Thursday, June 21, 2018

"the best crawlspace of all is filled with concrete and called a slab—or dug out and called a basement"

New Light in Crawlspaces | Building Science Corporation 

unless the unreinforced slab is built on uncontrolled (not an "engineered " soil, e.g. contains organic material), uncompacted, fill--and is cracked--and the cracks in the slab cause the ceramic tiles in your entryway, kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, etc. to crack. 

as for crawlspaces, where are all the "tiny people with good workmanship? ... They all have gone on to fame and fortune in reality TV cable shows." 

face it, folks. the quality of new houses in the US from top (roof) to bottom (foundation) in the last 50 years has gotten worse while the quality of goods and services in other US industries has more than doubled.

too much rain, too much roof, not enuf gutter

1. the gutter is flat, or very near flat. 
2. flow in the gutter is open channel. 
3. Manning's formula for open channel flow is: V={\frac {k}{n}}{R_{h}}^{2/3}\,S^{1/2}. 
4. if the slope (S) is 0, then the velocity (V) is 0 and the flow in the gutter (Q=V*A) is 0. 
5. if the slope is 0.0014, then the square root of the slope is 0.037. the velocity and flow in the gutter are very small--near zero. 
6. if the gutter is full, and the slope is 0, or near 0, then all or most of the water coming off the roof overflows the gutter.

7. there are two outlet pipes from downspouts--mine and my neighbor's.
8. the pipe on the right is buried. look closely--only a small part of the top can be seen.
9. question: where will the water go? answernowhere--this is a fact

close-up of the buried pipe

10. if the open end of the pipe from the downspout is buried, with nowhere for the water to go, then water backs up in the plastic pipe from the downspout.
11. when the plastic pipe from the downspout is full, then water backs up in the downspout.
12. when the downspout and the gutter are full, then water coming off the roof flows over the gutter and washes out the ground beneath it.

close-up of the washout

13. this is a new house, purchased less than one half year ago.
14. the house has a one year warranty.
15. the builder says that the gutter is not level. fact: the gutter is level or very near level. (in other words, "don't believe your lying eyes.")
16. the builder says that the plastic pipe is not buried. fact: the plastic pipe is buried. (in other words, "don't believe your lying eyes".) 
17. fact: the buried pipe looks the same today as the day that we bought the house.
18. the builder says "it's not our problem."
19. fact: the builder created the problem by installing the gutter level, or near level.
20. fact: the builder may have created the problem by installing a gutter that is too small for the roof area and rainfall intensity.
21. fact: burying the outlet end of the plastic pipe created the problem.
22. fact: we did not bury the outlet end of the plastic pipe. it was buried the day that we bought the house.
23. fact: the builder created the problem.

builder: Alan Toothman Construction Inc., Woodstock, VA

  • grading and drainage look like they were done by Rube Goldberg
  • most of the crawl space is flooded 
  • floors creak
  • HVAC is poor
  • inside trim is sloppy

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

the sad state of home construction in the US

in our 50+ years being married Jenny and I bought 4 homes:
  1. the first was about 10 years old when we bought it. we lived in it for 29 years.
  2. the second was a new townhouse built by a local builder. we lived in it for four years. 
  3. then we retired and bought a new (Pulte) house in a 55 & older retirement community in Bluffton SC and lived in it 7 years.
  4. after SC we moved back to Virginia and I swore that we would never buy another house. after renting for 5 years, and moving 6 times in 6 years, we had it with renting (and crooked landlords). late 2017, within a month of turning 71, we bought a new house built by a local builder. 
our first house was best. the second was ok. the third was a disaster. the fourth ranks #3.

many who bought new houses in the past 50 years know what this chart shows:

that the quality of construction of new houses over the past 50 years is poor when compared to the quality of homes built 50 years ago. basic systems, e.g. structure, roof, floors, windows, weather protection, HVAC, appliances, etc., are less reliable in many new houses today than those built 50 years ago.

