Wednesday, December 29, 2004
We helped a neighbor take down the plywood on the upstairs windows and put it away yesterday, and then we continued laying stone on the unpaved driveway that got rutted up during the hurricane flooding. (We ordered six yards.) We'll be replacing the mulch that washed away soon. (We're starting with three yards.) A friend who lost a roof, drywall, etc. finally got her house roofed, repaired, and repainted. Another friend had to import roofers and shingles from out of town to replace her roof. And a high wind the other night brought more branches down. (There are still a lot of broken branches and trees that will be coming down in the future.)
Saturday, December 25, 2004
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Friday, December 17, 2004
Sarah Susanka is pleased to bring you the Not So Big Showhouse 2005, where visitors to the 2005 International Builders Show will have a unique opportunity to participate in a multi-media tour that brings to life the principles of architectural design and green building practice: Not So Big Showhouse, Orlando 2005
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Ideas for getting a grip on a stuffed closet in an excerpt from our new book, Mission: Organization. http://www.hgtvnewsletters.com/hgtv/hg/v108_041216_t/closet.htm
(From HGTV's e-mail newsletter)
Read HGTV.com columnist Kathy McCleary's articles as she details her ongoing quest to turn a new house into a home: http://www.hgtvnewsletters.com/hgtv/hg/v108_041216_t/KMarchive.htm
(From HGTV's e-mail newsletter)
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Monday, December 13, 2004
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Wednesday, December 8, 2004
"A wealth of information to make the adventure proceed with a lot more understanding ... [It's] a thoroughly enjoyable guide to accomplishing a solid end product. [And it] answers countless questions in a style that keeps the reader intrigued--entertains as well as educates."
Luis Hunsberger, who has built three houses!
Tuesday, December 7, 2004
Sunday, December 5, 2004
Friday, December 3, 2004
There's also a quiz:Find more than 60 expert articles for organizing your home in our Get Organized! online feature. http://www.hgtvnewsletters.com/hgtv/hg/v106_041203_t/org.htm
Wednesday, December 1, 2004
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Friday, November 26, 2004
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Make choices about appliance, windows, doors, sink, etc. placement. Look at your current home; where would you put everything in your new home? We made most of our changes on paper. There's always a chance that your changes won't make it to the contractor's plans. Keep an eye on things...
Remember blueprints are copyrighted. Be sure to get as many as you need--maybe 8 to 10 sets. They also come in vellum, which are better for making changes. And I believe you can only use a set of blueprints once.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Friday, November 19, 2004
Someone asked if the architect shouldn't come first. Not necessarily. It depends on your lot size and shape, ...
Planning involves house plans, builder, building site, and mortgage. You want to be preapproved for a mortgage so you can grab that lot when you find it, BUT a mortgage depends on the house.
In my case, first we got a builder and got the architect through him. We worked with the builder and architect before we bought the land.
Stock plans can save you money, and you can change them.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
* Each additional 1,000 square feet of living space increases selling price only about 3.3%. Each additional bedroom adds about 4% to the price, while an additional bath can add 24%.
* Houses advertised as "fixers" usually sell for 24% less than other houses.
* A garage typically adds about 13% to the price.
* Central air conditioning adds about 12% to price.
* A basement increases a home's value an average of nine percent.
* A sitting area in the master bedroom increases the price about eight percent.
* Internal features that add the most value are a family room, a dining room, a whirlpool and a security system.
This information is useful to determine the return you can expect to see on your remodeling investment. It also helps you compare property values for homes with and without such amenities.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Saturday, November 13, 2004
Friday, November 12, 2004
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
Saturday, November 6, 2004
There is an AOL journal for blogging and computer stuff called CompuTips: http://journals.aol.com/shooser1/CompuTips
I read blogs through Bloglines which is an aggregator and there's also Bloglet which sends emails of all the new entries in subscribed to blogs.
(Thanks to Shelly)
Thursday, November 4, 2004
"I have read the stories so far and am very impressed with the quality
of the writing. ...
I liked the way the Plant Mages were visualized in SEEDLINGS.
THE METAL MAGES: Cool! As close to SF as fantasy can get.
BENEATH THE BLACK ICE: Classic S&S but with a high octane style.
