Pines For Palm Trees – Part I

Here I sit on the other end of the equation…the Innkeeper as guest.  It’s not something I do often (hardly ever) but turning 50 this year prompted me to pamper myself a bit and book an island vacation in the Virgin Islands.

I’m 50 (did I mention that?) … a bit worn, tired…but not from a husband & kids walk of life. Instead of children I’m stepmom to an Inn…18 rooms/2 cottages…my kids rotate daily, weekly.  A host of personalities, problems (not as many as my mother had!) joys, sorrows, delights, etc.

I really needed this vacation as a getaway from the whole kit and caboodle: the Inn, coworkers, guests, canines, felines. Some days it seems never ending.

And then, as I approached the desk to check in I realized an opportunity existed for me to observe how someone else does it.  You know … answer the repeated questions, explain directions for the 10,000 time, still smiling, responding as though no one had ever asked those questions before.  Not easy friends, let me tell you, not easy.   But we innkeepers do it … well, we do it if we love our jobs because we know how important it is to make someone feel welcome, at home if you will.  Lindy, the manager at my vacation destination, did it.  When I told her about my job our bond immediately thickened as we shared stories and belly laughs about “life as an innkeeper.”
By day three I was cleaning my own room, doing laundry and asking the housekeeper Carmen if she needed help since she was all alone that day and had a ton of work to do.  I did a little (which the other manager  caught me doing and looked at me as though I were crazy!)
Let me tell you something folks…I have had to clean a room or 50 in my 17 years as an innkeeper and that is a good thing.  First, it keeps you in touch with the room’s intimately…wainscoting, door frames, cracks, crannies and so on.  And second, you profoundly revisit your gratitude for the chambermaids and the incredibly hard work they do day in and day out.  It is physically challenging and at times pressured.  Every chambermaid I hire gets the speech. “It doesn’t matter how charming and lovable I am…if the room isn’t spotless we are in trouble.”

I will post again to let you know how the remainder of the vacation is going and how days 4-8 progress in part II of this blog.  Everyone here keeps asking me if I want to work & live here.  I will never exchange the Pines for the Palms!  If you are at The Woodstock Inn on the Millstream I hope you are enjoying yourselves immensely…If you aren’t, you should

peace from the Caribbean