Tomorrow is the birth anniversary of Dick Tracy creator Chester Gould (1900), Senator Robert Byrd (1917), broadcaster & author Alistair Cooke, astronomer Edwin Hubble, Bobby Kennedy (1925) and actor Gene Tierney (1920).  It is the anniversary of the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights by New Jersey (1789) and it is the anniversary of the start of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials (1945).

Every year, before putting the holiday decorations up, we deep clean the public space on the first floor and paste wax the floors.  This year, when we moved the Library table out of the way, as we were rolling up the carpet under it, I discovered fairly extensive moth caused damage to the rug.  All damage is in a circle directly under the table base.  No damage outside the parameter of the base.  The little bastards hid under the table and had a feast.  Insidious.  As much as I hate chemicals and pesticides, I think I’ll spray under the base of the table before putting it back.  And nervous Nelly will probably move the table throughout the year to see if they come back.  Luckily the rug in the Library is not one of the better rugs.  It’s OK, but the dining room rugs are of a much higher quality.

My favorite piece in the Mansion is the Shepard boy and his dog in the Dining Room by Moreau.  My second favorite piece is the Murano chandelier in the Parlor.   Not only is it beautiful, it is very unique.  I don’t know when, but at some point, Murano found out that the dye used was poisonous to the glass blowers.  They still make this model, but not in the color I have, so it is a very unique piece.  I get a lot of very favorable comments from guests about it.  And I certainly appreciate it.

All the pieces come apart.  As I was cleaning the daffodils, again I was taken by the beauty and craftsmanship each one is.

People frequently over look all the details seeing the forest instead of the trees, that’s why I’m taking a minute to highlight the piece.

Speaking of craftsmanship, I went to the Monroeville Craft Show I talked about this past weekend.  I always try and get my holiday gifts from crafts persons of one sort or another.  This craft show was advertised as the largest in the area.  Well, they might be the largest, but there certainly weren’t selective.  In addition to the crafts persons, there was a chiropractor, several roofers, gutter guard persons and other persons you wonder how they qualified.  Worse than that, they had a lot of shop keepers.  As I was browsing along, I was noticing the same thing in many of the booths.  Probably half of the “crafters” were shop keepers that bought quantities of product from some wholesaler that brought their goods in from China.  I tarried at one of the booths too long and the shop keeper approached me.  He informed my that the knitted hat I was looking at was made from genuine Alpaca wool.  I asked where it was made and he said he didn’t know, probably China.  Not to be discouraged by all the shop keepers, I connected with a number of true crafters, and made my purchases on handmade items created right here in Pittsburgh.  I now have all the little nieces and nephews covered, but can’t go into details in case one of my sib’s reads this.  I’ll talk about them after the holidays.

I like shopping small businesses, as anyone that’s ever met me or read any of my blogs.  Don’t forget, this Saturday is Small Business Day, support your local small businesses (come to The Parador).  🙂

Continuing along with my cleaning, as I said, one of the yearly holiday goals is to paste wax the first floor floors.  We clean, dust, vacuum, etc throughout the year.  But to paste wax the floor is such a major undertaking and so disruptive, I only do it once a year.  And I have THE tool

It’s a commercial quality Viper floor scrubber/buffer I got at Colker Janitorial Supplies on Penn Avenue in the Strip.  After doing this for six years, I definitely have it down pat.  The machine is quite powerful, #1 and in general can real toss you around if you’re not careful.  Particularly when you first put the wax down, it’s like wet ice.  Balance is extremely important.  Also, the amount of wax you put down is also very important.  My first year, I put too much wax down and it never really did dry right.  The floors look so nice when their freshly cleaned and waxed.  It’s like the Murano freshly cleaned.

It looks like I’m going to be in the Trib again.  I think I may be becoming THE local source.  🙂  When my good friend, printer, web master passed away back in September from that bizarre viral meningitis, the Trib contacted me about Joe.  One of the feature writers is writing an article on Airbnb, the Internet lodging Satins.  The government does work in logical ways, sometimes.  🙂  There are different codes depending on how a building is used for living.  If it’s your house, you should know where the front and back doors are in case of a fire.  If it’s an apartment building, they figure you should be familiar with where the rear fire escape is.  And you should have at least a battery operated fire alarm.  Short term lodging is a different story.  Hotel/Motel/Inns frequently get guests arriving fairly late for just one night on their way to someplace else.  If an emergency happens, these unfamiliar guests need taken care of.  Code calls for two methods of egress.  My smoke and fire alarms are required to be hard wired (into the regular electrical system with battery back up) and continuously wired (if the alarm goes off in one room, the adjoining room’s alarm wakes those guests as well).  My system has to be professionally monitored 24/7.  I had to install a sprinkler system that ended up costing me over $50K.  These people that are renting out rooms in their houses have none of this.  And they are ADVERTISING this on the Internet.  This isn’t a causal one time deal.  AND, they are not collecting 7% bed tax or 7% sales tax.  I periodically go back to Florida in the winter to get away from the cold and visit friends.  About three years ago I was in West Palm at the Hibiscus House B & B.  Back when I was still living in Florida, developers were grabbing up all the property they could (mine included)  🙂  and building town houses.  They were selling them pre-construction to speculators who inter would flip them to other speculators and they ended up being sold several times before they were even finished.  Most of the money was coming from New York and believe it or not, Brazil.  When the housing market crashed, there was all these investors holding over priced town houses.  They could take the loss and let the bank foreclose on it, loosing a bundle.  And having a foreclosure in their credit score.  Or they could hold on to them and wait for the market to come back and at least get their money back.  Remember these are investors with money.  So when I was down in West Palm, I saw all these lights on in many of these town houses.  The next morning when I said something to Collin about they seemed be to finally selling the town houses I got a scowl from him.  He said, no, the owners bought some cheap china and sheets and were advertising them on line for around $800 a month.  Again, none of the safety issues were addressed, nor was any taxes being collected.  How can a Bed and Breakfast compete with $800 a month.  The Hibiscus House was fine, they owned their Inn, they were the grandads of the area.  But Collin said all the other Bed and Breakfasts were either in foreclosure or on foreclosure’s doorstep because of Airbnb and other web site like it.

Well, that’s about it for right now.  Have a great Thanksgiving and don’t eat too much,


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