why? the reasons are probably many--
  • builder incompetence and greed 
  • decline in skilled labor 
  • government's failure to protect consumers 
  • consumer reticence 
  • a costly legal system that protects builders more than it protects consumers
whatever the reasons, the chart is clear--while productivity and quality of non-agricultural products have more than doubled over the past 50 years with advances in technology, productivity and quality in construction have declined, despite advances in technology. many who bought new houses in the past 50 years are left with fixing builder messes at their own expense--the ones that can be fixed--while the productivity and quality of new homes continues to decline.

what's the solution? I honestly can't tell you. It looks to me like the trends that are so obvious in the chart will continue--bad news for new home buyers--that's you and me. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

virginia loves landlords, property managers and realtors. renters? not so much

in 2012 after 7 years of owning a house in the poorly constructed community of sun city hilton head in bluffton, SC, we moved back to virginia. not wishing to buy another home in my mid 60s, we decided to rent. after moving 6 times in 6 years, and now being in my 70s, we've "thrown in the towel" and purchased another home. 

virginia is NOT friendly towards renters. 

landlords, property managers and realtors own virginia politicians. landlords, property managers and realtors violate their own leases. they: 
   - confiscate your security deposit without due cause 
   - dishonestly "prorate" rent charging more than the lease 
   - fail to repair and maintain the property in a timely fashion 
   - fail to carry out other landlord responsibilities in the lease 

virginia, including virginia's legislature and courts, refuse to insist that landlords, property managers and realtors treat renters honestly and fairly. they won't "bite the hands that feed them". 

if you're thinking of renting in virginia, then don't. the system in virginia is rigged against you.

in the state seal, virginia's government, and virginia's landlords, property managers and realtors, are dressed in blue, and renters in virginia are dressed in purple.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Lambert moving and storage, woodstock va.

thank you, Mr. Lambert. when we called in early december, the first available date was in january. we explained that we were moving to a new house in strasburg va. from a rented house, also in strasburg va., and that the lease expires at the end of the month. Lambert replied that they would see what they could do, even giving us the name of a mover in winchester to call. Lambert called back a few days later and said that they could fit us in. Mr. Lambert and 2 big guys took care of us flawlessly and efficiently. Lambert didn't charge us more even though we were in a jam. I highly recommend Lambert movers to anyone who is moving in, out or around shennandoah county va. 

Facebook: Lambert R J Inc Moving & Storage

image by Estoy Aquí

Sunday, October 29, 2017

"totally put out" with Navy Federal Credit Union's mortgage loan department

Navy Federal Credit Union boasts that they are the "largest credit union in the world with over 7 million members". Try to reach nfcu through their universal 888-842-6328 phone number and you'll believe it. Navigating through their automated voice-recorded menu (without an option to speak to a live person) and listening to hours of "elevator music" while you hold for the destination makes one think that all 7+ million members are trying to reach nfcu at the same time. Add to that a "daisy chain" of forwarding calls that eventually leads to a rapid-fire "leave a message" recording of names and 5-digit extension numbers. You leave a message and no one returns your call--totally frustrating.

You apply for the mortgage loan by phone. There are many detailed questions. You don't fully understand some of the questions, and you ask questions. You still don't fully understand, but in the interest of time, you move on. You are told that a loan officer will contact you within 48 hours--that doesn't happen. it's back to 888-842-6328.

* one of the questions for which we didn't receive an adequate answer from nfcu is: what is the $10,527 "VA funding fee" in our loan? so, we googled the question: VA Funding Fee - Who Pays What and Why"The VA Funding Fee is a set fee applied to every purchase loan or refinance. The proceeds go directly to the VA and help cover losses on the few loans that go into default."
clear enough. MUCH clearer than the gobbledygook that we got from nfcu.
so, let me get this straight. I, as a veteran who doesn't default on his loans, has to pay for other veterans who default on their loans. that's like being told that you have to pay for a deadbeat who bolted out of a restaurant before you got there without paying his check. what? does that make sense to you? me neither.

