Thursday, February 18, 2016

Nick's Notes 2.19.2016--A Renewed Commitment to an Abbington Green Clean

New Allergies can start at any time!

I would never have believed that at the age of 54 you can start having a new allergy. My new one started this past November when I started getting a rash around my eyes and on my face and neck. It got to the point my eye lids would swell at times and I had to stop wearing my contacts and instead had to wear my glasses. At least the glasses hid the redness around my eyes. 

I finally went to the Minute Clinic, and when I removed my glasses, the Nurse Practitioner made a gasping sound.....I guess I scared her (it really wasn't that bad!).  She determined that I had had an allergic reaction to something and must have touched that something and then rubbed my face and eyes. She said that five days of steroids should take care of it. It did go away after day one, but when the steroids were gone the rash came back.

Next, I go to a Dermatologist. She says the same's an allergic reaction to something, and I just needed a longer period of steroids. So I get a steroid shot (...I hate that!) and an additional 20 days of steroid medication. It went away immediately, but the minute I was off the steroids, it came back...but just only on my face. The Dermatologist ended up giving me another shot of steroids, to help get me through the Holidays.

In January, I made an appointment with an Allergist to have the "patch test" completed to determine what exactly it is that I am allergic to. Have any of you ever had this done? 

I guess the modern version of the needle testing is to tape 10 swatches of sticky potential allergy substances to your back and then cover all of that with tape...then they tell you that you can't shower or get wet for 3 days. Now, I'm one of those people that can't stand being constrained in any way. Putting tape all over my back, felt so constraining...comfort was not going to happen for a few days...especially as a few of the substances start to cause my back to itch. 

Meanwhile, work at the Inn continues.......

Well, it was determined that I am allergic to Methylchloroisothiazinoline. 

Methylchloroisothiazinoline is a preservative used in hygiene products such as shampoos, lotions, sun screens and so on. It is also used in common household cleaners, soaps, paints, pet care, and yard care products. So basically, almost everything...

When I got home, I looked at the list of products that contain Methylchloroisothiszinoline, and it was overwhelming. So many of the things we were using at the Inn listed it as an was truly all around me and  I guess my body finally reacted to the amount of contact I had had with it. I thought by using green based products, like we do at Abbington Green, I would not have had an issue with our cleaning regiment...but we have now found out that many of these products do contain this ingredient. So, changes had to happen immediately. 

We have always been committed to green practices at the Inn. Cooking with organic, locally sourced products is important to us for our guests, and we are excited to now make changes to our cleaning procedures. Abbington Green Bed & Breakfast Inn is proud to be recognized as a TripAdvisor Bronze Level GreenLeader..."the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Program showcases a variety of eco-friendly hotels and B&Bs, from budget to luxury – and they’re all committed to green practices like recycling, local and organic food, and electric car charging stations."

Leave it to my great staff to do some research and come up with some great natural cleaners based mostly on vinegar that we can use in the kitchen around me as well as throughout the Inn. 

While we were away, the team deep cleaned the Inn, and paid special attention to the kitchen, which is where I spend the most time during the day. I thought I would share some of them with you since they work so well and do not contain Methylchloroisothiazinoline. I've posted some recipes at the bottom of this post.

So, some good things came from the discovery of my allergy issues. I hope our
guests will notice the extra efforts we put into cleaning each and every detail in our rooms, common areas, and kitchen to be as Green Friendly as possible but also minimize use of products that contain Methylchloroisothiazinoline. Even Lady Amber Abbington is being bathed in a new shampoo so she can still keep giving me the hugs and kisses I love.

All the best, Nick

Here are some of the recipes for the cleaners that we've begun to use at Abbington Green. We did some research online, found some great recipes and adapted them to make them our own. We are now feeling the Green and you can too!

Abbington Green Clean--All-Purpose Cleaner
3 cups distilled or filtered water (we are lucky to have filtered water at the Inn) 
1 cup white vinegar 
1-2 tsp lemon juice 
5-7 drops essential oil (lemon or mint or a clean scented one you prefer)
Pour into a spray bottle and fill the remaining space in the bottle with hot water.

