John Rung, President and CEO
Lately I have been doing a lot yardwork. Of course, “a lot” is a relative term. As far as gardening goes, I used to do “none” and now I do “some,” so that seems like a lot to me. Mostly I pull weeds and spray weed killer on the grass that comes up through the mulch. My wife showed me how to make homemade weed killer with vinegar, dish soap, and Epsom salt. It saves a lot of money and seems to work just as well as the chemical-laden spray you buy at the store.
Since the pandemic, in addition to the vast amount of time I’ve invested in high-level gardening, we’ve also cleaned up the basement, put new floors in the first floor, and had some new downspouts installed. My wife started a vegetable garden in the backyard.
I guess when life gives you lemons, it’s best to try and make as much lemonade as possible. We’ve lived in our house for 17 years, and it probably looks better now than at any other time since we moved in.
Don Bricker, Chief Operating Officer
I count myself among the lucky ones who have found a way to get a lot done around the house during these crazy times. At the top of the list was a floor to ceiling reorganization of the garage. Not overly exciting, but a project where how long I’ve planned to get to it is counted in years. It took three solid days and six trips to Goodwill, but it’s done. It wasn’t rocket science, but it does feel like an accomplishment. This month, the painters are coming. We’ve got a number of small painting projects and this seemed like a great time to get them handled, so the end of August will knock another project off the to-do list. We’ve also had a plumber visit, bought a new refrigerator and I got a new pickup truck. That last one is not exactly home improvement, but it does look great in the garage.
Stacia Hahn, Chief Financial Officer
How about building a new home for a pandemic home improvement project? Actually, we started on the build in April of 2019 with it scheduled to be done in May of 2020. So, when COVID hit and businesses were ordered to shut down, I was immediately concerned that it would be delayed and who knew for how long. Not good.
The great news was that construction was categorized as an essential business. Then I started thinking about supply chain and could our builder get the needed items to complete the project? A quick conversation with them and they assured me that most orders needed for completion had been placed and we should be good to go.
This was by far the biggest project I’ve bitten off in my lifetime. If I counted the amount of emails, texts, phone calls that took place over this period I might lose it (cry or laugh). It’s literally thousands. Decisions such as type of trim, flooring, cabinets, kitchen design, windows, patio stone, landscape design, paint color, lighting, deck cabling, smart home features, furniture choices, doggie gates for Madison, and on and on. It does make your head spin.
I wanted everything perfect. This was a large investment for Eric and I and it was our home. In the end, the sleepless nights, countless amount of design decisions, and hard work by all our skilled contractors helped us wrap up our dream home in the middle of the pandemic of 2020. We love it.
Jennifer Heintzelman, General Manager, Sauk Valley Media
Some of my not-so-finer traits – I’m a chronic list maker and I can’t sit idle for very long. Once the pandemic was upon us and travel plans canceled, I started my own honey-do list. We had been wanting to get the landscaping in better shape so I started with some larger projects outdoors. Mulching flower beds, transplanting perennials, starting my flower pots and staining decks topped my list. I hauled 8 yards of mulch myself by wheel barrow and put three coats of stain on the decks. It was hot, sweaty work but it helped with the tan and burning some of those COVID calories. Planting flowers is very therapeutic so I didn’t consider that a chore. The reward for crossing projects off my list was adding others. Once finished outside I made my way inside. This summer I’ve gotten more accomplished with household projects than I can ever recall. Not all bad has come from the pandemic, I’ve enjoyed the rare opportunity of having extra time to get stuff done.
What were you able to cross off your project list during the COVID-19 pandemic?