Tuesday, January 17, 2017

But, all the boxes are empty??

When I came out of the liquor store at Sam's Club, my cart was filled with these sturdy whiskey boxes.

No particular brand preference.

A guy in the parking lot took a look and shouted
"Wow! Have a nice weekend!" 

It has been almost two decades since I last moved but I remembered liquor stores have perfect, large size boxes for packing up your stuff.

George Carlin had defined everything we own as "our stuff."

I have been in my house in Hanahan for 18 years and had discarded all the packing materials years and years ago.

Didn't think I would be moving ever again but then my legs started "hurting" and I realized a two-story house with lots of stairs, probably was not a good long-term idea.

 Evan Dua*, Listing Specialist with the Realtor I chose, told me the first step to showing my home to prospective buyers was to take down my framed photos, diplomas, a Missouri Senate proclamation and all other personal items.

Clear off all the small photos and items sitting on top of flat surfaces

"Let the buyer see open space that he or she will fill," Evan said.

So, I started filling the boxes I brought home. Dang, I have a lot of stuff after living here so long!

I still have the oval-framed photos of my dad, his brother, and his parents hanging on the wall of my spacious master bedroom.

They'll be wrapped in bubble wrap and go into new boxes I have collected.

The bathroom shelves have been emptied and boxed, along with the linen closet in the second bathroom.

It DOES give the familiar home a "new, clean look." Thanks, Evan!

The kitchen is very large and I've just begun clearing it out.

Amazing what accumulates on shelves and other flat surfaces over the years. The box of Scrabble on a shelf had NOT been opened the whole time I've lived here.

The cat food and water bottle will be packed last. Oh yeah, and the two litter boxes in the smaller living room will be moved out of sight into the small spare bedroom.

You start with "I want to sell this house and downsize to a single story one nearby," and then all the steps begin that you have to take to get to the point of being a "Buyer", actually looking at what might be my potential new home.

The sequence, of course, has to be selling my present home at a good price so I can pay for my new, smaller place in full.

No new debt.

I mentioned that the kitchen is large. Very large.

I measured and it's 21' long x 16' wide.

It's standard, I was told, to leave built-in appliances (stove and dishwasher) when you sell a house, but I believe I'll also leave the front-loading washer and the dryer.

Maybe even the side-by-side refrigerator. No sure about that yet.

The Realtors really smiled when we went downstair to look at my dad's former woodworking space. His shop.

Oh yeah, as they say, it's HUGE.

And, if the buyer is into working with wood, one wall of the shop has a 20-foot long x 30" workbench.

And, yes there is a Craftsman Model 100 radial saw built-in. My dad usually shopped Sears.

In 1962, my folks moved into an 800 SqFt house and the first thing he did was expand the house 20 feet x 50 feet to build his shop. Duh, that's how he made his money.

He later expanded the upstairs house to be over his shop and took off a small screen porch and replaced it with the impressive kitchen.

Keep in mind, he was doing all of this by himself.

His skill was fantastic and others who have seen the house said he built it 3x what code required.

When I added a deck out back, the man who was removing the existing landing and stairs my dad had built said it would take several more days.

He added, if it called for 5 or 6 nails, my dad used 20, glued the pieces together and finished by counter-sinking screws.
Yes, sturdy and well-built.

I am thankful mom would wander out back and snap some progress shots with her Kodak Brownie.

This particular photo was taken AFTER dad had clambered up to the original roof peak and extended it at the perfect angle over the 2-story addition.

The Realtor asked me to write a brief history of the house after I mentioned that my dad had built and expanded it in the 1960s.

I figured going back through all of that history deserved to become a posting on my blog.

So, now it is.

My main contribution to the "The House That Dad Built," was when I followed his lead and expanded my standard tub shower.

I had people take out a non-load bearing wall and install a large custom shower with six (6) shower heads.

Yep, six heads, no waiting.

Of course, we then had to discuss how to heat enough water flowing through each head at 2.5 gallons a minute.

A standard40-gallonn water heater would start turning cold in about 3 minutes.

The counterman at the plumbing supply store suggested I get two Rinnai Gas tankless heaters, which I did because we had gas coming to the house so why face a threat of running out of hot water?

The Realtors liked this feature too!

 Dad never did add a garage.

Finally, I got tired of parking under trees that continually dropped sap and having birds add their poop to the mess atop my car.

Found a nearby company that sold and erected just what I needed - a sturdy and affordable carport.

Delivered by two men in a truck, they assembled all the pieces, anchored it securely and walked across the roof to finish details.

They were done in an hour and drove off to deliver another one.

I was pretty sure the roof - with spinning ventilators strung along the ridge - dated back to the 60s.

Had several people come and estimate replacing it.

My pick was the owner of the company in Summerville who came himself, did all the measuring,  and assured me ANY repairs needed would be included.

He said he would never cover a roof unless it was sturdy and in great shape.

I am sure the Realtors will note it was done in late 2010 with a 30-year warranty.

Well, I was asked for a brief history of the house and this is it. "Brief" is not my main trait. Haha.

