Saturday, October 25, 2008


Okay, so about 13 months ago I went in fifty-fifty with my parents on an old beat up house that needed a lot of work. Got it at a great price and thought we could fix it up, sell it and hopefully make a little money. Thought we could get it done in 6 months. Boy were we wrong. And in case you were wondering, this is what it looked like when we bought it.

And after 13 long months of hard work (and I might remind you there was a wedding, the MS150 and a few full time jobs mixed in there to spice things up), long weekends and several near death experiences, this is what she looks like today ...
Very late in the process we decided to take the vinyl siding off and take our chances on the original wood siding being in good condition. To our delight it was almost perfectly preserved under a laying of vinyl siding and another layer of composite siding. By this point though we were very tired and cranky so we hired out to our friend David Lewis the job of restoring all the wood siding and then outfitting it with its new coat of paint. Also, if you'll notice the porch looks different now. The previous owners had built a railing around the porch. But originally the house had the low wall built around the columns that you see in the updated picture. It looks so much better rebuilt the way it once was.

Upon entering the front door you would have been faced with something like this ... This picture was actually taken after I opened the wall up to find the entire old chimney still behind the wall. This doesn't look like much but that brick chimney went up into the attic and all the way to the top of the house. The fireplace was gas burning and the chimney had been out of commission for so long that a new roof had been built over the top so it was not visible from the outside. This thing was very dangerous as it rose over 25 feet from the floor of the house and leaned at an angle in the attic. I had to climb to the top of a ladder in the attic and with a sledge hammer slowly knock the bricks off so that they fell down the chimney and not through the floor of the attic/ceiling of house. Needless to say this was not an easy job. This is another picture of the fireplace area before the chimney came down.

We reused the mantle we found when we bought the house and with a little tile and wood work it finally came out like this ...
They say that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses. So we made sure we did some good work in these areas. Here is the view from the dining area into the kitchen when we got the house ...
Note the awesome tin facade on the front of the bar area. There were also 4 layers of flooring in this kitchen that had to be pulled up to get the floor back to the same level as the rest of the house. This area was completely gutted. The cabinets were taken out and that crazy bar was torn down. And this is what it looks like today ...

The bathroom in this baby was not a pretty situation. It was also completely gutted down to the studs and floor joists. After pulling up the old tile floor I found the subfloor to be completely rotted from a leak in the sink. This bathroom was completely rebuilt from the bottom up. New tub, new vanity and mirror, new tile in shower and on floor. And after it was all done it looked like this ...

The house originally had 2 bedrooms and 1 bath.  We added an additional bath and master closet to make it a 2/2.  This is the finished master bath.  

The master bedroom room looked like this ...
And now it looks like this ...

I should note that this house had either nasty carpet, rippled laminate or busted tile floors when we bought it.  Under the carpet and laminate we found the original pine floors.  Pine floors are not the best but they can be made to look pretty good with the right amount of attention.  Almost all the floors had several layers of paint which made the process of stripping the floors very difficult.  Our friend David took on this task and as you can see in the about picture he did a very good job bringing these floors back to life.

If you went out the back door a year ago this is what you would have seen.

This house along with 3 others on this street has a well in the backyard.  Unfortunately the well house was in a little bit of disrepair.  I did a little work on it and now it looks like this.

And finally the house had a very strange addition on the back.  It did not help the overall look of the house and did not provide any useable space on the inside so our first project was to tear this thing down.  During the process it looked like this.

Behind that blue wall is where the master bath and master closet were built.  And in place of that pile of rubble we built a brand new deck.  I built the base of the deck and then had to take some time off for the wedding and honeymoon.  When I got back I found the entire deck had been finished by my step dad and step brother.  They did an excellent job.  See for yourself. 

This thing was a huge project that at many times made me think, "what in the world have I done?"  I got into this for a few reasons.  First of all I like doing the work ... at least most of it ... and it was a great chance to take a project and completely transform the look of this property.  It was fun doing that.  Secondly it was a great opportunity to make money.  We bought this house for a great price, were fairly good about working with a budget and in the end we will come out making some good cash.  And thirdly ... when we bought this house I had a specific purchase in mind that I needed cash for.  So I jumped at this opportunity and when this thing sells I'm proud to say that my wife will have a completely paid for engagement ring and wedding band.  

