So, what have I been doing?

Besides running a web site.

(This page has not yet been finished.

More will be added as work is completed.)

Anyone who talks with me on the phone always asks what I am doing, so I decided to make up a page that gives the answer.  Just saying that I am still remodeling my house does not project how much work I have been involved with.  No one would believe how occupied I have been with doing all of this, and to tell the truth, I can hardly believe it myself.  I can tell on the phone that I am getting a "deer in the headlight" stare, like, "How could you still be doing that?"  Well, this should answer the question and brighten the eyes.

This is a quick overview of what I have been doing with my retired "spare time."  For more on some of the projects, I have included a link where you could see the whole process of what it took to do what you will see.  This is just a "short" overview.  (Some browsers may require using the bottom slide bar to see it all.)


I have been in this house for about six years now.  Remember, I have been doing all of this in my seventies, and am presently seventy-six (as of June 2011).  When it is all listed, it is really quite amazing to me that I have done it all.  And, that is beside what I do on the computer every morning, staying up with emails, writing new editorials for my web site, and publishing articles, which I consider as my top priority, first responsibility, and comes first above all else.  It takes bout 2 -4 hours every morning to stay up with it, and in some cases, full days.  One article on the web site is ABOUT THE AUTHOR, which tells a bit of the story in learning what I have concerning the Word, and has been hit on over 10,000 times.  So there is an audience that I must stay up with.

Then of course, many other things such as keeping the house clean (at least somewhat decent.  That is if you do not look in my refrigerator.  Chuckle chuckle), fixing my meals and washing dishes; doing a clothes wash now and then; going to Lancaster to shop; maintaining my vehicles; mowing - edging - fertilizing 5000 sq ft of lawn; keeping everything watered during the summer heat; starting up - maintaining - and shutting down the two roof top swamp coolers; normal repairs such as with electrical switches and toilets (5 bthrms) etc., and on and on I could go.  

First, here is where I lived for three and a half years waiting on Jah to show me where I was to end up living after moving from Sherman Oaks to Boron, Ca.  Where is Boron???  Well, you go to the end of the world and turn left.  It is in between Mojave and Barstow on Hwy 58.  A wonderful little town of maybe 3000, and I enjoy living here very much.  There are only a few blvd stops, and NO stop lights.  We have a grocery store, bank, post office, and a hardware store, and rarely have to stand in a line in any of them.  Lancaster is less than an hour away for general shopping, and an easy drive, using cruise control on the freeways most of the time.

(Be sure to use the bottom slide bar to see all of the pictures, and, there will be comments below some of the  pictures that you might like to read to fully understand what is being shown.

One advantage of renting this property was that I could bring in a steel bin for storage.  Not only is the Quonset hut jammed full, so is this bin.  There are three bedrooms inside, and two of them were full to the brim with storage items. There is more room in this hut than it looks like.  Being metal, it really transferred the outside temps into the walls.  In the summer, the walls were very hot to the touch, and in the winter, extremely cold.  Trying to stay comfortable was not easy.  However, I was most grateful for this provision, as it really supplied all of my needs for a place to live.  Most would shake their heads at having to live in such a place, but in reality, I was very pleased to have it.  However, Darlene would not tell anyone that I lived there.  Just too embarrassing.  

The story of moving from Sherman Oaks to Boron is a long one, and full of the troubles that ensued from having to do so.  Like having to move all of my stuff four times before I was finally settled in where I was to live.  I could write a book in telling just about this "adventure."

This was my "garage."  I went from this to the garage you will see below.

This next picture is where I finally moved to, and am now in the process of remodeling, etc.  Including the four car garage, back patio and front porch, there is about 5000 sq ft under roof.  Quite a change for me from what I have been through over the years.  It is especially so when you know how destitute I was at one time when I lived in my van for six months in the dead of winter in Redding, Ca.  Believe me, IT WAS COLD!  It was where I was taught about OVERCOMING FAITH, and how to change a dreadful situation.  Everything I have been through for the last 40 years has taken place to open up the Word to me, and this was no exception.  I will let the results speak for themselves

Just moving everything from the Quonset Hut and steel bin was quite a project.  Pam (Darlene's cousin that is more like a daughter to us who lives in the Redding Ca area), our daughter Shari (Etna Ca), and our son Marlon (Bend Ore), all came down to help me move, for which I am ever so grateful.  Shari, Pam, and Darlene thoroughly cleaned the house I was moving into, as well as the Quonset Hut after we had moved everything out.  They did a hard days work, believe me.  I could never have gotten it all done by myself.  Marlon, along with another three men that I hired to help, moved all of my belongings to this house I moved to.  It also was a hard days work.

