‘Lynnbrook’ Posts(2)

The quick brown fox jumped over the good, but lazy Parker family.

mount pleasant-er

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

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we might be in the market for a house.

we’re not moving — at least, not moving out of mount pleasant — but there are a couple things going on that make us (er, the lady sparkler) think that it could be time to upgrade.

  • interest rates are down 2+ percentage points from when we signed a last mortgage. when you add that savings to what we pay each month in condo association fees, we can have about a 50% larger place without paying a dime extra per month.
  • we were planning on moving in the next 2 to 3 years anyway, and *man* our place seems a lot smaller than it did, saaaay 16 months ago.
  • the market has stabilized enough that we’re sure we can get all our money out of our current place.
  • the economy is starting to show signs of life again, which means that housing prices only have one direction to go (and that would be “up”).

that said, if we can’t find a nice little fixer-upper row house in mount pleasant that we can afford now, we’ll just stay put until we’re on the other side of our daycare payments.

we love our neighborhood, and haven’t given up on the idea that we can raise baby sparklet here. we love our friends, we love our nanny. we love the fact that our vote for federal office is basically meaningless (wait, scratch that last one).

and, besides, there aren’t a lot of other options …

within D.C., we certainly wouldn’t move east of 16th street (too speculative), nor south or west of mount pleasant (we couldn’t afford it), and there really isn’t much in D.C. that’s north of us (all residential, little commerce, reduced transit).

outside of D.C., we have the same problems we’ve always had: new england and chicago are too cold (for my beloved); texas is utterly without seasons (for me); the pacific northwest is really far away and people there actually slow down at yellow lights (the latter is a “third rail” for the lady sparkler).

and besides, we all know how much my beloved likes change.

in mt. pleasant, dc:

3y, 5m, 25d

i seem to have misplaced the hot water heater

Thursday, 22 May 2008

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ECPA20080522_1319, originally uploaded by [ecpark].
your not going to believe this, but we can’t find our hot water heater. you would think this would be something that would be hard to miss, especially in a 700 sq. ft. apartment, but it appears that we are “special” people.

last summer when we moved in, our building inspector came in and showed us around the place. he talked us through the a/c, the furnace, the annoying glass-top stove, etc. about half way through, he said “oh, it looks like you guys have communal hot water, so there must be a building-wide water heater down in the basement.”

we didn’t think anything else about it.

… until yesterday. for reason’s too boring to explain, I was emailing with some people from the condo board (more on that later) and asked how the communal hot water worked.

they said there was no communal hot water.

so, i just came home and started looking around for where a hot water heater might be stashed. looked in the closets. looked in the laundry. looked through a this weird, tiny little 9″ x 9″ access hatch located behind our refrigerator (actually, it was too small to look, so i stuck a camera through and took the picture above.)

nothing. not just that, but i honestly don’t know what to do next.

in other news, the reason i was emailing with the condo board members was because they saw fit to elected / appoint me to the board three days ago. a board member was itching to get off — he had moved out of the building and is now renting his place out — and i was a warm body who didn’t know better to say no.

the funny punchline to this is that they asked me to be the treasurer. now, for those of you who don’t know a thing about me … i’ve never been paid to manage a budget, haven’t taken a math class since 1991, and had a legitimate shot of being a triple Theater / Russian / Geology major. (notice the one thing in common? no math.)

anyway, i agreed to serve on the board, but politely turned down the treasurer position, saying that we would be open to a “gross negligence” lawsuit if i said yes. volunteered to be secretary, or internal communications specialist, or streak through the hallways naked … basically anything that didn’t involve math.


in mt. pleasant, dc:

0y, 10m, 3d

Photos: The Home Stretch

Monday, 30 July 2007

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Life is finally returning to normal in the Sparkler household, after a pretty crazy couple of weeks. Here are some highlights (or skip to the bottom for pictures of the new place):

  • Emily has regained control of her faculties — After spending three hours on move-in day hiding in her litter box, Emily decided that day two would be best spent trapped under the bathroom vanity. It took a saw and a couple of crowbars to spring her. The good news is that after two weeks in Mt. Pleasant, she is starting to mellow down to her usual high strung, psychotic self.
  • Our home air conditioner has stopped flooding water all over our hardwood floors — Somewhere around day six, water started spewing from our air conditioning. We had the previous owner’s AC guy come out who said that it was leaking because the condensation drain was plugged up from the floor below all the way to the floor above. They professionally installed a bucket under the drain pipe (which we replaced the next day with a funnel and fifteen feet of hose leading to the bathtub) while we waited for the condo board to send out a plumber. Somewhere around day twelve, the plumber came and liberated us from our MacGuyver existance.
  • The car has stopped breaking — A green, glowing “emissions” light come on about day four, followed by a bright, blinking red “engine overheating” light on day six (which nicely coincided with the car’s air conditioning failing), followed by another green, glowing “emissions” light on day eleven. So, during four trips to the dealership in the last ten days, we have replaced the catalytic converter, the oxygen sensor, a radiator fan fuse, and retightened an engine exhaust hose. The dealership assures us that everything is fine … for now.

