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Posts tagged ‘hospitality’



The main character in

Victoria’s Valentine,

our family’s V-Day tale this year.


“Victoria” is really “Delilah.” Age: 5+ years here.

Owner/Rescuer: Darlene Serpa, Serpentine Saint Bernards,

Saint Bernard Rescue Foundation, Clearlake, California.

Source: Darlene

Hotels and Resorts: It’s Halloween Time!

For their young Halloween guests, most hotels and resorts host some scary activities and events.

A lead painter friend is on the staff of a 350-room hotel that goes all out.


Four years ago, Marco and the rest of the engineering staff converted a 12 feet by 24 feet wood and steel storage shed into a 3-room children’s playhouse.


For Halloween each year, the “residence” is turned into a “Haunted House.” Complete with ghosts swinging from the chandelier, skeletons jumping out of closets, witches brewing huge round caldrons of brew – Apple Cider – for the young guests.


Originally, the storage building was purchased with money raised through fundraisers.


Marco and Ben, the night painter, had painted and decorated the playhouse.


For the “Haunted House” project, they put together a team of very enthusiastic helpers.


  1. Front desk host and two housekeepers sewed sheer, glittering nylon net gowns for the lady skeletons, and outfitted men skeletons in sea captains’ uniforms. Note: Also they made a giant octopus with an eye patch and crutch, and a shark with a mouth that opened.
  2. Two maintenance techs made a guillotine that slammed shut over a long-haired skeleton. Note: Also they created creaking, tipping floorboards and wobbly, levitating outdoor  and fence sections.
  3. Chief engineer and hotel concierge built an ingenious ladder that lowered from the ceiling with a massive growling bear-headed skeleton.
  4. G.M. and I.T. director installed a weird combination music and eerie sounds’ system.
  5. People in sales created scary 3-D posters and banners advertising the “Haunted House.”
  6. Purchasing director and assistant engineer made the ceiling fixtures sway and turned two candleabras into dancing, shrieking ghosts.
  7. Several housekeepers turned old sheets into ghosts that stood on the roofs, or swept down into the paths of unprepared children.
  8. A large group of staff turned out on a Sunday afternoon to help bake hundreds and hundreds of pumpkin sugar cookies, mini cinnamon bars and multi-colored mini sandwich cookies.
  9. The day before the Haunted House was to open, the engineering team fixed it so the playhouse couch and chairs would rock back and forth, even levitate from the floor.


This year, Marco and Ben have added a few knee-jerkers and blood-curtlers to the “Haunted House.” They painted the walk so it appears that it is dipping, moving and disappearing under the children’s feet as they try to walk to the House. Also they’ve created a tub of bubbling apple heads that rise out of the water and swoop around in the air.


An old ladder has been splotched and splattered in reflective Bright blood red paint. And half “heads” and finger-missing “hands” rise out of table tops and the countertop.


Marco calls this year’s “Haunted House” a staff masterpiece.


“We’re open evenings only, from 6 to 9. Our “Haunted House” welcomes all children to ages 14, or 5 feet height. And, every guest leaves with a “Trick or Treat Bag” that contains two large cookies, two snack-sized candy bars and a juice box. We have ‘Apple-Head’ or ‘Grape-Blood’…”


Do you need any helpers, Marco and Ben?


Have a super fun and memorable Halloween, everyone!



Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Lodging: Roadside Cabins.


Chapman Cabins, Fort Wayne, Indiana

My great aunt and Scottish uncle liked to stay overnight in roadside, or tourist, cabins when they traveled in the Midwest. These were small, one room cottages located along state and U. S. roads. And, they were clustered around a check-in office, sometimes inside the manager’s or owner’s home.


You couldn’t have asked for better amenities for the price.


  1. Each cabin was convenient, with a drive-up-to-the-door driveway and parking.
  2. Rates were affordable, as low as 75 cents or $1.00 a night.
  3. They were available for rent by the night, week, or month.
  4. Privacy was moderate, with 15 to 25 feet of grassy knolls between each cabin;
  5. Trees provided shade and added privacy.
  6. An attached front porch may have been added to larger, more costly cabins.
  7. Cabins came furnished: bed, dresser, nightstand, lamps, bedding and linens; small dinette table and chairs; hot plate, a few pots and pans, dishes, and table service.
  8. Sometimes, small army cots were available for children.
  9. More expensive cabins had a small bathroom, with a porcelain bath tub or built-in shower stall, wall-hung medicine cabinet, mirror, and storage cabinet.
  10. The owners or managers were always friendly and lived on the property, in a home set away from the row of cabins.
  11. Access to a telephone was available for important calls.
  12. The cabins provided a cozy, informal and intimate place to relax and recharge.