we received 22 emails from 10 different nfcu email addresses in 6 days asking for more and more information. we were left to figure out nfcu's software on our own, including e-documents and their secure document uploading system. we spent hours and hours researching and uploading documents. Then the loan officer says: "I can't find them". what do you want me to do? explain to you how to use your own software? 

it's a maze of: 
- being passed from person to person 
- seemingly never ending requests for more personal information 
- a myriad of too many instructions for some things and too few instructions, no instructions or conflicting instructions for others 
- a phone system and employees who play "hide-and-seek"

At the end of the first week I spoke with a mortgage loan supervisor--when she finally returned my call. She said all the right things--in fact, so much so that it was difficult for me to get a word in edgewise. She said that nfcu would fix it. They didn't. at the end of the second week I called again. more time wasted on 888-842-6328 and more hours waiting for my call to be returned. when my call finally was returned, I got more of the same thing--lots of talk, including "we'll fix it." how confident am I that it will be fixed? not so much.

nfcu mortgage department employees and supervisors are tone deaf when it comes to the needs and concerns of their customers. supervisors are particularly hard to reach by phone. when we call, they can't be found. it took hours for our phone calls to be returned. then, when we tried to explain our problem, the nfcu mortgage loan supervisor argued that we didn't have a problem. needless to say, arguing with customers doesn't promote good will and repeat business.

when we asked for an estimate as to when our mortgage loan would be approved or disapproved, they said that they can't give us an estimate. what? when you take your car to be serviced or repaired, or when you hire a contractor to do some work on your house, do the vendors give you an estimate of when the work will be done? of course they do! not nfcu mortgage loan department! 

savvy businesspeople assign a single person for the customer to contact about their job. nfcu passed us from person to person which, as any good businessperson knows, is not the best way to serve customers. 

nfcu's employees, including supervisors, were tone deaf to our concerns of having to move all of our belongings from the house that we are renting to the new house in one month or less, during December, when the weather can be poor. During the December holidays, employees in many businesses are on leave. This is particularly true in rural areas where some businesses, such as movers, completely shut down during the holidays. 

to move our loan application forward as quickly as possible, we repeatedly requested that we be called if anything more was needed from us. when we asked a nfcu loan processor if there was anything that she needed from us, she answered "yes--there is more information that I need from you". Why didn't she call us as we previously requested repeatedly? answer: tone deaf.

nfcu insists that they're "doing everything possible to move your loan forward as fast as possible". not true. 
- nfcu says "a loan officer will contact you within 48 hours". it doesn't happen. 
- nfcu insists that they're not passing us from person to person even though they are. 
- nfcu tells us that they will update us weekly. it doesn't happen.
- when we ask nfcu to let us know when there's anything that we can do to unplug a logjam (title binder), nfcu doesn't contact us. 
nfcu tells us what a great job that they're doing; but, the facts show otherwise. what nfcu says that they're going to do is quite different from what they actually do (nothing). but, there's no point in voicing our concerns--it's like talking to a wall. 

nfcu could easily:
- modify their 888 842-6238 voice-recorded menu to add an "if you wish to speak to a (live) nfcu representative" option
- add a "the current 'wait time' is ___ minutes (or hours)" and a nfcu "call back" option
- post on their website a description of the VA loan application process, including a glossary of terms and average time for each step
- post a FAQ for VA loans, and a "contact us" for questions not answered by FAQ
- assign a single mortgage department person as contact person for customers whose loan applications are being processed
- train mortgage department employees to be customer oriented 
- monitor mortgage loan dept. performance, e.g. (1) when nfcu says "your mortgage loan officer will contact you within 48 hours", and this doesn't happen, then take necessary steps to make sure that this doesn't happen again, (2) make sure that customer calls to the mortgage loan department are a priority--that the nfcu employee who they are calling is available most of the time to take their call, and, if not, that their call is returned promptly, (3) train mortgage loan department employees to take customer concerns seriously, etc.

frankly, it's surprising to me that these easy improvements weren't made long ago, and continuously monitored, and updated as necessary.

