Friday, June 1, 2012

Year Two Starts Today

These beautiful, newly-restored and reinserted windows
in our Great Room will *never* hold a Romney sign,
despite being in our "second home."
Yep-- today marks our first anniversary as owners of a second home.  "Second home" sounds so swanky, like we're automatically going to vacation in Aspen and send our children to expensive private schools and vote for Romney.  Let me clear that right up for those of you who don't know me: don't ski; having a hard enough time as it is sending my kids to a public charter school, after Abby & I amassing 37 combined years at public schools; and HA!  Still, this will only be our "second home" until we move in, at which it'll become "home" and the building currently known as "home" will become "absentee slumlord property."  (Wait-- did I say that out loud?)

First thing's first: it must have been the mention at the very end of yesterday's blog that we would be temporarily uninsured that caused the regional tornado warnings and accompanying thunderstorms this afternoon.  Well, Mother Nature, sorry: we're now officially insured, (Phew!) although not without requisite drama, of course. Contacted the insurance company this morning to get the quote and buy the policy, and it turns out they wanted $1100 for four months of coverage.  Yeah, this after $438 for the whole year.  However, they were the only ones that agreed to insure us, right?  NO, wait... way back when Travelers dropped us I went to Insweb and filled out a form and got quotes back that I thought were way too expensive.  I called the cheapest of the bunch, Lloyd's of London, and we are now insured by them at a much more reasonable (but still astronomical if you ask me) $570 for three months of coverage.  So yeah, I'm breathing a sigh of relief that I only have to spend five times as much on insurance, rather than eight times as much.  At least it'll drop back down once we move in.

Next: you might be wondering how our utility work is going.  I showed you pictures yesterday of the pipes going in under the house, but you may also be interested to know that the gas line was scheduled to go in yesterday.  Not sure it did, but things have been pretty much on schedule... once they've actually been scheduled, that is.  The gas company agreed to foot the bill for re-placing the meter at our back door, rather than in the ridiculous blocking-the-windows location where it currently stands; hopefully it'll be joined by the water and electric meters as well, and we can put a big bush in front of them all or something.  PEPCO has informed us that they would be happy to install a service line for us-- for the price of $1,800.  After some back and forth, there has been not a millimeter of budging on their part, so we've gotta swallow that price; sending a check tomorrow.  (Yeah, they'll only accept a check, which is super annoying.)  Regardless, they assure us they'll come out the moment the check arrives, so I'm hopeful.  Water's still up in the air, as I mentioned yesterday, because of the questionable placement of the toilet drain in the upstairs bathroom.  I'm also pretty sure the plumber's not done, because we haven't heard that he wants his money yet...

Painting is nearly complete on the main Tadpole Green color.  We were going back and forth, pre-painting, on whether to paint the spanking new cedar shakes on the dormer, because the wood is just so gorgeous.  There's no way we could leave the whole house unpainted because of the previous paint job, but we thought it might not look weird to have a painted house and an unpainted dormer.  Yeah, we were wrong-- dormer will definitely be painted.  Only a few spots remain that aren't Tadpole Green, and I'm guessing that's because they ran out of paint.  Next comes all the trim, which should be exciting.  

Yeah, we know: the unpainted dormer looks weird.

I was out admiring the paint job when Jimmy was here this week and a couple of neighbors came by with their kids in tow.  So nice to see kids our kids' ages in the neighborhood, because we were slightly worried the place'd be mostly retirees.  (Not that that's a problem for us, but Abby grew up in a 'hood full of kids her age, and I'd love that for ours.)  Judging by a spirited debate on the neighborhood listserv today regarding building a playground on-site, there are most definitely a bunch of families with small kids hiding behind those  historic and faux-historic facades around us... as well as a bunch of people who may be just a bit wary of having a playground so close to what apparently had initially been marketed as a quiet retirement-esque community.

Speaking of visitors, I must mention that Courtney & Chris (my sister and her husband) stopped by the house this week too; it was his first time over.  It's hard enough getting Chris to venture out of his Prince William County sanctuary, let alone drugging him enough to cross through the dreaded District of Columbia and into (egads!) Maryland, but we did it by bribing him with steaks.  I didn't remember their visit along with Jimmy's and the Stewarts' because, well, I didn't go with him-- Abby did.  But yes, Courtney, I do appreciate the visit.  

The Pagoda and Chalet
Anything else?  Well, The property manager, Dave, responded to my request that the ungrated opening underneath the lions, possibly leading to the inner workings of the fountain, be covered up lest ne'er-do-wells start being all nefarious in there, and it was fixed with one email: hooray!  It looks like new concrete has been poured all around the pagoda, and it looks great.  Don't know if construction is at a standstill at the Chalet, or if things are just progressing inside right now, but I can't see anything different in the last few weeks over there.  I heard the Spanish Mission was sold, but can't confirm that.  And our sad neighbor, the French Colonial, remains alone, destined to be sucked back into the realm of condo because of its peculiar connection with Practice House (I think that's what that building's called...)  Oh, and get this: for how political of a being I've been for so long, I made what I believe may be my first-ever call to my Congressman today about a house-related issue.  Abby's none too excited about the NPS property bordering the railroad tracks without any sort of barrier, so I called Rep. Van Hollen's office to see if they knew what we could do to get one built.  We'll see if that works, but in the meantime I feel like a bit of a busybody, especially since I probably haven't even been at the house for a combined 48 hours yet.  Still, I came out of the exchange with one new piece of annoyance, which seems pretty par for the course: the U.S. Postal Service does not recognize our address.  When you go to their website and try to find out our ZIP+4, it says they don't deliver to our address, and that any mail addressed to it will be returned to sender.  I called them to say, yet again, that yes, we do exist, but the woman on the other end said it was our responsibility to tell the city to tell the post office we existed.  

I'm'a leave that call for another day.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say I love the way your bungalow is coming together. The restored windows are breath taking and the color choices you made are perfect. I really admire your tenacity throughout this project. Hope you can sort through those final Pepco issues. There's going to be a small "block party" on Hume Drive Saturday at 2pm if you want to stop by and meet some of the town house owners. As far as "spirited debates" within NPS, there are plenty of those. Our request for a community garden was just shot down at a recent Board Meeting. This to me is pure craziness! I'm a dog owner (2 actually) but I'd also like to see a playground on-site for the kids. There's plenty of room for all in my opinion.

    2724 Cassedy Street