Bumps in the Road

10/07/12 8:31 PM

When we started this journey, we knew that we would have good days and bad days. You have to expect it when you are running a business. We started this journey in July, 2011 and we have had a few bumps in the road and we have had a few pot holes we were not sure we would be able to get around. But through the whole time, we have tried to keep our focus on the road ahead. Our philosophy has been if you are traveling and it starts to rain, you don’t stop your trip and go home. You turn on the windshield wipers and get a better view of the road.

We are still waiting on the contract draft. We have learned “guarantee” doesn’t always mean for sure. But we are being patient. We aren’t always privy to what is going on so we just have to wait it out. Yesterday we found out that we are going to have to do a preliminary site plan for zoning to get the Special Exemption for a Bed and Breakfast. Thankfully we have a great surveyor /engineer that we have started working with. He has been more than helpful in finding out what we need. What he did find out is that the process for the Special Exemption will take us 120 days. That puts a little crimp in our plans. What is the saying, “Best-laid plans of mice and men may often go awry.”  Okay so we don’t open in September as we planned. That puts us to what… November or December? We also found out that we are going to have to consult with VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) because our main driveway is on a state highway. I thought that because we were on a main route it would be a good thing. We will have to see about that one. And we still haven’t gotten to the building codes and health/safety inspections to get our occupancy permit yet. Not to even mention the cost for the things we know about now.

(Okay, focus on the road. Where is that switch for the windshield wipers?)

One good thing about today I do have to mention. I got to speak to Troy, the Innkeeper at the Inn at Warner Hall. He was very nice and very open to answering questions for me. One thing I have come to understand about Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers/Owners is that they really understand and are quick to help you. It’s like you are in a new club and the other members want you to have success. What a great feeling. But one comment he told me that really gave me a good feeling before we hung up. He told me to keep my head up, not to get discouraged and when we ran into a bad challenge, to call him. He would tell me about another that was worse. It’s good to have someone to lean on.

Speaking of which, one thing that I read about before we even started considering opening a bed and breakfast. It is important of having a clear understanding with whoever you are working with about all that it might entail in getting your Bed and Breakfast open. It stated that you needed to make sure that you both (if you are working with someone) understood the stresses that came with it so you would be prepared. It didn’t seem important at the time I read it. My thought was that Brett and I had been married for twenty-five years. We can handle this.

Michelle and Brett’s wedding 1986

But now as we start to see those stresses coming, I really understand the need to know that you are both on the same page. That support between each other is so important. I think back to all that Brett and I have been through together. Both of our children were premature births. We came very close to losing our first as well as losing me. The challenge and stress of being a young mother and dad, almost single parent as Brett served three years on a submarine in the Navy. There were months apart with little to no communications. And the worst was to have him come home only to say that they were taking another boats schedule the following week and would be leaving again. That was stress. Then the fear of him being pulled to serve in the first Gulf war, which we missed by two weeks because he was transferred to submarine school. Then the next wars, which he missed by months because he retired. It was almost as if we were being prepared for this challenge. As if we were being sharpened up for it through the challenges before.

Brett and Alexa at 9 weeks and 4 pounds. She started at 1 pound 3 oz.

Tyler at 3 days and 5 pounds

Brett at his retirement from the Navy 2003

What I do know is that I don’t think I could do this without Brett. We are each other’s support. He is my best friend as well as my husband. We have come to an agreement that only one at a time can stress out and be discouraged. This allows the one to encourage and offer relief to the other. And today we have added a new rule; you can only be discouraged for three hours. After that you have to get on with it.

Brett and Michelle in New Orleans for their 25th wedding anniversary in 2011.

So while we have loved this journey with meeting so many wonderful people, to seeing some of America’s most beautiful homes and lands, and finding new places and historic locations we never knew about. One thing we want those of you who are considering opening a Bed and Breakfast to know. It is fun and full of joy and adventure, but there is stress and times that you will get discouraged. Just remember that before you begin, remember to set up your support system first. You will need it along the way.

Brett and I want to thank all our readers who have supported us with words of encouragement, prayers, thoughts and even funds. It is like fuel for our engine as we travel this journey. We really appreciate each of you.

Some quick notes!

We have set up a new Patrons page. Please take a moment to view it under our “About Us” page.

We are working on a special Cookie Contest! Be on the watch for the announcement soon!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 27 Comments »

27 Comments on “Bumps in the Road”

  1. beckmank Says:

    I love reading about all your progress and ups and downs on the B&B – it looks so beautiful by the way! I always look forward to an update. 🙂

    I just clicked on your indiegogo link, and got the following message: “The page you are looking for is currently in “DRAFT” mode and hidden from the public. Please contact the campaign owner if you feel this is in error!”

