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Don't panic !!!!! .... or how owning a B&B teaches you to keep your cool.

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The Tipsy Butler

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It's 3:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve. I've just got back from the supermarket which was hell-on-earth because the world and its dog was there buying up the place for the impending 3 day snowstorm.
Two sets of guests arriving so I go and make sure the rooms are perfect ..... hmm, something's wrong, they feel a little cool.
Trot down to the basement ... the furnace isn't firing. I'm able to get it started but it won't stay lit for more than 5 minutes.
That's when you go into B&B "mind-think" Get some alternate electric heat into the guest rooms asap (worry about electricity going out later). Try and fix the problem yourself, but based on the fact it's NYE afternoon, don't try too long before calling the service guys. While you wait for service guys, try and isolate the problem so that when they get here you can bring them up to speed quickly and then figure out what can be done to salvage the situation in a "worst case scenario".
Everything worked out beautifully. Service guy was here 10 minutes after I called (one huge advantage of small town living), based on what I told him he was able to figure out the problem quickly and half an hour later the furnace was roaring away.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE.
 

MTLLodge

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Glad it worked out! Happy New Year to everyone also. My 6 month old laptop keyboard quit working, so I was silenced for awhile.
 

Morticia

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Yes, it's true, you do tend to be able to get your head around problems more quickly owning a B&B!
 

wendydk

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Yes, it's true, you do tend to be able to get your head around problems more quickly owning a B&B!.
Morticia said:
Yes, it's true, you do tend to be able to get your head around problems more quickly owning a B&B!
That's because you gotta do what you GOTTA do!
 

gillumhouse

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Everything worked out beautifully. Service guy was here 10 minutes after I called (one huge advantage of small town living),
When we were replacing our furnace, we decided that if the local guy was within $500 of the lowest bid, HE would get the business. Best decision we EVER made. If I have a problem with my furnace or plumbing, we get bumped to the top of the list - especially if i say we have guests. Once when DH was thanking him for the service we got, the owner of the plumbing shop said, "I take care of MY customers." I just happened to have the "drain divorce" on the one weekend that he and all his men were out of town (summer also).
 

The Tipsy Butler

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Everything worked out beautifully. Service guy was here 10 minutes after I called (one huge advantage of small town living),
When we were replacing our furnace, we decided that if the local guy was within $500 of the lowest bid, HE would get the business. Best decision we EVER made. If I have a problem with my furnace or plumbing, we get bumped to the top of the list - especially if i say we have guests. Once when DH was thanking him for the service we got, the owner of the plumbing shop said, "I take care of MY customers." I just happened to have the "drain divorce" on the one weekend that he and all his men were out of town (summer also)..
I have always been a "hands on" person so I loved the fact that:
  1. He really appreciated the fact I'd spent the time narrowing the parameters of what the problem could be (it was his NYE too and he was ready to go home).
  2. He was happy to have me, not only looking over his shoulder, but firing questions a mile a minute.
It turned out to be very simple - the PAPER oil filter was too clogged for the furnace to get enough oil to operate. He left me with spares, showed me where to dig around the outlet to access the filter, showed me the safety valves and left me with enough info to maintain optimum efficiency in between our annual maintenance visits.
 

gillumhouse

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Everything worked out beautifully. Service guy was here 10 minutes after I called (one huge advantage of small town living),
When we were replacing our furnace, we decided that if the local guy was within $500 of the lowest bid, HE would get the business. Best decision we EVER made. If I have a problem with my furnace or plumbing, we get bumped to the top of the list - especially if i say we have guests. Once when DH was thanking him for the service we got, the owner of the plumbing shop said, "I take care of MY customers." I just happened to have the "drain divorce" on the one weekend that he and all his men were out of town (summer also)..
I have always been a "hands on" person so I loved the fact that:
  1. He really appreciated the fact I'd spent the time narrowing the parameters of what the problem could be (it was his NYE too and he was ready to go home).
  2. He was happy to have me, not only looking over his shoulder, but firing questions a mile a minute.
It turned out to be very simple - the PAPER oil filter was too clogged for the furnace to get enough oil to operate. He left me with spares, showed me where to dig around the outlet to access the filter, showed me the safety valves and left me with enough info to maintain optimum efficiency in between our annual maintenance visits.
.
That is great. I used to do things and DH did more but now, for us at our age & stage, it is smarter to just pay.
I have managed to get DH to agtee that when we have wind that blows out the hot water tank pilot we WILL call the plumber to relight it. It takes a skinny, limber person (neither of us although he IS skinny) to get to it. It is worth paying for.
 

seashanty

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wow, tipsy! the furnace is something i know little about.
 

Samster

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So TRUE!! Good deal that you got it fixed so quickly. Most innkeepers I've encountered are pretty dang handy with most things. :) Although Ang on Sanctuary definitely gets the Grand Award! Our service and repair guys will bump us to the top of the list too....mostly because we've sent them lots of referral work.
Good job, Tipsy!
 