Now for the list (with pictures) of what has been accomplished in the remodeling.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but really did not know what I was getting myself into.  My creative mind is great at creating things to do without considering what it would take to get it done, how much work it would be, nor how long it would take to finish it all.  That is besides having to do research and study to figure out HOW to do it.  If I had realized that six years would pass and still not be done, I might have reconsidered my intentions.

First mentioned is everything with the four car garage.  It was originally a two car, and then another two car garage was added on, leaving the existing outside wall in place in between the two sides.  To connect them, a hallway was built along the house wall that runs between them.  The added on garage and hall had been finished out with sheet rock, but had never been painted.  I knew that if I moved in before painting it all out, it would never get done, so that was my first project, and completed that not only before I moved, but before the closing of escrow.  Below is just a couple of pictures to give you the idea.

When I first moved in, the garage was jammed with stuff that could not go inside the house.  These pictures give you an idea of how much was in there.  I knew this would happen, and why I had to get it painted before I moved in.

This changed much as time went by.  I give the whole story here in the following pictures rather than spread it out over a period of time in conjunction with everything else I have been doing.

  This is not only a 4 car garage, but very large.  This side must measure about 35' x 50'.  After moving everything in that needed to be stored, there was barely enough room left for my little Sprint to fit in.

Besides eventually moving things into the house, there was a garage sale.  These are a few pictures of that project, and believe me, it was a project that could not have been done without Darlene's help.   


Everything that you see in the pictures was sold, and this is what it looked like after the sale.



The time became apparent it was time to move all of my tools, and the two tiered 4 x 8 work table that held them all, from the front room into the garage.  It was really an eye sore, I was tired of looking at it, and it was no longer necessary to have it all in the house.  

The problem of doing this was what it meant in rearranging the garage to accommodate all that I was moving into it.  Besides a lot of time and work to rearrange the garage, it took three trips to the dump with my Van and Darlene's help to get rid of everything that was not needed.  I had never cleaned out the junk of what the previous owners had left in there, and I would guess that some of it had been there for a good twenty years.  The following is just a few pictures of how it looks now.  A more thorough explanation can be seen by clicking on:  GARAGE OVERHAUL

This shows the table that had to be emptied into the garage.  This was taken in the beginning of all the work, so it really does not show all that was on it, or underneath.  I had moved it so that it ran along the right wall instead of the one with the front windows.  It was one pile of stuff, believe me.

Painting of the north bedroom, removing of old carper and putting in new.  Installing new curtains and shades.

The first thing I had to do was finish out two bedrooms so I could move some furniture out of the garage, and have them ready for guests.  This first one is the north bedroom.  Originally, it was  the garage before the four car garage was added.  So, it is a rather large room.  Just getting the ceiling painted was more than I thought it would be.  Required two coats and must have taken a couple of days to get it done right. 

The first picture below shows what I had to start with.  The colors don't really show up very well.  Darlene spent much time working with me to come up with all of the colors we chose throughout the house, using tints to color paint to get the right shades of color.  The old carpet was really bad, was removed, and then replaced with carpet from out of the front room which had been removed for the remodeling, and was like new.

This is what it looked like before I moved in.  Notice the corner shelves which had to be removed and the wall repaired.  The paneling was in bad shape, and needed much work.  I could not believe how many pin holes were in the walls.  It must have taken me at least a whole day just preparing the room for painting. Notice the wall that was paneled as you slide through the pictures.  It came out very nice.  Darlene helped me to find the right curtains and shades.  The shades go up or down as required.  You can raise the shades half way so that there is still light coming in, and you can see out, but still covers you if you might be dressing.
The colors do not show up very well in these pictures.  Whereas the walls look almost white, they are actually a shade of what I might call tan.  The wall that was paneled is a darker shade than the rest of the walls, and contrast very nicely with the white ceiling.

Painting of the middle bedroom, 

removing of old carpet and putting in new.