Now there are a lot of aspects to taking on something like this and coming out in the end with some money in your pocket.  We bought it right, did good work to transform the look of the house in a way that it was marketable, we worked hard selling the house once it was finished and finally I'm proud to say (although let's not jinx it) we will be closing this week on a full price offer.  Holy crap!  We're excited and ready for that big check.  

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Okay everyone, let me take a moment to get you all caught up on a few things in my life that I have not spoken about much on here. Ready? Here we go.

In April 2007 I found myself at a charity event in Dallas, TX. While there I met a girl named Meg. We talked several times. I made some of my super awesome moves. And the rest is basically history. Okay, my moves were probably less than super awesome as we are not standing together in this picture ...

... but needless to say, this is where it all began.

Many emails and phone calls followed and then came many weekend trips back and forth to Longview as that is were Meg was currently living and working. We spent a lot of time together over the course of the summer and had a great time getting to know each other.

By the fall I was sure she was the one I should marry. So I did two things to that end. I took a trip to my favorite Parisian jeweler and bought a sweet ring for my woman. And secondly I bought an investment property to fund said purchase.
On Christmas Eve I asked Meg to be my wife. And on Christmas Day we broke the big news (she said "yes" by the way) to our friends and family.
We celebrated a wonderful Christmas here in Texas and then shortly thereafter had a small celebration for the second annual 29 on the 29th. The party ... awesome. The reality of my new age ... not so awesome.
And then the wedding planning began. We had a lot of help and definitely plenty of advice on this subject and were grateful for all of it. But in the end we completely planned the entire wedding on our own. Some days we enjoyed this. Some days it was exhausting. But in the end it was all worth the efforts we made.
And did I mention the investment property? Through all the wedding planning we also spent our weekends working on this house in an effort to almost completely rebuild the property to get it ready to sell.

Oh yeah, and I was getting ready to ride in the MS150 in May. Do I need to say that it was an extremely busy spring for us around here?

June 28 and the day was finally here. It was so great to have all of our friends and families in town to celebrate with us. As is always the case, we didn't have anywhere near the amount of time we would have liked to have had with all these people, but it was such a blessing to have them all in town and all in the same building to celebrate out wedding.

Meg's family is from Buffalo, NY and since we both were living here in the Dallas area we decided it would be best and easiest if we had the wedding here. So we were married at First Baptist Church in Van Alstyne where I grew up. And then we had the reception at Rock Creek Ranch (part of the old Bill Bates' ranch) in McKinney.
We made many decisions involving the planning of the wedding and reception but there was one decision that were went back and forth on and in the end could not have imagined what the event would have been like if we had not made this decision. We asked one of our favorite bands to play the reception and the Tejas Brothers graciously agreed to play the occasion. If there is a group of guys who know how to get people to enjoy a wedding reception, these are the guys.

