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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Another Gary Shiver Well-Built Home

My old crew - Joe Shiver - Gary Wayne Shiver -
Gary Shiver - home owner Brian
Large plantation porch - metal roof
It has been 3 years since Gary Shiver built our home. He only builds 3 or 4 a year. He never advertises - he gets jobs by word of mouth. He has been doing it this way for 40 years. What a business model!

This home is being built in northeast Tallahassee. Brian - the owner - is a computer technology specialist. He came to Tallahassee from Seattle. He found out about Gary Shiver from other customers. He checked out our web page at -

Gary's homes are all custom homes. The owners do the planning - Bill Richardson puts it down on paper - and Gary and his crew builds on a handshake. After 3 years - we are amazed at how well thought out our construction is. We discover neat little details all the time. 

Brian's home is one story with spacious high ceilings. It is built on a tall concrete slab. It has a giant separate garage and its own well. The garage holds 4 cars. 

The house has a metal roof with SucraSeal foam insulation. It will not have gutters and has wide eaves for runoff. 
4 car garage 
The Side of the house facing the garage - note
the private double deck -
indoor and outdoor

The garage has a side door for yard tools
They plan a pool
Joe Shiver is a saw expert. He does most
of the cutting - down to 1/32nd of an inch
A nice big glass door to the big open living room
Look at this living room
The master bedroom has a wood ceiling -
also glass door outside
Note the skylights
Note the overlapping metal roof

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Country Home in Tamaqua's New England Valley Sold For $38,000

House sold for $38,000

Original Story read by over 6000 people

Harry Note - My friend and former student Ben Turrano is a Realtor. He showed this house to us in January when we visited family in Tamaqua. I wrote a story about it - the story that became my top read story on my web page - over 6000 hits. I have been writing on this web page since 2005 - 12 years of active publishing.

Here are the results - the house sold from a person reading about it on my web page.

Ben wrote this to me. I asked him if I could publish his letter. He said okay - but do not publish the buyer's name. Here is the letter -

Good morning! 
I was just waking up as I heard you and Lulu hop in the car and begin your trek homeward. I peeked out the window as you hopped in the rental car.

I was sorry to have missed you this trip but hope to connect again in the near future.

Wanted to thank you for the Blog article on Lori's old house, it connected me with a buyer from the Valley who ended up buying the house for $38,000 cash and plans to rehab it for his son, daughter and new grandson. He is in construction and estimates the home needs between $20,000 to 30,000 in repairs and upgrades - materials costs only as he is doing his own labor where possible. He seems pleased with the house. XXXXXXX from midway between us and Heislers on Valley Road. His son XXXXXXX saw the facebook share of your blog and called me setting things into motion. I asked if he knew you as a student, and he did not - the information simply came to him through social connections. Amazing media. I should have offered to take you to lunch as a thank you. Next trip perhaps. 

Real Estate is picking up as it typically does this season, but prices in the Tamaqua area continue to be depressed - even disappointing. Soon to be known initiatives should help stem the tide of economic decay. At times I don't know whether Tamaqua is a patient on life support or has been zapped back from death... I do know the heart is good and that's the key. 

Lots of spring and summer projects ahead of me. Want to plant a garden and begin demolishing that shed in back of the house for the replacement. Know that if we make it a studio guest house, you and Nancy will always have a place to stay during your visits. Perhaps a close alternative to her old bedroom a few points of GPS data removed.

I'd like to make some headway on the 65 Beetle this year as well as get my dads 37 Buick running. He has it so close, I think only a carb and master cylinder are needed. Sadly he never drove it in the 4 years he owned it before he died.

Melanie has some ideas for outside which include a firepit, new bilco door for the basement and man door on the garage. I may have to put windows in the garage too. At 90 years old - those things look as if they'll fall apart if we get a good storm.

Best as always to you both. Safe journey today and always.
- Ben

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Melissa Johnston - Receives Top Research Award

Melissa Johnston - left - one of Lulu's top doctoral students is now a professor at the University of West Georgia. She recently got the award for top research at her university. Melissa is an expert on school libraries. She previously taught at the Universities of Kentucky and Alabama.

Friday, May 12, 2017

David Funeral Home - Tamaqua PA

Our buddies Dick and Jan Davis used to run this funeral home. It is on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Tamaqua PA. The last time we visited town - we considered buying it interning into a Bed and Breakfast. It is a very nice building with lots of promise. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tuesday - Lulu and I Enjoyed EPCOT Together

In EPCOT - the entrance to the World Showcase

In England - we loved the British Revolution.

We had a big week scheduled for Disneyworld. Disney offered great discounts to Florida residents - $49 for hotel rooms - and $138 three day passes. Then - we had a funeral to attend in Pennsylvania. We had the choice of canceling the Disney visit -and flying from Tallahassee. Instead we chose to do the Disney trip and fly to Tamaqua from Sanford FL.

So we enjoyed Disneyworld Monday and Tuesday. Then we flew north leaving Disneyworld at 4 AM Wednesday. We got to Allentown at 9:30 and Tamaqua at 11AM.

