11/29/2015: Ed’s kitchen renovation (part 2)

We Are Six Weeks Into Our Kitchen Renovation

You may have read a blog entry I did a few weeks back in which I talked about the start of our kitchen renovation (which also includes some reconfiguration, a new mudroom, and the replacement of our deck).

I recently found this news piece about a man in Thailand who built his dream house in six weeks for $9,000. It made me want to go to Thailand, but primarily to punch the man in the nose.

Anyway, back to Randlett Park. After a lengthy period of time in which it appeared nothing was happening, things are happening. Slowly, but they’re happening.

  • We have a door from our attached garage to the house. (Why attach a garage if you can’t walk into the house through it?)

Ed's garage door

  • Our upstairs bathtub works again, once the previous stack pipe they found was re-routed.
  • Our “sunroom” (which was added at some point by someone who was 1) unlicensed; 2) drunk or 3) perhaps both), which now gives off a “don’t f*** with me vibe” from the outside, will eventually have windows, real walls and the like.

Ed's sunroom

  • Our family is intact, which I am calling a victory.

There were also a handful of surprises, the most expensive of which was this: the platform/cabinet/steps, all made of wood, were simply built over existing concrete steps:

Ed's steps

$1,000 later, we had this lovely pile of concrete:

Ed's pile of concrete

Here’s a few additional updates:

  • Ordering in is up maybe 75 percent. In unrelated news, my pants appear to have shrunk. Also, use of paper plates is up to essentially 100 percent, despite earlier promises to not do that.
  • Cooking bacon in a toaster oven will set off your smoke detectors. In fact, cooking anything other than toast in said toaster oven will do just that.
  • That said, we have had the occasional “real” breakfast with an electric griddle (which has only set off the circuit breaker a few few times)

Ed's griddle

  • The family of raccoons in 350 Waltham are definitely making themselves known. Loudly, and sort of creepily at night. I’ve stopped venturing out to grill because 1) well, I don’t have a deck any more and 2) I don’t like having 5 sets of eyes staring at me as I’m trying to sear things. I have also learned our construction team is surprisingly sensitive to the raccoons—the City has come to set traps, and one kindhearted worker tossed a sandwich up to the trapped vermin (OK, baby vermin) and then, when the sandwich didn’t reach the trap, got a ladder out and moved it closer to the trap. I don’t believe I was charged for this time.
  • If you’re hanging any laundry to dry, do it on Saturday or Sunday or it will be caked in construction dust.
  • I may have a case of miner’s lung. Unrelated.

There is some upside. We don’t have to host Christmas, Chanukah or Thanksgiving. I am becoming a pro at washing dishes by hand (a lost art). And sometime in January/February/March, we will have an amazing new kitchen. Or I will have moved and started a new life somewhere else.

11/24/2015: West Newton used to be owned by 3 dudes

According to this map from the Newton Free Library, 3 dudes owned all of West Newton in 1700. Check it out. The map below is kinda upside down but West Newton is the bottom right corner, bordered by Waltham.

1700 map of West Newton

Richard Park, John Fuller & Captain Isaac Hayes each owned 500+ acres of what is now West Newton from 1650 – 1700. AD you guys. So who where these early American bosses?

Richard Park left London with his parents on the ship Defence in 1635 for the not quite USandA. How bad do you think that trip sucked? He was a farmer and later inherited 600 acres of land from his father.

John Fuller took the boat over from foggy London town in 1644. Bought 750 acres in West Newton for 160 pounds — not USDs you guys. His tract was known as the Fuller Farm. 22 of his descendants later fought in the Revolutionary War. Check out the happy family — um Dad what is this place America? Dad’s like shut it I think that’s Moses over there.

John Fuller

Captain Isaac Williams was born in 1638 in Roxbury. He owned 500 acres in West Newton. Captain of a troop of horses. See gang — that’s how easy it was back in the day. Buy some horses, tell everyone to call you Captain. Williams was also one of the earliest members of First Church.

