Archive for the House Category

Extreme Garage Makeover: My 1990’s Acura Showroom

Posted in House, ILX, Integra, Legend, NSX, Vigor on October 12, 2016 by tysonhugie

Descending order!

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  548,712


Odometer (Integra):  237,380


Odometer (ILX):  183,721


Odometer (Legend Sedan):  150,668


Odometer (Vigor):  106,293


Odometer (NSX):  106,150


Total Miles:  1,332,924.  1.3 million miles!

Time-travel back with me about a quarter-century to those glorious early 1990s.  I was only about 10 but I still remember them fondly.  You turn on your FM radio and it’s Ace of Base “The Sign.”  Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, and Toy Story are big hits at the box office.  And if you stroll down to your local Acura dealership, you might see vehicles like this:




The Acura brand, at the time only about 5 years old, was having a heyday.  The NSX debuted as a world-class supercar with uncanny reliability.  The second-generation Legend was selling like crazy – some 65,000 units in the 1991 model year alone.  The Vigor was a brand new model with the touring comfort of its larger Legend sibling but with nimble handling.  And the Integra GS-R boasted a 1.7 liter VTEC motor with more horsepower-per-liter than any other motor in the world.  Life was good.

Oh, and all those cars in the picture?  They’re stick shifts.  Did you know that there is no new Acura sold today that has a clutch pedal?  That in itself is one more reason why I hang onto the past like this.


Last weekend, I called upon the expert services of the most efficient, hard-working construction crew I’ve ever known:  My family.  Between my dad and my brother, there is no home or car repair task that can’t be completed (in record time).  When I bought my new Phoenix home in late August, the main selling factor was the fact that it had two garages.

For the last 5 years, I’d been renting storage units in different parts of town to accommodate all of my vehicles, so when the opportunity arose to pick up a home that could fit them all, I worked quickly and made it happen.  (For reference, back in March at an NSX meet I had been lusting after a local club member’s place which similarly had gargantuan parking possibilities).

There was still just one hurdle:  The largest garage was split into two separate 2-car units with a garage door at each end.  This was fine for the previous owner, Charlie, who used half the garage for his woodworking & welding, and the other half for his two vehicles.  But I had other plans for the space:  I wanted to knock out the separating wall and create one gigantic Acura automotive storage mecca.  And that I did!  Or rather, my dad, brother, and stepmom did.


Here’s a look at the progression taken from the south entrance in just 4 photos.

1 – Prior owner’s stuff:


2 – Space cleared out, wall still there:


3 – Wall removed, finish work underway:


4 – Garage completed, vehicles staged:


The Friday morning after a 12-hour drive from northern Utah, my garage makeover crew set to work on the task ahead.  Due to limited time-off at my new job, I had to go into the office.  After settling in to check emails, I decided to walk across the street to Starbucks.  At 7:32 a.m., my brother sent me 2 photos.  He and dad had already torn down the wall!  There were dangling wires and a few boards, but I couldn’t believe how much larger the space looked.  It made my day.


Friday afternoon I joined the work crew and assisted with masking and taping off so that my dad could spray the paint on (a much more efficient way to tackle a large surface area than using rollers).  The garage turned into a cloud of misty white air as dad applied two coats.  Smartly we shut the garage doors so that the cars in the backyard didn’t end up with overspray.


We installed 3 matching ceiling fans and hung up two banks of cabinets in the southeast corner for my detailing supplies and tools.  The final step was general clean-up and the hanging of a few banners and signs.  Dad sprayed the garage out with the hose to get rid of the dust and debris, and then we did a quick wipe-down of each of the 5 cars that would be going into the showroom.  Even my 4-year-old nephew Beckam gave us a hand for that chore.


I’d had months to think about how best to position the vehicles within the space, and I wanted to keep things symmetrical.  We ended up putting the two sedans at the north end, the two coupes at the south end, and the NSX centered in the middle at a 45-degree angle.  I even finally had a use for the aluminum display stand that my other brother, Payton, had built for me earlier this year.


