Hi,

Here’s my new fountain and my deck project, I hope will have it done enough to apply the stain for this weekend.  All the heavy sanding is finished, and I’ve stripped I’m using between the boards is 3/4 finished.  Once I finish that tomorrow morning I will do one more sanding with fine grit sandpaper will will be able to apply the stain (hopefully tomorrow afternoon).  I’ve been ashamed of the deck for years and so excited about how it’s finally going to look (with the new fountain-it’s going to be a popular place to hang out).   🙂  I’ve had a bunch of people stop by as I’ve been working complimenting me on the view from the street.

deck & fountain from street

And here’s what that nasty deck looked like when I started this project from the opposite side.:

deck before refinished

 

Speaking of pictures, I’ve been pretty active on Instagram, generally I post once a day in the morning.  I’m at thepaadorinn if you want to see my posts or follow me.

Pandemic refunds are killing me, my normal refund policy is I offer a full refund if you book from my website, but do charge a$20 fee for reservation made through an OTA (Online Travel Association like Expedia Group, booking.com, etc) because they charge me a 15% commission-it’s always less expensive to book from my website).  I’m fairly popular and had a lot of early reservations for 2020 concerts Kenny Chesney, Rolling Stones, Green Day, Motley Crew and four reunions.  I lost all concerts, 3 of the 4 reunions and my one wedding went from 130 to 20.  Overall I’ve given almost $30,000 in refund for guests that booked before Corona became a pandemic.  So I’m not offering refunds on reservations made after Corona became a pandemic.  I’ve checked what other travel industries are offering and I am no longer offering refunds, but a two year credit.  In particular if you have booked for a Steeler’s game and this nightmare is still around next year or you are still uncomfortable traveling you can use it of the 2022 season.  Surely those idiots in Washington can fix this by then.

I can’t say I’m giving him credit and I’m not forgiving his lack of leadership, but DJT  is not at fault for the federal government’s failure to assist small businesses during this pandemic.  It’s our entire government and it’s dysfunction, it’s not the child’s play between the democrats and republicans.  Read this article and you will be ready to join the revolt

https://apnews.com/99928b101367ad74358283c82de0fa1a

I can understand our alien founding fathers did not to address that businesses are not people and should not influence our elections. how could they envision multi billion dollar companies existing? but they really should have addressed the corruption of life long politicians become.  I want you to write me in this fall for a two day presidency (actually I want to be king or dictator for two days only and I promise to step down after I enact 2 things by decree.  #1 two term limits for any elected position anywhere in this country.  And #2 corporations are not people and can not contribute to or influence elections.  You can replace me after my two day term of dictatorship you fool enough, you can have DJT back.  🙂  America will not be fixed in two days, but this will give us a running start, just call me an alien.  🙂

Can I talk about the “new normal”?   We have to now deal with the idiots that used to stay in the back ground and now seem to be center stage.like that lady in California refusing to wear a mask in a grocery store screaming it was her constitution right not to wear a mask..  If you want to contract covid19 and infect your family, that is your constitutional right, but not to infect mine.  The next idiots I would like to address are all these protests across the country lately.  They have a right to protest, but the video’s I saw maybe 1/2 were wearing masks.  Is a coincidence that all of a sudden we have major spikes in the Corona virus infections?

After all my whining I feel awkward wishing everyone a Happy Fourth of July, it is still a great country and great people.  I guess we need to add a new group to add to the people we need to include, the idiots.  🙂  Sorry, I couldn’t let that one pass.  Seriously have a safe and happy holiday and remember what principles this country was founded on, there’s still hope for us all.

Mansion bunting

ed

Hi,

Well, I guess DJT doesn’t want one black vote this fall.  Even for him I am shocked at what happened outside the White House Monday just for him to have a photo op in front of a church with a bible in his hand.  He had peaceful, legitimate protesters removed from the path he was to take for his photo op with rubber bullets and tear gas.  This was before the curfew and the protesters were peacefully protesting.  So he wants to call up the military to stop protests?  See the second paragraph below this.

Mildly related to the above, the artist Christo passed away May 31.  Honest there is a connection here.  Some of Christo’s most famous pieces include the one in Central Park called The Gates.   Another famous one was Surrounded Islands Biscayne Bay.  Another one was Paris’ famous Arch of Triumph which was really his big thing to cover something to show it in a different light, he started small with paint cans and oil drums and worked his way up to these huge projects.  He would spend years and millions of his own money (and that of his wife Jeanne-Claude) researching and planning these pieces.  All his pieces were properly approved by local authorities.  OK, here’s the tie in to DJT, after decades in the planning and $15M of his own money, he abruptly canceled the project that was to cover miles of the Arkansas River in Colorado because the “landlord” would have been DJT because it’s federal land.  I like his quote his & Jeanne-Claude’s projects “exists in their time,impossible or repeat.  that is their power, because they cannot be bought, they cannot be possessed.”

OK, I had to put Christo above, actually this one should have been the second paragraph.  Have you read the book Franklin & Washington by Edward Larson?  If you haven’t you need to, or if you read it a bit ago, pick it up again and re-read it.  As I’ve said many times in the past our founding fathers had to have been aliens, or possibly seers.  As I was recently reading it, OMG, DJT is the anti-Christ or whatever you want to call it that scared the hell out of them. He is what they envisioned when they created the separation of government into three distinct branches with checks and balances to keep our nation from falling into a dictatorship. Dispite the direct correlation  to current events, it is a very interesting book and I highly recommend it.