A new wonderful furnace was installed before I purchased the house, and is enclosed here in this bedroom.  The wall was never finished out, so I had to re-mud and prime before I painted it. Again, Darlene was instrumental in creating the colors, and decorating.
This wall is more of an off-white to go with the rest of the room than what it looks like.


Just a couple of pictures of my bedroom.  One wall (just to the left) is filled with my computers, etc., which will be moved to the office area once the woodshop is moved to the garage and the room is finished off.  Use the slide bar to see a partial of that wall. This shows the curtained entry into the Home Theater room.  Once again, Darlene was instrumental in helping me to choose colors, and the finding of the bedspread and matching drapes

see also      

I may put up some wood paneling on this wall once all of this equipment is moved into the office area.  Whatever, it will not be done this week.
This is a 73" HD TV.  Just an incredible set.  The one on the right is a 36".  It was going out, so I knew I had to get something.  I thought the 36" was a nice size, but you can see how much larger the 73" one is.  When I saw this one, I knew it was what I wanted.  A lot of time was involved with making a decision, getting it purchased and then brought home in my Van from Lancaster.  I can hook up my lap top computer to it via an HDMI cable, which is quite nice for surfing the web, etc. The amount of cables I have not only with this system (which the picture shows), but also with my three computers in the bedroom, and the sound system in the family room (next picture below), is beyond comprehension.  I never want to move, for I would have a very difficult time getting everything apart for moving, and then hooking it all back up.  I shudder to even think about it.
This shows the lap top being displayed on the 73" TV. Since I had mentioned the sound system, and all of the wires involved, I decided to put in a picture of it.  It includes a mixer, CD and cassette tape decks, wonderful amplified speakers, a sub-woofer, and four microphones for karaoke singing / recording .
I added this picture as it shows what all is underneath the top shelf shown above.  The dust cover lies on the floor.
This room also had a hot tub, which just became another thing to take care of, and decided to get rid of it.  It was rarely used and really just in the way.  I told my wonderful neighbor Norm across the street that he could have it free if he would just move it out.  He and one of his friends did so, and was happy to get it. I plan to create a better seating for viewing the TV, but just moved the white couch I had to where the hot tub was for now.

In case you are wondering, the wood piece at the right is the hutch that will go into the dining room when it is finished.  Once I get that out, then I will configure a good seating arrangement for viewing the TV.  Maybe even a raised platform so the ones sitting there can see over the front row easily.

Removing the wall in between the living room and family room, 

and beginning of creating the pillars.

After painting the two bedrooms and getting them ready, I then decided to take out the wall between the living room and family room.  This wall was totally unnecessary, and ruined the openness that could be had by its removal.  Including the dining room area, kitchen, and the living / family room, there is nearly a thousand square feet of living space.  To me, it was a shame to have a wall that messed up what could be a very nice open area.  The first pictures show the wall, and then what the difference was with its removal.

Removing this wall was a very hard task, believe me.  Demolition is never very easy, requires much strength, and hauling out to the van to take to the dump.  I saved all of the 2 x 4's, and glad that I did, for I have used nearly all of them in other projects.   I then decided that I would like to have some kind of pillar set up built where the wall had been.  I did a lot of studying of decorator books to come up with my idea.  

Remember now, I have never done anything like this before.  I am NOT a carpenter, and certainly have never built or created anything to do with woodwork.  Nor did I know what kind of tools I would need, or even how to use them.

It has now been another five years since I built what you see, and believe me, it was a very time consuming project to get it this far.  After getting this up, I got into all of the projects you will see below, each time thinking I would get them done and then get back to this setup rather quickly.  YEAH, RIGHT!!!

This is the other side (naturally) of this creation.  I have to put in the electrical wiring for plugs and switches in the decorator shelf, which will be finished off with sheet rock.  

Now that I have the posts in their location, I will mark their positions, and then dismantle them, as I must anchor them with bolts in the cement in case of an earthquake.  Drilling those holes will not be easy.  Then it must all be put together, finished off with moldings, sanded where necessary, primed, sanded again, and then given the finish coat of gloss paint.  I plan to do this next after I finish the dining room area (which you will see below) which is almost done.  

Then it will be just a matter of installing the crown molding, and figuring out what I want on the floor.  I have already done much study on what to use, but so far have not come to a conclusion.  Could be tile, or wood, or carpet.  There is much to be considered in making this decision, as it is a very critical one, and because it is an EXPENSIVE addition,  I do not want to make a mistake!!!

