Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Re-arrangement for the Holidays
Someday I will write the full story about the four-year project of building the Brown House and I'll include photos from the progressing stages of construction.  One aspect of the building I will summarize here is that it cost about 1/3 more than we expected and had in our pockets. So much money.  And we had to go into debt and we knew we'd eventually have to sell a little rental house we owned to pay it off.  The interest on the loan happened to be variable, and with inflation climbing so high and the Federal Reserve Bank raising the rates, the cost was becoming painful. 

So, we sold the rental house (The Grey House) to the tenant and paid the debt off, leaving something extra to invest.  After many years, finally, we are now drawing a positive income, and this is one of the things I am most thankful for this year.  Though it is a lot of work, especially the cleaning.  

To me, clean is clean.  There are no grades of clean. Humanly speaking, however, we can only bear so much tedium. So far we have not been able to find anyone who will clean to my standard. At this point, it doesn't matter who cleans, I will always check afterwards and find "things".  I don't want to get distracted here, because I only want to say I feel we are not so much in the hospitality business with cleaning as a required sideline, but we are in the cleaning business with a hospitality sideline.

It was startling to realize and admit that we are a part of the tourist industry.  But for us, that specialty of the industry—hospitality—is more than providing a roof for an impersonal out-of-towner as much as it is sharing what we love, our home, with a fellow creature, who in turn helps us afford to share.

Some weeks ago a woman booked the Brown House for a full Thanksgiving holiday, and I was happy that we could provide the setting for their special get-together, that we would become a part of their permanent family memory.  All of our guests so far had from zero to, maximum, 10 reviews.  This person had about two dozen perfect 5-star ratings. Royalty. So, I wanted to roll out the red-carpet, or specifically, the fall-themed table cloth.  

As the house construction had moved to the end phases, our plan for the main room furniture layout was to place the dining table in the prime location—the window corner—and, as where we live (the Red House), have the table reach into the kitchen.  But with the furniture we bought, it wouldn't all fit how we liked, so we put the comfy sitting furniture in the prime spot.  It was nice, but the table had been pushed into the less-than-glamorous, relatively dark space of the room that remained.  Back to the present: I asked the upcoming guest beforehand about switching it all around and extending the table to make it the hub. The key to setting all that extra work in motion was if she was going to cook a Thanksgiving meal, or just go out to dinner?  I received the answer when she sent me a list of cooking tools and asked what we had and didn't have. She was thrilled about us switching it all around, and yes, it took a couple extra hours. 

Since the guests would be arriving well after dark we also "left the light on" and that's a post for the future. Hint: we have 116 LED lights associated with the Brown House, not counting the night-lights.

So, after hours of driving, the guest and her family got in late last night. And here is what she sent me just before midnight:  "I forgot to text at 10:15 when we arrived bc we were so enamored with your place!  It's so incredible...sparkling clean, wonderful array of antiques and other gems, and such great workmanship and artistry.  We just love it here and are so amazed at what you created!"

And this is what makes the extra work worthwhile.


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