OK, if you don’t have a Tony in your life, I recommend hanging out at your favorite nursery, bring them coffee and donuts once a week.  (This tactic doesn’t always work my one brother after graduating college wanted in the FBI, so he would occasionally stop by their Pittsburgh office and drop off donuts.  He now works for the DEA, not the FBI)  🙂  Now that Tony’s Alliums are fading, these beautiful iris’s are just blooming Tony’s gifts to me are not just pretty flowers, but flowers timed to open as another closes.  Remember coffee and donuts open doors!

Iris

Lets continue with pictures.  Here’s the old water feature next to the courtyard wall:

courtyard fountain old one

A beautiful base, but useless.  It was too narrow and the water would bounce out and only last about an hour.  I haven’t used it for years over this frustration.  I got a new base from Scotty’s North HIills Water Garden, which I go to regularly:

new water feature

Unfortunately I am going to have to move it.  There’s too much crap that falls from the honey locust tree it’s under, yes, it’s only a couple of months that the seeds and other debris falls, but it clogs everything up.  So I’m planning on moving it out front by the front fence.  It will make my little beach a little more appealing and people on the street can enjoy it as well:

New location water feature

And yes, that’s my next project.  I pressure washed the deck and hopefully this weekend can take my belt sander to it and then re-stain it.

Inside scoop, I’m going to be hosting another concert series this summer, with members of the symphony.  It definitely looks like it’s a go.  We had talked about possibly having it in the courtyard, but my contact was concerned about the elements and their quality instruments. so it looks like it will be in the ballroom.

Well that’s it for today, be good, be safe, be happy,

ed

 

Hi,

Happy Memorial Day, couldn’t let the holiday pass without talking about the men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice so we could have what we do.  Being a Vietnam era veteran, I know a lot of vets that were in the war and I can’t imagine the horrors they lived through and can barely grasp the horrors of past wars like WWI and mustard gas, etc.  Never forget those that gave so much.

My vertical hydrangeas have been doing so well in the back of the parking lot.  I only planted 2, one on either side of the wall I wanted to cover.  After three years, and them not filling in the space I got another and just planted it in the middle.  Here’s my baby and she seems pretty happy with her new home:

Baby hydrangea

Ohio is one of the states that allow motorcycle riders to ride without a helmet.  My problem with helmet less motorcyclists is if that stupid person wants to ride without a helmet, that’s his/her business.  I don’t want to be saddled with paying for their medical expenses for the rest of their lives because they chose to be stupid.  Now Ohio has made it legal for them to use earplugs to save their hearing, again I have problem with that.  Why don’t they tune down the loudness of their motorcycles and save their hearing that way?  🙂  My street is a popular street for motorcyclists to ride down and they are in a pack and going fairly slow (usually) and they keep revving their engines making all kinds of racket.  Again, save their hearing and my peace and tranquility.

Well, this is just a short blog recognizing Memorial Day.

Stay safe, keep your distances,

ed

Hi,

Have you filled out the census yet?  No excuses just follow my link.  Don’t make me come over to your house to make you do this.

OK, now that I’ve threatened you, lets lighten things up a bit, I love my Alliums in the spring:

Alliums

There are over 700 types of Alliums, they are actually onions, Thanx Tony for picking these ones out for me. I pays to have a friend that’s a horticulturist.

You’ve heard of the battle of roses, well there’s been the battle of the pigeons at the Parador.  OK,  the pigeons won, I lost.  I’ve stopped feeding the song birds because I’m tired of fighting the the pigeons.  But I love going out on the veranda in the morning, having coffee and breakfast and listening to the song birds.  So I took the bird feeder down and just throw a couple of handfuls of bird seed on the ground.  So now that there’s on longer the endless buffet the pigeons have pretty much left us alone.. The song birds pick away at the seeds on the ground and when the occassional pigeon shows up and I shoot the bb gun they leave and don’t come back that day.

That dirt bag Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, tried to get out of jail early saying he wanted to develop a corona virus vaccine, well the judge was not as stupid as Shkreli thinks we all are.  The judge literally told him that he figured Shkreli would create another scam like he has in the past and returned him to prison for the balance of his 7 years sentence. His trial wasn’t even about raising the price of Daraprim, by 56% which is listed by the WHO as an essential drug, they got him on securities fraud.

I don’t know who’s doing this but some animal has been chewing of branches off the last of three  arborvitaes along the mansion in the courtyard.  (The other two heavy snow had uprooted them about 2 years ago).  I had noticed branches in the grass several times over the winter (I’m not a big outdoors person in the cold and pretty much ignored them.  Then on a warmer day I actually looked around and he/she/it had made a pile of branches like a nest behind the boxwoods .and when I poked around at it nothing was there.So I gathered them up and put them out for trash-they are not compostable..  And he/she/it continued to chew off branches.  I did have that possum in the year several years ago, maybe it was that.  No more nests, just chewed branches which I’ve cleaned up again.  It looks pretty sad, maybe I’ll pull it out and add another group of banana trees.  I put two where the other arborvitaes had been.This guy looks pretty naked (in a tree kind of way, few branches);

Arborvitae

I’m not saying this is so, but that homeless friend of mine John was talking to me and his read on the government’s response to the covid19 is that they are trying to eliminate small businesses.  For a homeless man, John is pretty well read.  He goes to the library and uses the computer all the time.  John has always been a big fan of the kidz, that’s how we started talking.  Anytime he walks by, if we’re on the front porch he as to say hi to them.  This homeless man actually started buying them treats.  The treat were cheap, made in China and I don’t allow the kidz anything made in China.  My excuse to John to stop buying them if he’s homeless he should be spending his hard earned pan-handling money of food.  🙂  His proof of this government conspiracy was that the economic recovery funds went to big corporations like Morton’s is not a small business and they received $20M bailout as did cruise lines, big resorts,  His point was if it was really to aid small businesses, it should have had a cap on gross income the previous year of something like #250K, pretty smart for a homeless man I’d say.  🙂  I’m not saying I agree with him, I’m just saying his point makes a lot of sense.  He also says a big fear in the homeless community is the government is planning on using the pandemic as an excuse to declare marshal law.  I’m just going to leave that one alone.

