Monday, June 18, 2012

Obituaries: The Pool, aged 45, Stowe, Vermont.

Pool, The, at the Auberge de Stowe--Of catastrophic liner failure, at the age of 45. The Pool at the Auberge de Stowe passed from this world on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, surrounded by its loving family and backyard. The Pool was born in 1965 when the Auberge de Stowe was still known as the Lower Village Inn. It spent its formative years servicing the family, paying guests, and friends of previous innkeepers, as well as various community members who were happy to drop by on a hot day.
     In 2000, the Kerivans joined The Pool's extended family, nursing it through its later life, including two major pump transplants and an entire filter replacement. Along the way, The Pool proved to be an excellent mammal killer, claiming the lives of thousands of voles and field mice, several bats, and an entire family of woodchucks. But The Pool had a generous heart, too, providing a home to countless frogs every spring and summer.
     A Mass of Chlorinated Burial for The Pool will be celebrated at the Auberge on Friday, June 22, from 5 to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the Aubergistes have asked that donations be made for The Pool's favorite charity, the Fund for Paying an Excavator to fill in The Pool.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Five Boring Ways to Spend Money On Your Inn

I’m always amazed--and a little jealous--at other innkeepers who manage to spend money in creative, fun, and sexy ways. They spend money on the transient things that jazz up their inns, making them pop visually, adding verve and character to their places. They spend money on things like rafts of hanging plants in the spring, seasonal decorations, and individual pieces of artwork. In their yards they have rock gardens and wrought-iron fire pits, gazebos and iconically placed Adirondack chairs facing southwest in order to maximize exposure to sunsets.

It seems I’m never able to spend my money this effectively or creatively. Let’s look at some of the places the Auberge has allocated its funds this spring.

1. Bathroom rehab. After 12 years of guest room remodeling, including four complete bathroom rip-out and remodels, I finally turned my attention to our own bathroom. As the cobbler’s children have no shoes, neither did this innkeeper’s family have a nice bathroom. The paint was peeling from the ceiling, the linoleum floor was curling, the shower was ghastly. So I ripped it all out, and put a new one in. This is definitely not a sexy way of spending money, and I can guarantee that it won’t rent us a single room. But boy, it’s nice to go in there and brush our teeth now.

2. The *&%$#! Pool. At some point during the mild winter, our pool lost about half its water. We don’t know where the water went, except that it didn’t evaporate, even with the brutally warm weather we suffered through. While I’m hoping the cause is an irreparable leak (which would signal the end of the pool, because I’m not fixing the liner), we still need to refill the pool and test it. Our regular pump was out for maintenance, which meant we had to rent a pump, and that’s another un-sexy way of spending money.

3. Paint. There’s a lot of painting that needs to be done. The side and back of the inn is up for its regular rotation of exterior latex, and that means buckets of paint and a game I like to call Shawn-On-A-Ladder. Unless we get the winter we missed out on during the summer, there’s no escape from me buying lots of paint this summer.

4. Plumbing. In my dreams, I rip out every piece of copper pipe in this house and replace everything with Pex tubing. I keep asking for a Pex tool for my birthday (along with a banjo and a homebrew beer kit) so that I can rid myself of the labyrinth of piping that infests this place. After re-plumbing our new bathroom, I need to work on an exterior vent pipe, which I suspect is blocked with the bailout money that was supposed to go to J.P. Morgan Chase.

5. The Biiiiiiiiiggggg Mattress. Actually, two big mattresses, for Room 4. This is one of our busiest rooms, and the mattresses needed to be replaced. This is not a sexy task because our rooms are not super-fancy, so we were shopping for mattresses with durability, comfort, and price in mind. And I think Chantal succeeded, actually upgrading the quality of the beds with memory foam mattresses. Happy sleeping.

There’s lots of other small ways in which we’ll be spending our money, and while we’ll keep doing the little things that we can to jazz up the Auberge (like adding new drapes out in the guest living room, and vacuuming a lot), don’t expect to see a hand-painted bird bath anytime soon. In the meantime, enjoy the lovely view of me wrestling with the pool. My creativity will be expressed in the salty language wafting up from the backyard.