de·co·rum

de·co·rum

Noun: decorum

Behavior in keeping with good taste and propriety.
“you exhibit remarkable modesty and decorum.”
And of course “good taste and propriety” depend entirely on where you are.
When traveling in India it is an unthinkable insult to touch someone with your left hand.
Yet in some circles if you do not offer that same arm, it is rude.
TopHatsMerrickCab1872

A surprising number of people report worrying about how one acts at a “Bed and Breakfast.”

What are the rules?

We at the Odell House are of course the classic introvert’s  B&B, offering perfectly private, self contained apartments for shorter and longer term stay.  Breakfast with the neighbors is of course an option.  But you’ll have to find some neighbors and cook for them. . .

Anyway, how do you act?  Well, just like in any communal living situation, with consideration for others and realizing some requests and actions must happen at certain times.  For example, we do not undertake housekeeping with loud vacuums at ten at night.  We do housekeeping during the day, and hopefully at a time when people will not be bothered. Same with construction.  We attempt to plan around our guests.

Likewise, not every moment that we are on site are we automatically available for guest requests in person.  Just because you can see us does not mean we are not occupied–with another task or family need or just plain not at work.  Its a fact of life with no employees and living on site.

But, (and you pessimists about human nature will be surprised,)  it is not much of an issue, because, well, we have the most wonderful guests!

get-attachment

Every day I am impressed with their behavior and decorum.  (This young gentleman’s parents asked if he could enter the private area that also encloses the chicken coop.  That was great because we could advise them if a guest was in residence with a dog for instance, or someone who preferred privacy in their own area.)

The people we meet here are by in large considerate, polite, socially appropriate, and just plain great.

IMG_0707

I see this on a daily basis.  The Odell House has lots of spaces.  Some of these spaces are private to their specific unit–all the porches.  Some of them are public for everyone to use–the gazebo yard with gas grill and common garden area.

Our guests are sensitive to both space and time.

For example, only one single time has anyone knocked at our door at  9PM wanting a better internet connection.

Most guests discuss which wireless system (there are four) will work best for them, and read the check in note to the very end.  (All the codes are given–some are so blastedly alpha-numeric that they are impossible to remember without electronics.)

We have some loaner bikes and support bicycle commuting.  Knowing we don’t even have a front desk, never mind a staff waiting to assist with recreational activities, most people understand that they must make an appointment with the expert  (Rick) to be helped with a bike.  They call him and set up a time.

dsc_0017

Guests rarely interrupt us when we are working.  They know that while I am ironing  in the basement with the door open,

IMG_1502

attempting to make things flat,

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

I am also working on the plot for my next book. . .

Never mind the thing (a mangle) takes a while to heat up, is tricky to gauge temperature after shut off–and quite possibly dangerous to leave running unattended.

We actually have three of these via the largess of Craigslist and Rick’s good friend Lew The Picker.

header_logo.

I have on occasion offered enthusiastically to show people how to use them, because it really is fun.  So far no takers.

(And people think I am not social?   This reminds me of a story Rick told from his days as a therapist, illustrating to help a OCD patient, you must first join them.  His example was a colleague, who having a man in treatment claiming to be Jesus, suggested the following:  I hear you have a background in carpentry. . .)

Back to the normal!  Our guests call when they want something, or email, rather than rattling the door they suspect we are hiding behind.

IMG_0066

(We are introverts and quite clear about it–it says so in all the advertising.)

Rick below, faking it.

DSC_0055

Our guests know that before or after eight we might be asleep, so really only make night contact in an emergency.

And that is of course fine.

They are uniformly patient if they catch Rick or I going to work (yes we have jobs) on a horse or bike.

galoni-ed2

They trust that if we can’t make a booking or help immediately, we will get back to them promptly.

0106120959

“On hold” does not exist for us, but busy or not near the computer certainly does.

105071

Re emergencies: they know an actual emergency is far different than a momentary inconvenience.

If a guest is locked out we handle it as an actual emergency.

We always have a set of spare keys stashed and can describe if need be how to access them.

Guests also tend to know the difference in service provided for a nightly stay and one for a month or longer.

images-6

We fill both roles and it is natural for example that a nightly guest who wants the tires pumped up on their bike, and has forgotten their own pump, will ask to borrow Rick’s.  That’s fine.  If a semi-permanent resident demanded such service daily, that would be invasive.  Here for a night is different than here for a month.   Different contract, different price, different cleaning expectations.

