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Senior Contributor

Re: Blago vs Illinois

Don you just can't refuse sticking your nose into where it does not belong.  I know you don't like me for pointing out your hypocritical stance when it comes to politicians, your blind loyalty and constant excuses for the bad apples in the Dem party or how you like to whine about evil right wingers that you accuse of doing the very same thing you do here on a regular basis.  If you have something to add to discussion jump in but if all you are trying to do is cause childish disruptions then perhaps you can find another site to waste others time.  That is if they will allow you to hang around.

Veteran Advisor

Re: Blago vs Illinois

  With today's technology and the broad use of computers and the internet, I can accomplish more from my office than anywhere. The building department has the capabilities to review drawings that I e-mail them, the only thing I need to go there for is to actually get the permit and pay for it. Almost all companies use some sort of estimating software now, either one they developed and tweaked or one off the shelf. The AIA has standardized forms for contracts and the bid process, and you have to buy access to it over the internet. I used to make the daily rounds to all the jobs, but was always trying to constantly catch up with paperwork. I still go check on things, but I do it early in the morning, or after my guys go home for the day. I don't need to babysit them, and never liked it when it was done to me, just as I don't bother them on their coffee or lunch break, because I hated it when I had to talk to a boss while I was trying to eat. I monitor their progress to the point where I can tell when we have long periods of hot/cold weather, and I see their productivity drop. If I wasn't confident in their work and capabilities, they would get a paycheck from me. But the hardest thing to do was to stand back and let them do things, and time is money, so paying someone to tell me something is a waste of both our time. Now, if one guy prefers a Hitachi saw over a DeWalt one, my biggest concern is getting it at the same price, not trying to convert his preferences to mine. 

  I even make the cabinets and countertops, but sub out the drawers and doors and spraying the finish on them. I don't have the space for a spray booth, and don't want the expense of equipment and time to make them. My son makes the cabinets and countertops, and has been doing it for a couple of years. Yesterday he was finish up scraping a wooden countertop that went to be sprayed this morning, to be installed next week.

  I meet with clients mostly at night, so both the husband and wife can be there. I've learned that if you make yourself too available and willing to listen to every pointless complaint or concern, you WILL hear them. It's mostly a waste of their and my time, but mostly I just reassure them. It's the same with everybody I deal with, because the property managers that I deal with are just as busy as me, so I minimize the contact with them to what needs to be done usually over the phone or internet.

 

  I grew up on a farm, but my dad got out of it when I was pretty young, as he was a contractor too. We kept the land and rented it out and sold it after my dad died. I worked some for him when I was younger, but because of my age when he died, it was limited. I worked and lived with my grandparents and also worked on a cattle farm too. I raised cattle also, having about 30-40 head year around. But, after high school, I got the "talk", that it was his farm, not ours. Basically, go out into the world and make your own life, like everybody else does. So, I did, and went into construction work, because I knew a few people and had a few skills, but wasn't afraid to work. I would go and help out when I could on the farm, but basically it was just for fun and to be around my grandparents.

  Now I'm staring at the near future of taking over the control/management decisions of that farm, that is a lot bigger than when he farmed it. He bought up a bunch of land in his later years from neighbors due to retirements and death, but just because they liked and trusted him. Not only am I ill-equipped in today's knowledge of how to manage it, the economics of every aspect of it has changed to where ag today is barely recognizable to me. But, my siblings and others that are involved can't manage to figure out how to live within their means, much less do it in a prosperous way. He went to great lengths to ensure that that land would help them out somewhat, and not by just selling it for a quick buck. I was the only one that never begged, or borrowed from him, and when I went to help out didn't expect any pay, and only would accept a hot meal as ANY payment. Go figure, now I have to teach middle-aged people how to live within their means like I always had to, and get my black sheep status back that originally was because I left the nest and wasn't afraid of an uncertain future, only now it will be for turning down constant requests to borrow money, just like they did to him.

 

 

 

Senior Contributor

Re: Blago vs Illinois

Can't family make things fun?  I can vouch for that as I come from a very large Catholic family but have been pretty fortunate that there has been little disagreement between the siblings after the folks passed on.  Only one brother and I farm having our own separate land but sharing equipment which has its advantages and disadvantages. We each rent 50% of the family farm which we are in the process of purchasing.  Our parent's wills stated that 25% of their farm land must be sold within 3 years of their death and all the land must be sold within 10 years to help make it easier on any of us kids interested in buying the ground.  Land prices spiked up a couple years ago about the time of my mother's death who out lived dad by 6 years.  I have been holding off buying any of the family ground in the hope that land prices would drop some but so far prices have remained pretty strong and it looks like I will be buying for more then I had hoped and thought just a few years ago. 

