Sunday, 3 June 2018

Always wanted to Run a B&B? Insanity!!!

When my  Ottawa B&B starts getting busy I have to remind myself to breath because come May, it is like trying to contain a tornado.

The workshop season is coming to a heavenly close. This year the workshops were crazy busy and  we are all delighted to see the guest season start up again and this I know because I belong to a Facebook B&B group worldwide, 2000 strong, who are making a collective sigh of relief.  Our phones are starting to ring off the hook again.   

Running a B&B is tough work but we are like Goldilocks.  We don't like it when it's too busy and we don't like it when it's too slow; there has to be a perfect amount for us not to whine...yes, yes, we are very high maintenance but we hold the future happiness of your stay in our overworked little hands so whine we must…and then we often finish with wine.

This May long weekend was a challenge.  I'd just hosted a wonderful Musical Sound Healing when the hurricane of humanity hit.  Three rooms, nine separate booking all staying for one nite and full for three nites.  I eventually went on autopilot.  Thank God the car knows how to autopilot to the nearest Giant Tiger and my grocery cart knows the standard breakfast fare that I always buy 'cause I had a hard time keeping everything straight after so long of the dry spell. 

I had no idea...
  •  who wanted the Complimentary beverages; strong coffee or decaf tea,
  • Since we Cater to Your Dietary Requests, which ones were gluten free, or was it lactose intolerant, or not eating sugar ? 
  • Who wanted the Savoury or Sweet Snacks Upon Arrival
  • Was it the girl who wanted the foot Massage or the man the shoulder rub?
  • who still needed to try the Virtual Reality glasses
     
  • Which ones still needed to pose for the Mug Shot wall
  • Did he get to hang from the Inversion Table yet for his back? 
  • Who requested the dreaded Breakfast When You Want It at 7am so I had to be up at 5:30?  
  • Were they from Toronto visiting the city or the ones from Montreal visiting their mother...no wait, they are from overseas and here for a funeral.  Calgon....


Blissfully, the last batch all wanted me to sleep in so they ate, all six of them, at 9:30 in the morning.  In innkeeper years, that's almost like finding the Willie Wonka golden certificate and it was wonderful.  AND NOT ONE OF THEM had any special food requests or allergies.  It was a heavenly start to a great year.

All I have left to do for workshops until fall is:
Make your Own Rainstick June 5th,
Paint & Sip Nite June 6th,
Journaling and Meditation, June 12th and finally
A Spiritual Spa Day (maybe) June 10th ish...pending





So if any of these classes interest you, please contact Cathy at spoiledrottenbnb@gmail.com

And don't forget to sign up if you wish to have notification that there has been a newly posted blog.  It's much faster than your sleeping pill for insomnia.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Bed & Breakfast lodging, Workshops & so many Paint Nites

This has been a spring in Ottawa (February, March and April) like no other in the four year history of Spoiled Rotten.  Normally I lay fairly low and put on a couple of workshops and live off KD and forage for whatever unfortunate protein, (aka mice and bugs) I can find; normally lean times. I think since I've invested countless hours into marketing my place and answering the main question on every body's mind- "Is there really a B&B in Orleans"????  that now, my business comes up in Google SEO and TA, Facebook, Airbnb and the countless other social media and advertising sites I belong to.  It's all so exciting and daunting.

This year I was like a snowbird, one that is all screwed up and forgets to go south for the winter; I wanted to "get away" but forgot to put down my mountains of paperwork and just go.  Winter is when I mostly relax and do some workshops.  I get to reconnect with my long lost local friends but not this winter.  This year, though, my 6 months of down time have been hard labour with a happy ending, unlike my massages :).

 In three months, I have hosted:
  • Mobile Paint & Sip afternoons
  • Countless in house Paint & Sip Nites, some with great musical accompaniment
  • 1 Spring Break Family Paint day and 1 Mom/Daughter paint day
  • An epic Speed Dating Paint Nite
  • 2 Spiritual Coffee Houses
  • 1 Acrylic Paint & Breakfast class 
  • 1 Soiree Inspiration on various Healing modalities
  • 2 Journaling and Meditation evenings
  • 1 Spiritual Spa Day with a psychic and
  • 2 Boudoir Photo Shoots, one with strong cartoon female models
  • A Coffee evening to discuss Sex after Divorce and finally
  • A Healing With Cannabis afternoon (coming up)

All this happened while I juggled 10 rentals, two Romance packages, an interview for a friend to do a short term rental, an interview to view the venue for a Celtic House Concert here, many massages and a week long get away to Vegas with family.  I'm exhausted just reading this, knowing all along how much fun it was and how much work was involved. There are times when I wish I knew how to just sit and "be". I hear that comes, for some, when they die.  Somehow I doubt even then that I will rest.

