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Posts tagged ‘Hotel painters’

Painter’s View: “Mrs. J,” Homeless Hotel Resident

Mrs. “J” lived on the second floor of Building 300-400. That is, toward the back of the hotel property.

 

She and her three young children had been there for nearly a year. Victims of an abusive husband/father and home foreclosure, they owned what had fitted into three suitcases. And, they had nowhere else to go.

 

Sooner than later, the woman’s money started to run out. She had extreme difficulties paying the rent on the guest room. More frequently, her children were seen foraging for food left in trash bins setting throughout the property. The middle child even took to sneaking into the Food Court, and asking the cook for uneaten food.

 

Our G.M. took a “Samaritan” approach to Mrs. “J” and her children. He did the same for the more than ten other families that had nowhere else to go.

 

Among other things, he made certain that the families – especially the children – had a Christmas. Holiday food, warmer clothing and new shoes, even gifts. And, he discreetly invited the staff to help out, too.

 

On Christmas Eve morning, I started my shift early. At 7:00 A.M. Mrs. “J” stood at the corner of her building, closest to my usual parking spot. She approached me slowly.

 

She looked down at my name badge. “Robert, I’ve been waiting for you.” Her eyes looked sunken.  There were fresh bruises on the left side of her face and neck, also her left arm and both hands.

 

“Mrs. ‘J,’ what happened to you?” The woman wobbled, trying not to fall against my truck.

 

“I’m okay now. He…uh…He left.”

 

“He…Who left? Your husband was here? He found you?” A sick sensation hit my stomach.

 

“Yes. But he’s all gone now…Won’t be back.”

 

“How do you know that?”

 

“Because I have no money to give him.”

 

No money? I thought. The woman was on her own. She was struggling to keep a roof over her children’s heads, and food in their stomachs.

 

I did not ask her. I just pushed the button on my mobile, and asked for “Security.”

 

Mrs. “J” and her children needed a little extra help. I wondered: How many other temporary hotel residents here needed this type of extra help?

 

That Christmas season marked a new, trumped up security plan for our special guests. One that carried over into the following year. It was a plan that no one on the staff really talked about. Yet, everyone on the staff knew about, and discreetly helped, to carry it out.

 

In previous years, I’ve posted about homelessness in America, and homelessness in Central Florida. I’ve posted about our Santa/G.M’s humanitarian  heart, and the kind hearts of his elves/staff.

 

It may be six years after Mrs. “J’s” Christmas attack. It may be close to three years, since I posted the first piece about hotel homeless residents/guests.

 

Let me reassure you: Christmas of 2016: Many destitute individuals and families call hotel rooms their homes.

 

A Painter’s Plan…

 

Are you, or will you be, staying at a hotel, resort or lodge this holiday season?

 

  1. Please keep your eyes and ears open for guests that need some help.
  2. Let the first staff member you see that you’ve noticed that another guest – especially any child – is struggling.
  3. Notify Security promptly if any guest or family appears to be in a crisis mode.
  4. Do not approach the needy guest yourself. Do not reach out to help.

 

You will be doing enough – the right thing – by contacting the hotel staff.

 

At Christmas time, “persons with special needs” go far beyond the traditional definition of “special needs.” It encompasses anyone – of any age – that needs help from someone else. To survive!

 

A message to the rest of us: Eyes open. Ears alert. Heads up. Heart open. Enough to recognize that another person needs help. And enough to call for help!

 

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Painters and decorators: Thank you for brightening and freshening up the world of others.

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And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painter’s World: “Please Find My Dolly.”

A True Hotel Holiday Tale…

 

She couldn’t have been more than five years old. I’d just rounded a building, and climbed out of the golf cart. The little girl ran toward me.

“My dolly. Mein puppe. My dolly.” Tears gushed out of her deep blue-green eyes. Wide with fear. “My dolly,” she sobbed, as she grabbed onto a woman’s hand.

“May I help you, Mam?” I asked.

“My doteur lose her doll.”