Often, the exteriors of the wood-framed cabins were painted a chalk white. Other popular colors were yellow, mint green, and light blue. Some were trimmed in bright colors.


Interior walls were painted a chalk white enamel with matching trim and baseboard. Home-sewn gingham, dotted Swiss, checked, or poplin curtains hung at the windows. Floors were hardwood, and covered in linoleum or area rugs. Colorful, durable rag rugs were a favorite.


Between the 1920s and 1950s, they were very popular. The favorite of traveling sales representatives and district sales directors that needed to cover big territories.


Often, the roadside, or tourist, cabins were the only form of affordable lodging in the area. It was common for over fifty to seventy-five miles to set between large towns, with perhaps a modest hotel there. In fact, oil companies such as Conoco and Texaco published free travel brochures that listed “approved” cabin lodging.


Movies popularized the roadside cabins, too. Film makers put top stars in hilarious scenes, set at and inside these cozy getaways. These cabins tended to be embellished for film with bright red, green, blue or even purple window shutters, lush flower beds and porches, with wicker seating and fancy railings. A more modern version was featured in a military romantic comedy starring John Wayne.


Deserted tourist cabins, Flatrock River, near Geneva, Indiana

Today, few examples remain of this relaxing, private form of roadside lodging.


As recently as 2014, an Indiana relative and wife had come across a few abandoned tourist cabins during their “back road” travels. Two in Central Indiana, another in western Ohio. Their retirement avocation – looking for out-of-the-way antique shops located in the Midwest – takes them past out-of-the-way and obsolete lodgings.


In 2012, a small group of “millennials” talked about reviving this nostalgic style of lodging. They looked for small land parcels. Five to fifteen acres along county roads and state highways.


But, the money – potential revenue – couldn’t be guaranteed today, in the 21st century. Too, in this super fast, super tech world, who would want to “stay in a modest cabin, situated on a slow moving, out-of-the-way road?


Some ancestral stops are worth remembering and researching, but not worth reviving.


Jeff Kamm has written that, between 1920 and 1954, these cabins were predecessors to the roadside motels and hotels such as Holiday Inn, Howard Johnson’s Motor Inn, Best Western, and Days Inn. Kamm has used his extensive hospitality management background to research roadside motels and hotels, including tourist cabins. He is operations manager of International Center, in Indianapolis, and former general manager for properties in the Marriott and Radisson families.


For more information: (1) Cabin Camp Project; (2) Indiana Lincoln Highway Association; (3) National Road to Route 40; and (4)



Would you stay several nights in a roadside cabin, situated by a remote state road?



Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

Paola the Painter’s As Told-To Story from Madrid


For her fifteenth birthday, Teresa wanted “patriotic” walls. The colors of her country, Spain: Red and Gold. In two weeks, she was having a sleep-over. She wanted her bedroom to be perfect.


So, her father, Mario, called his brother, Stefan, at the hotel, where he worked as Concierge II.


“Leave this to me,” Stefan told his brother.


Two days later, Paola, house painter, arrived at the two-story flat on Av de Pablo, near Retiro District, in Madrid. He carried an arm load of empty boxes into the house.


Clearing out the space…


He removed the teenager’s posters and pictures, taped to the walls of her room. He placed her treasures into boxes. He removed the sheets, coverlet and pillows from her bed, and put them safely into the largest box.


Paola rolled up Teresa’s faded green rug. He pushed her furniture to the center of the room. He covered them with “three large old sheets.”


Next, he hurried down to his economie automobile. He returned, carrying supplies: three buckets of paint, brushes, a roller, and three covers; a large dropcloth; a new 6-foot stepladder; and, a long narrow cardboard box. A curious, retired neighbor man volunteered to help.


The painter stretched out the dropcloth, careful to cover the wood floor from corner to corner. He began to ready his supplies.


Teresa’s Surprise No. 1…


Teresa returned home late that evening. After her classes, and part-time job at the family la panaderia (bakery). Wide painter’s masking tape stretched across the doorway of her room. A large sign was posted onto the door.


“Teresa, Sleep with your sister tonight. Love, Mama and Poppo.”