I couldn’t be happier with the results.  When the 7 fluorescent light tubes kick on and gleam against our bright white ceiling & wall paint, it’s shocking.  Next on the list (but a ways down the road) will be a floor coating, which means I really ought to get some leaks addressed on the cars before I do that.  The Vigor is dropping oil, and the Legend coupe leaves a trail of power steering fluid virtually everywhere it goes.

My family members and I finished out the weekend by planting a couple of citrus trees in my backyard.  For 10 years I’ve been living in Arizona and my dad has been wanting to harvest oranges and grapefruits, so we are finally making it happen.  Below are the rest of the pics!


Edit 10/15/16:  Just confirmed for kicks that I can get 6 cars in the main garage pretty comfortably.  Sweet.





Taking a look at the plans


Before – south garage (prior owner)


Before – north garage (prior owner)


Before wall removal – north garage


Cars parked in the backyard awaiting their new home


Wall coming down


Dad working on wall removal


Getting ready for paint


Visit from friends Kyle and Matt


Out on the town with my brother Bentley, Lance, and Rob


Cars got rained on while they were ALL outside!


Nephew Beckam gives us a hand with weed removal


Cars parked in the back – with Beckam’s Power Wheels pickup


Taking a break


Getting closer!


Posters ready to go


Family dinner at Switch Restaurant on Central Ave


Final spray down of the floor


Posters getting put up


Vigor wash


Legend sedan wash


Tucked away


Dad and Beckam with the finished product






Artwork is ready to install, like this framed Legend coupe poster:


New NSX interior!  I don’t think I’d shown this yet.  Fresh leather.


And a bath for the ILX so it doesn’t feel forgotten in its separate garage.


First Week of Work; Another Honda Purchase

Posted in House, Legend, Road Trip on September 11, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  544,647


Odometer (ILX):  181,139


Owning a 544,000 mile car is not without its share of drama!  I just got the Legend back on Friday from receiving a replacement starter under warranty from Hon-Man in Tempe, Arizona.  The old one was an aftermarket unit installed in December 2015 that had intermittent issues.  A couple of weeks ago, I had to push-start the car (alone!) in a Great Clips parking lot in Fountain Hills after getting a haircut.  That was embarrassing.  Luckily, Hon-Man took great care of me.  I also had the car’s oil changed yesterday.

We are good to go!  On Tuesday evening, we (as in me + you, my readers) will depart on a 3,800 mile round-trip drive to Georgia and back.


The car received a backyard bath yesterday evening, though I know it’ll get plenty dirty on its cross-country journey across 6 states in the coming days.  I’ll depart Tuesday after work and do my best to post nightly updates like the ones I gave when Jason and I took our Alaska trip earlier this year.


I still have the training wheels on, but I made it through my first week (well, first 4 days) of work at my new job with Banner Health.  Luckily for me, I have a sidekick (Amanda) who started the same day as I did so I don’t have to feel like the only new kid on the block.  Tuesday was filled with a half-day or orientation followed by an introduction to our teammembers.  The Banner “Corporate Center” at Phoenix Plaza is comprised by two 21-story identical towers at the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Thomas Avenue.  My team sits on the 4th floor of the south tower.


As with any large organization, we had our share of hoops to go through this week to get up to speed.  Still, I have no work-issued laptop computer and I’m using a “loaner.”  And it took us until day 3 to get ahold of our parking passes and elevator badges.  In all, I’m toting around 6 different badges on my lanyard.  I’d better not lose it!

Access granted:


The team has been most welcoming and I’m starting to wrap my head around the new language and tasks.  My role operates in the Medicare & Medicaid realm which means I need to get acquainted with all the laws, regulations, and rules that govern those programs.  It’s been a crash course in learning acronyms!  EHR, CPOE, MIPS, MACRA, CQM, CAH… these all mean something and sooner than later, I’m going to need to be familiar with the dialect!


