The best time of my life… for now!
August 17, 2014 ~ On June 23, 2014, I moved into my son’s house, as he and his family had relocated to Ohio for a two year run before moving on to North Carolina (which will give me an excuse to visit Donna).
My job? Renovate this house and prepare to put it on the market.
The project has been a longer and more difficult one than I had suspected, as we spent considerable time re-plastering a large portion of the main body of the house – the so-called “living area,” which includes the entry way, original living room, kitchen and dining area. There were so many different textures on walls that it looked like a jig-saw puzzle gone wrong.
Apparently the home had been built in the very 1950’s, but there has been so many remodeling projects done, and at least 3 additions to the home – each of which was done as a weekend project by people who probably never even played with ‘Lincoln Logs’ as children. It’s kind of like making a military guy a General who never played G.I. Joe,’ or a President (of the United States) who only played with himself or his butt-ies in the Bath House.
So the textures are now somewhat smooth and even – very much reminiscent of homes built in the era. Painting will commence soon… but until then the exterior of the home has need of a certain amount of work, chiefly the replacement of a considerable amount of the exterior siding – all of which was installed improperly to begin with – a good portion of which has suffered moisture damage over the years.
In addition to the physical appearance of the walls, and the completion of an entertainment center which my son had never completed, we have done electrical work, which included running new wire runs to install outlets where no one ever placed them, changing out all of the light switches and plugs, adding a timer to the pool (a pool built in the 1960’s that never had a timer switch for the pump?). We have removed well in excess of 100 feet of unused natural gas lines which were zig-zagging all over the roof. They must have gotten a deal on gas line from Washington, DC when some old Senators or Representatives retired and their ‘hot air’ was no longer needed.
Then there was the plumbing – a new toilet – moving a few pipes – you know – the usual for an old house.
In addition we have had to rebuild certain portions of the exterior framing due to moisture damage in one of the major room additions. It seems that the idiots did not use treated wood as a base, and used really cheap 2 x 4 studs, which must have come from China, because they didn’t feel like any pine or fir I have ever used – felt like Balsa wood. In addition, no one had sought to create moisture barriers to prevent water from entering these areas. In addition – so, you like plants and vines? Hell – they were growing inside the walls….
Having spent so many years in my grandfather’s design and architectural office, I learned much more than I had realized. My friend Craig, who is working with me on this project has been doing this kind of work for years and had some ideas as to how we should redo the framing portion of the job, so he would measure and make notes… he had a vision – but something wasn’t clicking in my head – so I would get up on the ladder – remeasure – then lay the job out differently – BINGO. When we were done – it all came together and even he was amazed. The end result was better than even he had anticipated – and he now understood what I was aiming for.
I was never a wiz at math – but always understood the dynamics of geometry – and everything fit like a glove – the way that craftsman used to take pride in their work. Structurally – we now have a house.
“Well Bennett, if all you are going to do is put the place on the market, why are you doing or attempting to do all of this work to perfection? I mean, ‘Flippers’ get in and get out as fast as they can. WTF is your problem?”
My ‘problem’ is pride of workmanship and will payoff in the end just another four to six weeks down the road when it goes on the market – the payoff will go into my family’s pockets – and I of course will get my investment back.
So this project has taken over my body – both physically and mentally – and this is why you have seen so few updates to our various websites – and it will remain so until I return to my “normal” life – whatever the hell that is.
The funny thing is, that I have lost some fifteen to twenty pounds and am feeling better than I have in years. No damned television to distract me – although I do miss watching the Greek on FOX News – Andrea Tantaros. I am eating far less bread – no pizza (which I miss GOOD stuff), lots of water and juice, ‘fresh’ fruits and a relatively steady diet of Cheerios – with and without ‘Honey Nut.’ For the most part, my energy levels are way up and I have little to no stress working on this project – and most importantly – PEACE – of mind and body. I am glad (for the most part) to be away from the stress of family and polly-tix! Of course I still have to do daily broadcasts, but sometime just don’t get up in time to do them, Reruns – it’s great to have a bank of them. But as listeners know, I have only been doing the first hour of the morning program, as my broadcast partner Robby Noel has been doing the 2nd hour, in addition to splitting broadcasting duties for our evening program.
