Our Guest Manual

Thought I’d share this for inspiration this holiday weekend. I put this in a binder in the living room for guests’ reference.

Where Am I? Who Are You? And What’s Going On?

  • You are at [Address]. Hi there!
  • We are Kate and Hannah, but if you’re here, hopefully you know that. Contact info:
    • Kate: [phone, email]
    • Hannah: [phone, email]
    • You can scan the QR codes on the first page to add our contact cards to your phone. 
    • If you need something, hit the button on the sill between the living room and dining room; it’ll buzz our pagers. 
  • What’s going on? It’s a The Good Place reference. Did you catch the other one?

I Have Electronic Needs

  • The lamps in the living room and guest room have USB outlets on the base.  On one of the end tables in the living room, there’s a charging cord that works with multiple device types and a charged portable power bank you can borrow.  Please feel free to use any available outlet.   
  • WiFi
    • Network: [Name]
    • Password: [Password]
    • There’s also a QR code for this up front. 

I’m Hungry/Thirsty/How Do Kitchens Work? (Importantly, How Does Coffee Work?)

  • In general, feel free to help yourself to whatever food/drink is in the kitchen.  Hannah usually serves meals at 9:30 AM and 6 PM, but this may be adjusted during your stay. There’s homemade chocolate chip cookie dough and baking instructions in the freezer for a quick sugar boost. (Cookie sheets and baking mats are in the bottom cabinets next to the big cabinet in the kitchen.)  
  • Water: filtered water is available through the machine next to the coffee station (hot and cold; for cold, hold down the right tab; for hot, hold the red button, then hold down the left tab) and the fridge door (also ice: see the buttons).  There’s also cold bottled water in your room and in the fridge. 
  • Soda: soda is available on the soda station and in the fridge.  There’s chilled glasses and ice in the freezer.  Please feel free to help yourself. 
  • Coffee, tea, cocoa: please feel free to help yourself to anything on the coffee/tea/cocoa station; it should have what you need.  Milk and whipped cream are in the fridge; there are chocolate spoons in the freezer! To make coffee:
    • Coffee may already be prepped.  If there’s water and dry coffee grounds in the machine, just make sure the carafe is rinsed out and push it under the machine (make sure the white button near the bottom is pushed in.  It will automatically turn on; beware.) 
    • Otherwise, fill the water reservoir on the coffee maker to the top measurement line with cold, filtered water. Put its lid back on.  Push the empty glass jar in the coffee grinder to the button behind it twice to grind coffee. Place paper coffee filter (should be available on the coffee station) in the brew basket, and place the coffee grounds into that. Put brew basket back into place. Put its lid back on. Place empty, rinsed out carafe into place, making sure the white button at the base of the coffee maker is pressed in by it.  
  • In general, if you need kitchen help, ask Hannah. 

Pet Service?

  • We totally provide two cats as… a service to our guests. The black cat with fangs is Sabby (Black Sabbath if you’re feeling formal). You might not see much of her, but she’s friendly eventually. The small tortoiseshell with the weird tail currently in your lap is Pixel. Pixel has (maybe) just met you, and she loves you.  She also occasionally walks through some walls, if you get that reference. 
  • Sometimes guests bring their own cats. If you’re pretty sure there’s a third cat running around, maybe there is. 
  • If a lady who looks a lot like Future Hannah has pulled up with a dog, that’s Frankie (and Hannah’s Mom). They’re probably just picking up Hannah and off to the dog park. Say hi!
  • In general, the cats live indoors. If you go outside, they might go with you—but make sure they come back inside with you, too, and watch the door if you leave it open (garage, too). 

Smoking and Vaping and Bears (Oh My!)

  • We generally have a no-bear policy. Maybe a small one. Or a koala bear. But koalas are marsupials.
  • Vaping is fine wherever.
  • Tobacco products should be smoked outside.
  • Marijuana products can be smoked wherever.  If it’s especially strong, maybe outside. 
  • You can find a lighter and cigar cutter in the drawer next to the tall cabinet in the kitchen.

I’m Cold! I’m Hot! I’m Having Some Kind Of Temperature Issue!

  • If you are cold, you might not be not alone. Find a cuddle buddy, like a cat, blanket (extras available in the laundry room cabinets), jacket, or human. Or, try your luck at convincing Kate to make it warmer.  There are also hand warmers in the guest bathroom. 
  • If you are hot, welcome to Vegas. You will probably have good luck convincing Kate to make it colder.

No Really, It’s Hot And I Can See The Pool

  • We do have a pool. Ask Kate if it’s ready for use! It is currently not heated.

I Forgot My…  

  • We gotchu.  Check under the sink in the guest bathroom for a variety of toiletries and first aid supplies.  Extra towels are in the laundry room cabinets. Anything else?  Feel free to ask. 
  • Bored?  Find Vegas themed books, assorted magazines, and works of Hannah’s in your room.  Just ask if you want to borrow anything when you leave!  Games can be found in the front room.  In this manual, there’s stationery to write home and other paper activities.  Also, there are coupons for guests that can be used at local places. Check the coupon itself for any restrictions.  We’ve included a list of our favorite local spots. 

I Have Other Questions

  • Please feel free to ask us any other questions!

Choosing Service Tasks in a World of Automation and Outsourcing

This whole post is something I usually throw in while expanding on one bullet point in my Anticipatory Service class, but it deserves a little more, so here goes. 

I talk in that class about generating service ideas/ways to serve, and cite one source of ideas being things that the person you’re serving typically automates or outsources (whether it be home automation or technology, hiring a contractor, going to a place to have the service done, getting delivery, etc.)  

Now, this can be a great source of inspiration, as it’s something they clearly do want done and are willing to hand off. And it can be beneficial to do things yourself to really connect with your service; washing a dish by hand will typically feel more like service than loading a dishwasher, as will giving someone a massage instead of driving them to a spa appointment, baking a loaf of bread instead of buying it, or walking the aisles of a store instead of clicking buttons.  

But there are several factors to consider when deciding if you should take it on as a service task or leave it to automation/outsourcing. 

There’s typically money to be saved in “doing it yourself” (having the s-type do it) versus involving a professional.  But sometimes not, if this involves renting or purchasing expensive equipment usually covered by a smaller contractor fee.  Even if the money is not an issue—what about the space in your home those supplies take up?  Could you maybe split the space/money involved for such supplies with a family member, friend, or neighbor? 

Or, say, if there’s a major pandemic.  This may make it safer to hit buttons from home and get grocery delivery than to walk the aisles of a store yourself.  But it may also make it safer to perform a service yourself at home (say, giving a haircut) than to go out and have it done.

Next, can you perform the service (or learn to) to the same standard as the professional or technology involved/can you get close enough the trade off (say, money) is worth it?  Or could the alternative do this so much better/faster/more easily that it isn’t worth it to do it yourself?  There may also be other factors here, like if it’s more eco friendly or healthy to use one technology or another/lack thereof.  Or if there are safety factors involved that a pro could better handle. 

The person you’re serving may also simply have a strong preference on this.  If you’re beyond the point of negotiating that, you’re beyond the point of negotiating that.

I think the hardest factor to judge and navigate is the trade off of your time and energy (as the s-type).  Just because there’s a potential service task to be done doesn’t mean it’s the best use of your time and mental and/or physical energy.  Even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal, it can still be a disruption to your focus on another task, and ten tasks that all only take three minutes actually mean a half hour of extra work: things add up, and that’s time you’re not spending on another task that may be more useful.

In my case, I’m not allowed to be truly answerable to someone who isn’t Mistress, I’m not allowed to have a job, or take on things that could interfere with her authority.  Service is my full time (yes, like forty hours a week) job; I’m the housewife, no kids, no roommates, no other partners.  But I still have only twenty-four hours in a day, and only so much energy (some of those hours do need to go to food and sleep and all).  And let’s face it: most service types do have other commitments that need to be taken into account. 

So we balance what it’s most practical for me to focus on.

