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.