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Archive for the ‘Appearances’ Category

Cocoa Beach Hotel Faces Changes Head On

In March, a hotel GM in Cocoa Beach invited me to stay there for several days. It was the idea of the property management company that had contacted me, way back in 2013, about a position.

 

“Pack a clean set of whites,” had been added at the end of the email. Curious. I did as requested, and headed for the ocean.

 

For the next three days, the hotel’s painter and management company regional director of operations led me around the property. They pointed out surfaces that needed work. They walked me through areas they wanted to improve. They showed me themes and color schemes that the owners wanted to change. And, they made lots of notes on their iPads.

 

The fourth day, we revisited some of those areas. Then, we sat at a small shaded table, and went over the men’s notes. By that time, typed into a hard copy for each of us.

 

Usually, that’s when “the best laid plan hits the fan” (my paraphrase). What the budget can bear differs a lot from the combined needs and wish lists. And, available time and manpower.

 

Not in this case. Everyone at the decision table has been motivated – and ready to move.

 

For example: Here’s what has happened within the last month and a half.

 

  1. A local general contractor was hired to repair and upgrade guest rooms and suites, two restaurants, game room, health club, children’s playground, and part of the conference center.

 

  1. A specialty contractor has signed on to remodel the main kitchen, and public restrooms.

 

  1. The GM has been authorized to add three people to the engineering staff for two full years.

All three will start work August 01, 2017. Each will handle specific aspects of the property upgrade.

 

  1. Grounds-landscaping specialist – Redesign and re-landscape the front entrance, nature sanctuary, rest, and walkway areas.
  2. HVAC and OSHA specialist – Handle vent system cleaning, filter installation, room thermostat replacements, bathroom fan/ventilation system cleaning and repairs.
  3. Painter – Prepping and repainting all areas designated on the improvement list.

 

Each of the three new engineering employees worked previously at, or on, the hotel property.

 

Each is a certified specialist in his or her trade.

 

Each is proficient in English and Spanish. One also speaks and writes Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese.

 

Each is related to a current hotel staff member.

 

Few engineering departments are able to gain three additional workers at once. Fewer have the luxury to employ three specialists at once.

 

It is done more readily in other parts of the U. S. It can be done when both the hotel management and owners are operating on the same wave length. At the same time.

 

An exciting thing to see in action – to be a part of – when it happens.

 

 

“Together… making a place for the human spirit to find ease, if only for one night’s stay…”

 From: Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, by Jan Karon. Copyright 2015.

 

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As always! Many thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

The Painter, Franzen, and Church Restorations

“ ‘Margret clung to the side of the overturned wood row boat. Knowing that her grip could not last much longer. Knowing that she would not make it. And the enraged waters of the North Sea would swallow her.

 

“ ‘Then, she felt a powerful hand grab her arm, and force her frozen hand from the boat’s rim. Encircling her chest. Then pulling her backward. Into the churning waves. Was she, in fact, being washed away? Or drowning?’ ”

 

These were the opening words of the true account written by the victim’s oldest brother, Franzen, in an e-mail to me. A native of Amsterdam, the third cousin was a “restoration painter of churches.”

 

“That’s why I became a painter of holy buildings,” he wrote. “To give thanks to the priest that saved my baby sister over thirty-two years ago.”

 

At a later date, Franzen took me on a virtual tour of the church in Bratislava, Slovakia that he’s been working on. It is a small structure, compared to the grand cathedral projects that he has completed in Europe and Canada. And, it holds a significant place in the painter’s life, perhaps in mine also. The church is the home parish of a group of Haytovkas originally from old Austria.

 

“Presently, I sandblast the upper spires on the roof. There are twelve of them, representing the twelve apostles. I push to finish spray before the heavy snows come. It is dangerous part,” the painter emphasized. “So high from the ground, over 4419 cm (145 feet) up. One slip of the foot. I worry. Then I remember Margret. The arms that saved her…”

 

Franzen said the upper exterior of the church had not been touched in over forty years.

