tree, backyard – z – after removal – IMG_3078 (20110614)

tree, backyard – z – after removal – IMG_3078 (20110614)
Virginia Insurance
Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL)
Oh look! You can see Tim’s deck! (He was an extra in Silence Of The Lambs — see screenshot at www.flickr.com/photos/clintjcl/2698722705/ )

The tree is now removed! This is also a good "before" pic of the unpainted overhang window sills.

Homesite insurance, Progressive insurance, astroturf, birdfeeders, deck, gutter, house maintenance, pine tree, tree removal.
Homesite insurance sucks. Homesite sucks. Progressive insurance sucks. Progressive sucks. after tree removal. before painting.

back yard, Clint and Carolyn’s house, Alexandria, Virginia.

June 14, 2011.

… Read my blog at ClintJCL.wordpress.com
… Read Carolyn’s blog at CarolynCASL.wordpress.com

BACKSTORY: So our homeowners insurance (Farmers) canceled our policy due to having peeling paint on our window sills, and tree branches touching our roof (among other things). So we switched to Progressive and they dropped us for the same reasons. So we renewed our Progressive policy, had 0 of tree work done, and rectified most of the list they gave us. Progressive dropped us a 2nd time for new reasons, including changing the tree requirements from "no branches touching your roof" to "no branches over your roof at all", so even after following their specific advice regarding the trees, they still canceled our policy again. It’s simply not possible to satisfy Progressive when they give different reasons the second time around. Most of the reasons used by Progressive to drop us the 2nd time were never given the 1st time, even though those conditions were present then as well! PROGRESSIVE SUCKS AND IS NOT WORTH IT. INCONSISTENT! And then they try to bill you after you cancel them! Anyway,we paid The Care Of Trees 0 — the cheapest of the 15+ companies I contacted — to do 3 major cuts (0) and remove the pine tree behind our addition (0). I also bought a 0 pole saw (basically chainsaw on the end of a 10 foot pole) to handle the smaller trees (i.e. the cases where it’s possible to do it yourself).

tree, side yard (largest) – 91 – after 3 major cuts ($500) (also main room window now painted) – IMG_3080 (20110614)

tree, side yard (largest) – 91 – after 3 major cuts (0) (also main room window now painted) – IMG_3080 (20110614)
Virginia Insurance
Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL)
Three *major* tree cuts (0) done, after Farmers and Progressive/Homesite told us trees can’t touch our roof. After we did this work, they changed their tune to "trees can’t be OVER the roof". I don’t think that should be legal to tell the customer they have to make certain specific changes, then turn around and say those exact specific changes were no good. FUCK PROGRESSIVE. FUCK HOMESITE. FUCK FARMERS. DO NOT USE THEM.

This is also a good "after" pic of the now-painted main room window sill. The gutter has not yet been repaired in this picture.

Note the condition of the shingles. Progressive insurance (Homesite insurance) dropped our insurance giving us a list of reasons. We fixed the items on that list. They then dropped us a 2nd time for new reasons not included in the first list, including "curling shingles" on my roof. The shingles certainly aren’t perfect, but do these look like something that’s going to fly off my roof and cost an insurance company a lotof money? Of course, we survived Hurricane Irene AND the post-Irene flood storms JUST FINE … With zero water in our house. Progressive did not even cite our roof the first time they dropped us. Quite simply, Progressive Insurance/Homesite insurance are ASSHOLES. The roof sure as hell does not need to be re-done if it is functioning just fine. Plus, I just patched it with roof cement to strengthen it up even more! Be smart. Stay away from Progressive. Their low prices aren’t worth it. The State Corporation Commission has been notified, but since Virginia is a Republican state, our regulatory agencies barely have any teeth.

Also since then, additional gutter guards have been deployed, and they are uniformly and 100% covering the front gutters at least. Had to cut some into custom-sized pieces to get full coverage.

In case you’re wondering how a gutter gets damaged: www.flickr.com/photos/clintjcl/4481727978/ … Yes, it’s all you people who keep wishing for snows’ fault. Also, here’s a picture of how bent up our front-right gutter was: www.flickr.com/photos/clintjcl/3596132314/

Homesite insurance, Progressive insurance, gutter, gutter guards, house maintenance, tree, tree cuts, tree removal, window.
Homesite insurance sucks. Homesite sucks. Progressive insurance sucks. Progressive sucks. after painting.

side yard, Clint and Carolyn’s house, Alexandria, Virginia.

June 14, 2011.