OK, now that I’m on a rant, I hate with all our problems the bureaucrats making all their excuses.like Dr Levin, the PA Secretary of Health explaining why so many of our seniors are dying in nursing and assisted living homes.  This is a total disgrace and there is no excuse that’s acceptable.  If I hear the hollow bullet point “health and safety is our #1 concern and priority” I think I will either blow their brains or mine..  Give me a break, let’s put your mom in one like Brighton Heights with more covid19 deaths than all other homes in PA combined.  And unemployment blaming the back log on computer upgrades that were never installed.  Excuse me for shouting THAT’S YOUR F****** job.

If you follow my blog, I think the last one I talked about all the cancellations I’ve been receiving.  On top of that Kenny Chesney canceled as did Green Day in August.  I’m over $10K in refunds and very little income.  I did have the two weddings,and the Steeler’s schedule came out.I think the NFL will figure out a way to  not have a no fansless games because they are looking at $5.5B loss in revenue.  And I’m finally getting a little traction with my covid19 special $100+ weekday and $125+ weekend rates through the end of June.  I even had several cancellations that asked me to hold on to their deposit and  keep it for the rescheduled concert next year.  I’ve guaranteed they would get the same rate, room for the concert and 50% off if they’d like to book a second night.  Last week Ciera visited, they had tickets for a concert that had cancelled  and didn’t want to stick me with another cancellation, some people of so nice.  That’s what we have to focus on in these times.

I’m up to 24 followers on Instagram in a little over a week!  Instagram just shows people that like a post and people that follow you or you follow them, Instagram does not show how many people looked at the post, just the likes..  Instagram is owned by face book, I Something else new to learn I guess.  Maybe social media mogul Ed Menzer needs to learn Pinterest next.  🙂

Want to do something safe for entertaining, I’ve talked about Drive in theaters in the past, this might be their great break at re-emerging.  Follow this link to find the five left in our area.

I successfully filed for PUA today, spoke with a wonderful lady Danielle.

Have a great Memorial Day, another thought for a safe holiday outing, take the kids to a cemetery and show them all the flags placed on ware vets that died to keep us safe and explain to the kids what the Ultimate Sacrifice is and the difference between the various wars.  Out in Lawrenceville is a beautiful cemetery with a lot of Civil War graves. it’s Allegheny Cemetery if you haven’t been there yet, it’s a cool trip and you can practice social distancing there.  🙂  While you are there, you can take the kids past Arsenal park and school and explain where it got it’s name.  They were doing some construction in the area and had to stop because they unearthed some old canon balls and didn’t know if they were still dangerous.

Well, that’s it for today,

ed

Hi,

Yes, I’ve been a busy boi, I finished my Lady Palm bathroom floor and door project, not perfect, but I’m happy with it:

Lady Palm bathroom floor and door

The solid bronze cherub statue (which is very heavy) on the credenza in the library has a nut sticking out of it, since I bought it 15 years ago and I’ve finally gotten around to it.  I made a new round base that’s padded for it to sit on it.Solid bras cherub

And here’s the criminal nut:

cherub nut

Here’s the credenza finished:

credenza

Besides the scratches the cherub nut caused there was years of dirt, other scratches on the top of this beautiful piece of furniture.  What I did on the top does not match the base, but personally I like to see the grain.  OK you purists, I’m OK the top doesn’t match the base, it’s mine and I can do with it what I want. .:)

I finished the ballroom project:

Ballroom

I borrowed my friend Jeff’s pressure washer to clean the veranda and got carried away  I also cleaned the grime off the hood system for the kitchen (which I’ve tried with soap and a pot brush in the past with no good results), I did both cement benches in the courtyard, the fountain and all the brick ways in the courtyard and both sides of the parking lot.  I’ve hosed all this off in the past, but no where near the results with the pressure washer.  I’m just showing one picture of before and after in the parking lot:

dirty & clean bricks

dirty bricks

I can’t do projects like Lady Palm and the credenza in the library when I have guests due to the smell of the chemicals, i takes a long time to get the smell out.  Here’s one of next winter’s projects the top shelf over the bookcases in the library:

top of bookcase in library

I’m now on Instagram, if you’d like to follow me I’m at theparadorinn. I’ve done 11 posts and have 19 followers already!!!!  🙂

