Monday, December 10, 2007


Q: Are you living in the house while you are remodeling it?
A: yes. many pictures show our beds and what not.

Q: Is this a "flip"?
A: that depends. most people who flip houses intend to do it inside of 6 months or less. i don't think we'll live in this particular house forever, but we're here to set roots in Beacon, and we're in this house for the near future.

Q: Why is this taking you so long? Why are you doing it all yourself?
A: money don't grow on trees and we have to work to make it.

Q: But you hired an electrician?
A: the city of Beacon is one of two in our county that require all electrical work be done by a contractor licensed in our town. otherwise i would have taken a crack at it myself, with a little help from my friends.

Q: Don't you worry about safety and health issues?
A: yes. we clean up everything after we work - specially sharp objects and power tools. we have sprayed bleach all over the house many times to kill the dust and mold that might be stirred up. we also hang plastic sheets to keep dust from spreading. any time Finn comes to visit or Cara comes home from school or special guests arrive, i clean and wash like a french maid on crack, minus the cute outfit.

Q: Why don't we post ads for hardware or other related stuff?
A: it's been suggested, but we often have scathing opinions about various products, stores or services and i would not do them much good. we also have very nice opinions about others. maybe in the future. we have not looked into it. again, time.....

Q: Why isn't Ken helping?
A: he lives 250 miles away and has a real job. the one time he did visit we decided it should be for fun only. I did get him to help me bring home some sheet rock and other heavy stuff, though - and the canoe!!!!

Q: What do the neighbors think?
A: by and large they are impressed or intrigued. the Phillips helped by lending us a ladder, various other tools, physical labor, and they gave us some old ship lap for the front porch. Jerry offers aesthetic advice and comic relief. I think everyone is pleased to see the place being fixed up. it will only help improve the neighborhood, which is part of the reason we moved here.

Q: Why does it look like Jennifer does all the work? Or her friends?
A: because I am the one taking the pictures, and people don't take pictures of me . . . and yeah, they get irked with me taking pictures all the time.

Q: Do you have to beat Jennifer to do all this work?
A: on the contrary, she more often than not inspires me to get my ass up in the morning and get started.

Q: So, she beats you?
A: that's none of your business.

Q: How did you learn to do all this?
A: I paid attention to what my brother (an architect and Habitat For Humanity volunteer) taught me on a few different occasions, such as when he helped put an addition on a previous house I owned. We watch a lot of home improvement shows, read a lot of books on the subject(s), and we aren't too afraid to try and fail . . . mostly. Edison was essentially correct - it's 99% perspiration.

Q: Why all the pictures of Beacon harbor and boats?
A: my brother Tony and I are big fans of the water, boats, sailing. he can actually pilot large sailing vessels (40') and has. I take and post those pictures for my amusement and as a tip of the hat to him. when i was a boy he would take me on a lot of white-knuckle adventures on a 14' Sunfish on lake Ontario. they are some of my fondest memories. my other brothers enjoy sailing, but Tony does it the most. he who does, is.

Q: You look thinner.
A: we are. I lost about 30lbs due to this and other (ahem) changes in my life. we also quit smoking. we both lost weight and we are both much stronger.

Q: Does it hurt?
A: yes. Jennifer lost a toenail after dropping something on her foot. i got many rashes early in the Summer. we get cuts, scrapes and nicks all the time. i zinged off a fingernail the other day (they put the safety devices on table saws for a reason, i learned), lost another fingernail after hammering my finger into the porch. we go to bed tired every night, we sleep like logs, and we wake up creaky every day. I, for one, can feel every bone in my feet at the moment; not sure what that is all about.

latest injuries include sawing across a finger twice (losing half a fingernail in the process one of those times), driving a finish nail through the pad of one finger, and nearly slicing off a thumb.

Q: Why "Vaclav's Hovel"?
A:Vaclav Havel (note difference in spelling and punctuation) was the leader of the Czech republic after it split from Slovakia. He was good friends with Frank Zappa, whom I admire. I have a passing interest in Dadaism. The Dadaists gathered in a cafe called "Cabaret Voltaire." I always wanted to open a place called "Vaclav's Hovel" as a tribute to Frank Zappa, and make it a place where good music and poetry could be had. Not having the resources to open my own cafe, I was satisfied to call my wireless router, and now, unofficially, my house is known as such.


Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, after you have put in a hard day, do you smell bad?

Why hate when others can do the job for you? said...

Yes. It has been compared to something worse than bad cheese.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice words. I have pictures of one of those 14' Sunfish ventures. I'll send them separately + a picture of a 50' Beneteau at anchor in the BVI.