The sad thing is that Robby will be leaving the airwaves and this region of the world to return to South Africa to be with his family – on September 11th of all dates. His health has suffered over the past few years, and frankly – he is concerned, as am I. I don’t think that that he wants to be alone if something catastrophic should happen. I don’t blame him – no one wants to be alone at a time like that. Robby and I have worked together on and off since 1995 and I will be sorry to see him go. So long my friend and may you be blessed.
Of course – this is going to increase my broadcasting time once again and this at a time I can ill afford it until this project is completed. In addition, I leave for parts unknown on or about the 4th of October for nearly ten days – let’s just say on an extended fishing trip. During that time, there will be no updates on any of our websites and no live broadcasts. Live with it – I will!
The thing that I have found in working on this project – is just how much I enjoy being alone – I don’t man, “alone” – alone. I really am at peace here. If I had the money, I would purchase this place from the kids and stay here. I know what I have built and I know what I have. A “bachelor pad,” you say. No – that is not it at all. I have solace here – and am at peace being by myself – but will admit that there are some very nice waitresses at the establishments I have been eating at….. but each come with their own baggage, I am sure. Who needs it???
Oh – by the way: if you are considering a move to Phoenix in the near future – let me know. If you like a home in an older neighborhood with a good sized yard and a newly refinished diving pool – and NO HOA restrictions – give me a call. I’ll be putting the house on the market for about $135,000. Pictures to follow soon…
On April the 1st of this year, I posted one of many columns by my good friend and long-time Federal Observer contributing columnist, Aaron Cantor. It would prove to be Aaron’s final column. I knew that he had been ill – fighting cancer – but with the most optimistic attitude of almost anyone I had ever known. Aaron had been ill for quite some time and had been going through all of the usual “treatment” that cancer victims go through; chemotherapy and radiation. It was about mid April when I spoke with him last, and he was still quite positive on the phone, and expected to be out of the hospital within a week and we planned to get together to share that bottle of Courvoisier Cognac we had so long spoken of. I regret that our time together was never meant to be. From the Las Vegas REVIEW-JOURNAL, I share with you his obituary:
AARON CANTOR (1935 – 2014)
Aaron James Cantor, 78, of Las Vegas, passed away May 26, 2014. He was born Dec. 3, 1935, in Sioux City, Iowa. Aaron proudly served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, and later joined the U.S. Air Force, where he spent the remainder of his military career.
In spite of debilitating health problems in his later years, Aaron lived life to the fullest. He loved traveling, cooking and experiencing good food, and published three cookbooks. He participated in Old West reenactments, was an avid golfer and enjoyed spending time with his many friends. He was proud to be an American, and during the last few years as his health was failing and he could no longer do the active things he enjoyed, he spent much of his time doing research to stay informed on the political issues in our country, and he wrote a political blog, “Eyes on Washington,” to spread that information. He wanted to ensure that his children, grandchildren and their children would not lose the freedoms that he and others had fought so hard to maintain. His quick wit and wonderful sense of humor will be greatly missed. Aaron was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Margaret Cantor.
He is survived by his former wife, June Canter, of Georgetown, Pa.; two daughters, Karen (McKindley) Williams of Gulfport, Miss., and Kathryn Cutrara of Beaver, Pa.; six grandchildren, Laura (Mike) Quinn of Gig Harbor, Wash., Bill Muhlhausen of Tacoma, Wash., Arielle Cutrara of Chapel Hill, N.C., Kristianna (John) Daley of Grandview, Mo., Daniel (Trish) Cutrara of Durham, N.C., and Joanna Cutrara of Chapel Hill; and seven great-grandchildren. No services are scheduled. The family would like to thank the staff of Mountain View Hospital Rehab unit and ICU, as well as the staff of Nathan Adelson Hospice for their wonderful care of Aaron in his last days. Memorial donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarrior project.org