Examples both directions:

Dishes—we’ve opted for me to do them all by hand. Right after meals, I’m required to wash, dry, and put everything away as part of cleaning the kitchen, unless there’s some special exception. Now, we do have a pretty nice dishwasher, but it still really doesn’t do as good a job consistently, and I’m an admittedly somewhat slow and ineffective Dishwasher Loader (spatial reasoning isn’t my strong suit).  It’s been used a couple of times when I was ill/after a large event, but that’s about it. 

High window washing—I do the washing of the more accessible windows, but we have a lot of windows that you’d need a full ladder to clean both inside and out.  It’s basically impossible for me to move such a ladder by myself, and I have balance issues: me being on it at any real height above the ground would be dangerous, especially unsupervised.  But, if I arrange things with a window washing company and have them do it, they whip right through this chore with celerity I’d never achieve, and the windows are sparkling.  The money is well worth it. 

Ultimately, choosing which service tasks to take on and which to leave to automation/outsourcing is about finding that balance point, which might sway back and forth over time (ex: utilizing the dishwasher when I’m very ill).  I lean towards doing everything I can myself to really get that feeling of serving directly, but I’m learning to admit when it’s not practical. 

Lots of things to consider. 

The Importance of Inspections

For a long time now, we’ve had two daily inspection points in our schedule.  One in the morning, just after I serve brunch at 9:30 AM, where Mistress checks on my morning tasks, and one in the evening, after I serve dinner at 6 PM, more towards bedtime, 9:30 PM, for evening tasks (both sets are mostly coffee prepping, housekeeping, laying out her clothes, so on).  These usually happen without me.  There’s also the inspection that occurs after any time I (get permission to) shower, where she checks on my job of fulfilling the requirement of shaving any body hair (her preference), which clearly involves me, in Inspection Position (though it’s been years since the tweezers actually came out).   

We made a change recently to the first two.  Because they were done without me and there had never been an issue, I never heard the results of them.  I wondered sometimes whether they were actually getting enforced or perhaps being neglected, and on other days, when the time rolled around, I’d worry that I was about to be punished for some problem, with no clear signal of when I could stop.

Eventually, recently, this came up and I finally mentioned these minor worries to Mistress.  She assured me that the inspections were, in fact, getting done, and being passed, but understood why I wanted to hear the results day to day.  So she added a note to her schedule to let me know.

Now, usually my pager buzzes with a summons to her office, or she finds me when she’s done.  “Kneel,” she’ll say, and I’ll get in the position, and she’ll tell me that I did everything I was supposed to, usually also kindly pointing out one or two things that I did especially well, and patting me on the head.  That’s it.  An extra minute or two in the day, but a big change, in a way.  It’s definitely headspace reinforcing.  After the morning instance, I go about my day and other service tasks.  After the evening instance, it’s usually nearing time to undress and be leashed for the night, settle down onto my blanket on the floor at the foot of the bed. 

And I get to close the mental tab where the last task list was still open, turning my attention to whatever’s next without worry, without checking that tab again, with my full focus.  I’m grateful to her for that closure, for making sure I’m doing my job for her, and for the opportunity for feedback.  I sometimes ask—while everything has been done at least acceptably so farwhat I might do better, and if she has an idea for me, I get a detail to improve and follow up on and make sure it’s exactly the way she wants it.

It’s a ritual that’s going well, and I, for one, would recommend it highly, especially for the service based dynamics that want a quality control touch (as long as you feel you can gratefully accept any inspection result).

Why I Sleep on the Floor

There’s this type of bedroom image that comes to mind.  It belongs on a Pinterest board, titled Cozy or Hygge or something.  There are candles and string lights and plants and soft fabrics and mugs and books and that sort of thing. It makes you sigh contentedly like you just took the first sip of a warm drink on a cold day.  And to make sure you really buy into the peaceful aesthetic, there’s a pet at the foot of the bed, fast asleep. 

And that’s an important part of this image—here is your faithful companion who’s just happy to be close by, almost blending in to the decor, a peaceful and sleepy background detail, there, but out of the way.  Four legged or not.

I suppose I describe why I sleep on the floor as wanting to be that first and foremost. It is less being a part of an ascetic image from my point of view, but being part of quite the opposite from Mistress’. That is the lens I try to look through. 

… 

Currently, bedtime looks like this.

I see to final tasks, and am to be ready to be leashed for the night by 9:30.  I unfold the fluffy blanket that lives on the floor at the foot of the bed, which mostly get called my slave furs, and settle onto it, undressed (uniform code says I sleep nude; she likes easy access).  I page Mistress using the transmitter that lives next to the blanket, one of the buttons sending a leash/unleash request.  She comes in.  I get into Leashing Position, as specified in our contract, and she clips it to my collar.  I offer her lotion; she accepts and I apply it for her. Then, time for sleep (and she does her final inspection of my evening tasks at this time). 

So the floor thing is bathed in other protocol. It isn’t just sleeping on the floor. It has to be taken in context. Just sleeping on the floor does not hold much meaning for me in particular—it’s powerful, as sleeping is something you spend a significant portion of your time doing—but it’s ultimately one piece of a bigger picture, one line in a contract well over two thousand words. 

I want it to be a reflection of my life during my waking hours, not an image I take up at night with echos throughout the day. I want to sleep on the floor because it feels like the right place in my life of submission, at the end of a day of serving, not as an activity to force the feeling. 

… 

People are skeptical of this, but: the floor really isn’t that uncomfortable. Granted, still my opinion. 

The bedroom is carpeted, and I have my fluffy blanket I wrap both under me for a bit more cushioning, and over me as a blanket. I ball it up under my head as a pillow, or frequently add an actual pillow, because there is admittedly strain on my neck.

The floor for me is a symbolic place, not an item of physical discomfort. I’m allowed to be comfortable there. It’s not really a masochism thing—asceticism at best. Yes, it’s simple.

But it’s not that the floor is an inferior place because it’s less comfortable, necessarily—that’s a part of it, but not all of it—but because it is lower, it is humbler.  Importantly, it means that my place is defined by her place. I don’t have my own place. During the day, during time with her, I don’t have a distinct spot I go to, I don’t have a pillow I kneel on; my place is on the floor at her feet, wherever she is in the world.

And so, the same thing at night. 

…  

Pieces of this have been incorporated over time.  I’ve been sleeping on the leash nightly since May 2019 or so.  The floor, nightly since May 2021. 

The leash came much earlier, yes. Like my collar, Mistress has made each iteration of it herself, rope work to match. She gifted me this latest version on Valentine’s Day, the biggest difference being a little more length. Yes, I got a longer leash for Valentine’s Day. Ha. 

The leash is kind of an extension of the collar, to me.  The collar is the ownership symbol she put on me, kind of meant to be an identifier even when I am away from her.  It says mine. But the leash is connection, the bridge.  Two ends, not the claspless circle around my neck. The leash, in the moment, says with

During the day, the leash is invisible. It’s there, in protocol and everything else, logistically in needing to notify her if I’m leaving the house—even for the mailbox—and especially in needing permission to go farther than a small radius. But I’m not going to be physically leashed all day, because we are not together all day. 

But at night, I get the physical leash. It attaches to the bed—to her place. At night, there is, physically, with, even from the floor, which reminds me, with, loved, but not equal

… 

I think I have just about shaken the falling sensation. 

When you sleep in an elevated bed, a possibility is that you will fall.  I am a restless sleeper, and I will curl up on the very far edge of the bed, because it’s where my body guides me. I have, often, woken by falling, or almost falling, out of bed. 

Once I started sleeping on the floor, my mind still had this boundary, this amount of rolling over I could do before it thought I had gone too far, and I would bolt upright with the sensation of falling, scrambling to catch myself.

But I wasn’t falling.  I had just strayed a little on the floor. 

Still, the phantom falling, like a more physical, middle of the night, fast asleep version of the type some get when trying to fall asleep, took several months to go away.  Now, it’s rare, and I stray pretty far from the foot of the bed sometimes, moving back when I wake and notice. There’s plenty of floor in the opposite direction, and it’s not like anyone else is using it in the middle of the night (except for the cats, who rage their 3 AM wars on top of me either way). My slave fur cocoon mostly moves with me. The way I wrap myself up in it, I’ve never woken up out of it, even if I’m approaching the opposite wall. 

