Archive for May, 2014

Salvage Value

I’ve done a lot of renovation, but never by the IKEA method. IKEA designs by choosing the end price and making the features of the product fit inside. I’m pretty confident that I can get a good price and do things economically and well, but it’s a challenge to start with the end cost. I start with the finished product. Maybe not the entire product, but I start at the other end, none-the-less, and work on getting the best cost for the finished good. I think I’d be good at rehabbing properties well, but I wouldn’t cut cost corners and unfortunately most buyers don’t recognize that. So, while I’m sure that restoration could be my vocation, I’m not so sure that I could ever make a living at it.

With all this in mind, we took a big leap on closing day. I should say intended closing day, because the leap wasn’t in signing over the future for a house. There were paperwork problems that need to be overcome. We recouped some of our lost productivity for the day in deciding to salvage some knotty pine paneling and hardwood flooring from a house that will be demolished in Avondale Estates.

These salvage items will bring warm reminders of my grandparents back to my surroundings. My father’s parents had a beach cabin on an island near Alabama Point. It had thick old knotty pine paneling. The kitchen was separated from the living room by a bead curtain that I loved to walk through and beside it was a fish net on the wall filled with seashells. Some of the shells were exotic and they fascinated me. This is where I spent the lost summer of my youth. While I won’t be adding the beads and the island décor, it will be nice to have a comfortable reminder.

My mother’s parents had the antebellum home with the twelve-foot ceilings, French doors leading to the dining and living rooms, a long stately staircase and hardwood halls long enough to run through. That house means Christmas to me. Waking up cold to light the gas heaters that retrofitted all the bedroom fireplaces was a part of the winter morning ritual (Of course, my grandfather saved me from having to leave the bed covers cold by coming in early to light mine minutes before I got up. I still hope that someday I will have a home with solid wood doors and glass doorknobs.

How much of the past can we salvage to bring forward to warm our family future? We will see where this demo decision gets us. The cost of materials is very good, but it’ll be haul. Cost of tools, not just specialty tools but also ordinary tools lost in the fire, rental equipment, gas, time and meals that would have otherwise been eaten at home, all of these things factor in. Working after hours and on weekends takes its toll. I know that we will regret the decision before we like it. I don’t know how much regret or how much like there will be. At the very least, it’s better than wasting in front of TV and getting overheated while stacking some of this flooring has caused me to re-commit to loosing some much needed weight and getting back into better condition and I was able to identify some heart pine floors that were eventually saved because I knew what they were.

Antici PAshun

This week we’re right there at almost there, or we hope we are. I went for a bike ride that was just over twenty miles, my longest ride since the house burned, but it was only a new high for now. A year ago an average ride was 40 to 60 miles and the 80s would have been a fairly comfortable high. 20 miles would have been in the home stretch for old normal and I’m only getting out once a week these days.

I deal with stress by riding my bike longer and harder, which has its health benefits, but last time I had a “training level event” I think I overdid it, and that has side effects instead. This time I buried myself in a stress cloud focused on the computer screen and set myself at finding a home. A couple of real estate agents wanted to be my buyer’s agent; little did they know that they really didn’t. I never anticipated finding our next home would be such a challenge, and several times questioned my decision not to rebuild in place. After I started looking, a couple of potential homes went away fast and before I knew it I was afraid I wouldn’t find something within what previously seemed like a generous time frame. It wasn’t going to let that lesson on what the current market was doing go wasted. I was searching for updates so often that I was finding them ahead of the auto updates generated by the listing companies. Getting back to a new normal was/is my job du jour, and I intend(ed) to do it to the best of my ability.

The big deal this week was supposed to be closing on the house. It was scheduled for Wednesday, but there was an error in some previous paperwork and it may be next week. I eased up, but never stopped watching new listings. This closing seemed like it had the potential to go that way and I never consider a deal done till it’s over.

The thrifting is still constant but becoming a real drag, we’re almost as afraid of finding that perfect thing as we are of not finding it. We’ve passed on several good deals because there’s just no place left to stash anything at all. I missed out on a great 6 foot cast iron and porcelain vintage farm sink on a metal cabinet in near perfect condition. At first I envisioned painting it red and putting on a Coca Cola logo that would remind me of my grandfather’s wholesale grocery store where I grew up playing on feed sacks, but it didn’t really need painting. It was in pristine condition. It would have been perfect for my basement cleaning station and mini kitchen in the planned in-law suite, but the price was unbelievably awesome and it sold right away. We still keep looking though, because great things come in small packages too and those are not as hard to store and move extra times. There’s that three day float too when you don’t have to pick up things,but I won’t know when I’m three days from closing until I’m there.

There’s plenty to do, things that really need doing, but what I want to be doing is digging into the house renovation and moving forward. That makes it all the more hard to concentrate on overdue paperwork. I should be using this time to get all that done so that when we do get the house it will make more time to focus on my goal. Sometimes it’s hard to make the heart obey the head.

Things I feel free to purchase at the thrifts are more like Monopoly games that I can find a corner to stash. Things I’m passing on are more like really great furniture. Not in line with our priorities, but dictated by our practicalities. I’m already storing the bike inside the apartment. I also found a great deal on a bike I could leave at my mother’s house so that I don’t have to take mine back and forth every visit, but I haven’t visited since I bought it, so it’s outside on the deck. Before the closing was put off, I was literally counting days. If I buy this now, can I wait to pick it up after closing? Deals in the thrift store are here today, gone tomorrow. So, that’s where we are right now. ready and waiting.