Suzie Q

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So you enjoyed the snow storm we sent you? Must be on the Eastern edge. Missed work 5 days, roads not recommended for travel. It was white out one night, and I turned around and went home that night.
 

Morticia

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So TRUE!! Good deal that you got it fixed so quickly. Most innkeepers I've encountered are pretty dang handy with most things. :) Although Ang on Sanctuary definitely gets the Grand Award! Our service and repair guys will bump us to the top of the list too....mostly because we've sent them lots of referral work.
Good job, Tipsy!.
Samster said:
Although Ang on Sanctuary definitely gets the Grand Award!
Gomez is very impressed. I stopped telling him her stories because it was getting to be too much. 'Wow, she did all of that? Wow, that's really good.'
 

Sanctuary

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Here's the most recent that falls into this category....Yesterday, I had guests on board, I went down to tidy the master stateroom, cleaned the toilet, flushed it and it sounded like someone was running a jack hammer - never heard THAT before, and I had just replaced the guts of that pump about a month ago. Then, I wonder...why is it that every time I flush the toilet, the bilge pump for the shower kicks on. Uh....that not good!!! All six screws holding one end of the toilet evacuation pump together fell out, lock washers, and all (still scratching my head over that one). It was spraying seawater all over the under/back side of the dresser. I had to fix this, pronto, bent over through a dresser drawer opening where I could only get my head and arms into. It was a tough reach.
Before that...it was the refrigerator - the night before we were to leave out on a 4 day trip, the refrigerator died. I was up at 6AM unloading non-essentials to a friend's house, and then off to find the biggest, baddest cooler I could find - it was the size of a loveseat! LOL Guests were arriving around noon. 20 large bags of ice and several blocks of ice and we were off - just a few hours late. When we returned 4 days later, I still had ice in that cooler.
I sure do seem to get more than my share of these kinds of situations. :( But...THE SHOW MUST GO ON!! Right?
I have a friend who crews on another yacht. She was cooking dinner while underway. She telephoned up to the captain and said, "If this fire gets any bigger, you're going to have to come down here and help me," and then abruptly hung up. Imaging getting that message. Of course, he instantly pressed the autopilot button and came down from the flybridge anyway, all calm, cool and collected. None of the guests onboard even knew it ever happened. It was a mishap on the stove.
 

muirford

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So TRUE!! Good deal that you got it fixed so quickly. Most innkeepers I've encountered are pretty dang handy with most things. :) Although Ang on Sanctuary definitely gets the Grand Award! Our service and repair guys will bump us to the top of the list too....mostly because we've sent them lots of referral work.
Good job, Tipsy!.
Samster said:
Although Ang on Sanctuary definitely gets the Grand Award!
Gomez is very impressed. I stopped telling him her stories because it was getting to be too much. 'Wow, she did all of that? Wow, that's really good.'
.
Morticia said:
Gomez is very impressed. I stopped telling him her stories because it was getting to be too much. 'Wow, she did all of that? Wow, that's really good.'
And then it starts - 'why can't you take apart an engine like that, honey?'
 

InnCaring

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Interim Innkeepers also experience these same type of situations at the B&B's they take care of.
Over the years as interim innkeepers we have had boilers go out the day before New Years in minus 15 degree weather, a main breaker blow to the point it was getting ready to start an electrical fire, a guest use bubble bath in an outdoor jacuzzi, a guest break a back door window by accident, the air conditioning go out on a hot day and there was a full house, the modem stop working when all the B&B's payments went through online processing, dealing with bed bug issues, and many more that I don't even want to remember.
The point I am trying to make is that Interim Innkeepers need to have the same information at their fingertips that you, the innkeeper knows about automatically. That is why we insist on the names of your regular serverice personal and a day of training to locate all of those sneaky places where the shut offs may be hidden. We can handle the situations and the guests, it just makes it a lot easier if we have all the tools at our disposal to take care of the problem as quickly as it would be taken care of if you were there.
Hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year with lots of guests passing through your doors and sleeping in your beds.
Lynda, Inn Caring
 

bbinnsitters

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Add to that list:
1. A guest locked himself out of his room (it had one of those automatic locks that only the person in the room can lock - thus no key would unlock it) and the only way to get in was for me to climb up to the 2nd story and crawl into the bathroom window.
2. Switch at the top of the basement steps evidently shuts off the furnace - did anyone tell me that?! After a few hours the house starts getting colder and colder - after trying everything I can think of I call the # the owners left me...as I am waiting for someone to arrive I flip this switch that I don't know what it does...I hear a big noise in the basement - I think I just turned the furnace on! Call the furnace guy back to avoid any unnecessary charges! I'm assuming I must have flipped it at some point thinking I was turning a light off!
Having things written down is a major help for your Inn-sitters!
 