 

It was Christmas Eve at the hotel. Guests and visitors swarmed the property. The Seralago was at full capacity. Actually at overflow.

I knelt down to the child’s level. “What is your dolly’s name?”“

“Katweena,” she cried. “Dolly Katweena.”

“Katrina? That’s a pretty name.” The child reminded me of my sister. What she probably looked like at that age. Beautiful, natural wavy hair that encircled her round face. Like an angel’s golden halo.

“Can you tell me what your dolly looks like?”

“Like me.”

“Blonde hair?” I looked to the mother, who struggled with her English.

“Katrina large. (The woman moved her arms about 20-22 inches in height.) “Baby doll. Pink dress. White pinafore. Shoes, like Marta’s. (She looked down at her daughter’s white tie shoes.

The little girl had inched closer to me. “You find Katweena?” she asked, almost in a whisper.

How could I refuse? It may have been close to clocking out. But, no way could I leave that property before finding that child’s doll.

“Madam, do you know where your daughter might have left her doll?

“We – family – by pool. Close gazebo. Husband and sons swim. I read in chair. Marta stand by small pool, for little ones.” The woman’s voice sort of dropped away. Her eyes full of concern.

“I’ll start by the pool then. Where will you be, Madam? What room?” I stopped. Family of five, I thought. “Does your family have a suite here?”

“Yes. Suite. Children’s fun room. Building 100-200.” She hesitated, “Please find. Must fly home day after Christmas. Germany.”“We’ll find your daughter’s doll.”

“We’ll find your daughter’s doll.” The lady smiled, then bent down and hugged her little girl.

 

Standing, I reached for my mobile, and called Security.

“Please put out the word. We’re looking for a lost doll. Long, blonde hair. Pink dress, white pinafore, and white tie shoes. Doll is 18-22 inches tall.” I told security where I was, and the guest’s suite number.

I felt a tug on one of my pants legs. My “whites” were splattered with pastel yellow and mint green paint. (We’d had an incident in another suite. It needed a quick repaint, the entire suite.)

“Please find her.” The little girl’s eyes bore into mine.

“I will. I promise.”

 

After clearing where I could find the family within the next hour, I re-parked my golf cart. And I took off.

First, I scoured the entire pool area, including the gazebo. Also the children’s playground. Just in case. I checked every spot within that general radius, certain that the child had not wandered far from her family’s location by the pool.

For over a half-hour, I looked. Nothing. And, no one else – in security – had found the doll either.

I decided to find the family. To reassure the mother – the little girl – that I was still looking. And that other staff members were looking, too.

The family was back at the pool area. The little girl spotted me and met me part way. “You not find my Katweena,” she said. Lowering her eyes to the ground.

“Not yet.” I bent down. “But I’m still looking.” I forced a smile. “She has to be here somewhere. Right?”

“Wight!” The child agreed. A slight smile appeared on her tear-moist face.

 

About fifteen minutes later,  I looked toward a sort of out-of-the-way corner near the gazebo. I’ll never know why. Something just pulled me there.

I darted toward an area opposite the pool. Past the gazebo. Around the corner. Toward this nearby pool supply building.

There she was! Doubled over on the concrete walk. I couldn’t wait to grab hold of that dolly. Wipe her off. Straighten up her dress and pinafore. And, smooth down her curls.

 

I will always remember the look on that little girl’s face. The moment she spotted her dolly in my arms.

It was the same kind of “love-look” that I remembered seeing, many times, on my sister’s face when we were kids. Especially when she was playing with her Madame Alexander Baby Doll.  “Cookie.”

"COOKIE" circa 1972

 “COOKIE” – circa 1972

 

I worked the next day. Christmas Day. And, I had the chance to see little Marta and her family before they caught the shuttle to Orlando International Airport.

Working on Christmas – that Christmas – offered such a remarkable reward. The gift of being surrounded by people – hundreds of families – on the most important day of the year.

 

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Bless you and yours this holiday season.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Hotel Painting in a Franchising Global Economy

More hotel chains are opting to franchise, versus company (“co.-own”) own, their brand properties. And, more hotel brands are pushing, vigorously, for wide global recognition.