OK lets talk a little about the corona virus: I dress in all black mainly because I don’t want to worry if that pink plaid shirt matches the green slacks, an added benefit is black cloths don’t show black dog hair.  This even includes work clothes. I go to a thrift shop and pick up old black dress pants to where when I’m working with paint or very dirty things like pressure washing bricks.  To me they are an essential business.  🙂  They have been closed during this hole lock down period and didn’t even open yesterday when we went into the yellow phase.  Another issue that I find essential is green beans for my gerl.  Costco was out of their cases of a dozen cans for about $5. so Mr Flexible (me) went to Restaurant Depot to get several #10 cans of green beans to hold me over.  When I went back to Costco, still no green beans so I called them and they seem to have dropped that product line and I went back to Restaurant depot to get a case of the #10 cans and they will be out until May  26.  Shortages at this time I understand, but green beans?????  Cut me a break.  🙂

While I’m whining I voted for Governor Wolf because he was a successful businessman (not like that faux idiot “businessman” in Washington) and am very disappointed in his response to the covid19.  He just closed the state stores, restaurants figured out within days how to do take out.  It took PLCB two months and the loss of millions of dollars because we were all going to WV & OH for our booze.  Granted, the governor’s expertise was in manufacturing, but a business person needs to think outside the box and I’m very disappointed.   My other issue with the governor is the dysfunctional  unemployment system.  I’m not a politician or bureaucrat  but I knew when all this hit that the UC was going to be swamped, this lack of preparedness is unacceptable, maybe even impeachable for incompetence.  Again, granted the UC office was scheduled to upgrade their systems years ago that got dropped for budget cuts, but that doesn’t excuse the delay in moving assets to handle the onslaught.  I don’t like the shut down but understand it and am willing or work with it as best i can.live with it because we need to.

To end on a positive note, yes the Stones cancelled, CMU & Duquesne postponed their graduations, both my reunions canceled, I lost all my short term reservations, my big wedding in June seeriously  down sized and now Kenny Chesney canceled.  On the bright side, John W called me, we had spoke last year when they were planning his daughter’s wedding, but I can’t host 300+ guests here.  Since he couldn’t do a big wedding he called me to see if I could host a smaller wedding of around 20.  Yes, I could and do.    They booked just about all of my rooms.  And then  the following week, Terry & Chris also wanted do host a small wedding, they didn’t rent most of my rooms and I did get event space rental that helped out.   I’m finally getting response for my covid19 special $100+ per night weekday and $125+ weekend rates. I’ve also one a couple of financial things that’s keeping me afloat.  I’m doing much better than many of my other small businesses.

So if you want a bargain, I have less expensive rooms available through the end of June (I say less expensive, Airbnb says cheap).  🙂  Da kidz miss you.

Have a good one and keep safe,

ed

Hi,

Short blog, my second story is the main reason for this quick post.  i mentioned my work on Lady Palms bathroom.  I refinished the floor and since I’m still slow decided to to strip the door again I’ve spoken of this.  Here’s the door before I started:

Lady Palm bathroom door before stripping

I looked OK, but you can’t see it there was all kinds of blue paint splatter all over the door from the previous owner.  So I decided to strip the door and here it is stripped:

Lady Palm bathroom door stripped

I had to quit until next week, the door is stripped, I need to alternate between sanding and using stripping chemicals.  My next step needs to be chemical and the room is sold this weekend.  I can get the dust from sanding out with just a bit of work.  But the odor from the chemicals I can’t control.  So to make sure the room doesn’t reek Thursday night when they arrive, I last used chemicals Sunday and have a fan in the bathroom window to draw out the odors.  I just have a little work to do with chemicals on the bottom four panels.  I hope to complete that Sunday after the guests check out.  Then Monday through Wednesday apply the sanding sealer, stain then Polyurethane.

So here’s the main reason for this post, I want to give a big shout out to Bread Works.  I use their Challah for my caramel French toast (actually Challah is Jewish egg bread that’s made with kosher requirements-since the egg bread is not made with a mashgiach on site, they call it egg twist-but the same recipe).  When I worked at the William Penn hotel, Downtown they had the largest Kosher kitchen in the city.  So we did a lot of Kosher events there.  I worked with the mashgiach a lot and learned a lot about Kosher law and what the logic was behind  it, that was very interesting.  When I call Bread Works to order my bread, Kim told me they had discontinued the bread because of the Covid19.   I expressed my disappointment and Kim asked what I used it for and she recommended that she felt I could use their French bread.  I told her I would try it.  She called me about an hour later and told me she had spoken to their head baker and he agreed to make two loaves just for me!  Speak about customer service!

And finally, I have tripled my Instagram followers, I’m up to THREE!  If you would like to follow me on Instagram, I’m theparadorinn.

Thanx, be safe and be healthy and be a follower of me on Instagram, 🙂

ed

 

Hi,

John, an ex-guest from New York, stayed at my Inn in Florida a number of times as he was working for his NYC client Nancy who was building a house in Florida.  He has since moved to FL and each holiday he sends a number of pictures.  This picture has nothing to do with Easter, but I loved it.  It’s now my screen saver.  Note the three dogs are on the outside of the gate trying to get in:

3 dogs

The finish on my ballroom walls is called orange peel.  Today that effect is applied using a sprayer, then a wide trowel is used to knock down the large deposits.  What I did was mixed 50% water and 50% spackling/joint compound/mud in a one gallon bucket. I took old hand held mixer blades I have in the basement.  I mixed it too much.  I then mixed this with the paint and mixed them together.  I didn’t quite get the effect I was looking for my raised bumps are not quite as large as the original ones.  If I do it again, i will mix the water & mud the same way, but not as thoroughly.  Then I will mix this concoction it with the paint, in a larger bucket I will take an old hand held whisk to finish it up.  Here’s a picture of the original finish:

Orange peel them

Here’s the finish I produced, close but not quite it:

Orange peel

As I said, close but no cigar.  My pictures are not as clear as when I visually look at it.  So above’s a primer on how you can reproduce the orange peel effect.