Paola began the work…


First, he dusted, sanded and wiped off every surface to be finished.


Next, Paola painted…


  1. He painted the top half of three walls a “delicate” Yellow Gold. Equivalent to Lily SW 6693. In semi-gloss latex


  1. Then, he painted the bottom. half of three walls. Walls 1 and 2: “Deepened Red.” Equivalent to Real Red SW 6869; Wall 3: “Deepened Sun Gold. “ Equivalent to Glitzy Gold SW 6691.


  1. He installed wallpaper on Wall 4: Narrow bright Yellow-Gold stripes on bright White background. (Paper had subtle sheen.)


  1. Next, mid-way on all four walls, he nailed in place railing strips. Painted bright White. The railing was Paola’s personal gift to Teresa.


  1. Last, he painted the door frame, window trim, and baseboards that same “lightened” Yellow Gold, SW 6693. Paint: High-gloss latex.


Teresa’s Birthday Surprise…


By the time Teresa returned home from classes the next day, a big surprise waited. Her mother and sister smiled. Her father sat in the kitchen, waiting.


“Hi, Mama. Poppo, you’re early from work. Did something happen?” They only smiled back.


She walked down the hall to her bedroom. Her parents and sister followed. The sign and tape had been removed from her door. She opened the door. A loud scream filled the air.




The “patriotics” of her beloved Spain filled the room. From the ceiling to the floor.


The Finishing Touches to Teresa’s Room…


Over Teresa’s old bed laid a quilted coverlet and matching pillow shams. Fabric: Cotton Chintz. Colors and Pattern: dainty Red Carnation floral .Window curtains, made of the same fabric, hung at her tall window. The pieces were a special gift from Uncle Stefan. Paola’s wife, a seamstress, had made them.


Younger sister, Traci, handed her a package. “These are for you. I made them. Mama helped.”


Inside were three small, square pillows. One was covered in a solid Red nubby fabric, one in a solid shiny Gold, the third in a bright Lime Green.


Tears spilled from the teenager’s eyes. Lately, she’d been feeling overwhelmed. Unappreciated, too. (Her schedule.)


What a difference a little paint job made in a teenager’s life!


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Paint something for a young person in your life. Send a smile into her or his soul.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

The Best Exotic Majestic Hotel – and Your Hotel/Resort

Young co-hotelier Sonny Kapoor’s Best Exotic Majestic Hotel* in Jaipur, India, receives a new investor, and a new co-manager. And, every surface of the run-down, once budget-starved property receives a fresh new coat of paint. Every area graced by a decorator’s new and distinctive touches.


Illustrating the point that even one fresh coat of paint can do wonders for any hotel or lodging property. Performing miracles, in fact!

… to hoteliers, general managers, directors of engineering, and painters with older hotels. Properties that are basically sound, structurally.


Perhaps, your budget can’t afford to cover for a complete aesthetic facelift – at one time. Like the Best Exotic Majestic Hotel received eventually.


You can afford to repaint every public surface. One area… one corridor… one guest room… one activity room… one restroom… one conference room at a time. If need be, one wall at a time!


In fact, you cannot afford not to commit to this on-going project. You cannot afford not to budget the funds, time, and staff labor to do this.



In the short-run…


Bringing your property up to speed, little-by-little, places less of a strain on the operations and investment budgets.


1. It requires less no-booking time and down time for the accommodations and amenities.


2. It demands less use of a staff painter’s clock-time and skills at once.


3. And, it reduces guest and visitor complaints, “comps,” and refunds.



In the long-run…


Bringing your property up to speed, little-by-little, leaves only the major projects to budget with large capital commitments. Based on your priorities, plans, pre-set schedules, and availability.



Three keys to a hotel painter’s quality control…


1. Any hotel painter can do a very decent job at keeping his or her property in shape within a continuously-funded paint maintenance budget.


2. Most hotel painters can do a satisfactory job at getting his or her property back in good public shape, with a regular basic facelift project budget, at his or her disposal.


3. A handful of hotel painters can do a splendid job of pulling off a major facelift, little-by-little. With an inconsistent, unsupported and poorly funded budget.


Miracle performers like that do not come along very often. And, they don’t stay. Not even with historic places like the Best Exotic Majestic Hotel.


* The Pearl Palace Heritage Guesthouse, in Jaipur, served as a location for both “Exotic Majestic Hotel” movies. Since the production of the first film in 2012, it has enjoyed record-high occupancy. On a consistent basis.


