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Month: June 2016

All Cleaned Up

All Cleaned Up

 So this is a blog about collections and collecting and collectors, except for this particular article, which is going to be about home maintenance.

I know, it doesn’t relate but it’s just what I’m thinking about right now.

I had decided that the outside of my house was looking like it needed freshening up. I mean, top to bottom. The roof (I have orange clay tile) had gotten streaked with black mold, my gutters were all green, I had some mold growing on the side of the house, and the driveway and sidewalk were pretty black.

pool-deckOh, and the pool deck out back looked pretty bad. Moldy. And my pool furniture was green, too.

At first I thought I needed to maybe get the house repainted. Then I thought I’d just try a good deep clean from top to bottom and stem to stern, and then I’d see what the situation was after that.

I got online and looked for central Florida pressure washing companies and also central Florida power washing companies in the local area. I found several and called them all. Some of them sounded pretty rinky dink and I could imagine them showing up with a Home Depot pressure washer and wanding everything and taking a week.

One I talked to said they could do the whole thing, roof and all, in a day, and it would cost $2500. After I picked myself up off the floor, I said, no thanks, that’s a little outside my price range.

Then I found an outfit called Appearance Pressure Washing Saint Cloud. Those guys said they’d come out later that afternoon and look over everything and give me an on-site quote followed up by an emailed written quote. Sounded professional and like they knew what they were talking about.

So the guy came out. He said they do roof cleaning central florida as well as pressure washing central florida and power washing central florida.

roof-cleaningFor the roof cleaning, he described their low pressure roof cleaning process and said that some people call it soft wash roof cleaning. And some people call it chemical roof cleaning.

He said his company does low pressure house washing as well. This is a system where a diluted chemical mix is used to get rid of mold and insect residue and environmental pollutants. And it’s way better for the surface of the house than just blasting it with 3500 psi of water.

For the pool deck cleaning and screen enclosure cleaning, he said he sometimes uses a surface cleaner on it, but that can mess up the paint, so more often now he uses the same house wash mix, and that gets the decking clean. He can use the same mix on all the furniture, including the umbrellas, and it’ll get everything clean.

For the sidewalk cleaning and driveway pressure washing, he said he pre-treats with a chemical mix and then power washes or pressure washes it. He said he could get up all the mold, even the dark spots.

He sounded like he totally knew what he was talking about, and then when he quoted me $1000 for the whole thing, including the roof, I said, Great, when can you do it?

He came three days later and did the whole thing and it’s perfect. I’m a happy man.
The Red Bottle

The Red Bottle

I mentioned I got the red beer bottle at the tip of Chile in South America.

the americas

That bottle actually came with quite a few pretty amazing memories. I have had that bottle for many years. I got it on a trip that I took down through the Americas when I was in my early 20s.

I was part of a loose caravan of travelers that decided to drive in old beater vans down through Central America and South America all the way to the bottom of Chile.

We took sleeping bags, camping gear, camp stoves, and various other basic necessities that we would need on the trip that would probably last for several months.

I had my camera and my sketchbook also. Those were the things that I wanted most along on the trip so that I could record the unique aspects of the landscape and the people and the terrain.

That trip turned out to be unforgettable. Memorable in almost every way. They were several vans that went down and a number of people in each van. If I remember right, there were about 12 of us that actually left California altogether. I think by the time we got to the end there were only six of us. We had a lot of deserters.

But that didn’t matter. We didn’t care. We were very loose and easy about the trip. There weren’t expectations. There was just a core of us that wanted to get down to the bottom and the rest of them went by the wayside and that was fine.

It took a long, long time just to do the driving part of the whole trip. Some of the roads were decent and some of them were miserable. I don’t know how many flat tires we had. We only had one or two small fender benders when it came to accidents. So we really lucked out in that department.

We charted a very loose route and we followed it very loosely. We were able to see some spectacular things that we actually planned to see and then we also saw a lot of sites that we just happened on. So those ones were very serendipitous.

We got along fairly well. There weren’t too many of us that rubbed each other the wrong way. We worked out a pretty easy and fluid relating style and design of living on the road in our vans.

It was good to have the camping because it gave us a bit of an escape from the vans.

I got the red bottle like this. . . .

dirt trackIt happened on the night that we decided we had officially reached the southernmost point that we could reach. There was a dirt track that we stumbled on, and we followed it back to where it ended: in front of a bar made of corrugated iron, painted all red.

We went inside for a few drinks, and I had beer out of a red bottle. I knew I had to take that bottle with me. I had to. Turned out there was no drama taking it. I just asked and they said, sure.

So that’s my red glass bottle from the bottom of South America.