Photo Essays

Tucson Home Renovation: Lessons Learned

This post summarizes five lessons learned during the renovation of my 1956-vintage home in Tucson, Arizona. The renovation project began in spring 2017 and ended in fall 2019. Lesson #1: Add “Project Manager” To Your Resume Doesn’t matter what your day job is. If you’re having your house fixed up, the project manager will be…

Bicycle Photography: El Tour de Tucson 2019

November 23 was one of those days that cyclists dream about. Warm, sunny, and delightfully lacking in headwinds that could slow you down — and get you down. For me, it was a great day for a bike-tographic expedition to the last mile of El Tour de Tucson 2019. The 100-mile race winner, Ulises Alfredo…

Photo Essay: Fence Top Screen Installation

INTRODUCTION: Welcome to post #13 in my Tucson Home Renovation series! This post features the return of one of my favorite contractors, this time for the installation of a fence top screen. In May 2017, I hired Affordable Fence & Gates for the first time. Their mission: To replace my falling down (and termite-infested) wooden…

Photo Essay: Exterior Painting

INTRODUCTION: Welcome to post #12 in my Tucson Home Renovation series! This one moves us into the final phase of the exterior work, and it’s all about careful preparation. When it comes to home improvement jobs, painting is one of those things that a lot of people think they can do. You’ve probably seen the…

Photo Essay: Front Walk Replacement

INTRODUCTION: Welcome to post #11 in my Tucson Home Renovation series! This one addresses a major safety issue at my place. Before I got too far into my home renovation adventures, I asked a home inspector to take a good, hard look around my property. He flagged a lot of things, and I’m glad he…

Photo Essay: Exterior Door Repair and Replacement

INTRODUCTION: The Tucson Home Renovation series hits double digits! Enjoy post #10 … When it came to facilitating a grand entrance, my exterior doors left a lot to be desired. The previous owners had painted them a horrid shade of red, and the security doors were secure in name only. Matter of fact, one of…

Photo Essay: Plumbing Adventures

INTRODUCTION: It’s time for post #9 in the Tucson Home Renovation series! Let’s take a look at what’s happening beneath my house. Plumbing is one of those things that we don’t pay attention to until it calls attention to itself. Ever heard those stories about people who left their house for an hour or so,…

Photo Essay: Carport Gate and Fence Installation

INTRODUCTION: It’s post #7 in the Tucson Home Renovation series! This one features a company that I’ve worked with before — Affordable Fence & Gates. This was one of those projects that made me feel like I was in charge of a construction site. The Crest Contracting crew that had done my roof and carport…

Photo Essay: Roof and Carport Replacement

INTRODUCTION: Up to post #6 in the Tucson Home Renovation series! And things are looking up — toward the roof and carport. This Middle-Aged House is 61 years old and still has the original roof. Although I’ve lived here for 13 years and have never experienced a leak, that doesn’t mean that my roof will…

Photo Essay: Ductwork Problem Solving

INTRODUCTION: Here we are, at post #5 in my Tucson Home Renovation series! And let me tell you, the renovation of This Middle-Aged House has been full of surprises. This post tells the story of one of them. After my electrical and HVAC upgrades were finished, it was time for a ventilation duct cleaning. So,…

Photo Essay: Bathtub Refinishing

INTRODUCTION: My poor old iron bathtub has seen better days. Some of its troubles were inflicted by a previous owner of This Middle-Aged House. Said owner attempted to give the tub a new look by repainting it. Epic fail. Time to call Alfonso and Alex, the Tub Tamers. In just two hours, they refinished my…

Photo Essay: Fence Replacement

INTRODUCTION: Daytime temperatures are now in the hundreds, but hot weather isn’t slowing my Tucson home renovation project. Here’s the third in a series of photo essays, featuring the fence that surrounds This Middle-Aged House! My old board fence was in dire need of replacement. As in, sooner rather than later. Time to do some…

Photo Essay: Electrical Service and Heating and Cooling Upgrades

INTRODUCTION: My Tucson home renovation adventure continues. Here’s the second in a series of photo essays, starring This Middle-Aged House! I’d like to start this post with some advice: Before you get too far into your home renovation adventures, hire a home inspector. A pre-renovation inspection will give you a big picture view of your property….

Photo Essay: Furnace Room Door Replacement

INTRODUCTION: Springtime can only mean one thing at This Middle-Aged House: It’s time to fix the place up! Here’s the first in a series of Tucson home renovation photo essays. After decades of service, my furnace room door was done. Falling apart. Kaput. Time to call Tucson’s Green Handyman, Jesse Micander. His mission: Replace the…

Photo Essay: The Soccer Geese

Continuing with my annual series of “What I Did On My Christmas Vacation” posts. Here’s the fourth. There’s a farm down the street from my folks’ house… The farm is part of a private school’s property, and the athletic fields are adjacent to the cornfields. After the geese chow down in the cornfields, they adjourn…

Photo Essay: Hard Freeze

Here’s the conclusion to my annual series of “What I Did On My Christmas Vacation” posts. Cold outside! This really was the temperature at the Retallick family home in Westtown, Pennsylvania… Mom’s back from seeing if the newspapers had landed at the end of the driveway. None of them had… Okay, so we can’t read…

Photo Essay: Post-Christmas Trees

It’s time for my annual series of “What I Did On My Christmas Vacation” posts. Here’s the first. Day after Christmas was a great one for planting the Retallick family’s tabletop Alberta spruce. Off with the pine cone decorations… And into the ground… Mom takes the one-gallon pot away before I tamp soil around the…

Photo Essay: Winter Gardening

Winters in Tucson are interesting, to say the least. For example, consider what we’re dealing with right now: A week-long cold snap. Daytime temperatures have barely reached the fifties and the nighttime lows have hovered around the freezing mark. Today’s forecast high is 61. I doubt we’ll get there. Time to check on how my…

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