Something I like about this covid19 is the push the county is making for mail in ballots.  the application is easy to fill out and what I really like about it is I will have the ballot at home to review candidates.and research whom I want to vote for.by looking up their history on line.  Going to the polling place I would find candidates I wasn’t familiar with and either not vote for that office or worse take a stab at who I thought I might like-uninformed voter is a bad voter.  🙂

 

Since I’ve been empty, I contacted Allegheny General Hospital here on the northside and offered free lodging to doctors, nurses, EMTs and other front line providers.  After going through various layers, I ended up in contact with Carrie that’s involved with AGH’s Heroes Project.  And she sounded super excited about it and several times thanked me for my generosity.  She even quoted several of their staff in particular that she thought would be great for this.  Then she totally fell off the grid.  I don’t know if someone there nixed it over quarantine concerns or what.  After not hearing from her for several days, I did send a follow up email and again have not heard anything since.  So I tried.

Speaking of nice people, my sister cleaned out her pantry and since I’m somewhat associated with the local food pantry she asked if I could drop off her donations.  I then cleaned out my pantry and ended up with four boxes to donate.  I took it over to the food pantry and every time I interact with the those people I am impressed with how nice and grateful they are for donations.  Suggestion, talk to you neighbors and maybe do a neighborhood pantry cleaning and donate the food.  You could also purchase some pantry items or even fresh vegetables and fruit.  If you want suggestions on how to handle it, call me 412-231-4800 and I’d be happy to talk to you about it.

John did commit to that small wedding next weekend.  The original plan was for a wedding of over 300 guests and obviously couldn’t do that now.  So they are just doing immediate family, so it will about 20 people.  And though they are family we will have plenty of space for proper social distancing.  So it looks like some will arrive Thursday night and the rest Friday night and stay through Sunday.  I waved event space fees and  gave them the discounted room rates I’m featuring now.  It’s not much money for me, but right now it all helps.  🙂

I lied to you, not on purpose.  I had finished stripping and refinished the floor in Lady Palm.  As I started working on the bathroom door,  I had stripped several layers of paint off the door and came to a point where I thought I had all the paint off because it wasn’t reacting to the stripper so I was planning on doing a faux wood grain on it. As I started with the sanders they took another layer of paint off and I saw bare wood with wood grain in it!  There are a few flaws underneath filled with wood putty, but I will be OK with that since it’s an original door and most of it will look great.  I’m hoping to finish stripping the door this weekend and the starting the various layers of finish so I’m done by Wednesday so I can get all the odors out of the room before my wedding.  Here’s a pic when I discovered the grain under the last layer of paint:

Lady Palm door before

That’s it for today and no politics and no negativity.  I can’t guarantee that for the next post, but I will try to keep it contained.  🙂

Stay home, if you have to go out be sure to wear a mask or similar devise covering your mouth and nose (don’t do it like that idiot governor in Florida that left his beaches open and then re-opened them prematurely). and maintain your six feet apart.  Sorry I couldn’t help myself with DeSantis.

Thanx,

ed

Hi,

After my post Sunday, you guys must be pretty bored, I had over 250 people read my blog on Fb in less than 12 hours.  :I thought I should post a follow up.  The reason for this quick post, is I’m doing OK.  I received several emails and phone calls from friends and past guests that were very uplifting with things like “hang in there ed, we are still looking forward for our visit this summer” and “we need to cancel this reservation for next week, but just want to reschedule it for July”.  Monday was a very nice day with the attention I was receiving.  Which brings me to question you about something I spoke about a little while ago.  When was the last time you called someone you haven’t spoken to in the last six months or more?  Just do it.

That’s one of the main reasons I haven’t been blogging  so much as of late, I hate being Mr. Negativity and with the current reality it’s hard to be Mr. Positive.   Yes, business is very bad, but with my business line of credit. cost cutting measures I have a lot more flexibility than many of my fellow small businesses that are currently going belly up don’t have.  I’m seeing more and more for sale signs outside closed restaurants.  We need people in Washington that lead our country, not play politics or run a campaigns for re-election.  Besides dedicated politicians we need Covid19 test kits and a Covid19  vaccines  and we need leaders that can produce.

Yes, business is bad (but my CPA did my quarterly audit today and before the shut down, I was on track for a banner year).  And I did pick up that wedding for May 2, my June wedding is still on the books as is both reunions.  And I sent Governor Wolf a letter explaining how he can open the big event spaces and how to have safe distancing, we’ll see if I get a response.  🙂