Isaac Williams



11/23/2015: 164 Fairway — Ready for Love

So most of the houses featured on AmerciasFavoriteStreet.com have a nickname. We’ve got The Chief at 00 Watertown Street. The Office Space house at 13 Ryan Ct. Even Earth to 180 Cherry Street.


164 Fairway has been through a lot in the past year. Sold, torn apart and rebuilt. Kinda like the bros from the rock band Bad Company. So I’m gonna call 164 Fairway The Ready for Love house. Like their 1974 smash single you guys.

Bad Company

I’m ready for love.

Oh baby, I’m ready for love.

164 Fairway Dr

11/20/2015: Heads up — Newton South students driving high

And not like a couple of them. A lot of them you guys. The editor-in-chief at Newton South just posted an article about the prevalence of smoking & driving to the school’s online newspaper, The Denebola. Here’s the link:


And here are some highlights:

  • An unofficial survey of 168 students revealed 87% of marijuana users drive high.
  • “I’ve always been in the car with people who have been high — it’s always been portrayed that it’s so easy,” said senior Alexis Clayton* who has been driving with people who are high or drunk since freshman year.
  • “Once you see someone driving high and not dying you’re kinda like, ‘word.’ All my friends drive high” Goldstein said. “At least one of them would be dead if driving high was bad. I drove high literally the first day I got my license.”

Happy Friday and Go Lions! I mean is there anybody more ready for the weekend than the kids at Newton South? Gotta get high and drive all over town. Totally safe you guys. It’s not like they’re drinking AND smoking. That would be stupid. Just smoking.

What’s the worst that could happen? You drive down the sidewalk and hit somebody standing in front of the Cherry Tree then run your car into the restaurant like this dude? This driver was high. Not drunk. Relax — it’s not like anybody got killed you guys.



11/18/2015: new parking service when you go downtown

So I have a meeting with Luxe Valet Parking next Monday. They’re opening up shop in Boston and need to meet with high-level executives (like myself) that work downtown and are a big deal.


The deal with Luxe is it’s like the Uber of parking. First you download the app to your phone. Then tell Luxe where you’re going downtown. They have a valet waiting for you and take your car when you arrive. The car goes to a company owned lot in the city. They will even fill it with gas and clean it for you. When you’re ready, give Luxe 15 minutes notice and they’ll bring your car back.

How much does this cost? Average hourly rate is $5 (varies by city). Luxe aims to be the same cost or cheaper than regular valet prices.

Gonna give this a shot you guys. I mean I’m super important and don’t have time to waste looking for parking. Did I mention I work downtown?

11/18/2015: 350 Waltham St abandoned

350 Waltham St is abandoned. There’s nobody there you guys.

The owner, John, passed away last November. The property was cleaned out over the summer and is now empty. The house is a 7 bed/2 bath with 2,974 sq/ft. Zero parking at this place. Not even a driveway. New owner’s gonna want to look into that.

Speaking of looking into it, this was me at 350 Waltham this morning…




11/17/2015: What’s the deal with Newton Gaming Center?

Newton Gaming Center in Nonantum. Looks like somewhere you have to register when you’re released from Walpole. What’s the deal with this place?

Some dude named Victor owns this place. Recent Bentley grad. High schoolers, and sadly some adults, go here to play video games like Defense of the Ancients and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Not making this shit up you guys. People actually do this.

Newton Gaming Center draws people from all over because of their LAN. I think this is like business grade internet or something. You go, put on a headset, drink a 32 oz soda and game til the places closes at 11pm.

Newton Gaming Center

Guests pay $7 an hour. Or you can become a member and pay $4 an hour and BYOC (bring your own computer). Newton Gaming Center is available for birthday parties, boot camps & tournament play.

Obviously high school has changed since back in the day. I mean my first date with Management junior year we went to a club in DC til 1am. Still managed to get up the next morning and fail a 1st period geometry test. (You’re welcome Mom & Dad!) If I take her to Newton Gaming Center for our first date we probably don’t get married. We probably don’t even make out.