I did get a bit of time to connect with my beautiful grandbabies whom my daughter is trying to hurt with  killer spiders in Australia. I even finally got to Belleville to see my long lost family.
Yes, they are identical twins in kimonos

I was fortunate enough to see Rod Stewart and the Arrogant Worms in Ottawa and Cirque du Soliel's Zumanity and Elton John in Vegas.  The One Woman Summit  that feature's Oprah's protegee was epic.

May is shaping up to be busy with guests, more healing workshops like:
Therapeutic Touch evening
A Bowen workshop
A Musical Sound Healing
Lots more Paint and Sip nites


Pscyhic Dorathy's beautiful artwork from the Spiritual Spa Day


Lovely Vanessa with her daughter for a private Paint Day
                        One of many paint events with musicians.
The Arrogant Worms in Ottawa


 Mike Giovannazi's Photo shoots at Spoiled Rotten B&B.  That is MY broom she is using.

Realto Lisa teaching her students Watercolours.  


      This is my Vegas Daughter/Twin Jessica- identical, yes!

Zumanity, Elton John and Rod Stewart

 

My musicians for Paint Nite and the Celtic Concert
DID I FORGET TO MENTION THAT MY WHOLE HOUSE HAS BEEN UNDER RENOVATIONS WHILE LOTS OF THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON??




And who knows what else the future holds this summer... oh ya, actual guests for my B&B!  I forgot. 

Friday, 9 February 2018

Technology and booking a room at this unique Ottawa B&B

Well, I don't think Bill Gates is going to be calling me any time soon and I don't think I will ever have bookings online. I'm technologically challenged and yet my friends all come to me to fix their computers and get things set up. ME!! I'm an impostor. I can barely turn my computer on.

I was trying to video chat on FB using my laptop with daughter in Australia. I have never used the webcam before. We were going to both use laptops this time so the grand babies could actually see my face and despite many tries, they couldn't see me. I kept going to the icon and touching the screen until I realized my laptop is 1000 years old and does not have a touch screen which means I also cannot stretch the screen bigger. Doh!
When we were finally connected with audio by laptops, she alas could still not see me. No idea why not until I remembered the FB story I read about a news story recently, (and FB doesn't lie!!) saying hackers could remotely turn on your webcam on your computer AND cell phone and everyone knows hackers want to watch a near 60 year old head bobbing with boredom on the computer. One quick solution was to put some tape over it. I'm naive enough to always do as I'm told and once the tape came off, voila, there was Australia! I was at the phone providers and spontaneously asked, while I was waiting, why I couldn't do selfies anymore. Oh the eye rolling as he took off the tape on the cell. Is that the phone ringing? (http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/laptop-camera-security-tape-1.3649678)

I also suck at sending and receiving payments. New on my bucket list for 2018 is to do goat yoga. I don't even like yoga but it sounds so cute. I saw a meetup for one so I signed up and prepared to pay immediately. It was confusing so I sent an email and received a response to send the E transfer to this gentleman and I would be confirmed. I did and used the password prompt- the animal; they would know I meant a goat, right? Unfortunately, I had been trying to pay for another meetup to learn how to do Dim Sum for the same price. The E transfer wires got crossed and Dim Sum lady suddenly doesn't know what the animal password is. Darn, it's goat. How could it be any easier for a Dim Sum event. So I am now proficient in horsd'oeuvres but still no goats. I should not do technology, ever!

It gets worse. For two weeks, I could not get any sound out of my dinosaurs-walked-the-earth when this TV was manufactured TV. I was furious with my provider giving me a defective box again. I was going to give them the last piece of my mind but maybe I would google it first then I would tear them a new one. One article talked about the top 10 mistakes people make when there is no sound and #1 was, make sure the Mute is not on. Well, that is dumb 'cause I never use that feature BUT, other people use them in this Bed and Breakfast room. Sure enough, it was muted and Rogers "magically must have fixed my box".
I was having countless problems with the PVR and after they were almost all solved, I felt silly getting the specialist come out to 'calm the old lady who has been a loyal customer since the beginning of time". I explained that the box had been rebooted but my favourites no longer came up. He patiently asked if I'd had the box replaced and then ding, ding, ding, the light bulb went on.


