Wine Central

Well, yes. I did order a little too much wine and maybe a little on the higher end but not as bad, I hope, as it seems.

The deliveries are staggered. I just hope our guests are heavy drinkers. 🙂

Kim just asked me when we were going to drink a bottle of champagne, Krug of course from our private collection, to celebrate the arrival of our liquor license. Kettle, black, pot, fabric. You get the idea.

The Kid is in the Candy Store


I can’t believe Mark hasn’t blogged about this yet — we finally got our liquor license! With only a week to spare before the first workshop begins.

Mark immediately set to calling all of the distributors and browsing through the catalogs with the same excitment that I show for quilting art magazines and seed/plant supply catalogs! I have to keep this excitment under control or else hope that our employees will accept wine instead of wages. LOL.

Bottles found

Greenville Arms 1889 Inn

Kimberly, not to be confused with Kim, found the bottles in the furnace room. That’s a back part of the basement. The basement is divided into 3 or 4 seconds. The main part which has the laundry, the freezers and a defunct bathroom, the dungeon which is another part that has the wine, the equipment etc. and the furnace room which has the furnace the central vacuum and has some storage area. The final area is this sort of quasi outside area were the new water pipes come up.

Kim has taken control of the bottles. Yea!

I know, you probably need pictures to really grasp all of this. Suffice it to say that the basement is bigger than any of our houses in CA. Though those houses, 900 sqft, cost more, housing prices being what they are in Silicon Valley.

Inn Secret!

Here’s a tip. If you decide to go on a trip, don’t. Even if everything goes smoothly when you are away, and it does for us because we have a great assistant innkeeper, Kimberly, not to be confused with Kim, you break the continuity from crisis to crisis.

Having said that, vacations are needed. And plenty of them. What to do? You could just shut down. Think about it.

Bottles missing


Remember all those bottles we found? Well, they’re gone. Well, not all of them but most. Kim luckily washed and saved the best putting them on display. The rest were in a shopping bag.

I had rescued them once already from the recycling bin. That’s right, you heard me correctly, the recycling bin. So, where are they? Hard to tell. Since I am the only person, I hope, that goes to recycling, or at least is supposed to go to recycling, then they should still be around the inn. Right. As I said, they’re lost.

If the house cleaning staff doesn’t know where they are and if the kitchen staff doesn’t know where they are, it could be years before we come across them. Construction workers have turned this place upside down a number of times.

Oh, well, at least we have some of them including the Dr.’s Swamp Root Cure.


Chip and Margarita have a nice co-(dependent) dog named Co-. Yup. The dash is part of Co-Dog’s name. As you can see, Co-Dog has his own website.

The five of us, Kim, Chip, Margarita, Co- and me went to the beach. Interesting beach. Not only did we have to rappel down the side of a cliff, not as hard as you think, surfers do it holding onto their surfboards, but you have to walk on the edge of the cliff for a little while to get to the beach. Actually, it looks like a good hang gliding spot for beginners. Or maybe not.

Anyway, the funny part of going to the beach was watching Margarita pushing Co- down the cliff. It’s not that cruel. Old, arthritic Co- loves the beach and chasing his tennis ball and going into the waves but he gets a little scared going down the cliff. There isn’t really a path. So, he has to be pushed a little but he makes it just fine.

Co-, on the way back up, took the harder path, and had a hard time scrambling up the cliff. But he was game. He’s on this macrobiotic like diet. (We gave him some tortias and chicken from our scraps not to mention pizza. That’s OK Chip, Margartia wont find out, she doesn’t read this blog. I hope.)

We’re BACK!!!

San Diego was great. Seeing Adina, our daughter was wonderful, seeing Chip and Margarita, Kim’s brother and our sister-in-law, was nice. Chip is also our ISP.

Now, well, we are back in harness. Today, I lighted the water heaters and called Margas to come and look at them. When the burners turn on they explode, no shrapnel, and blow out soot.

