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Category Archives: The Hotel

Still Going Strong

Just when I thought I couldn’t love my job more, I love my job more.

It is so cool to have my own hotel.  Like WAY cool.  I get to be a part of everything, and I’m soaking it all up.

Now that I’ve settled in, I feel like I can make some decisions that are going to better the hotel thereby making things better for my employees and our guests. Time to bring out the whip!  Ha!  Who am I kidding?  It’s more like a feather – as my hubby puts it.  But it fits me and is very productive.

I’m slowly getting used to living in the hotel.  I have a pretty good shopping and “cooking” routine down so I don’t have to eat out all the time.  Once a week or so, I hit the grocery store and load up on all my goodies.  I store most of it in the full size fridge/freezer located in the employee break room (labeled clearly with my name).  When I run out of stuff in the baby fridge in my room, I go “shopping” in the break room.  It works beautifully.  Except that I feel like every time I step out of my room, I should be dressed professionally, or at the very least…  dressed.  I miss my pony tail and comfy sweats and stained t-shirts.

BUT…. it’s only for a little while.  Five more weeks to be exact.  Sheesh!  Five weeks!  I gotta get house hunting!

I went home last weekend to see the fam.  I met Chip and Amp in St. Louis and had a great lunch with them before heading to the house.  I spent the rest of the weekend with my hubby, tearing myself away only long enough to eat lunch with Mario and visit with my mom.

I thought the first good-bye was hard, but this one was even tearier.  It’s hard leaving them behind.  Which makes it easier to immerse myself in my work.  I’ll stay immersed the next few weeks and hopefully get things the way I want them before my hubby moves here.  Then I’ll enjoy the hours and days a General Manager gets to enjoy.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so many weekends off.  And being home before 8 pm is pretty sweet too.  Heck, once things are set up the way I like them, I could be home by 6 pm.  Like, that’s almost like a real job!

Until then, I’ll keep enjoying this challenge, working long days, and slowly molding the hotel into my vision of what it should be.

….. and stopping here every once in a while to let ya’ll know I’m still kickin’.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Family, The Hotel

 

First Week Down

The week leading up to my move to Joplin wasn’t quite how I’d planned.

My plan was to spend my last four days in St. Louis living it up with my hubby and spending quality time with Mario.  Instead, I spent quality time on the couch – with the flu.

Holy heck was I wiped out.  And when I finally felt good enough to be awake for any period of time, I was barely strong enough to hold myself up.  I felt sunken and inside-out.  By Sunday, I felt a little more like my old self.  Thank goodness because I had to pack up every thing I own, well, everything that could fit in my Mustang, and head to Joplin.

My goodbye that morning was a little more tearful than expected, but as we keep saying – we love each other and we will get through this and soon we’ll be together beginning a new chapter in our lives.

Sigh

I felt immediately better when I arrived at the hotel.  I was greeted so warmly by the staff that I knew I was going to be okay.

The next morning, I jumped into my work right away – excited to meet the team, and learn the hotel.  I had a few teary moments… a text from my hubby stating he poured me some coffee….just a taste to begin with….the way I like it….

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I’m gonna miss our morning coffee talks.

Then a delivery of beautiful flowers to the front desk and a sweet note from my hubby saying he always knew I was amazing.

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I’ve never felt more loved.

I spent my first few days soaking up everything and trying to organize my office… and my mind.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night thinking about all the stuff I needed to figure out, and all the stuff I wanted to work on, and find it difficult to go back to sleep.

By the end of the week, I had settled into my new role, but the reality of living in a hotel began to hit me.  I want to continue to eat the way I did at home – protein pancakes after working out, smoothies for an evening treat – but dang that’s difficult in a hotel.

 

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My makeshift kitchenette

I’m trying to make it work, bringing the comforts of home to my hotel room any way I can.

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Almost like home?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’ll be a long few months, but it’s been an exciting experience so far.  Can’t wait to see what week two has to bring!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on February 26, 2017 in Everyday Living, The Hotel

 

The Time Has Come

“Why do you want to move to a place that has tornados?” my front desk agent asked me.