Painting the red walls and dining room white

After removing the wall, it was obvious that the red had to be painted white in order to figure out what colors I wanted instead.  The red was just too distracting.  So, I took the time to get that done.  Here you see the painting leaned up against the entry wall, for that was where it was to go.  I also painted out the awful finish on the dining room walls.  

The problem was, how to make everything else blend with that painting, and that took a lot of thought, and "discussion" between Darlene and I.  No one will ever realize just how much discussion went on in deciding what to do where.  Many hours were spent in just trying to create the right colors for the walls, and what to do with the wall where the painting would hang.  I am sure that I exasperated Darlene on more than one occasion in trying to make up my mind of what to do where.



The first problem in deciding on colors was how to make everything fit with this painting, as it could become an eye sore rather than a very wonderful addition to the room, if everything else did not blend with it.

Darlene came over one day with a Penney's Catalog that had drapes that went with the painting.  I took one look and decided they were what I wanted.  Not everyone likes them, but being a "son of Joseph," I DO!  

We then decided to take colors from out of the drapes to create the color for the walls.  So, we began working with colors, which took much experimenting, mixing our own colors with Darlene's tints.  After days of mixing and experimenting, we finally came to some decisions.   The wall color around the drapes, and what you will see below in all of the pictures blends extremely well with the drapes.  The true color does not really come through in the pictures, but you can still get the idea.  And, as you will see below, the color of the woodwork, the green around the painting, and the red in the dining room area also came from out of the drapes.

Once again, Pam came down from Redding to give us a hand.  She rolled out all of the walls while Darlene did the cutting in.  You will see the paneled wall in the family room that had to be painted, and was not an easy thing to cover.

At the same time, Darlene was working with the drapes to get them ready for hanging.  After the painting was finished, they were hung as shown.

I was working on the paneling below where the painting was to hang, which will be shown later on down the page.

This is the paneling I mentioned above that Pamela painted.  If you happen to notice that she did not go all the way up to the ceiling in a couple of pictures, it is because it was not necessary to do as crown molding will cover it.
I decided to show a panorama of this room that Pamela painted.
Somewhere along the line I decided to get the fireplace painted with the woodwork gloss color.  And also, the door that was originally brown.  The jam still needs to be done, but that will have to be left on my "list to do" for now.

I had removed the walls in what will eventually be my office, and set up a wood shop in the area for making all of the woodwork.  It is also where I did much of the spray painting of the moldings.  By this time I had learned what tools I would need for creating all of the woodwork.  It included a table saw, compound miter saw, and a router, none of which I knew anything about.  I just learned through study and research that they would be of necessity.  

Since I am one of those that cannot drive a nail with a hammer without the nail bending, I decided that I needed a nail gun.  Especially so with doing finish work.  So, another study ensued.  I bought an excellent outfit that included the compressor, hose, and two nail guns for different sizes.  This thing is something else.  Put the head in place, pull the trigger, and POW, the nail is in and at a perfect depth.  I could not have done what I have without it.

I had never used any of them before, and so another learning season was in order.  Especially for the router.  Why a router?

In coming up with the desire to install woodwork, I finally came to the conclusion that I should try to make my own pieces.  The nearest molding shop was in Lancaster, 60 miles away.  Not only could I not keep going down there to get something, they really did not have the designs that I wanted.  I studied decorator books, and created a design for this area below the painting in my mind.  Now I had to figure out how to make it.  

I found out that a person can make their own moldings with a router if they have the right bits.  So, not only did I have to do a study of what I needed in a router, but also what I needed in bits.  Then, after getting them I had to learn through experimentation of how to use them.  That was a real learning experience, and could write a book on the subject.

The first thing I did with the router was to make up samples of each bit, so I would know what the finished product of each one would look like.  Then it was to make decisions of which one to use for each place molding was to go.

This is just a couple of pix to show some of the molding that I created.  The squares are called "raised paneling," and quite difficult to make.  If you look closely, you will see how I surrounded each one with additional molding.  You will see the finished product below.

Every piece had to be made, then sanded, primed, sanded again, and then finished out with a gloss.  Most of this was done in the woodshop area.  There is no way to describe the amount of time this all takes, but I can tell you, I have many hours in on just getting every piece ready for installation.

