Bumps in the Road

Jul. 10th 2012

When we started this journey, we knew that we would have good days and bad days. You have to expect it when you are running a business. We started this journey in July, 2011 and we have had a few bumps in the road and we have had a few pot holes we were not sure we would be able to get around. But through the whole time, we have tried to keep our focus on the road ahead. Our philosophy has been if you are traveling and it starts to rain, you don’t stop your trip and go home. You turn on the windshield wipers and get a better view of the road.

We are still waiting on the contract draft. We have learned “guarantee” doesn’t always mean for sure. But we are being patient. We aren’t always privy to what is going on so we just have to wait it out. Yesterday we found out that we are going to have to do a preliminary site plan for zoning to get the Special Exemption for a Bed and Breakfast. Thankfully we have a great surveyor /engineer that we have started working with. He has been more than helpful in finding out what we need. What he did find out is that the process for the Special Exemption will take us 120 days. That puts a little crimp in our plans. What is the saying, “Best-laid plans of mice and men may often go awry.”  Okay so we don’t open in September as we planned. That puts us to what… November or December? We also found out that we are going to have to consult with VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) because our main driveway is on a state highway. I thought that because we were on a main route it would be a good thing. We will have to see about that one. And we still haven’t gotten to the building codes and health/safety inspections to get our occupancy permit yet. Not to even mention the cost for the things we know about now.

(Okay, focus on the road. Where is that switch for the windshield wipers?)

One good thing about today I do have to mention. I got to speak to Troy, the Innkeeper at the Inn at Warner Hall. He was very nice and very open to answering questions for me. One thing I have come to understand about Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers/Owners is that they really understand and are quick to help you. It’s like you are in a new club and the other members want you to have success. What a great feeling. But one comment he told me that really gave me a good feeling before we hung up. He told me to keep my head up, not to get discouraged and when we ran into a bad challenge, to call him. He would tell me about another that was worse. It’s good to have someone to lean on.

Speaking of which, one thing that I read about before we even started considering opening a bed and breakfast. It is important of having a clear understanding with whoever you are working with about all that it might entail in getting your Bed and Breakfast open. It stated that you needed to make sure that you both (if you are working with someone) understood the stresses that came with it so you would be prepared. It didn’t seem important at the time I read it. My thought was that Brett and I had been married for twenty-five years. We can handle this.

Michelle and Brett’s wedding 1986

But now as we start to see those stresses coming, I really understand the need to know that you are both on the same page. That support between each other is so important. I think back to all that Brett and I have been through together. Both of our children were premature births. We came very close to losing our first as well as losing me. The challenge and stress of being a young mother and dad, almost single parent as Brett served three years on a submarine in the Navy. There were months apart with little to no communications. And the worst was to have him come home only to say that they were taking another boats schedule the following week and would be leaving again. That was stress. Then the fear of him being pulled to serve in the first Gulf war, which we missed by two weeks because he was transferred to submarine school. Then the next wars, which he missed by months because he retired. It was almost as if we were being prepared for this challenge. As if we were being sharpened up for it through the challenges before.

Brett and Alexa at 9 weeks and 4 pounds. She started at 1 pound 3 oz.

Tyler at 3 days and 5 pounds

Brett at his retirement from the Navy 2003

What I do know is that I don’t think I could do this without Brett. We are each other’s support. He is my best friend as well as my husband. We have come to an agreement that only one at a time can stress out and be discouraged. This allows the one to encourage and offer relief to the other. And today we have added a new rule; you can only be discouraged for three hours. After that you have to get on with it.

Brett and Michelle in New Orleans for their 25th wedding anniversary in 2011.

So while we have loved this journey with meeting so many wonderful people, to seeing some of America’s most beautiful homes and lands, and finding new places and historic locations we never knew about. One thing we want those of you who are considering opening a Bed and Breakfast to know. It is fun and full of joy and adventure, but there is stress and times that you will get discouraged. Just remember that before you begin, remember to set up your support system first. You will need it along the way.

Brett and I want to thank all our readers who have supported us with words of encouragement, prayers, thoughts and even funds. It is like fuel for our engine as we travel this journey. We really appreciate each of you.

Some quick notes!

We have set up a new Patrons page. Please take a moment to view it under our “About Us” page.

We are working on a special Cookie Contest! Be on the watch for the announcement soon!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 27 Comments »