Our guests are by in large very smart people, who exhibit sensible behavior and good judgement.  They are remarkably clear abut their roles and needs.  They are adept at understanding sharing space, resources and time.

IMG_0015

DSC_0066

I have yet to have a guest ask me for more towels when I they spotted me walking the cat–they seem to intuitively know he has been looking forward to this all day, and does not understand being hustled back inside on a stranger’s whim.
Our guests know the towels will come.
IMG_0375
And that this moment is very important to the cat. . .

Spokane Farmers Market

We have a rather nice farmers market here in Spokane.

carrots1203_2_orig

 

Several in fact, but the one I usually use is open Wednesdays and Saturdays eight AM to 1 PM.

Mid May to Mid October on Saturdays and Wednesdays, about a month at either end only Saturdays.

http://www.spokanefarmersmarket.org/

market_loc_new

It is located off the Division Exit of I-90.  Just to the south of the highway.  5th and Division, 5th and Brown.  There is a small field there that you can see from the highway.

elitorpe's stand 2

Why this particular market?  Well, loyalty for one thing because we were involved for a number of years selling hand spun yarn from our sheep and goats up at the farm.  Finally we just got too busy and had to cut back on that activity.  (Though I still spin on occasion and the carding equipment exists in the basement.)

Locally-produced food is undoubtedly better tasting and better for you and the planet.

Alice Waters from the Wall Street Journal

http://online.wsj.com/articles/alice-waters-says-the-future-of-food-is-sustainable-and-locally-sourced-1404763421

“This movement [valuing local food] poses a threat to fast-food businesses and industrial food companies, both of which I predict will continue to shape-shift and co-opt their values for profit. As long as their products continue to be supported by government subsidies, they will be successful. The reality is that the sustainable-food movement’s reach will grow only to a point and ultimately will be limited to those with access, means and education—unless legislators dramatically change food and agriculture policy.

I think that those in government will come back to their senses in the coming years and begin to subsidize farms instead of factories. As access to real food becomes increasingly divided between the haves and the have-nots, food security will become even more of a social-justice issue.”

(A good example oF corporate interest shape-shifting was the Starbuck’s infamous series of field trips to actual local coffee bars to see what ideas they could come up with to seem more “real.”  Apparently they took up a lot of space for a time and bought no competitor’s coffee.)

Here by the way is one of our favorite coffee roasters:

INDABA-COFFEE-STAMP

http://www.indabacoffee.com/

(Great coffee–you’ll find some and a grinder in your unit, but visit them too–right across the river in Kendall Yards)

The Farmers Market sadly offers no coffee, but makes up for it with several great bakers, cheese makers, organic meat (Beef, goat, pork, chicken)  seedlings, flowers, wonderful fruits and vegetables in season, and eggs.

i_bouzies_logo 202_1_orig

On weekends, when our little flock cannot possibly keep up with demand, we sometimes supplement our egg production with other home-kept chicken’s offerings.

IMG_1750IMG_1759

Anyhow, the market is easy to find and not five minutes away by car, or an easy bike ride.  Go east on the Highway to Division St exit, bear right, go right at the light and it is there to your right.  Or wend your way through town, under the highway and follow 5th east until you run into the market field.

Late July foraging in the garden

IMG_0811

 

The round Zucchini in the bales are very tender,

IMG_0917

and the pole beans (two colors–purple and green–) need to be picked every day.  Please do so

 

 

!IMG_0913

In the Gazebo yard some green Walla Walla sweet onions are ready to uproot. I have planted upland cress under them. You’ll see lots of sprouts soon.

 

IMG_0836

 

There are some interesting peppers are forming in the pots.  The black ones by the door–turning red in some cases–are very hot. (Very.)

IMG_0835

The green ones less so–right now anyway.  The yellow generally down facing peppers are Hot Banana–but not too hot.  The yellow generally up facing at Hungarian Wax, and those will definitely get your attention. . .

IMG_0837

On the other side, by the chickens we have some new snow peas planted–I ripped out the old ones as the heat had stopped production.  (Peas like cool weather and it has been anything but here of late.  (left below the ones that were taking over the world.)

There are some interesting greens with Tai Chili peppers in front of them to the right.  They are doing well and should be eaten.  The beet greens to the left of there need to stay on to nourish the beat crop.