11/13/2015: local reporter busts interior designer for ripping off clients 

You guys know Ryan. He works for CBS and is on the I Team. They investigate stuff and bust people big time. 

Well Ryan busted the shit out of a Charlestown interior designer who was ripping off her clients. I mean he took this woman downtown. 

Homemade Design is (was) a Charlestown interior design company run by Amanda Zettel. Amanda was taking people’s money to buy furniture. Only problem was nobody ever got furniture. Or their money back from Amanda. 

That’s when Ryan stepped in. I didn’t see anybody else from the I Team in on this. Ryan was probably like yo I Team I got this.  Ryan investigated her website, Facebook page (5000 fake followers) and past dealings in Delaware (not good). Then he found past clients. And guess what? They were totally bullshit. Look at Brian Levinson. Dudes like where’s my dining room table Amanda? 

Ryan called Amanda and I guess she didn’t have much to say. Then he went to her house and caught her on camera. What a move! You guys gotta watch the video. He’s like what did you do with the money Amanda?

Awesome stuff. Nice work Ryan. Full article here. 


11/12/2015: 473 Waltham St is an airbnb

Ever wonder what the deal is with this place? Like who lives there? And why?

Well, turns out it’s an airbnb. At least 1 room is. I don’t know or want to know what happens in the other rooms. Bet shit gets weird though.

Woman named Helen rents out a 1 bed/1 bath for $100 per night. Or $2,400/month. So far Helen has 4/5 stars on 29 reviews. Here’s what guests are saying:

“The studio was extremely pleasant and comfortable.” — William

“My friend and I stayed in this studio for 3 months and it was great!” — Nicole

“Helen met us at the door with a box of donuts!” — Margaret (Easter Weekend)

“Le studio est exactement tel que décrit.” — Cindy (um Cindy? You’re on AmericasFavoriteStreet.com – speak American please!)

11/11/2015: Chair on Waltham St

Hey guys. It’s me. The chair on Waltham St.

Been a rough few weeks out here. Lost my cushion on Halloween. Leaves all up under my dust ruffle. Now rain.

Do me a solid and call bulk pick-up? I mean kinda embarrassing suffering this indignity on Waltham St. Think everybody in 02465 has already driven by and knows I’m not good enough anymore. Just scoop me and take me to the dump. Or Eliot St. At this point I don’t care which.

11/10/2015: 5 most expensive home sales in West Newton

So The Chief going under agreement yesterday got me thinking about the most expensive homes sales in West Newton. This side of the Pike you guys. Cause The Chief is gonna be up there. So here we go — 5 most expensive home sales in past 5 years…

5.) 14 Talbot. New construction 4 bed/4.5 bath with 5,300 sq/ft. $1.435M

14 Talbot

4.) 62 Cherry Place. New construction 4 bed/4.5 bath with 4,700 sq/ft. $1.475M

62 Cherry Place

3.) 23 Princess Rd. New construction 4 bed/4 bath with 3,566 sq/ft. $1.502M. No pic so we’ll just go with Bill Murray here.

Bill Murray

2.) 50 Evergreen. New construction 6 bed/6.5 bath with 6,535 sq/ft. $1.632M

50 Evergreen

1.) 20 Princess Rd. New construction 5 bed/3.5 bath with 4,173 sq/ft. $1.925M

20 Princess

11/9/2015: Bear spotted in W. Newton several weeks ago killed on RT 128

The black bear that was spotted several weeks ago in W. Newton was killed on RT 128. Police offers believe the 90 pound bear was hit by a car.

Black Bear, Yellowstone National Park

Not a good ending to this one. But this coulda been much worse. Like if me, Management and the low-to-mid level employees hit this thing with our Volvo. The screaming. Can’t even imagine all the screaming. And Management being like you just hit a f’ing bear. Waiting for the cops to show up. Then dealing with insurance. Just coulda been so much worse you guys.