Abbington Green Clean--Disinfecting Kitchen Floor Cleaner
In a bucket combine:
1 gallon of warm water 
2 Tbsp white vinegar 
1 tsp fresh lemon juice 
4 drops of tea tree oil
one tiny squeeze of liquid Castile Soap (we used Dr. Bronner's)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Nick's Notes 2.12.2016--My Journal

My Journal

Some people call it a Journal...others may call it a Diary...I like to call it a Journal. It's full of my thoughts and ideas, and as I get older, writing them down helps me to remember them.

I typically try to journal whenever we are on a vacation, but decided to journal as often as possible when we purchased the Inn the end of September 2014.

My first entry is on 10/4/2014, and is called "Living a Dream." I wrote in it again on 10/9 and then 10/11...then nothing!!! I guess it slipped away from me, or maybe it's because I go to bed between 9 and 10 PM each night. We are up early to get the day started, walk Amber, and then into the kitchen to get Breakfast going. The staff starts coming in at 7 or 8 AM and the day is in full swing.

We recently closed the Inn for a week and went on vacation. The staff continued to work on projects such as deep cleaning rooms, painting, and a few updates I know guests will love. Traveling gave me the perfect opportunity to start to journal again...and even share some of my thoughts with you.

"As you can see by the date, it's been a long time since I wrote in here. It's been a long time for a lot of first time off since we bought the Inn, my first flight since we bought the Inn, and my first time away from Amber since we bought the Inn." (Keep in mind I traveled almost every week in my past career and was away from Amber a lot).

I love my new career but I know myself well. I'm a workaholic and living at work can become a full time...all the time thing. There is always something to do. I'm so proud of what we accomplished in a year. There are so many more ideas I have........."

(I can't share this part because I am working on some big things for the future. Hopefully they will happen...)

"I had good intentions to write in here often this past year, but I'm usually very tired at night. Time goes by so fast....the day flies by and the year has flown by too. Guests ask me all the time is it what I thought it would be? It's more fulfilling than I thought it would be.  I've met some amazing people from all over the world. I feel that I have more friends out there. I really hate seeing some people leave.  The biggest compliment is the amount of return guests we are getting. I love when they come back and I get to see them again and welcome them home.

People also ask would I do things differently. That's an easy answer: NO.  I had planned for this for so long....I knew what I wanted. Abbington Green just fit right into the plan so well for me. I always want to make sure the guests have an amazing time here with exceptional service and hospitality. I know I will never stop doing that and that will always be the highest priority. I just need to figure out some ME time so I can relax once in awhile and have something to look forward to.

That's where this cruise comes in....time to relax and receive excellent service. I do have a higher expectation of service now from being in the hospitality industry. There are similarities in hospitality and retail, but also differences. In retail it is more instant service, and in hospitality it is more personalized to guests for a longer period of time. Each interaction with them needs to be at a high service least that is my standard."

I always tell the staff "this is the guests' vacation or time away and we want to help make it the best it can be". The biggest compliment that also touched my life was from a guest who called to book a room. He mentioned to me that they were having issues in their marriage and they needed a weekend together to get back on track. I worked with him on selecting the right room, scheduling breakfast in bed one morning, arranging massages, and so on. Recently, before the Holidays, he called to thank me and let me know that they are expecting a baby and their marriage is back on track. I was so happy to hear the great news.

I feel like this is where I am supposed to be in my life now. I do feel an impact I'm making by helping make special memories in guest's lives for special events they are celebrating....Anniversaries, Babymoons, Weddings, Birthdays, and just being happy in life.

It's so easy for me to talk about work, but this journal now is supposed to be about us enjoying our vacation. Steve took special care in planning our trip to make it special for me.....that's so sweet of him.

I'm looking forward to a wonderful vacation!"

That's a little bit of what I wrote the first day we left. We did have a wonderful time as you can see from the pictures below. Great food, horseback riding, swimming with the turtles, riding in a bobsled, and walk up a waterfall. All of us need vacation time away to clear our thoughts. I love to travel, but I always like coming home too. Home to our new home......Abbington Green!

All the best, Nick

Amber waiting patiently for our return.