Rhode Island Home Depot

The Rhode Island Home Depot is good for paint on any other day other than Saturday. For all other things it is pretty much hit or miss. If you need a part, I mean really need a part or something particular, go out to Maryland. If you need something in general like, soil, any sort of tile, light fixtures and you’re not particular, Rhode Island will do.

Of course it may have been too much to ask for when I was looking for insulation strips for the doors and windows. They didn’t have the size I needed. So I may have to go back to the ghetto methods of paper towels in the crevices. This is what you have to do when you have Section 8 windows.

I could also check the Logan Hardware store on the other end of Shaw. I am at times amazed at how much stuff can fit in such a tiny store. One time I needed a blade for my hacksaw and they had what I needed. I know they are good for toilet parts.

I’m glad there is a Home Depot in the city, nearby. However I wish they weren’t the home improvement store equivalent of the Soviet Safeway.

From Showrooms to Showplaces (washingtonpost.com)

From Showrooms to Showplaces (washingtonpost.com) is an article I came away reading with the lesson you should own your own property.

This weekend I stopped by my hairdressers, a U Street area business, ’cause I’m getting kinda nappy and had to make an emergency appointment. We got to talking about the changes in the neighborhood because she bought her shop in the late 60s or early 70s when the neighborhood was really down and out. She sort of complained that she keeps getting all sorts of mail encouraging her to sell her shop. She won’t and I hope she doesn’t. I won’t let anyone else touch my hair, she is THAT good. So I am glad she owns the property where she operates, so she will leave when she retires.

The businesses that have seemed to survive the gentrification of the 14th street area own the property where they sit. The Washington Post article points out the Sam’s Pawnbrokers as one of the business from the hard days of Logan that has remained because the owner refuses to sell. Businesses that lease their property are subject to the whims of the property owners. As a property owner you have more control over what happens to the property, but there is the risk of the property turning into an albertros around ones neck when it is difficult to offload.

The same can apply to residential property as well. People who own their homes are not subject to the whims of landlords, just the DC Tax Office. Those from the hard lean crack filled days of Shaw may remain provided they own their homes. Everyone else is subject to the needs and wants of their landlords, the government’s housing programs, and whatever.

Crackhead scene in Shaw

The following is a overdramatic scene of an incident that actually occurred recently.

Cue Martial Arts background music.

Close up of Shaolin Middle Class Master (SMCM) peering out of window and widescreen of SMCM rushing out of house to confront….. Crackhead Warrior who is urinating in the front yard of the adjoining rowhouse.

SMCM: What are you doing? (lips still moving)

Crackhead Warrior: Uh wha? I live here!

SMCM: I challenge you with my superb logic saying that it is wrong to pee in public!

Crackhead Warrior: Well I deflect your reasoning with my crackhead logic that says I have the right to pee.

SMCM: Argh! I am blinded by your crackhead logic with disbelief. So I will counter attack with my gossip & information spell. It will mark you and all who reside at your house as lawn peeing crackheads.

Crackhead Warrior: Ha ha! Your information spell has no effect on me for I have taken my magic crack which makes me oblivious to all reasoning! Buhahhhaha!

End scene.

The peeing in the front yard and the confrontation were real, the rest of the dialogue came from my imagination.


One of the good things about living in a 100+ year old house is the heating. I have radiator heat. I gather I was lucky in that when the house had it crappy renovation by crackheads in the 80s, they didn’t try their hand at central air. Most of the houses on our row that have central air don’t have radiators, as the system can also pump out heat as well.

I just adore my radiators, and can’t think of living life in the cold without them. I love being able to lightly sit on them and warm my tush. I love leaving my robe or coat or gloves on top of the radiator overnight and waking to putting them on in the morning. It is almost as good as clothes fresh from the dryer.

Yet as I think of the future renovations I’d like to make, I fear for my radiators. Problem is, for the sake of real estate values and my own convienance, I will probably have air conditioning put in the house. Logically, a central air system negates the reason for having an old fashioned fuddy duddy radiator system.

But radiated heat rocks! I have a heated floor in the kitchen, where it is too small to fit a radiator. Oh baby, when the floor is cranked up to 80something, and you’re in your socked feet, heaven. Just like walking on an electric blanket. The other best thing about radiated heat, no dust. I kick up enough dust walking around, I don’t need it blown in. Lastly, the other thing I adore about my cast iron radiators, when the power goes out, they are still radiating heat.


Awww. I am gettin’ that luving X-mas feeling from DPW cause they mailed me a 2005 calendar. Am I special ’cause I constantly bug them or did they mail this to everyone? With the calendar in hand I now know when the street cleaners stop cleaning and why. This might be DPW (Department of Public Works) neatest little PR product yet. Heck knows I hardly bother reading their other stuff. Chock full of everything from bulk trash to parking violations and snow removal. Yes, these are the things we all care about snow, trash and parking.

Follow-up Public Notice of 12212004 Meeting of ANC 5C

From our great leader Jim.


Below please find a follow-up notice concerning the next meeting of ANC


Please share its contents with other neighbors and encourage them to



Jim Berry






TELEPHONE: (202) 832-1965/1966



Monthly Meeting Invited guests include representatives from the following


Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO)

re. Their desire to locates a two-story substation on Harry Thomas Way,


Office of the People’s Counsel

Metropolitan Police Department

Where: St. Martin’s Catholic Church

North Capitol & T Streets, NW

When: Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Time: 7:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M.