OK, my current project is painting that wicker furniture on the veranda.  This is another good thing about my slow business.  Like pressure washing the veranda, instead of just hosing it off in the spring, I usually just pull the wicker furniture in the ballroom and do a quick white spray paint on the tops.  This year, I hosed them off and scrubbed them.  Then I took  Rust-Oleum underneath and on top.and working the paint into the wicker I re-discovered how cool they are.  Look at the braided edge on this chair:

wicker chair

The battle with the pigeons is back in full force.  Maybe they were smart and were snow birds and traveled to Florida for the winter.  After my taser incident, I’ve tried keeping back around the veranda when I would shoot at them.  When I’d shoot into their crowd, they would fly up to the gutter on the third floor.  And I would take my rifle and shoot up there.  They learned and now scamper up on to the roof proper, which I can’t see (and aim) without going all the way out into the courtyard.  As if my neighbors don’t already have enough to say about me, they now see me aiming my Daisy rifle at my roof.   And if you want to hear the story of me getting tasered by the swat team, you have to visit for me tell you the story.  🙂

i have salt stains on the brick wall on the side of my courtyard from 100+ years of rain and weather.   This is called Efflorescence last spring  I hosed them off then took a bucket with Tri Sodium Sulfate and took pot brush and scrubbed it, then hosed it off again.  It made it better, but there’s still the white marks.  I even took Jeff’s pressure washer last week and it didn’t take it off. Any suggestions on how to clean it off?   I’ve asked the internet god Google and the only thing that he/she says is a paid advertisement Sure Klean Concrete Cleaner.  Anyone have suggestions here?

salt on brick wall

OK, I’m doing fine, which brings me to something I’ve been wanting to talk about-mental illness.  It’s OK to have mental illness, just like it’s OK to have the flu or other physical problems. Mental illness is something we don’t talk about, When was the last time you spoke with someone and they nonchalantly said “Oh, I have the flu”  OK, now when was the last time you spoke with someone and they said “I’m depressed”.or I’m concerned about my OCD.    OK, I’m coming out of the closet and admitting I’m depressed.  It’s not the Covid19, although that’s pretty depressing.  I love polar bears but don’t want to meet them on an ice floe.but I think they are magnificent creatures that deserve to live.  And letting the petrol chemical companies drill up in northern Alaska seems like it’s sealing their doom.  This America greed of chasing the almighty dollar at any cost has to stop.  How would the executives at these petrol chemical companies like it if I went to their  houses and spilled toxic chemicals on the manicured lawns their privileged children and pets play?  Now I know I’m going to be back on the government’s watch list.  I guess I’ll start seeing those dark SUV’s with their tinted windows sitting across from my house again.  🙂   It’s the aftermath that scares me.  We will recover, it will be painful, but we will persevere.  A world govern by ego maniacs like Putin, Erdoğan,and Trump is that really scares me..

OK, thanx for hearing me out, I promise the next post will be more positive. Or if I can’t find enough positive to write about, I’ll remain mute.  🙂

Take care,

ed

Hi All,

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. Covid19 has decimated my business, as many other businesses.  I am lucky to already have a business line of credit it has saved me.  I like Governor Wolf, although as in any relationship, there’s things he does that I don’t like.  He just did something I don’t like, but am OK with.it. He added another layer of protection saying Pennsylvanians need to wear a face mask when out in public.  Has anyone tried to get a box of face masks lately?  It’s like that idiot in Washington that says he takes “absolutely no responsibility for the pandemic sweeping America-(to emphasize his point he added)” “0”.  After showing his ignorance of our constitution he said he was going to direct the re-opening of America.  He has no the authority, but the governors do.  After media exposed this “fake news” of his, he has since changed his tune, saying he’s going to give guidance for the governors to re-open their states.  One of the things he’s telling the governors to do is to Covid19 tests to see concentrations of infection.  Yet he’s not providing test kits or forcing drug companies to make them available.  Governor Wolf, you have a good idea on the masks, but please do the other side as well make masks available for us.  One more thing on Governor Wolf, why did you let the State Stores close for so long?  If the restaurants switched to “take out only” why did it take so long for the State Store system to implement it?  besides the inconvenience for me driving to another state for my Scotch, PA lost tons of needed income.

Keep reading, I have a quote that I had posted on my personal Fb page that attracted a lot of attention.  I know some people follow my blog but are not on Fb (Tony & Sue for example).  It is from my good friend Judy in West Palm, a good person to follow and a great human being.  I don’t care what you had for dinner, or problems you’ve had getting your hair done or other such.  No hard feelings about people posting this kind of stuff, but I like posts like this:

I don’t know if you agree, but something invisible came and put everything in its place.
Suddenly the gasoline went down, pollution went down, people started to have more time – so much time that they do not know what to do with it – parents are spending time with their kids as a family, work is no longer a priority, or traveling or social life either.
Suddenly we silently see within ourselves and understand the value of the words “solidarity”, “love”, “strength”, “empathy” and “faith”.
In an instant we realized that we are all in the same boat; rich and poor. That the supermarket shelves are empty and the hospitals are full.
New cars and old cars also stand in the garages, simply because nobody can get out.
Empty streets, less pollution, clean air, the land also breathes.
The human returns to his origins, realizing that with or without money, the important thing is to survive.
Today, health is the main thing, even in spite of wanting to have or possessing.
It took 6 days for the universe to establish the social equality that was said to be impossible.
Fear invaded everyone.
At least this happened to realize the vulnerability of the human being.
Nature is forcing us to clean up the mess made by ourselves.
Our overthrown gods:
-Money
-Sports
-Fame
-Politics
What the coronavirus is teaching us:
-Our best protection: GOD
-Our best refuge: HOME
– Our best company: FAMILY
– Our real time: TODAY
– Nature’s call: STOP US
– Its message: WAIT, RESPECT
We are not gods, we are not kings, we do not have the power of controlling everything.
We are part of a whole, fragile, brittle and vulnerable something.
Part of a whole something that we wanted to dominate & today is telling us:
Stop, breathe, respect.
Go back to the basics, to the essentials, that the peace of your soul guide you towards what you are:a CREATION.
Well said. God bless us all.
I copied this from someone else’s wall because indeed this is the reflection that we must have TODAY!!!