One interesting thing about commuting to my new office:  If I want to, I can use the “Suicide Lanes.”  These are on 7th Avenue and 7th Street in central Phoenix, which run north-south.  It’s basically a turning lane that becomes a through-travel lane during certain hours of the day to ease traffic congestion at rush hour.  It changes direction based on time of day:  From 6-9 a.m. on weekdays, the the suicide lanes run southbound.  From 4-6 p.m., they run northbound.  And at any other time of the day – and all throughout the weekend – they’re used as turning lanes.


The VW Jetta in this picture was using a suicide lane during my morning commute the other day.  Notice how the double-yellow lines are “broken” (not solid).  The suicide name – as you can imagine – comes from the fact that it’s possible to meet a clueless motorist head-on who doesn’t understand how the lanes’ directions are managed.


The last bit of this week’s fun comes from another Honda purchase (as if I needed another!).  This one is rear-wheel-drive, with a twin-blade design.  It’s a self-propelled, variable-speed, 21-inch Honda lawnmower that I snagged from The Home Depot yesterday afternoon.  I didn’t get a key-handoff photo (if there had been a key, I would have ) but it was love at first sight when I saw the box being brought out.  The slogan on the box read “Very Smart.”  Go Honda.


Assembly was a piece of cake – extend the handle, add oil, adjust cutting height, and fire it up.  The owner’s manual said that the mower had been started from the factory so I assumed there might be a little gas in the tank.  There wasn’t.  Luckily I had some fuel in the garage so I filled it up and let her rip.  Cutting time was about an hour to cover both the front and back yards.  I even got fancy and striped the front lawn diagonally.


Kyle and Dan stopped by to give their approval of my latest purchase.


Video of the first start-up.

Hope everyone else had a great week!  Here are the rest of my pics.

I was greeted with a welcoming gift and this sign in my cube:  The cow comes from “MU,” or “Meaningful Use,” which is the department in which I’m working.


Doing some heavy-duty training on Day 2 at work.


The new lawnmower had my name on it.  Literally.


“Legendary” performance.  This thing is perfect for me!


Finished product.  I love the backyard.  My swing is still broken, as shown here.


Lastly:  My friends Scott and Sandy were featured this week on Petrolicious!  Check out the video segment on their story, including awesome visuals of their 1959 Mercury Park Lane and their 1992 Acura NSX.


Getting Settled at the New House; Career Changes Underway

Posted in House on September 5, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  544,575


Odometer (ILX):  181,009


I’m a week into ownership of my new home and it’s feeling like a great place to be!  Along with getting my bearings in the neighborhood and getting a few things unpacked, I’ve added 18 entries to my guest book.  There’s just one thing that’s become a bit of a nuisance:  I’m in such a centrally located area of town that my friends are always passing by, and they’ve taken it upon themselves to say hello each time they do.  Take Jack, for instance.  Each morning he drives down my street and gives me a hefty series of honks.  The neighborhood may never be the same!

I actually love the visitors and I feel more connected to my friend network than ever.  Travels have taken a backseat for now, but I’ll get my fill of the open road next week when I head out on a 3,600 mile round-trip drive to Atlanta for NALM.  It’s been nice to have a chance to stick in town.  Best of all, I had some special visitors here to help me break in the new pad.  Like Grandma, who came down with my mom for the Labor Day holiday weekend.


There are also some changes in the works for me career-wise.  After nearly 8 years with CVS Health, I had my last day with the company on Thursday.  My departure was quiet and uneventful – just the way I’d wanted it – but I will definitely miss many of the great folks who I’d worked with there.

