Archive: Sep 2008

Two-Year Housaversary

As I’m sitting here on this Saturday, the 27th of September 2008, in the middle of a financial crisis that is leaving citizens sitting at the curb of their foreclosed homes and ex-employees crying about how their fortune 500 company has fallen apart, biting our fingernails at who will win the presidential election, and Atlantans scrambling to find a gas station that has not sold out of gas, it is hard to believe that Patrick and I have a reason to celebrate. But there is. It is our two year “housaversary”!

And because I only have half an hour left in this day as I’m typing this (and because SNL is coming on now) I think I will simply quote myself from one year ago…

“Here I was hoping to break out some great blog about our one-year homeownership anniversary…and all I got was this crappy photo. :-P”

Only cross out the “one” and make it a “two”. :) Oh I’m so lazy.

So here is a toast to all of you homeowners! And here is a toast to our two-year house anniversary! And a toast to many more homeownership years!

2-Year Anniversary

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A Fresh Look For Westview Streets

Some exciting things have been happening in Westview. In early spring the Westview Development Committee found out that Quality of Life Bonds were being distributed to improve intown neighborhoods. The bonds were actually on their third round, each one having been for $150 Million. Somehow Westview had been overlooked and not received a single penny. Needless to say we were upset to find out we had been totally neglected and started an angry email and phone call campaign to our councilmember, CT Martin. (Westview continues to face a challenge as we are split between two council districts and have two council members…the majority of which is in CT Martin’s area.)

Finally this summer our complaints were acknowledged – we were informed we’d be getting new sidewalks and streets repaved!! (At least the two streets we complained about.) The letter informed us the work would start in early June and be done at the end of August. I think it will be to few people’s surprise that despite the fact that it is late September the work is not done! Our street was scheduled first, so we’re pretty much done…so I can show some pictures!!

This is what our sidewalk looked like before. The portion in front of our house was actually lacking a curb altogether, though I know other houses on our street did in fact still have barely visible curbs. Because we had no curbs in front of our house we’d constantly have a flooded sidewalk when it rained (not that Atlanta knows what rain is anymore). Oh, and note our decent looking Crossvine growing on the mailbox. This was July 23rd.

East Ontario Avenue sidewalks before

Here they tore up the old sidewalk in front of our house. The plan was to raise the sidewalk in order to create a curb. This was July 24th.

Sidewalk demolition

Finally two weeks after they tore up our path they came back to put down the concrete sidewalk and curb. You can see their excellent craftsmanship when you notice the fat curb closer to us and see how it gets narrower behind the mailbox. (It’s not just an optical illusion from the leaning boards.) They also left the strip between the sidewalk and driveway apron unfinished. This was August 6th.

Sidewalk concrete

It was yet another week before they came back to tear up our driveway apron and pour it the same day. This is the before photo, and as you can see our driveway was in need of some repair. Since the sidewalks were being raised it meant everyone’s walkways and driveways were too low, so they tore up parts of everyone’s driveways to slope them and line up properly with the new height. So we were lucky to get our driveway fixed in the process!

New driveway

This is the driveway apron after they poured it. At this point the triangle between the sidewalk and driveway still remained unpaved. Upon my inquiry of the missing piece I was essentially told that I should be grateful that they were even pouring our driveway since it was 3:30pm on a Friday and they were working “overtime” to pour our driveway since their clock out time is 4:00pm. (Another worker tried to downplay this by telling me that the guy was exaggerating.) If I remember correctly I was also told that they would come back on Monday to finish that missing piece. This was August 15th.

Sidewalk footprints

Two weeks later the missing triangle was still not done. Not only was it not done, but at one point they came to take away the barricades they had put up to prevent people from walking on the fresh concrete. I finally happened to drive by them as they were working on a portion further down the street and reminded them that the triangle still had not been poured and that it was a safety issue if someone walked down the path at night and could break their ankle because there was no barricade. I think they showed up a day later to finish off the triangle. I noticed too late that they had again failed to put up barricades, leaving footprints on the fresh concrete. (Why pedestrians failed to notice that it was freshly poured is also beyond me, but oh well.) I was pretty much steaming at this point, determined to complain and have them tear the portion back out and re-pour it. In the end I was convinced by Patrick’s idea that instead of potentially creating greater damage we should leave the footprints as an ode to the idiocracy of the City of Atlanta employees. This was August 29th.

Damaged driveway

A week and a half later a contracted company (not City of Atlanta!) came and prepped our street in the late morning by stripping the pavement on the sides of the street. (You can again view the wonderful craftsmanship of the crooked curb.)

Street repaving

A couple hours later our street was entirely repaved and looking great!! :) Please also note the debris left in the landscaping strip. This was September 9th.

