Like I care

500 block of R Street.

If you know what supposedly recently happened to the Shaw East area. I say ‘supposedly’ because I can’t find any proof that this zoned restriction has occured yet by the DC gov powers that be… AND if you know my feelings on this, then you know why I don’t care.
If the picture is too fuzzy for you, just know that it looks like vinyl siding is coming up.

DC demographic changes in miniature

Well C moved out this past weekend. She and her kids. I guess the last tax assessment was the last straw. I never saw the house up for sale. There was never a sign out front. Our neighborhood handyman, mentioned it and said ‘everyone has a price.’ It must have been a pretty good price because C had a strong reason to stay. Her parents lived just a couple of doors down. Really. Kids would run from her house to their grandparents house in a matter of seconds. Can you say free babysitting? Her kids seem to play well with the kids already on the block as they would all tear up and down the sidewalk, throwing the ball around, rough housing, doing what kids do. They were good kids. Now she’s gone. One less black family. Fewer kids on the block. Fewer playmates for the kids who remain.
Her replacement, from what I can tell, is European-American, has no kids, but does have a dog (I tell you this block is going to the dogs), and didn’t see a significant other. 1 replaces 3.

Why you need to wait a year before doing any work

You need to wait a year before engaging in any major capitol project on the house in a gentrifying area. Why? Crackheads, it all comes down to crackheads.
Cheap contractors getting houses ready for selling, hire cheap crackhead or questionably legal immigrant help who sometimes do poor work hidden behind the walls where the inspector can’t see it. Also a year allows you to see seasonal screw ups.

Spring- Spring rains show you the gutters were improperly installed and that the yard is poorly graded and sending water towards your foundation.
Summer- Guess what? Air Conditioning doesn’t work, or works so poorly it is not even worth using. Maybe it does work but condensation builds up in the walls and there is this wet spot forming in your ceiling. Or, notice you have no air conditioning?
Fall- Leaves. And the raccoon that moves into your crawl space waking you up at 4 am.
Winter- Furnace works poorly or dies. Windows don’t shut all the way and house gets drafty. House has no insulation and costs more to heat.

Then there is other stuff you don’t notice till you have been in the house a while. About 2 years into living in my house I got neighbors in a previously empty house. They are very nice people but I can hear them clearly through the wall. Lucky for me they are not speaking in English so I have no idea of what they are saying. I hear them come in, go up the stairs…. I can smell when they have burnt the toast, and they are always burning toast. I knew there was only 1 layer of brick between us** and with real live people next door, I now know what 1 layer means as far as noise and smell goes.
When you first see a house, you don’t see its faults. When I saw my house I was so happy it wasn’t a)condemned or b)in the middle of construction and c)it had a basement. I didn’t notice the little things like the toilet being encased in tile or the windows being a little off, or the poor paint job that got paint on stuff I still can’t get off. It’s several months after buying and living in the house you begin to notice these quirks. Like plumbing pipes not being properly installed. They looked ok, but when you go to touch it, it falls apart. Not good.

Some of these houses in the neighborhoods housed the poor and were maintained by landlords who possibly didn’t give a rat’s rear about the house, as long as the section 8 check came in. So then they decide to cash in, get some horrid contractor who is accountable to no one and knows you’re not going to find the faults until long after he and the seller have run off with your money. So beware.

**Yes, I know there is supposed to be two layers of brick, but there isn’t. When I was trying to fix a crack in the wall I discovered the 1 brick situation, so please don’t say anything about there ‘should be 2 bricks’, ’cause there ain’t and you’re not making it any better. Yes, it is a touchy subject with me.

Good neighbor

This morning I was running late, again, to work and was running down the sidewalk when my neighbor several doors down saw me as he was heading to his car. He offered me a ride to the metro. That was so nice of him. I have great neighbors.

For Liz

3 months of unpaid rent $1,500
20 some odd phone calls to Canada charged to your phone, $90
Fee to change your phone number to evade creditors, $30
“Loan” to cover U-haul rental, $500
Gas to get out of DC metro area, $50
Sending your deadbeat roommate off to Wisconsin to mooch off of someone else and getting your house/life back, priceless

Not about me, or any of my former Shaw roommates, but a good friend who has finally got her chronically unemployed roommate out of the house. Read this story and take heed all ye who have roommates or will get roommates or boarders.
So lets call my friend Liz, Liz and her now ex-roommie, Kay. Liz and Kay meet through a common geeky interest group and because the common geeky interest group throws parties that run late, Kay and other geeks would wind up on Liz’s couch often. One day, Kay asked to stay on Liz’s couch for a ‘couple of weeks’ until she could get a job so she could pay for the last semester of college at [expensive private NW DC university]. Long story short Kay was a financial disaster, her parents were bankrupt, she couldn’t pay most of her bills and was hounded by creditors, she was sick and health care expensive, and despite nearly finishing at a top flight school lacked any sort of financial common sense. It didn’t help that she had several girlfriends out of state (read: long long-distance phone calls), one being unemployed and unable to support her end of the relationship financially. Kay had a thing for women who were also financially incompetent.
What did this have to do with Liz, who had a thing for locals with decent savings accounts?
When Kay couldn’t pay for those long distance calls and the phone bill had to get paid, Liz paid for it.
When Kay wanted to visit out of state/ country lovers, who did she ‘borrow’ money from? Liz.
When Kay couldn’t pay her credit card bills and they started hounding her for money, who had to talk to the creditors ’cause she was silly enough to answer her own phone? Liz.
When Kay needed medication for her depression, who got it for her? Liz.
Why? Cause you live in the same unit with a person it is hard to not be impacted by their life, their depression and girlfriends. And they KNOW how much money you have and when you are the only responsible adult in the room, apparently you are expected to pay the tab for everything.

