Saturday, May 19, 2012

Primed Suspect

It's finally happened: our house has changed color.  (Almost) gone is that disgusting Army-issued shade of salmon, replaced (mostly) with the primer that'll go under our Tadpole Green.  And we didn't even know it would happen.  Love those moments.
Our initial view of the new paint-job.  "OMG! It's not pink anymore!"

The color is just a primer, but the actual color won't be all that different.
However, with the highlight colors, it'll be more green looking
than the just-this-side-of-white it looks like right now.
We headed to the Bungalow early this morning... very early.  Actually set the alarm for 7:30 on a Saturday morning to make it there by 9:00 for the community clean-up day.  Took work gloves and my giant hedge clippers with us, along with the kids' gardening tools, and made like good neighbors for a couple of hours.  For my part, I helped clear what the kids call the "secret trail" of the overgrown vines and brush that have crept up onto it over the past year, and it actually looks respectable now.  I wore jeans, boots, and a long-sleeve tee, even though it was in the 70s already, because I didn't want to get poison ivy or any sort of bites/scratches from bugs/thorns, but by 10:00 I was cursing not having worn shorts as the sweat ran in a steady stream down my forehead.  But then I crossed the pretty stone bridge and made my way up the other side of the glen, and into the shade.  Phew... within minutes I was back to normal.  

Met a whole bunch of neighbors today-- some for the first time, and some for the second or third, although I readily admit I don't remember everyone I've met yet, especially since so many have popped in just to say hi as we did one thing or another at the house.  (I promise, neighbors, I will try my best to remember your names when I move in!  I'm just ridiculously bad at names; no idea why.)  Anyhow, how awesome are our new neighbors?  How's about a nice offer of refreshments after getting all gross outside, a tour of a beautiful condo unit inside the President's House building, and a volunteer (without us even asking!) to watch the kids draw with chalk on the sidewalk while we went to take a look.  Seriously, neighbors, you don't know what you're getting yourself into!  (That said, I believe the ladies responsible for those actions were Janice, formerly of Brisbane, Australia; and Chris.  But regardless of their names, which I may have gotten incredibly wrong, thank you!)

It's great to see that, once we get in there, we'll have a built-in community ready to go.  I even suggested we do pot-lucks around the Seminary so we can get to know each other (and spy on each others' homes...), just like we did when we moved to Petworth.  Got a good reaction, but it seems there's already a plan underway to have a fundraising tour of homes in September, and I gladly volunteered the Bungalow to be on the agenda.  It's a start!

After the clean-up, we met our good friends Eric and Janice (of New Jersey and Georgetown, not of Brisbane and Maryland) in the District and talked awhile about how things were going with the house.  After regaling them with stories of the extra $15k we have to spend on pipes, Eric asked me if we had any positive surprises with the house, to set off the several negative surprises we've had lately.  I had to think... a long while.  But there are some:

  • This may be more of a non-negative than a positive, but Rory was able to argue our way out of that $3,400 fee the water company wanted to charge us to hook into the system.  You remember: the one we were being charged because our house supposedly never had water service before; the one we would be refunded if we could find the meter number that formerly measured water going in to the house?  Yeah, we no longer have to pay that, only to have to fight for reimbursement afterwards.  Like that.
  • Remnants of the useless front foundation wall
    and the new metal support columns.  Surprise!
     Our contractors have been doing a really good job.  Okay, so we're not thrilled about the recent unexpected costs, but we have faith in them, which is more than we can say for many of the contractors that worked on our current house.  You may remember them: the one who toked up in the basement; the one who decided to chip into our foundation rather than cut down the height of a door; the one that took a $2,500 deposit and moved to Georgia, never to be seen again; the one that hit on Abby, making lurid comments at her while she nursed an infant Isaac; the one that hit on Abby and me together, suggesting we swing with him and possibly his wife; the one that... oh, I could go on, but rather, I will point out that not only did our current contractors NOT do ANY of these things, but neighbor upon neighbor has remarked independently of being asked that the workers are working CONSTANTLY.  Not to mention, we discovered today that the dilapidated stone wall holding up the arches under the porch has been completely removed and metal support columns put in its place (see picture).  Not only will this help with stability and give us back a few inches in the downstairs expansion, it was a surprise we didn't know would even happen.  People are apparently amazed (as would I be, based on experience...) that things seem to be humming pretty much nonstop for 8, 10, 12 hours a day.  And improvements are visible.  Like that too.
  • And, honestly, the neighborhood.  We very much could have moved into an uber-pretentious neighborhood, full of people who were more concerned about the historical significance of the disgusting pink color of the house rather than welcoming us and remembering our names and being honestly interested in not only how the house is coming along, but also in how we are doing.  Besides the initial surprise of finding the house on run-of-the-mill, I've gotta say that's a pretty darn good surprise. I left those big hedge clippers by accident in our front garden, and I was initially worried they'd disappear, based again on experiences here in Petworth.  (Remember when someone stole PLANTS out of our yard?  Or broke into our house and stole a box of Golden Grahams?)  But I bet when I swing by tomorrow morning there's a better than 50% chance they're either sitting exactly where we left them or have been taken inside by a neighbor.  Either way, I really like that.
So that's about it from clean-up day.  Monday starts our plumbing work, and hopefully by week's end we'll be connected to the water and sewer mains.  In fact, some of the sidewalk has already been dug up.  Over the next 48 hours we'll have to make final decisions on our bathroom fixtures, and Abby came to the exciting realization today that we have enough room in our upstairs bathroom for a 4-foot-wide shower; I also think we have enough room downstairs for the dual sinks she's wanted but been concerned about losing because of the 90-degree change in plans down there.  Needless to say, things are a-happenin' and I like that as well. :)

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