 

 

A few relevant questions for the career hotel painter. . .

1. How does the hotel painter’s role change?

2. How does his or her job opportunities change?

3. Where does the skilled hotel painter and decorator fit?

 

A lot may depend on the painter’s hotel career path:
1. level of “star” experience (1-to-6 star hotel class),

2. loyalty to hotel chains/corporations, as an employer.

 

Some career hotel painters stick with hotel chains.

 

* They prefer the corporate framework.

* They thrive in a big business culture, or environment.

* They accept the trade-offs attached to belonging to a large organization.

* They need structure and established policies and practices.

* They want lateral opportunities to transfer to different locations, even to different brands.

* They buy into the political and governing hierarchy.

* They prefer a narrowed, more limited job description.

* They need job security.

 

Skilled painters with larger hotel chains expect the benefit of job security. Steady work.
1. If they keep their noses clean.

2. If they don’t make waves, or minimize issues – eg. workman’s compensation claims, complaints.

3. If they follow orders, and leave decision-making to management.

 

What makes for a great corporate hotel painter?

 

Basically, they’re the same qualities needed to succeed as a commercial painter with a large contractor.

 

1. Professional approach to painting trade, and construction industry.

2. Corporate mindset.

3. “Big game” player.

4. Narrow, focused job scope – with broad flexibility as needed.

5. Preference for limited flexibility and responsibility.

6. Keen P.R./customer service skills, with trickle-down transparency and accountability.

7. Limited need for creativity and autonomy on job.

8. Overall, limited interest in vertical mobility, and leadership role.

9. Willingness to follow orders. No dissent, minimal input.

 

In early September, a career hotel chain painter emailed, then phoned, me. His hotel (brand) was being switched to a franchise. He’d been told that everything would continue status quo.

 

On September 30, he was fired. On October 1, he was given the option to sign on, as a temporary, with an external employee leasing company. A separate division of the national hotel management company, that the franchisee had put in charge of the hotel business.

 

His eighteen years of corporate hotel service, loyalty and security had been replaced with career uncertainty and financial instability. He’d lost his retirement and vacation plans, health savings account, group incentive package, professional education credits, and mobility/transfer opportunities.

 

Still, he signed on with the new employee leasing company.

 

“I’m hopeful,” Greg wrote, “that I can turn it into a permanent position. With the hotel management company.  Where I can transfer to other properties they operate. Especially for my hotel corporation…”

 

By the way, “Greg” (not real name), worked previously as superintendent for a painting contractor, that specialized in hotel projects. Clients were mid-to-large sized hotel corporations.

 

His experience reminded me of the difference between employment through IUPAT, and an open shop. And, also employment in a “Right-to-Work” state. No guarantees, no security, minimal support, limited benefits, limited systems.

 

Enough said on the subject. Right, Greg?

 

* Post dedicated to all painters and decorators, who really work at being professionals, regardless of what is going on around them. Or, with someone else.

 
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Thanks, everyone, for hanging in there. Your greater rewards are on their way!

And, thanks for your calls, and for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting It: Skylights

As a natural source of light, a skylight is often overlooked as an area to be maintained and painted. Parts of it are exposed to the elements. Thus, keeping it weather tight is a priority in order to prevent damage to interior surfaces.

 

The skylight is also an element of design and a diverse use for color. “How is that,” you ask?

 

I once worked in a single level office building, where skylights were used to provide most of the interior light. My role was to paint these areas using a combination of hues to give the skylights an optical colored shading effect. Also, from different angles, the colors appeared to change. This occurred due to the changing intensity of the light.

 

Encorporating this effect into your own home is a possibility as well. Once again it will be your creativity that will be your guide.

 

Before you begin to paint, make certain that the following guidelines are observed:

 

  1. Make sure the skylight is sealed properly. Caulk if necessary.
  2. Clean the surface, removing any mold.
  3. Repair any cracks or loose paint.
  4. Use stain blocking primer to seal in the areas.
  5. Sand the entire surface for finish painting.
  6. Select either latex or oil based paint as your finish.
  7. Exposure to higher temperatures may require a more durable finish.

