Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I guess we live in Tornado alley now…

I just finished watching the local news, they have reported that a Tornado may have touched down in the Western Massachusetts area… If it was a tornado, it was certainly closer to the house this time. I’m happy to report that no one was hurt and/or anything at my house was damage. But here are a couple of pictures that I took by my house… Currently the power is out…



Monday, July 25, 2011

The end of this journey…

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~Harriet Tubman (American escaped slave, Civil War Soldier and Abolitionist, 1820-1913)

Funny, it seems like yesterday when this “little” project actually began. About three years ago I started this little road trip. To be honest, I began this journey as a man, alone, scared, depressed with only a dream to succeed. I had started this journey for many reasons. But while traveling through this little adventure, I became surprised that I’ve made it this far. I have to admit about the third week of owning this house, I started to question what was I doing? Would I survive?

I remember walking into this house and instantly realizing that this house needed me, as much as I needed it. I purchased this house knowing that it needed work, but to be honest, I didn’t know what I was really getting into. When I was looking for a house that I wanted…or rather needed…I was looking for a home that would occupy my mind and emotions while I was working through my personal issues (divorce). I wanted to change my world.

I began this journey running away from my problems, but, at the end, I ended up confronting them and eventually concurring them. Although, that was before the house being accomplished. But I’m also happy to report that I have completed the house and now have both apartments occupied.

After all of the electrical shocks, the hammer smacks to the thumb, the falling down the stairs, the bat running, the hernia surgery and the back issues… I can finally say, WOW, I’ve survived!!  No seriously, the sense of accomplishment is certainly high. But most of all, I really happy for all of the people that I’ve met during this road trip. Without them, I would not be who I am today…

Here are a couple of pictures of the first floor apartment…


I guess it’s time to take the off ramp… However, I’m going to continue being the Landlord… or rather Property Manager…I need a retirement fund… But what is this new project I’m doing, you ask…

Well I’m going to just take it slow at first… But, I have started a new project… I’ve returned to school for photography… I guess, we’ll see where this off ramp takes me next… No map and no real place to go… I guess I’m just cruising… Well until next time… Happy Building… or rather Happy Cruising…

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Where did you go?

I honestly don’t know, last month was a complete blur. I guess I can attempt to describe what I’ve been up too, but to be honest, I’ve come down with writers block. The last month I’ve been bombarded with my attention going in all different directions. I wish I could say I’ve recovered gracefully, but then I would be lying. But let’s just touch the high points… New tenant for upstairs, new tenant moving in July 1, recently returned from vacation, moved to a new place, tornado in Springfield and still much more… Because I’m not focused at the moment (Brown shirt below says it all). I’ll decided to do a picture story for this entry…


Painted Bi-Fold Doors


Painting baseboards



Vacation location



On vacation somewhere tropical sporting the Black and Gold… Game 7 here we go!!!! You can do it B’s!!!!


View by my new home



Baseboard painting


Baseboard painting


Window trim painting


Hole in the ceiling


Fixing the hole in the ceiling..




Raining day at the rental property




Tornado destruction photos in Springfield, Mass… June 4, 2011

Until next time, may the reconstruction be a safe one… ( I don”t feel right saying my normal building statement). Although, I’ll be returning to my normal statement soon..

Monday, May 9, 2011

Next in the batter’s box is….

Now that the hardwood floors are completely sanded, stained and have their final coat of polyurethane applied, I can move onto another project. The polyurethane smell was pretty intense. Even with all of the windows open, I still got a headache from the fumes. On a side note, while I was reading the back of the polyurethane can, I was reminded that oil-soaked rags are a fire hazard. Basically, the heat from the dry, oil soak rags can set the rags on fire, It is recommended that you hang the rags outside and allow them to dry before disposing them. With that caution out of the way, I was thinking what am I going to do with myself when all of the projects are completed… I guess we’ll find out soon enough, but until then, we got an apartment to get fix up and rent out…

Next on the list were the bedroom closets doors. Prior to doing the floors, I had started to install the bi-fold doors to the bedroom closets. I discovered really quickly that the bedroom closet entryways were not a standard size. I had decided that to save money, I would modify the entry way and order stock doors. Funny, the big box hardware store didn’t have the standard size that I was looking for, so I had to special order them. However the price was the same, as if I purchase them off the shelf. If not, I did see a sledge hammer and a reciprocating saw in my future… However, being able to order the “custom” doors, I do see a couple of 2 X 4’s, framing nails, compound saw, air compressor, dry wall and my favorite pneumatic framer in my near future.

So I have to build a supporting wall… I had to build about 6 inches from the wall in one room and about 10 inches in the other room. Below were the pictures from my office.