 

“The surfaces were pitted by thick, pebble-looking layers of grime and pollutants from the large manufacturing plant located less than 1.6 kilometers (one mile) away. Underneath, most of the paint was chipped off. Brass was badly tarnished, and coated with sea salts and bird droppings.

 

“It was in much worse condition than the church officials believed. Much removal and repair work…”

 

Franzen said that he has been doing restorative painting since age twenty-six. Previously, he worked for a contractor that repaired and redecorated older homes, apartment buildings, shops, and large flats. My cousin explained that most of the properties were “…owned by the rich.”

 

For two years prior, he “studied the painting craft” at a trade school run by the Netherlands government. He called the training very intense.

 

“This church will be my last high project. I will be fifty-nine in December. My feet are not quite as sure as they were. I make plans to retire at sixty. Muriel and I take Gordon to cottage by sea.”

 

By the way, Franzen and his wife are caregivers for their son Gordon (28). He has severe traumatic brain injuries from a work accident in 2009.

Something tells me that both Gordon and the historic church structure, built over 250 years ago, are in very good hands.

 

Point to Ponder: A true craftsman preserves the lives of impaired persons and old buildings with equal dedication and selflessness.

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Why People Like Flight Captains Sullenberger and Skiles Matter

Last night I watched the movie, “Sully,” on DVD. It’s based on the heroic story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles, co-captains of the New York to Charlotte Flight 1549. Their miraculous belly landing of the US Airways jet on January 15, 2009, afloat the Hudson River, and the preservation of 155 precious lives still raises a lot of interest. And concerns.

 

What struck me was the courage, commitment and calm that both men showed after their hair-raising experience. The way that they handled themselves when being forced to defend their decision before a roomful of 70-plus National Transportation Safety Board, airline, legal, and even pilots union investigators.

 

Sullenberger’s and Skile’s clear-thinking and precise account of the second-by-second steps that they took re-demonstrated they did the right thing. They did the only thing available to two men of such character. Two men that cared so much for human life.

 

A FEW QUESTIONS FOR US TO ASK OURSELVES…

 

  1. How many of us, when pushed against the wall, would face a huge firing squad of big-shot “bosses”?
  2. How many of us would stand our ground, and force these power moguls to scrutinize their own expertise, calculations and conclusions? And then to correct their decision?
  3. How many of us would stand firm, and defend our values, our principles, against all odds?

 

Sullenberger’s and Skiles’s heroic landing, then their courageous defense of their decision, remain close to our family’s heart.

 

Charles “Chuck” Basham flew for Eastern Airlines for over 30 years. His wife, “Mindie,” my mother’s cousin, was a stewardess with Eastern for over ten years. In fact, that’s how Chuck and Mindie met.

 

Anyway, Chuck flew bombers in World War II. When he came home to the U.S., Eastern snatched him up because of his steel-strong nerves. His ability to fly in, through, under, and around any crisis. And survive!

 

The theory of major airline owners back in the 1940s and 1950s? If you could handle a military plane in war conditions, you could handle a commercial plane in friendly skies.

 

Still, Chuck could share stories of several very close calls that he had flying the New York to Miami run.

 

One concerned a near in-flight collision with another jet airplane, that was experiencing mechanical problems. Another concerned a severe lighting storm, 20,000 feet over the Atlantic coastline. A third concerned a near side-swipe by a large corporation-owned Cessna.

 

In each of these situations, Chuck had to face a review board similar to that faced by Sullenberger and Skiles.

 

“It was never easy to do. But it was necessary,” he said, “to get them to set the record straight.”

 

Chuck showed the same calmness and clear head on the ground. After he retired.

 

In 1993, he and Mindie opened their doors and provided a safe place for my sister to stay. For as long as she needed. They put their Fort Lauderdale intercoastal home, and themselves, at great risk in doing so.

 

Without a doubt, they saved my sister’s life, physically and psychologically.