Occasionally, I stray the other direction, and manage to roll myself partially under the bed. I can’t really fit under there on my side, my default falling asleep position, but at some point I may end up partially under it on my back.  And, y’know, slam my head into the tubular steel when I move (and yes, that’ll hurt for a couple of days, masochism crowd; no, I don’t recommend it).  I’ve gained some awareness of if I have rolled myself under there, though, to warn me, but it’s not perfect. 

However.  I have shaken the falling sensation, because my mind realizes there is nowhere lower to fall, and has relaxed about it. How’s that for symbolism? 

Day in the Slave Life: Anecdote Collection

There’s a group of us sitting around the living room: Mistress, me, my mom, my best friend. Since it includes my mom, I’m allowed on the furniture. Mistress is next to me and makes some gesture or movement I forget now, and I not only flinch, but approach the full on, Hallmark movie recoil. Whoops.

My best friend raises a knowing eyebrow at me, almost laughing. Mistress feigns noticing nothing. But we all covertly eye my mother, coming to the conclusion at about the same moment that she didn’t notice, bending to reach for her drink at exactly the right time.  

Phew. 

I actually kind of admire that we’ve gotten to the point of that reaction, the telling reality of it, but that doesn’t mean my mother—who already accepts a lot—needs to be involved. 

… 

But where does it come from? 

9:30 AM. I hit the pager transmitter button as always to signal that brunch is ready. I wait behind my usual chair in the assigned position. Mistress comes downstairs and greets me with the usual successful inspection of the table, my uniform, the position, then slaps me, which sends me defensively reeling out of it. 

“What, are you crazy? Get back in position.” 

I do, still jumpy, but also kind of hoping she’ll do it again.  I’ll be ready and be good this time.  But she lets me sit, and we eat brunch. At the end, leaving to finish the rest of the morning task inspection, she tells me to go put in an anal plug and leave it until she tells me otherwise, before or after cleaning the kitchen. 

“Yes, Mistress.” 

My body is still a bit wired from yesterday, from, as she said, being used, sex without me being allowed to come (as usual, which I prefer, the focus it brings); I didn’t feel well, she told me it didn’t matter (true); still, I was kneeling on the bed, head in my lap, crying, by the end of it, pains exacerbated, but as a slave, glad it all happened anyway and managing a twinge of unresolved arousal. 

… 

Positions…

Once, I’m in my standard kneeling position as we chat, legs going numb. “May I stretch?” I ask, by which I mean sit on the floor in a more comfortable position. 

“Beg.” 

It’s not really that bad yet, but an order’s an order. “Please, Mistress?” 

It’ll do. “You may.”  

… 

Today, we do our weekly maintenance discipline session. Despite managing to stay still enough under the attentions of the discipline wand, which I retrieved from the mantel and presented in position, and counting properly, I still feel soaked with sweat. I ask for permission to take a “rinse off” shower (meaning I’m allowed to skip shaving and therefore the inspection after), and she grants it.

I haven’t been in the shower long, but am almost done, when she returns, throws open the shower door, shuts the warm water off. I shiver. 

“Kneel.” 

I do. The shower floor is small and unforgiving. 

She pisses on me—at least it’s warm again—orders, “Clean me up.” I do, using my mouth as efficiently as I can. “Now you can shower,” she says, and leaves me there. 

I turn the water back on—it takes a second to find the right temperature—and do it all again. 

 … 

This isn’t so uncommon. 

Another day, we’re talking in her office, me in my usual kneeling position again. She says, “Come with me.” 

I do, to the bedroom.

“Remove all of your clothing.” 

I do. 

“Kneel.  In the shower.” 

I do. I had just showered before our conversation. 

She pisses on me this time, too, trying to get mostly my face, my hair, for added effect, using the latter to dry off, and turns the water on me on full blast cold before leaving, as I scramble against the opposite wall of the shower.  

She doesn’t wash my mouth out with soap while I wait for the water to heat up again this time, though, I think, with mixed relief and wistfulness. 

Well, time to shower again. 

… 

There are only two times I remember forgetting about being on my leash. One, at night. Two: 

With friends, at home, we’re eating dinner. Just to mix things up, for fun, I’m on my leash, now that I’m done cooking, allowed to sit at the table.

We talk a long time, lingering, and as the meal concludes, we stand to head to socializing in the living room, or, for me, cleanup. 

Except that I’ve forgotten about the leash.  So I’m not especially prompt or mindful about standing and pushing in my chair and moving the opposite direction of the intuitive—looping around the head of the table, where Mistress was sitting. 

But it almost doesn’t matter: she’s also forgotten, the leash clipped to a belt loop, heading a way that I can’t follow fast enough and that tangles around her own chair. 

I have one second after I remember to think, Oh, shit, before I choke when the leash hits its end, stumbling in the right direction. 

“Oh, shit,” she says out loud.

We all laugh. 

… 

Our friends are used to us. 

My best friend is staying with us at the time, and I’m standing in the doorway to their room, talking about, of all things, the fandom of a children’s book series, while Mistress passes behind me, getting something from the garage—we’ve all recently moved—for something she’s cooking.

She starts to pass by me again, then thinks better of it, and says, “I wonder… come over here,” brandishing the small cast iron skillet.  

I step out from the slightly narrow hallway into the wider opening of our front room, still in range and continuing the first conversation. 

Crack

That thing is staggering, as it collides with my ass.  “My point is—” crack “—the second series really—” crack “—it does age with the audience—” crack “—but kind of depressingly.” Crack.

My best friend is nearly crying, they’re laughing so hard at me trying to make my fandom point between cast iron strikes. Mistress declares that the skillet is too heavy and pointless to swing this long.

Well, I made at least one point.

… 

Besides pure fun, there are all kinds of cathartic uses for pain, and one I particularly like is actually more cathartic for her: the punching bag scenario. 

Frustrated with coworkers or friends or telemarketers, she bends me over the nearest counter and lays into me with the nearest wooden spoon, or over the bed with always handy punches and slaps and kicks. 

I just like the release of feeling in it, without having to be the source of frustration. The whipping girl thing, y’know. Maybe it’s what some people get out of brat taming. But I behave. 

… 

Mistress: What percentage of being a slave is just like, keeping your mouth shut? 

Me: About 115.

… 

I’ve always wanted a shock collar, and when a reader requests an electricity play scene for one of my fiction series, I make it an excuse to get one.  I avoid writing kinks I don’t know about, and I could’ve written about the neon wand or a tens unit or anything I’ve already done, but… let me be clear: I just wanted a shock collar.

It arrives among a few other items, and Mistress helps me test it out immediately.  She fastens it around my thigh—it’s bulky, and I already have my normal collar; it seems a little safer, and its two metal prods leave very visible pink marks. 

Its shock settings go from 1 to 99.  1, okay, I felt that.  Around 5 gives me the feeling of a strong static shock from a doorknob. “Higher?” 

“Yes.” 

She keeps pushing the number higher, increments of five or so.  Before the forties, my leg spasms each time, a feeling weird more than just painful. Then I have to sit down, or lose my balance. Still, higher. 

“You’re going to ninety-nine, aren’t you?” she asks, in that you are a masochistic idiot tone. 

“Of course.” 

Eighty-five or so knocks the wind out of me briefly.  Just a few notches higher, though. It’s nice, really. 

Ninety-nine.  Jesus.  A little glad it doesn’t go any higher.  A little wishing it did. But I do ninety-nine a few times. It’s a massive but pleasant jolt. Like a roller coaster. 

Mistress rolls her eyes. 

… 

I really like blood. I might even say I need it, and, like shock collars, you can get scalpels delivered and keep them in stock. The future truly is now.

Since I’ve asked, Mistress tells me to go collect the needed items and meet her in her office.  I was already undressed, leashed for the night or about to be, at the beginning of this conversation, and goosebumps rise on my skin in anticipation and from exposure.

I kneel next to her in her office, prepped.  She selects a spot and tells me to cut a K there, her first initial. I cut the first line, a strange thrill, but am unsure if it was deep enough and actually cut, the bleeding delayed.  She’s also unsure, and I’ve redone it when the first one begins to dot with blood.  Now, they both do. Oh, well.  I cut the next two lines of the letter carefully and without redos.  She adds a few miscellaneous lines of her own, a kind of decorative monogrammed pattern. 

