April 2016

My office is a restored house. Over the years we have put a lot of money into restoring it back to its former glory. It is over 100 years old. Outside is a lot of gingerbread that is used for decorative purposes. I had to track down some pieces to use in the restoration. A couple of pieces were crafted by a local craftsman. I use the services of a painter in Morris County NJ who knows how to work with old wood and fine details. I had the outside and the lower floor restored first. The painting was done in a color scheme that really shows off the decorative wood.

The chandelier in the foyer is huge. It is an original piece that was there since the house was built. We restored the rooms back to how they originally were. The office is the parlor room on the lower floor. There is a separate family room, bathroom, dining room and kitchen. My secretary, who is my wife, uses the family room as her office. This house is perfect for my practice. I can see clients every day until I retire, and it will only take some small changes to convert the office space back into a regular residential home. We have almost finished restoring the rooms upstairs. The house requires a lot of painting. We are not using any plastic siding. All of the interior rooms are real plaster as well. The windows are all real wood. No vinyl or aluminum. We kept to the original materials for the restoration.

There is just something grand about painted surfaces. I like seeing painted walls inside and out. I like what you can do with color. I also like the longevity of modern paints and how easy they are to keep clean. The key for us is having all the painting done by a true professional.

My son took a bath the other night. When he went to drain the tub, the water would not go down. I thought perhaps one of his toys was stuck in the drain, but it was clear of anything like that. I tried a plunger, but nothing was getting the water to go down. I had no idea how to fix it on my own, so I did the only thing I could. I went to my laptop and did a search for plumbers. I was able to find a company that does drain cleaning in Rockland County NY as well as other services, so I decided to call them.

I figured that there was something wrong with the drains, which is why the water would not go down. I was able to get the company on the phone, even though it was pretty late. When I explained the problem, they assured me they would have someone at my house first thing in the morning. I was just thankful that we have another bathroom so I could get my shower, and was relieved afterwards that the water went down just fine.

When the plumber came the next morning, I showed him the tub. None of the water had drained out, and I was really worried that this was going to be a really expensive fix. My hope was that some of the water would have drained overnight at least, but I had no such luck. I was really surprised though when the plumber was able to drain the tub in a matter of minutes. He did have to clean the drain with something, and he suggested that I have my sewer lines cleaned so nothing like this happens again. I was just so happy to see a tub without water, but I did schedule the appointment like he suggested. I am going to be proactive from now on rather than reactive!

I thought having trees professionally pruned was too expensive to worry about it. I mean, after all, trees grow in the woods all the time and do not need trimmed. The part I did not consider was how many trees in the woods end up falling over because of rot or getting too big. We had some variety of cherry tree in our yard that grew very tall. The problem was that the trees were not sturdy. One tree that had three trunks had one fall over in a wind storm. We called a tree service in Queens County, NY to come out and remove it. It had fallen over on our fence and hit the porch roof damaging the shingles, gutters and fascia. Not trimming the trees was now going to cost me.

When I had the company that provides the tree service in Queens County, NY come out for the estimate on the fallen tree, I also asked them about trimming back the other trees. Their inspection revealed rot in two more trees meaning they had to be completely taken down. Most of the others were trimmed back. The arborist told me that trimming them earlier would have helped them to look better, but that they will still look good. We decided to get rid of all of the tall cherry trees with multiple trunks. They are just too spindly to be safe at any height. We kept the oaks, maples and two of the pines. We are a little thinner now as far as trees are concerned on the property. However, we are also a lot safer. I have heard of trees crashing through roofs and killing the occupants in their path. Our bedroom are at the back of the house close to where the bulk of the trees are in the back yard. I plan on keeping them trimmed from here on out.