It’s been a while since I’ve posted about the Hidden Springs Inn, the Victorian mansion that my friend bought and renovated and turned into a bed and breakfast. I’d like to say I haven’t written about it because the work is done and I’ve moved on. Well, that’s true, but it’s not the whole story. The truth is, my friend and I had a bit of a falling out while I was helping her restore the house, and I didn’t write about it sooner because I was just too gosh-darn mad. I won’t go into the gory details, but here’s the gist: I did a lot of work on that house for free — which was fine, I’m retired and restoration is kind of my hobby — and she promised in exchange she would hire my nephew to manage the place. My nephew has a lot of hospitality experience but the crappy chain hotel he’s been working at forever won’t promote him. So the Hidden Springs Inn would have given him the chance to advance in his career and enjoy a nicer working environment.
But at the last minute my friend reneged and hired someone else. After all the carpet staples I pulled, floorboards I sanded and wallpaper I hung…well, let me just say I felt betrayed. When I found out what she’d done, I walked right out of that house and drove away without a word.
We didn’t speak for four months. That’s when she called me to say that she’d had to fire the manager she had hired — she found out he sexually harassed the hotel maids. She apologized and said she should have hired my nephew in the first place and wanted to know if he was still interested. As it turns out, he was more desperate than ever to leave the crummy hotel chain, and took the job as General Manger of the Hidden Springs Inn.
Now I’m back at HSI. At the back of the property, there’s an abandoned greenhouse that we haven’t done anything about. Now that there are guests coming to the Inn, we have to do something. It’s not safe for guests to wander in, though it’s far enough out of view of the main house that no one seems to notice it — that is probably why the city never ordered us to tear it down.
Well, we’re not tearing it down. We’re restoring it instead. My friend wants to grow vegetables, fruits, edible flowers and herbs that can be used to prepare meals for guests. Here are the steps I took toward restoring the greenhouse:
1. Cutting away any vegetation growing on or around the structure — this took a whole day.
2. Measuring areas where glass is missing to determine which size panes to order. This took another whole day.
3. Replacing weak structure beams. We were lucky — the original structure was pretty solid so we didn’t have to repair very much of it.
4. Adding a misting system that hangs from the ceiling and waters the plants.
5. Adding waterproof lighting that can illuminate the greenhouse at night.
This project took about a week. When we were done, we filled it with tomato plants, eggplants, hanging baskets of herbs and even orange trees that we had shipped up from California. The HSI guests are loving that their food is grown on-site.
I’m just happy that things are back to normal with my friend and that things are going well at the Hidden Springs Inn.