Wednesday night the viewing was at 6PM and Thursday the funeral was at St Jerome Church at 11:00. Lulu delivered the eulogy. Then we had a dinner at Trinity Church. Now we are at Lulu's old home - she is napping away - she can relax now a bit and try to enjoy the visit.

When we return to Central Florida Saturday - we will go back to Disneyworld to finish our visit.  Then we head home to Tallahassee Sunday.

Disney's gardens are top drawer

We visited China and a 360 degree movie

One of my favorite shows is - The Lion King

Lulu is right at home in Germany - particular with a brat and
pretzel - Sauerkraut - and grapefruit beer

This German band says something to us

Germans love their model train yards.

This garden train yard is exposed to the weather all the time.

The 7 dwarfs in flowers.

Snow White - who is the fairest of them all - Lulu.

I want to build 2 guest houses - this could be one.

In England - the British tea garden.

Alice was  in England.

There was a rock concert here just 10minutes ago - see video.

This could be our second guest house - in Canada.

Lulu loved Niagra Falls in Canada.

Front and back.  I love that girl.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Going Home To Tamaqua PA Via Disneyworld

Fred and Sue showed us their
2016 Mercedes Camper

We arrive in Disneyworld just in time of the 3 PM parade.
We are on our way home to Tamaqua PA for the funeral. We had a few other things scheduled for the week - and decided to try to fit them all in - before we boarded the jet to Allentown PA.

First we had a visit scheduled with Fred and Sue. They own a 2016 Mercedes camper we are interested in. They were driving from Sarasota to Orlando and it was an opportunity for us to test the camper. We had a nice visit with them at noon on Monday.

The camper is wonderful with only 8000 miles on it. They are asking $68000 for it. It sleeps six and has a full bath room and kitchen. It is a diesel with diesel generator. After driving it about 20 miles we had to move on.

Next we checked into our Disney All-Star Hotel. We had some Florida resident discounts that provided us rooms for $49 a night and 3 day passes to the parks for $138 each. If we did not show up - we lost much of our money. After checking in to our hotel - we entered the Magic Kingdom at about 3 PM. The park was not real busy - but our energy tanks were running low. We rode on many rides and attractions - and made it to the fireworks and closing at 10 PM. We both crashed into our beds at 11 PM - Lulu after a short swim in the Disney pool.

It is 9 AM on Tuesday as I write - we had a good night sleep. We will go into EPCOT today - not staying real late tonight.

Wednesday morning at 7 AM we have a flight to Allentown to catch. We will have to wake up at 4 AM - just to be safe.

This is the first time in a long time we will be flying straight to Allentown from Florida. Usually we have to go through Atlanta - Charlotte - or Philadelphia. Allegiant Airlines has a no frills flight from Sanford for $300 round trip each. This is the first time we are paying for a bag too :-)  We had to buy last minute due to the funeral - and it was the best way from Tallahassee.

We will be in Tamaqua from Wednesday to Saturday - staying in Lulu's old bedroom.

Saturday - depending on how we feel - we have one last Disney Pass. We will either spend the day in Disneyworld or just drive straight home to Tallahassee.

At short notice - we are pleased with the trip so far. We have to pace ourselves a bit better. Yesterday we walked 7 miles - woke up at 6 AM - and were going solid to 11 PM.

We are looking forward to seeing family and friends back in Tamaqua for 4 days.

Very nice toilet and shower
Bed was perfect - 7 feet long
Fred and Sue are from England
but in the USA 45 years
The camper has a slide out.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Georgeann - Lulu's Cousin Died Saturday

Jim and Georgeann Boyle Knowles drove 1000 miles to
stay in our old Florida guest house.
Georgeann and Barry Manilow in Las Vegas
I remember Lulu's cousin many ways. Georgeann and Lulu were best friends and family devils ever since I knew them. They would celebrate together - and make up any reason to celebrate. The highlight of both of their lives was to have Cousins' Trip with cousins Ruth Ann and Cathy.  Sometimes it meant moving Christmas a few months - with Christmas tree and presents. Thanks to our friend Michele - she loaned her Cocoa Beach beach condo 4 years in a row - the Cousins could escape to their childhood - laughing - running - and playing on the beach.

There are many ways I could remember Georgeann - but my absolute best would be that night in Las Vegas. She was a big Barry Manilow fan - she must have seen his show 50 times. One shining moment - she was called up on stage - and the rest was history -

Georgeann's viewing will be Wednesday night at Connie Zizelman's in Tamaqua PA. The funeral service will be Thursday. We will be flying up on the Sanford FL to Allentown PA non-stop jet on Wednesday morning  - the same flight the Cousins used on their beach adventures.

On the beach at Cocoa - with her Seminoles shirt on
Ruth Ann - Cathy - Lulu - Georgeann
A New York City Christmas
The shirts say - we are all the same color inside
People thought they were gay - they were gay (happy)
The Florida Capitol and a long drive from home

Lunch at my restaurant
Have you ever seen the famous Help video?
Christmas at the Tamaqua Train Station 
Lulu - sisters Betty and Dolores - Georgeann
Supper on the Boardwalk