Finally I inquired why Netflix wouldn't work. He said that had nothing to do with my provider and as I reached for one of the 100's of remotes from exchanging the box so many times, I realized I had been trying to get Netflix with the wrong remote. Had I only put my glasses on, I would not have this problem again. How much more humiliation and eye rolling can I take.
Wait, I have to go. My phone is ringing and it might be Microsoft after all. I hope it's Bill calling about that emailed resume I texted to his cell number.
(BTW what does 9000 TXT 2 Landmine could not be delivered mean?)

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Travel, Workshops, Inspiration and Research

Have you ever wanted to get out of a funk, put an idea out there that was something you haven't done before and another person jumped on board to join you?  As I type this, I realize I have indeed done exactly that but forgot. 

This time I was wanting some new inspiration for spiritual workshops and the guinea pig would be Mike Dooley's Soulapolooza in Florida.  He's most well know for TUT, Notes from the Universe that I have received everyday for years.
I told my friend Linda and she turned my unformed idea into a dream, complete with a ticket with dubious connections and the event pass purchased. 
Holy cow, what on earth had I signed up for November past? I know, like the people who have kids first then marry, I travel, celebrate the months of Christmas then write. 

Imagine an entire weekend with my favourite hobby and an unlimited number of like minded people in the bikini heat of Florida.  I would be totally immersed and I couldn't imagine anything more fun... and this is where the story goes downhill as most of my stories do derail.
  
I got a cold before departure; yes it was the worst sniffles the doctors had ever seen.   They weren't sure if I'd live or die or what to name my plague after AND I had a bad neck issue so for four days plus 2 months after I couldn't look left or right, up or down.   I was coma-like and in great pain despite the continuous pre-departure massages from my masochistic masseuse.  Do you know how much you process with orifices leaking and unable to turn left or right?  Pretty much nothing!!!
I learned I am not a big conference person and I really wish I had known this before I left.  The signs were there, like me not wanting to talk in line at the bank  to draw attention to myself and not wanting to sing to kids in public places.  I don't like people watching me bowl or play pool either.  Maybe if I had not been ill, I would  have loved the constant rah rah session and goofy cheers and the adoration for the cause but alas, as a Typhoid Mary, it just irritated me, all those people having fun with me feeling this way.  It was almost like they didn't even care.  

I was told I didn't have to attend everything though if I didn't want to- I mean who is going to enforce one's attendance?  They already had my money so whether I showed up or not was of no consequence to them so I bailed and went to the beach.  I had left a chilly winter in Ottawa to be in balmy hot and sunny Florida; Clearwater to be exact, and I had lots of sunscreen which was totally unnecessary. 

Before I continue, I feel obligated to tell you, I remember cold and chilly but I'll be damned if I can find any cold and chilly pics.  Honestly, it was chilly but I was determined to get those money shots of me roasting in the sun...then putting my coat back on. Maybe the coat was in the evening- I dunno.  Maybe I was jacked up on cold medicine.


 Florida unfortunately, did not get the memo that they were supposed to be warm as seen by the lack of people sunbathing.  Of course it was warmer than Canada but I had to wear a coat.  A coat!!!!! It wasn't warm enough for a bathing suit but if I'm honest, I was too sick and crabby to enjoy it anyway.  It might as well have been a tornado because that is probably the only thing I would have been happy with.  Any of you who have followed my travels throughout the years would remember that I tend to remember the morbid and it takes me awhile, ok years to look back fondly on my trips.  I have no idea why I'm like that but my next reverie on the Riverboat cruise will confirm this 100%.  


I did get to go to two events that I may one day turn into  workshops.  Soulapolooza is high on "like attracts like", visualisation, and realizing that your thoughts become things so you should not think about things you don't want to manifest. They hosted two events, one called a Heaven on Earth party and Come as Your Future Selfie.   
Ladies in white rippin' up the impromptu dance floor.

The Heaven on Earth party had us all dressed in white, reminiscent of the Ayuawaska party I went to in Costa Rica years ago but there would be no hallucinations this time round.  We played some interpersonal ice breaker games, lit some candles and while I had been told by my team leader that there would only be light food, and I should definitely eat supper before, there was copious amounts of food like what I would picture a buffet in heaven would look like.  I was so sad (hmmm, lets be honest- bitchy as hell) and pre-stuffed like the proverbial turkey. 
I have absolutely NO idea what we were doing with the candles.
 It had been a long day so we cut out early before the booze mixer and went to hot tub (the verb) and watch the stars as we sat on the beach. In retrospect, that does sound like a lovely night. Found out that in the past, the hotel used to be on the beach but someone decided to do some blocks and it was now quite a distance to see the water, so much so that they now had a shuttle.
I'm standing half way between the hotel and beach water.  The little dots in the distance are people standing by the water.