 

It’s twenty-four years later. Both Chuck and Mindie are gone. My sister survives. And, thanks to the courage and quick-thinking of those skilled in-flight relatives, our entire family has enjoyed a much longer life together.

 

And, as Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger stated, at the end of the film, to a group of the real-life Flight 1549 survivors, in a hangar in 2016, that’s what it was really about. All of the spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents that had survived, too.

 

Thank you, flight captains and crews, that do your best to keep us safe in-plane, in-flight, and on-the-ground. And against some odds that even you never talk about. To anyone!

 

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Stay safe, everyone. And, do your part, to live safe, too. RDH

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Many thanks for checking in at “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting in Purple: Rooms for Three Pals

Within a two-block radius live three elementary-age girls. Each is being reared by her natural father or grandfather, or an adoptive step-grandfather.

 

They’re the type of children for whom you want to do what you can to brighten their lives. And, they have the type of guardians you want to help, too.

 

So, what can a painter do for remarkable neighborhood girls like them?

And, how can a painter help out their caring and hardworking parental figures?

 

WELL, HE OR SHE CAN PAINT!

 

All of the girls lived in rented duplexes. Thus, redecorating needed to conform to the tenant rules of the respective property owner. Paint colors and products had to be selected and used that would be (a) easy to recoat when the current tenants moved, or (b) color-compatible with a new tenant’s needs.

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And, the products had to be child-safe. Non-toxic, non-flaking, non-flammable, non-“rub-offable.” Washable, too!

   

STARTING POINT: CHOOSING THEIR COLORS

 

All three girls loved the color “PURPLE!”

 

All three girls chose their paint colors from Glidden’s® “Make It Magical with Disney” line.

(For information: www.disneypaint.com.)

 
Girl No. 1’s Room:

  1. WALLS: Base Color no. WDMN05, Color name: Minnie’s Gloves (white).
  2. Special effects: 3 horizontal wrap-around stripes, two adjacent walls. Top/4-inches: Color no. WDMN04, Color name: Adorable Daisy. Middle/6-inches: Color no. WDMN08, Color name: Bow-tique Beauty. Bottom/12-inches: Color no. WDMN09, Color name: Purple Cuteness.
  3. DOORS/TRIM: Color no. WDMN04. Color name: Adorable Daisy.

 

Girl No. 2’s Room:

  1. WALLS: 3 walls: Color no. WDFY04, Color no. Vidia Purple; 1 wall, bookcase and closet: Color no. WDPR03 (white), Color name: A Wave of the Wand.
  2. Special effects: 4 to 8-inch diameter circles, positioned in shooting star effect from white wall onto adjoining right-hand closet wall. Color no. WDFY05, Color name: Fairy Flight; Color no. WDFY09, Color name: Pixie Purple.
  3. DOORS/TRIM: Color no. WDFY05, Color name: Fairy Flight.

 

Girl No. 3’s Room:

  1. WALLS: 4 walls: Color no. WDPR03 (white), Color name: A Wave of the Wand.
  2. Special effects: 2-inch wrap-around border: Color no. WDFY09, Color name: Pixie Purple.
  3. DOORS/TRIM: Color no. WDFY09, Color name: Pixie Purple.
  4. WOOD FURNITURE: Color no. WDFY03 (white), Color name: A Wave of the Wand.

Special effects: Tops of desk, 2 nightstands, 6-drawer dresser: Faux Swirl Pattern: Color no. 1: WDFY05, Color name: Fairy Flight (pastel lilac); Color no. 2: WDFY01, Color name: Tinker Bell (mint green); Color no. 3: WDFY09, Color name: Pixie Purple.

 

Paint and finishing products

 

Paint products: Semi-gloss and Gloss latex. Manufacturer: Glidden’s.

Stain and finish coat products: Miniwax.

 

First Things First: Scheduling and Clearing Out Rooms.

  1. Painting schedule: Week days (for each), when respective family gone for day.
  2. Clearing out: Adults (household and friends) removed wall posters, banners, pictures. They also removed table lamps, small chairs, mirrors, small shelving units; toys, stuffed animals, games; clothing and personal stuff; bed linens, pillows, curtains, small area rugs, etc.