IMG_0832

Same for the shallots.  They will be better allowed to mature in the other raised bed.

Across the way are some bunching onions that need to be picked as green onions and some Swiss Chard that thinks it is too hot for a cold season vegetable. I have planted more of that too for the fall.

You will also find basil in the area shown above and to the left of the steps on Poplar Street. (Black oval pot on walk)

That thing in the bathroom–a Turkish Towel

A Turkish towel is a fine thing.

I discovered them hunting for “all cotton towels”–which as you can imagine we use a good number of, and replace pretty frequently. (They get washed a lot).

Up popped Turkish Towel.

And now we have some.

IMG_0717 IMG_0718

 

Until recently, I didn’t know that a Turkish towel is a cotton or linen flat weave (no loops like terry) cloth that is soft, very absorbent and quick drying.  I found some on Amazon and some on Etsy.

Nervous at first about having things shipped from Turkey I was hesitant to go to the source with Etsy.

But after a while I got over it, lured by the deep colored ones above.  I found a very nice and communicative Turkish shop who in due time (about a week) shipped me the best ones I have come across.

Here they are.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TurkishTowelStore?ref=l2-shopheader-name

All the towels are nice, and all are cotton and/or a linen blend, but these are thicker, came out of the bag smelling faintly (and nicely) of goat rather than petroleum.  I wash everything anyway, but there was no doubt in my mind that a bit of goat was a lot better for the weaver–and there is no doubt these are hand woven–than whatever else was being applied.

They are excellent for drying yourself after a bath, wrap and dry hair very effectively.  They are also easier on energy as they dry very well on their own, can be line dried without getting crunchy, and take less both washer and dryer space if you use the machines.

Never mind, in use they add a certain flair to the user–better illustrated than described.  :)

IMG_0748

A nameless Turk modelling in his natural environment. .  .

The Wakefield Library

The Library is a ground floor one bedroom apartment with a porch sitting area.  It has been used for dogs in the past, so if you either have dogs or allergies to dogs please talk to us.

It is called the library because in the original formation of the house that is what it was–sporting this rather fabulous tile fireplace–which because of Spokane’s  multi-tenant fireplace rules, cannot be used.  (That and because its use is not expected the chimneys are not maintained for this!)

IMG_0764

Still, the detail is amazing.

IMG_0769

The Library has two entries, one from the inner hall, and one on the left side of the front porch.

IMG_0781

You can see the door there behind the beige umbrella.

The sitting area has very nice views–the Georgian Finch House and of course the Queen Ann Odell House

IMG_0776 IMG_0775

Yes, it has a gas grill, which overnight guests are welcome to use.

The entry room is the dining room.  It also has a full futon which in my mind is a step down from sleeping on the sofa–the one by the window is much more comfortable.

IMG_0774

IMG_0761

The living room has two sofas and then another little seating area.

IMG_0772 IMG_0773

The bedroom has a very good queen bed, and of course the fireplace.

IMG_0771

IMG_0764

The bath enters just to the right of this slipper chair. (That is in the bedroom remember, so when you think about overcrowding the unit remember trips to the loo will be through a definite sleeping area).

IMG_0768 IMG_0767

The kitchen, just by the dining room is galley style, has full sized appliances, and is very typical of the Wakefield.  Nice, not too modern, lots of cabinet space.

IMG_0759

 

So there you have it, The Library, a charming space with lots of windows, suitable for a couple, a polite dog, perhaps an extra guest if he or she is a family member and doesn’t mind informal sleeping situations.  Parking is generally on street–and you can see what a problem that is generally.

IMG_0781

The Gazebo and Kitchen Garden on the Poplar Street side.

hidcote_long_view

This rather stunning photo is of a winterscape at Hidcote Castle.  It is in England–where they take gardening pretty seriously.

In case you were wondering, the strong geometric influence behind the twin gazebos–one of which you can walk through to reach the other if you were to approach from the side–is a group of pleached Hornbeams.

images

Pleaching.  A task outside my vision, and one I am sure would not excite Rick, who often gets the “heavy labor” side of inspiration.  Still, it is an interesting effect.

We got our square and circular effects in a slightly less labor-intensive manner.  (This was of course by cheating: copying the already nifty architecture on our corner.)

