January 2011 Archives

All hail the Ice Chopper

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So during the snowstorm, we shovelled. It is better that way because that was wet heavy stuff that only got harder and icier the longer it was on the ground. So Wednesday night we shoveled our sidewalk, and made paths to the ends of the block. Then Thursday morning, we decided to make a path between the house and the bus stop. 

Two things made our job of clearing paths and sidewalks easier were:

1. Brian's ice chopper

2. Lem's Bobcat

Lem is the neighborhood handiman who has a lot of vehicles, one being a Bobcat, and it cleared off a lot of sidewalk, provided the sidewalk was wide enough to accomodate the mini-tractor.

Brian lent us his ice chopper/ 4 inch forged scraper and that thing is AWESOME on brick. Now as some of you know I totally acknowledge the pain in the buttness of shoveling brick. With the chopper/scraper, I could just easily tear a path in the sidewalk or chop up ice and have The Help (Mr. InShaw)follow with the plastic snow shovel. Not only did we shovel a path (linking parts that were already shovelled by responsible people, thank you) to the bus stop, but we shoveled other paths and someone else's sidewalk.

 Also I should really thank those people who did shovel their sidewalks. You're good people, because you did good. Walking towards the house I noticed a guy with a cane walking on our block's cleared sidewalk and said to The Help that we made that possible, we made the cane guy's walk easier. So thank you to the responsible people.

Vigil for Mitchell Today at 6pm

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I've been trying to absorb the predicted death of someone I admire whose illness has gone from slightly improving to have taken a turn for the worse, and so he won't be with us much longer. So in that mindset, I really can't say anything about the violent death of Bill Mitchell. Others have done so here and here.

Tonight (1/25/2011) there is to be a vigil at to park where he was killed at Florida and North Capital.

Regarding the cost of being a Good Samaritan please read Dr. Claudia Mill's "Goodness As A Weapon"(PDF).

Suzane Reitig Strikes Again!

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According to the CCCA blog, another one of those modernist primary color blocks is going to pop up at 623 M St NW. She's doing another UHOP (United House of Prayer) property.

Zee's in Le Droit or Shaw

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There was an article in the Washington Post about this place, which I'll admit we haven't ventured to. Also Scott Roberts mentioned the restaurant on his blog as well.

But the Post is wrong, it is not in Bloomingdale. At 600 Florida Ave NW if it is on the north side it is in Le Droit Park. According to the National Park Service: The LeDroit Park Historic District is roughly bounded by Rhode Island and Florida Aves. on the south; Howard University on the west; Elm St. on the north; and 2nd St. on the east. And according to the Le Droit Park Civic Association (pdf) the boundaries are: W Street, NW on the North; 2nd Street, NW on the East; Florida Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue, NW on the South, and Bohrer Street, NW on the West. If it is on the south side of Florida then it is in Shaw. Bloomingdale is further east.

Does it matter? Well part of the fun of reading the Post is finding the errors.


Tuesday Misc: Stay Home

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If you're debating to stay home or to brave the sidewalks, consider staying home and salting your sidewalks. I ventured out and the odd numbered side of Florida Avenue from about Rhode Island to Georgia/7th is passable. So is that little strip of T St between 7th and Florida. New Jersey Avenue, ice. Icy, skating rink ice.

The Help (aka Mr. InShaw) was out putting down salt and trying to shovel ice. If you can't shovel, salt your sidewalk. Any salt works. Some salt works better than others, but table salt, kosher salt, sea salt all put a dent or a small pock in the glassy ice that I walked on for a 1/2 block before getting on a couple of buses.

Other stuff-

Fire in Bloomingdale. We saw the smoke from the TC.

In a DC MUD entry there is something about the M.M. Washington School being developed into senior housing.

and the DC government wants to make a stab at saving your home from foreclosure:

Home Save program for District Residents

The Housing Finance Agency(HFA) received $20 million from the Treasury (left over TARP Bank bailout funds) and created a program that will pay 100% of the qualified homeowner's mortgage. This new program, which launches in Wards 5,7 and 8 on January 18, 2011 and citywide on April 12, 2011 and projected to end in 2015 will provide:

1) a one-time payment of up to three months for residents that are mortgage delinquent

2) Pay up to 15 months of mortgage payment including PITI, home owner dues

3) a one-time payment of up to six months of mortgage delinquency in order to allow the homeowner to catch up on their mortgage.

The funds will be paid directly to the mortgage service provider and not given to the homeowner.

The borrower must be a District resident on the deed and mortgage. If two people are on the deed and mortgage and one is unemployed, the family still qualifies for the program. The borrower must either be receiving unemployment through DOES or have recently drawn unemployment through DOES. The unemployment can be from DC, MD, VA or other states. The borrower must also be actively seeking employment. Currently unemployment is for 99 weeks and the payment from this program will assist during that period. If the unemployment benefits end during the 15 month period, the mortgage payments will continue. However, the homeowner cannot be in foreclosure or actively in bankruptcy.

The loan will be non-recourse and forgiven over five years. The loan amount will be reduced over the five year period at 20% per year. If during the five year period the property is either sold or refinanced, the loan must be repaid.

In order to apply, homeowners must go through one of five pre-selected housing counseling agencies that are funded through HFA. Please visit the HFA Website for further questions and more details.

