Archive for September, 2005

Adventures in stupidity

Today was quite possibly the dumbest event in San Francisco history. Some people (close to the Mayor, apparently) decided it was a good idea to close down half of Pacific Heights and build a ski jump down Fillmore Street. Naturally I had to check it out (hey, I’m a sucker for such things).

Click the link to see some photos from my time there. It was REAL crowded so it was hard to get a good spot. I saw tons, and I mean tons, of digital cameras at the event. I took these with my Canon EOS-20D.

More >

Now that’s an expensive pizza

I had a pizza craving so I ran over to Round Table tonight. The cashier swiped my credit card and was punching away at the keys on the card reader when she said “oh no”. More “oh no’s” followed and then I said “you punched in too much, didn’t you?”. Sure enough, instead of $18.39 she punched in $180.39. That’s quite a bit for one pizza. The manager (who couldn’t have been out of her teens) came over and voided the transaction, but I’m keeping my receipts just in case. And no, they didn’t give me the pizza for free.

Sticker shock

I spent nearly the entire day in Oakland watching inspectors check out my new house. The sellers had a pest report done and it totaled a little over $4000, which isn’t bad for a 24 year old house. But the real shocker came this morning when the general inspector was looking at the balcony in the front of the house (you can see it in the frontal picture of the house below). Not only is the decking material rotted, but the main support beam is so rotted out that he was able to put his screwdriver all the way into the wood! This is very bad, and is a safety issue. If the deck fails, it’s a 40 foot drop to your death below. The seller’s pathetic pest inspector did not find this problem — and it was very obvious, even to me. The estimate for repairing this deck: $20,000.
Yes, twenty thousand dollars. Unless I bolt the door to the deck shut, this repair is mandatory. Since the seller and especially their inspector really screwed up, we’re going to try to get as much money back on this as possible. If they don’t give us anything I will bail out, but we’re not anticipating this, as the people in the backup position will find out about it too.
There’s also about $2000-$3000 worth of roof repairs due once again to — you guessed it — the incompetence of the previous roofers.
Aside from that the news is good. The foundation is fine, as is the drainage, plumbing, and electrical stuff. The wood shingles on the side of the house will need to be replaced in a few years.
Other things that will be done include new bathroom floors (mandatory), a new toilet (I might as well replace the other one too since they’re ripping out the floor anyway), and something to keep my car from scraping its way up the driveway (yes, it can be done!).
All-in-all I expect to drop five figures worth of money into initial upgrades, which sounds like a lot, but I was expecting to spend a bunch. The good news is that we didn’t have any REALLY expensive problems, like foundation or drainage problems. One of the inspectors said that it would cost about $50,000 to fix a drainage problem if I had one (I don’t).
Anyhow, we’ll find out in a few days how much money I’ll get back from the seller on that deck problem…

My picture on a postcard

Well, not MY picture, but a picture that I took. A few months ago this lighting design company asked if they could use my photo of the Ziggurat building in West Sacramento for a postcard they’re mailing out, and today I got one in the mail. Looks great! This is a really cool building that is sadly no longer lit up like this.

House pictures — finally!

I have finally posted some pictures of the “mountain retreat” I bought in Oakland this week. First up are inspections… then hopefully an early close so I can fix some things up and do some interior painting. This house is about 24 years old. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and it’s around 1850 square feet. The yard is good size but it’s uphill, so no lawns here.
The great thing about this house is the location: it feels like you’re living in the forest, but you’re only a few minutes from Montclair Village, and a few more from Rockridge and Berkeley. The bad thing is that I’m going have to pour some money into it, as the inspections are showing. But that’s how things are when you buy an older house! Remember, my current house was built for me from the ground up!
Click the link for a bunch of pics!

More >