New street and sidewalk

In the meanwhile the City of Atlanta workers had still not finished with our sidewalks. The new landscaping strips were still not filled with dirt by our house, instead only with remains of concrete, rocks, bushels of grass and some scattered cigarette buds and plastic soda cup lids, etc. When they finally came back to fill our stretch it took ten (!) workers a full workday (!) to transfer the dirt from the truck to the landscaping strip in front of four (!) houses. (Yes, we actually counted the workers as they were working in front of our house.) I made sure to point out to them that there was a lot of debris that needed to be removed before the dirt should be filled in since you can’t exactly put in landscaping with all that junk in it. I watched one guy do a half ass job of shoveling out some of the debris before the dirt came. Oh yeah, and the best part, this is what the quality of their work looked like in the end:

Landscape strip

At the beginning of the project I was just so excited and grateful that we were getting new sidewalks that I was ready to accept anything they did. Now that they are done in front of our house and I’ve had time to reflect I’m really quite upset. Yes, I’m still happy that we got new sidewalks, but this is what we’ll presumably have for, say, the next 30 years! If I was a teacher I’d rate the craftsmanship of the City of Atlanta employees a big fat “F.” Plus look at the speed at which they carried out the work – they were supposed to be done at the end of August and they are still deep into the project in late September. At no other job would employees be tolerated to perform the way the City of Atlanta employees performed on this project.

So here’s the breakdown of how we got to grade “F”:
– The curb looks like it was created by a drunken person with the wide width on one end and a narrow width on the other. (At one point the backhoe also broke off a portion of the newly dried curb which they had to redo, leaving an obvious “scar” at the joint.)
– A portion of the sidewalk has a number of footprints. (Additional point subtracted to lack of safety precaution.)
– The landscape strips are largely filled with debris, then covered with the cheapest of the cheap chunky fill dirt and a handful of grass seed thrown on it.
– And as an added bonus the redbud tree planted by Trees Atlanta a year and a half ago has pretty much been killed, our Crossvine looks pretty pathetic too, and our bushes along the sidewalk have some gaping holes in them.

But enough bitching. Aside from these flaws we are thrilled to have this freshened up look!! So here again are the before and after photos:

East Ontario Avenue sidewalks before

New street and sidewalk

Updated landscaping strip photos to come when they are presentable.

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Bungalow Travels

We’ve had another few lazy weekends. Last weekend we went to the lake (Lake Lanier – the one with no water in it because of the drought). Then this weekend we went to Tybee Island for our 5-year wedding anniversary. Needless to say we didn’t get too much done around the house. (Unless you count my experimenting with lavender propagation, which are scattered in little containers across the porch.)

Despite the lack of our own work we were able to do plenty of marveling at other people’s historic homes. Though we stayed on Tybee Island for most of our extended weekend we made a day trip to Savannah. Although I love living in Atlanta I always thought it would be quite boring to visit as a tourist. I don’t think the same can be said about Savannah. (Which seemed to be confirmed by our tour guide who claimed it was currently the 8th most popular tourist spot in the US – however they may measure this.) The city is so rich in history it’s awesome. So as we are still drooling over the amazing architecture we wanted to share the pictures so you can drool too:







I’m throwing this Isaac’s at Drayton pub photo in here because we stumbled across it after parking in the parking lot across the street. We ordered a Guinness and were somewhat astonished that it was only $4.50. Thought I’d throw that out there as a “cheap Guinness stop” tip. (In comparison the Blue Moon Brewery charged $5.50 for their microbrew.)


Since the Joel Chandler Harris house is right down the street from us I thought I would give some recognition to our neighbors with this sign about Joel Chandler Harris.


This is the cute little cottage we stayed at on Tybee Island. It’s called Sea Biscuit. It was small but just perfect for the two of us with one bed, a living room area and a kitchen. The owners even surprised us with a bottle of champagne in the fridge and a “Happy Anniversary” card! :)

Tybee Island

And with these cooler temperatures in Atlanta this upcoming week I hope we can get a little yard work done…now that it’ll be bearable to be outside! Unfortunately there’s plenty of neighbor’s kudzu to battle once again. *sigh*

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Holly Stump

One of my big bothers has been the giant holly stump in front of our house. First of all I don’t like holly’s because they’re prickly, but secondly I don’t think having a holly stump the width of a medium sized tree in the front yard is very aesthetically pleasing. The other day we finally got out the chainsaw and cut it down, woohoo!


Holly stump


Holly stump

So the stump is still there, but at least not as tall as it was before. I think I’ve read of some chemicals that can help break it down? I think I’d be scared to get a stump grinder so close to the house. In any case, I’m glad it’s not so prominent anymore. The live one on the other side of the steps it still there, but I suppose that’ll wait until another time.

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