The first Summer instance of driving fast, hitting the curve, pulling Gs to an energizing song. In this case it was the very, very Kraftwerkian “Metroland” by OMD, a song about the idealized London suburb. I saw a plane taking off overhead, bright silver in the setting sun, soaring without care of effort into a cloudless sky, and for a moment it was, oh, 2018 again, 2017. A time before $55 worth of groceries cost $87, when gas was low and the shelves were full.


You may ask: how’s the new oven? It’s great! Oh, it doesn’t seem to heat up as much as the indicator says, and pizza takes a bit longer - well, everything takes a bit longer - but maybe it’s just settling in. The burners are hot, though. Boy, can this thing boil water! Worth the nine-month wait!

There’s still one piece left, though. The vent hood. The guys who came to install it said they couldn’t install it, unless some wood was cut. So I called my guy. I have in my contacts as OVEN CARPENTER, which sounds like a John Irving novel character. Someone from the northeast states, a flinty chap with a serious manner and a deep well of private thoughts. THE TESTAMENT OF OVEN CARPENTER.

He showed up on time, as usual. Genial guy, relaxed, total pro. Birch wants to kill him. I cannot dissuade Birch about this issue. Look, pal, do I seem worried? No? Take a hint? He has to go upstairs. Oven C. looks at the spot that needs to be carved, and notes that he can, of course, do it, but the electrical outlet may not be positioned correctly, and the junction box for the undercabinet lights will probably interfere with with the hood’s filtration mechanism.

“But they changed all those around,” I said.

He shrugged. “Maybe they didn’t know.”

“The hood had already been delivered. They knew what it was and where it would go.”

He grinned. “Well, take it up with them.”

I also noted that they’d removed some trim on the cabinets by the floor, and maybe he could hack off a piece of wood from the piece of wood he removed two months ago? No problem.

He didn’t even charge me for it. Tossed it in. And his price was reasonable. I wrote him a check and we shook hands. Always a pleasure, Oven C; won’t be the last.

Later that day my wife was watering and noticed that the water pressure in the backyard was limp. Was anything running? No. I took a look at the faucet: water was weeping out of the seal. This was the faucet I just had replaced last week. A Dial M for Murder moment: the water was coming from inside of the house.

So I called the plumber and told them what was up and they said they would call me tomorrow.

Oh: the same plumber fixed the exploded pipes on the irrigation system, but you know, the irrigation system doesn’t work. Damndest thing. I turn it on, the app says it’s connected, all green, but no heads pop up - except for one at the absolute far end of Jasperwood, which sticks its head up an inch and dribbles. So I called the irrigation guys and told them about it and they said I might have a busted pipe. Or perhaps a bum junction box.

Hah! Not likely. I opened up all five and dug out the dirt and examined the connections. All good.

Anyway. The plumber came the next day, and the minute he saw the leak he said it was from the pipe inside the wall, and had nothing to do with his job. So . . . we had a failure simultaneous with the other failure? Well, the parts were the same age, which is to say old, and we'll show me the part to indicate how it failed..

The only problem is that we can’t find a way to get to the pipe inside the house.

It seems they sealed off a lot of pipes in the 1999 renovation of the house.

But that can’t be so. We poked around, and eventually found an access door behind the pantry shelves. I said he’d have to bring by a horse jockey to get in there, whereupon he grinned and jabbed a thumb at his chest.

The good news is that they’ll take the price of the previous repair off the cost of this new repair.

Home ownership: bleeding money out of every possible orifice to maintain stasis.

UPDATE: a tree was uprooted by the storm a few days ago and has to be removed at the cost of $5 million dollars or something


Now, this year's Above-the Fold Kul-chah Feature, or ATFKF.

I lost the information for this one. I'd feel bad if I was the only one who had it, but that's the museum's job.

Self-possessed fellow, here, enjoying a smoke. Three different types of human reactions on display:

Things are more somber on the other side of the picture.


People really got cinched up for a photograph in those days.









Hold on, AGAIN? Martinsville AGAIN?   No: it's a different Martinville. Population 12,000 souls, rounding up.


“The main window had a little space-distortion from the wormhole passing through, but it looks to be temporary.”

Typical modern civic building, right down to the repeating “stones” that look like a pattern in an early video game.


OUMB in all its glory:

“Well, we could have built it out and had more space, but we were really focused on that Roman colonnade style.

“You do see it, don’t you? It’s pretty Roman and all.”


I don’t do enough churches, but that’s because there aren’t a lot in the towns I go. Not downtown.

Standard issue model here, with some renovations still visible in the tower base. Must have moved an entrance.

This one checked out a long time ago. The ghosts left behind are hard to read.

Again, did they put the second-floor windows in after the building went down, or reopen them? I’m inclined to the latter, suggesting that the corner site had a one story building, which was demolished for the two-story corner building we no longer have. If you know what I mean.

You just want to find the button that centers the type and click it over and over.


Oh, it was something else before it was SUPER SPORTS.

The ground-floor stone indicates a rehab, and the general massing and windows say . . . 30s, early 40s. I’ll bet it was a swank men’s shop once.



I mean, hurrah it’s still around, but it looks like it’s really on edge.



“We were relieved when it stopped giving birth after two.”

Carnegie library, obviously, with additions that are supposed to be respectful of the original design, but look like suburban houses.


Nice of them to put in a drain for Jake’s leaky window unit:

The whole thing is an exercise in defacement.

I’m not happy about this. The ground floors don’t line up, and it’s obviously all the same building.

Or it was built in phases. The cornice was added after completion. Maybe.

Pity about the glass block, but otherwise an impeccable Roman Embassy.

I like glass block, but it’s not an improvement here.


Manspreading, architecture-style:



Lousy modernization. The wide area on the ground floor suggests a Firehouse, no?

Sigh. Window choices are so-so. But good for them for preserving it.

As we have learned, the thin windows were better for ventilation - the air was drawn through the building with more force. But maybe do the whole front with the slits?

Ah: research indicates that it was originally two stories; third added in 1900 for the Masons.

Another block that looks like several buildings:


Another google-car drive-by shows . . . .


And that's IT for the Martinsvilles. Hope you've had your fill.





Thanks for the visit - almost Friday! Hurrah and so on. See you around. Oh - Motels await.



blog comments powered by Disqus