Today's the first Sunday of Advent, and I'm processing my very last batch of apples from our prodigious apple tree. This seems somehow appropriate. It's the end of fall and the beginning of a new season, a season of waiting.
Our big fall projects have come to an end. The house is newly painted. The apartment over the garage is complete. We've joined local chambers of commerce. We've got a logo and business cards. We've chosen a booking engine for what will soon be our revamped website. You'll be seeing the changes by January. We've finally picked a credit card processing system after much hand-wringing and wingeing on my part (there's just something unjust about paying a $10 monthly fee to view my transaction statement.).
You think opening a B&B is going to be about coffee and muffins and talking to people about where they're from and where they're headed. Nope. It's about batch fees and transaction fees and PCI compliance fees.
"I pay $5,000, straight off the top, just for my credit card transactions," said my pal Patty, who owns a successful wine and booze store in Brooklyn. What is enormously convenient for me - a cashless life - is a big expense for the merchant and a river of risk and reward for banks.
From wingeing, to waiting. Waiting for the moment when we declare ourselves open for business, for that crossing of the invisible line from ready, set to go.
I hesitate because I want everything to be right. That's very important, for sure -- "once you're open, there's no turning back," Patty told us -- but I also know that the pursuit of perfect can wear an idea down. I also hesitate because I know we are set on a course that will alter our relationship to our home. I don't know how, but it invariably will. We will be a place for business, not just for private living.
So I'm glad for Advent. It's a season for waiting. And it comes at just the right time.