Monday, October 21, 2013

World's Worst Procrastinator...or Just Plain BUSY!?

Obviously, I have not blogged for nearly a YEAR!? How on earth did that happen, you wonder? Well, I am as shocked as those who are reading this, that exactly 11 months have passed since I was last on this page. So...Let's rewind and start with...

November of 2012
Thanksgiving is usually quiet here by design. I really like to have the holidays blocked off for family time, so we close on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Gina and Haley came for Thanksgiving and we had a great time as usual. Honestly, I don't remember the weather, so maybe it was unremarkable.

December in Hannibal was a normal one in 2012 as well. The house was pretty quiet. We decorated for the few guests who stayed and they enjoyed the Victorian Christmas atmosphere. We sold a number of gift certificates and we spent Christmas watching some college and pro football, since the NHL was locked out. It was nice to be able to relax and warm our toes by the fire.

The new year just blasted on in with plenty of snow and some ice during the second week. A couple from Illinois had to reschedule their stay due to a fall on the ice in Peoria, just as they were packing the car to head to Hannibal. We were staying toasty warm inside, but the cold of January in the midwest held true to form and we had plenty of days to sleep in and work on inside projects, such as painting and deep cleaning. We cleaned out the basement too. We also had the misfortune of our truck being involved in a Smash and Grab in St Louis. We had planned to stay in St Louis to go watch a Blues scrimmage game after the NHL lockout ended. After the thieves took our suitcase, laptop, some CDs, our Ford Owner's Manual, and my Travel mug, we decided we should just go home. We had a broken window on the passenger side of the truck and it was pretty darn cold on January 15th in St Louis. What a nightmare to endure.

February brought more guests and we had a very good month considering. We're betting that Feb of 2014 will be even better, as Valentine's Day occurs on Friday. That always means a full house for that weekend. We also were able to get the truck in for an appointment with the body shop and they vacuumed out thousands of small pieces of glass from the window being broken in January. It sure made a difference with the sound of the more buzzing and vibration! Darn those thieves!!

What a great month we had in March! Hannibal's Annual Chocolate Extravaganza was the 2nd week of the month, and the downtown was buzzing. We had an opportunity to complete an outdoor project replacing wood and painting during some warmer days in March. Oh the times they seem to never end. We were BUSY in March with guests, but we still had time to go to St Louis overnight and spend a night with family to celebrate Christmas in March with Gina and Haley. Our St Patrick's Day was busy too, and that's a good thing for a B and B with an Irish name.

Certainly everyone knows how slooooow molasses is when you pour it?.Well we had a 'Molassesly' slow April. Maybe that makes sense, considering that February and March were unusually busy as guests are concerned. It was odd though, to have such a quiet April. We wondered if it was a trend for what to expect during the remainder of the year, but as you'll see, we were pleasantly surprised that the rest of the year turned out very well. Part of the reason for lower totals in April was the week we spent in Florida for our Granddaughter's 7th birthday. We had a wonderful time. Judy's youngest son Tim was deployed, and we all missed him. Our visit helped to fill the void of not having Daddy there for the birthday celebration. Kaylie and Kaden were such fun and Grandpa really had a workout keeping up with them.

Business was pretty good in May! Then on May 20th an EF-1 Tornado hit. The Hannibal storm followed the EF-5 in Moore, OK, on May 20, which devastated that area and many lives were lost. It was horrific. Hannibal endured a much less severe storm later that same day and there was no loss of life here. We had straight line winds over 100 mph and it was an eerie sight at sunrise on May 21st. There were trees, BIG, OLD trees, uprooted, broken off and void of the majority of leaves, some over 100 yrs old. Many were lying parallel to the ground with roots attached, as if a giant had just pushed them over and exposed half of the root ball. Riverview Park had 200-300 trees damaged. We saw one with bark ripped down top to bottom, from 40 feet high. It was still attached to the top of the tree and just peeled off, exposing the naked tree. Norm walked our block and cautiously picked up each shingle he saw, hoping that none would be the red which adorns our roof. It was a relief that none of those shingles had blown off our roof. We did lose our fence in the back, which surrounds the parking lot. So now that new fence we needed for a couple years prior, is finally up. We both worked for a couple weeks, between hosting guests etc, and put the fence up ourselves. No longer will we have to paint that fence! YAY!! Some buildings were damaged in the downtown and some outlying areas. One building on Main Street lost a large portion of the third story. The worst news for us was the damage to the waterfall and pond in the back yard. We lost three of our 24 inch Koi. The power was off for several hours and the pond was filled with muddy water from the wind and rain, which accompanied the tornado. The big fish suffocated, as the oxygen was much less than necessary for them to thrive. Survivors were, one Koi, a Shubunkin, a Fantail, and a Fancy Comet. The waterfall repairs will have to wait until spring of 2014. We wonder if our hummingbird population was affected by that tornado, as well as the Oklahoma tornadoes. Our hummingbird flock was about 1/3 the normal number we usually see here over the summer, and it is possible that severe storms in May could have caused problems for them in their travels to their summer 'homes'.