 

To paint a skylight, here are several options:

 

  1. Apply a color and sheen, which “matches” the surrounding ceiling area.
  2. Apply a color and sheen, which “differs from the surrounding ceiling area.
  3. Apply a bright color and glossy sheen, which “attracts” one’s attention.
  4. If the skylight is sizeable, apply multiple colors and sheens to create a “decorative” design.

 

Painting a skylight can be basic. You can match the white of your ceiling. Or, it can be a creative project. When it is completed, it complements any living space or an office.

 

Remember, a skylight can show off more than just the light. It can show off the colors in the area.

 

It can accentuate the appearance and function of the area. It can enhance the amenities of the hotel, hospital, or business.

 

And, it can lift the spirit of everyone that passes underneath its “spell. Something that natural light – sunlight – tends to do for persons of all ages. Our pets, too!

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Painting It: Upcoming Mini Blogs for Hotel and Facility Painters

 

1. Fences and Gates

 

A. Cleaning Agents

B. Prepping: Metal/anodized tubing vs.

C. Coatings: Low cost, low coverage, low durability vs. higher cost, much greater coverage, superb durability!

 

2. Skylights

 

A. Temperature variations

B. Surfaces

C. Atmosphere – eg. air

D. Problems: Leaks, paint cracks, mold/mildew, moisture

E. Preps

F. Paints/coatings – eg. durable oil-based

 

3. KidSuites and Children’s Rooms

 

A. Designs/themes that kids wants

B. Fun atmospheres

C. Colors appealing to kids

 

4. Children’s Play and Activity Areas

 

A. Designs using animation, cartoons, surreal images

B. Pastel paint colors

 

5. Game Rooms

 

A. Wall colors conducive to activity – not distracting

B. Special effects

C. Simulations

 

6. Teen Clubs and Computer Rooms

 

A. Colors that teens want

B. Special effects

C. Very TECH-Y

 

7. Front Desk and Reception Areas

 

A. First impression of hotel – and people that work there

B. Unique  applications, products, colors, effects

C. Hotel theme colors

 

8. Lobbies and Concierge Centers

 

A. High-end applications – eg. high-quality wallcoverings

B. Decorative finishes

C. Custom materials, textures, colors

D. Consistent finishes, colors throughout areas

 

 9. Guest Connectivity and Communication Centers

 

A. HIGH-LIGHT colors

B. Accent walls

 

10. Indoor and Outdoor Gardens and Rest Areas

 

A. Colors best suited – Complementary-to-au naturale

B. Walking trails – Colors of paint/stain and varnish on benches, signage,etc.

C. Seating areas – Paint vs. wood stains and varnishes

 

11. Pool and Spa Areas

 

A. Problems: High-moisture, high-exposure, high-sun

B. Paint colors

C. Paint types: Oil-based vs. epoxy

D. Gazebo – Colors, tints, special effects, “blend-ins,” etc.

E. Pool Huts – Colors, textures, accents, reflectives

 

12. Outdoor Recreation and Sports Areas

 

A. Special needs: lines, symbols, signage, striping

B. Durability  and environmental exposure

C. Graphics and “planned graffiti”

D. Special colors/blends

 

13. Restaurants, Clubs and Pubs

 

A. Creating atmosphere using color, texture, “overlays,” etc.

B. Murals and scenic

C. Complementing other elements, surfaces, finishes

D. Themes

E. Cozy and relaxing vs. earthy vs. energetic vs. romantic vs. pure luxury!

 

 

14. Food Courts and Snack Bars
A. Colors – Brights, subtle touches

B. Graphic designs

C. Geometrics

D. Illustrations

 

 

15. Theatres and Entertainment Areas

 

A. Colors that complement

B. Low-dim-dark lighting ranges

C. Wall carpeting

D. Problems with paints

E. Wood finishing

F. Toning down other surfaces – eg. chrome, fabric, flooring

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