Sunday, March 29, 2009

Slice of PAII

I'm off this week to the PAII* conference in Atlanta. It promises to be three days of information-packed sessions, a busy trade show and (I hope) some time spent with innkeeper friends from other parts of the country.

In other news, my occupancy for the first quarter of this year is up slightly from last year, economy not withstanding. Reservations for the summer are coming in steadily as well. Signs of spring are everywhere, even though the weather has remained chilly. When I get back it will be time to start thinking about yard cleanup and spring projects.

A guest snapped this nifty photo of a hawk at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary a couple of weeks ago and sent it, along with permission to use it here:

Thanks, Mia!

If I learn anything worth reporting at the conference I'll post about it when I return. Y'all have a great week.

*PAII is the acronym for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, the trade association for B&B owners and Innkeepers. It's pronounced "pie".

Friday, March 13, 2009

Holy Sheet

The long search is finally over; I've found new sheets that will work for the inn and ordered them. The new sheets are just different enough to require new duvet covers as well, I ordered those two weeks ago from another source. I've also decided to put the duvets into storage in the summer and switch to a lighter weight coverlet; that order went in with the sheets. The final piece to the puzzle will be new bed skirts; the ones I'm using now were purchased with and matched the original sheets. They're just enough off the color of the new sheets & duvet covers to bother me.

I wouldn't have thought replacing sheets would be this painful, but as it turns out I have a very specific set of criteria and for various reasons it has been difficult to find what I needed. One of my primary issues is that I wanted sheets I don't have to iron; quite frankly I haven't the space or the time to iron sheets. That meant I needed a cotton/poly blend sheet. When I opened the inn in 2000, there were a couple of American manufacturers making nice blend sheets and that's what I bought. Within about two years, however, all the remaining American manufacturers of sheets closed down and all sheets were being brought in from other countries. Well, guess what? Polyester is pretty cheap in the U.S., cheaper than cotton, but in most other countries like China and Pakistan, where a lot of sheets are now being produced, cotton is much cheaper than polyester. For a long time I couldn't for the life of me figure out why blend sheets had disappeared, until someone made a comment - I've forgotten who and what it was - that made the answer crystal clear. If you didn't know, polyester is a petroleum product; our government was being run by people with interests in the petroleum industry - you do the math. Ergo, 100% cotton sheets became the norm. There were still some institutional-grade blend sheets available, but those were an unacceptable quality for my purposes. It's only in the last year or two that I've started to see a few blend sheets in higher thread counts come back on the market and I finally found ones that I liked.

It's a relief to no longer have to examine the offerings in every linen/home supply/hospitality catalog that crosses my threshold looking for "the" sheet that will work. I've ordered enough sets to get me through 2 - 3 years if I keep an eye out for stains, in a couple of months when my cash flow is a bit better I'll probably order a few more so I can get 4 - 5 years out of this pattern & style. Given how long I've been looking for these, I guess I'll have to start the search all over again in a year. I can hardly wait.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Laugh Therapy

Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after a good belly laugh? I'm talking about the kind where you just can't control yourself and where tears come out of your eyes. A laugh like that just seems to release a lot of stress and suddenly whatever was bothering me seems a lot less difficult.

I have found a number of websites that make me laugh on occasion, but none so consistently as this site. Go spend a little time there, it's like a mini-vacation. Just one warning: don't have anything in your mouth when you open the site or I guarantee it will wind up on the screen.