you’ll still have time to rinse out the paintbrushes before you check-out.’
Gunter has designed check-in, the tour and the presentation of the day’s work schedule in just the right order – they are always tired from the trip and all they want to do is relax; ‘yes, absolutely – just leave your bags there, Theresa will have them on the stands in your rooms before we finish the introduction tour. You will be so happy with these beds – you are going to sleep well tonight! Ok, here we are – this part of the home was built by Hubert Green when he settled with his wife in 1887. As you can see by this picture of them, everyone was expected to pitch-in. There – see that pole? That’s her saw-hoist – at the end of that is a small rip-saw – designed to take limbs from high up on the trees out back. Hubert invented that!’
‘Here’s your room – you’re in Mattress Turning tonight. When you get up, please just pull the bed clothes off the beds and flip the mattresses. Turn them as well – the head goes to where the foot was and the foot gets swapped with the top. It’s easy. Then go to the next room down the hall and do the same thing. When you’re finished all the rooms, you can come down to breakfast and we’ll get you filled up for the day and on your way.’
You can’t believe a conversation like that has just happened. You think – ‘I’ll figure it out later.’ In all instances there is a little surprise when the concept begins to sink in, but no one’s ever flat-out refused. It’s the surprise at first – you’re kind of baffled and at the same time a little insulted, but you’re off guard too (it’s so absurd), so your brain goes to a place where it’s not sure you didn’t agree to this sometime last month when you made the reservation.
If you push it – Gunter is quite insistent – ‘Oh, it’s in the fine print in the brochures. No one has ever refused before.’
And he has a way with pulling strings – ‘Well, that’s just not part of team spirit, is it?’
And finally – if you’re still not convinced, he’ll talk you through it, back into complete co-operation, a circuitous route on which you’ll begin to wonder if you didn’t already agree to something you just can’t remember, ‘I suppose I could switch you to dusting. Ill check with Margaret, normally there’s only a few rooms to do at a time – we have central air and that keeps the dust down quite a bit. Oh! I know – you can do the furnace filters! That’s a fun job – how about that? You’ll have to get up twenty minutes earlier, it’s quite a job to get the mechanical room squared away so that it’s safe to pull the furnace and HVAC door system, but we can make that your task and then you won’t feel left out – you won’t feel you’re letting down your team.’
And – there’s always ‘divide and conquer’; Annabelle, can I count on you to get the vacuuming started before 8? It’s so that your husband can follow with the dust cloth and do the table tops.’
The guests, having come up the driveway, having seen how immaculate the grounds are, and how beautiful the facade of the building – are malleable even before they’re through the door, the comforts of home are inside – the prospect of a wonderful sleep, the idea that they’re a small part of history. And they’ve never been approached with anything like this before.
‘Jim, let me tell you, it’s so nice to meet you and your family – we love to see families at our little establishment. It means so much to us. So – tomorrow first thing it’s lawn cutting and aerating. That lawn mower isn’t at all finicky, but we’ll need to assign the aerator to someone with strong arms – you Jim?’
‘Do your boys know how to cut a lawn yet? We can have the little one do the bagging and I’m sure this big fellow can work a gas mower – right?’
‘Oh, I’m sorry Margaret, we forgot about you – you’re in gutter cleaning, I hope you’re OK with ladders!’