Friday, October 15, 2010


We've all heard the term, "jack-of-all-trades". It refers to someone who seems to be able to master any and all types of work that he attempts. Today, I saw the work of a JILL-of-all-trades. My baby sister, Lona Sue, is the jill in this case.

In case you did not know, our Daddy was a man who could build an entire house from beginning to end all by himself. He was able to do the preliminary dirt work, the construction, electricity, plumbing... He was also an incredible finisher on the house's interior. Everything had to be perfect before he was satisfied with his work.

All three of us, girls, had the opportunity to tag along with him on his jobs. We all retained some of the knowledge that our time with him on the job produced.

LOna Sue and I have used our abilities on a regular basis in our daily lives. Though I really cannot say that I have applied any of these abilities to make an income, Lona Sue has been able to do that.

By day, she is the director of the business retention center of the Finney County Economic Development Commission in Garden City. By evening and weekends, she makes money by doing the construction work for a few friends who make extra money by flipping houses in the Garden City area. She completed work on the first house approximately 3 months ago. It started out as an okay kind of house at a low price but it held so much more potential if someone would put some elbow grease into it. By the time that the house was finished, it was a beauty.

Since then, she has been doing her magic on a house for two other friends. It, too, is in the Garden City area. This house was a repossession that had been allowed to not only deteriate, but was abused as well. This was an older house that was moved onto a basement. The people who owned it had gone so far as to have new siding put on the exterior. It looked great. The interior was exceptionally rough. Layers of dirt and grease covered the kitchen cabinets, floors, countertops, etc. Eventually, Lona Sue was able to clear the nastiness away which revealed beautiiful cabinets. She applied some conditioners to everything. Today, they look fantastic!

Upstairs, she added extra space to the master bedroom's closet, textured walls, repaired the floors including refinishing the hardwood in the master bedroom. Then, she laid laminate flooring that looked amazingly like ceramic tile but did not require as much work. Lona Sue painted every last wall upstairs including doing one wall in the kitchen with an eggplant (purple) color. It was BEAUTIFUL! All other walls were painted a medium beige that really warmed the house up. She wanted the master bedroom to stand out so she painted it a relaxing green. There was one nasty bathroom upstairs. All fixtures had done their time so they were pulled out and replaced with up-to-date models.

And, as if there was not enough work to be done upstairs, the downstairs was MUCH worse. There was just one large room under the house with a dirty drain hole in the center of it. The walls and the floor were concrete. The only thing that really stood out in the basement was something that most of us never see--nasty words painted all over each of the four dirty walls. Oh, I guess that I forgot to mention all of the junk that was also left down there. Lona Sue and her 16-year-old son, Hunter Carson, carted all of the trash to the local junkyard in many different loads.

After all of the refuge was gone, Lona Sue was finally able to see her vision of the additional value that this piece of real estate could add to this property. She put a wall here and a wall there... By the time that she was finished, the basement had two nice bedrooms, an outstanding 4-piece bathroom, an EXCEPTIONAL family room that includes a gorgeous built-in entertainment cener that is large enough to house just about any size of TV out there. To make this house even more move-in-ready, she actually had a cable company come in and hook the center up to cable. When the new owners move in, they'll just have to call the company and ask them to "flip the switch". She left a good sized room "au naturale" for the washing machine and dryer and generalized storage. Lona Sue chose a handsome broadloom for three of the bedrooms, family room and stairway. She laid the same laminate that is in the upstairs bath in the downstairs bathroom also.

When Lona Sue started, the house consisted of a kitchen with no space for a table, a living room, 2 bedrooms, a dilapidated bathroom and a closed in porch that really served no purpose. The basement was nothing to brag about other than the fact that it provided shelter in the case of a tornado. She converted the porch into a lovely dining room.

Basically, all of the work has been done including the landscaping that Lona Sue and Hunter have done to add curb appeal to the property. She just needs to vaccuum, sweep and haul off a few empty supply boxes and the house will be ready to be shown to prospective buyers. Now, the owners can boast that their house has a formal living room, dining room, kitchen, 4 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and a family room.

I am VERY proud of the work that Lona Sue has done on this house and the house that she finished a few months ago! I see no reason why the investors would not make a considerable profit off of their purchase!


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