“I don’t,” I replied.  “I want to move to a place that has hurricanes.  I just need to go through tornados first.”

**sigh**

Joplin, MO isn’t quite what I’ve been dreaming about, but it IS south-er.  And I AM moving there.  Like, NEXT weekend.  Because I’ve accepted the General Manager position of the hotel down there.

The GENERAL MANAGER!

ME!

The lowly desk agent who was never “quite ready” for the next step under my first GM, has suddenly sky-rocketed to a GM herself!

I can hardly contain myself.

The decision to accept the position was a tough one.  I mean, my career goal was certainly to become a GM, but my lifestyle choice was to be way south and on the beach, or closer to St. Louis in a downtown hotel.  But as should be expected, those hotels go to experienced GMs, and although I know I can do it, I have to prove it to them first.

So Joplin it is.

I’ve been to Joplin once, soon after the F5 tornado went through and destroyed much of the town. I wrote about it here, and I’m still saddened by the destruction it caused and the lives it took.

It’s since rebuilt and the community has grown even stronger.  The more I research it online, the more excited I am to be there.  Knowing it’s only for a few years certainly helps.  By then I’ll have the experience they’re looking for, and my choices for other locations will broaden.

Of course the one thing weighing down my extreme high, is the fact that I’m leaving my family behind.  My hubby will stay back until Mario graduates high school, and Chip and Amp graduate college.  The plan is for the boys to land a job and get their own place.  Mario wants to keep her job over the summer, so we’ll need to find a place for her to bunk up until she goes away to college.  Once that’s all settled, Hubby will make the move down.  We’re hoping 4 months tops.

As for me, I leave next weekend.  I’ll live at the hotel for 2 months, and then find an apartment/duplex/condo to rent.  The relocation package our company offers is terrific, so working it this way will allow us to live in both places without much additional cost.

The hotel will be W-A-A-A-Y different than the downtown locations I’m used to.  I thrive on running around with my hair on fire, and this will offer none of that. But again, it’s all about the experience.  So I’m fully embracing the challenge.

And oh my gosh I’m SO excited!

Tornado Alley, Here I come!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on February 11, 2017 in Family, The Hotel

 

Proof

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Now you see why we’re looking to fly south?  This type of winter is for the …. heck, this type of winter ain’t for anyone.

While most of the businesses in the area are closing down due to the ice storm and lettting their employees stay home, I am doing the opposite.  I spent most of the day yesterday, calling employees IN, telling them to plan to spend the weekend here so that I know our departments are covered.   Here.  At the hotel.  Where I’m spending my weekend too.

I love my job, but I hate staying in the hotel where I work.  I’m uncomfortable letting employees and guests see me in unprofessional attire, and I especially don’t like working out in front of them.  I got up way early, before most of them started, to get in a quick workout and then stealthily snuck back to my room.  I managed to avoid all but one employee and one guest, neither of whom were awake enough to know I was me.

But now it’s 7:30am and I’m ready for a nap.

Picking out my room last night was difficult too.  We have too many frequent guests who like certain rooms, and I didn’t feel comfortable sleeping in any of “their” beds.  I finally decided on a room where I can go out my back door and be right at the fitness center.  It’s at the back of the hotel, pretty isolated.  And I don’t know any of the guests who’ve slept here in the past.

I can make this work for the weekend, but my desire to move to Florida has increased ten-fold.  I gotta make this dream a reality soon.  I just gotta.

 

 

 

 

 
9 Comments

Posted by on January 13, 2017 in The Hotel

 

Holy Hell Week

They’re back!  Yep.  My favorite *cough* church group is back in town, and they are just as big a pain in my rear as always.  Seriously.  This group brings out the worst in me.

It started the week before they arrived.  We were oversold 30 rooms – a sickening amount. With this group, if they can’t come, they don’t cancel. They call a friend and let them have their room.  Our hotel, located right next to the convention center, with free food twice a day, is THE place to stay for these elderly men and women on a budget.