Out with the old:


In with the new:


The next chapter in my career path will take me to the corporate office of Banner Health, a health system based in the Phoenix area that operates 23 hospitals.  I’ll be one of about 40,000 colleagues working for the company (making it the largest employer in the state, with Walmart a close second).  My role is in the “Meaningful Use” department at the corporate office.  It’s a 3.5-mile one-way commute.  Breeze!  You know I’m obsessed with timelines and tracking.  Here’s how this one played out:

  • July 18:  Online application completed
  • July 21:  Contacted by recruiter via email
  • July 25:  Phone interview with recruiter
  • July 29:  Received follow-up email from recruiter
  • August 2:  Phone interview with hiring manager
  • August 10:  On-site, 1-hour, 4-person panel interview
  • August 11:  Offer extended
  • August 15:  Offer accepted
  • September 1:  Last day with CVS
  • September 6:  Start date with Banner

I’ll let the photos tell the story about my last week or so.

Here’s a photo of my home while being irrigated.  It’s a little unnerving to see the water level like this but it’s all by design and the yard is specifically “dished” to hold the water in.  Flooding takes place once every two weeks.


View looking south to the backyard from the rear-facing garage door.


My new license plate came for the Integra this week!


CVS main office.


And my new office.  I’ll be on the 9th floor here, I think.


Just for kicks, I pulled 4 of the cars into the backyard for a photo.


The new neighbors will soon learn I’m nuts, just like my old ones did!


Arrival of grandma and mom from St. George, Utah on Friday afternoon.


Dinner group out on the town that evening with a few friends.


Car wash party at Kyle’s on Saturday morning, with Kyle’s pup “Cowboy” supervising.


I gave mom’s 2004 G35 a bath.  It only has 27,000 miles on it.


Lance and grandma playing Boggle before our BBQ.


Dinner group.


Following is a short video about a very special Honda fan.  Helen Musselman has now been featured in the Honda “Kokoro” series of videos for her role as the founder and operator of a Tucson-based motorcycle dealership that has been around since Honda’s earliest days.  Thanks to my friend Charles Schnieber for sharing it with me.

Have a great week!

My New House in Central Phoenix: Introduction and Quick Tour

Posted in Arizona, House on August 28, 2016 by tysonhugie

Odometer (U-HAUL Truck):  52,122


Odometer (Legend coupe):  544,457


Odometer (Legend sedan):  150,595


Odometer (Vigor):  105,948


Odometer (Integra):  237,259


Odometer (ILX):  180,646


Odometer (NSX):  I don’t know!  It’s coming back from my brother’s place in a few weeks!


I’ve moved into a garage.  Well, not literally, but pretty much.

On Friday, August 26th, I officially closed on a new house that has more garage space than living space, and I’m totally okay with that.  Allow me to introduce my residence in central Phoenix.  Conveniently located in the up-and-coming “Uptown” area, this 1949 place started life as a simple, brick, 3-bedroom, 1-bath home.  It was later remodeled to incorporate an additional bedroom, bathroom, and laundry on the east end.  Then finally – and most importantly – a massive multi-car garage was tacked on and the existing carport was enclosed as well.  Here was the photo from the for-sale listing that I first saw.


My (2 or 3) avid blog followers may recall that it was Friday, May 27th when Jason and I drove to the Arctic Circle in Alaska.  Later that same day, my friend Rob in Phoenix sent me a text message saying that there was a home with a 5-car garage for sale near him.  My interest was piqued but I was far too busy road tripping to think about real estate transactions.  Besides, I was perfectly content in Scottsdale even though it meant renting out storage units in other parts of town for a couple of my cars.  I’d been doing it for over 7 years and was used to the routine.  Here was Rob’s text convo (a screen shot from his phone, and the photo is now missing).


The Alaska trip concluded and I got back to my daily grind without thinking twice about the Phoenix home.  About a week later, Rob sent another text.  “Price drop of $20,000 on the 5-car garage.”  “Oh yeah,” I thought.  “I should at least do a drive-by.”  And I did so that weekend.  I liked the home.  While sitting in the car – my Legend sedan, as it were – in front of the house, I pulled out my phone and shot a quick email over to my friend (and real estate agent) Leif.  That was June 11th.  Here’s what I said:


The rest of the story – and it’s full of twists and turns, I assure you – I’ll leave for another day if I end up sharing it at all.  But hundreds of emails, thousands of dollars, and almost three months later, I own the home.


