No Room At the Inn

Interesting guests and odd experiences that occurred at Pierce’s Inn inspired me to start keeping a list starting when I was in third grade. During those early years, my parents were hesitant to acknowledge anything odd or interesting when I shared my observations about our lives as innkeepers. Because it was their new job and lifestyle, they were eager to make it all seem normal. Owners of inns, hotels and motels shared an unspoken rule: What happens under your roof stays under your roof. This was considered job security for my parents and a comic feast for me.

Bidding farewell to the guests on Sunday morning after a long weekend

The very parents and siblings who marinated me in storytelling and encouraged me to develop keen observation skills were suddenly asking me to put on blinders. I disobeyed and kept adding to the list. My older siblings understood that their college tuition depended on the success of Pierce’s Inn, so they wisely supported my parents’ respectful denial even when things went off the rails. Because I was unaware of the realities of making ends meet and trying to make sense of what unfolded on a daily basis right in my own house, I made it my business to pay attention. Continue reading

Innkeepers on the Edge

Cindy Pierce and Bruce Lingelbach

They warn you about running a business with your spouse. When Bruce and I decided to become innkeepers, we worried that it would be hard on our marriage. The previous transitions in our life together had seemed large before we made them – getting married, building a house, having kids, having one parent home with kids – but those seemed to be right in flow and made sense. Each phase, we prepared to have our world rocked, but it never really rocked too much. We were leery of getting married for good reasons. At the time, Bruce’s father was on his third marriage. Two of my brothers had been married and divorced by the time I turned nine. We approached marriage with open minds and ready to work at it. Innkeeping together, however, seemed like a much bigger leap.

We had the good fortune of watching my parents run Pierce’s Inn for thirty-one years with humor, courage and the ability to directly address their differences. Conflicts spanned the spectrum: from when the food should go into the oven all the way to decisions over money. They were a unique couple with one of the healthiest marriages I have witnessed in my life. We didn’t think we could compare ourselves to them. Our proactive approach included a lot of consultations with people we respected about all aspects of life, work and marriage. We also got some counseling to explore our different approaches. We wanted it to work. Continue reading

My Rooster Scares the Piss Out of Me

rooster

The rooster we have is very pesky. Everyone loves him, except me. His name is Puff Puff. He was named as a baby chick when we all wished he would grow to be a laying hen. When the chicks grew up, seven of them exhibited rooster traits and started crowing. Puff Puff was colorful but didn’t have any male features. He didn’t crow for the three weeks, during which we observed them to see who was going to end up in the freezer.

The day after we slaughtered the roosters, suddenly Puff Puff got some swagger on. It became clear Puff Puff was a male when he stood taller and started crowing. It even seemed that his tail had a few more feathers spouting off his backside. Having cheated death by hanging low with the ladies, he did not have much respect from his coop of hens. They pecked at him and attacked him every time he tried to crow. With a few missing feathers and a bad limp, he had to work hard to gain position as the alpha male. Continue reading