So when the oversell numbers weren’t moving, I began making calls to relocate people.  Anyone who booked outside the group block were targeted.  In total, I relocated 11 guests.  A very time consuming and un-fun task, as NOBODY wants to be in a hotel 7 blocks away.  They want ours. Even if we pay for one of their nights, they want ours.

Between that, and a few cancels, we worked out perfectly.  But sheesh, it was an exhausting task.  And it didn’t end there.  The group is in the hotel for 8-10 days, and every day they do something that really tests my patience.

Room 563 found a dead roach in their room. Right near the entry way.   A roach not native to our area.  The same guy who found a bug in his room last year.  Sorry. Don’t believe ya.  NOT giving you your money back.

Then there’s the lady who went on and on and on about how terrible it was that our front desk agent charged the wrong card.  (The only card he was able to get money out of.)  I explained that to her.  Told her her card declined.  I would refund the other credit card when I got payment from her.  And then dismissed her.  NOT giving you your money back.

Then there was the lady who swore up and down I promised her a wheelchair accessible room and because she didn’t get it she wasn’t able to shower all week.  I told her in all our conversations before checking in (and my god there were many), we did not discuss the accessible room.  But if she stays again next year, I’ll do my best to reserve her one.  Then she went upstairs and found a bug in her room.  The first complaint didn’t get her what she wanted, so she went for plan B.  Sorry.  NOT giving you your money back.

And there were so many more.  They all know our hotel’s policy of giving money back should their stay not be satisfactory, and every one of them looks for a way to make it happen.  We didn’t clean their room properly.  They don’t like the new pasta.  Their room’s too far from the elevator.

So when the hotel lost water early Sunday morning due to air in the city water lines, I about cried.  I knew they would all be at the desk wanting their money back.  We stayed strong as a team however, and explained it was a city issue, not a hotel issue, so we would not be refunding any money.  Only a few rooms wore us down to the point that we refunded some of it.

I tell ya I am exhausted.  I finally lost it, if you can even call it that, when a lady called to ask if her UPS package had been picked up.  I explained it had not, and she went on a rant about how we promised her it would go out that day, and we should have told her UPS doesn’t always come every day, and now she was going to have to call them to schedule a pick up and shouldn’t we have offered to do that for her.  I impatiently told her I would call and schedule the pick up.  “What, now you’re getting crass with me?  Let me talk to a manager.”  I am the manager, I responded.  “You’re the manager?  And you’re talking to me that way?”

**Sigh** Yes.  I am.  I’m sick of the way your group is treating us.  We’re working our tails off for you.  Responding to your every need.  Feeding you two meals a day.  And patiently listening to you bitch about everything.  My patience is running thin.

That’s what I wanted to say.  Instead, I took a deep breath, apologized, and let her know I would make sure the package was picked up.  Even better, I would drop it off at the UPS location near my home.

I left work that night mad at myself.  I usually don’t let people get to me that way.  I like to make them feel bad about talking that way to me by remaining patient and friendly long enough that they eventually wear down and start talking nicely.  But this time I stooped to their level.  Ugh.

I finally have a few days off.  Much needed days off.  It’s gonna take me a few days to decompress.  I plan to do nothing stressful.  Mario has a bowling match I’m excited to watch, and tomorrow we’re having lunch with Amp to celebrate his 20th birthday.  I hope to be my old self when I return to work on Saturday.  I don’t like my church group self.

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11 Comments

Posted by on November 17, 2016 in The Hotel

 

Oh The Guilt

I think about it everyday.  Honest I do.  It’s just sooo hard to put pen to paper these days. I got no excuse really.

Except maybe the seemingly endless days at the hotel.  Actually, that’s a pretty good excuse.  I’m going with that one.

They’re fun days though.  We had three conventions in a row.  Two were pretty needy, but this last one has been a blast.  Single occupancy, young National Parks people.  They like to have just enough fun.  Not so much that they become trouble, but enough that they’re fun to be around.