Best wedding picture ever.
These guys were so great and have now become wonderful friends. They were recently voted "Best New Act" by the Dallas Observer and if you have the chance to go see them play I strongly suggest you do so.
After a wonderful wedding weekend and a great time with all our friends and family it was finally time for some rest and relaxation. So the next day we hopped on a plane and headed south towards Mexico. We spent a week on the beach in Playa del Carmen that was absolutely perfect. We stayed at a wonderful resort that was definitely much more high roller than where we usually find ourselves. We found out how awesome all-inclusive is and enjoyed having time together after a very busy 6 months of wedding planning.
We've now been married for just over 3 months and couldn't be more happy. We are living in McKinney with the two dogs, Riley and Chloe, and are having a great time together.
And finally, I would like to say a few words of thanks to a few people who were unbelievably helpful during the wedding. I think it definitely was to our advantage to have several friends who are already married as they knew just what a bride and groom needed during their wedding weekend. And it was to our advantage to have very loving family close by. The ladies in my family were so great in preparing the church for the wedding and putting on the rehearsal dinner. It couldn't have been more perfect and we are so grateful for all their efforts. And we had a lot of friends help us out during the weekend, but I've never seen anyone go above and beyond the way our friends the Thompsons and McCrackens did. You guys are the best and we love you even more for all you did for us. So a huge thank you to both our friends and family for all you did for us during this wonderful time.
Okay everyone ... you feel caught up? There is plenty more to update you on and hopefully that will follow soon. But I think this is a pretty good little starter. Until next time ...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Thanks to Shane for the heads up on Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) and his appearance as Jesus in the Visual Bible's Gospel of John.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I originally was very disappointed in Donald Sloan for not being able to get a shot off at the end of this game. I probably should have paid a little closer attention and I would have seen the reason he was unable to get a shot up. There have been some problems with college refs this year (just ask Arizona State, who due to a horrible call at the end of a conference tournament game is stuck playing in the NIT) and this seems to be another example of very poor officiating in an extremely crucial moment of a huge game. Look ... A&M is about 60% from the line for the year so chances are if they call that foul, Sloan makes one of two and we lose by one point. But at least let the outcome be decided fairly. These pictures bring back horrible memories of seeing pictures of Dwyane Wade getting a foul call and not having a defensive player within a foot of him.

So here are two pictures of the final play from Saturday night's game. Should a foul have been called? You be the judge.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Well folks, we've booked entertainment for the wedding. We originally were just thinking dj but we had a great opportunity present itself that allowed us to get one of our favorite bands to play the event. So on June 28th we'll be dancing the night away with the Tejas Brothers. Be jealous. You can check them out and listen here.


Anyone watch LOST? Well, you should. And if you do then you of course know of the character Desmond. Boyfriend of Penny. Encourager of Jack. Friend of Charlie. Crashed on the island while on a boat race around the world.

So this morning Meg and I went to church with my parents and for part of the service the choir sang songs while video played on the large projection screen. It was typical Easter sunday video footage of the crucifixion and resurrection. I happened to be paying more attention to the choir rather than the video so I noticed nothing out of the ordinary about the video. But several songs into this presentation Meg all of a sudden grabs my arm very tightly as if she's just been shocked by something she's seen. I look over and she's trying very hard not to just die laughing during the middle of the service. Then she leans over and quietly whispers, "is that Desmond playing Jesus?" And I crap you not ... it was him. We both found it hilarious and it probably didn't help when I leaned over and whispered to her, "you're gonna die Charlie."

So I just thought you should know that Desmond has played Jesus ... perhaps in another life brother.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


So if you remember (not that you should) there were a few things last year that really changed my life. And when I say "changed my life" I don't necessarily mean it in the "meeting the woman I'll marry" sort of way. That is an experience that belongs in its own category and me ever comparing it to what I'm about to speak to will no doubt have me spending my nights on the couch at some point in my life. I'm talking strictly functional changes to this life of mine in this post. So last year it was Netflix (which turned into Blockbuster online) and DVR. These things literally changed the way I do life. I no longer scheduled my evenings around what was on television. I could finally do whatever I wanted on any night of the week and within a couple of hours that would have been wasted anyways, I can be completely caught up on the week's television. And what about all those television shows that have long since aired that I never got to watch? That's where blockbuster online comes in. I'm currently somewhere in the middle of season 5 of West Wing right now. I have watched seasons 1-4 already along with seasons 1-4 of 24 and of course countless movies. And they take the payment straight from my checking account every month so unless I really think about it I feel like it's pretty much free.

So what could I add to my lineup of technology this year to make my life more streamlined and enjoyable? How about a healthy dose of wireless internet. That's right folks. For the first time ever, I'm writing from the chair in my living room while I watch the NCAA tournament. I feel like I'm the last person around to get wireless and man have I been missing out. Anyways, all that just to let you know that I'm really enjoying the wireless internet experience here at the house. So between the wireless and the 32" flat screen LCD I bought for my bedroom earlier in the year, I'd say 2008 is off to a great start in the technology upgrades department.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


More later. Just thought you should know.