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Getting Ready for Opening…Anticipation and Adventures

Our opening day is rapidly approaching…Wednesday, April 18. Our anticipation grows and we look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. As always, the few weeks before we open are busy days as we spring clean and make repairs. But the days are also invariably filled with unexpected adventures and challenges.

On Monday, the first day of cleaning, we discovered a drainage problem around our laundry area. We actually found this in February and thought we had it repaired. But when we started washing all the blankets, spreads, and shower curtains, the drain started backing up again…big time. An emergency call to a repairman that specializes in drains resulted in a day long search for the problem and suspension of all laundry. By days end, the problem was finally located and a temporary fix was done BUT a larger fix that involved tearing up part of the driveway would be necessary. Oh well, I thought, at least we have a plan. But the fun was just beginning.

For Tuesday, we had arranged for a local plumbing company to install a new chlorinator for our water system and replace some shower valves in a few rooms. The chlorinator installation was quick and easy. The shower valves repair is a pretty straight forward, and the repair in the first room went smoothly. However, in the next room, they would have to cut through a tiled wall to create an access hole big enough to install the value. All went well until they discovered a three inch thick solid concrete wall (the inn was built in the 50’s you know). So the rest of the day was spent cutting and drilling through the concrete and removing the old valve. They ran out of time, so that job was suspended as well until the following week. In the meantime the water had to be cut off. So spring cleaning was not possible in that entire building. Good grief I thought, but it has to be done………..

Wednesday had to be better I thought. We planned to take up and replace some flooring in the kitchen damaged by a leaky dishwashing machine. In the middle of the night, a severe storm hit the area, blew down a tree on our property across the utility lines, knocking out all the power to the inn. The flooring folks showed up on time to a dark kitchen. The housekeepers showed up to dark rooms and no heat. The work for both was suspended for the day and I spent the afternoon cutting up the downed tree and cleaning up brush. Not what I panned for the day.

I welcomed Thursday with some dread. The power was back on, the housekeepers were back cleaning rooms and the flooring folks were able to start their task. The old flooring came up easily as we expected, but underneath we found some old 1950s adhesive that could not be removed. We tried everything imaginable, but nothing was working. As we stood in the kitchen discussing options, my phone rang. The call was from the company that monitors our water system. He was calling to inform me that he had just replaced our chlorinator. Remembering the plumber has just installed one on Tuesday I screamed “Stop, I’ll be right there” and ran out of the room to the puzzled looks of the flooring guys and my wife.

The water chlorinator has been a nagging problem for months. I knew I needed a new one, but had run into problems getting anyone to install one including the plumbing company and our water monitoring company. After months and months, they both came within two days of each other and our water company had just taken out a brand new chlorinator and installed his. What are the odds?

As the week came to a close on Friday, The drain repairman had not come back to permanently fix the laundry drain issue or scheduled a time to do so. We were still waiting for the plumber to return and install the shower valve and turn the water back on. After months of delay, I had two companies install a chlorinator within days of each other and I subsequently discovers that neither of them worked. It had been quite a week. But truthfully, it was not unusual. This is the life of an innkeeper and while it can be irritating and frustrating, it is normal.

I love innkeeping and this is just part of it. But there are also parts that include the bonds we share with our guests who become friends. It is sitting around a lazy susan table and enjoying the laughter and a good home cooked meal. It is giving weary people a place to experience nature at is very best and a quiet peace. It is offering a time to rest, refresh, and renew from the anticipation and adventures our week may have brought us.

I wouldn’t have it any other way and there is no place I’d rather be than Hemlock Inn as your innkeeper.

We will open Wednesday, April 18, and hope you will join us this season. I promise we will be ready!