July 2, 2011


Just recently I discovered I had HBO. Yes discovered. Don't judge.

I also rediscovered my love for Johnny Depp. Don't judge.

I must have watched this scene of Public enemies 50 times.

Yes men - you can behave like a neanderthal. When you look like Johnny Depp that is.

July 1, 2011

Sweet Magnolia: Home Reno "The Tree"

I knew in buying my new place that ALOT of work had to be done. In fact one of the arguments I made for it was that this was the only time in my life that it would make sense to something like this. I am not rushed to move out of the current place and I can put a stamp on some piece of historical property. I have separated the endeavor into a 5 part phase. Each with it's respective budget. I had planning committees, whirlwind of budgetary meetings, sampled the fruits of what is offered in terms of laborers, designers, furniture stores. And like a whirlwind my parents blew it all away. This process is a learning project. I am getting to know all the ins and outs of what it takes to reno a decade old home. But more so I am getting to know a bit more about my parents.
Phase One - Urgent/Must be done ASAP/Not up for a Debate Projects included taking down an old mulberry tree in my backyard. Now I'm all for nature and foliage surround but this tree was not only rotting but It was a LARGE rotting tree in danger of splitting over my garage. It wasn't the top item of Phase One but it shared the spot with two other projects. My parents and I decided to tackle the three as they came along. We had looked into alot of places for tree removal.

  1. The larger the diameter of the tree, the higher the cost
  2. Any obstructions - power lines, narrow alleys (lack of alleys), garage - the higher the cost
  3. Wood is a pretty expensive commodity. If time allows, do you research and see if there are some local places available that will remove the tree for free wood. As you can imagine, Chicago does not have an overall abundance of this.
  4. If it is directly on the path of power lines - your electric company should be able to assess whether they can trim it.
  5. Stump removal? Add another $500 - $1000
Learning all this and having this to contend with:

No small feat. My ever resourceful father *walked by* some workers one day and asked them if they took down trees. He said the methodical way in which they handled the project at the current house they were working on spoke to him. It said - they can take on a this tree project. So one sunny morning at 6 am my loyal General Contractor (aka Dad) took off to meet such diligent workers. They came - trucks, ropes and all. Took one more look at the tree they were to take down and backed out.

This tree that they already quoted us on. This tree that they assured us they could do.

My dad offered them more money. He reasoned that they already came all this way, had the guys there and the trucks - why waste the time....

But sadly, they could not be swayed.....

This saga is to be continued......

*on a side note: alot of my reno stories are going to involve my dad walking by some guys, some place, some area and striking up a conversation...its just the way it is....