Starting a Condo Renovation Project

The theme of this year is getting small tasks (or “projects” done).  I have a list of things that I put together at the start of the year and I am working down the list as quickly as possible.  My jobs are prioritized based on their importance (for example, painting my home is further down the list than spending time with my grandmother) and up until the last couple of weeks, I had been making good progress on my list.

But today I’m starting my first big project of the year – renovating my parent’s condo.

They moved into their condo just a couple of years ago, but back then we knew that there were some much needed renovations that they needed to do in the near future.  But plans changed after my father suffered a heart attack just about a year ago, and the task of renovating their home fell on my shoulders.

So today will be the first of many days that I spend at their home working to make it the place they have always dreamed of.  We have a guy coming out that does windows replacement in Bel Air to see about fixing their old windows.  Thankfully their condo agreement allows the replacement of windows as long as they conform within certain guidelines, and I’m not too worried about us finding ones that work.

I’ve allotted about three weeks to get the work done and I am hoping that everything goes as planned.  Once I cross this project off my list, I can move on to the next – it is going to be a long and productive year.

An Early Melt

264Winter used to be my favorite season of the year.  I love snow on the ground, the relief from allergies the time of year provides and just how quiet things get when the temperature is below freezing.  As a child I spent a lot of my time outside playing in the snow, and winter for me is a basketful of fond memories.

But my adult life is another story.

The weather has changed to the point that winter is just not the same as it was when I was a kid.  Instead of things being frozen for months in a row, now you have the temperature all over the place.  Recently the weather became so warm that the snow started to melt and cause water issues for our family home.

That was not good at all.

In fact, the amount of water on the ground was so bad that we hired a company to flood dry out around our home to ensure that there would be no other issues.  We just didn’t have the equipment on-hand to deal with it on our own, so we were thankful to have the help.

Hopefully this will be the only problem these winter months cause.

An Open House Day

IMG_1522For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed going to open houses.  For me, it is an opportunity to see many home designs and get a feel for the good and the bad as it comes to houses.  Each and every one of them brings some good and bad things to the table, and by taking the time to look at as many houses that I do, I have a good idea as to what I want in a home.

So today I took the day to drive around the neighborhood to check out any houses that were for sale.  We’ve been thinking of moving into a place that is a little bigger as the home we are in right now feels cramped and small.  Many of the homes in the surrounding area are in various stages of renovations, so we were looking for a house that was almost complete.

Out of all the houses we looked at, there was only one that truly caught my eye.  It could have been the Milgard Bronze Finish Fiberglass Ultra Windows that really shone in terms of curb appeal, or the thoughtful use of the space above the garage.  I just loved the feel of the place and I took some pictures of the highlights of the layout and design.

I had so much fun going to look at open houses today that I think I’m going to do it again next week – looking at homes is cheap entertainment.

An Afternoon of Baking

500bkFor as long as I can remember, I have loved to be in the kitchen.  I find it truly amazing that you can take a bunch of ingredients that don’t taste exceptional on their own to create something that is delicious, and I have spent hours in the kitchen experimenting with new creations.  I know that they don’t always work out, but for the most part, I end up coming up with something wonderful.

This afternoon I have one of my favorite kitchen aprons on and I am baking up a storm.  There is a fundraiser happening in-town on Monday, and I wanted to donate some cookies and other goodies to the baking table.  It will be an easy way to help the community out as I won’t be able to volunteer my time for baking, and I would like to think that the event organizers appreciate it.

I’m going to make some of my favorites including chocolate chip cookies, banana muffins and chocolate zucchini cake.  I was going to make peanut butter cookies as well, but since there are so many people that have peanut allergies these days, I decided to skip making them.

I’m going to have a lot of fun this afternoon – the house smells delicious already!

Starting our First Email Marketing Campaign

For the last eight months we have been building an email list of both the people that have stopped in at our brick-and-mortar store as well as our company website.  We had heard so many times that it was important to “build a list”, and that is what we did.

The problem was that up until this point, we haven’t done anything with it.

I knew that we were sitting on a potential goldmine, but I was smart enough to know that I had no idea as to what to do with it.

As an entrepreneur, I knew that there was a simple solution: all I needed to do was find the experts in the email marketing field and leverage their expertise.

Asking around, I discovered that most people were working with AdmonMedia, a digital agency based out of Melbourne, Australia.  I decided to reach out to them to see if they could help our organization out, and they made a great first impression.

We hired them on the spot.

We have been working together for the past week to lay out the goals of our marketing campaigns and it has been easy to work with our rep from the agency. He has been very patient with my questions and I am learning a lot along the way.

