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Photo by PoPville flickr user clif_burns

Contractor Recommendations:

“I’m looking for a contractor to do work on the back of our house, potentially removing the stucco and replacing it with siding. Has anyone had experience with this and/or have recommendations?”

Ethical Electric Reviews:

“Hi all — I found this old topic from the forum on the subject, but we were looking to switch to Ethical Electric and wanted to collect reviews and thoughts. We’re in an about 700 sq ft condo and was curious what the difference on the bill may be and so on.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user nevermindtheend

DCRA and Basement Apartments, again

“I am in the middle of a Pro-Active Building Inspection on a basement apartment for which I have had a C of O for 24 years and a current Basic Business License. The Inspector claims that my two bedrooms are illegal because there is not sufficient fire egress, yet what he cites is the DCMR 14 (which just deals with maintenance – keeping the egress clear) and the International Residential Code (for which he gave me copies of the rules). But the IRC, as I understand it, deals with new buildings and/or buildings with two units or less. My building has of C of O for three units (they don’t do Pro-Active Inspections on two-unit buildings). This is covered by the International Construction Code and its Fire Code and Existing Building Codes, as modified by DC. The Fire Code section on Egress says that bedrooms in basement apartments meed the requirements if they have doors that open directly onto an Exit Path, which mine do.

Now the Codes are very convoluted, with numerous revisions and cross-references (and some of the cross-references have not been updated to reflect revisions). Both the Inspector and his boss told me to find a contractor who knows the rules and let him get the permits, letting the permit inspectors sort it out. I talked to an old friend who had been a building inspector for a long time (now retired) and he said, “you can always appeal”.

My contractor has had a designer and permit expeditor who is supposed to sort this out, but they are not returning phone calls from him or me.

Has anybody had similar experience with basement egress issues or can recommend a knowledgeable expert?”

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Help! My Bike Was Stolen! + A Love Letter:

“…I know this might be a futile effort, but just hoping that the good of the internet can help keep their eyes peeled.

I left my bike locked in front of my office (M st Between 16 & 17) last night because I left my bike lights at home and I didn’t want to ride home in the dark. This AM my good ol’ faithful was missing — the Ulock had been cut by a person with superpowers or some nefarious device. Perhaps it was poofed like the 3% of the earth’s population on HBO’s The Leftovers. But I’m just not willing to accept that.

This. The bike that got me through years of art school, the bike that got me from downtown to my home in midtown one-hundred-million times, the bike that took me from Georgia to North Carolina on the dirty, shittily paved roads of the southern stretches of 95. The brakes are loose and the gears are a little weird by now, but hell, I’m so pathetically in love with the thing I’d even buy it back. “Just shut up and take my money,” I’ll say.

I’m sorry I always talked about how I didn’t like your sporty appearance because I do. I’m sorry for that one time that I rode you around the coastal highways too much and you got rust from the salty air. I’m sorry I left you behind that weekend and cheated on you with another bike, but mostly I’m just sorry that your gone. Please come back.

PS. I love you.

The bike is a Specialized green and white “Vita” 21-spd hybrid, 27″ spoke wheels, thumb shift, quick release, gel seat for anyone who cares to help! I would GREATLY appreciate it.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

The Heights’ lame “I’m so sorry” to a pregnant woman:

“I have been living in Columbia Heights since 2008 and take pride and comfort in the neighborhood vibe of our establishments. I am now six months pregnant (with twins, and so I look a bit bigger!) and have a new-found appreciation for this vibe – Room 11 and The Coupe have been particularly wonderful, e.g. bringing orders that they normally leave at the counter to where I am sitting.

Which is why I was shocked by The Heights’ response to me asking to use their restroom last Saturday during a trip to the farmers’ market. No, I wasn’t patronizing the place – I do go there often enough, but I don’t think being a regular is the issue. The issue is honoring and accommodating mothers-to-be. I respectfully asked the hostess if I could use the restroom (I wanted to tell her that I did go around 4 times before I left my home, but that I drank a lot of water because I had calf cramps…but decided that was TMI). The hostess asked me if I was sitting outside on their patio and when I said no, she gave me a fake “I’m so sorry.” I was in such disbelieve that I just mumbled, “are you kidding me?” before walking out. When I told my partner, he immediately went in to talk with them. He spoke with the manager, who told him that they had a recent experience with a pregnant women who they let use the restroom, but who made a mess.

What?!?!

When the manager started apologizing to my partner, he asked if she was sorry enough to actually let me use their facilities. She reluctantly acquiesced.