IMG_0707

IMG_0715

I ran across the formal Hidecote garden while looking for design ideas for the Odell House gazebo and kitchen garden. We’ve had plans to build something for years, but just got ’round to of late.  We also wanted to enclose the space and on the side of the house that, well, originally had the central kitchen.  The Poplar Street and south face.  But we didn’t want to create an eyesore–which can be a problem when the uneducated (us)  plop something down in the middle of the work of people who did know what they were doing.  Our answer?  Careful research and hiring someone who could build on site in the manner of the original carpenters.

And that would be Dave:

IMG_0458

IMG_0579

One of Dave’s gates.

On to the Gazebo!

A small structure in a garden is not a new idea by any means.  Below, the little kitchen garden pavilion at Monticello–the home of Thomas Jefferson, who experimented expensively with horticulture in the Colonial days of America–a lot of the focus was in growing vegetables.

TheGardensatMonticelloWQuote

Of course, by “cultivators of the earth” Jefferson is referring in 1790 to his 118 slaves who actually did the work in the garden.

Their plot is of course a lot more elaborate than ours. . .

orch_veg_mulb_house

Back in Spokane, we decided to have fun with the Gazebo roof structure, mimicking the Odell House roof lines, attempting to give it a feeling of “always there.”  This is also a common hope that the smaller “outer house” will mimic some features of the larger one

IMG_0470

(Practical note: A more recent photo of the same area: below to the right of the gazebo we installed a gas grill. This is common space–please go cook whatever you cook. That area over the lawn is also a good place in nice weather to smoke–which  is not allowed within 50 feet of an opening window or door of the main house.  The advantage of course–assuming it is not raining is that one need not sweep up ash.  Small flower pots make ash trays–please to not transport any of these items into the house or house trash cans.  The general refuse area is just behind the parked cars. )

IMG_0713

Here is the gazebo creator, our carpenter Dave, on the job, if notoriously camera shy.

IMG_0458

You will note no construction debris.

This is because every single day when Dave left, the place was neat as a pin.  (Part of his day is cleanup.)  And so he would go off in the evening, taking with him yet another chair for regluing, appearing again in due time to tackle another phase.   And in the garage I would find the repaired chair, and on returning it to its mates, pick another for a trip to “Dr. Dave’s”.

(There are few things more wonderful for beefing up maintenance than having a dedicated cabinet maker regularly on the place.)

IMG_0727

We painted the interior one of our lesser used trim colors–Templeton Grey.  It makes the interior recede a bit.  The door with circular window was a chance find at an architectural salvage place.  We like how it mirrors the main house details.  The second little landing deck makes the step up less severe, and is offering another place to grow food instead of lawn.

IMG_0707

Back to Dave and the details of the project.  People actually stop to take photos of the fence all the time.  Not that it is fancy. It is very simple, made out of cedar and simple 2×4 inch rectangular woven wire.

IMG_0700

IMG_0600

But like everything Dave does it is well crafted and every detail thought out and executed with care.

IMG_0585 IMG_0577

The self closing “cannon ball” gates were his idea.

IMG_0577

The clenched fist hitching posts (there are a pair) were popular c. late 1800 when there were actually equines to be tied up.

The gazebo soffits (under the roof line) are antique bead board–just like the main house.

IMG_0489

Dave created trim to match the house as well.

IMG_0490

The siding is cedar, identical to the original.

IMG_0492

The decks are redwood to resist rot.

IMG_0714

 

IMG_0425

We think it fits nicely.

Looking across the kitchen garden to the Wakefield.

IMG_0715

So why a gazebo?

Sitting outside, with just a little protection is wonderful.  Part of our nature.

But the the apartments on the south side of the house have no porch.

Attempting to share the main porch, if you have not rented apartment A or B means you are sitting right next to the current residents bedroom.  That just doesn’t work.

Seeing the need across multiple tenants, I wanted a common space that was easy to access for everybody, but not connected to any one unit.  I wanted something that took advantage of the beautiful view north to the Wakefield and bluff.  A place to take shelter from either the sun, or the prevailing wind, depending on the day and season.

Thanks Dave!

IMG_0577

 

IMG_0579 IMG_0614 IMG_0600 IMG_0612 IMG_0577 IMG_0570 IMG_0600

Above, our version, lacking several hundred “employees,” of a raised bed–the straw bale garden.  If you want to read more about that please see:

http://odellhouselodging.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/be-there-and-get-square-straw-bale-garden-seminar-april-26-may-24/

280x201VictoryGardenPoster-1

Oh, and PS, (don’t tell Rick,) thought daunted by tree pleaching, I am somewhat interested in topiary. . .

