Category Archive: Life

This Old House – 30th Anniversary

This Old House is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary. It’s so hard to believe that it’s been on that long. I’ve been watching that show most of it’s time span.

This Old House is featuring a project in Roxbury, Massachusetts, in which they will be rehabbing a foreclosed property, and turn it over to two new families.

This Old House features Master Carpenter, Norm Abram, General Contractor, Tom Silva, Heating Expert Richard Trethewey, and Roger Cook does the landscaping. Kevin O’Connor is the current show host, while Bob Vila was the original host, and then Steve Thomas. The show is aired on PBS, which is channel 13 here in New York.

Every year they do about two projects. They chose a project mostly in Massachusetts, in which where they are live and work, and generally for the summer months move out into the US and abroad to a warmer place, and work on a project there. The show is only a half house, and I am dedicated in watching it weekly.

I’ve always been fascinated with home improvement work, and always learn a thing or two from the show. I apply that knowledge to what I do in my own home, as well as use that for my future home.

The This Old House website also provides valuable research information you can use for research. They also added videos to the website as well. They also have a magazine as well. All provide valuable information in owning and maintaing a home. Some renters even take advantage of the information to maintain a property they are renting.

I’ve had the opportunity and privilege of meeting all of the cast members of This Old House and have either autographs or pictures. The stories will be pages, so I’ll leave it at that. If you ever want to hear the stories, I love telling them. They are so down to earth.

You might ask how i got so interested in watching This Old House. My dad was a stockbroker growing up, and my mom was a homemaker. None of them had knowledge of home improvement, until they started watching the show. My parents said I was three when I first started watching it, and having stopped since.

My parents said I took an interest in the show, and therefore decided to let me watch the show since it wasn’t violent and was a simple how to show.

Since being so little I wasn’t allowed to use power tools. They were very strict about it, and i respected them. They told me that i could cut a finger off, and I decided not to go for it. Eventually when I was ten they allowed me to use power tools, and I started with a sabre saw. One of my parents would watch, and I would have to tell them about what I read about safety.

Norm has that infamous line…Before we do anything, lets talk about shop safety. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all safety rules that come with your power tools and ends with there is no important rule than to wear safety glasses.

Thankfully, I never seriously injured myself, and was successful in the projects I have completed.

A few times I have research the idea of getting a job with the crew, even if it meant doing the grudge work. My dream would be to hose the show. I would leave everything, and move to Massachusetts for it.

Congratulations to This Old House for making it this far. There are many more years to come.

Happy New Year

I would like to wish everyone a very Happy, healthy, and Safe New Year.

Thanks for your continued support in my real estate business, and I’m looking forward to working with you, your family, and friends in 2010.

RIP Billy Mays

212 restaurant.com

Last night, I was in New York City, and it was late, and I was looking for quick bite to eat before I headed back to Staten Island.
So over at 133 East 65th Street, I found this restaurant called 212 New York City. A very trendy restaurant, and had a nice curb appeal to it. So usually menus are posted outside, however, it only had its lunch menu posted. So I figured, let me give it a shot.

Upon entering, I decided to sit at the bar, rather than waste a table. The place was semi active. The woman bartender acknowledged me, and said she would be right there. So while waiting the manager had to get inside the wine closet, and asked me to move. So then I told him I was looking for a menu. He provided me with the menu, and proceeded to open the menu to the dinner section, as well as noting their Voda selection. That is supposedly their specialty. While I was not drinking that night, I just glanced over the menu. The funny thing about the menu is that the smell of the book isthe same smell as the new car books that you get when you are looking at a new car. I guess they must use the same printer.

