Thursday, August 30, 2007

Picking the wrong week to live without AC – Exposure for New Albany

Occasionally I take stock during my home restoration because not everything has gone wrong. For example, at least my air conditioner has worked well. I’d been able to work hard on hot days and have comfort in the fact that I’d have refuge in a cool home.

It worked swell until last Friday, when it stopped working. It’s been hot. A part was in transit. It was Wednesday at 7:30 before we had cold air flowing again.

I can’t complain too much. Thanks to a lot of travel during past jobs, I’d accumulated massive reward points for Marriott hotels. For a couple evenings I made the short drive to downtown Louisville and slept comfortably in a “chilly” hotel room.

I was downtown Sunday as Ironman triathelete’s were finishing the punishing day of swimming, biking and running. It was an electrifying experience. I even had trouble sleeping that night. I wanted to start training for something immediately. Another marathon may be in my future. And to think I have my broken AC to thank for it.

Back to the house – I’m running out of things to be thankful for. I guess I can be thankful the refrigerator has continued to perform well. It keeps my beer cold. Beer has never let me down.

Pick up a LEO this week and you’ll see a spread on New Albany eateries on page 26. Flip to the back page and you’ll see an ad for That’s some darn good exposure for our sleepy little river town.

Friday, August 17, 2007 hits its stride

It’s been a while since the numbers have been shared. Visits have leveled out and are consistent. Preservation events sponsored by Develop New Albany have helped raise money to place ads in the LEO and print two thousand post cards promoting the website.
It’s working. That fact has been slammed home to me in the last two weeks. 844 Cedar Bough Place was recently listed on the site (the home is next door to me). It’s a HUD foreclosure. The home has been vacant for well over a year.

There has been flood of interest. I’ve witnessed a dozen showings, and I’m not at home that much. I’m certain there have been dozens more. When I see people looking at the house I usually run out to introduce myself. I’ve met folks from the Knobs, Jeffersonville and Clarksville. Most have been aware of It’s how they found out the home was for sale.

What’s the point? The home didn’t move through the foreclosure process in obscurity. It wasn’t only questionable investors, ready to pounce on another old home and make minimum investment, who had interest it. We’ve got a process in place that I assure you is envied by many other communities.

Thanks to Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, Halo Applications, Develop New Albany and the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission. The site requires a lot of maintenance and attention. The work is paying off.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Learning more lessons the hard way

Why aren’t you supposed to paint in direct sunlight? This is why:

That’s my finger pointing to a blister. When painting in the sun, the paint dry’s fast on top while it still wet underneath. That can lead to puffy little air blisters. I’ve got a couple to fix.

I can imagine myself in the future as a one of those know it all old guys giving unwanted advice to a novice home restorer; “Hey young fella, you shouldn’t be painting in the sun like that, you’ll get paint blisters. Why I remember way back in 2007 when I was restoring a house on Cedar Bough and it was hotter than the dickens, blah, blah, blah…”.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I don't want to play anymore

This posting contains language that may offend some. If you are one of those people, don’t read it.

Restoring an old home is not easy. That’s not new territory for me to cover on this web log. I know that most people reading this have probably had experiences much worse than mine. Feel free to share. I’m sure sharing in your misery will make me feel better.

Interior waterfalls. Broken windows. Falling off ladders. Smacking my head on things. Getting stood up by contractors. It’s all par for the course. I know this now. I knew this when I got started.

But there’s only so much that I can just shrug off. Everyone has a breaking point.

I think I hit mine this morning at 4:00am.

The Breaking Point Setup:

Removing artificial siding from a home is no simple undertaking. You just don’t know what you’re going to get until you take it off. When mine came off there were issues. Trim had been hacked off. Crown molding had been removed. Wood was rotted in places.

To be frank, the house was full of holes. Because of this, I’ve been battling birds and squirrels constantly in my attic. But there’s only so much I could do. The approach to my restoration has been slow but steady. One section at a time.

The Meltdown:

Fast forward two years after removing the vinyl. Progress has been made. I’m generally pleased. The end really is in sight but there are still many miles to travel. I’ll admit getting a little tired. The bank account is getting lower. There are second thoughts being thought.

Then it’s 4:00am Thursday morning August 2nd. I’m sleeping soundly but suddenly startled by a fluttering sound. I think, “Is there something wrong with my ceiling fan?”. “What the hell is that sound?”. “What’s that dark object doing laps around my bedroom ceiling?”.

It’s a f-king bat. In the absence of coherent thought (remember it’s 4am) I pull the covers over my head.

What am I thinking then? I just don’t want to play anymore. I’m done. I just want all this to stop. What’s the starting price for a home at Norton Commons?

Long story short, I get up. Open the front door. I think he flew out. I’m not really sure. At the time, it really didn’t matter. I just started slamming coffee and watched news about the bridge coming down in Minnesota.

I went to work and the day sucked. But as the day wore on, settling took place. I’ll not be deterred by one flying mammal in my bedroom. In fact, I love f-king bats. They eat a ton of bugs. That's great.

Based on research I did on the internet, I’m prepared to live with bats in my attic until September, when the young ones are able fly. Only then will I take steps to remove them.

I broke, temporarily, but now I’m back. And tonight, if a bat buzzes my head, I’ll smile knowingly that his residence is temporary and I’ll have a great conversation starter the next time I get together with friends.