Monday, November 1, 2004
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Friday, October 29, 2004
Most blogs have rss feeds -- all AOL and Blogger blogs do, but Blogger allows you to turn that off -- and there are many other free online services that will increase traffic, with no downloading. I registered with a new service called Blog Explosion that's a lot of fun and hard to explain. :)
(Thanks to Shelly for blogging input. She's helped me a lot with my blog, btw. See Cyber Chocolate (in my Favorite sites column) to check out her blogs and learn more fun stuff.)
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
I'll be a guest on the AOL house chat the first two Thursdays (November 4 & 11) in November: Home Life at 9-10PM (ET) Home Improvements & Repairs -- HOST HOME KITcn & Handy to discuss my book, Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook, and answer questions.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Hurricanes reveal ancient treasures Storms that
devastated Florida also uncovered artifacts from
ancient Ais Indian civilization.
By Martin Merzer
Hutchinson Island, Fla. - Hurricanes kill, injure
and destroy, but they also can create, freshen
and reveal. Directly striking this popular
barrier island, Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne
exposed - then partially destroyed - fresh
evidence of the area's earliest inhabitants,
according to scientists ...
(Thanks to the Scifaiku list)
Friday, October 22, 2004
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Monday, October 18, 2004
A lot of trees and limbs have been cleaned up and hauled away, but there are still hundreds of trees that have to be removed; and roofs are covered with blue, green, red, black, etc. tarps, also lots of missing shingles and tiles. I saw one roof that looked like it had been scoured to the deck. I don't know what could have happened--a tree, branches? And a restaurant downtown had just replaced part of the roof and cleaned up the water damage after Charley; and Jeanne wiped them out again. I got a postcard recently from an artist friend, and she had created pictures of a nasty-looking looking Frances and her twin sister, Mean Jeanne (two very scary women).
Friday, October 15, 2004
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Saturday, October 9, 2004
Friday, October 8, 2004
> You might be a Floridian if:
> You exhibit a slight twitch when introduced to anyone with the first
> names of Charley, Frances or Ivan
> Your freezer never has more than $20 worth of food in it at any given
> You're looking at paint swatches for the plywood on your windows, to
> accent the house color
> You think of your hall closet/saferoom as "cozy"
> Your pool is more accurately described as "framed in" than "screened in"
> Your freezer in the garage now only has homemade ice in it
> You no longer worry about relatives visiting during the summer months
> You too haven't heard back from the insurance adjuster
> You now understand what that little "2% hurricane deductible" phrase
> really means
> You're putting a collage together on your driveway of roof shingles from
> your neighborhood
> You were once proud of your 16" electric chain saw
> Your street has more than 3 " NO WAKE" signs posted
> You now own 5 large ice chests
> Your parrot can now say" hammered, pounded and hunker down"
> You recognize people in line at the free ice, gas and plywood locations
> You stop what you're doing and clap and wave when you see a convoy of
> power company trucks come down your street
> You're depressed when they don't stop
> You have the personal cell phone numbers of the managers for: plywood,
> roofing supplies and generators at Home Depot on your speed dialer
> You've spent more than $20 on "Tall white kitchen bags" to make your own
> sand bags
> You're considering upgrading your 16" to a 20" chainsaw
> You know what "Bar chain oil" is
> You're thinking of getting your wife the hardhat with the ear protector,
> face shield for Christmas
> You now think the $6000 whole house generator seems reasonable
> You look forward to discussions about the merits of "cubed, block and dry
> Your therapist refers to your condition as "generator envy"
> You fight the urge to put on your winter coat and wool cap and parade
> around in front of your picture window, when you finally get power and
> your neighbor across the street, with the noisy generator doesn't get electric
> You're thinking of shaving your head and getting a black Gor-Tex rain
> suit, like Jim Cantore has and so is your husband
> And finally you might be a Floridian if
> You ask your sister up north to start saving the Sunday Real Estate
You all should be aware of hurricane preparations, but in case you need a refresher course: We're about to enter the peak of the hurricane season. Any minute now, you're going to turn on the TV and see a weather person pointing to some radar blob out in the Atlantic Ocean and making two basic meteorological points.
(1) There is no need to panic.
(2) We could all be killed.
Yes, hurricane season is an exciting time to be in Florida. If you're new to the area, you're probably wondering what you need to do to prepare for the possibility that we'll get hit by "the big one."
Based on our insurance industry experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple three-step hurricane preparedness plan:
STEP 1: Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at least three days.
STEP 2: Put these supplies into your car.
STEP 3: Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Halloween.
Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will not follow this sensible plan. Most people will foolishly stay here in Florida. We'll start with one of the most important hurricane preparedness items:
HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE: If you own a home, you must have hurricane insurance. Fortunately, this insurance i! s cheap and easy to get, as long as your home meets two basic requirements:
(1) It is reasonably well-built, and
(2) It is located in Wisconsin
Unfortunately, if your home is located in Florida, or any other area that might actually be hit by a hurricane, most insurance companies would prefer not to sell you hurricane insurance, because then they might be required to pay YOU money, and that is certainly not why they got into the insurance business in the first place. So you'll have to scrounge around for an insurance company, which will charge you an annual premium roughly equal to the replacement value of your house. At any moment, this company can dropyou like used dental floss.
Your house should have hurricane shutters on all the windows, all the doors. There are several types of shutters, with advantages and disadvantages:
Plywood shutters: The advantage is that, because you make them yourself, they're cheap.
Sheet-metal shutters: The advantage is that these work well, once you get them all up. The disadvantage is that once you get them all up, your hands will be useless bleeding stumps, and it will be December.
Roll-down shutters: The advantages are that they're very easy to use, and will definitely protect your house. The disadvantage is that you will have to sell your house to pay for them.
Hurricane-proof windows: These are the newest wrinkle in hurricane protection: They look like ordinary windows, but they can withstand hurricane winds! You can be sure of this, because the salesman says so! . He lives in Nebraska.
Hurricane Proofing your property: As the hurricane approaches, check your yard for movable objects like barbecue grills, planters, patio furniture, visiting relatives, etc... you should, as a precaution, throw these items into your swimming pool (if you don't have a swimming pool, you should have one built immediately). Otherwise, the hurricane winds will turn these objects into deadly missiles.
If you live in a low-lying area, you should have an evacuation route planned out. (To determine whether you live in a low-lying area, look at your driver's license; if it says "Florida," you live in a low-lying area.) The purpose of having an evacuation route is to avoid being trapped in your home when a major storm hits. Instead, you will be trapped in a gigantic traffic jam several miles from your home, along with two hundred thousand other evacuees. So, as a bonus, you will not be lonely.
If you don't evacuate, you will need a mess of supplies. Do not buy them now! Florida tradition requires that you wait until the last possible minute, then go to the supermarket and get into vicious fights with strangers over who gets the last can of cat food. In addition to food and water, you will need the following supplies:
23 flashlights. At least $167 worth of batteries that turn out, when the power goes off, to be the wrong size for the flashlights.
Bleach. (No, I don't know what the bleach is for. NOBODY knows what the bleach is for, but it's traditional, so GET some!)
A big knife that you can strap to your leg. (This will be useless in a hurricane, but it looks cool.)
A large quantity of raw chicken, to placate the alligators. (Ask anybody who went through Andrew; after the hurricane, there WILL be irate alligators.)
$35,000 in cash or diamonds so that, after the hurricane passes, you can buy a generator from a man with no discernible teeth.
Of course these are just basic precautions. As the hurricane draws near, it is vitally important that you keep abreast of the situation by turning on your television if you have a generator that's working to keep the TV going and watching TV reporters in rain slickers stand right next to the ocean and tell you over and over how vitally important it is for everybody to stay away from the ocean.
Thursday, October 7, 2004
Monday, October 4, 2004
Saturday, October 2, 2004
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Friday, September 24, 2004
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Monday, September 20, 2004
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Friday, September 17, 2004
We're still getting rain bands from Ivan; that is a long ways up north! Karl will probably stay to the east, and no one is sure about Jeanne's path, but it doesn't look as bad as its predecessors... A respite would be good so everyone can concentrate on clean up. Looks like some power outages may last longer in the wake of Ivan.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Monday, September 13, 2004
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Friday, September 10, 2004
Thursday, September 9, 2004
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Monday, September 6, 2004
Saturday, September 4, 2004
Friday, September 3, 2004
Today I got my two author's copies of Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook--a small thing, but mine own. I continue working on promotion and wondering whether to buy freebies. (I've read that it's something I should do. One author even spent his advance on promotional freebies!)
I've sent out press releases by e-mail and regular mail and flyers and personal notes and stopped strangers on the street... I've had to take time from focusing on that to prepare for Hurricane Frances; and today I helped a neighbor board up her windows. I'll finish our preparation tomorrow morning, and I hope to add at least one more entry then. I'm hoping we don't lose power, the roof, ...