Archive: Dec 2007

Christmas Parties and Alfred Hitchcock

Ahhhhh yes, it’s that time of the year. That time where you’re not sure whether you love shopping because it gets you in the Christmas mood, or whether you hate it because you can’t find a parking place when all you’re trying to do is buy a roll of toilet paper. It’s also that time of the year where you’re bound to get sick at one point or another. First Patrick got hit. I avoided it for a while and thought I was going to get away without catching it. That wasn’t the case…it just teased me by taking longer to hit. So that didn’t help in the renovation department. That and our addiction to SimCity 4. :-D

So back to “that time of the year.” It’s also that time of the year where there are so many Christmas parties that it’s hard to keep up. We recently had the annual Westview Christmas party at the local fire station. It’s a nice touch for the community and I know a number of neighbors work hard to put it together, which is appreciated. That being said a lot of our neighbors are 70+ year old citizens, so the party has that certain grandparent feel. It takes place in the afternoon with yummy food and good ol’ sweet tea (not the Long Island version). It was even nice to see some local politicians like Mary Norwood and CT Martin come out and to show their support for the neighborhood celebration. I think personally I like something a little more upbeat…something in the evening where you can enjoy a drink with your neighbors and less of the cafeteria feeling. I’m feeling a little bad expressing this because I do honestly appreciate what is being done and how it helps to bring the community together, but I guess I’m just looking for more of a party-party. Thankfully we have neighbors that like the parties-parties too, so we still get plenty of those throughout the year.

So the Westview party came and went last weekend. This weekend was neighboring West End’s turn. Just like we’ve become close with many neighbors in Westview we’ve also become friends with people in West End. Only this party was more of what I was referring to above…being able to enjoy that glass of wine while mingling with the community members. And the host even pulled some strings to get the press to cover the party! (Which doesn’t hurt considering the other recently bad article.) Read the Atlanta Journal Constitution article and make sure to check out the photos – our chicken satay as well as us and our friend Jeremy even made it in there on page 10! :) And as you might expect from parties where there is an abundance of drinks available – you end up with some funny videos around 2am! So in the holiday spirit I thought I’d share some Christmas ha-ha’s. Enjoy watching the host and some neighbors break it down at the end of the night when only a few of us remained…

[jwplayer mediaid=”1643″]

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In other crazy news Patrick and I thought we were in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” the other day. We were in the office when this giant mob of birds decided to rest in our yard. It was entirely too crazy!

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds

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Bathroom Procrastination

So there are some areas of the bathroom that we have procrastinated on. Painting the wall above the medicine cabinet by the sconce being one of them. When we painted the bathroom the sconce was already on the wall, and doing a proper painting job would involve switching off the electric circuit, removing the sconce from the wall and painting everything then. This weekend we finally got around to the semi-involved project.

Patrick removes the sconce from the wall.

Bathroom sconce

The “paintless” area.

Painting the bathroom

Patrick painting.

Painting the bathroom

Voila, we finally have paint above our medicine cabinet! In between the last photo and this photo there was once again a struggle. We appear to be having problems reinstalling items (see kitchen butler’s pantry doors). Putting the sconce back on the wall made me feel like I was on some endurance TV show…how long can you hold up the sconce while your significant other is attempting to align the holes before you want to drop the damn thing. I’m happy to announce I passed my 30-45 minute sconce endurance test. :)

Painted bathroom

Next procrastination bathroom project: painting the wall behind the toilet. Our current excuse can always be that due to Atlanta’s current drought we’d be wasting water if we were to drain the toilet tank to remove it and paint behind it. ;-)

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Southwest Atlanta Neighborhoods Take on the Associated Press

Patrick wrote a response to an article recently released by the Associated Press. I’m reposting it here to maximize its visibility because I feel that it’s important to show people the slanted representation the AP article gave.


In a syndicated article written and widely distributed by the Associated Press the southwest Atlanta neighborhood known as Westview is described as a place where all hope is lost. The article claims “house fires, prostitution, vandals and burglaries terrorize the residents left in this historic neighborhood.”

During the month leading up to the article Janna Elphinstone of the Associated Press interviewed Westview neighbors about mortgage fraud in the area. Both Westview and neighboring West End had been hit hard by mortgage fraud in previous years. The mortgage fraud led to vacant bank-owned homes, which also brought crime to the area. Looters, squatters, vandals, and burglars took advantage of the large inventory of neglected homes.

Over time new life began to emerge in the neighborhoods and an unfortunate situation turned into budding opportunity. New homeowners have begun to purchase the fixer-upper bungalows that dot the streets of Westview and West End. Because of the years of neglect many of the homes were never renovated and remain close to their original condition – large fireplaces, built-in bookcases, coffered ceilings, butler’s pantries, hardwood floors, period light fixtures, and large front porches. Change is inevitable when all of these elements are combined with below-market prices and a location only five minutes from downtown Atlanta.

When speaking with Elphinstone neighbors were delighted that someone in the press was willing to listen. They carefully explained how a bad situation was resulting in positive change. The years of hard work were starting to pay off… or so they thought.

Unfortunately, the new residents felt Elphinstone ignored the excitement and hard work put forth by the community and that she painted a tarnished image of their neighborhood. Elphinstone highlights some neighbors as “afraid to walk out of their homes at night.”

To the contrary, on a recent weekend a vibrant group of neighbors and friends met for a chili cook-off in a 90 year-old bungalow that is being restored by its owners. The party had over 50 adults in attendance and numerous children that played in the front yard. Patti Berry, who was visiting Westview, allowed her three children to eat on the front porch and play with the other children outside after dark. Other neighbors chose to stroll a couple blocks to get to the party.

While Elphinstone quoted Scott Smith, the Vice President of the Westview Neighborhood Association, that some realtors “tell [their] clients to think twice about buying here” she fails to mention how excited local realtors are about the area. Nia Knowles not only sells homes in the neighborhood, but also lives there with her family. They relocated from the East Atlanta Village to the West End earlier this year. She specializes in historic homes in West End and Westview, and she offers her clients an insider’s look at what’s happening in the area. She recommends her clients buy now while the home prices are still low.

Neighbors feel it is unfair to generalize an entire community based on a few carefully selected quotes. They assert the style of sensationalized journalism written by the AP’s Elphinstone is not only in poor taste but it creates an unrealistic point-of-view about foreclosures and crime. Repeated complaints to the Associated Press have failed to be acknowledged.

In order to set the record straight neighbors in Westview and West End decided to fight back. Neighbors, like Carl Nes from the West End, have begun to reach out to local Atlanta news agencies about the slanted article that inaccurately targeted their community. In the past Nes has had successful dialog with reporters about the West End neighborhood and he wanted to ensure his neighbors in Westview also received better treatment. Nes explained “Yes, Westview, and West End have problems, but the opportunities abound for turnaround.”

As for the twenty-two vacant bungalows on East and West Ontario that Elphinstone colorfully describes in her opening paragraph – many have been renovated and are currently for sale, and others are awaiting makeovers from the DIY crowd.

This news release is in response to an article written by Janna Elphinstone for the Associated Press. It was widely distributed by news agencies across the country: Associates Press article

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