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Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness Tips, Part 1: Be Advised, Be Aware

The people along the east-southeast coastline of Texas are still in shock. Unable to begun their recovery from Category 4 Hurricane Harvey’s direct hit less than two weeks ago. Unable to calculate their devastating losses.

 

Floridians, on the other hand, just went into their shock-mode on Monday, September 11. (Yes, exactly sixteen years after that September 11.)  Hurricane Irma had hit Florida.

 

One week earlier – Tuesday, September 5, everyone in all 73-76 counties had been put on high alert by Governor Rick Scott. The National Hurricane Center in Miami had rated Hurricane Irma a Category 4-5. It would arrive in Florida some time between September 8 and 10.

 

MOVING FORWARD…

 

It did not matter which coast the hurricane hit. The state is narrow enough, and Irma’s diameter and circumference were massive enough that, peripherally, it would paralyze a large part of the state.

 

Between September 8 and 10-11, Hurricane Irma hit every coast of Florida. And, it has paralyzed every county in Florida.

 

Until the hurricane actually hit The Keys, my sister in Southeast Broward County sat in Irma’s direct path. I was concerned, but not worried.

 

Before the hurricane reached Puerto Rico, Donna went into high gear. She activated a system that she developed in 1992, as Andrew approached. She is a veteran preparer for and survivor of Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes.

 

A lot of people were counting on her to jump right in. She’s responsible for a lot of stores and a lot of workers, and to some extent, the welfare of the workers’ families. She’s answerable to the leaders of an international corporation that had just lost a lot of stores in Southeast Texas.

 

When it comes to major hurricanes, I tend to listen to my sister more than anyone else. I knew that her advice would come in handy. Hurricane Irma was described as much bigger, much more dangerous than even Andrew had been.

 

A week ago, I had four big hurricanes under my belt. Until September 9, only the peripherals of hurricane number five – Irma – were supposed to skirt the Orlando area.

 

I was finishing this blog

 

REFLECTING ON AND RELATING TO TROPICAL STORMS

 

I was working at Seralago Hotel and Suites, Kissimmee, when two severe tropical storms caused cyclone-like whip-lashing winds, torrential rains and hundreds of land-hugging tornadoes.

 

Between August 19 and 21 of 2008, Tropical Storm Fay repeatedly plummeted the area. On June 23 and 24, 2012, Tropical Storm Debby pounced on the area with vengeance.

 

At the hotel, we took the threat of every potential Florida-bound hurricane and every tropical storm very seriously. Our two top priorities were (1) our guests and staff and (2) the structural areas being used for shelter.

 

The storms in both 2008 and 2012 left behind extensive wind and rain damage to the exteriors of buildings and around the grounds. It caused heavy water damage to many guest rooms; the main lobby, kitchen and food court, and public restrooms; and conference center. Also, it damaged both indoor and outdoor recreation areas including both swimming pools and the gazebo. It ravaged our beautiful gardens, nature sanctuary, and walkways. It uprooted flowering shrubs, bushes, trees, and vines indigenous to Florida Tropics – and the Caribbean.

 

Every person and pet on the property made it fine.

 

Everyone there helped it come out better than worse. Management, especially department directors and supervisors, pulled together. They led the staff of over 100 in disaster preparedness, survival and recovery that saved many lives, and the property. They followed a plan, somewhat similar to the one that my sister created.

 

Major hurricanes – major disasters – deserve our full attention from preparation-to-recovery. They warrant our participation. They require our joint commitment to see things through.

 

“This is going to be a very long haul,” said a long-time resident of Lake Jackson, right after Hurricane Harvey plummeted Southeast Texas. An old classmate of my mother, the man choked as he talked on a mobile phone. He and his wife were returning early from their summer home in New Mexico.

 

SEE THESE FOLLOW-UP POSTS:

 

Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 2: “THE DIRTY SIDE OF THE STORM”

 

Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 3: In the Paintshop

 

Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 4: Creating a Make-Shift Shelter

 

Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 5: Packing for Riding Out Storm

 

Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 6: Securing Inside of Your Home

 

 THE BOTTOM LINE: First protect lives, Second protect valuables. Third, if there’s any time left, protect whatever else really matters, most essential things first.

 

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Major disasters swoop in, then leave. People and pets are meant to stick around awhile.

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Stay alert, smart and safe. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

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Creating and Painting: Murals by G.B. – Part II

Do you remember the muralist, G. B., that I blogged about in December of 2015?

Well, G. B. – Gerard – resides now in an “elder care home” located in South Florida.

His knees click when he stands or bends. His arms won’t reach overhead without a painful struggle. His fingers crimp when he tries to grasp an artist’s brush for longer than three minutes. And, many tiny black dots dance through his narrowing view.

Has he given up painting?

“NEVER!” he cheered on the telephone.

Instead, guess what the 72-year old artist is doing:

He’s painting small murals on different walls throughout the facility where he resides.