I admit that my wife and I didn't give our mortgage lender much thought: 
1. nfcu has been our bank for 31+ years--savings account, checking account, etc.
2. I'm a veteran.
3. we have excellent credit.
4. we're not new to buying and selling houses--in our 50+ years being married, this will be our 4th.

this loan should have been relatively easy--not so. if we had it all to do over again, then we wouldn't have used nfcu for our mortgage loan. needless to say, we would never consider using them again. and, if anyone asked us about our experience with nfcu, then we'd tell them the truth.

nfcu's mortgage loan dept. makes f troop look like a precision drill team.

receiving my soldier of the year award
from the assistant commandant, United States
Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, GA, 1970

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I was unaware of this website until the latest Chipolte restaurant incident. it's a good website to be aware of. Their incident map allows you to zoom in on your location.

another resource is each state's health department which has the responsibility to protect the health of each state's citizens and its visitors by regulating and inspecting restaurants in the state. 

image by TNhealthwebmast

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What It's Like to Buy a Mattress Over the Internet

old dog? new trick?
I got you.

What do you do when you need a new mattress and you're 30 miles from the closest mattress store? and besides, you hate shopping for a mattress in a mattress store.

Hidden among all the sales propaganda from my google search was this article: What It's Like to Buy a Mattress Over the Internet

You're welcome.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

IRS: "You shall not steal" Exodus 20:15

The IRS is the biggest bully on the block.

In July 2016 we received a $450 refund check from the IRS. The same day that we received it we wrote to the IRS telling them it was a mistake.

Since then the incredibly incompetent IRS has sent us a series of letters (each with a "we need 45 more days to respond" letter in between) saying: (1) that the refund is not a mistake, (2) mark the check void and send it back to the IRS, (3) that we owe $450 plus interest more on our 2015 federal income tax, and (4) that the IRS has confiscated our 2016 income tax refund and applied it to the tax plus interest that the IRS erroneously claims that we owe for 2015.

The IRS has ignored our letters to them in which we repeatedly have told the IRS that: (1) our 2015 tax return, filed in April 2016, is correct, (2) the IRS made a mistake sending us the refund and (3) that we don't owe additional taxes for 2015.

Not only is the IRS incredibly incompetent, but also the heavy-handed IRS is the biggest bully on the block.

Here are the details:

                                1040      QD&CGTW     Difference
taxable income     $42,425       $39,430          $2,995
tax                         $5,441         $4,991            $450

QD&CGTW = Qualified Dividends & Capital Gain Tax Worksheet

We always do a pencil draft of our taxes first. When we completed the pencil draft for our 2015 taxes, we realized that there was a very obvious discrepancy/error between the taxable income ($42,425) and tax ($5,441) from the form 1040 and the taxable income ($39,430) and tax ($4,991) from the QD&CGTW. 

The IRS instructs taxpayers not to include the QD&CGTW with their tax return.

The IRS instructs taxpayers that they must use the tax tables to get the tax (line 44) for their taxable income (line 43). 

Nowhere on lines 1 through 44 of the form 1040 are there places to record the reduction in taxable income ($2,995) and the reduction in tax ($450) from the QD&CGTW.

Using the tax tables for the taxable income ($42,425) on line 43 calculated from lines 1 through 42 on the form 1040 and the tax ($4,991) on line 44 from the lower taxable income ($39,430) from the QD&CGTW results in a very obvious discrepancy/error because the tax ($4,991) on line 44 doesn't agree with taxable income ($42,425) in the tax tables. Using the tax tables and the taxable income ($42,425) calculated from lines 1 through 42 on the 1040 yields a higher tax ($5,441) than using the tax tables and the lower taxable income ($39,430) from the QD&CGTW (tax = $4,991).

To correct this obvious contradiction/error, and so the tax ($4,991) on line 44 of the 1040 would agree with the taxable income ($39,430) on line 43 of the 1040, we entered the reduction in taxable income ($2,995) from the QD&CGTW on line 28, other miscellaneous deductions, of schedule A, itemized deductions, and clearly annotated it on schedule A as from the QD&CGTW.