Alas, its primary owner has been able to restore the property. He has added many traditional amenities, that make it a favorite stay for Jaipur tourists and visitors.


Go! Enjoy! Taste!


And, if you time it right, you will be there when a cast or crew member of either the 2012 film, or its 2015 sequel, is visiting, too.


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“The only real thing is the thing yet to try…” Evelyn, played  by Judy Dench.

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Many thanks for stepping out, and taking a chance. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.


Since childhood, I’ve been collecting “Smokey the Bear” stuffed animals. The collection includes two first editions. One made in the late 1960s, the other in the early 1970s.


All except two of the forest ranger bears were manufactured by Knickerbocher in New York, New York.


Over the years, the “Smokeys” received treatment deserving of such “naturalists.” They had their own custom-designed furniture, crafted from oak and pine woods.


. Park bench – 20-inches high by 36-inches long by 8-inches deep.

Description: Painted forest green, semi-gloss latex, Mfgr,: Sherwin-Williams; “Smokey” belt buckle etching on front cross-brace of back, 50 percent grey matte acrylic, Mfgr.: Liquitex.


. Side chair – 18-inches high by 10-inches wide by 8-inches deep.

Description: Clear primer/sealer, low-gloss clear polyurethane finish, Mfgr.: Minwax. Carved poinsettia back panel, painted crimson red and tinted forest green acrylic, Mfgr.: Liquitex.


. Bunk bed – 21-inches long by 12-inches wide by 18-inches high.

Description: Mattresses, posts painted Bright white semi-gloss latex; Mfgr.: Sherwin-Williams. Curved headboards, painted light bark brown background, with the “Smokey” logo name painted custom-tinted blue-grey acrylic; Mfgr.: Liquitex.


Young neighbor children liked to play “gently” with a few of the “Smokeys,” while their mothers stopped by to discuss a problem with someone.


Most of the Smokey the Bears sit safely, in a display wall cabinet.


On Halloween, “Smokey No. 7”, a custom designed, handcrafted 36-inch high model, sits in a white captain’s chair at the front door. Holding a large aluminum bowl of trick-or-treat candy in his lap. Even the teenagers grin, when they see “Smokey,” and they help themselves to two or three snack-sized candy bars.


In December of 2014, six of my “Smokey the Bears” were donated to Goodwill Industries for a fundraiser. They were clear-wrap sealed in pairs, to generate higher prices.


A running search on e-Bay and Google+ for another original edition of “Smokey the Bear” is checked at least monthly. Like with any collectible, the “Smokeys” turn up some interesting people. And stories.


My most recently purchased “Smokey,” circa 1975, came from the Los Angeles area. A lady who was once in the film industry. I’m waiting for a “Smokey” to arrive from California. Given as a birthday gift to a gold record musician, the 1972 bear is being given as a birthday gift to me.


Per agreement with the seller, this “Smokey the Bear” will remain with the rest of the group here. And, the entire group will be donated to a Central Indiana community’s local historical museum. “When the time comes…”


Bears, it may be time to build a bigger park bench.


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“Only you can prevent forest fires.”     “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

                                                                                                                  …. “Smokey the Bear”

Note: Smoke the Bear is the trademark property of the National Park Service.

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Have a safe September, everyone. And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Budget Cuts: Something to Work Around, and With!


Tools and supplies: “Buy in bulk.” They cost less that way, normally. And, you will use those brushes and roller covers every day!

Careful! That includes sandpaper, caulking, spackling, masking tape and paper, clean rags, and breathing masks. Oh well, the price has just gone up.


The message here: You can only do so much in order to save and show increased profits. It has always been standard policy to expense out certain unavoidable things that come off the top. If you try and change that equation, here is where “debt” shows its ugly face. But let’s not go there unless we have to do so.


What do you do then?


Every month, you will have fixed costs that have to be paid. Sometimes, there will be “additional” costs that you won’t see coming. Don’t anticipate. Plan!


Make sure you have a “basic” ledger for your accounts. Include “Accounts Receivable” and “Accounts Payable.” Don’t forget accounts for “Petty cash,” “insurances,” and “Taxes.”


Every cost, expenditure, and outlay of cash must be accounted for.


Here are some general guidelines to help you work through those budget cuts.