He paints small flower gardens – of their choice – in the rooms of neighbors in his wing. For Marlene: a patch of red, yellow, orange, pink, and lilac Tulips. For Clara: tall Gladiolas in bright peach, coral, yellow, orange, and scarlet. For Harry: three Rosebushes full of young blooms. For Jen Lee: a garden of wild flowers: Tiger, Peace and Day Lilies; Daisies, Iris, Goldenrod, Roses.

He’s painted an herbal garden on the wall along a short hallway near the main kitchen’s pantry. In the main dining hall, he painted two wrought iron café chairs and a table, complete with a setting of Limoges Haviland tea service.

At the end of one corridor, he created a “wall” bird sanctuary. He painted in three birdhouses, a bird bath, a large ceramic frog, and “a squirrel that has seen better days.” Along another corridor, he painted butterflies. A variety of species, colors and sizes.

In January, the facility’s administrator “commissioned” Gerard to design and paint a music staf half-railing along one wall of the music and band room.

What’s next? Gerard is designing an “open-themed” half-wall mural for the “Activities Room.” He’s recruited fellow residents who want to help paint it. A group project, complete with snacks and lunch – furnished by the kitchen staff, and the administrator.

I think that G.B. – “Gerard” – is a fine example of life after life alters the way a painter – a person – must pass through it. Tweaks here and there. Some adjustments.

And changes. A part of life from birth.

Like Gerard’s 15-year old grandson e-mailed, “So what’s the big deal? Grandpére is amazing!”

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

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.

Painting Methods: Adapting FOR the Environment

It is easy to paint, when the environmental conditions are optimal. The sun is out, and the air is dry and moderately cool.

 

On many occasions, painting must be done in less than suitable conditions. It may be overcast, humid, or confined.

 

Some of it is a matter of choice. Also, the pressure to get the job done promptly.

 

The ability to adapt to environmental changes and conditions allows a painter much greater flexibility, that he or she might not see in set conditions.

 

TIPS FOR ADAPTING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

  1. When work is to be done outdoors, and whenever possible, select days that allow for the paint to dry properly, and you to work efficiently. Example: I’ve worked under humid conditions before only to see the paint run off the walls. The employer ignored recommendations to wait till conditions had improved.
  2. It is possible to enhance your working environment. Wear a hat when working in the sun. When working indoors, use a portable fan or air conditioner to improve air circulation. Some conditions, coupled with certain products, require the use of an organic vapor respirator, or a self-sustaining breathing apparatus. TIP: The driest possible air is essential for painting. At times, it is not possible.
  3. Minimize or adapt to toxic exposure by wearing protective head-to-toe clothing, gloves and safety goggles. Also, use a organic vapor respirator/fresh air supply system. Limit skin and breathing/respiratory exposure. Especially, chemicals, industrial solvents, and mold and mildew.
  4. Provide adequate ventilation, when working with chemicals. Even latex paints can cause breathing problems, and oxygen levels in the blood to decrease.

 

Working conditions can be altered in such a way as to not affect the quality or productivity of your work.

Take some time, forethought, and planning to improve where you work. And, to maximize the safety and health conditions in that work environment. On a daily basis.

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Everyone in a painter’s work space plays a role in the health and safety of that environment.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Hotel Painting During Slow Seasons

 

In lodging, the slow season varies in different regions of the country – even in certain areas within a given state.

 

The climate – weather – has a lot to do with it. So do school terms, vacation times – both school and employment; busy seasons in a specific industry, trade or business.

 

In Florida, the slow season tends to fall between the second week of January through March, or even April.

 

If you’re a staff painter working in Florida, the slower season is a good time to get things done. Fewer guests and visitors, fewer emergency calls and work orders, and fewer interruptions.

 

But, the “slow season” is also the period of lower revenues, lowered budget, and much fewer resources.

 

If you’re a contract painter, the slower period may be the right time to branch out and to do some freelance work.

 

SIX SLOW SEASON SOLUTIONS FOR THE STAFF PAINTER

 

  1. Before Day 1 of the slow season, decide with your chief engineer (a) what work orders and projects must stay on the roster, and (b) what projects must be shelved.
  2. Take a closer look at that list of necessary work orders and projects. Whittle it down by 25 percent.
  3. Then, prioritize those according to daily and weekly jobs.
  4. Next, establish a budget, or cost estimate, for each – based on the supplies needed to do each.
  5. Take a closer look. You may see that the list of necessary work orders and projects can be shortened. Example: Working on “bathrooms re-paint” project can be spread out over a longer period of time. Say five bathrooms a week or every two weeks, versus five a day.
  6. The toughest time: Shelve the “necessary” work orders and projects that require the most outlay of money for materials and supplies. Note: That may be the most money for few supplies.                  TIP: This amount may end up being your allotment for paintshop emergencies. Your contingency fund.
  7. Now you’re ready to schedule out your work load for each week during the dry spell, budget-wise.
  8. Be prepared for additional cutbacks (a) across-the-board organizationally, then (b) unilaterally throughout your Engineering Department.
  9. When you’re asked or expected to perform paintshop miracles during an already “bare bones” massive budget freeze, here’s what you do next:
  10. GET CREATIVE. GET TOUGH. GET WISE.

