11 hours ago
Monday, June 17, 2013
Oh, so much has has happened I don't know where to begin....
Since I last blogged we have had Betsy Morgan here for a weekend of classes and what fun we had with the attendees. We just love having true stitchers around, sharing ideas, seeing what they are working on and the class pieces were just fabulous, and none of them ask me for string! A big "Thank You" to Betsy...fabulous! See you next year for another class....oops I hear you may be coming to our SuperBowl party to watch the ladies put together some of your projects...and perhaps assist them....we hope so. Paola was here from Luxenburg and has stayed for a while to visit, in fact she is leaving today to fly home, but while here she's been stitching on her class projects and has completed one side of her acorn piece already...and gorgeous! We've had fun with Paola during her stay and I've put her into action in the shop...helping customers and finding things for people. She's a great salesperson, very knowledgeable, etc....and doesn't seem to mind helping and when she speaks with her European accent...welll she could sell snow to the Eskimos so she's perfect for Salty Yarns. Now if I could just find a way to make her commute shorter I'd hire her in a second. And I will show you later what she brought me from France...oh, my Gosh....you aren't going to believe it. Scissor collectors will simply die when they see it...but first, I've got to learn to take the picture and ship it off to the blog with my new IPad which the girls gave me for my birthday. I knew if I kept asking Sara to take the pictures with her phone she'd eventually figure out a way to get me doing it myself. Anyway, since Paola leaves today I'll start taking IPad lessons and get the pictures on the blog. But the really huge news for us is.....in February or March our Mary contacted Hotel Impossible from the Travel Channel. As you are aware, we own a small family run hotel where we have our shop and hold the retreats and classes. Mary spoke to me about contacting the Travel Channel about our hotel being featured on Hotel Impossible. I was shocked at first but then felt, "what the hell" they won't come anyway so I said "do whatever you want". In todays world small hotels like ours without the ammenities struggle to compete. We have a great many tenants who come back year after year, however, age has taken some of them from us and we need new blood. So Mary felt the folks on Hotel Impossible could give us some ideas on how to compete. I didn't get concerned about their coming, even when they sent us a questionnaire they wanted filled out. No, I still said, "they aren't coming to Ocean City to do a small hotel." When they called Mary, I began to feel a tad concerned but still thought they wouldn't show up. But in May when they called for a date I felt conflicted. I'm a reality show junkie, but don't want to be one humilating myself and my family....I like feeling superior when I'm watching the others humiliating themselves. So that's the point at which I started paying attention and questioning Mary about the humiliation factor. But since I was turning everything over to she and Sara I felt I had to let them make their own mistakes, but on national T.V.? At that point she took it to Sara who looked a little like a deer in headlights as well as she thought about the embarrassment we would encounter makes idiots of ourselves on T.V. But in the end, we all got on board and felt that if they could help us in any way it was worth it....or so we convinced ourselves. First one of the producers and the interior decorator for the show came down and spent 3 days with us. They went through the buildings, and interviewed us extensively. Now, in case you aren't familiar with this show....the host arrives and from the get go starts critiquing everything about your hotel that he feels is wrong. Sometimes it's a little brutal and that was my fear. I was also afraid I might get a little defensive and start cursing like a sailor at him....even though they are here to help you in the end. And before they leave they do a remodel of something, your lobby, a room, something to show you what you can do to improve your property. But I wasn't focused on that and really while it would be great to figure out a way to remodel without going to the poor house, I was more focused on what he was going to say in front of the cameras. Stacy, the producer, knew I was concerned about how humiliating this was going to be. She was extremely kind and kept insisting that Anthony would not be here to embarrass us and would be very helpful. We were scared to death. Then they called and moved the date from August to June 9th as a start date to begin. With only 2 weeks or less that was nerve wracking, because with the constant rain or dampness there was a lot of painting we hadn't done yet. So everyone went into overdrive, getting the place into shape for the season (our normal routines) and I started cleaning up my office. However, Stacy called Mary and told her to tell me to stop...they needed to film the office the way it was when she saw it....a disaster to say the least. But I was being a sport and said fine, I'll leave it. Betsy Morgan's class ended on Sunday and the show film crew and Anthony the host arrived on the 9th. We were exhausted from the weekend, but managed to put on a brave face. While the rest of us were dressed in Ocean City casual...well Sara kept coming down in brand new smart outfits claiming it was all she had to wear..while Mary and I just pulled on our t-shirts and slacks. I called it being