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Dale Hodgins

master pollinator
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since Jul 28, 2011
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Recent posts by Dale Hodgins

I do the same as Eric and often just deal with whatis said in the last little bit of a thread.

Power tools could be considered automation. I have a bunch of cutting to do tomorrow, to separate one portion of a building from another and I have two decks to remove. If I did all of this with hand tools, I wouldn't be half done when my time runs out , and I wouldn't have the opportunity to live the way I do.
I really landed on my feet today. Two of the demolition hoses turned out that they are good enough that we may move them. The other has useful stuff. So instead of being maybe 4 or $5,000 worth of work for just me, it may produce as much as 100,000 worth of work for the house moving company and I will still get mine, by doing the preparation work. And we should keep about 100 tons of building materials in use, instead of crunched up at the dump. Hooray me!
I have decided to temporarily live in the one beside the golf course in an upscale area. I'll be preparing it for transport. It has really nice front loading laundry facilities which are in use right now, since I will hold onto laundry for two months rather than go to a laundromat. I have electricity, hot water and all of the appliances, even a microwave. They will lift this house on Monday morning, but I may still live here a little longer, depending on what happens with the others. Two of them are still occupied.

I will probably only have two days worth of electricity. But my laundry is already in process and I have cooked up enough stuff to do me for 3 days, just in case they cut it off tomorrow. My day will start with anything that uses electricity, then when it gets cut I switch to my cordless Milwaukee Tools, including lights. And I will be camping in style again until the next one.

I almost always do this alone, but there have been times when I have had homeless helpers. I have found that guys will really work, if they know that being kept for the next day means having a hot bath and living in a house until the job ends. When this happens, I go all-out in the cooking department, since those guys never get to eat the quality of stuff that I make. One time, I got the job of removing a lumber yard and I had three guys living on the job with me. It was like a frat house. We watched Arnold movies and UFC until the wee hours, while constantly stuffing ourselves with things off of my barbecue. But come morning, I was all slave driver again . Nice work if you can get it.
1 day ago
I added quite a bit to my post above. I'm moving to one of the houses today.

One of my neatest finds was a World War 1 bayonet from Australia. I've also come up with minor amounts of costume jewellery, and the best one ever was when $1,350 came down with a ceiling tile.

1 day ago
I don't want anything that many people would call a job, but I do want work that gives me money. So, I sell my service and I usually have more than one way to pay myself. I receive the amount that I charge each day, plus I get to sell all sorts of building components that are residual to what I do.

Today is an exciting day , because I'm going to look at one house that is to be moved and 3 that are to be demolished. The mover house will be pretty simple mathematically. I get $350 per day, plus I get to sell the bricks and components from any portion of the building that has to be cut off for transport. It's only going to be 4 days and I will probably make $1,600. But it could end up being over $2,000 if there's some goodies.

The three demo houses are still an unknown for me. I may make $500 grabbing a bunch of copper and other things in a single day but if it's really good houses and enough time I may make $10,000 and spend a month there. So you can see why I'm anxious to get a look at them. I'd like to have another $500 and I would really really like to have another $10,000. :-)

I really enjoy that treasure hunt portion of my job. The first thing I do after getting the rights to a new house is run around to every crevice to see what people have left for me. Mostly junk, but also lots of neat tools, artifacts of dubious quality and sometimes highly saleable furniture and other things. If you do that at any sort of regular job , you get locked up.
I live at my jobs. I finished a job on Saturday, but decided to stay in the house on Saturday night, because that makes me effectively homeless until the next job starts. Last night was my first one in a long time that I spent in the car. Very comfortable, because I know exactly what I'm doing, but a little cramped.

I'm moving to a new house today, but I don't know which one it will be. Sometimes there's electricity and sometimes there's not. I don't usually get to choose between 4 different ones on a single day. One of them is in a very upscale area, so I will be living large, maybe.

So this is another aspect of my job that isn't like a normal job. Just imagine if you told the boss at an office that you're planning to sleep beside your desk from now on and that the staff room has become your kitchen. This would not go over well, at the vast majority of workplaces.