Baseball in DC

Do I care?

Not really.

I don’t care for baseball. Anywhere.

Besides my neighbor is there anyone who ACTUALLY LIVES in the District, with a real live Ward Councilmember, who wants DC to fall all over themselves for baseball? Northern Virginia, you are more than welcomed to build a stadium and have a team called the Washington Nationals. I mean Maryland has a team called the Washington Redskins, it would be fair.

What is it day 2 after Linda Cropp’s decision? Oh, the nasty comments I have heard! “Who does she think she is!?” was something I heard blaring out of a radio at work. Over and over the guy said, “who does she think she is?” It was like “how dare she not bend to the will of baseball!” But you know, most of those comments I hear like that, are from these %#!!@* suburbanites.

Because baseball wasn’t going to do anything for my immediate neighborhood, I really didn’t care that much. If they were looking at the area around NY Ave real hard, I would be so against it. Once past the immediate borders of Shaw, stuff can be in Northern VA or Southern MD for all I know most of the time.

I will admit I haven’t been keeping up with the whole baseball argument, because, well, I don’t care if baseball stays in DC for more than a year or not. Besides, sports teams are as loyal as an alley cat. What’s to say if DC did agree to a different financing scheme, where the city would pay for most of the stadium, that the Nationals wouldn’t high tail it to NOVA or somewhere else before the darned thing is paid for?

PEPCO why do you taunt me O evil one?

PEPCO keeps threatening to turn off my electricity so they can upgrade. They threatened to do so about 2 weeks ago, but didn’t. They said they were going to have the lights off yesterday, but didn’t. Now I should be happy, but the whole threat just makes me uneasy.

The first problem is that they are doing this in Winter. It is fricken’ cold. Thinking I’m not going to have any power for the 10 hours they said it will be off, I cranked the heat up to the upper 70s (goal was the 80s but that wasn’t happening). I figured even when the heat is off the house only gets down to 62F during the coldest weather.

Second problem, for me at least is that my hot water is electric. It takes a while for the water to heat up and cold showers not my thing.

So PEPCO either decide to upgrade in Spring or stop threatening me.

House of the Quarter: Buy this house

Normally I wouldn’t ask but pleeeeeese buy this 3 brdm 1 bath house @ 401 R Street. Why? ‘Cause if you live there then maybe the dumbasses will stop hanging out on that corner. Also it is going for $355K, a steal I tell you a steal!

I don’t know what the story is, and if someone does know the story then please tell me. All I know is people live/lived there and they would hang out on their 4th Street side porch with other odd folks of the neighborhood. The porch is really cool. A porch where you can hang out, drink and watch the world pass by is always cool.

If you buy the house could you install a sprinkler system so the knuckleheads will move on? People don’t like getting wet. I find a sprinkler system, or just a plain old sprinkler a wonderful thing ’round the 4th of July.

But if you can borrow $355K or more please buy this house, fix it up, live in it and install a sprinkler system. If you do I’ll buy you and your spouse/ partner/ other SO/dog/ cat dinner.

Affordable housing, pt2: History vs affordable

One of the few houses I looked at in 2000/2001 was this wonderful old (okay a lot around here is old so it goes without saying) rowhouse in LeDroit Park. It was going for $125K, about $5K out of my price range, but my Realtor showed it to me anyway. It looked like a foreclosure as the previous owners had not finished messing up the place putting in these HUGE! H-U-G-E air vents for AC. Besides the screwy air vents there was a fireplace, original wood floors, pocket doors, little historic details here and there, a two car garage a basement with a piano in it, and lotsa room inside. I couldn’t stop raving about how great the place was and my agent then went to call in to see if it was still available, then I stopped her. I couldn’t buy this house for the following reasons:

1. Where was that extra $5K suppose to come from? I didn’t have five thou around.

2. There was no yard. I want to garden.

3. It was a historic looking house in an historic district…. not cheap to keep up.

No matter how cheap you make them to buy, houses in historic districts are a bitch to keep up.. There are rules to keep historic (see blue areas) areas historic looking. So exterior changes and repairs have to fit a certain criteria. Problem it isn’t cheap and you may not find it at Home Depot. So the historic nature or obligations that come with a place can make it unaffordable.

The historian in me loves historic districts. I love seeing areas in Logan Circle and Capitol Hill being all old and grand. It is wonderful to see an old house, once abandoned, brought back to its previous glory, where columns and details have been replaced with period replicas or other like objects.

Yet these houses, these districts are not for the poor or struggling. There are a few affordable housing units like the Asbury Dwellings for seniors, that maintain their affordablity and their exterior historic details. But typically the affordable tends to be an ugly, bland, and 1960ish. You want affordable and historic, move to Baltimore (as many an ad says in the Metro).

Another issue related to the affordable housing vs history post here, is housing stock. If you plow down a bunch of old low density houses you can build up a high density condo building, which may or may not have, or be forced to have, a few affordable units set aside. I’m not too keen on older housing, housing that is still viable, getting torn down, Yet, I do realize there are only so many condos that can be made out of the older housing stock, and with smaller numbers the profit needs to be higher, so no affordable units.