… Read my blog at ClintJCL.wordpress.com
… Read Carolyn’s blog at CarolynCASL.wordpress.com

BACKSTORY: So our homeowners insurance (Farmers) canceled our policy due to having peeling paint on our window sills, and tree branches touching our roof (among other things). So we switched to Progressive and they dropped us for the same reasons. So we renewed our Progressive policy, had 0 of tree work done, and rectified most of the list they gave us. Progressive dropped us a 2nd time for new reasons, including changing the tree requirements from "no branches touching your roof" to "no branches over your roof at all", so even after following their specific advice regarding the trees, they still canceled our policy again. It’s simply not possible to satisfy Progressive when they give different reasons the second time around. Most of the reasons used by Progressive to drop us the 2nd time were never given the 1st time, even though those conditions were present then as well! PROGRESSIVE SUCKS AND IS NOT WORTH IT. INCONSISTENT! And then they try to bill you after you cancel them! Anyway, we paid The Care Of Trees 0 — the cheapest of the 15+ companies I contacted — to do 3 major cuts (0) and remove the pine tree behind our addition (0). I also bought a 0 pole saw (basically chainsaw on the end of a 10 foot pole) to handle the smaller trees (i.e. the cases where it’s possible to do it yourself).

door, utility room – 0 – peeling paint, DSL line repairs – IMG_3077 (20110614)

door, utility room – 0 – peeling paint, DSL line repairs – IMG_3077 (20110614)
Virginia Insurance
Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL)
Our utility room door. Not opened since the 1990s — had to be pried back shut. Used to have a wooden storm door, until one year it just collapsed and disintegrated from the elements (which is why there is a piece of wood attached to hinges on the right). The cinder block wall to our patio (left) is in crap condition too — but maybe the paint will help keep out the moisture and make it last a bit longer.

You can see where the cats ripped open the blinds so they could look open the window. This is an orange cat thing; our other cats didn’t do this.

You can see our DSL line hanging down. Originally it was worse, with cracked/missing wire insulation exposing inside wires all over the place. Combination of what I can only assume was cheap wire, combined with snow, ice, rain, and kudzu twisting the wires taut all the time. I used many many feet of electrical tape to patch up the outside of the water, and to preemptively cover up cracks that were going to end up getting worse later ("a stitch in time saves nine"). I wedged it behind various trim pieces whenever possible, with the extra slack hanging around our electric meter. DSL saved! The internet and phone companies will NOT fix this line for less than 0 per visit if it breaks. Last time it took them two visits because I wasn’t there to point at where the wire was broken. COVAD are dicks. This shit is important. It shouldn’t be considered inside wiring, but it is. Once it’s past your junction box, it’s all "inside" wiring, even if it’s outside! Typical corporate doublespeak; outside becomes inside in the world of profiting off your consumers. I am the 99%, goddamnit.

Damn kudzu is already climbing up the door again, despite us weed-wacking the hell out of it just weeks before.

DSL line, cinder blocks, concrete wall, electrical tape, house maintenance, utility room door.
before painting.

side yard, Clint and Carolyn’s house, Alexandria, Virginia.

June 14, 2011.

… Read my blog at ClintJCL.wordpress.com
… Read Carolyn’s blog at CarolynCASL.wordpress.com

BACKSTORY: While dealing with Farmers insurance & Progressive/Homesite insurance’s dropping our policy for us having peeling window sill paint (among other things), we had to do a bunch of house repairs. While painting our window sills, we also painted other surfaces that needed painting, such as doors, railings, soffits, stairs, gutters, pipes, and cinder block walls.

cinder block ladder – 9.5 blocks – 1 – IMG_3066-diptych-MG_3065 (20110614)

cinder block ladder – 9.5 blocks – 1 – IMG_3066-diptych-MG_3065 (20110614)
Virginia Insurance
Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL)
This was 100% necessary! And kind of fun! There was no way to set up a ladder to paint this window! Not even a ladder with 20+ configurations like mine! The steps were perpendicular and there was no way to balance a ladder. The wood to the right is too slippery to hold it up safely, and not enough to the left. To go over the fence but under the window would require having the ladder almost completely horizontally. It was NOT happening.

So we had to make a cinder block ladder.

Two cinder blocks for 3 levels: Each level perpendicular to the one underneath it [to prevent rocking]. 1.5 blocks (I was happy to have that half-height block on the bottom left!) to deal with the fact that they hung over the edge of the step. I had to add the vertical cinder block in front as a step onto to get to the top. (Yo dawg, I heard you like steps, so I put steps on your steps so you can step while stepping).

