Article by Patti Maghamfar
I am thrilled to introduce Patti Maghamfar. She along with her husband are the owners of Abigail’s Bed & Breakfast Inn in Ashland, Oregon. This is the last article that was submitted. If you are interested in writing an article under this subject, please go to the Featured Writer Page for all of the information. I hope you enjoy reading this latest addition of A Day In The Life.
As the owner/innkeeper of a Bed & Breakfast Inn, eating bon bons and watching television is not on the daily schedule. But oh, what I wouldn’t give some days to do just that. Sit down, put my feet up, pop a few bons and watch some mindless daytime television. For this innkeeper the day begins at 7:15 a.m. because I absolutely refuse to get up any earlier. Actually, truth be told, it is my husband that is up at 7:15 a.m. to put out the coffee (which brews with an auto-timer) for the guests by 7:30 a.m. While he works coffee central, I snuggle for 10 more minutes. I’ve never been one who can just “wake-up!” and hop out of bed. I’m pretty sure the snooze alarm was invented for me personally.
We serve breakfast at 9:00 a.m. so if I’m in the kitchen by 7:35 I’ve got a good hour and 25 minutes until first course, then another 15 to 20 minutes before the main course. And yes, I can be up, dressed, teeth brushed and in the kitchen in 10 minutes. Thank goodness for really short hair and polo shirts with our logo; no thought process necessary. Depending on what we are serving for breakfast, some prep work can be done the night before. I cook (for up to 12 guests) every morning and my husband serves. While he serves and takes care of the dining room, I sneak away and tidy our 5 guest rooms, all of which have private bathrooms. A quick tidy includes making the bed(s), emptying the trash, providing fresh towels if needed and a quick spot check of the bathroom and a spritz of air-freshener. If I time it right I can complete all 5 rooms while the guests are dining. I figure out pretty quickly who likes to linger over breakfast and I do other rooms first to ensure I do not get “caught.”
Back to the kitchen to load 1 of up to 3 loads in the dishwasher; and clear, clean and reset the dining room for the next day. Depending on the number of rooms checking out/in, the washer/dryer can run for up to 6 – 8 hours/day. And yes, I do every stitch of laundry, including folding and restocking the shelves. The laundry is always a work in progress and although I do iron pillow cases, I do not iron sheets. Life is just too short. Conveniently, the laundry room is right between our commercial kitchen and our living quarters, so when passing by, I load, unload, fold or put away. We do have 2 part-time housekeepers who do the heavy cleaning, but even so there are many days when my husband and I pitch in as well. Just recently I stripped and made 7 beds in I think maybe 2 1/2 hours. Each of our beds has 4 pillows, 2 shams and 2 throw pillows because after all it is a “Bed” & “Breakfast.”
Time to bake! We always have a freshly-baked plate of cookies or something yummy for afternoon tea, which is available for guests to help themselves at their leisure. We provide a stocked (with water bottles and soda) guest refrigerator, tea, coffee and snacks 24/7.
Once the housekeeper is finished, usually around 2:30 – 3:00, it’s time to check over each room. It’s always a good idea to have a 2nd set of eyes go over the details because we want our guests to feel as if no one has ever slept in their room before.
Whew! It’s about 3:00 in the afternoon. Nope, there’s no time for bon bons now because for the next 3 hours we are on call for guest arrivals. Check in time is from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. unless other arrangements have been made. Because we make every attempt to personally greet our guests one of us is always at the house during these hours. We’ve got it down to a science so that I only book personal appointments (i.e. dentist) on Tues/Thurs and my husband books Mon/Wed/Fri. We figured this out after we inadvertently both scheduled ourselves to be away during check in hours. It only took one time before we rectified the scheduling!
Let’s see, did we remember to eat breakfast? Lunch? We try to make the best use of our time from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. while we wait for guests to arrive. Most often, you’ll find me doing laundry, prepping in the kitchen or sitting with the laptop in my lap. Not very ergonomically correct, but it is called a laptop after all. I use the time to write for our blog and update our Facebook page, usually with a photo attached which means I’ve been using the camera at some point in the day. I am a freelance writer (in my spare time) and I write feature articles and reviews for an online resource and entertainment guide. You’ll find my husband in the garden; his passion. Oh, and by the way, guests do not always neatly arrive between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. Sometimes they show up at noon and sometimes they show up at midnight. We just hope they’ve notified us in advance.
Did I mention the phone rings throughout the day? It makes for a lot of talking on the phone whether it is to book a reservation or just to answer a question (or 20). The phone is an innkeeper’s lifeline to business so the phone is with us always. When I am away from the inn I carry a tote-able office in my backpack, complete with reservation book and pencils and I can take a reservation in the middle of Costco without skipping a beat. I also carry a camera, because I never know when I’m going to find the perfect image to post online.
Somewhere between 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. we make an attempt to call it a day. We have a cute sign that we hang on our kitchen door that reads, “Good-night. The kitchen will reopen at 7:30 a.m., please help yourself to coffee, tea and cookies.”
Owning/operating a B&B is a lifestyle choice, it is not a job. When a guest says to me, “Oh, your home is so beautiful, I’ve always wanted to run a B&B,” I just smile because it is so much more than what meets the eye. Unless you have a business background (which we did) you really don’t have a clear picture of what happens behind the kitchen door; the bookkeeping and reservation system is a job in itself. Our home/inn was built in 1904 so you can imagine there is always something that needs repair. Fortunately, my husband can fix just about anything. Add in the marketing, social networking, inventory, shopping and, well… you get the idea, right? You have to love the lifestyle and oh yeah, you have to really enjoy people because guess what? Your house is full of people all the time!
My name is Patti, my husband and I own Abigail’s Bed & Breakfast Inn in Ashland, Oregon.
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