real, oh yeah, Sara also put on makeup every day. Needless to say in the heat and humidity I wasn't about to put on makeup...hell I don't put it on in the winter when it's cold, who am I kidding. The only time I wear makeup....going to church on Sunday. Anyway, the first day we were sequestered in the shop and not allowed out because we weren't allowed to meet Anthony until he had taken the tour. Frustrating for us as I had IRS crap to take care of ...never ending forms! But I was a sport to begin with and stayed put in Salty Yarns for 6 hours....we couldn't even leave to go get lunch. They had Alex, one of the producers, hold us hostage. Of course Debbie and Paola were here with us so everything became a joke. Anthony also drew crowds on the boardwalk as he went over the property (it was high school senior week in Ocean City and apparently they had seen him before) so there were always people trying to get in the camera shots driving the camera crews crazy. There were several cameras and plenty of crew members. We also were miked daily throughout all day, a fact I never remembered as I spoke openly and loudly about everything (big surprise). And then around 4:30 p.m. we were summoned to meet Anthony. So we were finally introduced to the host in front of the cameras. I was my usual charming self (O.K., perhaps I was a little bit leary and showed that, but in a charming way.) It was during this initial meeting that he started with how lovely this old hotel is and how well preserved it was and clean, so very clean...but you just knew there was a "however" coming. So it was no surprise when he said, "But, your rooms are outdated (I believe we new this) and our systems were antiquated. Well so far he had told me nothing I didn't suspect so I wasn't too surprised and was waiting for the worst news....which really never came. The surprise for us was that while he did get tough at times with us, he always served that with a bit of niceness so while tears flowed from everyone at times in the end we survived and we loved Anthony and the entire crew who also treated us so nicely, especially when on the very last day I took a nose dive into the shop with the crew filming on the boardwalk out front. I don't really think they saw it, although two men on the boardwalk came running in to assist. (talk about embarrassing...someone my size doesn't bounce back up) and of course this was the day two customers came in just as I was rolling on the floor, so I just said, "Good morning, just crawl over me I'll be up soon." Fortunately Sara was working with me and helped get me off the floor (ever graceful of course). Anyway, Thursday was reveal day....we finally get to see what the contractor, painters, electricians, tile men were doing for 4 days, and it was simply amazing. They absolutely transformed one of the apartments....I can't wait until the tenants arrive and see the changes. It was unbelievable and they did it keeping in mind that it had to be done so that we could duplicate it in the other apartments. While they purchased new furniture, lighting, etc., the paneling was painted in such a way you couldn't tell it was paneling. It was jaw dropping. We are so excited about the entire thing the guys have been painting other rooms since they left. New pretty linens on the bed....gorgeous. I was always afraid of white bedspreads, etc., they got beautiful white bedspreads with a teal pattern running through it. Throw pillows on each new chair and a queen size sofa bed in a salmon color...unbelievable. Now for me that was far beyond the call of duty and we were thrilled but they weren't done. Anthony also got us an upgraded, top notch reservation system. When the gentlemen from roommaster came up to install the system he took one look at our computers and went to Staples and purchased two new computers with flat screens in the largest size...it's like looking at T.V. Anthony also gifts us a neat system so that we can scan all papers and get them filed and they are saved in Cloud. I mean the gifts go on and on but the greatest gift of all for the girls and myself....I was told to retire from the hotel and let the girls take over which believe it or not I've done. I have gone in while Sara is working in the shop to close out a couple of issues with insurance and IRS, but I'm done with the day to day bills, etc. And once I get the insurance and IRS satisfied (are they ever) I'm out. Sara is also trying to get me out of the shops but that's not as easy, so I've been in there every day, just not 2 shifts a day yet. So my life is getting easier, I think. And I want to thank everyone who e-mailed or called us regarding our new adventure as it hit all the papers, including USA Today and was on the local and Baltimore news. Plus we've had daily tours through the updated unit from people stopping by to see what they did. We've had an exciting two weeks and it was such fun to share it with Paola and Debbie. Debbie hung out as long as she could on Thursday but they didn't do the reveal in time for her to see it. Paola took photos though and sent them to her, so she felt she was part of the experience. I can't say enough about the crew, producers, Anthony (who we love, love, love), Blanche the interior decorator who did such a fabulous job, Joe Dashiell who was instrumental in creating a lot of the design that Blanche thought up...yes there were a lot of people involved who worked through the night to get it done and we are truly grateful. Can't wait for everyone to see it. So for now I'm signing off and will get back to normal activity tomorrow. Good night everyone.