I’ve had time, finished the ballroom project and just finished Lady Palm’s bathroom floor.I see all the flaws, but it looks so much better.  Here’s the before I had posted:of the floor:before:

Lady Palm's bathroom floor before

And here it is now:

Lady Palm floor now

Spring is here, my gardens are growing by leaps and bounds, here’s this morning when I was having my morning tea and reading my current book:

Morning in the courtyard

And here’s a close up of my just emerging banana trees-this makes me excited:

baby bananas

Also, I’ve been working on cleaning my concrete porch and bricks in the parking lot.  My friend Jeff that owns The Inn on the Mexican War Streets has let me borrow his pressure washer again (he did last year and I didn’t do such a good job-I’m much happier this year-I learned how to use it).

I hate OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies like booking.com, Expedia Group, etc).  They charge us a 15% commission on bookings.  They claim they need to, to keep their website secure and to pay for advertising.  Yo OTA’s I pay less than 5% to my credit card processor!   Your security costs can’t be more than Visa. MasterCard and AMEX and I’ve never seen you advertise on the Super Bowl.  I do advertise on the OTA’s for a couple of reasons, one we call the “bill board effect” the more times someone sees your name the more legitimate they see you as.not to mention the internet god Google likes it.  Because of their fees, I charge the OTA’s $15 more than if you book on my website.  Also, when a guest books through an OTA, at check-in I explain the “up charge” and how it’s less expensive (I don’t use the word cheaper-that’s for Airbnb people). Because of the hit my business has taken during this time, I am running a special through the OTA’s $100+ a night rooms.  I think I just booked a small wedding for the beginning of May, the reason I’m saying I think is John has not made the reservation through my reservation system yet, until I get that, I won’t block the rooms out.  John sounds like he really wants to book, but until I get his reservation.  The cancellations have slowed to a trickle (and the dreaded refunds-I’m over $6,000.00 in two months).  The reason for this narrative is this wedding was booking 8 of my rooms for two nights and I had planned on dropping my “rack” rate from $170 to $125 the same as my OTA special..My OTA special included $100+ week night rooms.  When I spoke with John, he was talking about adding Thursday for some of the rooms and he asked me about the rate and if I could do better.  I realized he had seen my OTA weekday rate on the internet god Google and realized I was not being fair to my regular guests and so I just added the $125+ weekend rate and $100+ weekday rate to my website, so if you want a bargain (less expensive, not cheap)  🙂  through the end of June, come and see me by booking from my website.  Da gerl misses you.

PA restaurants are still closed for dining but Nicyi’s Thai Kitchen, Pepis and Giorgios (their site seems to be temporarily  down) are all offering take out and you’re welcome to eat in my Inn or out in the courtyard.

Be well, safe and smart,

ed

 

Hi,

Winter I do projects. In case you have 100+ year old tile that has lost it’s glaze, here’s tip to clean them up.  Pour Lestoil over the floor and let if sit over night, take hot water, nylon scrubber and rag.  Scrub the floor with the scrubber and lift the Lestoil with a damp rag and rinse frequently.  I only do this in the winter, because the smell from the Lestoil is pretty strong and lasts a long time.

old ceramic tile cleaning secret

 

I read a fair amount, mostly brainless Clive Cusler, James Petterson, etc, With the current state of affairs, I’ve been reading even more.  I watch the NY Times for the bestsellers and recently picked up American Dirt.  With all the controversy over ICE detentions and family separation, i assumed that was what the book was about.  It was not what I expected, it is a fictional story of Lydia (who owns a book store in Acapulco and her son Luca who have to leave Mexico because of the drug cartels) and their travel through Mexico, it’s just the very end of the story that they enter America and has nothing to do with what I had assumed.   It was a great saga.   For a while I’ve paid attention to the Central American cartels and the devastation they are causing there.   Lately I’m been comparing them to other “cartels” like the street gangs in NYC and LA, the Italian Mafia and the Chinese Triads.  All operating in America.  Lately I’ve even been comparing the cartels even to the Taliban & Al-Qaeda.  I picked up a copy of May National Geographic.  Low and behold it was dedicated to secret societies.  We have had these “secret societies” “cartels” for centuries.  Here’s a primer and the two big common denominators between them all is money and/or religion. There was the Osirian Cult in Egypt and the Greek Delphic Oracles, and the Eleusinia Mysteries. the Roman Dionsysian was derived from Bacchus (you know as the god of wine).   Not to be left out the Persians had Mithras.  The middle ages spawned Illuminati, Freemasons, Rosicrucians, the Jesuits the Germans had Teutonic Knights, , the Knights Templars and the Cathars. The Nazi’s started as somewhat of a cult and they employed a lot of religious symbolism to gain credibility.  Speaking of Secret societies with a mission, Odessa used the chaos of post WWII to smuggle Nazi’s brass out of Europe to South America out of the hands of the Allied Forces  Not to mention the Red Army of the 1970’s whose mission was to upset the newly forming democracies around the globe.  Central American cartels are not any worse than many of their predecessors, considering what some of their predecessors did, they seem a bit tame.  And the time we have been battling the current “catels” like the Mafia, the Central American cartels are babies.  If the USA can not get rid of the Mafia, whose to blame the central American countries for not getting rid of their cartels?

