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,




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