After the manager gave me the menu, the bartender was quick too to get a menu, and asked me what I wanted to drink. I just wanted a Sprite. I guess they ran out of glasses, because she gave it to me in the same glass that you would you for an after dinner drink.
I then told the bartender that I was going to try their salmon dish with artichoke and asparagus.
I was also given some home made potatoe chips. They were a little hot and spicy, and I was told they add red pepper flakes. There was certainly a fire in my mouth. I am not a fan of the spicy food, but it’s unique.
My dinner finally arrived, nicely presented, but the artichokes were really salty, and seemed like they came from the can. The asparagus was sparse also. I rarely eat Salmon, but it was something different. There were also some watercress greens on the top of the salmon, and some kind of sauce. I really couldn’t pick up the flavors, but it was interesting.
My only real disappointment was is that they have a nice little courtyard in the front where you can sit, but some people were smoking. At times, the smoke was coming into the restaurant. I also felt they should have their whole menu outside. It gives the person a quick glance to see if that is the best place to eat. While they seem to be more geared on the bar side, people also need to eat, and would enjoy a quick bite like I did.
I would give 212 New York City a second try. There are some items on their menu that I would give a taste to, and if I take public transportation, I can sample their bar, in which they seem to be proud of. Their phone number is 212-249-6565 and their website is www.212restaurant.com. There you can see their menu and pictures of their restaurant.

1st Day of Spring

Today is March 20, 2009. It is the first day of spring. It is also snowing in the New York City Area. Although the snow is not sticking, it did leave a rough commute. The National Weather Service did not see this coming.

This week we are seeing many changes. We are getting used to the time change with spring forward, getting used to the new changes of Facebook, and adding people on Twitter, and keeping up with the tweets.

Also today is Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day, which is in honor of the late Fred Rodgers, a.k.a. Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood. I posted a video from Mr. McFeely — aka David Newell posted a video about it. Check it out here http://andrewmcdermott.com/?p=122.

March Madness is also in full force. The tournament began yesterday, and all day coverage of it can be seen on the television, your cell phone, as well as the computer. Amazing how far technology has come in that you can watch the game live on your cell phone, or just get the up to the minute scores of your favorite team.

How can I forget about St. Patrick’s Day? I had cooked corn beef the prior night to have for lunch the next day. Not only did the corn beef shrink, but it also was difficult to cut, and therefore shredded into pieces. So it wasn’t as enjoyable. I still have a few corn beefs in the freezer, and will be cooking them until I get sick and tired of it until next year. Check out my greeting on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_97eX18mXX8&feature=channel_page

Twitter Fans! Follow me at www.twitter.com/AndrewMcDermott.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Uncle Bobby Would Be Happy

On September 13, 2008, my Uncle Bobby (Robert McClellan) passed away. He spent almost four months in the hospital, and five weeks in a nursing home. The story of why he was there is long and lengthy. The long and short of the story is that he went in for throat cancer. That operation was successful. About a week after his recovery, they found a hole in his stomach, and therefore had to disconnect his stomach, and reattach it at a later time. It was a long process and my uncle was always like the Energizer bunny. He would respond well to the medicine and bounce back. He was on the ventilator, and then he was off.

My mother and I along with my father and sister became the primary caretakers for him. Going to the hospital every day, really can take a toll on everything. We knew that we did all that we could do for Uncle Bobby and couldn’t ask for anything more. When he was alert, he knew we were there, and was always thankful for it. It was also the first time I ever received a hug from him. Every hug I did get from him during his last days were so invaluable.

When he was not sedated and alert, we became closer to him, and now that he is gone, it is just so weird. It became such a routine of going to the hospital every day.

The operation was done at Luthereran Medical Center, in Brooklyn, New York. So traveling from Staten Island to Brooklyn definitely took its toll. The tolls, parking, and gas. Somehow we managed to do it, and we did it for Uncle Bobby.

At the end, when my Uncle coded, there was a lot of things the hospital was wrong with. It was more on the end of communication, and getting the proper information. All of the sudden the social worker calls, and says that we are moving him to a nursing home in Carnarsie, Brooklyn. For us, we knew that we would not be able to go there every day, and we upset that we did not have a choice, and it was said and done.

