2/24/2013: Floorplans

If you’re considering renovating or selling your home, might be a good idea to start by having a floorplan done.  I’m not talking about getting out the tape measure and sketching it yourself.  That’s what the junior varsity does.  This is varsity.  And on varsity, we have professional floorplans done by New England Floorplans.

New England Floorplans gives you an exact measurement of your home, including built-ins, closet sizes, appliances — even which way the doors swing.  The floorplans are drawn to scale, which is handy if you are planning to renovate and want to see how different size cabinets, windows & furniture will fit.

For example, we’re considering renovating our kitchen and I had Nick Rioux (the owner) measure our home a few months ago.  Nick then e-mailed me a PDF version of the floorplan, which allows me to gauge how big the kitchen island should be, where the fridge will fit and where the 1/2 bath should be relocated.  (See our kitchen in the link below).

142 Randlett Park Floor Plan 1-4 Scale Dims

If you are selling your home, a floorplan will give you the exact square footage of the house.  The measurements are so exact, you could take them to the City of Newton to have their records changed.  It also helps buyers visualize where all their stuff will go.

2/20/13: Let’s pitch in and buy a Bobcat

Don’t you love how infomercials make a product seem like a total no-brainer?  Like when you see the product you think “that would make my life so much easier” or “why didn’t I think of that?”

Well, guess what guys?  I just came up with probably the best idea in the history of Randlett Park.  All I need is 2 minutes of your time and eventually a bunch of your money.  Here’s my pitch…

Tired of shoveling snow for 5 hours everytime we get a nor’easter?

Got a backache, frostbite or pneumonia from the last snowstorm?


Throw that old shovel in the trash!  For just 12 monthly payments of $45 — you will never have to shovel again!  Because Dave is going to buy the street a brand new Bobcat!


The Bobcat T190 is a 66 horsepower diesel skid steer with narrow tracks, 130″ bucket and 1900lb load capacity.   Translation, please?  This thing dominates sidewalks.  Weighing in at 7,775lbs., the Bobcat laughs at the pile of snow at the end of your driveway.  With a 28 gallon tank, I could clear all of Randlett without refueling.  Probably in less than 45 minutes.

Here’s how the payment plan works.  A Bobcat T190 costs $27,500 – divided by 50 homes on Randlett – equals $550 per house.  Divide that by 12 months and you’ve got payments of $45.  I’ll just roll down the street on the 1st of each month and you all can throw money in the bucket.  Miss a payment, I miss your sidewalks — couldn’t be easier!

2/11/2013: Snow melt & French drains

Short post today, you guys.  Thanks to the snow, it took me 90 minutes to drive 7 miles to work today.  Traffic was SO slow, that when I got stuck behind this guy it felt like I was hauling ass.


But, I digress.  Back to French drains.  If you have one, it might not be a bad idea to shovel out the discharge pipe in your yard.  (Good luck finding it.)  Just to make sure it’s not frozen/stuffed with snow/otherwise blocked.  In the event that the weather warms up quickly and we have significant snow melt, the ground will be saturated and your sump pump will be active.  If the water cannot exit the discharge pipe, it will be forced back down into the sump pit.

So if you have a few minutes and know where your discharge pipe is located, might be best to play it safe and dig it out.

2/9/2013: Blizzard of 2013

The 1st Annual Snow Throw Challenge is in the books.  Took me just under 5 hours to do sidewalks on both sides of the street.  Thanks to Josh for gas and Andy for offering to bail me out if I got arrested for violating the driving ban.  Thanks to Joe and Flip for helping with the snow.  Leah — I should have taken you up on that beer….

People helping people — that’s what blizzards are about.


2/7/2013: 1st Annual Snow Throw Challenge

It’s on you guys.  I just left the office and am heading for the WCVB studios where I can monitor the storm with meteorlogist/genius Mike Wankum.  I’m supposed to be putting together a deal with a New England sports team today and will probably lose my job over this challenge.  But like I told my colleagues in a stirring speech before I left, we need to get our priorities straight and put our neighbors first.   I used words like: community, service & commitment.  I got a lot of blank looks from my co-workers and a few eye rolls.

I’ll tell you who’s not rolling eyes, Wanks and the Storm Team.  This Noreaster could bring up to 2 feet of snow to 02465.  Wanks is telling me the Noreaster could “bomb out.”  Don’t know what that means but it sounds like something I used to do in college.

I’ll keep everyone updated on The Challenge.  Plan on a Saturday afternoon start time at the the corner of Randlett & Waltham.


2/4/2013: National Grid home energy report

This is a competition, plain and simple you guys.  National Grid may tell you that “these reports are designed to provide you more information to make informed energy choices blah, blah, blah…”   But I’m telling you that’s mullarkey and we’re all in a battle royale to see who can be most energy efficient.

National Grid compares the natural gas usage of 100 occupied, nearby homes every 2 months and categorizes each as Great, Good or More than Average.  This includes homes on Randlett, Eliot & Fairway.

My National Grid rating was Good.  Umm — hello, National Grid — are you not reading the blog?  I insulated the attic, exterior walls and floor joists.  Find me one person on Fairway or Eliot that insulated their floor joists.

What does it take to be Great?  Do I have to put solar panels on the roof?  Dig a well and go geo-thermal on everyone?  Don’t tell me I have to replace all the windows.  Do. Not. Tell. Me. That.  I have like 40 windows.

If you made the Great category — congratulations.  High five.  More than Average category, go close your windows.  Everybody else, keep insulatin’.

National grid energy report cropped

2/1/2013: Houzz.com

You guys know how much I like home improvement projects, but I have to be honest — sometimes I don’t know where to start.  Inevitably, I wind up on HomeDepot.com or Google looking for answers.  After a few minutes of fruitless searching, I usually give up and give Management the following excuses:

1.) It’s going to be really expensive.

2.) It will compromise the entire structure.

3.) The city inspector doesn’t think it’s a good idea.  Frankly, he thinks it’s dangerous.

Then I found Houzz.com — where home improvement projects that were previously DOA come back to life!  Houzz.com is a website that brings homeowners together with contractors, designers, decorators & retailers.  The site features hundreds of thousands of pictures to inspire your renovation or remodel.

Here’s how it works.  The picture below was posted by a design firm in San Jose.  They have tagged 5 products in the pic — so you know where to buy them and how much they cost.  (No way that chandelier was $5,500!)  The design firm has also answered 78 questions about the renovation, including what type of window and flooring was used.

The site is easy to navigate and they have a great mobile app as well.  Get inspired!