She Works Hard for the Money…B&B’ing Part I

So hard for the money.
So, you better treat her right!!!

This anthem plays in my head every day as I am working so hard for the money at Il Cedro Bed and Breakfast. And, I love it. Everyone needs an anthem, right??

Last summer as we were revving up our own project, Katie told us the ins and outs of B&B’ing in Rome, and I have to say it was nice to get the “heads up.”

Now, six months later, we see what Katie meant!

I’ve had a few emails asking for some Il Cedro updates. So today, in part one of a three-part series on running a bed and breakfast, I present to you (drum roll pleeeeease…)

“She Works Hard for the Money.” (You know you want to sing along…)

A B&B owner’s job is never done. Really. Our 12-hour days start around 6:30 AM and, although we do stop for lunch (dad’s orders) there is always something to do. Peppe and I have devised a little system, however, that works well for us.

I, dear blog readers, am no morning person. I * hate * mornings. Well, not if you consider 9:00 AM the morning, but “6:30 mornings” and I do not get along. So, my sweetie, my love, my knight-in-shining armor does the pre-dawn shift. He wakes up at 6:30 AM and goes to the bakery to buy freshly made cornetti for our guests. He serves them coffee, prepares cappuccini, gives advice or directions, and visits with them throughout the morning.

I join him around 8:00.

Sometimes 8:30.

We complete the breakfast rush and immediately begin cleaning.

I start with the breakfast mess and Pep heads directly to the bedrooms. He opens the windows to change the air, because, you know – they’ll die if we don’t, and he begins making beds.

For the next couple of hours we clean rooms, bathrooms, and common areas. We replace linens. We sweep. Someone opens the door and the infamous Catanzaresi wind blows through. We sweep again. Ditto. Ditto. We straighten the garden area and clean outside.

Then, the washing begins.

We wash bath towels, hand towels, bidet towels, kitchen towels…and sheets. Sometimes we even throw in a tablecloth! Those of you familiar with Italian dyers know the precision to which they work. For those of you don’t, an average-size load of towels takes 180 minutes to fully dry!

One hundred and eighty…

So, our towels, sheets, and whatnots are often put on the line to dry at leisure.

We collect them when they are dry, fold the towels, and iron the sheets and pillowcases.

Yes, yes…I realize ironing the sheets sounds a little, oh what would you say, finicky? But, they look sooo much nicer on the beds, and everyone knows – first impressions are everything!

We go back through the rooms to close windows, replace rugs, refill candy bowls, and lock the doors.

Throughout all of this we are making reservations, replying to emails, and assisting tourists with travel information. We are also handling phone calls…or, well, Pep is. On some days, we go to the store to replenish our breakfast or cleaning supplies.

One of us usually stays in the B&B until around 7:00 PM.

After that we head home (upstairs) and bake a ciambella for the next morning’s breakfast.

We haven’t had a day off for more than two weeks.

The last three nights we have fallen asleep by 8:30!

That is embarrassing.

Embarrassing, but true.

B&B’ing is hard work, but, it’s not all bad.

Stay tuned for B&B’ing Part II to discover the other side, and see why we do it.

11 Responses
  1. erin

    wow, you do work hard! I’m sure your b&b is just lovely! Chris and I are hoping to make it down there and stay sometime…Michelle recommended you for a trip to Calabria 🙂

  2. Texas Espresso

    I can’t believe you find time to blog! I’d be exhausted. hehe Ahhh… the “changing the air”. LOL Italians 🙂

    I’m glad you have so many visitors though!

  3. Annika

    Ditto on everything Erin said! 🙂 Hard work indeed, but I bet it’s worth every second of it. By the way, when you have run the B&B for a while I suppose you get your routines straight and that you simply grow accustomed to the work until you reach a point when it all seems perfectly normal.

  4. Delina

    Wow, you do work hard for the money 🙂 It must be nice to be your own bosses though. Could you consider taking the laundry to the lavanderia. Maybe strike a deal with them and free up a bit of your time. Hope you get to have a day off soon!

  5. Cherrye

    Thanks, Erin. I hope you and Chris get to come see it soon. (Thanks, Michelle)

    Stacy – In Part II, you will see why I have time to blog. Aren’t Italians funny??

    Annika – It is worth it. Most seconds, anyhow. We are getting our routine and it isnt as bad as it seems.

    Delina – it does seem like the laundry is the worst part. Or, the most time consuming, anyway. I think it would have to be a lot worse, though before we’d cut into our profits!

  6. bleeding espresso

    My understanding is that this is one of those businesses that there is just literally always something that could be done even if it’s not necessary at that exact moment.

    Hey, lifetime homework! Lucky you 😉

  7. Nadine

    It does sound like lots of work. You are hard working folks and if I ever go to Italy, I’m going to have to come and stay. Your B&B sounds delightful.

  8. Ambra Celeste

    Ironing the sheets?! Oh my, you are working hard girl! But your B&B sounds so beautiful. I wanna vacaction there! And how nice that you and your hubby get to work together, and especially nice that he is a morning person. I feel for you though on the lack of sleep subject… just remember that as important as it is to pamper your guests, you’ve got to pamper yourselves too. 🙂

  9. Cherrye

    You are right, Michelle. There is always something to do…that is part of the problem, ya know!

    Thank you, Nadine! We’d LOVE to have you. Have you ever been to Italy?

    Ambra – yes, we iron the sheets (embarrassed grin). We also dry the sinks and showers. They are all sparkling after you do that!

    We DO need to pamper ourselves. Valetine’s Day is coming up, right??

  10. Crazy Daisy

    This is great stuff! I love reading about your B&B, as I have considered opening one myself, but the idea of having a business, though exciting makes me nervous as well!

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