Two days before opening we checked the guestroom TV's to make sure they were working.... one wasn't. The little digital box is broken. They are no longer available and no longer supported by our Cable TV provider. Thankfully, we had one spare. Then we noticed our provider has reduced/changed the basic channels. No sports, no news, nothing of interest. So 45 minutes on the phone May 3 and we thought the problem was solved. Not so. Another 60 minutes May 6, mission accomplished. Our guests will have a TV with a variety of channels to enjoy! Who says we don't go the extra mile!!!
Driveway has been sealed, cleaning done, outside windows washed, porch furniture is out, lawns and gardens have been cleaned up. Test kitchen completed and recipes for new season approved. Ready for our first guests.
March/April - just days before leaving for our vacation Bill was grounded by his doctor. Surgery happen one month later after diagnosis tests, etc. He is doing well.
Dorien joined Fred and Tina for a portion of the planned 21 day trip and saw the Grand Canyon. After cancelling the planned hike down to Phantom Ranch. This had been the number one on her bucket list.
December 19 - Butler has been diagnosed with Cushings Disease. It is not curable but is treatable. His unquenchable thirst drove us to get a second opinion.
December 10 - after 15 months of continual decline in health, Bill's mom Ethel passed away. The last 6 months were spent in a nursing home receiving excellent care including in her words, "great food and great staff."
October - saw the delivery of our new chest drawers bed for the basement den. Work continues but is slow.
July 14 - finally the weather has co-operated and the Gazebo has been painted! A very wet and cool summer to-date made for less than ideal painting conditions.
May - Had the driveway asphalt repaired and sealed.
Replaced our backup second refrigerator in the basement. Did not owe us anything as it was left behind by the previous owners back in 2002...it was old back then.
April - had gutter guards installed on our Garage to keep the debris out.
Have spent time from October to current assisting Bill's mom on her end of life journey. It has been a joy for both of us to spend time each day supporting her and assisting with meals, meds, lab and doctor appointments. Plus running errands to ensure she remained in her home as long as possible. Sadly she was admitted to hospital on April 19 where she remains. As of April 23 she was placed into palliative care.
March - enjoyed an amazing 3 week holiday in Miami and a 2 week southern CaribbeanCaribbeanCa cruise with our good friends Fred and Tina.
Received the 2016 10 out of 10 guest review award from Booking.com
The two blue room antique chairs have been rebuilt. We also now have seat cushions for our dining room and kitchen chairs.
Had our Ash tree and the small pine tree removed from our back yard. Sadly both were dying, the Ash from the Ash borer. This will allow allot of light into our garden.
May 27 - finished painting the back deck floor and arbour over the back deck. Looks great.
May 25 - received the 2016 Award of Excellence from Trip Advisor!
May 10 - changed out an original 1902 window. The second floor hallway window can now open, has a screen and thermal panes. Should be cooler this summer and warmer this winter.
May 7 - just back from a 3 week vacation that took us to San Francisco, Honolulu, a 5 day cruise around the Hawaiian Islands and then across the Pacific to Vancouver. Amazing! Breath taking and awesome! A trip of a life time. Many items off the bucket list!
Feb 17 - had all the smoke detectors replaced in the house today - they always were hard wired in but they now have a battery backup as well. Hard to believe the old ones were 10 years old. Time flies...amazing so many years have already gone by in this house. July of this year will be 15 years that we moved in!
Jan 26 - Great check-up with the Surgeon - Bill has been given the all clear to return to normal activities with no restrictions. Starts driving his school bus on Monday an amazing 2 months after his surgery. Incredible - needs to exercise daily so muscles, tendons and nerves can stretch and adjust to the new device. Will have some pain for the better part of the next year (so very different than the pain before surgery). All part of the recovery process.
Jan 6 - Bill had his first Physiotherapy appointment today. He is walking great - no more walker, just one crutch. No pain!
December 29 - Bill has a walking boot and everything is looking great! Surgeon is very pleased... Back in one month...
December 15 - met with surgeon today - cast was removed and replaced to allow incision to completely heal - new ankle moved without pain. He can put full weight on the fiberglass cast. Still needs to keep it up to manage the swelling but...Things are going great!
December 2 - Bill is recovering from ankle replacement surgery Nov 30. He is getting around with a walker and crutches. After a two year wait the end is in sight.
November 20 - everything is good with the pre-op check up - Bill is ready to go for surgery... He is still working on getting everything ready for the winter and all his "tasks to do" completed before he is confined to the house while his ankle heals.
