Renovation 2007: Gardening is a pain

Originally uploaded by In Shaw

Everyone says this renovation thing must be driving me crazy. Well, not crazy. Concerned. Concerned about staying on budget. I’m almost resigned to the idea that I won’t have enough to hook up the AC. But the thing that is nearing crazy is not being in my garden.
Some plants are hanging in there. Watering is a problem, mainly when your contractor turns off the water, and somehow decides the pipe going to your backyard spigot was not really used for anything. It got worse as the weather warmed up. The plants in the smaller pots dried out faster and I think the dryness caused the cilantro and the onions to bolt. There are a bunch of alpine strawberries in an old DC recycling bin that have gotten along just fine without me.

Memorial Weekend Grab Bag

Lots of stuff all under one posting.
Shiloh- Well I spent some quality time picking up tile with my aunt, a long time member of Shiloh, and she briefly brought up the thing with the vacant properties. There was a meeting, at first she heard it was 3 houses, now it’s 4, and May 30th isn’t enough time. We’ll see.

Speaking of vacant properties, Si K over in Mt. Vernon went all out and surveyed the vacant properties in the MVSQ region and found 100 properties, and 61 of them are taxed at the wrong rate. Read the report, with pictures here. This is the type of thing the city ‘should’ be doing.

Speaking of reports, in NE at the Florida Avenue Market Frozen Tropics has the Florida Avenue Market Study (PDF) that was presented, at one of the several information meetings about its general development, not the New Towns fiasco. Check of FT and Rebuilding Space’s blog about the Florida Avenue Market.

As a housekeeping measure, I’m disabling comments for 2003-2004 posts.

Speaking of house. Renovation is going along nicely. I need to put up some more pictures at the Flickr site because the walls have been mudded and there is a ceiling. What I’ve been told, is that the trim and the stair railing will be next and that’s going to take a while.

Hope you have a good weekend. I’m hanging out in the hood, while it seems everyone else left the city. If you are some of the few who haven’t left the TC or MVSQ or central Shaw, drop me a line.

Lettme borrow $2 so I can buy a beer

To my other host who was probably wondering why there was a Bible sitting near the sink.
As a policy I tend not to give money to beggars or anyone else I suspect will use the money to get high or drunk. So I guess I was being a bit judgemental when my one of my hosts gave a few bucks to a neighborhood person who honestly said they were going to go ’round the corner and buy a beer. And then recently, one of the blogs I read posted Proverbs 31 6-7:

6 Give beer to those who are perishing,
wine to those who are in anguish;
7 let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.

I’m sorry for judging you. So go ahead. Give ’em beer money. It’s in the Bible.

Bar hopping in Shaw

This week I and one of my hosts at the place where I’m staying, went to Vegetate’s upstair’s bar. After warming the seat for about an hour of noshing and sipping we headed out. I think that’s when I suggested we check out BeBar down the street.
I’d never been and wanted to check it out as a business. We got there when it wasn’t crowded. There were a bunch of people clustered up at the bar and just a few people seated on the opposite side of the room. From the bar you can watch videos. If the sound actually sync’d up with the mouths of the singers I could not really tell you. I’m getting old, it just sounded like noise to me. After a while the videos do suck you in. But my legs were getting tired and I chose to sit on the other side of the room. That’s when the fun started. From our seats we had a lovely view of the bar crowd. My host pointed out the sad appearance of the popped collar amongst several of the men. We made other fashion observations. People are so entertaining.
Then it got crowded and we walked back home. If we wanted to, and if it wasn’t a work night, we could have continued on to ODB. But then, I guess if you were starting a bar hop in Shaw, wouldn’t you start at ODB, at least to line your stomach with heavy food? Then hit BaBar and then 2nd floor of Vegetate. There is also the bar at Warehouse, if you just want to start with a beer. You also can get beer at the Mongolian Grill/ Tokyo Sushi.
The choices you have for a night out without having to risk a DWI or the newly increased cab fare have increased.