Or rather, my mortgage company owns it, but my name’s on the paperwork!  Here’s a summary of the timeline:

  • May 27 – Notified of the house
  • June 5 – Return from Alaska
  • June 6 – Price drop of $20k
  • June 11 – Emailed my agent
  • June 21 – Sellers accepted my contingent offer, my home listed
  • June 29 – Lowered my price $4,500
  • July 8 – Lowered my price $5,000
  • July 18 – Lowered my price $5,000
  • July 27 – Offer accepted
  • August 4 – First buyer fell through
  • August 8 – Back-up buyer’s offer accepted
  • August 12 – Inspection performed
  • August 26 – Final repairs completed, both properties closed!

It really was a miracle that things came together in the time that they did.  I cannot say enough about the level of professionalism and skill of my real estate agent, Leif Swanson.  He was so organized and on the ball.  Every meeting we had, his paperwork was filled out in advance and he had the ultimate of respect for my time.

Here’s the verbatim summary from the for-sale listing of my new home:

Beautiful 4 Bed, 2 bath, 1552 sq ft, 5 car garage (split into 3 separate garage units, 2/2/1) lovingly remodeled by artist and engineer. Large back yard, fully landscaped with garden/utility shed, w/ irrigated lot. Split, open floor plan, neutral color palette, 6″ baseboards & crown molding. Large screened patio, breezeway, dusk to dawn outdoor lighting. Interior tile flooring, newer dual pane windows, shutters/blinds, soft water unit, electric hot water tank, and updated 200 Amp electric service. Renovations have been legally permitted & approved through the City of Phoenix. Open kitchen offers pantry, Granite Island, stainless French door refrigerator, and in-island convection oven. See Doc tab for list of additional items to convey.

The property itself is a corner lot with over 10,000 square feet in area — twice as large as the piece of land I sold in Scottsdale.  Can you say yard maintenance?  That will be a new experience for me!  Guess it’s time to start shopping for a Honda lawnmower.

I wasted no time in having company over, as my friend Branson flew down from Salt Lake City to spend the weekend with me.  Following are just a few of the many photos sharing the events of this exciting transaction!

Check the 6-minute video for a full tour.  Be sure and watch to the very end for a fun blooper.

Home before remodel (taken from Google) – May 2014


After remodels – June 2016.  Extreme makeover?


U-HAUL time!  I put 78 miles on this thing and it took 2 trips to get my furniture transported.


Retrieving the last load from Scottsdale.


This is how my die-cast model cars were transported.  More on that in a second!


Starting to get settled in.


Retrieving the Legend sedan from the storage unit where it had lived for the last 2 years.


Clean-up time at the Scottsdale home!


The banner was the last thing to come down.


Unloading at the new house, with some help from Rob and his Ford Escape.


James paid us a visit in his Fiat that day.


Visit from Lance from Seattle who I bought the Integra from.


Enjoying my back patio.


Saying goodbye to the Scottsdale place one last time.


Friends Chandler, James, Jack, and Rob at the new pad


Following up with Charlie and Cindy, who I bought the new place from.  They’d left me detailed (and laminated) notes on each of the plants on the back patio, with care instructions!


Charlie and Cindy were great.  They’ve even now sent me photos from throughout the home’s remodel!  There was a fireplace removed, a wall pulled down, and the original casement windows were repurposed as a gate in the backyard.


Original windows


Gate to alleyway


The final transaction details came to me via text.  The deal was final as of 2:01 p.m. on Friday the 26th!


Making it official with a key handoff.  My neighbor Drew took the photo for us.


This is now the first time in over 4 years of ILX ownership that the car will have a garage space.


Removal of the for-sale sign the following morning.


Visit from Justin


Climbing on top of the roof with Branson to find a new home for the model cars.




Pulling the Vigor out onto the back driveway for a day-trip.


James and his mom paid a visit, too.


Official change-of-address confirmation received!  Pretty sweet!


Now, time to try out some of the neighborhood cuisine…


Come visit me!