Linda was great at this visualization and play acting.  She was the
perfect traveling companion.  Wish she could have said the same
about me.
It was fun to figure out what I was inspired to be in the Come as your Future Selfie party and visualize every detail of it and talk like it had already happened and I was on the best seller list.  I realized my dream is to be a writer.  Do you know what is salt peter to this dream.... realizing that every other person at the conference                                                                     wants to be a writer as well. 


While looking back at the pictures, I realize I must be a very gifted photographer 'cause I look like I was having fun in the sun. 
My favourite time was when the "annoying" guitar singer was playing all my favourite folk music.  I was in heaven altho our working group a few feet away was having difficulty hearing ourselves think.  I was ready to kick our group out so I could bask in the tunes I never get to hear.

Quite honestly, for this conference, I had a plan to find myself, get some sun and start doing yoga daily, (never happened) and get the most out of this conference.  

Yoga never happened every morning.

Feel blessed to have listened to this gifted singer.

I guess some good did come out of this weekend but I still hold that I am not a big conference person.  In retrospect, I realize that I had attended another conference once before to empower women down at Lilydale NY and it was very memorable.  It was a smaller group, more intimate and impacted me greatly.  Apparently small group conferences are my thang.


I can use some of this stuff.  We were given a workbook, Love Your Life in 30 Days.  Upon closer look, I realized I had already done it on my own long before the trip.  Aw well, can't hurt to do it again, can it and I'm sure some things have changed in my life.  Last time I did a vision board, I half finished it and forgot about it.  6 months later, I decided I was going to do a vision board (damn my memory) and it was my sister who reminded me I already had one started.  Told her she was crazy, found it half finished, apologized profusely and realized, almost everything had come true on the board I didn't even know I had.  Maybe there is something to all this cheer leading rah rah sis boom bah "I can do it" routine that I can use at Spoiled Rotten B&B. (BTW, how do you like the new logo?)
 

So bottom line, I should not pay to attend large conferences no matter what,even though it sounds glamorous and energizing.  I need to look for local, small group workshops to market my place there as these are the peeps I want to rent my space and let me be a fly on the wall. So all you like minded business people, just rent the darn place for your workshop or come to one of my Paint Nights already.  Good space, better food and best price and thanks for coming out.
Forgot I took this so belated Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Workshops at Spoiled Rotten B&B - mine or you renting space

Workshops at the B&B -  yes it's that time again. They start when the people stop coming and Lordy I'm pooped.  This was the longest season in three years and it was maniacally busy.  Being the control freak I am, I did 99% of it myself and that does takes it's toll.

Now I know post about summer stuff seems like I'm a little behind in my musing and you would be wrong.  I am a millions miles from being caught up on writing.  Now is the time to do it...even if I just shoveled my driveway.

It was a great season and except for the scammers and police business, subsequent death threat and the homeless, penniless final guest, it was a good year. Of course it ended with all the B&Bs meeting each other and rallying around City Halls decision to include us with the big hotels and Ottawa tourism.  They are voting now.  Fingers crossed.  If not, I will have infinitely less time on my hands.

I did get organized enough to winterize the homestead and backyard.

This is what I was doing on November 3rd...picking raspberries and they were soooo good.  I was able to gather up many of the apples from the five-in-one apple tree and the apple crisps should be starting soon.  When apples are left in a bucket in the back yard, the animals devour them.  When I move them to the garage, the mice send me thank you cards and shred them.  My apples are safe nowhere.  After my most recent trip, I returned home to find they'd all frozen and turned to mush. Heartbreaking waste.  The tomatoes in the garage were looking pretty grim too and all had to be tossed. 




With all the rain we had, the tomatoes still were thriving even up to the bitter end.  This particular tomato plant was hidden away in a corner.  When I went to investigate, I found it was about 10' long.  So bizarre.    The three tiny basil plants grew into forests.  I actually gave away entire 2 foot plants to anyone who would ask.




I have a huge Canada flag outside but one day I found a huge amount of damage to it. I was worried it was the disgruntled scammer as I didn't know they had been deported. Right after I sent the photo to my daughter, I mean exactly one second later, this rat bastard crawled out on the limb and continued to destroy a national treasure. I shouldn't tell you this but he was delicious.