1. Never assume, or absorb, the cost of the needed project products and materials yourself.

Make certain that those items are paid for up front, by the customer, before the work begins. No cost to you.  Examples: Primer, paint, stain, varnish, wallcovering.


2. Figure in the cost of all related items. Include them in your project estimate or projection presented to, and agreed upon by, the consumer.

Try not to overlook the “small stuff.” It can add up fast, without you knowing it.  Examples: Vehicle gas, oil, and repairs; faxing, long-distance calls.

TIP: Get that agreement in writing, before you start any phase of the project.


3. On a weekly basis, update your ledger. Prepare payments to creditors at the same time. Generate a reliable system that works for you. One with a low margin for error.


4. Properly schedule and “budget” the money for equipment repair and maintenance.

Ensure that the equipment, and more expensive tools, which you count on most to do the work, will operate correctly and efficiently. When you need them! Do not let them become neglected, and inoperable.  Examples: Spray guns and hoses, compressors, power washers, scaffolding, etc.


5. Account for your time. That is the largest part of a budget. Generally, you can charge (1) by the “hour,” (2) as part of your “salary,” or (3) by the project. Whichever method you choose, charge according to the gross and net incomes that you require to provide for your business and personal needs.

6. Figure in  total operating cost, plus 20-30 percent profit; divide by 30. This is the amount of gross revenue that you need to pull in every day to succeed.

7. Pay your creditors promptly, and regularly.

8. Remember: Greed and irresponsibility do not make a good budget.



A painting budget is like most other budgets. Simplify it as best you can.



Build your net profit slowly over time.


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Stay afloat! Budget safely!  Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


Every Hotel’s/Facility’s Team Member Can Learn Something from Its Painter: Part 1

Hotel/facility painters get noticed. Often! In their “whites,” they are recognized easily. During any work day, they are watched by various teammates. Certain teammates or managers tend to be regular observers.

What can you learn from your hotel or facility painter? Here are some possible clues – and tips.


1. How to select the right products or materials for the job.


A.  Surface/”substrate” type: New, bare wood; old, painted wood; varnished wood; metal, brick, stone, concrete; covered with wallcovering ( paper, vinyl, flock, foil, etc.).

B.  Surface’s current color: Light, dark; bleed-through; solid, patterned; new, faded.

C.  Area’s purpose: One-person use; high or low traffic; interior or exterior; kitchen, children; entry/exit; garage; basement, stairs, stairway.

D.  Budget: Tight-One coat of paint! Flexible-Primer, one finish coat. Big-Top-quality job.

E.  Job’s required life-span: 1 year or less; 2-3 years; indefinitely.


2. How to determine and estimate amount of paint needed. Be on the safe side: Buy extra.


A.  Walls: Measure two walls. Multiply numbers. Example: 10-ft. x14-ft. = 140 sq. ft. room

(1)  To paint light color over light, or dark over light:

Coverage needed: 140 sq. ft. + 50 sq. ft. (1/3) = 190 sq. ft.

(2)  To paint light color over darker, or over wallcovering:

Coverage needed: 280 sq. ft. (double sq. ft) + 140 sq. ft. (1/2) = 420 sq. ft.

B.  Molding or trim: Measure running length (linear feet). 3 lin. ft. = 1 sq. ft. wall space.

C.  At the paint store, read the label on the pain can that you plan to purchase. Look for “Covers” or “Coverage.” Compare to your estimate, also the type of area you’re painting.