I clean up, adding enough gauze to not bleed on my slave furs and enjoying the lingering stinging sensations.

…  

Me, from slave furs, to cat looking down at me from the bed: You’re not better than me just because you sleep in the bed. 

Mistress, nearby: Am I not better than you because I sleep in the bed?

Me: I mean, not because you sleep in the bed.

… 

You might notice I’m a little hard to challenge in masochism. 

The physical stuff is fun, but I’m in the masochism business for the emotion more than anything else. The ever worn down feeling of work well done. The asceticism of the slave life. The self discipline and focus required in 24/7 high protocol service. The creative inspiration it provides; the tortured artist thing. 

The talk, with an element of truth, is crucial, too—the themes of Stockholm syndrome and victim blaming and possessiveness. 

“You like being owned, don’t you?” 

“Yes, Mistress.” 

“Good girl. That’s exactly what you tell people when they ask.” 

And the occasional catharsis.  In the moment: fear, humiliation, despair. 

Today, she yanks me onto the bed, pinning me. There’s already been the usual hair pulling, collar grabbing, bites, scratches, in this conversation. But on the bed, she clamps her hand over my mouth and nose, not around my throat, her usual choking method.

It’s strange, but it’s the slight change in method that makes me panic.  I know what happens with her hand wrapped around my throat. I don’t worry about that. But as my lungs drain the air in the small gap between her skin and mine, the seal kicking in, nothing coming, unable to breathe in, and out of air, like I’m in a vacuum, the edges of my vision start pulsing black, and I panic. Not sure what comes next or when. Not much comes of the panic; I mostly freeze, and she releases me.  I gasp for lungfuls of breath. Relief floods me with the oxygen. 

That. That was good.

… 

All in a day’s work? 

Day in the Slave Life: My General Daily Schedule

7:20 AM

Probably rolling over already, staring up at the outrigger on the bed or the ceiling; shut the alarm before or when it goes off. Up and at ‘em!  Well, up and into proper Unleashing Position, assuming Mistress is awake.  (Unleash self and up and at ‘em if she isn’t.) Detangle self from blanket on the floor and hit the leash/unleash request button on the pager transmitter while I get in position.  Mistress comes in and unclips the leash from my matching rope collar. 

(She made both.  The collar was made around my neck; there is no clasp, and it has to be destroyed to be removed. The handle of the leash is attached via carabiner to a turnbuckle on the underside of the bed, which I seem to manage to slip slightly under and bang limbs on a lot when I roll over.  There’s a shackle attached to one side of the headboard for special nights I’m allowed to sleep in the bed.) 

With me unleashed and bid good morning, she leaves, and I get up to put on my daily uniform (having slept nude), and wash up, and by 7:45 go for a one mile walk around the block (notifying her I’m leaving the house, naturally). 

By 8 AM, back from my walk, I settle in to write or see to a few other tasks for about an hour.

9 AM

See to morning service tasks.  Open the right blinds, turn on the right lights, open a set of windows if it’s nice (not 110*F). Do a quick tidy of the house, setting everything back in its place.  Make the bed (remember the hospital corners), add a linen spray (and in my office, and on the couches), and fold up my blanket. Lay out a set of Mistress’ clothes and pajamas. (She wears the same thing every day, too). Prepare another pot of coffee to be turned on later. 

9:20 AM

Make brunch. We both have pretty much the same thing every day—bagel for her, toast for me. On the table, set properly, at 9:30. Hit the downstairs pager transmitter button for mealtimes and get into Waiting Position behind my assigned chair.  Mistress comes downstairs and, since she likes me at the table at meals but I can’t sit on the furniture around her without permission, or even ask, she checks my position for things like finger placement (hands clasped behind back, right over left, right thumb over left thumb), says, “You may sit.” We have brunch and talk, and after, I clean up immediately, to check the kitchen is clean or being cleaned box on her brunch time inspection of morning tasks. If I’m making a slow cooking dinner entree, I start it. She lets me know the results of the brunch time inspection.  

Daytime

See to any other daily service or general tasks, or the ones as needed on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual schedule. Clean, do laundry, do household maintenance tasks, see to the cats and plants, so on. 

Might be teaching a SlaveClass webinar or doing related tasks, working on butler school coursework (it’s a four hundred hour self paced online course through the International Institute for Modern Butlers), writing or related tasks (I try to post twenty-five thousand words across my projects per month), doing miscellaneous Las Vegas TNG admin, or handling property management/tenants. 

Basically, free time, maybe errands or company if permitted, probably grab lunch or a snack at some point. 

If we hang out, it usually looks like this:

I wait quietly in the doorway of her office for permission to enter/speak. I assume my General Kneeling Position next to her and we talk.  If we talk long enough, I ask for permission to stretch/break position. Titles required at times (responses to most orders, permissions), but mostly just talking.  When I want to leave, I ask if there’s anything else I can do (to be of service); if so, do it, if not, then I ask permission to leave, and, assuming it’s a yes, curtsy and exit. 

Otherwise…

On Wednesdays, we play ping pong at 3 PM. Game on! 

On Fridays, I give her a pedicure at 10:30 AM and after, maybe shortly before noon, we do our weekly maintenance discipline session. I take the discipline wand—a short, thick cane like implement that lives on the mantel (always in sight)—to the bedroom, strip, kneel in Presenting Object Position with it, and wait. She comes in.  I get a spanking with the discipline wand.  At the beginning and end, I count the same amount of strokes with it, the amount chosen per week, usually six or ten, arbitrarily. 

On Saturday at noon, we have Meta Saturday, a check in on the last week and planning for the next. I bring her my daily journal with a report of upcoming appointments, writing I did, regular self reviews, so on. 

4:45 PM

Somewhere as early as 4:45 and as late as 5:45 (if finishing off something slow cooking), 5:10 to 5:25 on average, cook dinner.  There might have been afternoon baking for it, too.  

Dinner on the table at 6, table set properly, hit the transmitter button, get into Waiting Position in place.  Same deal as brunch.  She checks the position and grants me permission to sit.  We eat and talk a bunch; I clean up.

Evening

On Sundays, we have date night after dinner.

Saturdays, we usually have company for dinner/evening who have standing invitations. 

Twice a month, I host the Las Vegas TNG munch during about this time slot.  

I might be teaching a class.

Usually a time for sex or play, too, or permission to masturbate. Maybe take a shower, also with permission. (Shave as required, and, after, present myself in Inspection Position.) 

Generally, same options as daytime.   

9 PM 

Prepare another pot of coffee to be turned on in the morning. Lock up, shut lights, close blinds and any windows. Turn down the bed.  Unfold my blanket on the floor. Plan tomorrow, set alarms, plug in my electronics. Write my daily slave journal entry. Take meds. Undress. 

9:30 PM 

Bedtime.  Be ready to be leashed, at least, and all tasks should be ready for the final evening inspection. At some point, hit the transmitter button and get into Leashing Position. Get leashed to bed; offer her lotion and rub it in if she wants it. Probably talk or cuddle. She’ll leave or get into bed; I make sure to message my mom goodnight.  Then, time for sleep.

Decision Making and Internal Enslavement: A Metaphor

We talked about the weight—or the perceived lack thereof—of decision making as a slave the other day. 

Mistress pointed out that for many s-types, outsourcing the decision, so to speak, to their left side of the slash counterpart, relieves decision fatigue, anxiety about the consequences of that choice, and the feeling of responsibility.

But for me, it doesn’t, really.  Even if she makes the decision and I have no right to argue—and I don’t—I still feel responsible.  I still feel the need to think my way through the decision as if I was going to make it myself—even if it has to be after the fact. I might not come up with anything more than, “Well, Mistress said so,” or trust in her general judgment, but the thought process is there, seeing if that is the only reason.  I still feel responsible for the outcome, even if my only part in it was the decision, a long time ago, to submit.  I still have that standing at the crossroads feeling. 