 

Paint Project Process for Each Bedroom.

  1. Vacuuming: Room and closet. Thoroughly! Also, cleaning/dusting all furniture to be painted.
  2. Prepping: Minor patching, filling small cracks and nail holes; light sanding.
  3. Finish painting: One coat.
  4. Paint method: Smooth.
  5. Desired finish effect: Fresh, color-chip match; distinctive. New!

 

Special touches for each girl’s room, donated by groups of neighbor ladies.*
* New coordinated and washable cotton blend curtains.

* New quilted coverlets or bedspreads, and decorator pillows with removable covers.

* Two complete sets of coordinating bed linens, and 1 set of bath linens.

 

Large area rugs, donated as follows:

Girl No. 1’s Room: 9-ft. x 12-ft., Donors: Out-of-town relatives.

Girl No. 2’s Room: 12-ft. x 12-ft., Donors: Deceased mother’s aunt.

Girl No. 3’s Room: 12-ft. x 15-ft., Donors: Group of grandfather’s friends.

Biggest reason to take on a joint project like this?

Three girls starting out in life, and their three guardians who are willing to sacrifice a lot help them take each step into the future.

 

Thanks for doing what you do, including painting, to make life better for someone else.

 

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Susika’s “First Real Bedroom”

 

Susika was a ten-and-a-half year old when we met. Her aunt and U. S. Marine uncle had brought her home with them, after the mass family funeral in the Middle East. On the plane, they promised her a “real bedroom.”

 

Uncle “J.J.” and several handy friends knocked out a wall to add six feet to the small 10-feet by 9-feet space.

 

Here’s how they outfitted what Susika called her “first real bedroom.”

 

  1. On 15-feet window wall: Built in a window seat, with bookshelves on each end, and two roomy, half-cupboards underneath.
  2. On each side of window seat unit: A roomy closet: one for clothes, the other for her “stuff.”
  3. On other three walls: Wall rails and one-half wainscoting.
  4. Floor covering: Wall-to-wall, commercial grade carpeting: Colors: Pastels in pink, rose, cranberry, mint green, forest green. Pattern: Splashes and Swirls.
  5. Bed Furniture: Wood twin bed, 6-drawer dresser, 2 night tables. From uncle’s elderly neighbors.
  6. Old wooden desk and chair. Shared by her mother and “J. J.” as children.
  7. Small arm chair. Once used by older cousin, now in college.
  8. Toy chest. Originally belonged to her uncle.
  9. Bean bag chair, vinyl. Color: Hot pink. New. A gift from that cousin in college.
  10. Four-shelf, three-drawer unit. For stuffed animals and dolls. Yard sale purchase.
  11. Bulletin-White board. For hanging above desk. Purchased at Wal-Mart.

MY JOB: Paint and finish coat everything paintable. And, there was a lot.

 

Susika chose her new room’s paint colors from Glidden’s® “Make It Magical with Disney” line.

(For information: www.disneypaint.com.)

Color scheme: Soft white, pastel pinks and greens, also tinted forest green.

Paints used: Interior semi-gloss and high-gloss latexes; also artist acrylics.

 

SURFACES and AREAS, COLORS

 

Ceiling: Glidden Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand. Finish: Popcorn textured.

Upper and built-in walls, closets: Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand (tinted Pink).

Rails, vertical wood wainscoting, doors, trim; also window and cupboard doors: Color No. WDPR08. Color: Fairest of Them All.

Furniture: Color No. WDPR10. Color: Water Lily.

33-year old 4-shelf/3-drawer unit: Base coat Color No. WDPR03. Color: A Wave of the Wand; Glazed Top coat: Color No. WDPR10 Color: Water Lily. Faux application: Random sponging.

Tops of dresser and night tables: 2-coat Faux glaze. Coat 1: Color No.: WDPR10. Color: Water Lily; Coat 2: Color No. WD FY05. Color: Fairy Flight. Faux application: Sponging, Ragging.