1001 things that we have to catch up on. May 5th is our first workshop. So, Margas is coming out to see what the problem is. I think that’s spelled MarGas.

As If!


I’ll only say one thing about Mark’s post — Yeah, right! (said with just the right tone – you know what I mean). 😉

Food Glorious Food


Now the dirt comes out… 😉

There are somethings you need to know, Gentle Reader, so you don’t misconstrue, misunderstand, or perhaps GET THE WRONG IDEA about food.

When I ask Kim what she would like for breakfast, lunch or dinner, she invariably says “I don’t know.” Recently I asked her if she’d like me to make the vegetarian dish I’ll be serving for the workshops. The conversation went something like this.

“Hmmm. No, I think…” Wait for it, “I think I’ll have…” here it comes “some nice..” don’t be shocked, “Cheerios.”

Kim will eat Cheerios day and night and if you don’t believe me, ask her sister, Suzanne. It’s her default food. That and lattes.

I, however, like Calzone probably as much as she likes her Cheerios. (Well, that’s not quite right because I don’t eat it everyday.) So, even if I make them myself, I’ll make a Calzone. I did a vegetarian one the other day. When I don’t make it our local pizza parlor does a nice one. She is the same way with wine. We have similar conversations that start out, “Would you like a nice 1988 Haut Brion…”

With all due respect to Whole Foods, I think that Honest Weight, except for their produce, is just as good, especially in the dried goods department and in the cheese department. And Price Chopper comes a close second to Whole Foods in the produce department. Of course, Whole Foods’ presentation, that is marketing, is better but I don’t think the quality of their foods is that much better. Certainly they are bigger.

Kim hardly goes out food shopping and when she does she goes to our local Grand Union which is good for eggs, milk and the occasional emergencies and that’s about it. So, it’s understandable that she feels this way about Whole Foods. Actually, I think she misses California. 🙂

You know, unless we have to, we don’t get out that much. Everything happens here at the inn. As a matter of fact, Sysco and John our local fishmonger will be delivering most of our foods, produce, meat, fish, dried goods, milk, OJ, you name it. Not to mention Sofco delivers our cleaning supplies and other things like that. So, we don’t have to go anywhere for anything.

Well, there you have it. The underbelly of the inn. 😉 Now we are off to San Diego.

Not Pizza Again


It’s been a long day and Mark does not feel like doing his chef-ly duties, so he has gone out for pizza. I guess it is better than cereal once again.

I’ll be happy when the season starts and regular dinners are cooked every night.

Last week we went into NYC for a meeting of SAQA NY and stopped off at the Whole Foods Market. Mark couldn’t understand why I wanted to just go in there and look at all the fabulous fresh food. I told him that next time we come into the city we’ll have to bring a rolling suitcase so that we can cart home a load of goodies.



Our inn has 3 floors. We live on the top floor. Kim has lost weight just by going up and down the stairs. I have not lost much weight because I used to work out and run and all that and I don’t have much time for doing that.

To be fair, Kim is also eating less. I’m not. I’m probably eating more. I need to start working out. As the previous owner said to me, “I have great legs, I can out walk the best of them but I need to get in better shape.”

What is better shape?

Puff Doggy


Our dog, Spot, has had trials and tribulations left and right. Poor puppy. He’s had some many different types of cancer so many times, we’ve opened him up so many times, that he thinks we should just put a zipper in his belly and have done with it. But he’s going strong. The oncologist gave him only 6 to 8 months to live. We are now in month 4. I hope he is wrong. Kim and I think he is wrong. Spot, who is 13 and very old for such a large dog, 95+ lbs, acts more like a puppy than a mature dog.

Spot’s latest infliction is his puffy ear. He’s a thin ear dog, his breed is, and he’s developed a strong dislike for his crate, which he used to love. The last time we put Spot in his crate, he must have flapped his ear or banged his ear against the walls of the crate because a blood vessel burst in his ear filling it up. So, he had a puff ear for the longest time.

We tried having it drained. But it filled back up. Now, though, it has clotted and we had it drained again so it’s only slightly puffy.

