Letter #26

Happy Wednesday everyone,

My apologies in advance: there’s way too much to tell you and far too little time to write it in. I can tell up front that this letter will be even more clumsy and inarticulate than past ones. Sorry about this – let’s get going.

First, and most importantly, a quick update on Jerry: brain surgery only two weeks ago today successfully removed a golf ball sized tumor and set him up for stereotactic radiation (Cyber Knife) this week. His medical team is confident they have taken his brain out of harm’s way from his lung cancer for the immediate future. Next week he begins a systemic attack for the rest of his body. In classic Jerry form he is resolved to prevail in his own battle and then take up the mission of helping others in the early detection of this brutal disease. On top of that he is chomping at the bit to rejoin his team back at the Club; he expects to be there daily as early as next week although for less than 60 hr/wk as has been his norm. Stop by and say Hi, he’d love to see you. And by all means, keep him in your prayers.

It’s always awkward for me to continue writing about the Club after reporting on Jerry, it just seems so irrelevant. I guess that’s because it is. Nevertheless, there’s a job to do. So, in rapid-fire form, here’s what we’re going to cover:

  • Member Check-In
  • H & G Progress – Kitchen Project
  • Locker Room
  • Third Thursdays

As members, we’ve all used the facility under the premise that we were part of a private club. However, the check-in procedure upon our arrival has never matched the private club experience. The Club’s roots as something more like a community center where the cost of admission was negligible and the design of the Club’s entrance area where member services staff are set back away from the stream of arriving members are the two primary causes. That needs to change immediately. The Club is operating on a new software backbone – ClubSoft – which allows us to track member and non-member usage patterns. An organization’s management efficiency is directly related to the accuracy of its numbers. Good management decisions are always accompanied by solid numbers and your costs are kept down. Effective immediately every single person arriving at the club must check-in at one of two member services sites (main entrance way or fitness center) and be greeted by a member service staff member. The member services staff have been instructed to check-in every single person who walks past them as they arrive at the club. Please note members now have the obligation to check-in, member services personnel are there to remind you if you happen to forget and they are not there to chase you down.

In order to make the check-in procedure a little easier for the staff, the entrance hallway has been reconfigured to create a pinch point in front of the services desk so that the staff may easily “remind” members and non-members to check-in (and in the case of non-members, to check out). The current entrance hallway configuration is unsightly and less than ideal but it allowed us to create a pinch point cost free. It also allows for a service member to be in the middle of the hallway during busy times to help the desk with the check-in procedure. It will not remain like this for long (one – two months) but please bear with us while the membership and the staff incorporate this change into their daily behavior. We’re searching for an elegant, cheap solution that will probably involve pulling the desk out into the entrance hallway in some form or fashion. Everyone we’ve talked to says they can do it for $50k (of course you can), we’re looking to do it for a fraction of that.

The House & Grounds Committee’s grand plan does include the entrance hallway and its reconfiguration and will get its due attention in due course as the committee deals with its lengthy priority list. The Bar & Grill is where their attention currently lies. You’ve all seen the preliminary plans for the dining area and patio and progress there continues but the real hotspot is the kitchen (I couldn’t help it). The kitchen design is one of the very few shortcomings of the Club remodel in 2005 and from day one it has been too small. It has to be addressed first and foremost or we’ll end up putting beautiful new furniture in the front of the house while the health department closes down the back of house. Food standards in the Bar & Grill are very high and remain so, that’s not the problem. There isn’t enough space to store and prepare half the food that the kitchen produces today (or any day since 2008). Over the past five years the solution has been to use the area behind the kitchen as best they can. Mark has ingeniously used to that back area as something of a tent city. The food standards remain very high but the health department doesn’t allow for tents (so narrow-minded). The H & G Committee have consulted with a kitchen design team and have come up with a plan that doesn’t require us to blow out the back of the house ($). It is a pod-like form and will include all refrigeration and storage on the back deck.

The lead-time for the new furnishings for the front of the house is 3 to 4 months. Since we were just getting our feet underneath us four months ago we’re not going to have new furnishings in the front of the house for this summer. However, you can be assured that the orders will be placed for the new furnishings for the front of the house in the fourth quarter of this year and will be ready for you next spring after the rainy season concludes – I promise and expect you to hold me to that. To get through the summer we are power washing and lightly varnishing the existing patio furniture for not very much money ($3k). It’s a Band-Aid, we all hate Band-Aids but sometimes you just have to use them. We will fix the back of the house this summer. We should have the design work completed within the next month and I’ll show it to you as it’s available.

In conjunction with all that the House & Grounds Committee is turning their attention to the pool area. A club wide color scheme has been selected and the first place you’ll see it show up is in the pool area; new cushions and umbrellas are due to arrive shortly and should give the area a modest facelift.
Locker rooms – here we go, this will be polarizing. Effective immediately no children under the age of 16 are allowed in the adult locker rooms. The board voted unanimously for this. Not because we’re unsympathetic to parents with young children but because we’re all tired of hearing about the endless cases of Member’s flagrant disregard for the rules in this area. If you are unhappy about this, do not blame me or another Board Member for this change. If you are happy about this, do not to credit me or another board Member. All the blame (and appreciation) should be directed to the seemingly endless list of parents over the years who have completely ignored the child rules in the adult locker rooms and allowed their > 5 year-old boys to roam the ladies locker room and their > 5-year-old girls to ceaselessly bang a locker door inside the men’s locker room until they got their Daddy’s attention. Enough, it’s over. I expect hate mail on this one – go ahead, send it in.

You’ve heard that Third Thursdays are coming; they will start this month on June 20. We spent last week scrambling around for a guest chef to cover our June event but quickly learned that there are a lot of unanswered questions as to what the membership might want for this format. So we decided to take another tack to get this event rolling. For the first Third Thursday on June 20 beginning at 6:30 PM we are inviting every single member who has an interest in participating in future adult only evenings to come to the club for some free wine and hors d’oeuvres and tell us what they would like in the future. The guest chef idea sounds terrific; where should it be priced – gourmet is expensive, how many people are interested and at what price, RSVP is mandatory – now how many members are interested, guests or no guests … you get the idea. So mark your calendars, come down for a drink and a snack on us and let us know what you would like. You will all get an invitation and a chance to RSVP later this week (we need to know how many hors d’oeuvres to prepare).

Whatever we come up with on 6/20, we’ll begin instituting it in August because the July Third Thursday format is already spoken for. It will be wine tasting; I’m going to run it, you’re going to love it, you don’t want to miss it. Mark your calendars for July 18. I will have more details and a chance for you to RSVP in early July.

Humbly Yours (in anticipation of the beat-down that’s coming),



  1. Joy Woeber says:

    Please consider the following small improvements to the Girls Locker Room, since all mothers with young children (like me) will need to use that locker room under the new policy:
    1. supply the Girls Locker Room with white/shower towels
    2. supply the Girls Locker Room with plastic baggies for wet bathing suits
    3. repair the ceiling — currently there are several ceiling tiles missing, and a light fixture cover that is falling down.

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