I decorated up the aged fence in the back yard this year with multicoloured vases with flowers.  It was all very whimsical until today.  Minus 10, the rain that fell into the bottles froze and they all shattered in my garden.  Man, what a mess. 
At least the fruit bat/flies have almost all died off but it was a bitter battle. Having four composters is challenging but having four operational ones year round is darn near insanity, even if I have the best vegetable garden around.   Every time I looked out the window, I'd go to war slapping them to their death but as you can see, they won!  They must have read The Art of War because they certainly know how to corral the troops.
And so now the grounds are done, or as done as I'm going to do, it's time for workshops.  I have hosted a few Paint Nights already and working on the Energy Share and Meditation.  I love painting and am always open to Paint Nights.  I will also host the Meetup, "Not Your Momma's Book Club" or what I affectionately call the Dirty Book Club, two Spiritualist church group sessions, A Spanish Club meeting, a Christmas party and in the new year, Caring for the Caregiver.  I love to use my place of business for other groups because while it's not a get rich scheme, I can participate and enjoy lots of new topics and of course people get to see my place.  This is important because every day in the high season, I hear, "there's a Bed and Breakfast in Orleans?" Yes, I'm here.  Just call me.   http://bit.ly/2CbBynF 

I really want to manifest retreats so if you know anyone wanting to have a meeting here or better yet, a small retreat locally where some participants actually sleep over, well give me a call.  Who wouldn't want to stay at Ottawa's only holistic B&B and I do have the best prices in town for the spoiling you will receive.    




Sunday, 5 November 2017

Tourism for this Ottawa B&B 2017

Tourism was at it’s best this summer 2017 at this Ottawa B&B.
There are some days when this innkeeper wonders why she gets up at 0DarkHundred every day to make the same old tried and true recipes and have the same conversations like the movie Groundhog Day.  
And then there are days like today that energize my spirit.  I had a wonderful family staying with me who were traveling the world to support their precocious 17 year old golfing daughter who was tearing up the greens while they experienced all North America has to offer.  They have put their lives on hold to be cheerleaders and that has begun to make me question my own parenting skills and our lack of family sports photos.  They were here for a week and had seen most of the must see sights that,  I, of course, have seen first and highly recommended to my guests.  Having been there first, I can recommend the best routes, modes of transportation and finer points like don’t drive downtown as they have closed most of the streets. Take a bus and get a family pass; it’ll be much cheaper. 


I encouraged everyone to see what I affectionately called the Giant Chia park altho the proper name would be MosaiCanada.  Imagine the city fathers putting together this gorgeous display featuring all the provinces and wowing the world.  There were over 100 volunteers who lovingly created masterpieces like nothing we have seen in the past.  I’ve not heard one negative comment about the park; 5 star all the way.


My guests were fixed for time and were only to be able to do a drive past for La Machine, the greater than life-size monsters roaming the streets of Ottawa, waiting to do battle.  Again, this is a first for Canada and Ottawa and I was privileged enough to be able to witness this one-time event, well, me and my closest 500,000 dearest acquaintances.  I had the sense to bus but it was a madhouse.  No one on the street knew anything, not even the police security. When the monsters started to wake up, it was happy pandemonium.  Cell phones and tablets could be seen as far as the eye could see.  One young girl climbed a tree to get a better look.  If I weren’t so leery of heights, I would have joined her too.  As it was, I crowded the streets like everyone else and got some spectacular footage. 




I got to try out the free Kontinuum experience near Sparks street and it was an interesting sound and light show in the abandoned metro and it was my favourite cost- free! Everyone enjoyed having their picture appear then suddenly evaporate.




Inspiration Village in the market was ok.  I did get to attend an Ottawa Tourism pre-show of the Canadian Race and even won a Grey Cup concert series prize which I promptly lost when I went to claim the prize.  I bent down to find someone's lost surgical request and I think it fell out them.  If the lucky guy went to look for his paperwork, he was probably rewarded with free concert tickets, bloody hell.  

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Fireworks competitions we saw throughout the summer exploding off an island on the Ottawa river and the subsequent walk to parliament with the masses to watch the light show and story of Canada.



All in all it was a great summer; a bit of solo camping, camper camping in Bon Echo 
A magical place to park a houseboat on Lake Temagami


houseboating in Temagami,

Innukshuks on Parkdale, a Zombie Walk in Almonte, a haunted walk of the Defenbunker and roadtrips.   

I finished off the season with the Fall Rhapsody in Gatineau park and even used the free shuttle from downtown.  Learn from me, check the last shuttle or you will be like me on my first date, stranded in another province, wondering how the hell you are getting home.
  

Saw Petrie Island perhaps for the last warm day of the season cause Halloween came and now it's November so the snow has fallen.  It was a good tourism year.  Can't wait to see what 2018 will bring.