She pointed out that this appeared to contradict my usual perspective on internal enslavement.  Usually I said that, at this point and for a long time now, I could not, psychologically, purposefully choose something that violated her will.  But no, this still lined up for me, and I explained it like this: 

So I’m standing at a fork in the road.  One clear, sunny path leads to the obedient action.  The other path—to disobedience—is shrouded in fog.  The clear path is the obvious best choice, the one I normally happily continue down.  But, even just mentally pondering the foggy path, it’s like wandering into that thick fog and constantly getting turned around.  I always end up back where I started like ultimately bouncing off a force field.  If I could see the path clearly, I’d notice that it dead ends in a few feet.  But sometimes I don’t see or remember that it’s a dead end.  But I start to dissociate, and thoughts swirl in that fog, too much to continue down that path.  Because of that guarantee, that the fog is too thick, there isn’t really a path there at all, no matter the apparent intersection.  And so I go wander down the clear path again. 

This made sense to her.  The decision sometimes seemed like it could be mine, regardless of the truth, if I could just get through that fog.  But the fog makes sure there’s nothing for me on the other side of it.  And I normally don’t even notice the foggy path as an option; certainly going down it doesn’t frequently occur to me. 

But, the sheer fogginess of that path, the guarantee of a dead end, scares some people as a description.  I see why. Free will is something a lot of people hold dear enough to never be willing to give up.  I get it.  But I don’t feel scared by it much.  I hold that will dearly, too, and I didn’t hand it over lightly.  But I know whom I gave it to and trust her like I would trust myself.

That’s all I need to know when I’m noticing the fog at the fork in the road. 

Why I Teach (Or, the Biggest “I Told You So” Moment of My Life)

When I was in middle school, I attended one of those gifted kids summer programs that ran for five weeks.  I attended a lot of things like that, and I didn’t realize how important this one could turn out to be at the time.  I loved the program as it was that summer, ending in a big presentation at a local television studio, but it was really just groundwork for when we reunited the next summer—this time, for only a chaotic, jam packed two weeks.  

This time, we were taking the knowledge we’d gained last summer, doing some more research, and creating something more with it: two curriculum plans, same subject, one for first grade, one for third grade.  Complete with writing and illustrating choose your own adventure picture books, writing and recording discs of mnemonic songs to common tunes, creating Jeopardy PowerPoint review games, matching activities to standards and writing lesson plan guides for teachers (the team I was on), and everything else needed that you could think of, we had two weeks to create a ready to go pitch to the local school district to start implementing the curriculum in some local elementary schools (which it eventually was). 

While it sounded impressive for those just on the cusp of teenagehood, I did get a few blank looks when I explained what the subject of the curriculum was.  People tried to be encouraging, but I could see the pause.  Maybe they’d ask a question.  The, but isn’t that a little… basic?  But isn’t that kind of… universal?  But isn’t that, uh… boring? But don’t kids kind of… already know that? 

Still, given what we’d learned that first summer, I was ready to brush those looks aside.  Had ready answers when someone asked. Still, I wondered. 

The subject of the curriculum we designed was the technique and importance of proper handwashing.  The first summer was spent studying epidemics and pandemics of the past and present, the dangers of one in the future, and how they could be prevented.  

Our choose your own adventure books that I’d been copyediting as our district pitch presentation began split at decisions like disinfecting a surface or not disinfecting it, of washing your hands or not, of sharing items when someone was sick—ending in health or flu.  Our songs we sang around the lunch tables because they were permanently embedded in our heads were set to the length of time you should wash your hands for, lyrics like, Around my thumbs and fingers too! to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” (seen anything like that flying around the Internet for adults this year?) 

Yeah, it was 2020 when it turned out a large portion of the adult population didn’t know how to wash their hands.  Guess that curriculum wasn’t so basic after all, huh? After that, no one was going to tell me a curriculum I created was too simple, too basic, too tedious, too universal, too but people already know that. Blogging was one thing, and I loved the material, but teaching had seemed beyond me before.

But I began teaching kink education webinars about my passions in that arena on Zoom while still in quarantine, separated from my normal kink community experience. I still wanted to create plenty of educational core content that was free, accessible, as high quality as I could manage, unique, and out there in the world, now in class form, no longer discouraged by is this just adulting 101? or am I the only one who thinks this matters? 

It’s been better received and grown faster than I ever could have hoped for.  I’ve taken inspiration from my own variety of learning experiences (public school, private school, magnet schools, forms of homeschooling, such summer programs) and other educators (from my family of many traditional teachers to other kink educators).  You can probably see the touch of the standard classroom when I switch from writing on the physical whiteboard to show something on the document camera, or announce, “Okay, pop quiz time!” with a multiple choice pop up.  I like melding those styles a little. 

In December, about a year after I began my webinars, I’ll be teaching my class Schizophrenia in the Scene for the first time, also melding mental health advocacy for a group many hear little about with kink education, both near and dear to me, and splitting any donations with NAMI, hopefully making at least a tiny ripple of a difference.

In the end, knowledge itself is power.  Just like for the kiddos in the choose your own adventure books who got that handwashing lesson (and the kids who got the curriculum those books were a part of), knowledge is there for you to make a change with.  I’d like to put more of that out into the world. 

Class Adaptation: Culinary Services on the Road

This is a written adaptation of my Culinary Services: On the Road class.

Planning

Since travel limits your ability to improvise, thorough planning is essential.  Here’s where to start.

  • Physical resources: what you’ll need to provide the service.
    • Type: items by category. 
      • Appliances—what appliances will you have access to?  A microwave and a mini fridge are common hotel room amenities.  There might be more in other accommodation types, like an Airbnb. What are you bringing with you? Things like a crock pot or waffle iron travel well in many circumstances. 
      • Food.  Your actual ingredients.  Once you have your recipe list, make your ingredient list.
      • Drinks.  Don’t forget the beverages.  At the very least, make sure you’ll have cold, filtered water.  This might not be provided by your venue. 
      • Oils, seasonings, condiments.  Don’t forget these mini ingredients.  At the least, salt and pepper can make almost anything better.  Consider other condiments and oils, too. 
      • Cleaning supplies.  You won’t just be cooking on the road; you’ll be cleaning on the road.  Housekeeping probably won’t cover this in a hotel and might not in other venues.  Remember your dish soap and sponge, and other needs. 
      • Kitchen essentials. Servingware, measuring tools, plates, bowls, cups, silverware, napkins, all that. Poke around your home kitchen.  What needs to come with you or be accounted for? 
    • Where: where do those resources come from? 
      • Provided by the venue?  Are any of these items provided by your accommodations? 
      • Shop? Can you shop when you get there, heading out to a nearby grocery store, convenience store, or restaurant? 
      • Delivery?  Could you have items delivered or shipped to your venue?  Think Instacart, DoorDash, and PostMates.  
      • Bring it with you?  Can you bring the item with you easily? 
  • Restrictions: what might stop you from providing this service in certain ways? 
    • Time.  Time to shop, time to cook, time to clean. Do you have enough of it? Can you plan for this better?
    • Money.  Expensive ingredients, especially if you’re going to a place with higher prices than home, or trying to buy small quantities of things you usually buy in bulk (especially spices).  Can you check out coupons, sales, other options, price comparisons, or bring anything with you?
    • Transportation. Can you get to the stores you need? Can you get a ride, use public transit, walk, bike, or use a cab/rideshare service?  
    • Space.  Do you have the space in your accommodations to cook these dishes? Can you safely repurpose spaces or move things tighter together? Do you have space in your luggage or vehicle to pack?
    • TSA.  Things you can and cannot bring on airlines.  You usually have more wiggle room in your checked baggage.  You could also consider shipping items, or getting them when you get there.
    • Permissions. Any restrictions set by the person you’re serving. Have you communicated about what will allow you to provide the best service?
    • Dietary restrictions.  If you’re providing your own culinary service on the road to help the person you’re serving or yourself adhere to a certain diet, you’ll need to, of course, stick to that diet. There are many resources online for all types of situations.
    • Health. Similar to the above. If you’re doing the cooking yourself for health reasons, that needs to stay in mind. 
  • Other info.  Other knowledge to gather.
    • How many people? How many people are you cooking for each time? Does this change for any meal? 
    • Meal times.  When is food expected to be on the table? 
  • Information on anything you’re not cooking, and options.
    • Restaurants. Are you going out anywhere?  Are there places nearby to your liking (or the liking of the person you’re serving), or plans already made?  Going out with someone you’re visiting, perhaps? Remember reservations. 
    • Room service. Anything you can order from the hotel to the room that’s suitable? 
    • Free breakfast. Many hotel like venues provide a free continental breakfast. Is this suitable, or is there anything provided there you can bring back to the room to be repurposed? 
    • Others cooking.  Especially if you’re visiting someone, they may cook you a meal at some point.  If you’re traveling with another service type or anyone else who’s also doing the cooking, you’ll need to coordinate who’s doing what with them. 
    • Delivery. Any delivery options that are useful?  This could be restaurants or stores. 
    • Snacks. Snacks you can make or buy ahead of time or on site for between meal times. 
  • Make a meal plan and backups.  Things to consider: 
    • Is the meal filling enough?  Just because options are limited doesn’t mean a meal shouldn’t be satisfying.
    • Plans for snacks and drinks. Outside of just meals, remember things to munch on in between, and beverages for meals and outside of them.
    • Plan for leftovers.  Can you reheat them the next night, use them in a different dish, or pack them for lunch? 
    • Make a packing list/prep ahead list/shopping list.  Shopping list for home and when you arrive. Packing list of every single item.  List of foods to prepare ahead of time and then pack. 
    • Check for sales and coupons.  To travel cheaper, keep these in mind both where you’re starting and where you’re going.   
    • Compare shopping options. Compare prices between the venues at home and at your destination, and the prices between those cities in general. 
    • Pick good and few items.  Use as few items as possible without making the same dish over and over again.  Use more versatile cuts of meat, a very basic selection of spices (salt and pepper are really your friends), etc.  And when you do shop, pick quality cuts of meat, pieces of produce, etc. 
    • Make a master plan.  If you repeat this trip often, make a master version of the lists and info above to easily reference next time. 
  • Location alerts.  With your partner’s blessing, especially if they’ll be out and about and you’ll be minding the room, consider setting up location alerts so you’ll know when they’re heading back.  Then, greet them at their car with a fresh beverage, a smile, and anything else they’d like. 