But then the top wasn’t tall enough, so the diagonal block had to be added. It wasn’t originally diagonal, but was turned so to allow control of how far away my face is from what I am painting — because painting something 2 inches in front of your face is AWKWARD! There’s nothing to hold onto other than the trim of the window!

In all, 9.5 cinder blocks were used. And the stack of Peapod bins to the right gave me a place to put my paint tray.

We also painted the stair railing. (I once fell so rapidly that I ripped the railing out of the wall and STILL bled a lot. So I appreciate it more now because my arm would probably have been broken otherwise.)

You can also see the partially-painted fence. Extra paint on the brushes at the end of the day went to fence post tops, then fence posts, then fence tops, then sides, then bottoms. We ended up doing the entire fence with "done for the day" brushes, even though we hadn’t intended to paint the fence.

Peapod bins, cinder block ladder, cinder blocks, fence, gutter guards, house maintenance, stair rail, window.
after painting. diptych.

Clint and Carolyn’s house, Alexandria, Virginia.

June 14, 2011.

… Read my blog at ClintJCL.wordpress.com
… Read Carolyn’s blog at CarolynCASL.wordpress.com

BACKSTORY: So our homeowners insurance (Farmers) got dropped due to having peeling paint on our window sills (among other things). Then Progressive took us and did the exact same thing. Weak. It was a LOT of work AND money for us to repaint all our sills. Wood windows SUCK!! Modern vinyl windows are MAINTANENCE-FREE!! Wood windows… You gotta re-glaze the panes when they fall out, and then the wood itself is always going to rot. What a pain!

stairs, back – 52 – hole in concrete wall big enough to stick head in (20110614) (IMG_3075)

stairs, back – 52 – hole in concrete wall big enough to stick head in (20110614) (IMG_3075)
Virginia Insurance
Image by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL)
Very troublesome, though, is this hole in the concrete. This is where most of the water drains and does its wear-and-tear. How the hell do you patch something like this? You can stick your whole head in the hole!

One thing not mentioned by the insurance companies was these wobbly wooden steps. The concrete had eroded away around the nails that held these to the wall. One of the vertical support boards was rotting away. Things didn’t quite line up. They were getting downright dangerous, rocking with each step. I feared they would completely collapse! To me, this is the one valid thing that truly had to be fixed — and it wasn’t even on the insurance companies’ lists!

So I replaced the rotting board with another board from my attic, which I had found somewhere years ago. It was rotting, too, but I flipped it so the rotting side was on top. I left the extra part up there as sacrificial material and/or something to hang something on. For less than the cost of a singleboard, we used a TON of wood filler (which you can see–the yellow stuff on the unpainted brown wood) on all the rotting parts of the wood. Nailage was doubled on most of the boards. I bought concrete nails at Home Depot (THEY ARE AWESOME) and re-nailed the vertical support boards to the concrete well. I used a caulking gun full of Liquid Nails behind the vertical support boards, as an additional kludgey hold should the nails get loose later. Then we painted it all. The stairs have no wobble and are like new! Only one board doesn’t look so hot — the top-most board has split horizontally into 2 separate boards, as this is where the water trickles down during storms — probably due to me deliberately changing the water flow to go down these steps many years ago; see recent flooding video at www.flickr.com/photos/clintjcl/6166790798/ … But since each sub-board is properly nailed, it doesn’t matter that it split. It’s just like using 2 smaller pieces of wood. I was so positive we’d have to replace these stairs 5-10 years ago! Now I think they very well may last ’til 2020! We’ll see!

At the bottom of this board you can kind of see the Liquid Nails — it’s painted, and looks kind of like frosting. Some was needed down here. Wanted as much stickage as possible, nail or otherwise.

Liquid Nails, cinder blocks, concrete, concrete hole, concrete wall, house maintenance, stairs.
after painting. close-up.

side yard, Clint and Carolyn’s house, Alexandria, Virginia.

June 14, 2011.

… Read my blog at ClintJCL.wordpress.com
… Read Carolyn’s blog at CarolynCASL.wordpress.com

BACKSTORY: While dealing with Farmers insurance & Progressive/Homesite insurance’sdropping our policy for us having peeling window sill paint (among other things), we had to do a bunch of house repairs. We dealt with these stairs while doing the other repairs. This is the part of the project where I hammered Carolyn’s fingernail, turning it black for about 4 months. BTW — kudzu can climb these stairs in less than a week.