It’s been good to have these guys inhouse.  We’re going through some changes at the hotel that have most of us a little sad.  Our GM received a promotion to regional manager.  And while we’re all excited for him, it means he’s no longer with us on a day to day basis.  The absence of his quirky, energetic ways has left a huge hole in our hearts.

That hole will remain for another month or so.  The new GM has been named, however he needs to wrap up some work at his hotel, and won’t start til the beginning of the month.  I’ve taken on some of the GMs responsibility, which I really love, but when added it to all the responsibilities I have already, PLUS trying to run a busy hotel while short one manager…  well…  by the time I get home, I’m tired.  And all I want to do is read what someone else wrote rather than write my own.

But the guilt has overwhelmed me, so here I am.

My days haven’t been all work and no play though.  On my off days, Hubby and I have been playing hometown tourists and going on field trips.  St. Louis has so much to offer, and I share it all with my guests, but I rarely take advantage of them myself.

We’ve been bike riding along some river trails.

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We’ve dined in some favorite local restaurants. (It was fun making him squint in the sun.)

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And we’ve toured the Anheuser Busch Brewery.

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And this is just the beginning.  We have a whole long list to get through.  But for now, I gotta get back to work.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on October 11, 2016 in Everyday Living, Family, The Hotel

 

Wait’ll you hear this…

Memorial Day weekend at the hotel is usually a zoo, and this past weekend was no different.

Families from all over came to spend the weekend with us.  When everything works right, this is a great thing.  But of course, not everything works right.

We had troubles with the key making machines, with the super microwave, with the proofer, with the A/Cs.  In the midst of all this we had to close the pool for “unexpected maintenance” (read kid pooped in the pool).  Add to that all the guest requests for extra pillows, blankets, towels and we were running silly all night.

Perfect night for someone to take advantage of us.  As our front desk agent was counting off her drawer that evening, she notified me that she was short $180.  I asked her to check all the normal shortage possibilities, as I continued to try and keep a handle on the rest of the hotel.  When she couldn’t find the cause, I let her know we would try to find it in the morning when things weren’t so chaotic.

The next day, I put my detective skills to work.  Having recorded the times of all the cash payments from the night before, I went through the camera footage.  Minutes into it, I found the culprit.  He had pulled one over on our desk agent, and with the busyness  of the day, she didn’t catch it.  He signed that he’d given us cash, but never actually handed it over.  The footage shows him putting it up on the counter, then taking it away when she looked away.

I brought the other manager in to take a look.  “That’s my guy!” He exclaimed.

Huh?

Turns out, that guy had come down early Sunday morning to get his money back from the night before.  Said his A/C wasn’t working, and we weren’t able to fix it.  J, the other manager, had tried to offer him a free night certificate to come back, but the guest wanted his money back.  So J gave it back to him.

So now, not only did he not pay us the night before, but we gave him money back that he’d never given us!  We had paid HIM to stay.

Knowing he was there a second night, I kept my eyes open for him.  When I got the chance, I approached him.

“Mr. Guest,” I began.  “I know you didn’t pay us for the room Saturday night.  I also know you came down Sunday to get money back you never actually gave us.  I’m asking you to do the right thing and return that money to us.”  I explained we’d still honor the comped night, but we wanted the money he wasn’t owed, back.

He mumbled on and on about how he signed that he gave us cash, and that it was her fault.  I didn’t disagree, but reminded him I’d seen video footage and know he didn’t actually give it to her.  He kept mumbling.  I kept asking him to do the right thing.  He finally caved and came down with me to return the money.

It ain’t over yet.

The next morning he came down once again asking for his money back from the second night.  Said he didn’t enjoy his stay at all, and didn’t feel he should have to pay.

The same desk agent was working the desk, and our General Manager who knew the whole story was there too.

“Not a chance,” he said.

I can’t believe the nerve of some people.  I’ve run into some doozies in my years at the hotel, but have never come across a guy like this.

Never a dull moment.

 
10 Comments

Posted by on June 2, 2016 in The Hotel