Top Allergens

Top allergens to be aware of in the needs of the person you’re serving and their guests.  There are many other dietary restrictions to be aware of (whether they be moral preference, religious, sensitivity, weight loss, medical need, etc.) but these tend to be the most common, and sometimes dangerous. 

  • Milk.  Note that most of the adult population is lactose intolerant to some extent, though this is different than an actual milk allergy.  A cow milk allergy is, however, one of the most common childhood allergies, though most cases outgrow it.  Many products contain dairy that are not labeled with “milk” as an ingredient, but contain dairy additives, so know what to look for on a label with this allergy and all others.
  • Eggs.  This one is again common in children, though it’s frequently outgrown.  Also, some are allergic to only egg whites or egg yolks, or are okay with cooked eggs in another product (eggs in baked goods, for instance). Be aware of the distinctions.
  • Fish.  Fish is a common and serious allergy, and it also sometimes surfaces later in life, with adult onset. 
  • Crustacean shellfish.  This tends to be a lifelong allergy, and it’s recommended that people with this allergy are also not around the product while it’s cooked. (This is true with some others, too. Bear in mind, especially in small spaces.)
  • Tree nuts.  This is a particularly deadly allergy and a particularly common one, and definitely something to be very aware of. 
  • Peanuts.  Peanut allergies are also particularly dangerous and particularly common.  It is also more common in children.
  • Wheat.  Wheat and gluten are not exactly the same, though the words gluten free and Celiac’s have become more and more common.  Wheat allergies are also more common in children. Note that those with wheat allergies (and others) can have a reaction from cross contamination, not just eating the item directly.  If you cook a regular pancake, and then cook a wheat free pancake in the same pan, the person eating the wheat free pancake can still have an allergic reaction. This is especially a risk with limited resources.
  • Soybeans.  Another common childhood allergy, soy is a common ingredient even where you might not expect it, so read labels carefully. 

Always talk to the person in question about what is okay for them.  

Basics

Basic advice and some safety considerations. 

  • When handling uncooked meats, remember to wear disposable gloves and not cross contaminate. (One more allergy to keep in mind here: latex.) Keep long hair pulled back if possible. 
  • Heat and surfaces.  Remember that you’re improvising a little here, and the surfaces you’re cooking on in a space like a hotel room might not be meant for cooking.  Evaluate surfaces before you do anything on them with heat, and keep an eye on the situation at least the first time.  (Say, if you set a crock pot in use on a counter.) 
  • Bear in mind the rules of the venue.  If you can’t have, say, an open flame, at least make efforts to abide by the rule or break it as safely and non disruptively as possible if truly need be, and be aware of the risks.
  • Outlets.  Use electricity safely, being aware of how much power something needs, how much the outlet is providing, outlets that may be near sources of water, all of those things.  
  • Use knives and cutting boards safely.  Keep your knives clean and sharp, and know how to use one properly, and the type of knife to use for what.  Use separate, clean cutting boards for raw meats (preferably plastic) and for everything else (preferably wood).  Keep wood cutting boards hydrated/oiled. Don’t slack on this just because of travel. 
  • Trust recipes.  There are few “fake recipes” or “alternative ingredient lists” floating around the Internet.  If you’re new, try to trust the recipe first before you make your own modifications.  You’re much more likely to get good results from the method that was tested. 
  • If you do need to substitute items, especially with the restrictions of cooking on the road, do so carefully.  Know what items can be substituted for what (ye olde “baking soda and baking powder are not the same thing”).  Also know if it’s substituted for the exact same measurement or not. (For example, there’s “cup for cup” substitute flour, especially gluten free varieties, but also many that might substitute “a cup and two tablespoons” per cup, say.  Be aware.) 

Temperatures

Nothing ruins even an otherwise perfect trip like food poisoning.  The best way to avoid it: cook everything to proper temperatures.  No slacking just because you’re traveling! Check everything properly with a thermometer.  The USDA recommends minimal internal temperatures of: 

  • Ham/Beef/Veal/Pork/Seafood/Lamb: 145*F/~63*C.  Now, there’s definitely a range here on some things, especially for items like medium rare or rare steaks (and good for you if you’ve done that in a hotel room).  But this is the official recommendation. 
  • All Poultry: 165*F/~74*C.  There isn’t really wiggle room here.  Don’t get salmonella.  You can still cook juicy chicken with an internal temp of way over 165*F.
  • Ground Meat (Non Poultry): 160*F/~71*C.  Grinding up meat redistributes bacteria that is usually surface level, and means it must be cooked to a higher temperature.
  • Final note: don’t forget to pack the thermometer so you can check those temperatures!

Presentation and Service

Mostly aesthetic considerations around mealtime itself. 