This shows the crown molding.  It is actually three pieces put together.  Notice the "pilaster" at the left.  It is just a small section showing, but you can still see the grooves in it.  This is something else to make.  Any deviation with the router, and the piece is ruined.  Quite a thing to learn how to do it without a foul up.  I also made matching pilasters at the entrance to the dining room area that you will see below.

I decided to put in a few more pictures here to give a better view of the moldings and raised paneling before they were painted out.  

Theses two pictures show more definition to the raised paneling and the molding that surrounds it. I painted most of this in place, and not the woodshop.  I could not paint until every seam was filled and sanded. 
This gives a better view of the two piece molding at the top of the woodwork.

Once I had the table saw and router, I realized I needed tables to go with them.  So, I built tables for each, using  2 x 4's from what I had taken out of the walls, and some 4 x 8 sheets that I had picked up along the way while I lived in Sherman Oaks.  I am a scavenger at heart, and so when I see something of value that I might use one day, I pick it up.

The pictures just below show the walls already out.

For the entire story of removing the walls to make the office area, see:  OFFICE / NOW A WOODSHOP  It was a very difficult project.  The walls had to come out from between two bedrooms, a hallway, and a closet.  Then all hauled out to my van and taken to the dump.  You do not realize how much weight your are moving with such a job until you have done it.  Sheet rock, even in pieces, is not light.

This is the woodshop set-up that is now in this area that is to be my office.

Making the router table was a learning experience, believe me.  I thought about buying one, but they were like $200, and I said to myself, forget it.  I will make my own.  

First of all, the router had to be mounted underneath with the bit sitting at the right height.  Then the table top had to be rigid so that it would not fluctuate in any way.  I did that with metal strips.  Then I placed a piece of masonite on top (as I did with all of the tables) for easy sliding of material.

The picture at the left shows some of the bits I purchased.  I have a lot more than that.

This is the compound miter saw that sits behind the table saw.  It is not in the above pictures because I did not yet have it.  I had a small one that sat on the table, but it was really inadequate.  A tool seller comes through Boron like once a year with really good deals on tools.  I got this one at an incredibly low price and I could not do without it for making many of the cuts that I have to make, and cut perfectly for fitting the moldings together.

Creating and installing woodwork on entry wall.

It took some study to design what I would created in wainscoting below the painting in the entry.  The below pictures show the progress unto the finished product.

This is how the entry wall looked before I moved in.  I had never seen a house with so many Satanic masks in it.  They were everywhere.  The first thing I did after the previous owners moved out was to walk through the house evicting all of the demons, and putting Christ in as head of the house.  As a result, many have said how peaceful they feel when they walk in.

If you look closely, you will see an electrical outlet below the painting, and a light switch at the left edge with a door bell above it.  These all had to be moved.  The electrical plug was moved up to go behind the picture so that the light that goes on the painting could be plugged in.  I also installed backlighting for the painting with a rope light.

This shows the area finished.  Not bad for an amateur that did not know what he was doing.

Painting the whole house on the outside, 

including the back porch which was a real project.

As you can see, the stucco was in really bad shape on the north wall.  Something had to be done before it got any worse.  I had a guy re-stucco it, and then I painted.
This is the other bad spot on the stucco, which was on the garage wall that faced to the front.   Notice how small the plant is on the right.  I had never watered it.  You will see how big it has gotten below after a garden was installed and it got watered regularly.
The wood on the garage was also in bad shape.  So bad that I had to get it repainted before it began to deteriorate.  

Now for the pictures that show the house repainted.

This is the north wall after new stucco and painted.  Quite a difference.   And the garage front after being repainted.  I hate heights, and have a terrible time on ladders.  The peak of the garage was just to high for me for cutting in.  So, I taped a brush onto a long pole, and did the cutting in from the ground.

This is what it looked like before, and then the matching picture below after painting.

The before and after of the front porch.  It went from a type of yellow, to a dark brown.

Painting of Back Porch

Every time I come up with something new to do, I keep remembering how fast and long I could work in a day, and somehow think I can do it like that now.  BRRRRZZZZZ!  Wrong answer.  Everything takes so much longer at this age, as I can only do so much for so long, and have to quit.  I have had to put off frustration, relax, and just do what I can in a days time.  The carrying of pressure on my mind to get something done just had to go.