Our 2015 tax return, filed in April 2016, is correct. Our taxable income and tax for 2015 are $39,430 and $4,991. We paid $4,991 in taxes. We aren't due a refund nor do we owe additional tax for 2015.

The IRS made a mistake--they sent us a refund check that we weren't due. When we informed the IRS of their mistake, the heavy-handed IRS ignored our letters, lied to us, threatened us, and stole from us. Under the same circumstances the mafia wouldn't have treated us as badly as the IRS has.

Only the IRS (Idiotic Revenue Service) would have two methods for calculating taxable income (form 1040 and the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax worksheet) that give different results; and instruct the taxpayer not to include the QD&CGT worksheet with their tax return.

Only the Idiotic Revenue Service would have form 1040 that omits the reduction in taxable income from the QD&CGT worksheet.

Only the Idiotic Revenue Service would leave the taxpayer with reporting a higher taxable income (line 43 on form 1040) that doesn't agree with the lower taxable income from QD&CGT worksheet. Obviously, using the higher taxable income yields a higher tax from the tax tables which obviously doesn't agree with the lower taxable income and lower tax from the QD&CGT worksheet--a built-in contradiction/error.


Only the Idiotic Revenue Service could come up with forms and instructions that contradict, and not even know it. 


Only the Idiotic Revenue Service would: (1) mail a $450 refund to taxpayers whose tax return shows aren't due a refund, (2) reject the taxpayers' letters that say that the refund is a mistake, (3) send the taxpayers a letter that says that the refund is not a mistake, (4) send the taxpayers another letter instructing the taxpayers to mark the refund check void and return it, (5) tell the taxpayers erroneously that they owe the IRS $450 plus interest instead*, and (6) while the matter is under review, and without informing the taxpayers first, confiscate the taxpayers' 2016 refund and apply it to the $450 plus interest that the Idiotic Revenue Service erroneously says that the taxpayers owe.

* what a bunch of morons! the Idiotic Revenue Service went from one extreme (the IRS owes us $450) to the other extreme (we owe the IRS $450 plus interest)--and it only took them more than six months to come up with that brilliant conclusion. unbelievable! 

The mafia treats its customers better than the Idiotic Revenue Service.

the godfather 

Finally, why are we so confident that our 2015 tax return, filed in April 2016, is correct and that the IRS forms and instructions are incorrect? Because we checked our 2015 taxes with turbotax. Turbotax verifies that line 43 of form 1040, taxable income, is $42,425 and line 44, tax, is $4,991 even though the tax tables show that for a taxable income of $42,425 the tax is $5,441.  THIS IS THE SAME DISCREPANCY/ERROR WITH THE IRS FORMS AND INSTRUCTIONS THAT WE IDENTIFIED WITH OUR PENCIL DRAFT OF OUR 2015 TAX RETURN

Our 2015 tax return, filed in April 2016, is correct. Our taxable income for 2015 is $39,430, our tax is $4,991 and we paid $4,991 in taxes in 2015, just as our 2015 tax return shows.  We are not due a refund nor do we owe additional tax for 2015.

The Idiotic Revenue Service owes us an apology for: (1) failing to realize that our 2015 tax return, filed in April 2016, is correct, (2) ignoring our numerous letters informing the IRS of their error in sending us the refund, (3) lying to us ("the IRS will correct the error" and we "can speak with an agent"), (4) going from one extreme (the IRS owes us $450), (5) to the other--the IRS's most audacious error--saying that we owe the IRS $450 plus interest more for 2015, (6) stealing our 2016 tax refund and applying it to the IRS's error that we owe more tax for 2015, (7) stealing our 2016 refund while we were still contesting the IRS's errors and (8) our time, expense, frustration and anxiety over more than six months that the heavy-handed IRS has caused us by their failure to see that they're wrong and that we're right from the very beginning.