Liz is now swearing she will screen future roommates.

What if everyday was like Sunday btwn 9AM-1PM?

Gotta think about parking.
Right now you have it.
But think of a future, of greater economic development attracting people with cars, and by golly, they’ll want to park them, in front of your house.
I’m not poo-pooing economic development, just thinking about the type of development I’d like to see. What I’d like to see is something that serves the people who already live here and can walk or bike to a business.
What got me thinking about parking, which doesn’t happen often as I don’t have a car, was trying to suggest a place to eat to friends with car. I know of a dozen places in Dupont and the western end of U Street that I’d like to go. But the problem is, where do you park the darned car. Is searching for a parking space for 20 minutes a sign that a neighborhood has made it? And once you’ve made it, is not being able to find a parking spot near your house worth it? Yes, some houses have parking in the back, but many don’t.
I’m just thinking out loud here, anyone have other thoughts?

Why you should put your whole address on trash can

I highly suspect the crackheads did it.
Anyway, for about a week a foreign blue recycle bin has been sitting on our block near the house of the crackhead, or the cheese woman, as B. has called her. Anyway I noticed the address on the bin and this Sunday wandered over to the Eckington… Yes, Eckington, crackheads done stole a recycle bin from Eckington and rolled it over to Truxton. Anyway, I wander over to Eckington and leave a note for the owners of the bin to come over to my block and pick it up. Well, after church the blue bin was gone. Today I need to find out who you report wayward grocery carts to at Giant, ’cause the damned crackheads left that on the sidewalk near their house too.

Bug Flexcar for cars

I emailed the local Flexcar rep about why our cars keep going bye-bye here in eastern Shaw/Truxton/LeDroit this is the response I got:

I’m sorry that we’ve taken all of your cars. We are working now to
get more cars in that area. You can have everyone that wants the cars back
there to keep flooding my e-mail box with requests. I forward all of them
to my General Manager as well as the CEO. If I receive a huge amount of
feedback from that area they are more likely to put one there quicker.
Thank you for your continued patronage and thank you for the feedback. It’s

Heath Dean
Member Care
heath.dean @
Washington, DC

DPW To Hold Two E-Cycling Events This Spring

From Logan Circle’s listserv
DPW To Hold Two E-Cycling Events This Spring

Residents may bring computers and other items for environmentally safe
recycling on either April 23rd or May 14

As part of the District’s celebration of Earth Day, the DC Department
of Public Works and the Clean City Office are partnering with federal
agencies, George Washington University and the Dell Corporation to
sponsor a special electronics-recycling event on Saturday, April 23
from 9 am – 3 pm at Carter Barron Amphitheatre on 16th and Kennedy

A second e-cycling event will be held in conjunction with DPW’s
Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off on Saturday, May 14th from 9 am –
pm, also at Carter Barron.

Old computers and accessories, office equipment, TVs and other
electronics comprise a rapidly growing segment of America’s waste
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, more than 3.2
million tons of electronic waste is laid to rest in landfills each

Many types of electronics contain significant amounts of potentially
hazardous materials such as arsenic, lead and mercury. In the U.S. it
is estimated that approximately 70% of the toxic metals in landfills
from discarded electronics. Pollution and the potential for adverse
affects from improper disposal of electronics are becoming serious

Additionally, almost all of the materials in electronics -from
and glass to precious metals can be extracted and reused.

E-cycling your end-of-life electronics keeps their harmful components
out of landfills and supports the recovery and reuse of valuable

Residents may bring televisions and audio-video equipment, cell
home office equipment, computers, computer parts and computer
components for
end-of-life disposal or recycling. All computer monitors and TV
screens must be intact – not cracked, punctured or shattered.

Peace and Blessings
Shireen Mitchell

Happy Earth Day-misc postings

In Print
This Old House made my day.
From the cover I see just another remodel your bathroom, blah, but several articles in there was something that made my heart go pitter patter. Green roofs. There were pictures of a beautiful Cap Cod with a sod covered roof.
I’ve been thinking of a green roof for the house. But I need to pay off the second mortgage before I can do anything with the house, and one of my hopes, is to have a rooftop garden with a green roof.

In The Backyard
You know I have the gardening bug when I rush home to strip out of my work clothes and into something more ratty, just to fool around with dirt. Yesterday was mix more dirt for containers day. I spent the whole evening mixing peat moss with manure and garden soil, tracking dirt through the house, and planting seed, and that was the best part of my day. I was hungry when I came home but my desire to go in the back and work on the garden trumped the hunger. I’d nibble at the pea shoot I trimmed back. I also took bites of the arugula and Bibb lettuce, and then took the trimmings and made a very tiny salad of them. Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper, yummy.