25-48 The Second Twenty-Four
49-72 The Third Twenty-Four
73-96 The Fourth Twenty-Four
97-120 The Fifth Twenty-Four
121-144 The Sixth Twenty-Four
145-168 The Seventh Twenty-Four
169-on The Eighth Twenty-Four
49 Pure Michigan
50 Ah, Youth
51 Unlikely Friend
54 Before/After Squared
55 Hawaiiana 1
56 Hawaiiana 2
57 Hawaiiana 3
58 A New Outlook
59 Hawaiiana 4
60 Crash Dummy
61 Dogs, Boards, Kids...
62 Photographic Treasures
63 Hawaiiana 5
64 My Comb is Crooked
65 Call Me A Doctor
66 Hawaiiana 6
67 Home for Christmas
68 Led By Words
69 Pono Bowls
70 Poppy Tour
71 An Invitation
72 Wunderkammer I
She was a newly divorced lady with apparently
little interest in housework. An
uncontrolled teenage son lived with her. She
was anxious to get out from under the mortgage, taxes and upkeep of this house
in the San Fernando Valley. The
house was definitely a fixer-upper, needing paint and repairs. The yard was unkempt. The filter in the 20’x40’ pool had
failed and the water was black with algae.
So, what would attract us to such a spectacle? Three bedrooms, three baths, a large
family room, all on a half-acre lot, only slightly overpriced. Located in a nice suburban area with
schools, shopping, and freeway access nearby. The
required repairs? We considered them
a challenge that could be met with minimal time and money.
We made an offer that required the seller to
install a new pool filter, deal with algae removal, and close quickly. The offer was accepted. We had been living in a motel with
our son JR for several weeks and we were anxious to get into something larger. So we moved in to a nearly vacant
house and slept on the floor.
Most of our belongings were on a ship bobbing
up and down off the coast of California.
They had arrived from Bangkok, but a dock worker strike prevented them
from being unloaded. We had put a
few things in storage when we went to Bangkok more than two years ago, but most
of our stuff went with us.
We retrieved our stuff from local storage. It included a Hide-a-bed so we could
get off the floor. We had purchased
a new crib for JR but otherwise made do with what we had. It was convenient to have the place
mostly empty so we could start the cleaning and repairing. Eventually the strike ended and we
took delivery of our stuff.
The company I worked for had a new contract in
Virginia but not much going on in California, so after snooping around a bit
there, I was terminated. We had done
well financially in Bangkok, so we decided that I would spend a few weeks
working on the house before accepting a new job.
The house could really use the attention.
I did renew acquaintance with the poker gang I
had been with before the trip, and surprisingly had three interviews set up by
friends. Even more surprisingly,
that resulted in three offers, all anxious to get started. So, we put off the house repairs and
I went back to work. We can always
do repairs on weekends, holidays and vacations, right?
There are not enough weekends, holidays and vacations in a lifetime to
catch up with a genuine fixer-upper!
^^^1971 – I leveled the flat roof and added insulating board and then hired roofers
1980 – With help from brother Bud, we put new cedar shingles on the peaked roof >>>
Here is the list of the major projects that
had to be done:
paint everything inside and out
insulate attic and under flat roof of original house
fill low spot in flat roof and lay insulation board
re-roof house, pool house and pump house
replace some deck around pool
add some wooden side fence
insulate pool house
move door in laundry room
build additional cabinets in kitchen
replace both water heaters
rewire for convenience
build play house
build 4’x8’ table for pool house
These were the ongoing tasks. We had a gardener for regular
maintenance, but these were considered outside of his responsibility.
trim trees, bushes, bamboo
clear needles and leaves from roof
maintain irrigation system
and of course, clean pool
Some of the house fixing up was done
Some pool and yard work was done
Some things were just too big for us to
handle, so we hired or contracted help.
pool guy (for a while)
floor and cabinet tile in kitchen
floor and shower tile in baths
add covered patio in back
shoot the family room ceiling
run gas to pool house, add heater
refinish oak floors
carpet family room
make enclosed den/bedroom out of living room
re-pipe water system with copper (actually son JR did this work)
fence and gate street front
replace irrigation system
We put in 20 years on our project but never
really achieved AFTER. When Clae and
I finally separated, it made little sense for me to keep the house since I was
spending the work week away from home anyway.
Clae wanted to stay so that’s the way we structured the settlement. I had very mixed feelings. I had put so many hours and so much
effort into the house that it was almost a part of me. On the other hand there were ongoing
issues with it and things like the pool were a constant struggle. However, nature has a way of dealing
with these mixed feelings.
On January 17, 1994, at 04:31
in the morning, I woke up in my motel in Orange County. Everything in the building was
rocking. I knew it was bad, but of
course had no idea where the epicenter was.
I soon learned Northridge was the center of a massive 6.7 magnitude
quake! Northridge is quite near to
our house in San Fernando Valley.
From work I called Clae. The house
was devastated. JR just happened to
be home so he was able to help Clae and the neighbors to secure their houses. Everyone in our neighborhood was OK,
but the houses were ripped apart. I
saw our house one last time soon after the quake and cried my eyes out. All the work, all the plans, all the
hopes and dreams and nothing much left but piles of trash. Right back to BEFORE.
Kitchen was gutted
Family room was gutted
Pool was cracked, decks and fences gone
Plaster board, tile, dishes became trash
Fireplace didn't fall
but could not be saved
Fortunately, just a few years before the quake
we had signed up for earthquake insurance.
That and a FEMA grant helped, but the damage was extensive and well
exceeded our coverage. Clae and I
split the additional costs and Clae managed the reconstruction. I’ve seen pictures, but I never set
foot in the new AFTER again. Clae
sold a while later. I’m not sure,
but from Google Earth I think the original house has been razed and a new house