Fortunately, somewhere in all that we managed to unpack and finish setting up all the rooms. We still have about a car load of stuff in Arlington, and about 6 boxes of miscelaneous crapola that we have to give away, put away, pitch or recycle … but we are finally in the home stretch (pardon the pun).

For those of you in town on Thursday before the wedding, we are going to host a little open house that afternoon so our beloved friends and family can see the new place. Until then, some more pictures below:

Second Bedroom

Master Bedroom


in mt. pleasant, dc:

0y, 0m, 10d

Home: 7 days, and counting … (July Edition)

Friday, 13 July 2007

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Made you look. No, the wedding is still 86 days away (not that anyone is counting). We speak, instead, of the move.

In fact, in seven days I expect to be painting our very own master bedroom a lovely shade of Chianti after earlier in the day giving our sellers the largest check I have ever seen in my life.

To bring you up to speed … Since we last mentioned Mt. Pleasant nary sixteen days ago, we have:

  • Gotten the results of our home inspection back — Everything looks pretty great. The combination furnace/AC unit needed to be serviced and there were a couple of power outlets that needed work. The home inspector also mentioned something about our electrical circuit box potentially bursting into flames without warning, but not sure exactly what he meant. All in all, we were pretty happy.
  • Negotiated some extra dough from the sellers for the (potentially) flaming electrical box — Turns out that having a Federal Pacific “Stab-Lock” electrical box that could burst into flames at a moment’s notice is considered a “bug” as opposed to a “feature.” After a little negotiating, we managed to get some money from the sellers to get it replaced.
  • Tested Evan’s bicycle commute — I have been biking to and from work for about 6 weeks now, and hope to keep it up after the move. It should be easy. Our new place is right off the Rock Creek Trail (which meets my current commute) and forms a nice little seven mile commute each way. This past weekend, I tried the full trip from to Mt. Pleasant and back, and it was a LOVELY ride with some truly beautiful sections through Georgetown, Rock Creek and the National Zoo.
  • Determined Evan probably should not use a two decade old bike for commuting long distances — The following day, while commuting to work, I nearly wrapped myself around a tree because my 18 year old brakes and gears no-workey-so-goody, especially when wet. If I make it another 6 weeks of commuting via bicycle — ie. haven’t killed myself and haven’t given up trying — I am going to seriously ponder getting a bike made sometime *after* the first Bush administration.
  • Reviewed the condo’s bylaws and budget documents — Apparently, The Lady Sparkler and I share 5.2% of the voting power in our condo association. I am already wondering how best to abuse our new-found power. Perhaps we will start by repealing the bylaw that states that 80% of our *gorgeous* hardwood floors are supposed to be covered by area rugs.
  • Started shopping for rugs — Well, yes, but not because of the condo rule. We did some research and discovered that the current owners have never had more than 30% of their floor covered since the late 90s, and that most people aren’t meeting either the letter or the spirit of that rule. Not to mention: our unit is directly above the lobby, so there aren’t a whole lot of people to complain.
  • Gotten our appraisal back — Perhaps the most bizarre realization of the last two weeks was finding out that the bank felt comfortable verifying the value of our purchase without ever stepping foot inside the building. Not to mention, they *miraculously* appraised it at $1,000 more than we are buying it for (so we have already made a profit!)
  • Gone to Home Depot for paint colors — The only thing we are painting before we move in is the master bedroom, as it is currently a lovely shade of mango. To be fair, the color really is quite lovely, but our drapes are burgundy and our spread is olive and maroon, so keeping the mango isn’t really an option. The rest of the colors — seafoam living room, mango second bedroom, cobalt-ish halway, beige bathroom — match enough to buy us some time.
  • Found movers, electricians specializing in flaming electrical boxes, locksmiths, water/sewage authorities, a gas service and an electrical utility — Not much to add on this one.
  • Petted Emily-the-Cat — For two whole weeks, we said “wow, Emily is really taking all all this commotion well.” Then two days ago, she finally figured out something was up … and that 200 packing boxes might be something other than construction materials for the fort of her dreams.
  • Packed 60% of our belongings — Basically, everything is done except the kitchen. It took 16 copier boxes (and then some) to pack our bookcases alone, and that is after giving away four boxes of books. It is going to take years for us to get everything out again once we make it to the other side of the Potomac.

So, there you go.

Neither of us can wait ’til the end of October, when we can look back at this and start thinking that “shooting the moon” by moving and getting married on top of each other wasn’t the silliest idea we have ever had 😉

moving in:


House, 2.1

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

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Yay! We got it 🙂

We got the call today shortly before lunch, that the nice people who live in the place we want to buy accepted our offer. Actually, they countered with another offer that was 9k more than what WE offerered, but which was still 16k less than the list price and 1k less then we *thought* they were going to counter with.