My parents went to visit him the first time. The visit went well. The second time, my father went, that same week, and came home upset. He spent the whole day that Friday, trying to get him into a nursing home on Staten Island. He had a trake, so only certain nursing homes can accommodate it. The social worker called my father persistent, but polite in trying to get him in a nursing home on Staten Island. Silver Lake Nursing Home took him in that very night. We just had to pay the ambulance, and I was the one that went there that night. Since he was not responsive, clean, it was really upsetting, and even the ambulance drivers felt bad. They felt like they were bringing in a dead person.

The nursing home did a good job of what you call “comfort care.” He was just bathed, shaved, and new pajamas, and no more poking, or torture. We just put Bobby into the hands of God, and God took him on September 13, 2008.

After his death, we wanted to sue the hospital, and after taking to a lawyer, it was going to be too much aggravation, and there wasn’t much to go after. So we decided that we would write a letter to the hospital on Bobby’s behalf, and see if the hospital responds. My mother wrote the letter to a doctor who really had a big influence on my Uncle, and was our main contact, and the one we got information from.

About a month later, we received a call from that doctor. He apologized for not getting back to us sooner because he was away. The doctor also sent his condolences and said that he was going to forward our letter to the administration.

Some time after that we did receive a letter from the hospital, and they too sent their condolences, and said that an investigation would take place and we would hear the results of it.

It took some time, and we did not hear anything. We decided that we were going to write a second letter. The second letter, we were finally able to set a meeting with some of the hospital executives because they want to correct their mistakes, and make sure that it does not happen again.

January 6th we met with some of the Executives of Luthereran Medical Center, and they allowed my mother and I to voice our concerns. They listened, and admitted their mistakes. While they cannot bring Uncle Bobby back to life, they can take the measures to make sure that it would not happen again.

One thing they did implement is this Rapid Response Team. The day my uncle coded, my dad said he looked funny. The nurses didn’t think much of it, and some time later he coded. Now family members can call this team, and they will look at your family member and tell you what the real story is. They are a step below the code team. I give the hospital credit for taking that initiative, and I hope the families realize that service is available to them.

The Executives ended saying that they were going to take our suggestions, and correct them. They were not going to act it out, and take it seriously. I hope to read about them, and the good that the hospital has done in their improvements. I told them that if Healthcare is so bad, they should be the model hospital, and that other hospitals should follow their lead.

My mother and I felt Uncle Bobby’s presence there, and we know that he was pleased with the outcome. We were able to vent out, and the hospital listened to us. It was also closure for us, as we were able to put this to rest, and know that Uncle Bobby too can rest in peace, and watch over us now like he has been.

I miss Uncle Bobby so much, and cannot wait until the day I meet him again in Heaven.

February 17, 2009

On February 17, 2009, all television broadcast will switch to digital. So televisions that have rabbit ears, and the ones that are not connected to a cable box or satellite dish. So go help out your parents, grandparents, or neighbors who are clueless about technology and help get them on board.

Last night some of the local news stations were scaring their viewers. My grandmother acted as if the world was coming to an end. Her television is connected to cable, so she has no need to worry.

You can check out this link here, where Norm Abram and Kevin O’Connor of This Old House explain it, clear and simple.

http://www.pbs.org/digitaltv/watch_online.php

Planet Green

I have recently become attached to Discovery’s new Green Channel. Shows about how to live environmentally friendly. Some really great ideas are shown on this channel.

Emeril Lagasse, hosts a show called Emeril Green. He helps people who have no clue about cooking, and helps them become better and offers hints and suggestions. This time he is using food products that you can find at the local store, and nothing too fancy. Although the shore is shot at a Whole Foods Market which specializes in organic products, the show always has valuable ideas and information.

The second show I enjoy is Renovation Nation. It is hosted by Steve Thomas who used to be on This Old House. The show features homeowners who are building green and sharing their tips and ideas. I have learned so many new ideas to use rainwater as well as the water that is used in my sinks and bath tubs and recycling that water.

Being green also means recycling. So many of these projects feature wood floors that came from an old school or a barn. The same goes with old bathroom fixtures.