If I ever get to tear down your workplace, I'm going to do exactly that, and if you leave anything behind, I'm going to rummage through your desk. I'm wearing really nice dress shoes at a jacket that I found in a closet, in one of the houses... regular jobs just don't accommodate that type of behaviour. ☺
1 day ago
I read Collapse when it first came out. Diamond predicted that Haiti was one natural disaster away from complete economic and social breakdown. Then a couple years later it happened. He attributed it to them farming their soil down to the bedrock. Societies don't survive the complete destruction of their soil.
2 days ago
I wouldn't suggest any sort of partnership. Nobody with a lick of sense is going to do that with someone without experience. Let them contract the job and take care of insurance and everything else, with the agreement that you get to salvage stuff.
3 days ago
Call excavating companies and demolition companies. These are people who are likely to be disposing of houses using machinery. Ask them if you can go in ahead of time.

This will be barely worth it for framing materials but there's generally other good things that can be grabbed. I have 3 salvage houses coming up that I have to check out on Tuesday, and I'm very excited about it since I haven't had any of those in more than 6 months. I would guess that on average I come out with better than $500 per day, when I'm doing a smash-and-grab. That's where I have free reign on a house, to take anything I like and continue until I reach diminishing returns.

If you get permission to go into a house that's being demolished, wear a good quality mask and protect yourself in other ways. Don't make a big mess outside. Start at the highest value items and work your way down, and eventually you may get to salvaging the lumber you are looking for. Go for the copper, which can be $3 a pound, then any antique looking fixtures, good quality tongue and groove materials, interior doors, furnaces Etc. If you plan to salvage exterior windows and doors, be sure to cover the opening with something.

Sites like Craigslist can work, but you probably want to structure your ad to where you are offering a service. So you'd want to offer complete demolition of whatever it is, and charge for that. It doesn't matter that you don't know how much to charge. Bring in someone with an excavator. Get them to give a price, with the agreement that you get a couple hundred on the side, for bringing them the lead and you get a few days to go over the place before they crunch it.

I've been doing this sort of stuff for 25 years. I started in pretty much the way I'm describing and it hasn't changed much. After you have an arrangement made with an owner, don't delay. They might also tell their friends that they can take anything they want, and you get to the job only to find that the best stuff has been grabbed. Make the deal and show up with your tools that day, to grab all of the most easily removed items. Be sure to secure each building whenever you leave.

I tend to not leave, as documented in my thread about living at work. I stay and guard my stuff, like a rabid Pitbull. I also sell the majority of product from the location where it is produced. Whenever I need to build something , I have my own lumber yard. But I never haul shit around if it's to be sold. I try to sell it right where it sits.
4 days ago
Another day and another house. This one is in Sidney British Columbia. It's nothing special, just a simple 1970s box. Some dirty rotten bastard stole the only toilet. They also took the sink and the shower nozzle. Water lines were cut.

So this means I'm showering at Starbucks. I do get my money's worth when I spend $2.50 for tea. I fill it three times, the last time with chocolate, I charge batteries, shower and make video calls to my wife in the Philippines. It would be so much more expensive to maintain an office.

On the bright side, the house is squeaky clean and I have moved into a very comfortable carpeted bedroom. There is a temporary power pole so I have been able to run the microwave and keep my tools going.
My wife has only seen how I live through photos and video calls, and she can't seem to let go of the fact that I provide her family with a nice townhouse, while living in a transient manner. She has worried that my family will have a problem with it. But I have told her that they have watched me do this for long enough, that they know that she is not the cause of it. I have agreed to make some changes once we are both living and working in Canada. And whenever we live in the Philippines, we will live on our own property there.

This lifestyle works for a single man who is resourceful and extremely tight with money. Nova would like to do the work, but she wants us to have a nice camper van or something of that nature when we go to distant jobs.

She has lived in some truly horrific conditions. Not just dirty, but also dangerous and without pay. So it won't be hard for her to make it comfortable home in a campervan or whatever. Nova can turn $10 worth of bamboo into a comfortable spot.

Nothing of much value is free in the Philippines. Every time I show her all of the free stuff that comes with this job, she marvels at the wastefulness of our society.

I fully expect to do some transient living in the future, but with one of the world's best cooks and homemakers at my side. I'm going to buy the ultimate data package and maybe even stock up on DVDs. If I named 100 movies, she has only seen one of them. So although still mobile, I expect it to be a much more orthodox lifestyle in the future. I'm not getting soft, just moving forward.
4 days ago