With Gratitude This Thanksgiving Day

As I sit here on Thanksgiving Eve, on the floor with my laptop and a resort full of beautiful cats surrounding me, I can’t help but reflect on the amazing things that have happened so far this year and all that I’m thankful for.  In February of this year, I closed escrow on the purchase of this building that is now home to The Cat Chalet.  Buying this large commercial property as a solo project was no small feat for me.  I have spent the last 27 years as an unmarried woman so molding my financial freedom has been the result of decisions of my own making.  Many, many years of hard work as a single mother, saving money and creating avenues of various income streams has put me here today.  

I’m thankful to be an American and it’s not lost on me that all that I have today is entirely due to my mom’s ability to come to America.  My mom immigrated to America as a young mother in her early 30’s, unable to speak more than a few words of English but ready to work hard for a new life.  It is my mom’s strong German work ethic and her ability to adapt to any given situation that has made me the woman I am today.  Unlike all the kids we went to school with, my siblings and I grew up with a long household chore list as well as projects that would allow us to generate income to pay for groceries and whatever else needed to be paid for.  While growing up there were many times I hated it, but now, as an adult, I realize that it was those moments throughout all those years that gave me the ability to thrive during all of my life’s challenges.

As I reflect on those days, my favorite memories are of spending countless evenings making the most beautiful Christmas ornaments out of satin balls and sequins.  My mom, my siblings and I would sit at the kitchen table, each with our own assigned tasks and little work stations, and we would craft away into the evening with the aroma of a pot of beans in the kitchen and the record player spinning to the tune of Engelbert Humperdinck in the background (every German woman’s dream!).  I was six years old then, but I remember the details of our little assembly line and how my siblings and I would walk through the neighborhoods, knocking on doors and proudly displaying our tray of ornaments as we peddled our wares from house to house.  Still to this day, I unpack these treasured and now vintage ornaments each year when I decorate my home for Christmas.  When I have guests in my home during the holidays and I share my ornament story, many are in awe that small children could create something so unique and timeless.  But that was our life back then and all of that brings me to this moment now.  

When escrow closed, the real work was about to unfold.  For four months, a small handful of my family members worked day in and day out, to transform an ugly office building into the resort we have today.  Everyone was sworn to secrecy, as we didn’t want the word to get out until we were ready.  Believe me when I say that a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into creating this resort (as well as a lot of F-bombs, ha!).  When we were ready to make the announcement, we had no idea what to expect.  Stefanie, Gary and I had spent many hours planning the build-out aspect but we didn’t have a clue how long it would take to get the word out or how long it would take to fill the resort.  As it turned out, it only took two months to have our first fully booked weekend.  

So, as I’m about to leave for the evening and return early in the morning for a busy Thanksgiving day with our feline guests, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude for all of you, our former clients and new clients, alike.  I’ll happily spend Thanksgiving day in pajamas with a ready made vegan Thanksgiving dinner (thanks, Whole Foods!) and all of your special kitties all day long (yes, we really do go to work in pajamas on Thanksgiving and Christmas day!).  When Stefanie comes in, we’ll be decorating the resort for Christmas so if your cat is spending the holiday with us, you’ll return to see our resort beautifully decorated with a very unusual Christmas tree and our beautiful cat themed decor!  Thank you for joining The Cat Chalet culture, we are grateful you are here.  Happy Thanksgiving!

2 thoughts on “With Gratitude This Thanksgiving Day”

  1. Susan
    That was a beautiful, heart warming message. I’m so grateful and happy you snd the family are back. May you continue to have great success

  2. Thank you so much Iris! We are happy to have you and many other former clients return to us. We are looking forward to seeing you and “Winston” again soon. Love, Susan & Stefanie

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