For internal communication submissions, contact:

Turnesha Cook, Communications Specialist


Turnesha.Cook {AT} dc.gov

My husband, the Help is adjusting to city life and I'm trying to get him to be a bit more safety conscious. He's been living in the boonies of Beltsville, after a slow progression out of Dupont Circle in the early 90s, then to Silver Spring and then various parts of PG Co. So it has been a while since he's spent any length of time in the city and even when he did live in Dupont, I doubt he ever went east of 16th St. on foot.
So one night we were walking back home in central Shaw and I began mentioning in a low voice that no one was in front of us, no one on the side and no one on the opposite side of the street. When we turned down Q I pointed out the hooded figure just standing in front of the house where guys hang out and said that we'll be walking on the opposite side of the street. When we got nearer to home, the Help mentioned something about paranoia.
Tom-ay-toe- tom- ah-toe
I normally don't tally a list of who is on the street. Like when you're trying to teach someone something you start out with exaggerated movements (in dance) or pronunciations (language), and this was an exaggerated observation of something I do when walking alone at night when the streets are lonely. I worry about him and I don't want him to increase his odds of being a victim of crime because of his suburban sense of safety.

And Ye Shall Know Us By Our Sidewalk

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Big shout out to Brian who was the last person we heard shoveling our side of the street last night. I shoveled (while the Help chatted) half of the block making a path. Then later I heard our neighbor B out with a metal snow shovel, that I think I gave to them a few years ago. And then as we were going to bed, I heard Brian shovelling away.

This morning the path to the corner was clear and salted. It was a completely different story when I turned and was faced with the decision of which snowy patch of sidewalk I wanted to travel down. The only sidewalks shovelled on R St are in front of the Monique and AfriCare. Yes, I know brick is a bitch to shovel. Despite it being all pretty and "historic" looking I hate bricks. Mainly because when it rains loose bricks shoot muddy water on to my legs, in winter it holds the ice so it is slippery, when it snows residents don't even bother shoveling it or salting it because it is so uneven, and all other times individual bricks pop out to trip me.

So I will hold looking down my nose at the brick people and raise a judgemental eyebrow at the unshovelled sidewalks of the concrete people. It is resident's job to clear sidewalks, not the city's. However the city would probably get compliance if they actually bothered issuing fines. If it is not a street that gets mid-day sun I wouldn't bet on it melting away.

Now if you have a shovel 2 inches really isn't hard to remove. While Chatty Patty was going on with a neighbor while clearing off his car, I was doing my impression of a snow plow. Push shovel until the snow is spilling over, then kick the snowy shovel into a treebox or onto a car. Took me no more than 10 minutes to clear a path for 1/2 a block. It takes longer if you're clearing off the whole sidewalk.

Our block has an awesome culture of snow removal. Last year when we had that big snow storm, and I was away from home, I was told that a bunch of guys, including my roommate at the time, cleared off the sidewalk. I failed to indoctrinate my husband yesterday by not telling him to shut up, grab the extra shovel and get to work. I will do better next time, so he can help keep the block awesome.

UPDATE- DDOT has some sort of public awareness about shoveling sidewalks (pdf). But you know what would really help DDOT, is a page, a jpeg, something on your snow management page, a little bit more.


'NOTHER UPDATE: DCist checked and discovered that the law regarding snow removal is old and unenforced.

Miscellaneous note: The O Street Market has a blog.

Big Shout Out to Copper Pot and Kristin

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Well I had my final wedding* this weekend and thank goodness it is over. Now we get to watch as money flees from our accounts as the vendors begin cashing checks. One of the vendors was Stefano Frigerio owner of Copper Pot Food Co, who has a regular stall at the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market, as well as the 14th & U and Penn Quarter markets. He's at Dupont Circle this winter. Anyway, he caters. We just wanted light refreshments and we had canapes, a very nice pumpkin truffle soup, and mac'n'cheese. Great job.

Also want to thank Kristin, and I don't know how much publicity she wants on this so I'll leave it with a first name, who baked our cakes. Kristin only lives about a block from us, and we were happy to have someone we know invovled. We had three cakes. A bride's cake, a groom's cake and a unity cake. Currently, what is left of the unity cake is being devoured by interns and it and the other cakes are yummy.

Now that that's over with, I can try to figure out what is normal. There is a BACA meeting tonight at 7PM at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church. I might attend, I might not. Depends on when I can finish up dinner.

* I had two weddings, one for the west coast relatives and one for the east coast relatives.

Suspicious Package on NJ?

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One of our neighbors popped over this weekend to meet the new hubby and asked if we noticed the hub-bub that had gone on nearby from NJ to 3rd St along Q. Nope. It seems we were encased in the bubble of luv to notice, that and sometimes I take long showers and can't hear jack.

Anyway, according to our neighbor (Friday or Saturday morning, my memory is getting bad) that morning around 10AM authorities had blocked off Q Street for a 'suspicious package'. The neighbor was walking the dog and could not go upon Q. The package in question was behind/near the quickie mart, which has a new name and new yellow paint, on NJ Ave. Good gravy, I see suspicious packages all the time in this neighborhood; abandoned backbacks, gym bags, bags of trash, which I highly suspect are bags of illegally dumped trash, and broken furniture and other stuff dumped on our hood.

Over in Federal Land where I work, if a homeless guy or a tourist leaves their big bag of crap on Pennsylvania Ave or Constitution or Independence, then we get the whole big show and shut down, and I find out through word of mouth from complaining coworkers. But if that same show and shut down comes up to the neighborhoods for book bags left by absent minded elementary kids, stolen and discarded bags (that's what I suspect when I see a purse strewn along the sidewalk) then we're in trouble.