As May came to a close, Norm arranged for a special 60th birthday for Judy. We traveled to the Arcadia Valley in southeast Missouri and stayed at a wonderful country B and B, with a great innkeeper. What a perfect getaway. Judy caught a dozen fish at the lake near the cottage, we had a delicious dinner at a restaurant that was closing the next day, due to the proprietors retiring...what a shame to lose that restaurant in the area. And we investigated a lot of the local area including Elephant Rocks, Johnson Shut-ins, the Battle of Pilot Knob Civil War site, and toured a cabin owned by, Vincent Price's sister. Price, who has long been one of my favorite horror film actors, spent many days there himself. We ventured to Caledonia and found the coolest General Store. It was a wonderful mini-vacation. We returned back to work...refreshed and ready to take on a busy summer.

The busy season started off well in June. It was quite hectic around here with only four of our available days with no guests booked. We worked really hard in June so that we could take some time in July to enjoy a visit with family. The weather was delightful in June and we had some great folks stay with us. Though some flowers were planted early in June, Judy had several allergic reactions to gnat bites and was unable to spend any length of time outside, other than to go out after dusk to water the flowers. Now that was annoying and tough for Judy and her green thumb. Maybe a Beekeeper's suit is in order.

Tom Sawyer Days dominates July in Hannibal and this year was typical. There were fence painters, Toms and Beckys, Crafts and Gifts at Central Park, Carnival rides, and of course the Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks. For a small town, Hannibal always has the most AWESOME fireworks!! After the festivities had ended, family arrived in early July and we had fun times for a few days. Grandson Kaden's first trip to Hannibal turned out to be a great one. Sister Kaylie has a bit over a half dozen visits, so Kaden needs to catch up! He had a lot of fun doing what most kids enjoy in an old house with a cool stairway, and totally enjoyed sliding down the banister. He was very good in a house full of antiques. They spent time playing with cousin Haley and Gina loved spending time with her brother and sister-in-law. It was her fist time meeting Kaden, and it appeared that she was captivated by his neat little personality. It was a lot of fun having the family here. Considering that we took off for 6 days in a row the second week of July, business was pretty darn good. Not including the 6 days when we hosted family, we had just 2 days without guests in July. What a month...whew! We really pushed it for the remainder of the month and again hosted some special folks, who make innkeeping enjoyable. Along with all the new friends we met, our repeats from Iowa are top of the crop guests! We're blessed.

Amazing and thoughtful are a couple of the best descriptions of Norm. He arranged for another special vacation, this time for Judy to spend time in Florida with both of her sons and her youngest son's family. Norm stayed home and hosted all the guests, made hummingbird food, watered flowers and cooked and cleaned while Judy had fun. There is never enough time with grand kids and children when they live so far away. This has been an exceptional year of visits with family.

So it was Back To Work full time, for both Norm and Judy at the end of July and beginning of August. What an incredible month. August normally gives way to lulls when school starts. For whatever reason there was NO lull. The usual opportunity to work on projects outside did not materialize in August, as consideration is always given to guests, and minimizing inconveniencing them with maintenance projects and noise. We hosted several groups for 3 days and one group was fourteen guests! Now that's a houseful. Following the big group, we ventured to Hermann, MO, overnight for an innkeeper's R and R. We stayed at the most delightful B and B just north of Hermann. We will definitely be going back there. What wonderful hosts, food and accommodations. And YES, innkeepers DO visit other B and Bs...

On to September and another incredibly busy month. What a year this has been. Our occupancy was great in September and even allowed us to take a few days to do some celebrating of our own. We were not able to celebrate our 22nd anniversary on the day, but did get to spend some time mid-week, investigating some genealogy in Indiana where Judy's father's family is from. It was a nice anniversary, albeit a bit late on the calendar. This month also brought some beautiful weather. We were able to turn the AC off for a few days and enjoy the comfort of having the same perfect temps, inside and out.

The month of harvest, magnificent colors of changing leaves, and Scary Halloween. Again in October we hosted multiple groups for 3 days. Days off were few and far between leading up to our Fall Folklife Festival weekend, which was a huge success and the weather was incredible.

We were happy to have youngest son Tim spend a couple days with us. He helped us with two maintenance projects outside, which we were unable to reach to repair ourselves. We drove him to the airport this morning and noticed that the leaves in the area are really changing now. With the colder temps heading our way on October 22, that color change process will be boosted along.

Our available rooms are scarce in October, but click the following link and see what you can find:
Check for Available Dates Here! We hope to meet you soon!!

H A P P Y     H A L L O W E E N ! ! ! ! ! 2013!!!