Built-ins and Window Seat Wall: Natural Stain; Sealer/Finish coat: Low-gloss polyurethane.

 

The entire painting project took a little more than a week. I used a large, cleaned out shed to re-finish the furniture pieces. It was equipped with central A/C. All other surfaces and areas were primed and finish-coated inside of the room.

 

PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS
Paints-Primers, finish coats: Glidden’s “Make It Magical with Disney.”

Stains, finish coats: Miniwax sealers, stains, varnishes, polyurethanes.

Artist Paints/Detailing: Liquitex Acrylics.

 

Painting and decorating children’s rooms is a lot of fun. Especially, when the painter is included in the project from the theme, design, color, and pattern selection stage.

  1. Every project is different. Every child’s preferences and needs are unique.
  2. The elements – theme, design, color, pattern – vary a lot.
  3. The products and materials used, in combination, are always one-of-kind.
  4. Working creatively within the budget draws on untapped energy, imagination and resources.
  5. A special sense of satisfaction bubbles forth as a child’s “special space” takes shape.

 

ABOUT SUSIKA
Susika’s completed room was very special for an added reason. She was a war orphan, legally adopted by her only living adult relative: an American military officer. Susika’s mother, the military officer’s sister, was an American educator that taught the children of enlisted officers stationed in the Middle East. Her father was a U. S. educated Middle Eastern professor and administrator.

 

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“My own room! It’s like having my private place in Heaven.”   Susika

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Thank you, fellow painters and decorators, for brightening the lives of others.
And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Franzen: Restoring Churches and Lives

“ ‘Margret clung to the side of the overturned wood row boat. Knowing that her grip could not last much longer. Knowing that she would not make it. And the enraged waters of the North Sea would swallow her.

 

“ ‘Then, she felt a powerful hand grab her arm, and force her frozen hand from the boat’s rim. Encircling her chest. Then pulling her backward. Into the churning waves. Was she, in fact, being washed away? Or drowning?’ ”

 

These were the opening words of the true account written by the victim’s oldest brother, Franzen, in an e-mail to me. A native of Amsterdam, the third cousin was a “restoration painter of churches.”

 

“That’s why I became a painter of holy buildings,” he wrote. “To give thanks to the priest that saved my baby sister over thirty-two years ago.”

 

At a later date, Franzen took me on a virtual tour of the church in Bratislava, Slovakia that he’s been working on. It is a small structure, compared to the grand cathedral projects that he has completed in Europe and Canada. And, it holds a significant place in the painter’s life, perhaps in mine also. The church is the home parish of a group of Haytovkas originally from old Austria.

 

“Presently, I sandblast the upper spires on the roof. There are twelve of them, representing the twelve apostles. I push to finish spray before the heavy snows come. It is dangerous part,” the painter emphasized. “So high from the ground, over 4419 cm (145 feet) up. One slip of the foot. I worry. Then I remember Margret. The arms that saved her…”

 

Franzen said the upper exterior of the church had not been touched in over forty years.

 

“The surfaces were pitted by thick, pebble-looking layers of grime and pollutants from the large manufacturing plant located less than 1.6 kilometers (one mile) away. Underneath, most of the paint was chipped off. Brass was badly tarnished, and coated with sea salts and bird droppings.

 

“It was in much worse condition than the church officials believed. Much removal and repair work…”

 

Franzen said that he has been doing restorative painting since age twenty-six. Previously, he worked for a contractor that repaired and redecorated older homes, apartment buildings, shops, and large flats. My cousin explained that most of the properties were “…owned by the rich.”

 

For two years prior, he “studied the painting craft” at a trade school run by the Netherlands government. He called the training very intense.

 

“This church will be my last high project. I will be fifty-nine in December. My feet are not quite as sure as they were. I make plans to retire at sixty. Muriel and I take Gordon to cottage by sea.”