600px-Herb_Garden,_York_Gate_Garden_-_geograph.org.uk_-_691818

 

ladewtopiarytrimming

 

Honestly, we don’t serve breakfast! Never have.

I recently deleted a post.  That’s not too common, but on rereading it, I thought it was just too snippy.

Unprofessional.

It was the result of being mad and hurt, not of real, thoughtful behavior the would benefit our guests in understanding what we do.  Anyhow, I ditched it.

Several friends who follow the blog for fun were disappointed at the deletion.  They loved it!  And it really was pretty funny.  Multiple mentions of Aspic as a breakfast item.  And some good pictures.

33lg

I actually have seen a version of this done in Germany, but that is another story. And because you asked, here is the link back to a fun article and source for picture above: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2009/02/15/the-icky-era-of-aspic/

(The point I was making is that enjoying the food tastes of others can be an adventure).

However, being a writer and being an inn keeper are two different projects and the post had to go.

What was it about?

Well, we got a two star review.

According to the article linked below, this is serious.

“Research at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012 showed that an increase or decrease of just half a star can have a significant impact on the number of bookings a restaurant receives. For very small establishments, such as out of the way country pubs, the effects can be devastating financially and incredibly upsetting, personally”

Stars are important.  People glance at stars and move on. They may never read the logic or factor it in.

And re the review, while everybody makes mistakes–we probably more so than many–this review was a set up.

(As well as a good example of a factor called “online disinhibition effect.”)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_disinhibition_effect

This review violated the Trip Advisor guidelines for reviews because it was written by a close competitor, only a few miles away.

And this is increasingly a problem–never mind guest blackmail and false positive reviews.

For perspective, read below:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/10804176/TripAdvisor-is-democracy-for-the-stupid.html

In our case it was not very subtle.  For obvious reasons a competitor cannot write a review about their competition–particularly a negative one.  Just like we are not allowed to write reviews about ourselves.  Public reviews are supposed to be a places for people to exchange useful information–but that’s not really what is happening most of the time.

I guess our “set up” two star was useful in a way, pointing out again something that is already stated repeatedly. I’ll say it again below: In Spokane you must be licensed as a B&B to keep folks less than 30 days.  We are.  You must have a central and inspected kitchen to serve breakfast.  We don’t.   Everybody here has their own kitchen.

Anyhow, I think reviews can be a valuable first tool for travelers–and also can be a valuable pointer to hotel keepers as well.  We do care about honest feedback.  It’s just that it does not happen often on the public forum which seems more inclined to subjective and emotional responses to what are often one-time events.  Honest, helpful–if invariably hard to hear–critical feedback goes to the owner privately and is responded to.  If that response is not satisfactory, or in fact confirms the complaint, then it might, might, be time for public negative review.

Time and time again you see owners responses of WHY did you not tell us at the time?  It could have been remedied!

Negative public reviews are the last course of recourse, not the first contact.  Statistics show a vast proportion of one and two star reviews are false–a setup.

Take a look at the numbers: Some places of our size have hundreds of reviews.  I think we have less than 30. The oldest and probably most-used B&B here in town has had 12 reviews since 2005–a mix of positive and negative as would be natural. These low numbers (average 1.3 a year) are probably because the innkeepers are not soliciting reviews–or worse yet–paying for them. It probably says more about their marketing strategy than their operation.

Frankly, when people are happy they tend to just go on and be happy.  Only when mad, mistreated–or having a grudge–are they inclined to be vocal in a negative way.  The motivation to write bad things is much bigger than the motivation to write good things.  Many establishments, seeing the benefit of hundreds of good reviews to dilute the several inevitable mediocre ones, have paid services, or a network of like-minded individuals, to write glowing snippets for them.  The top review (as of today) for our “in the business” accuser?

“Kudos from one inn-keeper to another!” 

I bet.

Not that one inn-keeper could not love another’s service,  it’s just relatively unlikely that a fairly new B&B would generate 60-70 honest, public and completely ecstatic reviews–all but one completely 5 star, and an average of one a month.  It just doesn’t work that way.

