Sunday, April 27, 2008

HOME Funds

I don't know the full story of what's going on at WDC with the HUD funds, but I've got a lot of questions. I qualify for the HOME program to rehab my house, but I've been told that I can't even get on the wait list because it's so long. Meanwhile, the newspaper tells us that the money isn't being spent. My impression of WDC projects is that they are hopelessly bogged down in bureaucracy, with layers of rules and project steps that make any small (under $25,000) project impossible to complete. Main Street Waterbury's Facade Renovation program has been sitting in limbo for years because of red tape at WDC. Other organizations have very straight-forward rehab loan programs--you download the application form, send them the information they need, and a month or so later, you've got your money and can fix your house.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

View from the Top

A friend came over today to help me figure out how much it will cost to replace my roof (to keep my insurance company happy). Naturally, I had to climb up to the roof too. I love being on top of flat roofs. I love being up high, above everything else. I don't love climbing ladders. Makes my legs wobble. So does sticking my head over the edge of the roof to look straight down. I wanted to take a look at my gutter, and had to crawl towards the edge of the roof and lie flat on my stomach to do it. I lasted maybe two minutes before I started to get vertigo. I also needed a few minutes to talk myself into climbing back down the ladder. But other than the few moments like those, it was great being on the roof. Next time I'll bring my better camera.

A discovery: Scooby's been living on my roof!

Another nervous moment for me. For completely irrational reasons, I was afraid the gable would break and Jim would fall.

And here is my bathroom skylight--notice what's wrong with it? I can't afford to have it restored now, but at least some of it is still more-or-less intact. I'm hoping there's still a window under the roofing, but I kind of think there isn't. However, there's a second window, on the other side, that's been painted over (originally it was a clear window, with a chain device to open it for ventilation). Next time I'm on the roof, I'll scrape the paint off the glass to see how much of the rest is intact. Or maybe tomorrow I'll bash a hole in the bathroom ceiling and shine a light up the shaft.

It was very exciting to see the skylight (I know, I'm a house geek). It was even more exciting to see the one on the house next door--that one appears to be original. I've seen photos of the Scovill row houses from 1916, when they were built, but I've never seen photos or diagrams of the skylights before. If it turns out the sloping window is gone, I can take measurements and photographs of the one next door, and then hire someone to make a reproduction for me.

Monday, April 21, 2008

East Main Deli

The Market Place downtown on East Main Street, across from UConn, opened this winter in the storefront that used to be Brass City Buzz. It's a great little deli with a decent breakfast menu (a healthy alternative to Dunkin Donuts). When they first opened, it seemed like they were always empty, but now when I walk by, it seems like there are always a few UConn students (and other people!) inside.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Poodle Cat

Okay, so this one isn't really specific to Waterbury, but it's too funny not to share. My long-hair cat was having serious problems with matted fur, so I took him in to the groomer at PetSmart, requesting that they remove his mats. They got carried away and shaved his tail, leaving a pom on the end. The poor thing's been poodled!

Friday, April 11, 2008

No News

I have an online subscription to the Republican-American. For the past two days, when I try to access the paper, I get a message telling me that my account does not have enough credits. The last time this happened, I believed the message and followed a link to re-subscribe... and still was told that my account did not have enough credits. Eventually the paper's tech folks fixed whatever was wrong (but they never refunded the extra money I wound up paying).

This time I know better than to re-subscribe. There's nothing I can do but wait. It's thrown off my morning schedule, since that's when I usually read the paper.

If anything interesting is going on in Waterbury, I have no way of knowing about it.... unless, of course, someone tells me!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Earth Day Clean Up

I think we need to do this every month, not just once a year...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Only in Waterbury

A friend (who lives nowhere near here) recently pointed out that he'd never encountered the word "ramparage" before. I did a Google search and discovered that "ramparage" apparently exists only in Waterbury (excluding website with typos).

Our use of the word might have started in the late 1960s, when the Buckingham Ramparage was built (a multi-level parking garage with ramps connecting the different levels). By 1979 there was a city position of Parking Ramparage Supervisor (that's the earliest online reference).

Anyone out there know anything more about the origins of this word?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Garden Surprise

Now that I am a home owner and, more significantly for this post, a yard owner, I'm diving into gardening. Last fall I planted bulbs, which seem to all be coming up. Today I went to the Home Despot and purchased more plants for the front yard. Back at home, I started planting four "winter gem boxwoods" along the sidewalk. All was going well until I got to the fourth hole and dug up a well.

The pipe is in the front of the yard and appears to run straight down maybe four or five feet to a larger pipe carrying water. I can only assume this has something to do with the sewer system, but I don't know why there's a pipe with a loose lid in my yard.

In case you're interested, here are a couple shots of my visible gardening efforts so far. I wish I had spaced out the bulbs better, but that can be fixed (as can the porch trellis problem). Eventually, I will get to everything.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Eat Your Art Out 2008

Here are some photos from last night's event, mostly taken before the doors opened. Later, the space was packed with people.