October 22 - finally got a call from Bill's Surgeon with a surgery date. November 30! Can't say how happy we both are to finally know an end is in sight for his pain.
July - enjoying our lush gardens with all the rain in the past number of weeks. Bill says they look the best he has seen in many years. However, all the rain has made it difficult to do any outdoor painting. The front porch railings have been scrapped and primed... Just need a few sunny, dry days in a row and they will be ready for the final coat.
Still waiting for a surgery date - did not make the July or August OR schedule... Bill is working with a trainer at the YMCA.
New duvet covers have been added to our Rooms #1 and #3. They look great! Always great to refresh.
May - returned from a short vacation to NYC and a one week cruise to Bermuda to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We enjoyed the trip with good friends Fred and Tina. A great time was had by all.
April - just replaced the staircase carpet runner going up to the second floor. Sure looks great. Can't wait to show everyone! Also installed this week was an EZ Breathe ventilation air exchanger. This has made a great and healthy improvement to the overall air quality of the century home. Busy cleaning every nook and cranny getting ready for the season. Bill has been touching up all the nicks and dings and anything that needs attention. Lots of little chores in getting ready for the season.
Still waiting for a surgery date for Bill. There have been delays and cancellations of surgery time and our new date should be sometime early this summer!
Setup the trial single cup brewer in the upstairs hallway. This will allow guests to brew a single cup of tea or coffee anytime they want. Early morning coffee will still be available at 7:30 a.m. in the kitchen but the new setup will hopefully provide a nice extra and convenience for our guests. Chose a model that uses pods just like individually packaged tea bags which is very environmentally conscious with minimal waste.
Dorien's recovery is moving along well. Many hours have been spent in the gym. Can now climb the stairs one step at a time and the new found leg and core strength has made mobility much easier. No more limp or brace to secure the knee. Not running but certainly able to take Butler on longer walks.
Early March - busy sewing new Shams for the Green and Red rooms. They are the kind that you can use as a pillow as well as looking great! This new addition will allow us to take two pillows off the bed which means two less pillows for our guests to toss off the bed when it is time to sleep! Thanks to our friend Gudi who is helping with the cutting and keeping Dorien company while she sews. :-)
The updated Decade Two edition of the cookbook is finished and ready for printing. Lots of great recipes to post to our website. The book itself remains a wonderful take away for our returning guests.
Mid February we received a call Bill's surgeon that he will be getting his left ankle replaced early in May! Yeh!!!
Mid January saw the start of the rehab phase for Doriens knee injury with regular visits to the local YMCA. Have to build up the muscles in the leg to offset the injured PCL, medial miniscus tear and strengthen the knee cap. The recumbent bicycle is a new daily routine to keep the knee joint lubed. Bill continues with regular physiotherapy and chiropractor visits to keep his body in shape while he waits for his ankle replacement in October. The injured shoulders are slowly recovering. The joys of getting older!
January marked the start of a painting blitz. We hired painters who have painted the living room, all the second floor guest rooms, their bathrooms, closets and doors plus the second floor landing hallway doors and trim. The downstairs powder room woodwork also got a new coat of paint. No colour changes for this major project, just a great refresh.
We have a new corner ladder shelfing unit in the kitchen that replaces the Dog Cage with the "custom top." Butler now gets his toys from a basket that slides nicely under the bottom rung of the ladder.
We have purchased a new compact one cup brewing coffee machine. We will test the machine and decide on which brands of coffee and tea we will be offering when we open in May 2015. Thank you to the guests who suggested this as an improvement.
Had a great season closing on October 19. Spent a week in Collingwood for a mini vacation. Dorien was on crutches recovering from a tear in her left knee medial miniscus. We were limpy and gimpy. Bill with his ankle who had to slow down to keep up with Dorien for a change! The recovery will be a slow one but no surgery which is the good news. Bill had to take over walking Butler for the short term.
Added glass table tops to the red room dresser and wash stand and the blue room dresser. Also replaced the towels for the red room.
Bill is busy fixing the rotting stair boards on the stairs coming off the private back deck to the lower deck. As work progressed the bottom pillar posts also needed to be replaced. What was to be a little job ended up being a major redo of the stairs.
More outdoor painting... seems the jobs are never done. The private back deck railings and skiritng have been painted.
The Gazebo floor and ceiling was painted. The back yard Arbour has also been painted black and the railings on the main deck. Considering we were first on the list for Spring painting the painters did not start until the last week of May.
Bill replaced the wall lights in the livingroom. One of the light extensions on the old set had broken off and could not be fixed.