Monday, May 1, 2017

outback steakhouse

winchester va

misleading menu
"half-rack baby back ribs. comes with fries. order side salad $2.99 (small) or $3.99"
order came w/o fries???
waiter said that she would check.
she didn't come back.
come to find out that if you order the salad that you don't get the fries.
the menu doesn't say that.

nothing to write home about.

background music
loud and annoying.


asked for lemon in my iced tea.
smallest lemon slice that I've ever seen in a big glass of iced tea.

not enough butter with the bread


Friday, April 7, 2017

stupid IRS

The IRS is the guardian of our treasury. As guardian of our treasury, one would expect the IRS not to be stupid. Such is not the case. IRS forms and instructions are overly complex, and in some cases, downright stupid. 

Probably the two most important lines in the IRS Form 1040, "individual income tax return", are line 43, "taxable income", and line 44, "tax". Form 1040 instructions instruct taxpayers that they must use the tax tables to determine their tax from their taxable income.

Publication 17, "your federal income tax", instructs taxpayers with qualified dividends and capital gains to use the "qualified dividends and capital gain worksheet". It also instructs taxpayers not to include the worksheet with their tax return.

There's the rub! The tax figured using the qualified dividends and capital gain worksheet does not equal the tax obtained from the tax tables using line 43, "taxable income". catch 22. a built-in discrepancy. One would think that the IRS would be smarter than to ask taxpayers to submit their tax returns with such an obvious built-in discrepancy.

To remedy this obvious discrepancy for our 2015 tax return, we entered the reduction in taxable income from the qualified dividends and capital gain worksheet on line 28, "other miscellaneous deductions", schedule a, "itemized deductions". We clearly annotated the deduction on line 28, schedule a, as "qualified dividends and capital gains worksheet".

A few months later we received a tax refund in the mail for exactly the same amount as shown on our "qualified dividends and capital gain tax worksheet". The deduction in tax had been double-counted. We immediately wrote the IRS informing them of the mistake.

After months and several "we need more time" letters from the IRS, we finally got a response--the IRS said that the refund is not a mistake.

We wrote the IRS informing them again that the refund is a mistake and that we have not and will not cash the refund check.

After several more months and several more "we need more time" letters, we got another letter from the IRS 

  • instructing us to void and return the refund check (which we did) 
  • contained erroneous calculations saying that we had paid $450 less tax than we actually paid (shown clearly on page 2 of our form 1040)
  • informed us that we owe an additional $450 plus interest for our 2015 federal income tax

One would think that the guardian of the treasury wouldn't be so stupid. If the IRS:
  • doesn't know the tax that we paid in 2015 (that is shown clearly on our 2015 form 1040)
  • has an obvious built-in discrepancy in the form 1040
  • can't follow their own forms and instructions for our simple tax return
then there's no telling how much the treasury is being ripped off by wealthy taxpayers and businesses.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

prorating rent scam

Renters, beware of the prorating rent scam. Here's how it works:

We signed a one-year lease for an apartment at Somerhill Farms apartments in Gainesville VA. The lease began on 2/15/16 and ended on 2/14/17.

We were told that we need a cashier's check for the first month's rent and the "amenity fee". The first month's rent is "prorated". Using "voodoo math", the property manager determined that our "prorated" rent for February 2016 was 51.7% of the monthly rent stated in the lease.

From March 2016 through January 2017 we paid 100% of the monthly rent stated in the lease--always before the rent due date.

On 1/25/17 we vacated our clean, empty apartment and turned our keys and parking passes back over to the property manager along with a half month's rent (50%) for the remaining half month (February 2017).

 But wait! The remaining rent should have been 48.3% of the monthly rent (100% - 51.7%).

When I called this to the attention of the property manager, she said "You paid $1543.10 but should have paid $1583.93. The correction was done in 2016 so we will leave that as is and eat the difference."

$1583.93?!? More voodoo math! Less the $500.00 "amenity fee" and $100.00 credit for the "reservation fee", this amounts to $1,183.93 (53.6% of the monthly rent) for the first partial month's rent in February 2016.

I tried to get the extra rent that we overpaid back from the property manager, including the following:

"Somerhill Farms chooses to stagger their lease start dates so that all leases don't expire at the end of the month.
Had our lease began on 2/1/16 instead of 2/15/16 and expired on 1/31/17 instead of 2/14/17 then our rent would have been 12 times $2,210.00, not 11 times $2,210.00 + $2,288.93.
Why should the customer pay additional rent for the same 1 year (12 months) period of time? Answer: the customer shouldn't." 