I’ve written many very good reviews for hotels I’ve stayed at. Unless they do it really wrong, and I’ve informed them, and not gotten help with it, they get five stars. Why take the trouble? And why five stars? Because I realize it is important to them–and I’m inclined to appreciate creative tactics and small gestures.  You can always learn something from someone’s model. I tend to forgive the small errors because I know that perfection is close to impossible.  Lessons learned from a 120 year old house–and working with the public.  And five stars because, why not?  Appropriate value for what was paid–and value is an important part of it–good service, clean and orderly. Why not five stars?

I’d expect something different from the Savoy in London at over $500 a night,

439ab56c-cc69-419d-accf-cbf989f6ac69

than I would at the Mt Si Motel at $75.

mt-si-motel

Which is where Rick and I stayed with the water frozen, and I wrote them no review at all–I figured 18 degrees and a strong north wind were extenuating circumstances.  Though it was certainly cold, they were attentive and kind.

IMG_1986

But I did once wrote a terrible review about the Rodeway Inn in Corvallis Oregon–where I stayed two nights teaching a clinic.  See if you agree with my stab at their reputation.

I was at work and I was kept up of both nights.  The first by drunken teenagers vomiting and shouting in the halls, and the second with a major fight in the parking lot. (There’s just nothing like bodies slamming on the wall to lull one to sleep).

Prom weekend. Oregon State University

I actually could have forgiven even that–it was, after all, guest behavior not hotel behavior–but when I told the management of my plight the owner said, What noise? You must be Crazy!  There was no fight in the parking lot!

Except there was.  And I got no sleep in a filthy room that I actually would have been afraid to leave.

So the scene was set for a terrible review.  One star.  Filthy room, screaming occupants, vomit, physical violence.

They did offer breakfast.

IMG_0026

I suspect the Rodeway Inn, Corvallis does not care about reviews–or cleanliness or upkeep or service–because it can take a $50 room and sell it eighteen weekends a year (for prom night or game night at OSU) for triple that.   They are a really bad hotel.  One and a half stars overall.  Been in business for years. Overpricing their rooms on sold out weekends in a university town works well for them.  Not so much the customer, but that’s not the point.

So, if you agree with me, this is a place worthy of some scathing reviews, particularly on busy nights when it is honestly impossible to sleep.

How did we get our recent two star review?  (In spite of local chocolates on the new bed, ironed sheets, organic soaps, fresh flowers, gourmet coffee, full kitchen, great views, and $95 for the night?)

Here is the review: *****

“This was listed as a B&B. We are B&B owners and we certainly know what qualifies as a B&B and that is it includes breakfast. This is more like a nice boarding house. Each unit has its own kitchen – no breakfast served. Most of the drawers in our unit had somebody else’s belongings in drawers. This is advertised as a “Green” echo friendly establishment. Organic soaps etc. were on the kitchen and bathroom counters, however I would NOT consider Soft Scrub, Clorox, etc. as echo-friendly green cleaning agents found under the sink in the kitchen.
We could recommend staying in this place as it is in a lovely part of Spokane and it was adequately furnished and clean. However, it is misleading to advertise it as a Bed and BREAKFAST and green, echo friendly. It was also creeping having someone else items in drawers. This was misleading.

Room Tip: Just come prepared to fix your own breakfast or go out to breakfast – false advertising.”

Here’s a link to the review.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g58759-d248444-Reviews-The_Odell_House-Spokane_Washington.html

 

So here’s what we did wrong:

#1. Lack of cooked communal breakfast–which we  do not promise and have not once in 17 years served.  In Spokane you currently must be licensed as a B&B/hotel/motel to keep folks less than 30 days.  We are–and fit ALL of the guidelines, owner in site, historic registry.  The unlicensed group have a stay of execution to be out of busssiness by end of August.  You wonder we make the distinction?  Licensed, legal, inspected, insured..

Breakfast? You do not HAVE to serve food to keep people legally over night as long as you fit one of the categories, pay the taxes and buy the license.   But if you do serve food, in Spokane you must have a central and inspected kitchen where it is prepared.  We don’t.   Everybody has their own kitchen.  That’s actually a big draw for people and we are very clear about it. (That you can legally make your own free breakfast from on-site materials, and have the invitation to use fresh eggs from the chickens and veggies from the garden was not mentioned in the review  Local coffee, a grinder, gourmet tea, pumpernickel bread in the cooler, fresh eggs, butter and cream?  They were all there.)

#2. The presence of bleach products.  Right next to the vinegar.  That critique of our “greenness” is, I think a bit of a stretch  (EV charging station, organic garden, chickens, compost, recycling and a fleet of loaner bikes?)  Clorox on site is worthy of criticism?  Let’s be serious.  (Besides, there are on occasion good reasons for Clorox.)