Slummy history

Okay I think I now know what direction I want to go with my blogging. I have been thinking of ending InShaw, as we know it, sometime next year. Well I might just put InShaw in semi-retirement, just reporting on the TC side of things and things close to the TC borders. What I may replace it with is good old Shaw history since I’m finding the stuff I find so friggin interesting.
I’m not talking Victoriana or great people history. I don’t subscribe too much to the idea that history is a glorifying narrative, nah. To me it is an explanation of why this world is broken, and screwed up. Why my house was designed by crackheads. We hear the phrase ‘we read about history so that we may learn from it’, well this is what I’m learning, and I enjoy sharing it with you.
Looking for more info on the Shaw School Urban Renewal Plan, I found a master’s thesis from M.I.T. “The influence of meaningful citizen participation on the urban renewal process and the renewal of the inner-city’s black community: a case study – Washington, D.C.’s Shaw School urban renewal area – MICCO, a unique experiment.” by Reginald Wilbert Griffith, written in 1969. I want to thank MIT for putting out those papers that normally only 5 people tops (10 people for PhD dissertations) would ever see, because it is a jewel, even though it is a quite biased bit of work, or “limited objectivity on the part of the author,…”
The PDF file MIT provides to non-MIT people doesn’t allow printing, but it is worth the read for two bits that I found enlightening. One was a late 1960s description of the area on page 20:

The Shaw School area, named after an aged and dilapidated junior high school known as ‘Shameful Shaw’ is third in terms of the evolution of communities in the District of Columbia and was the fifth blighted section of Washington to be studied and the latest to be approved, for urban renewal. It was planned from a ‘black community’ and ‘advocacy planning’ point of view.

And on page 15, the author mentions “Concentrations and/or differences in land uses, physical conditions and building types, income property ownership and race coupled with identifiable places of community activity, all combine to suggest several communities within the Shaw area (see map 3).” However, he doesn’t try to name them, which I found frustrating.

Walking & Water Aerobics

From Jim:

For the fifth consecutive evening over the course of the past three weeks, a number of residents of the area walked 1.5 miles around the community. Specifically, the group meets at the corner of 3rd and Q Street, N.W., in front of Mount Sinai Baptist Church, every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to begin their walk. If you are interested in participating in this exercise regimen, please mark your calendar and show up on any Tuesday and/or Thursday to join us.

On a parallel track, efforts are being made to determine whether there is enough interest among residents of the area to also organize a water aerobics class one or two evenings per night at Dunbar Senior High School, New Jersey Avenue and O Street, N.W. If you would be interested in participating in such a class, please send me an email at jamojam at If we get the critical mass of interested folks that is needed to start a class, then we will identify an instructor and attempt to implement this program within the next 30 days.

Here’s to your good health!


Jim Berry
Bates Area Civic Association, Inc.

Renovation 2007: Whoo, hoo, drywall and insulation

I went back to the house Monday to pick up an ingredient from the kitchen* and noticed there was something a little different. Hey, insulation! Work continues, despite waiting on the plumbing inspector. The electrical inspection was fine so there was no need to keep the wires exposed, however I noticed that the piping for plumbing was still visible.
So there looks like R-15 insulation along the problem party wall. So hopefully that will deal with any exotic smells and noise. When I ventured upstairs to see if they did anything up there, I saw the crawlspace with insulation, and lots of drywall in place.
It is now amazing to see the rooms with drywall . I can see how small the 2nd bedroom/ study/ walk-in closet/ whatever is going to be. I had planned to have made it smaller, and I’m glad my contractor convinced me otherwise.
This project is moving along quite quickly. Well, it has been going in fits and starts. Last week was a lot of nothing, waiting on the inspector and letting the plumber do his thing. At some point I’ll be getting my pine floor back. It will need to be sanded, so another layer of dust on top of the dust that already covered the kitchen.

*Almost everything is covered in a thick layer of dust or dirt in the one room I thought they wouldn’t need to touch.

BAA meeting

| Blagden Alley Association |
| Monthly Meeting |
| |
| THURSDAY, May 24, 2007 |
| 7:00-8:30 pm |
| Paul and Nez’s |
| 932 O Street Street, NW |

The newsletter is at

1. Jack Evans. Ward II City Council.
2. Christopher Ziemann, DC DOT Ward II Planner.
3. Walnut Street development at 917 M Street.
4. New liquor on Ninth Street?.
5. Police.
6. More.

Note: BYOB, Ice, cups for yourself and others. This is al freco,
and very nice.