life, living, Uncategorized

Life in an Old Hotel

It’s been eight months since we moved into a one-hundred-year-old hotel. Eight months of meeting new people, and eight months of hard work.

My wife and I both have our day jobs, so the cleaning and hosting and fixing happens during our time off. We make quite the team.

Though I’m involved in the normal business of checking guests in and carrying luggage and cleaning windows and mopping the lobby and sweeping the sidewalk and cleaning the pool, my favorite jobs are the ones that I do in solitude. I spent most of two months in a third-floor room painting, reflooring, replacing counter tops, and the like. I can work at my own pace, which is slow. That gives me time to think.

My skills have expanded. I know how to work on 100-year-old door mechanisms. I know that orange oil is great for mopping tile. I can swap out an air conditioning unit in fifteen minutes. And I know how to fold wash cloths into flowery looking things. 

Despite a limited workforce, our hotel stays spotless. After working non-stop all weekend, I mentioned to my wife that we might die from too much work. She said, “We have to die from something.” I’d rather die from working too hard than from sitting too much, so I think we are on the right path.

Most of our guests have been terrific. Aside from the occasional low water pressure that comes with an old, very large building, or the loss of TV channels that comes from being a long way from the nearest city, we’ve had almost no complaints, and we’ve only had a guest or two whom we hope not to see again. 

One of our first guests requested a discount, which my wife politely declined. That guest made her own discount by taking most of the food out of the hall refrigerator, including the food brought by other guests. She took the cookies that were to be used for our daughter’s Christmas cookie decorating party. And she took the extra toilet paper.

Another guest, in two nights, managed to cover every square inch of carpet and table and nightstand in various food crumbs. If I hadn’t checked him in myself, I would have sworn that Fantastic Mr. Fox stayed in that room. Or a pack of dogs. After his departure, I vacuumed for forty days and forty nights.

Because our hotel still looks in many ways like it did when it was built—antique floors, high, tin ceilings—some guests ask if it is haunted. The building makes its own noise. Creaky stairs, squeaky hardwood floors, lots of plumbing. I’ve learned to identify most of the sounds. And I’ve been all over, day and night, including the attic and elevator shaft. I’ve seen no ghosts and only thought they were a possibility twice.

Once while working on the floor in a third-floor apartment, I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I have no idea why; I didn’t hear anything, and I wasn’t scared. I noticed, but then I went back to work and my thoughts.

Another time, we discovered that the main water valve to the building was shut off. The valve is under the staircase in the lobby. This happened while everything in Texas was shut down, so our only guests were a couple from Romania who could not get back home, and they knew nothing about our water valve. I’m sure someone shut it off, but we have no idea who.

A local historian told a story of a man who jumped to his death from our third floor during a fire around 1918-19, but his ghost is said to haunt the theater next door. And the bank robber who was hung behind our building hasn’t made another appearance in Eastland since. So no, I don’t believe it’s haunted. But ask again in another year. These things take time.

The kids have adjusted well to living in a business. Sometimes they have a huge building almost to themselves in which to play hide-and-go seek. They have an elevator and fire escape and swimming pool and more than one kitchen. Other times, their extended home is invaded. They know how to make reservations and clean toilets, and sometimes they are even willing to. So sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s not—just like it is for the grownups.

All in all, life in an old hotel is a tiring adventure. One thing I’m sure of is that I’ll never be bored again.

About Nowhere Tribune

A husband and daddy, striving to love his neighbors and be kind to his pets. I love good food, good beer, and a few good friends. My other interests are hiking, taking walks, lifting weights, reading books by manly authors like Hemingway and Twain, and splitting fire wood with my bare hands.


35 thoughts on “Life in an Old Hotel

  1. How cool is this?? Was this an unplanned adventure? Where is it at?

    Posted by Sassyfitnesschick | July 8, 2020, 10:19 am
  2. Those ceilings are fantastic.

    Posted by Jason Frels | July 8, 2020, 10:25 am
  3. Sounds like your hard work is paying off. If we ever travel through that part of Texas, I’ll make a note to stay at your hotel. We love old hotels, anyway.

    Posted by Tippy Gnu | July 8, 2020, 10:59 am
  4. It looks wonderful! Your hard works shows.
    I have to say I’m a little disappointed there are no ghosts, but hey…. washcloth flowers are nothing to sneeze at. Or into.
    You’re going to have marvelous stories to tell when traveling gets back to normal.
    Related fact : Portland, Maine had a historic hotel called the Eastland. Built in 1927, it was the largest in New England for many years. Sadly it was recently bought out by Marriot and has now lost all of it’s original charm.
    Boo to that.

    Posted by Rivergirl | July 8, 2020, 1:27 pm
  5. Is the VW Bus yours? Just asking, it looks perfect sitting outside of your hotel. Which by the way look idyllic. I know I keep saying this, but it’s true, I plan to visit, sometime in the near future. Hopefully when this entire pandemic hits a lull.

    Posted by thehuntress915 | July 8, 2020, 2:15 pm
  6. Nice hotel and swimming pool.

    Posted by Liberated | July 8, 2020, 5:19 pm
  7. It looks amazing and I love your stories! I’m super impressed with you and your wife, what an endeavor. And that guest that stole all that stuff? Karma.

    Posted by Clever Girl | July 9, 2020, 4:33 pm
  8. That’s so awesome! Congratulations on your new venture! I hope that you and the ghosts stay on good terms! 😳

    Posted by Middle Aged Momma | July 11, 2020, 6:52 am
  9. This sounds so exciting! My extended family is in the hospitality business (b&b), and it is a lot of work, but it’s so much fun to get to know new people and sometimes answer the strange questions or requests by the guests! 🙂 Here’s hoping you don’t get caught by surprise by a ghost (but if you do, tell us)!

    Posted by Jay | July 13, 2020, 10:22 am
  10. I hope that we might visit some day. Loved the tin roof in the guest room – perfect!

    Posted by chattykerry | July 13, 2020, 3:42 pm
  11. Nope, you will never be bored again! It’s so beautiful! We are definitely coming for a stay before the year is over. I really enjoy your blog!

    Posted by Sarah J. | July 17, 2020, 6:59 pm
  12. I’m happy to see your hotel and family are still doing well in all of this! Also, Halloween is coming up, so playing up those possible ghost encounters could drum up some business! You could even invent a few ghosts…

    Posted by Shayne | July 24, 2020, 2:21 pm
  13. It looks great! You are really working hard. Impressive

    Posted by thewanderingempath | August 8, 2020, 9:28 pm
  14. Hello. Have you read Up In The Old Hotel, by Joseph Mitchell? Great book.

    Posted by Yeah, Another Blogger | August 14, 2020, 12:16 pm
  15. Wow, how brave and what a wonderful adventure for you and your family!

    Posted by Snowbird In Training | August 19, 2020, 7:16 am

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