#3. Items in the drawers.  (There are lots of shelves–close to fifty–and drawers–more than 30–in that apartment. The North River View.  They booked The Gallery which is very small.  I upgraded them.  That is policy–the nicest unit available.

http://odellhouselodging.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/the-wakefield-house-north-river-view-unit/

Storage in the River View is not an issue.

IMG_1147

IMG_1148

As in many of our units there are things in the cabinets.  Like tea pots.

IMG_0119

And every unit has a tool kit so we can fix simple things right away.  Extra sheets exist, some books and DVDs or videos.  We assume sometimes people find these useful.

And I suppose it could happen that we forgot to open one of the thirty drawers and something personal was left in one.  Except we checked, and there was not.

This is the profile of the gal who reviewed us (And I would NEVER divulge a client–no matter what they did.)

This is public information, right there with her review.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/members/AlandMaureen

Here is mine:  Also public information.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/members/forbzilla

(And on looking at the travel demographic in the link above it appears a lot like the red and blue maps we see commonly in November. . .  But, as my good friend and staunch Libertarian Noel says, (in fond tones,) “You are after all an egg-sucking liberal.”  Oh well.  My son’s work is funded by the Koch brothers currently.  Shouldn’t that get me some cred for tolerance? And I confess, I have enjoyed mean jokes about Sarah Palin.)

Back on course!

Honestly, I have lost count of the B&Bs or small, micro-establishments I’ve stayed in. (India, France, Germany, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua, probably thirty here in the US.)

And you know what I can tell you for a fact about them?

Almost nothing that I could say for sure.

Because they are all different–and called different things in different countries, offering what the hosts think of as hospitality.  And that is different for each host and guest.

So it pays to read what the offering is–kitchen provided, no breakfast served is pretty darned clear–and accept it with some humility if you go to stay.  You’re in someone’s home for heavens sake!  They don’t have to be just like you. . . And you might learn something from that.  If you’re not busy trying to put them out of business for being different than you expected.

Re expectations.  I have mine, but I realize some of them–perhaps most–are not shared by other inn-keepers.  Or the public in general.  Am I going to write a bad review over sheets not ironed in another establishment?  Just because I do it–and have not one, but TWO of these mechanical dinosaurs:

IMG_0452.

(A mangle from the forties.  Isn’t that just beautiful?)

Furthermore, I hate, Hate, HATE,  all fabric softeners and dryer sheets.  (These are bad for you, I just KNOW it! ;) And anyway, the secret to good sheets and towels is. . . good sheets and towels.

Am I going to write a bed review because someone does not iron and uses dryer sheets?  Nope. Just because that is the way I do it does not mean I’m entitled to publicly cast judgement on the practices of others.  I might not go again over the dryer sheet issue–seriously.

The ironing?  Eh. . . I do it because I think you’ll like how it feels, and it really, it makes me feel more orderly when the top sheet folds down nicely.  Do I think it is really important?  Not in your life.  It is just my habit.

 

If you’ve stayed with us and want to write a review.  Please be my guest:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g58759-d248444-Reviews-The_Odell_House-Spokane_Washington.html#LIGHTBOXVIEW

 

Oh, and you know what my absolutely favorite Bed and Breakfast  offering is?

A boiled egg.

Butter

Bread–usually pumpernickel.

Fresh vegetables.

 

 

I learned to love this simple meal in a little place in Milte, north of Warendorf, Germany where I stayed somewhat regularly while learning the finer points of how to ride Dressage. gasthof-hotel-biedendieck

In Germany you get “Pensions” and “Zimmer Frei” which are more like what we do at the Odell House, except there is no name for them here.  The one above, The Biedendieck, had a little restaurant that you could have breakfast at if you stayed there overnight–and a very active bar in the evening, which I never went to in its active states–2 AM typically.  (I can speak a little German but I definitely do not sing it.)  It was good place to stay in the winter as it had heat.  The other one I stayed in had unheated cottages in a beautiful garden and no food was offered–because, well, everyone had their own kitchen–and at least 5 gallons of hot water. . .

Anyway, a boiled egg is a fine way to start your day, though they do not peel easily when fresh, so better to eat them hot if you’ve gotten some from the chickens.

Best wishes!  Dale