At first I thought going green would be cheesy, but a lot of good ideas and if most of the world can do their part, the World won’t be as polluted.

Finally, Bill Nye the Science Guy hosts this show called Stuff Happens. A great show in which he features who goes on behind the scenes and shows what is going on and how these products are being made. Nye is also the guy who can say the long names of the chemicals with no problem. He adds humor to the names as well. Last night’s show features where sneakers go. I learned that they grind them up to a fine partical and actually make green grass for a sports field.

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Staten Island Parish Mission

I wanted to share with you the text of my father’s speech. This is part of the mission that is happening all over Staten Island the first week of November.

I was the “seed on the rock.” The shallow seed would bloom quickly and majestically and then soon thereafter burn with the blazing sun.

Fr O’Hara once told me that I was “both brothers” in the Prodigal Son.

Today’s gospel reading is quite profound. Two commandments, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Second, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

A prayer given to her nuns by Mother Teresa goes like this, “Give yourself fully to Jesus, allow Him to use you to accomplish great things on the condition you believe much more in His love than in your weakness.”

Up until three years ago, how could I love my neighbor when I turned my back on my own parents? I always thought my neighbor was the person living next door to me. No, it is you and you and you. And today, I love you all just the way you are. You see, three years ago, I learned how to forgive. I learned how to love. I learned how to be forgiven. I asked the Lord Jesus for help and so can you, you and you. I began to believe more in His love than in my weakness. Next week’s Mission, right here at St Teresa’s will help you too. “Come and See.”

My parents died with me being estranged from them. I was estranged from the Catholic Church as well. Yet something very mystical happened to me on the third day after my mother died – something very powerful and positive. Yet, I still can’t describe it.

It would take another five months before St Therese would lead me back to her namesake right here. I would meet our Pastor, Fr John O’Hara for the first time and confess after thirty five years. Never before did I ever experience such warmth and kindness. Fr O’Hara, was re-introducing me to his friend, Jesus Christ. We expect to do a lot of re-introducing during this Mission. “Come and See.”

My brother in law recently died from complications from surgery. He endured five months of “inhuman suffering.” My wife and I and our three children were his principle caretakers. He was always like a brother to me, a best friend. Yet, I fell more deeply in love with him on the weekend he slipped into his final coma. His care was so poor, I can only sadly name on one hand his caregivers who even remotely cared for him. I forgave them. It was as if his caretakers were the Roman soldiers pounding the nails into Jesus. All I could say is what He said, “Father, forgive them for they do not what they do.” When you forgive, you release. You forget. The people who hurt you will never be a burden on your mind. Only his beautiful memory. This coming Mission will help. “Come and See.”

I did for my brother in law Bobby what I should have done for my Mother and Father. It was too late for me to fall into the arms of my Father as the Son did in the Prodigal Son. He had already died. But Mother Mary held out her hand, and led me to her Son Jesus. “Jesus, there is someone whom I would like You to meet.” Through the words given to Fr O’Hara at ordination, he was able to speak on behalf of Jesus. “I absolve you.” Psalm 51 tells us we get a new spirit and a new heart. Next week’s Mission beginning on November 3rd and lasting for four days can lead you to receiving a new heart and spirit too. “Come and See.”

Jesus said, “What you do for the least of me, you do for Me.” My brother Bobby (we called each other brothers) was away from the Church for fifty years. He turned down an offer to visit with a priest before he went into the hospital. Waking up from his first surgery after two weeks, I asked him again. He nodded yes, with a smile I will cherish forever. Fr Xavier was forgiving him two hours later. Father Xavier asked Bob as Jesus had asked Mary before He raised her brother Lazarus, “Do you believe?” He nodded yes, again with a smile that never seems to go away.

His favorite song was “Amazing Grace.” Shortly after his death, I read the words for the very first time.

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

‘It was grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace my fears relieved;

How precious did that grace appear,

The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come;

‘This grace has brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

“Follow me” and “Come and See.”

To learn more about this mission click on this link: http://www.siparishmission.org/