So You Want to Run a B&B?
But for all their planning, all their research, all their due diligence, the Cotes still had to adjust to their new reality. In their previous life the couple never looked at what something cost. If they needed it, they bought it, whether it was a gallon of milk, a case of wine, or a piece of furniture.
“We’d owned the inn for just a couple of weeks, and I remember we went to a dollar store to pick up some things,” Dan recalls. “I was walking down the aisles, saying to myself, ‘Two weeks ago I was an executive. I never would have been caught dead in a store like this.’ I was embarrassed by that thought. I got over it, but it was an odd experience for me. Suddenly there was a budget. When we were thinking about doing this, it never dawned on me that I’d have to change my shopping habits.”
“We’re hiding!” says Penny, with a big laugh.
As her guests wind down on their steak dinner with homemade apple pie, Penny has slipped upstairs and plunked herself in a cushy loveseat in the upstairs apartment. She’s forgone supper and gone straight for dessert, and, as her two cats parade around her, she throws occasional glances up at a big TV, showing an episode of Law & Order, and then at her laptop in front of her. There’s still a pile of paperwork to get through.
“I don’t think anyone’s checked into Alice,” she tells Dan, as he walks through the door.
“That’s fine,” he says.
“Should I call?” she asks. “What time is it?”
“It’s 7:00,” he says. “It’s not late.”
Penny picks up the phone and gets ahold of one of the guests. It turns out that there’s been a mix-up. The party thinks they’re booked for tomorrow night and will be arriving sometime in the afternoon. Penny is polite and accommodating, crossing the names off one box on a piece of paper and writing them down in another. When she hangs up, she lets out a big sigh.