I finally gave up with the following:

"I regret that you are unable to see that prorating the rent doesn't apply in this matter; and, that we overpaid the rent. If SF, GH, etc. wishes to sue us for $9.39 then they can do so. However, be advised that we will sue SF, GH and possibly others who may get involved with this in the future, not only for the overpayment and for our expenses in dealing with this matter with you, and possibly with others in the future; but, we will also sue for larger punitive damages resulting from fraud, harassment, etc. This is my final word with you on this matter outside court."

(The $9.39 refers to the final water bill which the property manager was trying to collect despite the overpayment. Tenants pay their water bills to the property manager, and the property manager pays the water company.)

Renters, beware, of the prorating rent scam!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Somerhill Farms apartments, Gainesville VA

brats in the belfry
  • bouncing a ball off the common wall
  • running up and down apartment halls nonstop for hours, shaking the whole building
  • jumping off the bed making the whole building shake
  • screaming, temper tantrums, etc.
If you don't like noise, and the whole building shaking, then you don't want to move to the Somerhill Farms apartments in Gainesville VA.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

the retirement maze: a decent place to live

dead end #1 - bought a house in a SC retirement community
  • poorly built house
  • poorly built community 
  • infrastructure: golf courses, poorly built community buildings, roads, ponds, utilities, etc.
  • high liability
dead end #2 - rented a house in Culpeper VA
  • bad landlord & property manager
  • roof leaked, driveway washed out, water problems, etc.
dead end #3 - rented a house in Nokesville VA
  • fickle landlord decided to move back
  • 2 acre lot to mow and maintain landscaping
dead end #3 - rented a house in no. Fauquier Co. VA
  • basement rented by another renter; some of his electric on our bill
  • crooked property manager advertised gas heat when it was propane; and, propane tank was empty.
  • crooked property manager advertised "working clothes washer and dryer" included. neither worked. we had to purchase a washer and dryer at our expense.
  • neighbor's dog on property
  • poor cable TV service including a lack of working coaxial cable outlets
  • house, carport and roof in poor condition
  • long, unpaved, dead-and-dying-tree-lined driveway 
  • trees, leaves, grass, bushes, etc.
dead end #4 - Marque apartments in Gainesville VA
  • upstairs neighbor up all night running and stomping, moving furniture, slamming balcony door
  • dogs barking & smelly hallways
  • bad property manager
dead end #5 - Somerhill apartments in Gainesville VA
??? #6 - rental house in Strasburg VA
  • less traffic
  • fewer people 
  • we're hoping for a better class of people, but at least they won't be living in the same building that we're living in
  • relatively new house 
  • relatively small lot to mow (no leaves from trees to rake or clog gutters)
  • $1K/mo. less rent

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Somerhill Farms apartments, Gainesville VA

What do folks who were born in a barn, who live at Somerhill Farms apartments in Gainesville VA, do? 

among other things, they throw eggs.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Somerhill Farms apartments, Gainesville, VA, irresponsible dog owners

That's a pile of dog crap in the foreground--on the path that connects Somerhill Farms apartments to the trail that goes to Jefferson St. In the background, just inches away, on the other side of the fence, is Somerhill Farm's dog park.
Another pile of dog crap in the middle of the trail, about 30 ft. from the pile of dog crap in the first photo.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Novant Health

Flu season.

I log into MyChart and click on the "flu shot only" link to schedule an appointment for a flu shot.
I get to the THIRD PAGE of the process and it says: 
"Please choose the location at which you would like to schedule your appointment."
my location (Haymarket VA) isn't on the list.  

I then call the Haymarket office to schedule an appointment for a flu shot. 
No one answers. 
I leave a voice mail.
That was three weeks ago.
Novant hasn't returned my call.

Novant claims that they are "making healthcare remarkable".

When did "remarkable" become "we don't want your business"?