This job was no exception.  What I thought could be done in a couple of days, took over two weeks to finish.

It is a bit hard to see, but the ones who put on the roof used nails that came through.  There were over a thousand of them, splintering the wood in the process.  It was one grand mess.  I had to cut off each nail, and clean off the splintering.  I was several days getting this done.
I hadn't planned to do the porch area, but after doing the other three sides, this side really looked awful, and so I grabbed myself by the nap of the neck and made myself do it.

The whole thing had to be coated twice, including cutting in along every 2 x 4.  Exasperating to say the least.

I was a good two weeks on this project, preparing and painting.  I was ever so glad when it was done.  No one knows how much work something like this can be unless they have done it.  Just having to work overhead every day is enough to do you in.
As you can see, the "ceiling" looks a whole lot better than it did now that the nails are removed.

For a more thorough view of the work, see HOUSE PAINTING 


Making of back porch plant benches.

Then, as if I had nothing else to do on the inside, I decided that I wanted to have a bunch of flowers in this porch area.  My creative mind decided that it would be good to make some benches for the pots to sit on.  I do get myself into projects.  What I thought would take me a few hours turned into days.  

First, I had to come up with a design, and then figure out how to build them.  Since it was going to require redwood, that meant I had to go to Lancaster to get the 2 x 4's, and also a few 4 x 4's for the legs.  Then I cut the 2 x 4's into 3 strips each.  I also routed a design in enough 2 x 4's to make the side boards.

While the others were all short in height, this one had to be higher. Just before painting the back porch, I decided that I needed a table for guests to sit at and eat.  This is made out of redwood 6"x 8', and is about a 4' x 8' in size.  I put it all together with lag screws to make it sturdy.  Then I painted it with a water base clear gloss.  It turned out to be a really nice table.

Then just a few pictures to show how they all look with plants on them.

For more on this, see  BACK PORCH   

Removal of the Cement Strips.

The original owner had formed cement strips in the front lawn where he had intended to anchor a wrought iron fence.  There was over a hundred feet of them.  Bad idea.

Ken Ross, my next door neighbor and retired General Contractor, offered to remove the cement strips that were a pain to trim and mow around.  He said it would be a "peace of cake" and take no time at all to do.  He had a Bobcat, and figured he could pull it up without much trouble.   BRRRRZZZ!!!  WRONG ANSWER!

They were a foot deeper than what he thought they were, and had two strips of rebar in them.  It took two days and the hiring of two Mexicans to get it all out, and several days for me to get it all cleaned up.  

I also had to lower several sprinklers, and repair some that the Bobcat broke, as well as broken pipe in two different places.  I was a week in getting everything back as it should be.


You can only see one side of this pile, but this is what Ken and I had to load into his trailer and haul to the dump.



Creating and installing woodwork in dining room, texturing the wall above the woodwork and painting it.

This is what the dining room looked like before I purchased the place. A view from further away.  The walls were really ugly.
While Darlene was visiting Pam in Redding, I decided to paint the walls red just to see what it looked like.  I did that because I knew she would not like it.  I spent time with tints to get a red that went with the drapes.  This red matches the red in the drapes almost perfectly.  And yes, when Darlene came home and saw it, she DID NOT LIKE IT!!!  Ho ho.  After deliberating on it over a period of time, I decided to texture the walls, and then repaint them red.  The texture was created by using a paint roller to apply sheet rock mud to the walls, and then using a corn broom to texture the wall by pulling it straight down.  Very nice affect. It had been in my mind to create the same kind of wainscot in this area that I had on the entry wall.  After finishing the entry, I determined that I did not want to make more of the raised paneling pieces.  Just too hard.  The entry only had five of them, while this area would have nine.  It made my shoulders droop just thinking about it.  So, I decided to cut my work down considerably by making it out of what is called bead board instead.  GOOD DECISION!!!  I happened to find sheets of it that were just the right length so I would not have to cut 4' x 8' sheets to fit.  This shows the area with the walls painted, and the bead board which had also been primed and painted.
These next pictures show the process of getting all of the rest of the wood pieces in place, and getting that painted.  Not only had it taken much time to figure out what I wanted, but then how to make it all, and then get it all installed.  That is not an easy process, as much measuring must be done.  They say to measure twice and cut once.  Well, I measure five times and STILL make mistakes.  Hardeharhar.
I use an HVLP sprayer to prime and paint all of the woodwork pieces.  There is just no other way to do it right.  A brush can leave trails, and very hard to eliminate.  You might also notice the pilasters that match the ones on the entry wall, causing a consistency between the two paneled areas.   You do not see it in these pictures because it has been removed, but I had to mask off the walls.  I also stretched out plastic from the ceiling across the entrance to keep from any over spray wandering into the rest of the house, which would have been a real tragedy, especially if it had gotten onto the drapes.  Time consuming, but oh so necessary.
The color appears to be pure white.  It is more the color of the entry wall wainscot shown above, but changes a bit with the light coming through the window. This shows the mirror that will go up after the crown molding is installed and all is finished.

