Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Greetings, Blog Friends.
One early Autumn day I was driving back and encountered probably one of the cutest raccoons by the side of the road. After a photo opportunity, I realized something was amiss. This creature was snarling and spitting foam like a B-movie horror star. He was mostly rabid as after many tears that evening feeling sorry for the creature, I had to the understanding that Nature has its problems, just like the rest of us.
At this time of year I, an Innkeeper of the Inn, must assess from both a business and personal perspective, whether or not it my "flow" to stay or go (in other words, remain as Innkeeper or move into the proverbial void that I speak about often in this blog). The arguments presented are comprised of both pros and cons. You see, I love this inn. It has been in my life for 10 years. My ex-partner and I (actually better friends now than then, perhaps) share a life here for 5 of those years. Our pets lived here with us and there was a sense of "family here (Libby the Beagle died a few years ago.) Also on a positive side, the guests that have stayed here year after year have become more like family than "customers." The transition in ownerships was seamless and it was those guests that cheered us both on in our new endeavors---mine being, of course, the new owner of The Inn at Long Lake.
I happened to buy the inn, though, before the economy ditched out in 2008. Try as I may, I managed to keep the business afloat until the current time. At what price, however, became apparent in June 2012 when I was driven to the local hospital for collapsing in one of the guest rooms (on a busy Friday afternoon before check-ins, no doubt). Caught alone in a room, making sure everything was in place and excited about seeing the arriving guests, my eyesight started to falter and I felt as if I was going faint. I got to the floor before a piece of furniture "got to my head" (and trust, antique furniture has no "give" like the cheap home furnishings so common today). The Doctor saw me and after running blood work (I feared diabetes, or something as scary), she assured me that I was pretty much fine but I was fatigued, so much so that my systems were starting to shut down.
I remember crying to myself in the hospital that day. It had the first time I had been in a hospital as a patient since my tonsils had been removed. Imagine, dodging the bullet for over 40 years, and doing what I loved had put me there in this state. Maybe it was not eating correctly, or overlooking the need to take time for myself....at any rate, that was the first sign that it was time to re-prioritize some things in my life. Sure, I asked my family and friends for help as gently as I could. Sadly, few came to assist and these relationships were removed from my life with remorse reinforced by the integrity I demand in true friendships.
On the story went for another year and a half, which brings me to this blog post. I write on this blog about things I have learned. Here, too, is the honest truth of what I don't know. Moments like this when you don't know where your next step should fall. Times when you can't place your foot forward for fear that the road is quicksand. The answers always come. I must remind myself to breathe and to be thankful for even the times I am scared and lost. It is not easy. I guess growth never is.
And, so like Nature that so brilliantly surrounds me here in Western Maine, I remember that everything has its season. I welcome your feedback and will continue to share my journey as "Innkeeper."
Keith A. Neubert