Photo by PoPville flickr user Raymond Bryson

“Dear PoPville,

I’m writing to ask if anyone knows what the deal is with the guy who looks to be a priest in full regalia delivering very theatrical sermons waving a large crucifix who can sometimes be found weekday mornings at rush hour on Pennsylvania Avenue NW in between the bike lanes. I can’t tell if he’s for real/what his message is as each time I see him I’m speeding by on my bike and can’t stop (and have no pictures for the same reason) and no web searches have delivered his story. Thanks for helping me solve this mystery which admittedly adds some spice to my morning commute!”

Elliot Mitchell

“Dear PoPville,

Last night I visited a grocery store in a nearby neighborhood [I don’t want to put them on blast because I love the store, and because I don’t know if they are to blame] for a few things, paid using my credit card, and went about my evening.

This morning, I happened to log into my cc account and noticed two pending fraudulent charges on my account. My first thought was FU-K! Finally, my card has been hacked from one of the numerous stores/banks/etc that’s been hacked in recent years. Then I looked into the charges and realized they were both from places within 0.5 miles of the grocery store I visited last night. My immediate assumption- someone stole my info at the store. My knowledge of credit card thievery is naive, to say the least, so I have no idea if I should be blaming a fellow grocery-goer for swiping my card info with one of those magic card swipers I’ve heard about, or if the person who checked me out had something fishy going on. But I hadn’t used that card anywhere else in the area for a few days, and the proximity of the fraudulent charges just seemed like the grocery store (or someone who was there) was the likely culprit. (more…)

Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

A reader writes:

“I’m hoping PoPville can help me brainstorm my options. I have an opportunity for a 6-7 month detail in the Middle East and I’m wondering what to do with my house (Logan/Shaw neighborhood). My first thought is to set a schedule for my friends to check-in weekly to ensure all is well. But I wonder if I can generate some rental income even if I don’t cover the mortgage. I do know that I would not be comfortable without someone local to vet/oversee the tenancy. Thoughts? Do you have any recommendations for property managers who specialize in short-term leases? If I’m too squeamish about people in my personal space, options for reasonably priced professional house sitters?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Bossi

“Dear PoPville,

Our Rowhouse has an English Basement. We have had a number of guests use it and complain of an oil-like smell. The smell is stronger towards the front by our front porch. We tried sealing that back wall, but that stopped it temporarily. I am afraid that there may be an oil tank that was not filled in completely. Has anyone had experience with something like this? Did you have to get the oil tank dug out, or filled in? If it was underneath a porch- how did they do it? Who on earth do you hire for this type of work.”


“Dear PoPville,

I need some help. I live in a row house that was renovated 18 months ago. At some point, water leaked around the windows, causing some damage to the window sill. I have no idea how the water got in, or who to contact about it. Window companies seem to be in the business of replacing glass or replacing the entire window. Who fixes window leaks? Thanks for any input.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Flood

“Dear PoPville,

I recently discovered a few termites (I knew there are never just a few) in the siding on the front of my row house. I called a pest remediation company who came out, said I had active termites, and my house would need to be treated.

The problem is, that because it’s a row house with no basement and only about 6 inches of crawl space underneath, they can’t treat the house in the normal way, so they wanted to drill holes in my hard wood floors all the way through the house. That doesn’t really work for me, so I’ve been trying to come up with a creative way to deliver the chemical they would have used (termidor) via the crawlspace. I’ve done a lot of online research, but cannot find any specific information on how a house is normally treated when there is no way to access the “sides” of the house.

Does anybody have any thoughts or idea, or any experience trying to treat for termites in a row house? For the record, it appears that my house is built on a series of brick columns for a foundation.”


“Dear PoPville,

We have a neighbor on the 1800 Block of Vermont Street NW who decided over 6+ months ago that the parking spot in front of his house is now officially his and while the rest of us have to jockey around for parking spots and move our cars during Street Sweeping days/hours he doesn’t.

You can’t tell from the photo since his car is 99% of the time covered with a grey tarp but it’s an older Red Mustang Convertible and the only time we saw it uncovered we saw he (young guy – possibly college age) did have DC Tags but a Registration/Parking Permit that expired October 2014. He’s also so brazen that the few times when the car is not there we’ve seen orange traffic and construction cones blocking the spot so no one else can park there. Then a few hours later he’s parked there again with the cover on.

The next door neighbor once politely (although I wasn’t there to confirm) asked to him to play by the rules and was apparently cursed out (again I wasn’t there) and physically intimated just by his large size and have since left notes, called 311, and even flagged down an MPD who have said as long as the cover is on it he can park here forever because DDOT and MPD don’t want to be responsible for any potential damage by removing it to ticket or tow him.

One one hand we give him props for figuring out a way to outsmart the system. On the other we’d like him to follow the same rules as all of us and gain (if he doesn’t renew his plates) a much needed additional street parking spot. Anything we can do to get him to move the car or get someone in DC Government to assist?

BTW – These pictures were taken during Street Sweeping hours yesterday.”