 

Seek out and volunteer to perform other essential tasks in your department – eg. maintenance, grounds. Volunteer to split your work-day time. Help out in another busier department that has also suffered staff cutbacks – eg. housekeeping, kitchen, guest services

 

Your bottom line objectives during any slow season:

  1. Keep the paintshop running.
  2. Keep your job.

 

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“Slower season” does not mean it’s the time for you to slow down on the job.

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Thank you for staying on task, whatever your regular job description.

 

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob” blog.

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.

Painter’s World: What You May Not Know About Black Mold

Never believe something cannot harm you just because you can’t see it. Just as a virus or bacteria can cause an infection, Black Mold fungi, offers its own type of threat to your health.

 

Basically, anything which is microscopic and exhibits the definition of being alive supports its own defense mechanism. And that’s against us.

 

Black Mold, or other similar fungi, produces spores which are unseen to the naked eye. During the stages of their metabolism, they produce by-products which are often toxic. These toxins interfere with the normal metabolism and respiration of humans.

 

WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT BLACK MOLD

 

I didn’t know much about Fungi, Black Mold, Myotoxins, etc. until I started looking into it further. The following is a list of three of the most dangerous effects from mold exposure:

 

1. Mold inhalation – Decreased hemoglobin red blood cell concentration, lowered blood gas concentration, anemia, and bronchial and/or sinus inflammation and infection.

 Symptoms: Dizziness, muscle spasms-tremors, headaches, stressed breathing, clamped oxygen supply, runny nose, burning eyes, confusion, and blurred vision.

 

2. Mold Skin Contact AbsorptionAnemia, change in basal respiration rate, lowered blood gas concentration, subcutaneous pustules, lesions, and widespread rash.

Symptoms: Skin irritation, itching, burning, dizziness.

 

3. Long-Term Effects (most important) -Prolonged exposure that often causes an irreversible anemic health condition. Stem cell differentiation development within the bone marrow that’s affected by cases severe mold exposure. Change in the Hemostasis of hemoglobin/red cell relationship is altered.

***Secondary effects – Permanent respiratory illnesses such as chronic and/or acute Sinusitis, Bronchitis, Asthma, and Sinus tract cysts; irritation and/or inflammation of the mucus membranes. Also partial obstruction of the airway. Because of past exposure, susceptibility to allergic reactions from common dust and pollen.

 

HEALTH PREVENTION OF MOLD EXPOSURE

 

1. When cleaning: Wear protective suit, gloves and head covering; also proper respiratory equipment such as a charcoal, organic vapor respirator, or a self-contained, fresh air supply system. Note: Dust mask is totally inadequate.

2. If infestation is invasive: Use garden sprayer with 50/50 bleach-water, or peroxide solution. Spray infected area. Promptly remove yourself from the area until the solution has degraded the mold. Then you may clean and remove by hand what is left. When the removal of mold is completed, rinse entire area with fresh water – either by hand or with a garden sprayer.

3. Ventilate! Ventilate! Ventilate! In the area where you’re working, always provide adequate ventilation when spraying bleach or similar toxic chemicals. Open windows. And use circulating fans. The cleaning process will be much safer, and go much smoother.

 

IF AND WHEN YOU’RE EXPOSED TO MOLD…

 

1. Seek a clean, fresh air environment as soon as possible. Go outside if necessary.

2. Get help now! Someone needs to assist you and call “Emergency 911” and “Poison Control” – your chief engineer,  security director, member of management, teammate.

3. If you suffer a rash or burn of any kind, use a baking soda/water solution, calamine lotion, or a hygienic glycerol soap to help reduce skin irritation.

4. In severe cases, it may be necessary to get a steroid injection. This depends on whether or not your entire body is affected.

 

IN THE CASE OF MOLD EXPOSURE…

…what you don’t know will hurt you.

 

1. I developed both chronic and acute sinusitis from daily exposure to massive amounts of toxic levels of mold plus the toxic cleaning agents, over a period of six years.

2. On a daily basis, I took the proper precautions. I used the products and safety tools and equipment provided and authorized by the chief engineer, and property management and owners.

3. But the amount of mold was too great, for too long of a time.  According to health and environmental specialists, “a person could not have come out of it without suffering ill effects.”

4. The physicians have said I was fortunate. A strong majority of persons develop Asthma. In addition, a large number are also diagnosed, eventually, with Sinus and Bronchial Cancer, and/or Lung Cancer.

 

WHEN TREATING MOLD…

Whether at home or on the job, take your time. And work safely.

Take care of yourself and the others around you.

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Everyone wants to go home at the end of the day!

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

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