  • Make it look like home.  Take the time to customize the space as much as you can.  Bring key parts of the table or room from home where practical.  Tuck venue flyers and leaflets and such into drawers.  Remake the bed the way you would at home, and ask for the extra pillows or whatever touches of comfort are desired.  Make it look a little more like your normal space. 
  • Tidy/restock.  If you’re the one doing housekeeping, tidy up the space yourself, and as housekeeping services are usually the ones restocking amenities, get in touch with them or the front desk for any items you notice are low (towels, soaps, paper goods, etc.)  Empty trash containers into larger bins out of the room where available, and at least create a hamper for used laundry.  Also, still remember tipping customs.
  • Eat at a table.  If at all practical, eat at a table.  Even small hotel rooms usually have a desk and a chair or two.  Even a nightstand and one person sitting on the end of the bed will do. But don’t sit around in chairs or on the bed; create a table just like at home. 
  • On that note, add a tablecloth (easy to pack) and even a centerpiece (flowers or a decorative item provided the venue, perhaps?) if practical.  Even a towel can at least spare you some cleanup hassle. Place cards even for two are at least a cute touch. 
  • Lighting and music.  Experiment with the new space and adjust the lighting to something functional but intimate.  Electric candles or string lights aren’t hard to toss in your bag.  Use your phone or electronic of choice (many rental spaces even have compatible speakers or a TV with a music service) to play some low instrumental music or background noise (fireplace crackling, falling rain, what have you—search for ASMR, white noise, studyscapes, sleep soundtracks). 
  • Remember drinks and condiments.  Both when packing or shopping, and when setting the table.  
  • Getting into plating: use any sauce (you probably have a lot to work with if you’re using something like a crock pot) to create visual texture and interest. Watch the moisture content, and remember you’ll want the most moisture at the bottom of the plate, so on, so that it doesn’t drip down through dryer layers.  Create interest with colors. 
  • You can create height on the plate for an attractive design, stacking items, or, in the case of sliced meats, fanning those slices looks nice, too.  Plate in odd numbers, as this is more eye catching than even numbers.  Three or five slices of meat, not two or four, so on. Eating in the room doesn’t have to make your vacation meals any less Instagram worthy. 
  • Remember “the clock plate”.  Imagine your plate as the face of a clock. This is a principle that says that your protein or entree should be from three to nine, starch from nine to twelve, and veggies from twelve to three.  At the least, putting the protein/main dish closest to the diner is a popular recommendation, though if it’s a protein and one side dish, realistically a lot of people will turn it so the two dishes are at six to twelve and twelve to six.
  • Presenting condiments: ideas for butter.  Even on the road, it can be easy to dress this up a little.  A butter knife drawn along the top of a stick of butter is all you need to create butter curls, and a dasher/melon baller in a tub of whipped butter is all you need to create butter balls. 
  • Even on the road, wherever possible, use real, clean, matching dishes and table linens. 
  • Hug the guest.  Especially in those tight spaces, remember the important part of the “serve from the left, clear from the right” principle: use the hand of the side you’re serving from.  Right side of the guest, serve with your right hand, wrapping around slightly or “hugging” the guest instead of knocking them with your elbow, and vice versa on the left. 
  • If space at all allows, set the table properly. Consult a table setting chart; you can find mine here.

Napkin Folding Guide

The Rosebud

1. Lay napkin face down in front of you.

2. Fold the napkin up in half diagonally. 

3. Point open end away from you. 

4. Fold the right corner up diagonally to meet the top corner. 

5. Repeat on the left.

6. Flip the napkin over, left to right.

7. Fold the lower corner up most of the way.

8. Flip the napkin over, left to right.

9. Curl both sides in, tucking one into the other.

10. Stand up. 

The Envelope

1. Lay napkin face down in front of you.

2. Fold napkin in half downwards.

3. Fold top left corner to center of base.

4. Repeat on the right.

5. Flip left to right. 

6. Fold in corners evenly.  Tuck in menu, card, favor, or whatever is desired. (Bottom will be open.) 

The Cutlery Holder (Good For Smaller Table Settings)

1. Lay napkin face up in front of you.

2. Fold in half upwards.

3. Fold in half to the left.

4. Peel one layer of upper right corner back to lower left corner.

5. Flip over vertically, downward.

6. Fold lower third in.

7. Fold top third in.

8. Orient vertically and insert cutlery/whatever is desired.

Conclusion

So there’s “Culinary Services: On the Road”. I hope it was informative or inspirational.  You can find my top recipes (travel friendly recipes are starred) here.  Safe travels!

Class Adaptation: Anticipatory Service

This is a written adaptation of my Anticipatory Service class.

I like to begin this class with a quote from Gosford Park:

“What gift do you think a good servant has that separates them from the others? It’s the gift of anticipation. (…) I know when they’ll be hungry, and the food is ready. I know when they’ll be tired, and the bed is turned down. I know it before they know it themselves.” 

True words!  But how do you do it?

Learning 

At the core of anticipatory service is education.  You can’t provide a service you don’t know how to do. But where do you start, how do you learn, and what do you do after? 

  • What do they want you to learn? The person you’re serving, that is. Remember one of the golden rules: it’s not service if they don’t want it. Even if it’s useful. Even if they “should” want it. Even if they’ll like it once it’s done. So, ask the person you’re serving where to start. If you’re on your own for the moment, consider asking around and doing some research about what’s “in demand”.
  • Training. What I’m basically counting under this category is instruction by the person you’re serving. This is good for specific preferences and unique services, and hands on/kinesthetic learners. Pretty much any relationship will, formally or informally, include this at some point, even if it’s, “Hey, how do you take your coffee?” 
  • Classes. This can be classes in the kink scene and classes outside of the kink scene (try local businesses, community centers, colleges, the Internet; things aimed at the hospitality, private service, customer service industries, and more). I especially recommend including classes from outside of the kink scene for that professional touch, and classes from within the scene for the customs of those spaces. I’ve attended everything from two hour kink centered webinars to what I’ve done so far of my four hundred hour professional private service course. 
  • Certificates. Certificate courses can be useful both logistically and as starting points for important considerations. This can include first aid and safety trainings, food handler cards, alcohol server cards, and more.
  • Reading. Books and articles, again both kink and vanilla. Good for verbal learners. 
  • Videos and podcasts. Especially if you’re an auditory learner, there’s a lot here. There are many kink oriented podcasts, and videos are often great for step by step visuals and directions. 
  • Practice. Don’t stop after absorbing the information in the above ways. Rattling off how to do something is no use if you can’t actually do it, so put the skill to use, and do it. Many services can be practiced in the vanilla world, too. Even if you’re looking to perfect your cooking for the right Owner one day, you won’t have trouble finding people to give you feedback on free food now. 
  • Take your own notes on whatever you learn. This will give you a quick way to refresh your memory and will be built for you, by you. Make a habit of refreshing yourself on your resource notes on a regular schedule, in case anything new has become applicable or jumps out at you now.

You can find my top recommendations for the above resource types here.

Problem Solving

A major category of anticipatory service is problem solving. Here are some steps: 

  • Notice the sign/problem. Yes, this sounds incredibly obvious. However, this step includes keeping your eyes open, scanning for things to be solved, remembering it, and caring to do something about it. 
  • Look from their perspective. As in, the perspective of the one you’re serving. This problem may not be a problem to you—but you’re not serving you. Do that scanning from the perspective of the person in question. Preference, ability, etc. 
  • Understand the problem. You can’t solve a problem effectively if you don’t know what’s going on. Think who, what, when, where, why, how. What’s the full scope of the problem? What’s causing the problem? How do you fix that? Google is your friend.
  • Solve the problem immediately. If you want this service to stay anticipatory, you have to get on it pretty fast, even if it’s not urgent. An imperfect solution now is better than the “perfect” solution later (that’s probably not coming). 
  • Solve it specifically. One note here: saying, “There is a problem,” and offering to help solve the problem is not solving the problem. If you do need to run the solution by the other party, propose a specific solution, not just the offer to be part of the solution. If you’re in an established service dynamic, that part’s obvious, and if you’re not, that part will be obvious in the specific solution.  
  • Solve it long term/on a recurring basis. Plan to solve this problem each time it comes up, if it’s related to something recurring. Don’t use quick bandaid solutions (except on emergencies while you get something better going); make sure that it’s a long term fix. Don’t just put a bucket under the leak; fix the leak. 
  • Permission issues. Obviously, make sure you have whatever permissions you need to solve the problem before you take action (unless it’s a true emergency). When building protocols, you’ll want to build in emergency exceptions, and take into account which problems you want solved with/without permission, which ones you want solved with/without prior or post event notice, etc. 
  • While solving problems: don’t cause another problem. Keep a wide view of things and make sure that your fix here isn’t taking the bandaid off somewhere else. Don’t schedule a new task to fix something not getting done at a time that now has you pressed for time on another item. Etc. 
  • Prevent the problem. What can you do to keep this problem from happening again, happening elsewhere, etc.? 
  • Check in. Make sure the problem does stay solved in the most effective manner, and isn’t popping up anywhere else. 