To see the whole story concerning this dining room area, click on:  DINING ROOM

Creating two gardens in front.  

One at the front door, and the other beside the garage.  

This included the making of trellis for both areas.  And of course, all of the planting and maintaining during the growing season.  And yes, my creative mind keeps working to create new things to do when I have not finished the first projects.

Some two years ago or so, I decided I needed to do something with this area that runs along the garage, as it was really an eye sore from the street.  Little did I know what I was getting into.  The first thing was to remove the gravel and kill all of the crab grass that was growing in it.   I got about half way through shoveling the gravel into the van when my back went out, and I mean out.  I could hardly move, let alone finishing the shoveling.  So, I hired a friend to give me a hand to get that done. I kept working to get my back from incapacitating me.  It is better to keep active rather than just sit in a chair because of the pain.  The next project for this area was to get it dug out.  Instead of making it a rectangle, Darlene (the designer that she is) said I should create a more appealing line to the garden.  I first of all poured grass killer on the area to kill all that I could, for grass coming up in a garden is a real pain.  Then I began the digging.  I found that I needed to dig down about 18" to get to all of the roots.  I would dig it up in clumps, and then smash them with a  mallet to get all of the grass and roots out of them.

After getting that done, I then had to put in a sprinkler system and much garden soil to rototil in to get a good preparation for the flowers to grow.  I have done much experimenting with different types of flowers to find out what grows well in this desert (often over 100 degrees in summer.)  I planted mostly annuals and bulbs in the beginning.  They were beautiful, but just required too much of my time in planting every year, and then keeping them dead headed.  This past year I changed to mostly perennials that do not require as much work to maintain them.  I just had too much to do on the inside to be spending so much time on the outside.  I have now planted a bunch of re-blooming day lilies in this area, and they are something else.  For close ups of them, click on the link below.

Making of trellis

I then decided that I needed a trellis along the garage wall for climbing plants to grow on.  I first tried to find something already built in a store, but that was a useless endeavor.  So, I had to build my own.

Once again I had to figure out what to build, and then how to build it.  So, off to Lancaster to get more redwood 2 x 4's, which I cut into strips.  Here you see them laid out, and used my nail gun to put them together, making sure every square was just that: SQUARE!  Not an easy project.
Darlene came over to help me do some planting, and installing the trellis.  
Trellis installed and finished. I liked how the trellis on the garage turned out so well that I decided to put up a couple at the front porch, and planted climbing roses.

The next few pictures give an idea of how it is turning out.  This was early spring, and so nothing has fully developed yet.  I should have taken more in June, but was so busy, I never got around to it.  Both gardens are really doing well, and quite showy.  Many people have stopped when I was out working just to say how beautiful it all is.  Believe it or not, I have become known around this small town as "the flower guy."  What they do not know is that if Darlene had not guided me with the what and how, I would not have been able to grow anything.

These pictures give a little but of the progression at the front porch.

For more pictures of the flowers, and close ups of many beautiful blooms, click on:  FLOWERS  


The previous owner had told me that the roof was excellent.  BRRRRZZZZZ!!!  Another wrong answer, and he knew it!!!  It was leaking in my bathroom, TV room, and an adjoining bathroom.  I kept going up and patching where I thought it might be leaking, but that did not work.   AAAAGH!  It wasn't bad, so I did not do anything about it, as I was always already full of so much of what I was doing.  However, it only worsened, and began to stain the ceiling in the family room area.  Obviously, I had to do something like now, or terrible damage was going to take place.  I asked my neighbor Ken Ross, who was a retired General Contractor to come over and look at it.  It was determined that a large area had to be replaced, and he knew of someone who could do it like it should be done, and at a fair price.  Twenty years ago I would have done it myself, but not now.  He came, looked it over, gave me the price, and I hired him.

