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Archive for the ‘moving’ Category

I know what you’re thinking – bizi what? Biziversary. Yes, that’s a made up word. I thought of it all by myself, but I think it might catch on and some day make it into the urban dictionary.

Biziversary. Let’s break it down: part 1; biz, short for business – part 2; iversary, annual celebration of something important, in our case, the Rickrodes buying The Baer House Inn. That’s right – it’s our biziversary. We’ve owned The Baer House now for a year! (more…)

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School’s out for summer!!

Alice Cooper is one of the creepiest performers around, but everybody loves this song and it’s so apropos this time of year. It’s one of those classic, ageless numbers that every generation seems to know.

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

A lot of people have been asking, especially the locals and our guests: “Why Mississippi?”

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Well, here’s how it happened. My husband and I have always wanted to expand our stock contracting business. We raised bucking bulls for the PBR and the rodeo circuit. In California we didn’t have enough land to raise even one bull and even if we could afford more land, which we couldn’t, we couldn’t afford the feed or the water. That meant that in order to broaden our business, we had to look elsewhere.

For several years, we’ve wanted to move to North Carolina, where one of our partners in the bull business lives. After we decided it was time to “try again,” we went to North Carolina and looked for ranches. But, nothing met our fancy and on the way there my husband told me that I needed to think about what I wanted to do for work so we could check out the job market at the same time.

You see, I’d already decided that 30 years in the legal profession, slaving as a paralegal, most of the time for a family law attorney, was enough. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, was ever happy, including the boss. And in family law, nobody ever wins. It’s a lose, lose, especially for the kids. I had had it.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

So, as I sat there on the plane wracking my brain for possible new careers, I decided that I wanted to do something where people were happy and not expecting miracles from me. I did not want to be chained to a desk. I had worked one summer at a B & B in California and I rather enjoyed it. I’ve always loved entertaining and setting a pretty table with sparkling dishes; crystal, silver, china. I mentioned that to my husband and that’s when we decided that maybe we could do both in North Carolina; buy a ranch, raise cattle, and take in overnight guests.

Well, one thing led to another and we came to the conclusion that running a bed and breakfast was probably going to be the best solution for us since we both needed a place to live and we both needed a job. We’d kill two birds with one stone so to speak.

However, North Carolina didn’t have any inventory that was affordable, so we ditched the idea of North Carolina and explored other venues. Mississippi had the most inventory in our price range and because my husband is a history major and a huge fanatic about the Civil War, we decided that Vicksburg might be a good place for us.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Turns out, it was. We’ve not had any regrets about our decision and while we miss our horses and bulls and ranching lifestyle, we’ve adapted very well to being innkeepers. We’ve met some amazing people, made some incredible new friends and opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

So folks, there you have it. That’s why Mississippi. We wanted to expand our ranch and be stock contractors so we bought a bed and breakfast in Vicksburg. Go figure.

Never limit yourself people. Think outside the box. Be open to possibilities and possibilities will fall into your lap. I promise.

The change is exactly what I needed. Watch this short funny video and you’ll know exactly why I had to get out of the legal profession. Enjoy.

Can you relate to this video? Have you ever turned your life completely upside down and loved it? Ever started out down one road, ended up on an unexpected road and found a pot of gold? Does change scare you? I’m dying to know so let me have it.

Word of the Day: Tramontane

Fun fact about me: I’ve never been a big fan of being politically correct.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, December 2015. Video courtesy YouTube. Images courtesy Google Images.

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A lot has happened this year. My family felt the pangs of a cross-country move. My life changed significantly for the better. Terrorism, radicalism, school shootings, disrespect for authority, hit all time highs. Daily news reports made us weep.

If you’re still struggling with gift ideas amid all of this chaos, I offer the following suggestions:

Image courtesy Google Images.

Image courtesy Google Images.

Merry Christmas loyal followers and best wishes for a peaceful new year. May god bless you and keep you safe in the months to come. Be kind; to yourself and others.

Word of the Day: Remarque

Fun fact about me: If I could find the right picture, I’d get a tattoo.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, December 2015. Image courtesy Google Images.

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Time was short this week my friends so I’m posting this quick blog about my new home. This video accurately reflects the feeling of Vicksburg and I’ve been to many of the places shown in this video. I hope you all get a chance to come visit. You won’t regret it.

Old courthouse, Vicksburg, Mississippi. Photo courtesy Google Iimages.

Old courthouse, Vicksburg, Mississippi. Photo courtesy Google Iimages.

A couple of quick facts about the Vickbsurg National Military Park; 1) it is the most monumented military park in the nation with over a billion dollars in monuments including stuff from Tiffanys, real gold, bronze, granite and crystal. 2) It is the second largest national cemetary in the nation, second only behind Arlington. 3) Over one million people visit the park every year.

Bonus for me, it’s just over a mile from my house.

Please enjoy this walk through my home town and, as always, thanks for visiting.

What’s cool or unusual about your hometown? Do you enjoy taking a stroll down the street where you live? I’d love to see some fall foliage videos of your home town.

Word of the Day: Impecunious

Fun fact about me: I’ve only lived here 3 months, but it feels like home.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2015. Video courtesy YouTube. Photo courtesy Google Images.

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Photo courtesy of Google Images

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Last week I posted about some fabulous new furniture we’ve acquired here at the Baer House Inn. Well folks, all of this buying and selling does not happen with the help of magic fairies who come in and transform your house overnight. Oh, how I wish it did.

Everything we’ve acquire recently is old and therefore heavy. Not just heavy, but unusually heavy. A dining room table that weighs about 800 pounds. A huntboard that disassembles into 4 pieces, each pedestal weighing about 200 pounds; the top, one solid piece of finely crafted hardwood, weighing about 400 pounds and the fence about 200 pounds.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

This is the good stuff people, the solid, built to last, good stuff.

So, we bought this amazing 450 year old table and chairs at an on-line auction. No problem. Yay us. But wait – we have to pick the stuff up. An 800 pound table with 8 leaves and 14 solidly build, solid walnut chairs.

We have a 2013 Subaru Impreza sedan. How’s this going to work? Lots of trips? Hardly. Meridian is two and a half hours from Vicksburg on a good day with no traffic. Hmmmm.

And did I mention we purchased this out-of-this-world huntboard that came off of a ship – an honest-to-goodness sailing ship on the high seas? It was built in the 1750’s. From solid hard wood. With pegs and carved out tongue and groove construction. And heavy sold metal hinges. (It’s a wonder those ships didn’t sink.)

Did I mention that we have a 2013 Subaru Impreza sedan? How’s this going to work? Luggage rack? I don’t think so.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

You see – it’s a trucking problem. We don’t have a truck. We used to have a truck, but we sold it because gasoline in California was over $5.00 a gallon at one point and we drove that truck alot. It was over $100 to fill that beast up and we filled up at least once a week or more. We couldn’t afford the truck. Well guess what? Now we need that truck. And, even more ironically, gasoline here is under $2.00 a gallon. And, to add insult to injury, everything we need to haul is relatively close to our house so we’d probably only need to fill up once a month if that.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Photo courtesy Google Images.

Oh Mr. Murphy – damn you and your stupid “laws.” Guess we’ll be getting a truck soon. Subaru, it’s been nice knowing you.

What ironies have befallen you lately dear readers? Do you find yourself needing something you’ve gotten rid of? How often do you use a truck?

Word of the Day: Filial

Fun fact about me: I actually like driving trucks, although parking can be a challenge.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, September 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

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Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I hadn’t even realized how much of a rut I was in until I got out of it. I am so glad that my husband and I decided to relocate to Mississippi. The move across country was relatively incident free and the transition into the Baer House Inn here as innkeepers has been a breeze. Except for some chaotic moments with shuffling boxes around to find clean clothes and particular kitchen utensils, everything has fallen into place. I’m not sure it’s the right place yet, but fallen into a temporary place at least.

For 30 years I sat at a desk and worked for someone else. Most of those 30 years were not torture, but it was definitely time to spread my wings and fly out of my “known zone.” I am now in my “unknown zone” and loving every minute. Sure, I’m tired and I’ve had a few brief crying spells (mostly because a certain someone has been mean to me), but all in all, I’m having fun.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

I’m not overly impulsive; I like to plan most things out. But our decision to move to Mississippi sort of came out of left field. It was a strange set of circumstances that led us here, but I’m ever so glad we’re here. Vicksburg is a charming town with super friendly shopkeepers, wait staff, grocery clerks, etc. Everywhere we go, people are nice to us and wish us success in our new venture. It’s only been about two weeks, and already I’m starting to feel like this is home.

Image courtesy Google Images

Image courtesy Google Images

If you’re on the fence about making a change, I suggest you do it. Holding on to the mundane for the sake of security in knowing the outcome, is not a good reason to keep doing it. Just make the change and think positive and work hard. I’m pretty sure you’ll be surprised at the results.

How about you readers, have you ever taken a plunge of sorts? What big scary thing have you jumped into? Was it worth it?

Word of the Day: Yeuk

Fun fact about me: I didn’t think I’d enjoy getting up early, but it’s not so bad after all.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2015. Photos and images courtesy Google Images.

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Photo courtesy Baer House Inn

Photo courtesy Baer House Inn

Here it is – my new abode! Come on in, take a look around. While you explore, I’ll share some of the history of the home. Let’s start in the ballroom:

Baer House parlor

The Baer House was constructed in 1870 by Leona and Lazarus Baer from an existing site with a brick structure dating prior to 1850. Most of the original house was destroyed during the siege of Vicksburg in 1863. Leona Baer (formerly Bloom) began reconstruction with the goal of building a Victorian home guaranteed to impress with elaborate woodwork in the Eastlake architectural style, made popular by Charles L. Eastlake in the 1870’s and common among the elite in New York.

If you’ll turn around, you can see the other end of this large room, which is where guests enjoy a hearty breakfast, complete with a variety of hot dishes, juice, fresh fruit, homemade breads, hot black coffee, and made-to-order specialty dishes.

Baer House dining room

Back to the home’s construction. Leona Baer, was quite the revolutionary woman, insisting on overseeing every aspect of the home’s design and monitoring it’s construction. She was very forward-thinking for her generation, insisting that the kitchen be inside the home (an unheard of idea at that time) and that there be privies on the first and second floors. That’s right, this home sports a two-story outhouse. Don’t believe me? You’ll have to make a reservation and check this out yourself. The structure is still standing and still attached to the house. Makes for interesting conversation among tour guests.

Let’s step into the hallway for this next portion.

Baer House hallway

The head-turner here is, obviously, the grand staircase, complete with solid walnut balustrade. Notice the floors? They were painstakingly constructed of black walnut and American chestnut, highly sought after for it’s durability and rot resistance. Yes, the chandelier is quite impressive as well, as are the crown moldings and ceiling medallions. However, what is spectacular about this floor is that it is irreplaceable since the entire American chestnut population in Mississippi was wiped out by the blight around the turn of the 20th century.

Up those stairs are 6 guest rooms, 4 with private baths, 2 with a shared bath. Most have either a King or Queen bed, 2 are mini suites. The upstairs, while still quite grand, does not boast the fancy trimmings of the downstairs. You see, Leona believed that the family, children in particular, should not socialize with guests until they reached a proper age, thus the need for upstairs privies. Until such time, children were to remain upstairs and out of sight. There are still 14-foot doors with glass transomes up there, but they are plain, not decorated with the fancy Eastlake trimmings. After all, family does not need to dwell among such lavishness; luxury is visible only to esteemed guests.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Perhaps next week, I’ll treat you to some photos of the guest rooms and share some more of the fascinating history, including mysterious activity that happens in certain areas of the home. For now, this was a smattering of the fanciness of my new digs. I might also tell you about some of the goings-ons (that sounds weird) here in Vicksburg. Yes, stuff happens even in the heat. I know, I was shocked, too.

How have you been managing the summer heat? Have you traveled anywhere fun this month? What cool old houses have you visited? Curious people want to know.

 

Word of the Day: Xerostomia

Fun fact about me: I’ve yet to find a dishwasher that removes egg from anything.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2015. Photos courtesy TripAdvisor.com and Google Images.

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Tom Bodett may not have left the light on for us, but we sure did spend a lot of nights at Motel 6’s. Well, not a lot really, 5 to be exact. And I can vouch that they are truly no frills all the way. Not a single picture adorns any wall. No cupboards, no closets, no clocks.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

However, they are almost everywhere, especially along the interstates and they are cheap. And, most importantly for us, as we traveled across country, they allow pets to stay for free.

You’d think with a chain of cheap hotels, you’d pretty much get the same thing at every location. Not so my friends. Not so. Some are nicer than others, some have 2 beds, some 1, some have 2 sinks, some 1, some have a tub/shower combo some just have the shower. But one thing is consistent, you always get exactly 2 slivers of thinly wrapped white soap and 2 white bath towels. If you’re lucky, you’ll get hand towels and on a rare occasion, maybe a wash cloth. In most instances you’ll get a very small ice bucket and 2 plastic cups. Why in God’s name they give you an ice bucket is beyond me, especially one the size of a thimble, because you’ll never be able to find an ice machine.

Air conditioning is usually advertised and there are noisy contraptions in the rooms that spit out luke warm air, but I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call them air cooling systems. I guess that’s how they cut down on the cost of bed linens; keep the room so hot nobody will want to cover up.

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Some of these establishments have what appeared to be swimming pools, but even Louisiana bayou gators would have shyed away from a couple of the ones where we stayed. (See me shiver.)

And here’s something else I can almost guarantee, if you stay at a Motel 6, you will be within walking distance of a Denny’s restaurant.

All in all, we had clean rooms that served their purpose, with super easy on/off interstate access. And each morning we had a clever wake-up call from Tom Bodett himself. No other chain hotel can lay claim to that sweet perk.

And, so, after 5 long days on the road, and 5 weird nights at Motel 6’s, we arrived at our destination. Hot, tired, grouchy and willing to practically cut off an arm to get out of the car.

Photo courtesy P. Rickrode

Photo courtesy P. Rickrode

What’s your favorite chain hotel? Ever stay at a Motel 6? Have a great hotel/motel story? I’d love to hear it.

Word of the day: Waggery

Fun fact about me: I like to drive. (But, I won’t be taking any long distance trips any time soon.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, August 2015. Photos courtesy P. Rickrode and Google Images.

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Image courtesy Google Iimages.

Image courtesy Google Iimages.

So friends, I’m on the road this week, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging because I know you’re all looking for more info about the Baer House. Well, just keep on hanging in there. It’s a-comin’. And it’s fun, fun fun. There might even be a ghost story. (Oooooo the suspense!)

In the meantime, I wanted to share with ya’ll (I have to get used to saying that now) some very enlightening and entertaining instructional videos I’m been watching in preparation for my new venture. I found this one to be especially insightful. Until next week, enjoy!

Ever have a bad customer service experience? Let me hear about it.

I may be not as available as I normally am on my very active and very popular blog, so talk amongst yourselves. I’ll check in when I can. Ta Ta.

Word of the Day: Vina

Fun fact about me: People used to tell me I looked like Julia Louis Dreyfus. Watch the video again and I guess you’ll get some idea of what I look like. I can see the resemblance (if I was 20 years younger).

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, July 2015. Video courtesy YouTube.com

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