  2. I have just found the same. I have posted a notice until we can get the issue fixed. Please check back with the site tomorrow. Hopefully we will have it corrected. Thank for following us one this Up and Down journey! 😉

  3. Dianna Says:

    Love seeing the photos of you & Brett. My son was also a preemie: scary times! You two are definitely each other’s support system!

  4. Thank you! Today has been one of those days we needed to support each other with all the things going on. whew…

  5. njbrown Says:

    If you could survive his time on an attack boat, you can survive anything! God’s timing is usually different from ours, so there is a reason for this delay. I’ll be praying for you!


  6. Thank you Nancy. I really believe that it will happen when it is suppose to. And yes, if we could survive a tour of duty on an attack sub, we can survive anything! That is so true! Only someone that has been there can truly understand that one! Thank you for your words of encouragement!

  7. Chuck Ring Says:

    I’ll be back to dodge that draft. With Carol and I going on 51 years, we know we couldn’t have made it without help from God and lots of resolve and love..
    You folks have both it seems and you are deserving of consideration!
    God bless and hang in!

  8. Thank you! 51 years! Wow, I hope we can say that in the years to come! I agree, only through God’s blessing and love and resolve have we made it this far! Thank you for your words of encouragement!

  9. Blessings to you as you endure the storms of this journey. Your dream sounds gorgeous and I know it will come to fruition. Your passion shines clearly on these posts, and that will help you pass through the hardships.

  10. Thank you for those wonderful words of encouragement! They are truly our fuel to get moving again!

  11. ladywise Says:

    You guys are an adorable couple and I loved hearing your story! I believe everything happens for a reason, God’s reason, and if you truly believe that, then you can take comfort in what would normally seem like a set back, because it really isn’t a setback. It’s just God’s plan. I don’t know what your background is, but I’ve worked restaurant and retail a large part of my life and this Bed and Breakfast business is going to be fast paced. Be thankful for the extra time because I just know you’re going to be successful and you’re going to wish for time off.

  12. Thank you! We know God does have a plan for us. And we are patiently waiting until it happens. I know how face pace this is going to get, so I am thankful for the rest now. I am also thankful for words of encouragement from wonderful people like you! It really does help to know your not alone sometimes!

  13. LOVE this post and the photos:) Never let go of that wonderful spirit, it is so very encouraging!

  14. Thank you! We had to really dig to find the older ones of us. Of course as we did, we had to stop every few seconds to look at others. What a lifetime of photos we have. We are trying to stay positive. Thank you for following along and encouraging us!

  15. Amy Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your precious photos! You and Brett are a beautiful couple.

  16. Thank you! We are glad you have come along for the ride!

  17. What a lovely family you have created together. When I became a single parent and had to open my own law practice (scared to death by the way) I learned that being self-employed comes with ups and downs. But I know you will succeed. Your willingness to understand there are good days and bad days is everything. Great post, once again!

  18. Thank you! We have had our days, but it has been so much better to have people like you that encourage us along! I know that fear of self ownership. We have felt it too. But we know it will work. We just have to turn those windshield wipers to see better. 😉

  19. The ups and downs make life a challenge and a reward. What a heartwarming story about your children. My husband works for the March of Dimes to prevent prematurity. I am so glad everything worked out so well . Your B and B will be incredible!

  20. Thank you! And thank you to your husband for working with the March of Dimes! It was through their research that Alexa, our one pound baby, survived! When Alexa was five, she decided to give back to the March of Dimes by doing a walk. She went door to door, with us behind, and raised $3,000 all by herself! And then she walked the whole way that day! We were so proud of her. Not too bad for a baby that they only gave 30% chance to live!

  21. What an amazing and heartwarming story! I shared it with my husband. He said the director in Virginia used to be with us in Memphis. Your daughter must be a very special and determined person!

  22. I understand about bumps in the road….some days are harder than others….sometimes the destination appears very distant…..but you still need to find the joy in the journey. I’m still learning how to do this everyday.

  23. Thank you for the words of encouragement. We are trying to keep the windshield wipers on so we don’t focus on the rain. 🙂 It will be worth it once we get there.

  24. Words to live by.

  25. I love the way you share your personal journey as part of your new business journey. You have SO many things going for you – sounds like an exciting ride, even with the bumps!

  26. Thank you! We really appreciate all the words of encouragement. The journey would be so much harder if we didn’t have everyone else coming along for the ride!

  27. shofar Says:

    Beautiful wedding and family pictures/story! You’ve been through a lot and God has been with you all the time! This Sunday is our 50th year together! Your videos are well done; God will bless your unity of heart and mind to succeed with your B & B at your Virginia plantation!