Spring has been delayed here in Stratford. Not surprising after our long and cold winter. We have an area just off the lower deck that grass is hard to keep looking nice. So we added river rock and/or mulch to the area.
Early in May we noticed water in our basement bedroom after an extensive and particularly driving hard rain. We figured it came in the window well. This was was odd as it has never leaked before but the house was built in 1902.... Not so. The dishwasher drain hose had come away from the pump and was dumping water under the machine. Some of it found its way under the hardwood floor in the kitchen with most of it moving along the back wall into the basement window and along the drywall to the floor! The Insurance company sent a the restoration crew who placed a few strategic fans and a massive dehumidifier into the basement bedroom to dry out the wall. Luck that the water had not damaged our newly installed ceiling. The end result is new drywall and hardwood in the dishwasher area of the kitchen will be installed to fix the damage.
An antique chair was added to the livingroom to provide extra seating. Our friend Gudi did the needlework embroidery and it is stunning. Bill refinished the dining room and kitchen table tops. They look wonderful!
The original to the house light was reinstalled in the kitchen over our table. It is absolutely beautiful. The light was written into the sale agreement of the house when we purchased it and was returned in exchange for a replacement last winter.
We installed two new bathroom fans in the red and green rooms. They are motion censored and are whisper quiet. This will help with the moisture control and keep the rooms fresh.
Bill is resting his left ankle, right knee and pinched neck nerve that continue to give him grief. Dorien has had a quieter January recovering from a twisted knee. Both have been seeing a chiropractor who uses a low force activator instrument that delivers a spring loaded consistent low-force high-speed thrust. Much better than the traditional manipulations!
Phase 3 of our loft project built in was installed and the office furniture refinished. What a difference these changes have made to our living space.
February 2 saw more snow... the banks of snow in the back yard almost cover the water fountain. The driveway banks are half way up the cedars. Soon the only place for snow will be the front lawn and beside the garage. We are running out of room! The sidewalks remind us of tunnels. Butler in most cases can't see over them even when he does a little jump up... Bill had 4 snow days off in January from his bus driving duties. One of the days, every road and school in the county was closed. We certainly are experiencing a Winter's winter.
January - Butler continues to recover from his surgery and is regaining the 3-1/2 pounds he lost. His fur is growing back in but with the 20 year record cold temperatures his new coat provides extra warmth. We had a few days with minus 35 and 41 degrees F/C!
Snow came early including our week in Collingwood at the end of November. A snow storm challenged our journey north but also provided some quiet time in our suite at the resort. We both enjoyed a very restful time and Butler a week of 24 hour a day visiting with his friends next door.
The first week of December Butler gave us a major fright and resulted in near death and major surgery. He managed to ingest sharp little shards of a "undestructable" toy that tore up his insides as they worked their way through his body. After three days in hospital and two quiet weeks of rest he is on his way to a full recovery. Lost 3-1/2 pounds which in human weight is 30 plus pounds.
It really is amazing for us to look back at the winter and spring of this year and document all the changes we have made to our living/working areas as well as the guest areas. 2013 will go down as a very busy "capital project" year indeed!
Later in the fall we took down the basement bedroom ceiling. It was replaced with sound proof drywall after a significant amount of insulation was installed. The gazebo roof was replaced as was the furnace in the garage.
Spring saw some outdoor work being completed - first from the ice storm - a large limb from our front tree took the hydro stack off the house. We hired painters to repaint the outside of the house. ...before the painters started we had the front handrails replaced. They had suffered the side effects of no primer on the bottom when they were installed in 1995 which allowed moisture in. A few years ago we had added steel plates to support the bottom pillar posts but the rot had continued and became a problem that needed to be remedied.
Bill completed the basement storage shelves and installed a new laundry tub. In the kitchen he rebuilt the support for the expanded island counter top that we had installed the year before. The front hall banister embellishment was replaced with layers of wood to replicate the period.
In the guest rooms we installed new hand towel bars on the front of the sink vanities. This was a feature we had enjoyed in the San Diego hotel we stayed in on our vacation. Also a motion sensor, whisper quiet bathroom fan was installed in the blue room bathroom. This will help control the moisture and not sound like a space ship is landing! We also replaced the hall print on the second floor landing.
Our loft/living space has had the second phase of built-in's added. We truly enjoy the new cabinets and the fact the we were able to eliminate two dressers.