Needless to say, we are besides our self with happiness. The settlement is July 19th, and we don’t have to vacate our current appartment until the end of August. This give us almost 6 weeks to move. Oh, joy! Oh, rapture! I have no idea what to do with the extra time … except for plan a wedding of course.

The home inspection is on Monday, July 2nd @ 4:00 pm, so no real news (and no better pictures) until then. However, before the MLS listing disappears, I downloaded it for posterity’s sake, and it is below.

101 days until the wedding …

Property Details

MLS#: DC6435304 · Bedrooms: 2 · Bathrooms: 1 full · City: WASHINGTON · Status: CNTG/NO KO · Type of Home: Garden 1-4 Floors · Style: Beaux Arts · Year Built: 1925 · Lot Acreage: 0 · Subdivision: MOUNT PLEASANT · County: WASHINGTON, DC · Address: 1661 PARK RD NW #206 · City, State, Zip: WASHINGTON, DC, 20010 ·


Comments: Gorgeous & Sunny 2 BR/1 Bath Condo in a GREAT Pet Friendly BLDG w/Bike Room**This unit SPARKLES w/UPDATES GALORE to incl:Kitchen w/SS Appls, Cabinetry, Silestone Counters, Remodeled Bath, NEW AC & Fresh Paint**Lovely HWD Flrs & Doors, Crown Molding**Large Rm sizes**W/D in unit**METRO, Rock Creek Park, Shops, Restaurants & Nightlife are here!!City Living at it’s Best**Sellers have taken PRIDE!

Home Features

Amenities: Crown Molding, Elevator, Shades/Blinds, Wood Floors · Appliances: Dishwasher, Disposal, Dryer, Exhaust Fan, Intercom, Microwave, Oven/Range-Electric, Refrigerator, Washer · Kitchen / Dining Info: Kit-Breakfast Bar, Liv-Din Combo · Heating System: Forced Air · Heating Fuel: Natural Gas · Cooling System: Central A/C · Cooling Fuel: Electric · Hot Water: Electric · Parking Info: Street · Water System: Public · Construction: Brick · Community Amenities: Common Grounds, Elevator

moving in:


House, 2.0

Sunday, 24 June 2007

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[Map]In completely unrelated news, The Lady Sparkler and I made an offer on a new place to live today. Yup, that’s right. We sat around last week, brainstorming about what we could do to make the last three months before our wedding a bit more chaotic, and this is the best we could do.

Actually, truth be told, this has been in the back of our minds for quite some time. The housing market bottomed out (in DC, at least) in November of 2006, and is on the way back up. Interest rates are low, but climbing. Personally, our current lease expires in August, we are expecting another lease hike, and our building punishes you if you don’t renew for a full year ($300/month to go month-to-month).

So, basically, the economic gods seem to be telling us something. Not wanting to anger said gods (Alan Greenspan?), ten days ago we found a real estate agent (Brandon Green) and a mortgage broker (Rob Riggins), both of whom came VERY strongly recommended and both very kindly gave us a crash course in home buying. After a weekend of getting oriented, and half a week of getting pre-approved, we hit about 20-25 different places this weekend.

The primary goals were a 2 bedroom condo in DC (in the Circles area — Logan, Scott, Dupont, Thomas) or in Virginia (either near where we live now in Court House, or near were The Lady Sparkler used to live in Del Ray/Alexandria). Given our budget, Brandon chuckled warmly at his naive little charges, and politely showed us some places we could actually afford.

The winning neighborhood by far was Mt. Pleasant, which is due north of downtown (16th street runs along the western edge of the neighborhood) and is nestled up against the back door to the National Zoo. The neighborhood has a fantastic diverse, family-friendly, funky vibe — those who know me know I don’t use the words “funky” or “vibe” lightly … darn hippie words! — and it seems to be one of the last true communities in the District.

The place we are bidding on is 1661 Park Road, #206 and is located at the corners of 17th street and Mt. Pleasant Avenue. It’s about 2 blocks from the Columbia Heights metro (where a Target, Best Buy, Marshall’s, Starbucks/Caribu Coffee and Carvel are all opening), 3 blocks from Rock Creek Park, and 6 blocks from the zoo.

(If you look on the Google Map above, the place we are looking at isn’t marked correctly … 1661 is actually well to the left of the green arrow, on the other side of the 5 townhouses you see on Park. It’s the building with 2 big trees between it and the street.)

The apartment has a ton of windows, and gorgeous, dark hardwood floors. Two bedrooms, brand new kitchen. The pictures attached to the listing were so bad, that we almost didn’t look at the place.

Anyway, we will obviously keep you posted as we keep moving towards the exciting conclusion of this very special episode of Extreme Makeover: Life Edition.

moving in: