The Otis and Gus-Gus Show – 26 Sep 18

My adoring readers, I will not lie to you and tell you that I have been busy.  I have not.  I’m actually quite lazy and proud of it, that is why my letters to you do not come daily.  I think it makes dad quite jealous that I can get away with sleeping half the day away and he cannot.  But in my defense the B&B is so large and I have such short legs I need the extra rest to make up for the extra steps.  Speaking of steps, there are a lot of stairs here and I really need dad to get to work on a lift for me, but I highly doubt that will get done.  I really think he finds it funny to go down stairs “pretend” to get something and wait for my loyal butt to get half way down the staircase just to head back up again. He thinks the stink eye I give him is unwarranted.  It is very warranted.

It is not easy for me to get up and down those stairs.  There is a lot of sexiness in this long body.  Dad says I look like a slinky going down the stairs, well I don’t think he’s that much more graceful.  Besides everyone likes slinky’s so I would rather look cute doing something so difficult.  It is also difficult for me to stop once I get going down the stairs, let alone turn around and go back up. Turning around is a whole process in itself.  I have to either get my whole self on a step and start heading back up, which is difficult because I have lost all momentum at that point, or I have to continue to the bottom of the stairs, catch my breath, and begin again. Which of course is much easier for me, but all that time gives dad a chance to give Gus a treat. I’m positive that’s what he does when I’m left behind on the stairs. So as you can see my stink eye is fully warranted.

I apologize adorning reader you do not want to ready my complaints or grips.  I should tell you more of how we spend our days. Today is a typical Wednesday for us, the only difference is mom is not here.  Mom has been gone for what seems like forever, which has depressed me quite a bit but dad keeps saying she will be back.  As I mentioned in my last letter mom is an Airman, what I did not say is that she is deployed.  To where I have no idea.  All I know is mom and dad rescued me in Florida a while back. Then a few years ago we moved to New Jersey, which was colder and nosier.  Now we live in Illinois, which is quieter than New Jersey and the house here is lots bigger than either the Florida home or the New Jersey one. Anyway she is away but she calls almost daily and dad lets her talk to us so that helps.

Our day today started off normal.  Gus of course gets me and dad up before the alarm.  Mom is an early riser and Gus takes after her, in a lot of ways. For one he likes to run, which mom does a lot. He also likes to curl up under blanks, the big whip. But it does get him lots of cuddle time so I have to give the kid props there.  Anyway we get up and dad puts me on the floor and lets us out into the side yard for our morning constitutional.  Gus does his business quickly as he finds it gross and is easily distracted by the squirrels or just wants to get back into the air conditioning.  I like to take my time, find the right stop, and then properly push leaves and pine needles back over it with my hind feet. I like to be courteous and not leave my business out for others to see.

We head back inside where dad has our breakfast ready for us.  It’s the meatloaf that he makes homemade, mom use to give that to us for dinner but dad is not a morning person so the oatmeal, fruit, and eggs are our dinners since those he prepares fresh for us and I guess it takes time to make.  The meatloaf is pretty awesome either way.  So after breakfast I go back downstairs under the bed and take a nap. I usually do this to let my belly rest but also because dad has a long morning routine and there is no use following him through this. Gus usually jumps back on the bed since he is a young whipper snapper and a show off.

Once dads routine is done we all head up stairs where dad checks the mail and gets the bookstore ready to open.  Shortly after we open mom calls and we get to talk to her for a little bit before she has to go to bed.  This is usually my cue to go under the couch and take a nap or just sprawl out on the couch and take a nap with my head hang off so I can get a good rush to my head.  When customers come in I always sit up and give my best greeting to ensure they notice me.  I really like the little kids as they are at my level and usually have some kind of smell or food on their hands or shirts. That and the kids always pet me where as the adults don’t always  pet me but they usually do.  And of course Gus likes to stand up on his hind legs so the adults don’t have to bend so far to pet him like they do me.

After the shop closes we follow dad around while he tidies up stuff and then we head down to the man cave.  This is the room where dad plays on the computer for a little bit before he heads to bed. While he is on his computer we sit on our comfy pillow down there.  Gus likes to crowd me on the pillow, he says it’s to cold down there and he needs to sit as close as possible to stay warm, yet another way he takes after mom.  Dad says she is always cold.  After a little while dad then takes us to bed where he will read and then tell us goodnight and then curl up and go to sleep.  Well my adorning readers that is it for today. Next I think I will tell you about our game nights.  Until then try to stop by and check out this sexy beast.

The Otis and Gus-Gus Show – Intro

My adoring readers, my name is Otis Bartholomew Casto and I’m the book store manager here at The Tibbetts House: Bed, Breakfast, and Books.  I am also the sexiest long haired dachshund in America. I enjoy the bed and breakfast part far more than the books, but I love to watch my mom, Mindy, the owner read at night so books are not so bad.  Besides I’m the book store manager, contrary to my dad, Brett’s, belief that I’m just a sales associate, whatever old man. I wanted to share about our life at the B, B, & B so people can get to know us better, but most importantly me.

So our family is Me, Otis, the sexy long haired dachshund and bookstore manager. My brother, Gus-Gus, the loud Beagle, Jack Russel, and Chihuahua security guard.  Then there is Norm, the Gnome, dad put him as head of security, not sure why yet he never moves.  Then there is my dad, Brett, mom says we look a lot alike but I think I’m far sexier and the only real similarities is the long hair. Dad is the co-owner and my sales associate in the book store as he does all the talking and I do all the schmoozing of the customers.  We argue over this regularly, I even told him I would be the sales associate if I could reach the till, but since I can’t it’s his job.  And then last and most important, next to me of course, is mom. Mindy is my mom, the other co-owner, B&B operator, and still Active duty Airman. She makes awesome breakfasts, cleans the rooms, and does the books.  Mom does so well with the books dad likes to say mom stands for Ministry Of Monies (MOM).  I think that’s great.

We opened The Tibbetts House on August 2nd 2017. Mom tells all about how they named it after Dr Moses Tibbetts who built the house back in 1914.  I usually show off my sexy side to the guest as she tells this to them so I can’t really say I listen or know the details. I think she has details on the website or you can just come visit and get the full experience of, well me.  I do know that it was a chocolate shop and bed and breakfast before we moved here.  I remember this because I can still smell chocolate in some of the floor cracks and the nice lady from the chocolate shop still visits.  I know mom gets chocolates for the guest from here too cause I can always smell them but they are way too far out of my reach.

Gus thinks I should tell more about the B&B, but I’m not going to cause after snooping through the website I see that mom has already talked all about that. I can tell you that the yard is great and there are tons of nice flowers to sniff.  There is also some great rabbits and squirrels, oh now I’ve done it. The mention of squirrels sets Gus-Gus into a barking fit. He has this crazy notion that they are trying to get in the house. They are rather suspicious characters, but I think they are just in general up to no good.  Anyway they are all over the neighborhood. Well it’s nap time and I’m not one for missing a mandatory appointment. Next time I’ll tell you what Gus-Gus and I do all day.  Later my adoring reads, from the sexy beast.

Gus-Gus Casto

Gus-Gus Casto was born on 9 November 2013 to a mother that is a Jack Russel and Beagle mix and a father that is a Jack Russel and Chihuahua mix.  He entered this life as a lifeless runt of the litter of 5.  Fortunately for us they were able to breath life into his lifeless body and upon further inspection noticed this little black and white puppy was  quite a bit fatter than his siblings. The young children of his parents owner affectionately gave him the name Gus-Gus because of how much he reminded them of the mouse on Cinderella.   When Gus was 4 weeks old Mindy meet him for the first time and instantly feel in love with him.  He came home with her on New Years eve of 2013 just in time to start off the new year.

Gus-Gus has always been a perfect addition to the family as he loves to play fetch and tug o war.  He has his own toy box full of toys that he has “surgically” removed all the squeakers from.  We realized rather early that he was extremely smart as he would manage to pull just the squeaker out of a stuffed toys.  He learned to sit, fetch, and he learned the names of all his toys.  We often tell him to go get his mouse or horsey and he knows exactly what to get.  He also loves to cuddle to the point he will curl up under any blanket or pillow he finds.  He is not bothered by sweaters or his hoodies as he always acts as though he is cold.

Gus-Gus is referred to as the head of security here at The Tibbetts House and this becomes quite obvious when a customer comes in the bookstore or the bed and breakfast.  He has a bark that seems to belong to a dog twice his size.  Once the customer is greeted he tends to quite down and stand on his hind legs to say hello. There is far more bark than bite in him as he does not even attempt to bite when Brett is playing rough with him.  Most times he will turn and start giving kisses.

Gus-Gus is a unique dog as he clearly understands everything going on in his environment.  He understands the conversations that concern him such as dinner, treats, walks, and the dread vet appointment.  He often looks sad or or gives those cute puppy dog eyes when waiting for attention.  He lets us know he needs outside by getting in our face and kissing and snuggling his head up to us until you can no longer move, I would say until you can no longer stand it but it is far too cute and adorable not to stand for a long time.

IMG_20171026_102800

Gus and Otis have been best pals since they first meet.  It is a friendship filled with humor and affection.  I say humor because they have been known to sit on each other either because Gus has willing crawled under a pillow and Otis has found this to be prime real-state for seating himself of because Otis had gotten to the seat between Mindy and Brett and Gus has deemed it necessary to sit on him because he has a belief that he can wedge himself in between any to bodies.

 

221 B Baker St

221 B Baker st is The Tibbetts House Sherlock Holmes themed room.  It is the only room where the bathroom is separated, but still private.  The bathroom is located at the top of the stair way when coming up to the rooms.  It is the most spacious of the three bathrooms and features a lovely view of the back yard and a wonderful shower with great water pressure.  The window has simple currents and although the bathroom features modern amenities it has a much older fell to it.  Once outside the bathroom one only needs to go down the hall about 10 feet on the left to get to the 221B Baker St room.

Inside the room on the wall to the left is the only light for the room and the closet.  On the right side of the closet hangs a shelf with old vials and an old clock.  In the window cove across from the door sits a comfy pull out couch and an end table with Scientific America magazines from the 1880’s.  On the wall above the end table and opposite the hanging shelf is the silhouette of Sherlock Holmes on the wall about two feet tall.  The two windows behind the couch look out on the side yard with the two large pine tress.

 

There is a second cove in the room to the right of the silhouette and this is where the full size post bed is tucked away.  Above the bed on the far wall is a sign that says “Shhh…I’m in my mind palace!”  On the wall at the head of the bed is a steam puck style clock with gears showing neatly.  Next to the left side of the bed is a very old chest of drawers that holds up an oval mirror.  On top of the chest of drawers sits 3 small elephants, a tiny reading lamp, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and some small candies for snacking.

 

221B Baker St is a favorite among many because it is a darker room so it provides for later sleeping.  It also is a much calmer room because of the time period in which it is set.  Most guests enjoy the room just because of the Sherlock Holmes look and feel.

The Loop

The Loop is named for the Loop of 3 September 1940 from the book Mrs. Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsThe room sports a comfy queen bed, an amazing view, and a private bathroom. When you walk in the room most people notice the blue patchwork quilt on the queen size wooden sleight bed. The wall behind the bed is an accent wall painted a blueish gray, all other walls are white. To the right of the bed sits a simple square night stand with an alarm clock, a small dish with gold foiled toffees, and a lamp with a lantern shade for bedside reading. Above the table on the white wall hangs a hand painted picture that reads “I use to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”-Ransom Riggs. To the left of the bed is about three feet of open space before you come to the three large windows. Through the windows is a breathtaking view of the Masonic Lodge that hosts many of the areas weddings and events.

Opposite the foot of bed is an old wooden dresser with a tall rectangle mirror and three drawers. To the right of the dresser sits the radiator and an old wooden rocking chair with a brown lap blank it draped over the back. It is set so the person sitting in it has their back to the radiator for warmth and can either look towards the door to the left or towards the widows to the right. To the left of the dresser hanging on the wall is a clock that looks like an elongated pocket watch. Next to it is the door to the bathroom followed by the entrance door.

When walking into the bathroom to the right hangs two fluffy towels and directly below and perpendicular to the towel rack is the sink. A simple sink with a silver faucet and plain plastic knobs. Above it hangs a rectangular mirror at about the average adults chest height and that is because the ceiling is slopped with the roof.  To make up for this minor inconvenience is a mirror hanging on the opposite wall.  Next to the sink is the traditional commode but above it sits a shelf with a few toiletries and hanging below the shelf is a basket with rolled wash cloths and hand towels.  In a cove opposite the entrance door is a tall walk in shower with a curtain of an out door scene. The shower head features 3 different settings for varied preferences. To the right of the shower is a hook for hang the towel or a robe. Next to this is the mirror that is hung to the average Americans height.  Below the mirror is a shelf with the shower toiletries and space for hair brushes and combs.  On both sides of the mirror is the bathrooms lights.  Glass bell covers over soft white lights.  The bathroom rugs are soft memory foam rugs for comfort. 

The West Egg

West Egg

The West Egg suite is the most reserved room at The Tibbetts House.  It has the big soft king size bed, whirlpool tub, and beautiful view of the Peacock Bakery, previously known as the House of Plenty.  It truly is a romantic room but just describing the amenities does not give you a true feel for the room.

So how does it feel to visit the West Egg. For starters it is at the end of the hall on the second floor and such a beautiful room it is where all tours of the house are concluded.  As you come past 221B Baker St. you notice the handmade sign with it’s black and gold declaring the West Egg and just beyond that you glimpse the windows but can not quite see the full view. You walk through the doorway and on your right you notice the white stone tile and white radiator just inside the bathroom.  You continue through the bathroom doorway and next to the radiator on the wall papered walls you notice a simple chrome towel rack with two white fluffy towels. Continuing to turn right you see a small three foot by two foot closet and next to it you see a bathtub built into the cove of the attic space with black walls and gold angled lines. The tub you see has jets and four pronged porcelain hot and cold knobs attached to what appears at first to be an antique telephone, all in shiny chrome. Upon further inspection you realize that what appeared to be the receiver for this telephone is really the removable shower head for washing while sitting in the whirlpool tub. On each side of this faucet are the wash clothes rolled and tied with white silk ribbons which makes them look like small rabbits.  Next to the whirlpool tub sits a simple white cabinet with two doors that have small bronze lion door knockers for access under the sink and on the top of the cabinet rests a white porcelain sink. The faucet to this sink is the same shiny chrome that the bathtub faucet is made of and the hot and cold knobs are single pronged but matching porcelain.  Behind the faucet on the wall you notice a boarder with a square almost hieroglyphic design that goes the length of this wall just above the sink and commode that sits to the right of the sink. The mirror above the sink is a rectangle framed with a simple gold boarder. Above the mirror is the only light for the room, three bulbs with a gold base plate. Above the simple white commode sits a shelf about eye level with any toiletries you could possible need for a one or two night stay.  Just above that on the wall is what looks like a piece of a Greek wall with cherubs hanging a wreath.  Here as you continue to your right you come to the door again and turning right out of the bathroom draws you into the West Egg room.

As you enter the room on left wall above a warm radiator hangs small round mirrors and a hand painted picture of a young girls silhouette in a swing, her hair being blown forward as the swing takes her backward. In the thought bubble above her head it reads “I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” at the girls swing feet it gives credit to the author -F. Scott Fitzgerald. Just past the warm radiator sits a small wooden table with a simple tray for water and wine glasses, a white metal wine bucket, a modern alarm clock and below is a power strip for USB and three prong plugs. Next to the wooden stand is what looks to be a door with a mirror on it but after further inspection you notice it is a sealed off door to a world only one can imagine.  Above this mirror is three strings of pearls and at each end of the pearls are charms that proclaim the word “Love.”  The small round mirrors continue on the wall past the door mirror leading to the dresser which is an old wooden three drawer with a round mirror on top. Sitting on top of the dresser are several eccentric items of the 1920s. To start there is an extremely long string of pearls draped around the mirror and the items on the dresser. Then on the left there is a white glass basket with black and white feathers. On the opposite side sits a black bottle with gold speckles that holds white flowers, feather, and dangling beads. Next to the black bottle about the middle, but more to the back right, of the dresser is a white vase with more black and white feathers. Resting in the front center of the dresser are different books and a journal for guest to write about their stay. On the right side of the dresser is three large windows with old rope anchors for opening. Through the windows you have a lovely view of the Peacock Bakery, the corner of 9th and Walnut streets, and Rosemary’s Quilts.