3. How to set up the area to be painted.


A.  Protecting floor, carpet or tile with dropcloths or old sheeting.

B.  Moving furniture, lamps, plants out of way; cover with dropcloths or sheeting.

C.  Using masking paper and tape to protect windows, trim, brick/marble, special surfaces.


4. How to prepare – “prep” a surface to be refinished.


A.  Covering and protecting adjacent surfaces and areas with masking paper and tape.

B.  Selecting products based on surface/“substrate.”       See No. 1 above.

C.  Considering surface damage amount and type – eg. scratches, gouges, holes, cracks.

D.  Choosing caulking product. Running smooth, full beads with caulking gun.

E.  Repairing small gouge in the wall – product and tool(s) to use.

F.  Filling holes, cracks, etc. How much product to use?

G.  Using a putty knife to smooth filler even with the surface

H.  Holding/grasping tool for maximum control and flexibility; making right strokes.


5. How to apply a primer paint on a new surface, before finish coating.


A.  Selecting primer product and color suitable to finishes- white, tan, gray, black.

B.  Applying spray primer versus primer from a can. Which to use when?

C.  Painting up and down? In same direction? Back and forth? At an angle?

D.  Taking short, light strokes, or long strokes? Or, plastering it on?

E.  Waiting between coats, if one coat does not cover. How long?

F.  Finishing “prep” area, so the finish coat will adhere well – and last.


6. How to apply a finish coat of paint.


A.  Checking paint in can for lumps, clumps, paint strings, etc. Mixing paint again.

B.   Testing can of spray paint for flow, consistency, viscosity.

C.   Selecting brush(es): nylon/polyester bristle, China bristle, etc. (Many choices!)

(1)  Bristle width that will fit area: 2-inch, 2 ½-inch, 3-inch, 4-inch.

(2)  Bristle edge that fits surface: squared, curved, angled, sharp corner, dipped.

(3)  Brush handle length and “gripper” that you can manage.

(4)  Checking for loose or worn bristles in brush – used and new ones.

D.  Selecting rollers: Short or long handle; narrow, middie, or wider base roller.

E.  Choosing cover and nap type, density. Basing on product and surface traits. See No. 1.

(1)  Cover nap: New rollers before buying; used rollers before using again.

(2)  Brushing/rolling methods: Suit to surface, area size/layout, product, drying time.

F.  Cleaning up as-you-paint: spills, drips, splotches, trails, etc.

**  Note: Using a spray gun system calls for a completely different set of skills, abilities and savvy.


7. How to prep a used surface for re-painting.


A.  Washing all old surfaces first.

B.  Fully sanding, caulking and patching surface/area as needed.

C.  Applying primer, or first coat of the finish product.


8. How to re-paint a previously painted surface.


A.  Assessing condition of the surface – and area.

B.  Lightly sanding, also caulking and spackling imperfections in, the surface.

C.  Selecting and using roller cover with a nap size similar to the one used before.

** TIP: Looking at roller “stipple” (pattern left on surface before) to determine size used.

D.  Brushing: Using long strokes, and laying paint on evenly.

E.  Rolling: Using uniform motion; slightly overlapping each previous edge (stroke).


9. How to prep a used surface for re-finishing – eg. varnished wood.


A.  For painting:

(1)   Completely sanding surface to dull existing finish.

(2)  Wiping down surface with liquid sandpaper, or rubbing alcohol.

B.  For staining:

(1)  Using different color: Removing clear finish with paint stripper. Then, sanding surface in multiple stages.

(2)  Removing darker color before staining with lighter color. Doing what’s needed.

(3)  Protecting the wood’s integrity. Doing your best.

(4)  Be careful – and patient!


10. How to stain and seal a new wood surface.


A.  Choosing stain product: Depends on extent – size and complexity – of project.

B.  Sanding lightly. Making certain that all marks or discolorations are sanded out.

C.  Applying stain heavily to surface. Using rags, cotton towel, or sponge.

D.  Letting stain soak in.

E.  Waiting till the stain feels slightly “tacky” – sticky.

F.  Applying sealer with a brush, roller or spray gun.


11. How to varnish or finish coat a new wood surface.


A.  Using spray finishing system for optimum finish.

B.  Spraying multiple thin coats, rather than one heavy coat.

C.  Letting solvent evaporate before applying second coat of finish. A MUST!


Whatever information or tips you glean from your hotel/facility painter is really up to YOU.
Fact-finding TIPS:
1. Be specific. Tell your painter about the project: room/area; layout, approximate square footage; type of surface/”substrate,” surface age and condition; area’s main uses; budget.

2. Be honest. Tell your painter who will be doing the work. Will it be YOU? Let him or her know what painting, refinishing, and/ or papering projects you’ve done. How did they turn out?

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Read Part 2: “Every Hotel’s/Facility’s Team Member Can Learn Something from Its Painter”

Wallcovering Tips; Special Things to Look For; Questions to Ask, and Not Ask, Your Painter.”

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Have a “fresh outlook-ing” day. Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

The World of Orchids and Hotel GM William and Wife

William (not real name) served as general manager of the Contemporary Hotel within Walt Disney World in Florida. He and his wife grew hybrid orchids (orchidaceae). Periodically, they hung some, with special hooks, from the limbs of the only shade tree in their back yard.