So, Spot, or Rex the wonder dog as he likes to be called, wants to be called Puff Doggy. I don’t think that’ll last that long. I see a glint in his eye, I think he’s thinking of changing his name to P. Diggy.

Tick Tock


Well, finally got the Carriage House Studio cleared of all our boxes and art. Some of our art collection, we have over 250 pieces, is too big to bring upstairs and too big to hang downstairs. Remember, we live on the third floor. So, we need to take it off the frame. The problem is some of the paintings are oil AND WAX, acrylic AND SAND, and not just straight paintings. Ouch.

Well, we are going to San Diego to visit Adina, our daughter, who, I think I’ve mentioned is at SDSU. Well, I’m glad to be seeing her and this is the last opportunity before season but it’s time we can ill afford to take since we are so busy but it’s the last break we’ll have and seeing Adina will be great.

Tick and Tock, Tock and Tick. It’s all coming down. We open in May. First workshop is May 5th.

Inn Secret Continued

Always have multiple pairs of shoes. I have Chef clogs for inside and Merrill’s for outside, two pairs, low top and high top. I don’t need construction worker boots because I only do gentleman mucking but I do need easy to slip them on and off.

Kim has only her inside sneakers and she got into the muck. I had to turn the outside water on so she could clean off. That’s my sweetheart!

Inn Secret


You are never closed. When you go downstairs, you need to be ready for the day. Always take a shower before you go down. Well, I just finished my shower so I violated that rule. However, since we are closed for April, boohoo, in order to get ready for May, I don’t have to cook so I don’t have to ready. Rather, I have to be ready to muck or talk to muckers or handle muck.

So, I delayed my shower.

Kim just walked in with a bottle that they found digging. This is the 4th bottle. Wait Kim just said they have a bunch. The title on it is “The Great Dr. Kilmer’s Swamp Root Kidney, Liver and Bladder Cure”. I have to go down and dig them up. Looks like I should have delayed even longer.

I told the construction workers not to wash them off. Just like an inn. Right after I showered, I have to go muck! And muck in HISTORICAL BOTTLES!!! JOY!

This is fun. What a blast. Gotta go and muck! 😉

Kim, my beloved

I’m glad to see my ficticious wife decided to post. She was up before I was and already had that latte before I even was able to walk the dog, Spot. I don’t put him on the leash. However, I do have to have tight rein on him because of the construction are and the backhoe.

Kim writes in her journal about one or twice a week and has a many, many books. She also writes eBooks. Check out her website Crazy By Design and buy a book. Or better, by a quilt. You need art in your life.

I’m alive!


Yes, I am really here, too. Just thought I needed to write a quick post to the blog I suggested creating so that you would know that Mark wasn’t just here alone and making me up. LOL

I don’t know where Mark finds the time to write, either. I was going to write a longer blog, but discovered upon going to this site that Mark had already written not one new post from last night, but two — so of course, that meant I had to spend the time to read them, which in turn meant I had less time to write my own post.

I spend what seems like 6 to 8 hours, sometimes more, in the office on the computer and off every day, so when I have “time off”, sitting down at the computer to write is not the first thing I think of. Besides, I also have my own paper journal to write. (I love the “feel” of paper that has been filled with words. Is that wierd?)

I think Spring is actually here to stay. The purple crocus are blooming in the front yard and the trees look like the buds are about to burst. We want to go out this weekend to buy some trees to plant — marking our first year at the inn. We will get some cherry trees (in honor of our beloved dog Cherry who did not live long enough to see Greenville) and a dogwood (in honor of my first dog, Cherokee). We will have to put up fencing around the trees to keep the deer at bay until the trees grow tall enough.

I am still trying to catch sight of the deer on our property, they leave plenty of evidence to show that they have been here. So far I’ve only seen them once when I was out walking Spot in the evening. I see plenty of deer everywhere else. And of course, I would love to catch sight of a woodchuck!