IMG_3951New drywall installed covering the new frame 2 X 4’s

IMG_3957New Bi-fold doors…

It was funny, after feeling felling rushed in the previous month, I’ve decided to really take it easy. It didn’t take me long to install the new bi-fold doors to both bedrooms. I have to admit, framing the wall took more time than actually installing the doors. Now I just need to mud the new walls, sand and paint. I also need to install the trim around the new door way. The new bi-fold doors are certainly an improvement over the previous doors. They also match the entry doors into the rooms. I have to admit, that wasn’t on purpose…

The list of things are still plentiful. However, things are certainly getting done. I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.. But I’m still hesitant in pulling the trigger on placing an ad for the apartment yet. However, I am in the process of moving to a new place in Connecticut at the end of the month. I figure the move will push me to really finish the apartment and place an ad. I guess, well see what happens next on that subject… Anyway, next on the list, I’ll be painting the damage trim from when I stained the floors. But until next time, happy building…

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More than just another moving day/week….

The month of April has certainly been an interesting rollercoaster. I still have my health, thus I assume that is a good thing. The blessing in disguise has certainly allowed my mind to relax and focus on the task at hand. Prior to getting the news, I was beginning to feel rushed into things, which then I felt overwhelmed. The entire process was starting to make me feel unrest. I felt that nothing would be accomplished on time. The pressure of time and energy was getting the best of me. But I still created a plan and attempting to execute accordingly. I first set my priorities to the second floor.

The second floor wasn’t a total disaster. I only had to clean/scrub the refrigerator,stove and bath tub. I’m happy to report that nothing was damage. The second floor is now cleaned and also scheduled to be occupied for May 1st. It was originally scheduled for April 1st, however, apparently not many people were looking for a place in April. Now onto the next task… First floor…

The first floor was a disaster… I needed to move my stuff out of the three rooms so that I can sand and stain the floors. I rented a storage unit and started to move things there. Thanks to Wilson, we were able to move out the heavy things that I couldn’t do myself. Yes, I’m a strapping young lad of 35, however, let us not re-live the umbilical hernia incident, again (Thank you)… Ok, moving on… After Wilson’s services were completed, I began to move the small things myself. I realized that my stereo and TV manuals were missing, so,  I decided to take a picture so that the picture could assist me in recreate this mess later..

IMG_3385  IMG_3378

What a spaghetti mess…Not sure if I’m mentioned this before, but I hate moving… The packing, the lifting, the cleaning… The entire process is depressing… To me, moving is the realization that “I” have way too much junk and that about 90% of it can be thrown out…


After feeling a sense of “dis-accomplished”, I decided to take a walk. I walked down to the Hadley Falls bridge to clear my mind. The Holyoke Dam has been working overtime for the last couple of days due to the melting of the snow. In the summer, when the windows are open within the house, you can hear the rush of water from the dam… The soothing rush makes sleeping at night, extremely relaxing. However, the only drawback are the frequent trips to the bathroom during the night..

The Holyoke Dam is owned and operated by the Holyoke Gas and Electric Department (HGED). The dam has been in service since 1906 to initially supply power to the textile and paper mills within Holyoke. I was able to find some history of the dam (Holyoke Dam History by HGED), hope you enjoy it. The file within the website, has a lot of information about the construction and debate about the dam…

Here are a couple of pictures from my walk.



After returning from my refreshing walk… I was hit with the reality that I need to get this place cleaned out.



I’m fortune enough that I’m starting a new job soon (April 25). Thus, I decided to take a week off before starting the new job. This break allowed me the time to sand and stain the floors. The first thing that I needed to do was clean out the rooms and get a sander… Here are the rooms prior to sanding them.



I have to admit, the floors were horrendous. The floor had paint spots and dark black spots that looked to be animal urine stains. Thus enter the beast….


I’m a big fan of tools and equipment that conduct a job efficiently and properly… I guess it is correct when people say ”Time is money”… This beast, has 4 orbital sanding pads and a vacuum to suck up any dust. I was done sanding the rooms within 3 hours. I was surprise how minimal the wood dust was flowing through the room. It certainly worked like a charm…Here are pictures of the finish work…


The paint spots and unwanted stains were all gone. After completing the sanding, I discovered some marks on the floor in the master bedroom. Within the photo’s above, top right, you will see subtle uniform lines going perpendicular to the grain of wood. It looks like the previous owners used a paint roller when they stained the floors. It is recommended that you use a rag to stain the floors. By using a rag, you minimize streaks and stain build up on the floor. Because of roller streaks, I decided to go with a dark stain color (red oak). I wanted to hide any imperfections like this with the darker color. Also, I’m a big fan of the rich bold color.








I was sure to not stain myself into any corners…Once the staining process was completed and dry, I was able to put down a nice clean coat of semi-gloss Polyurethane. The following picture were taken after putting down the first of two coats of polyurethane.




I love the reflection of the door and window frame on the floor. The house may smell for a few days, but I’m loving the floors. By the way, here is something for you to think about… I was talking with a friend about the cost of hiring someone to do the floor. Basically do the same thing that I just did. The estimating cost to do 3 rooms was about $1000… With the sander rental, 1 can of stain, 2 cans of polyurethane, and miscellaneous supplies it cost me about $200… The best part of doing the job yourself is the pride, satisfaction and $800 towards a vacation trip… And knowing is half the battle..

Anyway, next on the list is to add a second coat of polyurethane and then repaint some of the trim that was damage from the staining process. Well until next time, Happy building…


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