Friday, April 10, 2009

So you want to be an innkeeper....

Have you ever dreamed of running a quaint bed and breakfast, making gourmet breakfasts, chatting with guests and sitting in you beautiful garden reading a book. I thought of that many times while working in the corporate world. It is a huge life style change. One thing I can say I am never bored!

Last week at the inn.

Sunday:Up at 6am and started breakfast for a full house. I got breakfast cleaned up and guest checked out by 11:00am. Since this is my one day a week I have a housekeeper, cutting cost in the slow season, I decide to go for a 5k walk. It was a nice day after a hard rainy night. When I get back there is a note from the housekeeper saying there is a leak in the 3rd floor linen closet all the sheet sets got wet! So I go climb up into the dark attic and check it out. Since it is not rainy I could not tell where it was coming from. Made note to call roofer in the am. I finish the laundry up and put it away.

In the late afternoon it rains and rains so I go up and check the closet and water is pouring down the wall, soaking the plaster to the point that it is bulging out. Stuff towels to soak it up and left message for roofer. Still washing sheet sets....

Monday: I got up at 6am and made coffee and started breakfast and baking muffins for guests. It was pretty quiet after a busy weekend. After cleaning up I started in on cleaning the rooms. Normally I have a housekeeper in the busy season but since it is still slow during the week I do it myself to cut my costs. Monday I try to give a thorough cleaning to the inn after a busy weekend. I do the laundry which is hauling it down three flights of stairs to the basement and then hauling it back up clean. I go grocery shopping and run errands and back at the inn by 4pm to check in a room. Still not roofer but also no rain.

Tuesday: 3am I am awaken by pipes humming and vibrating form above. Toilet is being flush and making a awful sound. Luckily only one room at the inn. The noise stops but then I awake at five to the same sound. So just get up and start the coffee and breakfast. I apologize to the guests in the am and tell then I will be fixed today. I put on my plumbing hat adjust the innards and flushed it a couple time and voila, no noise. I call the roofer again and he comes over to check out roof. My building is 3 stories high so he bring binoculars to see if he can spot the trouble spot. He shows me the bad news, looks like another hole in the roof valley. I should add I have a slate and copper roof in a historic zone so it has to stay slate and copper. Last year I had another "leak" and had to fix the roof so my vacation this winter is sitting on my roof. He cannot get to it until next week and will only be able to patch it as he is booked up. Said he has a couple hour window open next Wednesday. I come in and look at the weather forecast, rain for the weekend. My guests shows up while the roofer is here. I check in my guests and then my tech guy shows up to fix my guest computer. Luckily that was an easy fix! Run out get my haircut and go to the Keller Williams Real Estate office. Oh I forgot to say I sell Real Estate to supplement my income. I picked up my mail and check in with some co-workers and go home. The laundry needs to be finished and then I bake some bread for the next day. Finally I get to put my feet up.

Wednesday- 3am I am awaken again by the screech of the toilet. So after breakfast is served and cleaned up I go to the local hardware store to get replacement parts. Maine Hardware is a great local company that has very knowledgeable people in each department. The plumber that works there has saved me lots of $$ but showing me how to do it myself. I have to say after seven years of fixing toilets I am pretty impressive with a plumber's wrench! I go home turn off the water and start in on fixing the toilet. Three plus hours later after getting multiple interruptions by phone and doorbell it is fixed. So then I rush to clean up and put on business clothes and run off to a meeting at Keller Williams Realty. Come home and make biscotti as we offer homemade biscotti to our guests everyday. I also made a batch of our homemade granola as we were running low. I worked on the computer for a couple of hours while waiting for guests to check in.
And that just the beginning of the week.... As I said it is never dull and never the same day to day. An innkeeper definitely has to keep a good sense of humor! Like when I woke at 21am to find water dripping on my bed, but that is another story.

Diane Edwards
Wild Iris Inn
273 State Street
Portland, ME 04101
800-600-1557
www.wildirisinn.com
Diane@wildirisinn.com

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Going Green at the Wild Iris Inn

Since I bought the inn in 2002 I have continuously made my bed and breakfast environmentally friendly. I started slow as I change or remodel different parts of the inn. Putting in a bank of on demand hot water heating system when my old water heater started failing. I went from one outdoor composter to adding a worm composter in the basement and a electric composter in the kitchen. I started buying only environmentally friendly cleaning produacts and now I make many of my own. I try to buy whatever I can locally and I am a member of Portland Buy Local group, http://www.portlandbuylocal.org/. My coffee, maple syrup, honey, cream, milk and butter are all local. I shop at the farmers maket in the summer for herbs, fruit, and whatever I can use at the inn. When I remodel now I use a no VOC paint and green building materials whenever I can. Last year I got certified green in the Maine EPA Environmental Leader program. It will be an ongoing process and I am always looking to my guests for new green ideas.

Diane Edwards
Wild Iris Inn
273 State Street
Portland, ME 04101
800-600-1557
http://www.wildirisinn.com/
Diane@wildirisinn.com