Thursday, September 29, 2011

The B&B Trial...and Error

The helpmate, working off his B&B chores

Many of us wonder what it would be like to run a B&B. To live in a Caribbean villa and welcome guests who pay good money to marvel over our (temporary) home, our fabulous breakfasts, our TripAdvisor-five-star hospitality.

We know B&Bs are a lot of work; any owner will tell you that, with a big, tired smile. But we figure they just don’t have a good system. With a good system in place, how hard could it be? A little shopping, a little cooking, a little bed-making.

Many of us think that becoming a fill-in B&B manager would be a great way to see the world, for free! If you just manage your time well – if you have a good system – you could whip up your gourmet breakfast in the morning, dash out to see the sights for a bit, then return to the inn to welcome your charming, punctual guests with a little wine and cheese before heading out for a fabulous dinner a deux with your spouse/helpmate.  It’s a full life, but a satisfying one, we tell ourselves.

Many of us are delusional. Many of us learn about our dark side when an unregistered guest shows up at 6:30, with a suitcase and a demand for the room with the big, private patio (and the sleigh bed that takes twenty minutes to make up). In the morning, we are secretly gleeful when we realize we have somehow locked this guest into the house when we hurried out to take our husband to the dive shop.

Many of us are surprised at the depth of the passive-aggressive well of monosyllabic outrage we harbor when two guests, who are at least on the register, show up at 9:30 p.m., with nary an apology, but instead a story about working late and etc. when we know they were having dinner with our neighbor. (Small island.)

Many of us are shocked at the primordial ooze of resentment and creative guest punishments that flow from our suburban core: for arriving late in the evening – no small talk for you! For 7:00 a.m. breakfasts  – imperfect scoops of honeydew in your fruit bowl! For asking for eggs – extra-brown toast! For using both hand towels in the bathroom – deceased palmetto under your bed!

Many of us secretly think that, given the chance, we’d cook like Martha Stewart, chat like Oprah, and all the while smile like Rachael Rae. Many of us are sadly mistaken.

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