From my mother’s Cracker House two doors down the street, I’d gaze at the couple’s beautiful orchids. Each flower so thin and delicate, like fine parchment. Its petals painted in graduated hues of pastel blues, purples, pinks, yellows, crèmes, whites. Some petals edged in a sharply-contrasted primary or secondary color, such as cranberry red.

I learned how orchids, like so many floral genus, are to be admired and displayed. Some look best as a hanging plant. Any of the tall, long stemmed genus make an impressive presentation in a tall, fluted crystal vase. The fuller clustered variety looks elegant in a wrist or shoulder corsage.

 William and I spoke little to each other between 1995 and 1998. We said or waved “hello” on the mornings that we left for work at the same time. From time to time, he asked for product advice related to painting specific exterior or interior areas of his home.

One thing was clear to each of us about the other: Respectively, we loved our work, and were very good at it.

Our mutual love of nature was apparent, too. Our shared interest in horticulture was referred to periodically. Our knowledge of ornithology – particularly, orchidology – was not. And, we never mentioned that orchids grew in each of our family trees.

I did know that the father of William’s wife lived on the East coast, and that he was recognized for his hybrid orchids. Breeding and cross-breeding them. Clearly, William’s wife possessed a keen understanding of the plant species. Its sensitive nature, its intricate relationship with the soil, and its precise requirements for planting, propagating, growing, and harvesting.

My exposure to orchids had been minimal. A sister, mother, aunts, grandmothers, etc. had only worn them. In corsages. For school proms, commencements, weddings, and anniversaries. No one in my immediate family had grown orchids. Or so I thought.

Credit: reichenbachiasmall.jpg.

ENTER: Heinrich Gottlieb Ludwig Reichenbach (1783-1879) and Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach (1823-1889). Over ten years after William and his wife sold their starter home, and moved the family onto a property with plenty of growing room.

Heinrich Gottlieb was a botanist, eminent ornithologist and orchid specialist. The author and illustrator of over fifteen botanical works, he had three orchids named after him.

Heinrich Gustav was an ornithologist, botanist and orchidologist, who specialized in the pollen of orchids. The world’s leading authority on orchids, he identified specimens from around the world, and recorded them in his “copious notes and drawings.”

By the genealogical “complacency” of my youth, I missed the opportunity to show William and his wife copies of the Reichenbach ornithology and orchidology works in my grandfather’s library. I missed the opportunity, at a later date, to present them with one of those books. As a special gift.

For certain, William and his family would have enjoyed reading and referring to Heinrich Gottlieb and Henrich Gustav’s notes. They would have enjoyed every opportunity to examine the many detailed drawings of the plants. They would have appreciated owning even a small part of that rare collection of ornithology works.

Postscript: It should be noted that Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach became the center of immense conflict. According to the terms of his peculiar will, Reichenbach’s entire herbarium was bequeathed to Vienna, vs. Kew, to be locked away for twenty-five years.not Kew. If Vienna did not abide by the request, the costly collection would pass on to Harvard, or finally to the Jardin des Pantes.

Special Thanks to Good Samaritan Hotel/Motel General Managers – and Staffs!

Kissimmee, Florida – In January and February of 2014, The Osceola News-Gazette published a series of articles about the “homeless problem” in Osceola County, Florida. The Op-Ed piece here was submitted to the editor for publication in “YOUR VIEW.” The cover letter, shorter in length, made it on page 5 of the Saturday, March 15 edition. The submission/blog that follows here did not. It’s being posted here, because “Good Samaritan” hotel general managers and their staffs live around the world. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thanks to the help of a caring group of hotel and motel general managers (GMs), and staffs, along U. S. 192 in Osceola County, countless numbers of homeless families – many with young children – have been sheltered, fed, clothed, and protected since the economic downturn started in 2007.

During the last seven years, these Good Samaritans have lent helping hands with humility, respect, discretion, and tact. They have supported their ‘homeless residents” in the ways they could, to help them in efforts to survive and to get their lives back on track.

The GMs and staffs have offered homeless individuals and families a place to call “home,” at least temporarily. They’ve provided affordable housing – single or double room, or two-room suite – with essential utilities (electric, water, sewer, phone). They’ve included basic accommodations such as beds and cots, showers and tubs, air conditioner and heating systems, refrigerators with small freezers, and microwaves.