 

By the way, Franzen and his wife are caregivers for their son Gordon (28). He has severe traumatic brain injuries from a work accident in 2009.

 

Something tells me that both Gordon and the historic church structure, built over 250 years ago, are in very good hands.

With equal dedication and selflessness, a true craftsman preserves the lives of impaired persons and old buildings.

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Welcome to Palmer’s Hotel for Children!

The Palmers lived in a 20-plus room, white-framed house at the edge of Valparaiso, Indiana. Its three-story structure stood at the top of a long, hilly lane surrounded by tall, sturdy shade trees. (Perfect for climbing, by the way.) At least three dormers rose from both the front and back sides of the roof.

 

Seven days a week, the place became “Palmer’s Hotel for Children.” And, it served as a fun and safe place to “visit” for young people between 3 months and 13 years of age.

 

The “Palmer’s Hotel” had every amenity that a child could possibly wish for:

 

  1. Huge, grassy back yard with lots of room to roam.
  2. Dogs, cats, rabbits, ducks, geese, chickens, goat, lamb, ponies.
  3. Swing sets and Jungle Jims.
  4. Roomy, enclosed tree house with two sturdy ladders, with deep and generous steps.
  5. Basketball hoops, small softball diamond, badmitten net, crochet sets.
  6. Moveable play house.
  7. Vegetable garden and strawberry patch.
  8. Fruit trees and berry bushes: apple, peach, apricot; blueberry, blackberry, raspberry.
  9. Grape arbor.
  10. Two large plastic wading pools and long garden hose for hot days of summer.
  11. Small wagons, carts, tricycles, 2-wheel bikes.
  12. Two sandboxes.
  13. Games and more games.
  14. Boys and girls toy chests and stuffed animal baskets.

 

Oh, did I mention food? Sandwiches (your choice of filling and bread-spread); veggie sticks, homemade cookies, juices.

 

Of course, “Palmer’s” best amenity was Mr. and Mrs. Palmer. The adopted grandparents that every child would dream up for himself or herself.

 

The biggest treat was staying over night. My sister and I got to do that only four or five times. Usually, while our parents attended a special Saturday evening function, in the community or in Chicago.

What was so great about a sleep-over?

 

Saturday nights were party time at the Palmer’s Hotel for Children.

 

  1. Walt Disney movies, board games, card games, floor games.
  2. Huge bowls of freshly-popped corn setting on every table.
  3. Choices of fruit juices and Kool Aid flavors.
  4. Home-made Kool-Aid Popsicles.
  5. Ice cream and cake or cookies to celebrate a child guest’s birthday.
  6. Cozy-like, dorm-style sleeping space – including a doll or teddy bear if you needed one.
  7. Pals – other guests – to play with.
  8. Lots of arts and crafts supplies to make things to take home.

 

One Saturday afternoon, Mr. Palmer wanted to talk with my dad when he dropped off my sister and me. Mr. Palmer asked Dad to come by at a later date, and give him an estimate on painting the exterior of that huge house.

 

My dad offered to volunteer a paint crew to do the job. The terms: Mr. Palmer would purchase the main paint supplies. And, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer would feed the crew some lunch on paint day.

 

The date was scheduled. I got to go along and “carry water” to the men. We all ate lunch at the picnic tables where we children ate our snacks when we were “visiting.”

 

Silently, I promised that, once I could drive, I’d go by The Palmer’s Hotel and volunteer to help out with their young guests. (I did several times.)

 

Silently, I promised that, when grown up, I’d go by and volunteer my adult skills to help out once in a while. (I did once.)

 

Eventually, I entered the IBPAT apprenticeship program, and began my painting career. I promised that I’d go by and volunteer my painting skills and crew to repaint the Palmer’s Hotel for Children.

 

It was that great of a place. Mr. and Mrs. Palmer were that great of a couple. Final Note: By the time I started painting for a contractor, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer had closed down their hotel for children. And, they had retired.

 

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All grown up now? Who can you help that enriched your life as a child?

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob” today.
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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