Rounding the corner past the windows is a comfy brown couch with gold trim pillows. The couch is a traditional fold away couch. Above the couch is an old 1920s Columbia bicycle photo. To the right of the couch is the focus of the room, the metal framed king size bed. It has gold bed posts, eight fluffy pillows, microfiber sheets, and a beautiful comforter. The comforter is maroon with silver connect circles trimmed in a soft purple. Draped across the head board railing is a thick silver ribbon. Above the bed hands a hand painted sign that reads “I love her and that’s the beginning and end of it.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald. On the right side of the bed is a small night stand with a magazine rack on the bottom and a lamp coming up out of the table. On the table sits a dish of gold wrapped toffee candies. Rounding the room off is a plain wooden sliding closet door to the right of the table. In the closet hangs old dresses for fun dress up.

The Why

For several months now people have asked why do we want to open the bed, breakfast, and bookstore. I often do things because something in my gut or some higher power tells me that it’s the right thing to do. If you had asked me six months ago that would have been my answer and to some degree it is still part of my why, but it is so much more than that now.

In the Air Force when I would brief about staying out of trouble and doing the right thing I would always ask the troops to look at their why. Why did they come in the service? Why do they do what they do everyday? Is it for your mother, your father, a sibling, a better life, or your sweetheart? I know my why while I have been in the service had always been my family, my country, my god, and my unit. I did what I did for them. To make them safe, proud, and happy.

So I asked they to remember their why whenever they came across a hard decision or some thing that would change or affect that why. If you made that choice could you explain it to your mother why you did and would she understand or condone it. If you could not tell her to her face why you made a Choice then you should not be doing it. Looking back at this I realized that I enjoy serving, not just in the military but I enjoy serving people. I also enjoy talking to the troops and learning about there life stories and where they came from. You could tell that listening and sharing helped to build connections with these young individuals who were just starting to adjust to being away from home.

So now as I look at the path I have traveled and the things I have enjoyed I have realized why I love the bed, breakfast, and bookstore and why I’m doing this. I’m doing this because I love to serve people and hear their stories. I get to serve them by listening to them and connecting with them. I get to serve them through a relaxing stay and delicious home cooked breakfast. And every life has a unique story just like every book I pick up.

100 Days

Well its been 100 Days since we opened the doors as The Tibbetts House: Bed, Breakfast, and Books. On August 2, 2017 we opened the doors with a just over 1,000 books in stock and one functional room, 221 B Baker street. With in two weeks we could no longer pay people for the books they were bringing, we had not planned on books coming in so fast. At three weeks we were finally able to open the West Egg with its newly renovated bath room featuring a comfy whirlpool tub. At the same time we opened The Loop, but it was still light on the decor. During the first month we hosted eight guests and the bookstore was overflowing with books. We had received great initial reviews and Highland as a whole seemed quite happy the the Bed and Breakfast was staying and that a bookstore was in town.

During our second month we started off with our ribbon cutting and open house on September 6th. For four hours we did continuous tours through the house. We hosted four guests during the month and the bookstores profits doubled, but were still in the red. Most of the bookstores success was attributed to a week long sale where the books were half off.  The Tibbetts House had been featured in four news papers and we had put out ads in two others which aided in the bookstores success.

During our third month of operation we hosted seven guests and participated in the local trick or treat trail. We received our first three start review and it include some things we needed to fix and it pushed us to change The Loop from a full size bed to a queen size.  We also learned a valuable lesson in sticking to the the business rules we set.  For one we should not accepted reservations with less than 24 hours notice, this caused us not to check everything out as well as it should have been.  Two, we always do payments when people arrive as breakfast is already bought and usually already partially prepared.  Not doing this made it seem like there was a chance for a discount when breakfast is skipped at last minute.  The feed back was all very useful and we were able to improve things for the future.

During the last 10 days of first 100 days in operation we have expanded into selling games and consigning local authors books in the bookstore. For the games we are specifically focusing on Looney Labs games like Flux, Just Desserts, Pyramid Arcade, and Tree House Pyramids at this time and may expand into other companies later. We want all games we carry to be things that are fun for the whole family to play but also able to be taken any where. The Tibbetts House Co is finishing our first 100 days holding our second sale which is our first annual Veterans Day Sale.