In this picture you can see where the new roofing was done, as the shingles are a bit different.  It really isn't noticeable in person, but does show up a bit in this picture.  These shingles were put on probably twenty years ago, and it was impossible to match them perfectly.  You can also see a swamp cooler at the far end beside the satellite dishes. This is from the other direction, and in this light, the shingles do not show up looking different.  You can also see the other swamp cooler at the far end.  The cabinet at the left is a regular air conditioning unit.  It does not work, but I wouldn't use it if it did.  Just too much money.  I can keep this 3500 sq ft house very comfortable for about $50 a month. 
This is a close up of the cooler.  Pads go in all of the sides, and have to be replaced from time to time.  Inside there is a float valve (like in a toilet), and a water pump.  They also must be replaced at times. This is the inside.  You can see the crud that collects during a season.  this must all be cleaned out in the spring when setting it up to run for the summer.  I have learned how to keep it from getting this bad, but it still collects enough that takes time to clean out with a putty knife, brush, and vacuum cleaner.

I cannot tell you how many times I have to go up and down the ladder to get something that I should have taken up the first time.  My legs do NOT like all of that climbing, and neither does my leery of heights mind.


Search and research for new front door, 

purchasing, installing, and then finishing it out.

Darlene had been after me for a long time to get a new front door, as she hated the one I had.

Then Darlene got new doors for the front and back for her house, and asked me to paint them.  Oh bruuuutherrr.  I have never had so much trouble in a simple job of painting doors.  They just would not go smooth.  I must have worked on them for at least two weeks to get them to look decent.  

While painting Darlene's doors, I began to get interested in replacing my front door, which excited her a bit.  Finally I was going to listen, right?  It was probably the worst looking area in / on the whole house.  It really was in bad shape on the outside, and actually, an eye sore.  The more I thought about it, the more I decided I should do something about it.  Little did I know what that was going to require of my time.  As I have said a few times already, I never realize just how much I am taking on with a new project, and this was no exception.

First of all, much research and study had to be done to decide what I should obtain.  Matters such as:  wood or fiberglass, style, window type (oval, square, full length etc.), where to buy for best price, and then, how to finish.  

I decided on fiberglass, for it holds up better.  However that takes a special type of finishing, like a "gel stain" rather than a regular stain.  I had never worked with this product, and believe me, it takes a lot of learning to get it to look right.  I spent much time accomplishing all of this, and driving around to look at doors, and asking about them.  

I finally found one that really caught my interest in a manufacturers book, and then found a dealer for them in Hesperia (60 miles away).  The glass is quite spectacular when you see it in person.  I had at first thought I wanted an oak true wood door with an oval window.  When I saw this one in the book, I changed my mind completely.  The glass is full length, and really opens up the room.  What I really like about it is that I can now see quite clearly who is at the front door.  I have never liked not being able to see who is at the door when the door bell rings.  Now I can.

The man that sold me the door got me a large piece of the fiberglass, which I cut up into pieces for experimenting with the gel stain, and painting.  Without that material I would not have been able to learn how to get it right.

This is the picture of the original front door.  It is hard to tell, but it is a mess, and would have taken much work to get it to look right. And naturally, this is the new door.  The glass is hard to see because of the glare.  Below pictures show it better.
I opened the door to get rid of the glare.  Notice the handle.
This is the original door on the inside. And, this is the new one.  I was going to stain the inside like the outside, but Darlene said that would not work, look out of place, as it should match the woodwork.  So I painted it with the woodwork gloss.  After getting it done, I decided she was right.
This is an enlarged picture of the glass.  Pictures do not do it justice, but you can still get the idea of how it looks.  It is the most beautiful door glass I have ever seen, and so glad that I chose it.

This has not given a total perspective of what keeps me so busy, but you have seen some of what I do in my "retired spare time," and why I am ever so occupied with things that need doing.    I could have added much more on what I do everyday, but this should suffice.  There will be more as I finish each project.

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