Thursday, January 30, 2014

glass ceilings

frozen "glass" snow day experiment

whew! cold enough for you? here in coastal north carolina, we have finally succumbed to the polar vortex, i guess.  freezing rain, sleet, a few snow flakes and plummeting temperatures created a big mess around here tuesday night. as this is a very rare occurrence in these parts, i'm thankful the right calls were made regarding school and government closings, etc. ( i am particularly thankful that my family and friends in Atlanta are safe and warm today!)

so - and rightly so- just about everything around here in tiny town is shut down.  if they didn't close tuesday (schools and government offices), they closed wednesday (restaurants, doctors' offices, the gym). (wait, BoJangles across the street is open, but i heard they were out of chicken, so...) as of this moment, schools will also be closed tomorrow.  and this is the RIGHT thing to do.  ice is melting and reforming, and, i kid you not, there really IS only one way to get anywhere in tiny town.  when that road is in bad shape, well, you should really just stay put.

but we are open.  hotels don't close. (hotels hardly ever close). we are receiving and unloading new furniture.  we are housing emergency crews from the power plants. we are serving breakfast. and coffee.

it takes people to make all of the above happen. it takes people who have to navigate that slush-ice road at 11:00 at night, or at 4:00 in the morning. and sometimes it takes people to cover for other people. the people i work with are very reliable, and as a team, we can almost always seamlessly cover any absentees. the safety of my team and their family members is of the utmost importance.  but let's get real: when you have a business that doesn't close, when you have to provide services to guests who are already in the hotel, you have to staff it.  hotel employees truly are essential personnel. 

one of my  responsibilities is to make sure we are taking care of our guests and taking care of each other. i have managed this hotel for over ten years.  there is a part of my brain that is never able to shut off because the hotel is there, twenty-four/seven. one phone call can change the course of my day or night in a nano second.  i am always "on call."  freak ice storms in january (just like hurricanes in august) send that part of my brain into overdrive. 

[by the way, we are currently renovating all of our guestrooms, which is a beautiful and stressful tango of moving parts and contract laborers.  trucks full of furniture drive through the night and expect people to be here to unload them in the morning. painters want to get paid. carpet installers want to say crazy things like "we won't have enough carpet."]

i am exhausted.

i want to have a snow day. i want to stay home and drink hot chocolate and stay in pyjayzees.  i want to bundle up and slip and slide on the ice for an hour. i want to stay up late catching up on the DVR, knowing I can sleep in the next morning. i want to meet up with friends and watch our kids tumble down small hills on boogie-boards-turn-sleds. 

i want the same thing for jack.

jack and i have this routine. on most days that he doesn't have school, he spends the day with me at the hotel. this week, he helped unload trucks and hauled loads of recycled shipping boxes.  then he would slip away to "his room" tucked up on the third floor, with his book and the TV, and the thing that is still thrilling about having a key to unlock your very own room.  he hasn't complained. much.

but i feel like i've let him down.  i would give anything to be able to detach from the hotel for twenty four hours, to devote my time and attention to jack and the things that seem especially fun about snow days. 

i would give anything to not be the general manager of a hotel right now. it's taken an ice storm for me to clearly see the glass ceiling.

1 comment:

John said...


Glad you're safe & warm . . . and yeah, "us other folk" don't think about hotel personnel in times of ice & stuff.

Something tells me that Jack is just fine. Really.