In fact, our first email marketing campaign will be starting later next week and I am excited to see the results.

Helping find Kincardine Cable High Speed Internet

When it comes to helping people out with computer problems, I am pretty generous with my time.  I know that technology is challenging to many people, and thanks to the skills I have developed over the years, I am able to lend a hand once in awhile to those who need it.  It makes me feel good knowing that I can help out, and I think that my friends appreciate it.

I had the opportunity this week to lend a hand when a good buddy of mine was looking for Kincardine cable internet.  He just moved to that community in Ontario and was really struggling to find a good provider of high speed internet at a price he could afford.  I knew that he was just going to be there for this semester of school before heading home, so he needed to work with a company that wasn’t going to require a long term contract.

Thankfully it didn’t take long to find an ISP that would work with him, and they are getting everything all setup in just a couple of days.  I know that he will love his new internet service and I am so happy that I could help him out.

Teaching my Grandmother Typing

At 92 years of age, my grandmother has seen a lot of things in her lifetime.  She has lived through wars, seen the rise in technology, and experienced more changes than I have in my short time here on this planet.  Her real strength comes from adapting to these changes and I have seen her do so again and again over the four short decades of my life.

But the one thing that she had never shown interest in was computers.  I don’t know what it was about them, but she really didn’t get into them at all.  In some ways I had not thought about it for some time now, but when she was over on the weekend, she expressed some interest in learning computers and learning how to type.

It put a smile on my face.

In order to get the most of our short time together, I enrolled her in a touch typing course that she could do online.  It started her off with the basics and I sent her home with my spare laptop so that she could practice at her leisure.  I was amazed at how quickly she caught on to the lessons and I feel that it will take less than a week for her to become just as proficient as I am when it comes to typing.

She makes her grandson proud.

Mold Scare

After the slew of issues I have had this year with water problems, I have been a little paranoid when it comes to my home.  I suppose I took for granted that my house was supposed to be a safe place to live in, but since that belief has been rattled a bit this year, I have been more vigilant in watching for signs of problems.

I figure that it is better to catch the problems when they are small before they turn into real issues.

A couple of days ago I did my weekly inspection of the basement checking to see that everything was okay.  I have been doing these checks since it was recommended by the specialists from water damage restoration Malibu to do so when they came out the last time I had a problem downstairs.  I look for signs of water leaks or mold, and up until a few days ago I had been trouble free.

But that all changed – at least I thought it did.

While doing my regular check I found some black stuff on the floor that I couldn’t remember seeing the last check I made.

I was scared it was mold again.

Instead of freaking out, I picked up the phone and a technician came out to inspect the trouble area.  Thankfully it was discovered that it was just some dirt and dryer lint, so it ended up being a false alarm.

I am so thankful that it wasn’t mold – I don’t want to have to go through that ever again.

Finished my Only Renovation this Year

Last year was a whirlwind for me when it came to renovations.  It seemed like every free moment I had was spent renovating my home or helping others get their renovations done.  During the many renovations that were done, I picked up a lot of skills that I will be able to use moving forward and I am so thankful for that.  But if you have ever done a lot of home remodeling or any kind of construction, you know there comes a time to take a break.

I think I am at that point.

You see, most of my Monday was spent getting a house ready to install ultra fiberglass windows in Glendale for my aunt Hertha.  She has been working on renovating her home for the last couple of years, but experienced some setbacks when my uncle Albert passed away.  At that time, I picked up the proverbial hammer and have been helping her ever since.

But now, all the work is done.

In fact, her home came together much better than I would have expected.  For a guy that started off with next to no construction skills, I managed to do just fine and I think that she is really happy with how things turned out.

I am just so thankful that I could be there to help her out.

The Best Place to Buy Educational Toys Online

While most people have been taking advantage of the boxing day shopping deals for themselves, I have been taking advantage of the deep discounts that you can get on just about everything at this time of year to do my birthday present shopping for next year.  I have a number of nieces and nephews to buy for, and I usually buy them educational toys as presents.  Since I have downtime from work between Christmas and New Year’s, I have time to browse and find them some really cool gifts.

But the my real secret to finding gifts for them would be the fact that I base my decisions upon the recommendations found at AllCoolToys.com.  They are an online shop that curates only the best toys on the market and the place I go to find the perfect gift for those who are important to me.  I love that I can save a lot of time just shopping right from my computer instead of wasting time browsing aisle after aisle at a big box store.  For example, I was able to buy some Minecraft building blocks for my nephew Jaxon at a fraction of the cost I would have paid at any of our local stores.

It feels good to get all of your present shopping done in a matter of minutes.  You can too by heading over to http://www.allcooltoys.com/