Dorien also put together a coffee table book of our 3 week vacation last fall that included a cruise through the Panama Canal from Fort Lauderdale to San Diego. For those that might be interested, there are four more binders with 200 pictures in each that will provide all the details and points of interest!
The basement bathroom was gutted and rebuilt replacing the 1927 plumbing. When the plumbers were here we had all the guest room toilets replaced with the new comfort height, water efficient, low flow, elongated toilets. They also installed a new curved shower bar in the Red room. All are great improvements.
First, Butler really enjoyed the snow this winter. We kept a "mountain" on the deck for him to sit and roll on. It was always his first destination when he went outside or came home from a walk or outing.
June - replaced the livingroom ceiling fan and added an awning above the kitchen window using the same materialas the front porch awnings.
Early May - Bill is working hard getting the gardens ready for the season. The conversion to less maintenance continues with the next phase being the fountain area.
April 18 - launched our Facebook Business Page - check in out at http://www.facebook.com/AmadeusHaus
Mid April - our living quarters in the loft are undergoing a two year renovation - this year we have redone the bathroom with new vanity, cabinets and flooring. The main area blinds have also been replaced.
Room #2 our Blue Room has new drapes, bed runner, shams, bedskirt and the bathroom a new shower curtain. The old shower curtain took on one two many soakings. With no more extra material after many reworks over the past 10 years, it had to be replaced... so Dorien took on sewing the new ensemble with bright and cheerful flowered and matching stripe material. A new blind was also installed to provide the option of blocking out the sun in this bright and "happy" room!
And... we have installed new awnings to the west side of our front porch. This will ensure that guests can enjoy sitting on the porch all afternoon with the man made shade! A great addition to this frequently used sitting area.
Spring has definitely arrived... Bill is ready to add mulch to the front and side flower beds!
End of March - our winter projects are near completion - in the kitchen we installed the metal backsplash to match the ceiling and new counter tops. They look great! A new hot water tank was installed. In fact we moved it from one end of the basement to the other, close to the drain!
March 26 - Butler celebrated his first birthday. His friends next door gave him his very own "beef bone" which has been and continues to be a favourite!
Mid March - the basement shelves and sewing area project are nearly completed. Bill is now busy painting the floor and waiting for the electrician to do some electrical work! Butler will not come down the open basement stairs, so he patiently waits on the ledge at the top landing...
Butler continues to enjoy what little snow the winter of 2012 can bring for him to play in. Bill has been making a pile for him on the deck which he loves to roll in.
January - Bill has begun the west side basement restoration project and the preparation for new storage shelves. The old cupboard that Mr. Zurbrigg prepared his bread dough on has been pulled away from the wall and into the centre of the basement. It is being repurposed to Dorien's folding and ironing table. Considering it had been in the house since 1927 it is in remarkably good shape. The maple wood has stood up to more than 90 years of service. It only needs a new coat of paint and it will be ready to use! The back of the unit was removed and will be replaced as it had deteriorated beyond repair. A new coat of paint was also put on the floor where the shelves are going!
First Week of January - Butler enjoyed our first major snow fall. We took him for a off leash walk in the cemetary so that he could run, roll and enjoy the snow. This has been a strange winter with little to no snow and lots of rain and milder temperatures.
December 25 / 27 - Merry Christmas to all - Bill and Butler were in the back yard playing fetch with a stick. Butler suddenly turned around during one of the throws and the stick struck his head/eye. By 6:30 p.m. they were on the way to the vet. The eye ball was scratched... treatment with antibiotics and eye drops. December 27 a follow-up check-up - all is well and the eye is recovering. No permanent damage.
November 12 - Butler has been residing at Amadeus Haus for 1 week and is settling into his new home and routine. He has exceeded every expectation and has charmed all that have met him. Can't wait to introduce him to all of our guests in the years to come.
Early November - Dorien completed a Safe Food Handling Course.
October 25 - Bill has been researching various kennels looking for those that are conscious of Golden Retriever inherited diseases and illnesses by looking to reduce the risk with the careful choosing of parents. He had narrowed the list to 4 or 5 that he felt met the criteria of a good Kennel. After 3 phone calls, thinking we would be put on a waiting list, we had several puppies to choose from. Last evening, we decided on Butler a 6 month old. This bundle of joy has a wonderful disposition and we look forward to bringing him home on November 4. Butler's Great Great Grandmother and Great Grandmother have the same father that Riley had. We look forward to life filled with puppy duties in a few weeks time.
