The quick and the dead

2/8/2005 Correction: The person described in this post did not die. I repeat, did not die. I was wrong. What happened according to a neighbor who lives closer and who actually found the woman on the side walk, she was bleeding from her head and mouth and was unresponsive. The people in the house where the trail of blood began had locked her out and were inside when the police came and knocked on the door, but they did not answer. It is possible that she could have died from her injuries, but as far as we know, she’s still alive.

I was planning on writing about my exciting morning shopping at National Warehouse Liquidators and spending way too much money at a garden store on seeds, seeds! Yet apparently something far more interesting has happened on my block. One of my neighbors found a dead body lying on the sidewalk.

What do I know about the body?

I know Jack squat. I didn’t know there was a problem until I noticed the flashing lights outside my window. Even then I didn’t give it too much thought. For the past month the fire department and EMS van have been on my street for one thing or another. Usually carting off some talking, breathing resident for one age related ailment or another. Seeing where the truck and van parked themselves on the street I figured a) domestic disturbance b) chemical OD or c)sickness due to unhealthy living. So I didn’t really think anything was that amiss when there was a crowd of paramedics and cops around the person lying on the sidewalk.

I am about 5-6 doors down from the body so as far I could tell they could have been talking to and treating the person. Nope. I knew there was something wrong when the 5th cop car drove up and when the paramedic came out with a huge jug of bleach (I could smell it) and poured it over the sidewalk and hosed it down.

The police interviewed some of the neighbors who came out (flashing lights can do that). My interview was short.

Policeman: Did you hear or see anything?

Me: No. I must have been in the basement.

That was it. I am a worthless witness. I was in the basement and when I was upstairs I was on the phone, if I did hear anything I ignored it along with the hammering from the illegal contract work in the alley.

The police did knock on the door of the house where the dead person may have been visiting, but no one answered the door.

The body couldn’t have been out there long. I was over near that house just 2 hours before, chatting with neighbors and joking about being an axe murderer (if anyone want to check my hatchet, knock yourself out). After not being to do any digging in the yard because the ground is still frozen I came back into the house. A couple of hours later, body.

How do I feel? Eh. I’m alive. Until I hear otherwise, it could be one of those killings where the victim knew their killer. So I don’t feel any sense of fear or anxiety. Also I didn’t discover the body. That helps. My mom who works in an old folks home, where because of their age, old folks die, is still bothered by finding a dead patient she found last week. It may have been a different story if I found the body.

Colmar Manor, MD

The other side of the fence looks a little greener. But not by much.

My good friend Jonathan dropped by last night and we did our occasional comparison of neighborhoods. Jon bought his house a few months before I purchased mine in a slightly improving area called Colmar Manor, MD 20744. Yet the rate of improvement hasn’t been as fast as Shaw, so his tales give me some perspective.

Now a little about Colmar Manor as I know it. It is a small blue collar town with a Shopper’s Food Warehouse and a IHOP. There is a bike trail that runs along it and a small park where wild blackberries grow. It is just across the border from the NE DC neighborhood of Fort Lincoln and runs along Bladensburg road. There is no metro station.

Jon bought his house for about $89,000 over three years ago. It is a 2 bedroom 1 bath 1930s bungalow with a sizable backyard with a southern exposure that he ignores, sloping floors, no AC, gutters that need replacing, and a big stone fireplace that needs servicing. Also it is quiet. Except for the occasional dog barking in the night it is a quiet neighborhood where neighbors know each other.

Sadly Colmar Manor has a bunch of bored kids. They don’t stand on the street corner looking menacing like they do here. No they travel around. Then there is gunfire. Kids are blamed.

Like my part of Shaw, Colmar Manor is benefiting from the positive changes happening in neighboring areas. Ever drive up Rt 1 (Rhode Island Ave/Baltimore Ave) around Mt. Rainier? Notice the new construction around that annoying traffic circle (lines people, would it have killed them to paint lines in the circle?)? Mt. Rainier, home of THE GLUT, is a 15 minute walk from Jon’s house. That area is trying to be some kind of arts center and hopefully it will reflect the funky crunchy flavor that is Mt. Rainier.

So when Jon and I compare we both are a little jealous of each other. I would love to have his backyard for gardening, walls of my own, a greasy IHOP and unhealthy MickyD’s, THE GLUT, as well as a bike path. He would like my metro and near by theaters. *sigh*

When history attacks

When I bought the house they said it was built around 1900.

When I started doing census research I found the house occupied in 1880.

I was pissed.

I discovered that there was a house on my lot in 1874 for the tax assessment.

Even. More. Pissed.

Why pissed? The house mind you is not of the lovely This Old House variety with historical details and any sort of quaintness, except for it being small. The things that reflect its age is the crumbly as sand quality of the bricks and the crazy uneven floors. Also it has been rental housing for most of it’s existence. Rental housing for over 100 years. I am so not happy. I get all the crap an old house brings and none of the charm.

Prices going up in the hood… no duh!

The Post has been running articles in the Metro section about the

rising property values in the District. Today’s Post features our neighbor Bloomingdale with a picture of the Windows Cafe. The basic point is prices are going up, people of modest means cannot afford to buy houses, and those who continue to remain have to deal with the tax bill.

Yesterday’s article was on the level of appreciation well over 130%. I tried plugging in my old numbers looking at Old City II’s Ward 5 region (ie Truxton

Circle) and this is what I came up with, excluding the $0.00 sales. Warning I am poor at math. Below are the average of the prices various houses sold for in Truxton.

2003 2004

Rowhouse $281K $299K

Conversion $269K $431K

SingleFamily$125K $317K

I have no clue what a conversion is, but whatever it is it has gotten expensive.

North Face Jackets aren’t print newsworthy

Tried posting earlier via email, didn’t work

I saw it on News 4, but can find nothing on their website and apparently it is still not worth mentioning in the Post. I’ll admit it may be old news as teenagers have been robbed of their North Face jackets in PG County and other spots, so there is nothing special about the robbery at the Shaw-Howard University station.

I did find the news report on Channel 4 entertaining. The reporter took up valuable space on the stationary escalator for the S Street exit side of the station as he narrated. How long has that escalator been down? It was down back when people were wearing shorts. There’s a story right there! Broken escalators! People forced to climb stairs or stand in a smelly elevator. Then he interviewed some adults, who, no, weren’t afraid to wear their jackets while riding the metro. Some scenes of teens from the shoulders down wearing North Face. Then a remark that Metro would not go on camera to address the jacket robberies at their stations because it was bad PR.