Sunday, March 01, 2009

Opening up a bed and breakfast has been a dream of ours for many years. We love cooking, and were excited to try out a business that would allow us to utilize that particular skill (without dealing with the insanity of a full-blown restaurant). We had so many good ideas that we wanted to implement into our own B&B, and when we made the decision to move to Oregon three years ago, we could barely wait to get this business up & running. However, after losing two houses in the search for an Oregon residence, and "settling" on this place as a last resort, we never fully realized the amount of work that would be involved in fixing it up (not to mention the memorable fiascoes such as geysers in the front yard, snakes in the walls, etc.). The first year we moved here, we were FAR too busy making the home livable and setting the property up for our animals to truly open up our bed and breakfast. In the second year, we were only about halfway finished with our remodeling (doing bits here and there as paychecks would allow). Still, we were trying desperately to open up the B&B in May of '08, even "half finished." And then, tragedy struck, one blow after another: in a long string of hardship, I lost my job, we experienced the death of a wonderful (and pregnant) goat that I had been excited to welcome into the herd as an "early birthday present," and several other events that simply killed our desire to do anything that summer...Then, my grandparents finally sold their home and managed to move up here, and we learned a whole new level of hardship and sacrifice. The entire reason we moved to Oregon wasn't to merely open up a bed and breakfast - it was to take care of my grandfather (who has early Alzheimers). When Ryan and I made the decision to do this, we knew it would be difficult, but we truly didn't understand what living with a person who has dementia would be like. It has been a huge learning experience since Grandpa moved here, but I would never change our decision. It's not so much that my grandfather needs us (he does, but that isn't my point), it's that we need to be here as a system of strength and support for my grandmother. I haven't seen my grandparents in ten years, and this past year has been a period of learning and adjustment. In the end, we have all come out stronger for it, and we have grown closer as a result. The animals have been truly therapeutic for my grandfather, especially baby Comet (the "problem child" llama), whom he adores. My grandmother has been enchanted with the goat babies, and loves being able to putter with me in the garden and around the property. Though all of us have made sacrifices to be here, I think we would all agree that living here has been worth it. Watching my grandfather's eyes light up when he looks out over the mountains with his binoculars, or coming around a bend and finding my grandmother elbow deep in dirt as she happily weeds, makes my heart fill with joy. After three years of adjustments, three years of hardship, this place is home; this place makes us all happy.
When I lost my job a year ago, it made the B&B dream even more of a pull - what a perfect way to earn a little extra income, while allowing me to stay home and continue to help take care of my grandparents...not to mention that running a small ranch/farm (especially in the spring) is a FULL TIME JOB! After much examining of our financial options, Ryan and I were finally able to obtain a loan for half the remodel in January of this year. It allowed us to finally begin the true (and necessary!) structural changes that we would need to open up our dream business. And now, we are so close to being finished, and the changes are amazing! Except for the large structural parts (that we needed a professional for), Ryan and I have done a large portion of the work ourselves, and we are so proud of what we have accomplished! And now, as our dream is finally being realized, and our grand opening is fast approaching, we have come to understand that it's not about having your own business and making a ton of money - it's about realizing a dream, working hard to achieve that dream, and about the crazy curve balls that life throws at you (the ones that, in the end, only make you stronger), and finally, it's about finding happiness and peace in the most unlikely situations.


Laura said...

I'd forgotten your grandfather had Alzheimers. I'm excited for your opening! Then I can come visit you:)

Apothecary Inn said...

YAY! I miss my Sunshine! :)