On a lighter note, I’m winding up on my latest large project. I have Heather & Ben’s wedding early June and if this Corona stuff finally dies, I think i might be pretty busy with pent up demand for travel and won’t have time to do projects and want to get this done for them.  There were several spots I wanted to fix in the plaster and decided sine i have time to do a more extensive patch job, I haven’t really touched the plaster in over ten years and it’s about time.  Here’s the two larger areas (there’s a bunch of smaller patches as well).

plaster repair

more plaster repair

This is where I guess Joedda during her renovations of the ballroom took a door out to the back alleyway out and it still was pretty noticeable and i decided to smooth out the rough spots to make it go away.  The best part of this project is i learned a new technique. used by the Knights of Columbus on this room sometime during the mid 20th century, It’s called orange peel.  I wast talking to my nephew Michael and he came up with what he thought it was (Michael paints for a living and I’ve seen what he does-he’s very good.  He does a lot of apartments getting ready for new tenants and real estate prior to going on the market.  His number is 412-932-8362-a shameless family plug).  :).  I did a little research and decided he was right.  Currently they do it with a spray gun and some diluted wall mud, but you can also dilute the mud 50% with water and mix it with your paint.  The technique is great for hiding blemishes.   What I like about this is I can go over the areas I patched when I did the first renovations and smooth out the appearance.    The above pictures show after the first round of patching I did (I always finish patching, prime the area to see imperfections I don’t like.  I re-patched and it looks pretty good.  I’m sanding down this last patch and should be able to do the orange peel later this week.  Wish me luck.  🙂  Here’s a picture of orange peel.

the orange peel technique

On a lighter side, my regular spring projects are moving forward.  The courtyard is all set, the most important piece is I cleaned out the water feature and got the mulch down.  I even cleaned the leaves caught in the yew border around the fountain.  Here’s how many leaves were stuck in the yews:

dirty leaves in the courtyard

And here is the yews without the leaves

clean and dirty yews

Here’s a preview of my next project-I’ve already taped everything off. I’ve hated the bathroom floor in Lady Palm since I bought the place and finally have time to strip it.  This is the before and i hope to have the after in a week or so.  I can only handle breathing in the fumes from the denatured alcohol for so long so I limit my time confined with it.  At least it’s warm enough that I can have the bathroom window open.  When I stripped the waines coating and floor in Oleander I did that in the middle of winter with the windows closed and made myself sick.  the second picture.

LP Floor before

LP floor before

Oleander bath woodwork refinished

Well you know, I’ve had time on my hands and a blog can’t go posted without me whining about something. One of my favorite gripes is adverting.  I hate hearing about Marriott’s “bed and breakfast package”-they’re not a bed and breakfast and can’t offer what I do.  Another of my pet peeves is how big box companies jump on the current band wagon like shop your local Rite Aid or Target, they are not local businesses like local pharmacy or dry goods store (not many left).  I’m old enough to remember the exploding Ford Pintos.  At the time, the Japanese car manufacturers had developed reliable vehicles and they were seriously cutting into the American made lines.Not only were they lying about their quality they even got the unions behind their advertising to “save” American jobs.BUILD AND AMERICAN PRODUCT THAT DOESN’T FALL APART IN FIVE YEARS FROM RUST AND DON’T EXPLODE AND KILL ME.  Ok, i apologize for yelling.   Since I’m talking about the auto industry, lets stay with them.  With this Corona stuff  going on, I notice they are all touting “From out family to yours-we are in this together.”  No we’re not, you are just looking for a current trend to sell your products.  You have no care about “my family” just your profits.  They are offering deferred payments and no interest for a set period of time.  They are not talking about reducing their inflated prices to a reasonable level.  Proof of this is how can they offer an incentive  discount of $10,000 on a truck priced at #30,000?  If you can reduce the price by $10,000 your prices are raping American people already.  I have no patience for you scams.

With the cancellations for near term reservations and the cancellations from the canceled Rolling Stones concert, Duquesne and other university commencements being postponed.  It’s been a rough month.  I’ve given over $5,000 in refunds.  Luckily I can fall back on my Business Line of credit to keep me going.untl this is over.  I’m good through the summer,  I think once the travel restrictions are lifted, we will see a lot of people in need for a quick get-away or even a longer trip.  I was talking to John & Amy, regular guests from Ohio, they have a private medical business and we spoke about having a Biz line of credit he was debating about opening.  His business does well enough that they can pay their bills.  My recommendation was to open a line of credit because you never know when you need a bridge.  Although right now might not be the best time to open one, I recommend any small business to keep one on hand because obviously you never know what’s going to come down the pike.

 

OK folks, I’m going to run now, I have a webinar with my reservations system people on Trip Adviser.  TA changed their business model maybe two years ago.  A business and still keep a free listing that just lists your business and the reviews.  But you can also pay to have a link to your website, an auto call button and even direct bookings from their site to mine without the standard 15% commission other OTA’s charge (Onlne Travel Agencies like booking.com, the Expedia Group, etc charge)..Off course there’s a fee for this, but if done correctly, it can save you some $.  Hence I want to hear what Think Reservations says about all this.

Lastly I again want to start a new trend.  Like several months ago I talked about looking to speak to people I normally wouldn’t (nothing personal, but making people that look different from me feel welcome).  Now I would like to encourage people to reach out to people they know but haven’t seen or spoken to in awhile to either call them or even text them not  facebook- be personal.  To let them know you are thinking of them. If we can’t visit, at least we can let each other know they are valued.

Be safe and practice proper cleanliness and social distancing,

ed

 

 

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