The Heights is not obligated, of course, to let a non-patron use their restroom. And in fact, we can say that this is a perfectly valid business decision. But it is really? The Heights brands itself as a progressive, neighborhood spot– distinct from the chain establishments on 14th street. I don’t think their response to a desperate pregnant woman’s modest request is becoming of this image.”

Initial replies after the jump. (more…)

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Photo by PoPville flickr user bogotron

Police taser man at New York Ave./Museum of Women in the Arts:

“Does anyone know more about the incident that took place on Friday, August 15? It took place around 6 or 6:30 pm, I think, on the west side of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, at the intersection of H St, NW and New York Ave.

I didn’t see how it started, but I saw about a dozen police officers in a semi-circle, surrounding a man on that side of the museum. There were several police cars nearby. The police had shut down the intersection temporarily, even though it was still rush hour (or maybe a little after). The man appeared to be African American, maybe homeless. He was not wearing a shirt, but he was wearing pants of some sort. I was too far away to see more details and I couldn’t hear what he was yelling.

The police seemed very concerned. The officers in the semi-circle distracted the man as another officer approached with a taser. The man still wouldn’t quiet down. The the officer tagged him with the taser. The man became as stiff as a board and fell over into a large streetlight/pole.

A crowd of onlookers had gathered across the street, with at least a few people filming the scene with their smartphones. People in nearby buildings could also see the confrontation. I’ve spoken with several people who saw part of the incident. But no one saw what started the standoff, or why the police were so concerned. I don’t believe the man was armed, but he could have been making some sort of threat, or going after pedestrians. Or maybe something happened inside the museum? He was standing in front of the side exit. This is all speculation, since I didn’t see what happened before the police arrived.

None of the local news sites have any info about the incident. Surprising, considering how many people saw it (at least 20-30 people) and some people took video with their phones.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user tosch85

Can somebody explain the difference between a bedroom and a “den”?

“My SO and I are renting a 1BR+Den apartment. We’re not planning on moving or taking on new roommates, we’re just curious how 1BR+Den apartments compare to 2BR apartments. Does anybody know? Are there legal/safety code reasons why my landlord is calling that second room a “den” and not a bedroom? It has its own walk-in closet, two windows, wood flooring (the bedroom has carpet), a 1/2 bath, and french doors that shut it in from the living room. Any thoughts?”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr.TinDC

Help me pick kitchen tile and countertop!

“A few people on this site like to say that the house renovations don’t have any “soul” or something similar. We’ve suddenly gotten the opportunity to do new countertops and tile backsplash and I’d love to see what people are liking. I prefer a clean, modern look but appreciate any ideas that you share. Thanks!”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user *tinadelarosa

restoring an antique chandelier:

“I recently inherited an 70+ year old, small lead crystal chandelier that has been sitting in a box for about 30 years. I’d like to get it rewired and cleaned up so I can hang it from my dining room ceiling. Does anyone have any recommendations on local businesses that do this sort of work? Any tips on installation or care?”

Beeping sound at 14th and Q:

“There’s been a loud, sporadic beeping sound near 14th and Q for at least a week. It sounds like a truck backing up … beep beep beep … but lasts for hours and throughout the night. It’s going on right now over the rain. Anybody have a clue what it is? Apart from maybe a yuppie mating call. Would love to find a solution.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Andrei Sinioukov

Homeless Person Sleeping Under My Neighbor’s Porch?

“So, we just closed on a house in Petworth today (yay!). While we were waiting for our realtor to show up for the final walk-through, I wandered under the front porch and happened to notice that it appears that someone is living under our neighbor’s front porch. There was a lot of debris piled up near the entry, but past that, I could see a line with clothing hanging on it like a curtain, a pillow, and a bunch of boots lined up. My s.o. thinks I am insane and that it’s just trash. Have others encountered this?”

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paint

Is this a DC Water dye test, or did someone just spill a bunch of paint?

“Sometime over the past few days, these two large paint spills (one red, one yellow) suddenly appeared on the driveway behind our condo.

We thought maybe the contractor working in our neighbor’s unit spilled some paint. But then saw an identical spill at the opposite end of the complex…also near manhole covers.

DC Water has been doing a large repair job at around the corner at 20th and Biltmore for several weeks now. We’re wondering if this is related.

Could this be a dye test?”

Bee hive in Columbia Heights?

“We have lots of honey bees in our yard on Harvard & 13th. We’ve noticed this before when we know there was a beekeeper in the neighborhood. Does anybody know about a hive in the CH neighborhood?”