28 August 2012

Assistant Manager Aaron

It's been a while since my last post it appears.

After my extremely fun three-day getaway where I left the Bed and Breakfast and visited San Francisco once more to see my Australian friend Anthony, I was back to work again at the Bed and Breakfast, although things were a lot quieter as the other helpers (Felicia, Sadie and Mengmeng) had all left the house in my absence, leaving only Helen (Germany) remaining.

Did I mind? Not in the slightest! Helen. Was. Awesome! Sadly she was only to be staying a few more days, but we made sure to have some great times before then, with one of the highlights being the hours upon hours spent swing dancing! I do swing dancing back home if you were unaware, as did Helen, so that was a lot of fun, especially as the house has its huge ballroom on the top floor for use.

We hung out at a local cafe that had a really great Jazz band for her last night here, and the following morning she was gone. Sigh. But alas there was no time to dwell on it because the following week was one of the most insane I have ever experienced in my life.

Vivien, the innkeeper, was to be away for 6 days but a replacement innkeeper was to be arriving to take her place for the time being. Because, like... me and the other helpers are simply volunteers who haven't the slightest clue how to run a high class Bed and Breakfast. At that time it was me with two other helpers, Camille (France) and Sebastian (France).

Day one started out fine as Vivien had left most things in order before she left, and we only had to hold tight until the temporary innkeeper was to arrive. I think I just spent the day out in the garden with the two French, so that was fun. By day two however things got a little more tense as we were heading into what was to be our busiest weekend for the entire year and the temporary innkeeper still hadn't arrived...

What. The. Hell.

By day three it was pretty clear that the temporary innkeeper wasn't coming, and it truly was time to fight or flee because we had now entered the weekend and we had a full house here at the Bed and Breakfast. That means that all 10 rooms were booked, filling the house with 19 guests. I have been helping out here for only one month, now I am all of a sudden thrust into the position of innkeeper.

How does that happen!?

Now I am not trying to sound purposely overly dramatic here... but with the other helpers either being too new to be of much use (the two French helpers), or simply just idiots (these four American helpers that had just arrived...), I truly was the only one capable to even attempt to run the place.

So, I stepped up!

I answered phone calls, took bookings, checked guests in once they arrived (with a tour of the house, including a full recap of its history... granted about 40% of it I make up on the spot), delegated tasks to the seven other helpers, solved problems like when we ran out of gas and bread, paid bills, processed credit cards... I was literally managing the place single-handedly! It was damn tough, and I admit there were many times that were utterly depressing, stressful and demoralizing. There was one moment in particular when these four American helpers who had recently arrived who were absolute idiots were driving me nuts, coupled with guests to deal with, phones to answer, and administrative jobs that I had no idea how to handle waiting to be processed, where I felt so overwhelmed that I seriously considered just packing my bags and taking off then and there.

I didn't sign up for this! I was merely here to wash dishes, do gardening, and sweep floors!

And to top all this off? I freaking lost my prescription glasses. And I forgot to pack my backup pair. Sigh... I am so angry about this, I put them down when I should of just put them away, or even just put them on, instead I left them outside in the garden and they have disappeared... my only pair. Now I have to go spend $150 or whatever to buy a new pair, when I have a perfectly good pair sitting at home. Oh! Maybe my parents can mail me my spare pair? It would take a while to arrive... hmm.

Despite all that and more, I stuck with it, simply tackling one day at a time. The days were long and stressful from the moment I woke up at 8am to serve breakfast to the guests up until 11pm where it was safe to assume no guests would no longer need anything and I was able to go to bed. Finally by day four, things were starting to smooth out as I ever so slowly got a bit of a grasp on how things were run.

By day six, I was calm as you could possibly be and running the place was no worries at all really. I had answers to nearly every problem, I was fantastic with the guests (I even got tips!), I knew how to take bookings, answer phones, where things in town were, and most importantly how to handle the seven other helpers who were now in my command.

On day seven Vivien eventually came home, thoroughly relieved that everything had turned out so well in her absense with the unforeseen event of the arranged temporary innkeeper not showing up.

"You have now effectively been acting manager at a high-class Bed and Breakfast all by your self. Congratsulations! I think from now on you can be Assistant Manager."

Alas there you have it, I am now an Assistant Manager at a high-class Bed and Breakfast in a small coastal town called Fort Bragg in the North of California... haha!

Who would of thought...


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