(Click on the photos and links for more details) Going over all these details reminded me I am really going to miss this house.

I hope for a buyer who will appreciate the skill, love, and labor that went into building it.

*If you want to take a tour, I am sure Evan Dua will make that possible. Just call him or drop him an email.

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Sunday, January 01, 2017

A brief FLORIDA trip...

 I lived in Tallahassee for 10 years and often thought about re-visiting.

I left there in 1993 to come home to Charleston after my last divorce.

23 years have passed without a Florida return trip.

Heather, my younger daughter, called and asked if I wanted to come for a visit.

The time frame would be during the week between holidays so I started thinking about Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Christmas/New Year air travel.

She laughed and said she was much closer - house sitting for a friend who was taking her family for a vacation to Italy and Paris.

Duh, yes, the house is in Tallahassee so I stopped checking airfares to Tulsa and contacted Thrifty about renting a car for December 26 - 29.

I had moved to Tallahassee in the 80s when I had been offered a position with the Florida Division of Tourism.

It was a move to the Majors Leagues after having been Director of Tourism for the state of Missouri for four years.

It meant working WITH Disney instead of competing against that major magic tourism mecca.

And the state tourism budget was $50 million. Yikes!!

Driving down there also would give me time spent with my youngest grandson - Aiden - who I had not seen since I was in Tulsa and he was two.

Now he is 5-years old. What a difference!

Well-spoken, smart as heck (home schooled) and quite a dynamic youngster.

He was shy at first - beards do that - but quickly was hugging his Pop-Pop.

It also had been three years since I had seen my daughter.

She was still recovering from the sudden death of her mother in the home she, her husband, and the boy had shared in Sand Springs, an affluent suburb of Tulsa.

We toured Florida State University, where her mom Sandy had worked for 10 years before retiring.

As we drove around the campus, I wanted to see the FSU Bobby Bowden field at Doak Campbell Stadium.

I had been down on the field, taking photos of a football game there many, many years ago but the stadium did not look familiar at all.

"They tore that one down, Dad, and built this new one," Heather explained, as we got out to take pictures of several statues and monuments on the campus.

Did I mention the energy 5-year olds have? Whenever it was safe, he was told to run as fast as he could and burn 
off some of that pent-up need to run. 

The area around the stadium afforded ample opportunities
to turn him loose to run, his hair flying and his grin wide.

He would run fast and turn around and race back to us.

He was in his element, speeding in the walking areas, safely away from cars in the parking lots and roads.

They obviously had developed a routine.

At the statues and monuments, he was encouraged to run circles around them as I tried to capture his movement moments.

Eventually, he would "wind down" and snuggle hug his mom as he caught his breath.

Did I mention he was her "teacher's Pet?"

The familiar statue of a Seminole Warrior hefting his spear was impressive.

The plaque said the "no particular person was named, to represent the unconquerable spirit," but I recalled the name of the horse was Renegade."

THAT I happened to remember as I watched Bobby Bowden's teams over the years after my divorce.

The stadium looked brand new to me, with more bricks second only to the Great Wall of China.

Heather pointed out the area where her mom had worked for 10 years.

A very nice set of figures in football gear represented the spirit of "Sportsmanship."

A fallen player, still clutching the football but minus his helmet, is offered a hand up by the FSU tackler who also had picked up the opponent's helmet.

I had lived in the Capital during some of the best years under coach Bobby Bowden and was surprised his statue did not have "Saint" added to the marker.

The drive down from Charleston was about 6.5 hours and I was entertained by several audio books I had picked up at the library.

The librarian had reminded me to not leave them behind in Florida and to make sure no disk was left in the car.

That's a funny remark because the first two full-size cars I checked had had low mileage, Bluetooth technology, and satellite radio ....but no CD player slot.

Finally, they found me a Jeep Patriot that could play the disks and I headed down US 17 south to connect near Yemassee with I-95.

I had made several trips recently to Savannah so knew that leg of the journey quite well.

Had not ventured on to Jacksonville for years but GPS on my phone smoothly guided me around JAX and then  I-10 moved me across the panhandle to TLH.

One night we went to Osaka, a nice Japanese Hibachi restaurant and enjoyed the antics of our chef who flipped knives around as he prepared the food.

He "lit up the place" at the start of the meal to ohs and ahs.

I had calculated the timing by watching other tables and grills so I was able to catch the brief flash of flames.

Later, as the meal progressed and noodles were added to the plates. I observed Aiden demonstrating the "proper way to slurp them."

Looking around the table, I saw he was the only "expert" showing off his skills.

As usual with such meals, we packed up enough for another serving the next day.

Quite a change from my usual leftover breakfast treat of cold pepperoni pizza slices.

Even on his encore, the noodles were properly dangled and slurped between Aiden's lips.

The host house was equipped with a newer version of the Keurig coffee maker and a small array of real and decaf coffees.

Our morning routine was very familiar and comfortable.

I'll close now and return later with pictures of some of our adventures as I spent quality time with my daughter and her adorable son.

(Click on the photos and links for more details).

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