They’ve offered a solid roof, walls, and floors to protect these struggling individuals and families from dangerous rains and lightening, extreme heat and humidity, and brutal cold. A place where they felt safe and secure. A place, and persons, that they could trust to protect them THEN, while seeking more suitable temporary and permanent housing. A place where their children, under parental supervision, could roam, play and explore the world outside of their cramped, temporary habitats. A place where these individuals and families could leave their few remaining possessions, while they looked for work, or tried to hold onto the jobs they did have.

Many times, I saw signs, and heard about, ways that the general manager of our hotel was extending a helping hand to our “homeless residents.”  Far beyond the ordinary and the expected. Sometimes to the dismay of officials with the property management company.

The GM did what he could do to help them “make do” – stretch whatever income and savings they did have. For example, he extended their room rental agreements at little or no extra charge. He reduced their room or suite rates, whenever possible. Knowing him, it’s likely that he let some homeless families stay free.

At least for short periods of time. He arranged for or approved little acts of kindness, that only the staff member(s) involved knew about. At certain holiday times, such as Christmas, he saw that all of the homeless children found small bags of special treats at their doors. Consistently, he showed the same high level of respect for these “homeless residents,” as he did toward our regular hotel guests. And, he encouraged, even supported, his staff members to do the same.

Over a course of six years, and since, I’ve heard some impressive, heart-warming stories about hotel and motel general managers and staffs along U. S. 192. (Elsewhere, too.) Examples of appropriate acts of what I call “humanitarianism for the homeless.”

One GM arranged, when possible, for left-over food and meals from the food court and main kitchen to be boxed, then delivered to his homeless families’ rooms. He had small bags of groceries and packages of snack foods (chips, crackers, cookies, candy, gum) left at their doors. Containers of milk and juice appeared miraculously at their doors, or inside room refrigerators. Extra blankets were put on beds and cots as the temperatures dropped outside.

In the fall, a GM recruited staff to help fill smaller backpacks with activity items, boxes of juice, and packages of snack foods and nutrition bars for homeless children, too young to attend school. The GM’s staff at another hotel donated ingredients, then baked and boxed dozens of Christmas cookies for each “homeless family” staying there.

One GM and staff scouted around for the clothing sizes of all of their “homeless residents”  (children-to-adult), and saw that each got a nice warm winter jacket.

During the last few months, different government agencies and non-profit organizations have reported the number of homeless families that have been living in Osceola hotels and motels. Their representatives and spokespersons have reported on the impact of these “homeless residents” on the leisure and hospitality business economy in the county. Yes, a major challenge!

They’ve reported the rate of unemployment. They’ve estimated the number of jobs added in the county. They’ve estimated the number of entry-level jobs available, and their pay scales. They’ve cited the average household earnings, where only one person worked full-time. And, they’ve explained the huge disparity between household gross earnings, and essential cost-of-living expenses. (A prevailing problem in most areas, worldwide.)

What these entities and their spokespersons have not done, to my knowledge, is acknowledge the tremendous service provided, during these very tough economic times, by many GMs and their staffs at hotels and motels along U. S. 192.  Nor have they offered any commendations, public or private, to these special Good Samaritans – “Humanitarians for the Homeless” (my term).

Last December, while at the St. Cloud library, a man approached me. “Do you recognize me?” he asked. He said that his family of four had stayed at my hotel on West U. S. 192. And, he gave me this little update. . .

“Thanks for making our homeless situation bearable,” he said. “We never would have made it, were it not for the people at your hotel. The general manager on down. Everyone treated us with dignity and kindness. By the way, my wife and I both have full-time jobs now. We rent a house here, and were able to finance half on a newer used car. Tell your GM and everyone there a big thanks.”

The Osceola News-Gazette’s series, particularly the February 13 article, “Homeless on 192” and “Our View” editorial, “One homeless child. . .” struck a chord. They reminded me of something that a “homeless resident” at the hotel explained in 2012. . .

“ ‘Homeless people want to feel that they deserve to have a home like everyone else. And, staying at the hotel serves that need. It’s not a house, but it’s a home. . . for now.’ ”

Food for thought: The hospitality and tourism industry, in Florida, is on the upswing. To help it along, some hoteliers are accepting only advance credit-card bookings. No walk-in credit card or cash reservations. Who might that keep out?  The distance traveler, who shows up unshaven, and wearing a faded shirt and torn jeans? The couple who pays with cash versus credit card (plastic or mobile app)? The individual or family that appears to be homeless, but isn’t? The individual or families that appear to be homeless, and are?

Robert Hajtovik * * * * * * * * * * * * Thanks for visiting.

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