Father Time, Mother Blog


So, my brother John asked me where do I find the time. I mean to give you all my secrets on how to survive an inn. For starters, I went to bed at midnight and got up at 7:00. (Naps during the day help.) While I was up here blogging, Kim was down on the second floor knitting. So, we each do a little something with our spare, ha, ha, ha, free, , time. I’m blogging now and Kim is making espresso. (Right, some habits die hard. I drink only decaf but I love the taste of my mochacino in the morning. With soy milk, of course.)

What really saves me time? There is way too much to write about, Kim, our cross country trip with Spot, buying the inn, creating new workshops, art quilt, Spot, rural New York.

For instance, rural New York. Greenville is a small town but I don’t think it’s that much different from Los Altos, CA. Los Altos thought like a small town and the city council was as much a pain in the butt to us as people tell me that the town board here is. Now mind you, I haven’t had any problems and don’t have any first hand knowledge so I don’t want to pass along rumors. Having said that, I’ll stick to what I know and that’s mostly Los Altos.

In Los Altos, we tried to build a nice two story house. As we tried to build our dream house, we were sent anonymous threats. The picture of us in the story isn’t a very good one. Now, we live in a historic three story house. Anyway, Los Altos, though city like, always thought of itself as rural because it didn’t have sidewalks. Can you beat that? We’re talking Silicon Valley here where houses are in the millions of dollars for a quarter acre. To sum up, our welcome to Greenville, New York was much more heartfelt then our life in Los Altos and we even got a great article in the Greenville Press.

Anyway, Greenville doesn’t feel like a small town. Sure it’s in the woods, as my vet told me, but… This is worth repeating. My vet is a great guy, Dr. Knee. He’s good with Spot and likes him. Spot likes Dr. Knee though he hates going to the vet’s. Anyway, on my first visit to the vet’s, Dr. Knee asked where I lived and when I told him Greenville, he said, “Oh, out in the trees.”

When I remarked that there were a lot of trees between Greenville and New Baltimore, he said, “Yeah, but we have the Thruway.” New Baltimore and Coxsackie (pronounced CookSackie) is an exit (21B) off the New York Thruway where as Greenville is 20 mins away from the Thruway. So, we’re out in the trees. 🙂 Coxsackie is a whole story unto itself. Another post, perhaps.

Anyway, the people here are fun, nice people who live “out in the trees” but close enough to Albany (30 mins) to make it a day trip and yet far enough away to preserve a country life. After all, we own a country inn. So, Kim and I have the best of both worlds. We’re only 2 hours from New York and every Wednesday I drive to Madison New Jersey to practice martial arts. That’s only 2 hours away on the Thruway. In LA, 2 hours would be a trip to the corner store. In Silicon Valley, I used to take forty-five minutes to walk to work. The longest commute I ever had was one and half hours to Documentum because of road construction. Right, road construction to make it quicker to commute to work.

Now, I live where I work. Sort of like consulting. 😉

Remember, there is a huge art community here both of locals, naturalized locals, as the Texans say, and recently moved from New York (City) locals. Greenville is very sophisticated while being countrified. Just the way we like it. Kim couldn’t wait to move from California. Why? You might ask. That’s another post. She should tell you her own story.

So, life is good and I live in the trees here at the Arms. Come visit but remember, we’ll charge you. 🙂

BTW, when I say “New York” I mean New York City or The City. The City is no only SF. It’s now NYC. 😉

Pop goes the Woodchuck

InnSane Why is this here? Aren’t you already here? %-}

BTW, did I mention that the drill hit one of our underground power lines. The one that goes from the Carriage house to the Cottage. Big, thick, multistrand powerline. When the drill hit it made a large crack and pop that sounded like a gun shot or a drill going through a lead pipe. (Our transformer for the two out buildings is 15KBS! Ouch.)

Funny thing was there was no pipe, just power lines running enough current…well, you get the idea. The popping noise was…??? Remember the current and high voltage?

However, we are back on track, my contractor Jeff is going to fix the power lines though it wasn’t his fault that the driller skewered the power lines. The driller was good but why didn’t he call for a markout of all the power lines?