October's Indian Summer - we have enjoyed some wonderful days in October with record high temperatures and cool nights. That being said we have had some dreadfully awful days with constant rain. But that is what the fall is all about. Guests have enjoyed some relaxing times on the front porch with a picture perfect view of two of the nicest maple trees on the street changing to their colours. Red is especially rare this year and we have a beauty next door!
August 25 - a big thank you to everyone who has sent condolences on Riley's passing with phone calls, emails, cards and flowers. He certainly left his "mark" on all who knew him. We really appreciate your thoughts and kind words. They all add to the great memories of a life well lived!
August 16 - it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Riley our beautiful golden retriever. He fought every health issue presented to him over his 11-1/2 years with us with great courage and the will to overcome, but cancer proved to be too much. A proud and happy dog until 36 hours before his passing he never missed wagging his tail or voicing and smiling a greeting. His meet and greet reception for all guests and friends will be missed. He has left us with great memories of treasured times together. Rest in peace "Smiley" Riley. You are and will be forever missed.
End of July - over the next year we will be reconfiguring/tweaking our gardens to reduce the overall maintenance for Bill. Especially in the Spring and Fall. Step one has just taken place in the front. The garden under our maple tree has been replanted with Stella Dora Day Lilies which have also been strategically planted in the other front beds. A Weeping Red Cut Leaf Japanese Maple has also been planted by the lamp post.
We have been nominated again for best gardens! What an honour. Bill is absolutely thrilled. Judging takes place on Thursday July 14.
This is the year - my washer after 9 years of hard work decided it needed to be replaced. My new machine arrived June 21 just in time for the busy months ahead.
On June 13 our fears were confirmed with the analysis of the biopsy taken from a lump on Riley's neck. He has cancer in the tumours that are moving along his lymph nods. From the X-rays of his head and neck there are 3 tumours. The official name is Spumous Cell Carcinoma or Tonsil Cancer. The veterinary and a second opinion confirm, surgery is not an option and they do not recommend treatments due to his age and current "good" health. He was 11 in March had has a good quality of life to this point. Bill is making sure he enjoys each and every day with a special activity or an extra long walk. His voice is all but gone and his bark is a tiny squeak as one of the tumours is pushing against his larinex. The prognosis is an average of 6 months depending on how fast growing the tumours are.
Early May between major rain storms we had underground extensions added to the two east side eaves troughs. This will prevent the further erosion of the foundation lime mortar which does not like being wet.
On April 10 Riley had dental surgery to remove an aggressive tumour that had returned from a previous occurrence two years ago. He is feeling much better and is back to his normal happy "self!"
Early in April when most of the snow finally melted away, new Adirondack chairs were delivered to replace the old wooden ones around the water fountain. Made of recycled plastic they will never need to be painted, fixed or moved indoors for winter storage!
On March the 9th, we had the opportunity to “Share the Love.” This was without our immediate knowledge but the consequences… well! At 5:30 a.m. Riley went out into the back yard for his usual explore time and had an encounter with a Skunk! A direct hit to the forehead… the mist floated and lingered in the backyard and the back deck on this very damp and foggy morning. Because it was a very close hit we did not “smell” the usual skunk on Riley. We smelt an odd odour which could be a cross between burnt flesh (Riley's burnt skin) and a potatoes gone bad smell. We arranged for Riley to have a bath and an extra day at his Day Care and Bill went to work.
Without realizing it Bill managed to contaminate two buses that day with the skunk smell, his usual and the one he drove for the charter run. He had changed his coat but kept the same safety vest. Riley managed to transfer the smell to the Doggie Day Care centre and 25 or so other dogs, the handler… the two runner carpets on the main floor of our house … the floors he slept on… One day later after removing the carpets and sending them out to be cleaned, scrubbing floors and doing laundry there is still a hint of the skunk smell when you first walk into the house. Riley apparently will have the smell return for a number of weeks when he gets wet. Bill has purchased some “KoK Out” which will help erase all lingering evidence! Riley can’t go into the back yard until the contaminated snow melts away which won’t be long with the forecasted 27 mm of rain.
Early in March our furnace decided to fail after 16 long years of service. We now have a new energy efficient unit that was installed on March 4th.
Wiarton Willie our local ground hog predicted 6 more weeks of winter on February 2nd. This would be great as the winter has been consistently cold and with a good measure of snow. Stratford for a change, has missed all major storms. They have gone around us or we have been on the fringe. This is okay. As you can see by the pictures below, we have had our share of the white stuff! Bill has been busy shovelling and blowing the snow.
January saw Dorien revamp/redo the main Website using a web based software. If you are reading this, you are on our new and updated site.