 

Speaking of cabinets I met a man while on vacation who owns a small door making shop in Greenville, South Carolina.   As a hobby wood worker his occupation interested me and he invited me to come visit his shop while I was in area.  He had about 8 guys working for him making mostly raised panel doors from what ever kind of wood you wanted.  You could get them finished or unfinished. They did good quality work at what I thought was a very reasonable price and they could usually get a new order out the door in less then a couple weeks.

 

Have you ever had a job where they remodeled old couter tops by having a new surfaced installed over the old surface?  I saw an exhibit an a home show a few years ago and I believe it was some type of concrete or resin product that they could add colors to and make it look like tile, marble or about any other type of rock or hard surface.  The product took heat well and had a nice smooth surface for easy cleaning.  My dream house that I will probably never build would have a large walk in shower that could easily accommodate a wheel chair if the need ever arose.  I asked the salesman / installer at the exhibit if they could use their product to make shower walls and he said they could but he himself had never done it but knew of others using their product that had.  Be curious to hear from folks that have been around this type of product which name I can not recall.

 

 

Veteran Advisor

Re: Blago vs Illinois

  I know what you mean, they all think that they're entitled to something, and it's usually the same dollar. He set things up the opposite, to ensure that they wouldn't sell off land and be broke AGAIN once the money was gone. The howls were pretty loud when money wasn't passed on too. The only positive outcome of various relative's deaths besides ending their misery, is that I don't have to see those vultures hardly at all anymore. They were trying to pick him clean even before he passed on, with the various lies, schemes, and sometimes outright theft too. Somehow I ended up the black sheep because I graduated from college and was 100% self-subsistent, where they were riding my dad's success while he was alive, and switched to my grandparents when he was gone, and passed on their underachieving moocher existence to their kids and grandkids. My siblings aren't immune from the crap either, because they did the same thing, sometimes just in different ways. The borrow money to start a business, to making the him their biggest customer is one routine I've seen played out time after time. But, I can't even begin to understand the legal complex structure of everything that was used to pass on the land and money, mainly because I get almost nauseous thinking about dealing with those people, they disgust me so much. You're actually pretty lucky considering the number of people involved and their obvious civility.

 

  I bought a few machines to do the hinge mortising and drilling and a CNC machine to do cutouts for the cabinets/shelves. I tried to spray the finish but I couldn't get the level of quality that I was satisfied with. Doing the raised panel doors and arched doors was something that I didn't have the machines for either, along with the room. I can get the doors and drawers done and the finish sprayed and still come in with about a 30% savings than having the whole cabinet done, with considerable savings in time, and a fast turn around locally especially now. 

 

  I stay away from solid surface types of tops, mainly because that I put them in rentals. One of the biggest problems is burns, and sometimes I can laminate over the existing laminate. The time and cost are the biggest factors, because my son can do the layout and laminate pretty fast, and the fixed costs are minimal and pretty stable.

 

  I have a few properties with just a shower, and it depends if I can shift the size of the bathroom to include the laundry appliances. I do a walk/roll in shower, with a base pan and plastic walls, because of code, but it's far cheaper than a tub or manufactured shower unit, and is sealed to prevent vapor spread because of the airtight house, and to allow for lower hot water temps. I designed a seat pole for use about 7-8 years ago, for a handicapped friend, and install that now too, that swings out of the way for use to sit on before and during showering. I met up with some friends to watch the NCAA tournament game, and the bar we met at was packed, so we went to a strip bar around the corner, and while we were watching the game, the idea came to me when I saw a stripper swinging around the pole and sketched out a drawing on a couple of napkins. Who said that strippers weren't good for something? I also designed a wheelchair lift for a handicapped veteran off of the old mechanical wagon lift design that I remembered on the farm, that they used to hoist the wagon up to end-dump before there were hydraulics. I made it to run off of a 12 volt cordless drill to lift the wheel chair from the ground to the deck. I did a similar one by using a winch to lower and raise the wheelchair from the ground floor to the basement. I have a good friend that has a machine shop, and another that does custom design and fabrication of manufacturing equipment with stainless steel, and that comes in handy a lot.