Morticia

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Add to that list:
1. A guest locked himself out of his room (it had one of those automatic locks that only the person in the room can lock - thus no key would unlock it) and the only way to get in was for me to climb up to the 2nd story and crawl into the bathroom window.
2. Switch at the top of the basement steps evidently shuts off the furnace - did anyone tell me that?! After a few hours the house starts getting colder and colder - after trying everything I can think of I call the # the owners left me...as I am waiting for someone to arrive I flip this switch that I don't know what it does...I hear a big noise in the basement - I think I just turned the furnace on! Call the furnace guy back to avoid any unnecessary charges! I'm assuming I must have flipped it at some point thinking I was turning a light off!
Having things written down is a major help for your Inn-sitters!.
Just a note on those pesky furnace switches at the top of the cellar stairs...they should have a RED faceplate on them. If anyone has one that doesn't, change it out!
 

Morticia

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Add to that list:
1. A guest locked himself out of his room (it had one of those automatic locks that only the person in the room can lock - thus no key would unlock it) and the only way to get in was for me to climb up to the 2nd story and crawl into the bathroom window.
2. Switch at the top of the basement steps evidently shuts off the furnace - did anyone tell me that?! After a few hours the house starts getting colder and colder - after trying everything I can think of I call the # the owners left me...as I am waiting for someone to arrive I flip this switch that I don't know what it does...I hear a big noise in the basement - I think I just turned the furnace on! Call the furnace guy back to avoid any unnecessary charges! I'm assuming I must have flipped it at some point thinking I was turning a light off!
Having things written down is a major help for your Inn-sitters!.
Just a note on those pesky furnace switches at the top of the cellar stairs...they should have a RED faceplate on them. If anyone has one that doesn't, change it out!
 

muirford

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Add to that list:
1. A guest locked himself out of his room (it had one of those automatic locks that only the person in the room can lock - thus no key would unlock it) and the only way to get in was for me to climb up to the 2nd story and crawl into the bathroom window.
2. Switch at the top of the basement steps evidently shuts off the furnace - did anyone tell me that?! After a few hours the house starts getting colder and colder - after trying everything I can think of I call the # the owners left me...as I am waiting for someone to arrive I flip this switch that I don't know what it does...I hear a big noise in the basement - I think I just turned the furnace on! Call the furnace guy back to avoid any unnecessary charges! I'm assuming I must have flipped it at some point thinking I was turning a light off!
Having things written down is a major help for your Inn-sitters!.
Just a note on those pesky furnace switches at the top of the cellar stairs...they should have a RED faceplate on them. If anyone has one that doesn't, change it out!
.
Ours is red and also says 'Oil burner emegency switch' on the faceplate. However, it is in the unfortunate location of being right above the light switch for the basement stairs, and I have inadvertently turned it off myself.
 

Morticia

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So TRUE!! Good deal that you got it fixed so quickly. Most innkeepers I've encountered are pretty dang handy with most things. :) Although Ang on Sanctuary definitely gets the Grand Award! Our service and repair guys will bump us to the top of the list too....mostly because we've sent them lots of referral work.
Good job, Tipsy!.
Samster said:
Although Ang on Sanctuary definitely gets the Grand Award!
Gomez is very impressed. I stopped telling him her stories because it was getting to be too much. 'Wow, she did all of that? Wow, that's really good.'
.
Morticia said:
Gomez is very impressed. I stopped telling him her stories because it was getting to be too much. 'Wow, she did all of that? Wow, that's really good.'
And then it starts - 'why can't you take apart an engine like that, honey?'
.
muirford said:
Morticia said:
Gomez is very impressed. I stopped telling him her stories because it was getting to be too much. 'Wow, she did all of that? Wow, that's really good.'
And then it starts - 'why can't you take apart an engine like that, honey?'
Har har, the taking apart is EASY...
 

muirford

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Add to that list:
1. A guest locked himself out of his room (it had one of those automatic locks that only the person in the room can lock - thus no key would unlock it) and the only way to get in was for me to climb up to the 2nd story and crawl into the bathroom window.
2. Switch at the top of the basement steps evidently shuts off the furnace - did anyone tell me that?! After a few hours the house starts getting colder and colder - after trying everything I can think of I call the # the owners left me...as I am waiting for someone to arrive I flip this switch that I don't know what it does...I hear a big noise in the basement - I think I just turned the furnace on! Call the furnace guy back to avoid any unnecessary charges! I'm assuming I must have flipped it at some point thinking I was turning a light off!
Having things written down is a major help for your Inn-sitters!.
Just a note on those pesky furnace switches at the top of the cellar stairs...they should have a RED faceplate on them. If anyone has one that doesn't, change it out!
.
Ours is red and also says 'Oil burner emegency switch' on the faceplate. However, it is in the unfortunate location of being right above the light switch for the basement stairs, and I have inadvertently turned it off myself.
 
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