It’s something like that that makes me crazy mad, bad mad, crazy bad mad!

Actually, no. I took it all in stride. Just another day at the inn. 🙂

Of Drilling and Men

Hello again…

Kim has been too busy to write in our joint blog so it’s up to me to fill the void on the internet.

As I refered to in the previous posting, we expanded the business into the Winter. To do this, we had to do a million things. Our property has a great house on it, built by William Vanderbuilt as his country house, and later turned into an inn. On this property are the Cottages and the Carriage House. The Cottages are new construction and are insulated and have heat. The Carriage House was not. So, Kim and I spent the last three month and lots of money insulating the Carriage House, putting in central heating, and, this is amazing, having a driller come out and drill from one side of our property, 8 feet under our wide creek and come up inside the house, so that we may bury our water lines and have insulated water.

We had a multidirectional drill here, a large rig, drilling from one side of our property, accross our stream, to the other side, central heating, lots of work, the place has been swamped with construction workers, and in the midst of all this chaos, we have to get ready for our first season.

What does it mean to “get ready for season”? Well, we have to continue our marketing, our web marketing, lining up Winter art workshop instructors for 2006 including the fiber artists, 2007 instructors and yes, even 2008 instructors but because of our expanded season, we have to line up not just 24 classes but 39. Six Winter Landscape Workshops and nine Fiber Art Workshops as well as our twenty-four legacy Art Workshops that we bought with the inn. (Check out our 2005 line up, too!!!!)

On top of this, we process incoming enrollments, inn guest (we closed for April because there was just too much to do), Kim has to run the office, front and back, I have to get the menus prepared, practice dishes, go to wine tastings (hey, someone has to do it ;), I recently went to a great Burgundy tasting, red and white, and then create a wine menu, pair dishes with wine, keep the kitchen, the house, the grounds, the dog clean and fix the hundred and one things that always need to be fixed while moving forward to the start of the season. Kim is head of housekeeping. I’m head of the kitchen, actually Chef de Cuisine, %-), and in charge of the dining room as well as the grounds and the houses, and thus in charge of the contractors including the wild drillers!

The staff is cleaning like mad as the driller drills and the backhoe digs and all this while the water and electricity is shut down.

Whew! What a blast! 🙂

Inn joke for next post: our company is called Woodchuck Ventures, Inc. because Kim loves woodchucks and squirrels and, you get the picture..

In the beginning

Well, hello…

Kim and I have journeyed against the sun, from California to New York, gave up a life in Silicon Valley, boohoo, to become innkeepers in Greenville New York at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn. Not only did we become innkeepers but we also took over a very well run art workshops business.

Wow, what a change. My family has been in the restaurant biz and also in the inn biz for over 50 years so I was ready. Kim is a Fiber Artist, read Art Quilt, and both of us have plenty of high pressure Silly Valley experience. Oh, yes. Yes we do. And yes we love long hours, no sleep and plenty of all consuming work. That’s the absolute in requirements for us. We are the all-consuming-types. Example, if I can be brutal for a second, we expanded the workshops.

We did more than expand the workshops. After buying the lodging (inn) business and the art workshops business, we immediately, no risk, right, expanded the business to include both a NEW Winter Workshop Series but also to include Fiber Art and Art Quilt Workshops. Is that Inn Sane or what? So, we were both ready.

Kim has a retail business and has been a technical writer, a realtor, a quilt artist, you name it. Me? I’ve been only one thing, well two things, I’ve worked in High Tech, consultant, programmer, VP of Engineering, COO, CEO, and I had a paper route. As a matter of fact, Kim and I wrote a great business plan, the banks say so, and one of the things that attracted the banks most was that I put, on my resume, that I had a paper route. It was a monster paper route after all. 150 dailies and 250 Sundays. Big route.

Spot, our dog, who traveled against the sun with us, says “woof”, which means “hi” in doggie.

Later you’ll hear from Kim.