Tracking Preferences

In order to provide excellent service, you have to know what excellent service looks like to the person you’re serving. Here are some tips:

  • Ask. Ask before the situation is going to come up, when you think of preferences to ask about, when they ask you for something and you’re not sure how they like it, whenever you’re allowed to: ask. It might not be anticipatory service in the moment, but it’s how you get to do it next time. 
  • Understand the value of knowing why. Obviously, don’t be the two year old asking why why why. Don’t ask “why” to stall or to make them defend the service they requested before you provide it (if you’ve already made that agreement). But, ask why when it helps you provide better service. There’s plenty of room for the useful why in even fairly tight protocol—especially if you ask later, for next time. 
    • An example I give is this: the person you’re serving asks you to pick up some things from the store, making replacements as needed. (Instacart kink?) You go shopping; the store is out of one of the items. They’re not answering their phone. What do you do? Which replacement do you pick? Here, it would be useful to know why they selected their original choice. If it was because it was cheapest, then you’d want to pick the second cheapest item. If it was because of superior quality, then you’d want to pick up the second best item (based on whatever criteria). Different choices made based on different whys.
  • Incorporate those preferences. Once you know of a preference, incorporate that into your systems and actions. Note brands on your master shopping list; stick a note with their coffee order onto your morning checklist that says “fetch coffee”; make a playlist in their genre of choice for use during chauffeur service. 
  • Write it down. Write down notes on the preference itself. Keep organized files. You can organize this by topic (how they take their coffee), person, both, so on. 
  • Study those notes. Especially if they can’t be neatly incorporated into pre existing routines but might come up at random, just make a habit of reading those notes in their entirety. In creative writing, there’s the idea of “visiting with” your work to keep it fresh in your head even if you’re blocked and not writing more: doing research, reading what you’ve already written, doodling a character—just to keep the work “alive” in your head. Honestly, I find a similar concept applicable to tracking preferences. Having read someone’s file recently will keep that information closer to the top of your head.
  • Look for changes. Ask if needed. Your notes are not God; don’t box people into the first preference you noted. Keep an eye out for changes and update accordingly. (Note: you can still keep the notes on former preferences as those are likely to be runner ups or somehow relevant; just title them as such.) 
  • Notice preferences. Short of just asking, the best way to note a preference is repetition. Do they buy the same brands again and again? Consume the same types of media? Order the same thing every time you go out? Wear the same color of clothing every day? Compliment the same service again and again? People are creatures of habit, and habits are telling. 
  • Learn their cues. To get one step ahead on in the moment services like drink refills, you’ll want to learn what they do immediately before a) they do the thing themselves, b) you usually notice the desire, or c) they prompt you to do it. Looking for repetition in that area to learn, and then keeping an eye out for those tells to act on, will keep you ahead of things. Here, I usually screen share some made up examples using characters from my erotica series and point a few things out. 
    • Ezri took another sip of coffee, her gaze lingering on the clear mug as she set it down on the table. Her eyes flicked to Lalia, kneeling nearby, who noticed the nearly empty mug and went to refill it. 
      • Here, we see the point where Lalia notices that Ezri’s drink is getting empty (and does something about it). But if she wanted to catch that sooner, let’s take a step back from that moment: what happened before that? We see gaze lingering on the drink in question, and eyes flicking to her slave, Lalia, two common visual indicators that could easily be tells that a refill is in order. 
    • Jen frowned at her glass that was now mostly ice, tilting it to and fro before setting it nearly out of reach. She stood and retrieved the pitcher from the island.
      • Same thing here. We see Jen take this action (the refill) herself. This wouldn’t happen on Clara’s watch but let’s pretend her slave notices this and wants to have jumped in a moment sooner. So, let’s back up. Right before this, we see frowned at her glass (an expression like something’s wrong with it, or thinking about it) and tilted it to and fro (fidgeting, with the object in question) and setting it nearly out of reach (a weird thing to do with a drink you’re still working on). All potential tells.
    • Ezri looked at Lalia as she set her coffee down, toying with a strand of her hair. She nudged her and indicated the mug, and Lalia picked it up and headed for the kitchen.
      • Man, Clara and Lalia are really off their game today. Anyway, here we see the prompt to get the refill (nudging and indicating the mug being relatively obvious between these two, if not verbal). So, one more time, let’s take one step back: how to get ahead of that prompt. We see Ezri look at Lalia and additionally toy with Lalia’s hair. The extra attention to the person who’s supposed to be serving her would be key tells here, not just flattery.

Service Ideas

How to come up with ideas for services. 

  • Routinely ask. Once again, the power of asking up front. But there’s another word here: routinely. Set a recurring reminder or other schedule to do this on. This is a part of our weekly questionnaire for our weekly check in. 
  • Things that are outsourced. What do they have someone else, like a professional or maybe family, do for them? This might involve having someone come into the house to do it, bringing items or themselves to a place for service, etc. Are these things you can take over and do just as well or better? 
  • Things that are automated. What’s being done by technology? Can you do it just as well or better instead? Think of home automation, dishwashers that might not be thorough, washers and dryers that might be tough on delicate items.
    • Note: on both of the above, there are pros and cons to these as sources of service. It might be that your time is better used elsewhere, or it might be that doing it yourself makes you feel more connected to your service. Keep in mind. 
  • Things they do for themselves. Self explanatory. What tasks do they do for themselves that you can do for them just as well (or better) and they won’t miss? 
  • What frustrates them? Especially look here. What tasks do they complain about, procrastinate on, rush through? 
  • In the moment… what are they about to ask for/what are they about to do? If you know it a moment ahead of time, and you can, go do it for them. We talked about it a bit above, but even if you haven’t been specifically put on that duty, this could create a new service. 
  • Does this recur? If any of the above is something that happens on a recurring basis, communicate with the person you’re serving about it, work it into your systems, and, as we said with problem solving: handle it on that recurring basis. 

Improving Processes 

Look around at the processes already getting things done. How can they be improved? 

  • Can it be done with less:
    • Time?  Done faster? 
    • Money?  Done cheaper? Done yourself? 
    • Other resources?  Driving, supplies, space? 
  • Understand (and adhere to) their priorities. What makes a process better to you might not be what makes it better to them. What do they value? That something is done quicker? Cheaper? Better? Does that change depending on what the thing is? 
  • Can it be more consistent? Consistent processes are a must in any service industry, and being an s-type is no exception. You know exactly what you’re doing; they know exactly what to expect. Can you make this any more consistent? 
  • More convenient?  And what does convenient mean to the person you’re serving? Check in on their ideas of convenience, and see if you can make a process (or the result) more accessible to them. 
  • For a lot of people, one thing that makes things more convenient is kits and stations. This can be anything from the standard play bag you take to parties, a drink station in the kitchen, a first aid/toiletry kit, a bug out bag, a tray that holds items for a specific personal service, so on. Think about organizing these. 
  • Eliminate nuisances and friction points. What tends to get in the way of things going smoothly and pleasantly? (And again: what’s their idea of a nuisance?) Address these things. 
  • Monitor results from the above. Just like problem solving, keep an eye on these processes for further improvement or troubleshooting. 

Unobtrusive Service 

In the moment, ways to keep your service unobtrusive and invisible. 

  • Speak when spoken to/be quiet.  Try to keep your gestures, footsteps, voice, serving: quiet.  Speak only when spoken to/necessary unless you have different protocol, and generally don’t attract too much attention.  We have a protocol that when I’m entering Mistress’ office (as she’s there much of the time and this is by far our most common scenario), I wait in the doorway (a good, unobtrusive spot) quietly until I’m acknowledged, if I want her attention, and I can pass through without that and exit protocols if I don’t make eye contact (more below).
  • Watch the eye contact.  This is as distracting as being spoken to for a lot of people, and tends to indicate that you have something to say.  Try to keep your eyes lowered/on the task at hand.
  • Don’t interrupt physically.  If two people are speaking, don’t get right between them.  If the person you’re serving is working on a task, don’t get between them and the task.  If they’re moving around, don’t get in their way.   
  • Don’t ask if not needed.  If you don’t need to ask if they want the service that comes to mind, don’t. Just do it. Needing to ask could be defined here by protocol or by uncertainty, but if you don’t need to ask, maybe just get to it.

Conclusion

These are my top pieces of advice/starting points for providing good anticipatory service. I hope this inspires!