August 31, 2011

Update on The Wall

The roommate emails:

I just sanded the drywall and cleaned up the best I could but that stuff stays airborn for days and weeks. We'll definitely need to dust...

And goddamnit, I'm covered. I look like I'm wearing a powdered wig.

Sigh, I won't even start going into the trouble Hurricane Irene got us into.  Many more walls to fix at this time...  No energy to talk about it today...

Fixing The Wall

As I mentionned previously, the earthquake left hairline fractures in my dining room wall.  Thank goodness, my super awesome roommate took it upon himself to fix it.  Here are a couple of emails from him about the situation:

No, not the album/movie by Pink Floyd, the one that got cracked in our kitchen...

I use the drywall compound to fill in the cracks. That said, there's a process that has to be followed for it to be done right. which is as follows:

1. apply compound
2. let it dry
3. reapply compound
4. let it dry
5. sand
6. wipe down with wet rag to remove drywall dust
7. using the roller apply primer
8. let it dry
9. using angled brush, cut-in along corner, ceiling, floor molding and window
10. repaint wall with the roller from corner to window (otherwise it'll be obvious that only certain spots were painted)
11. possibly apply a second coat depending on appearance
12. MOST IMPORTANT--drink a glass of wine to celebrate a job well done

Currently we are on step number 2. I'll take the lead on this and have it done by the end of the week... Then you must join me for step 12.


August 26, 2011

Other Item

I should also remember to have a wrench or pliers close at hand...

Things to Do Before the Storm

Things to Do
- Move all patio furniture indoors
- Move pepper and basil plants and succulent inside
- Tarp area underneath the porch to prevent water leaking into the basement
- Unclog drains originating from the roof
- Close all blinds (to prevent glass shards from getting into the house)
- Recharge all essential electronics tonight

Things to Buy
- Battery operated flashlight
- Battery operated lamp
- Battery operated radio
- Candles
- A few cans
- A gallon of water

Place These Items in Easy to Reach Location
- First Aid Kit
- Solar charger
- Leatherman
- Flashlight, lamp, candles, radio
- Can opener

August 25, 2011

The Earthquake Shook Toronto Too

A friend who lives in Toronto wrote me the following email:

No damage was done to my building from [the] quake. Plus we have really good collective owners governance for a condominium, and I am now going to look at my insurance policy to double check. My big windows creak alot during earthquakes, but they seem just fine (seeing as glass is a liquid). Sorry to hear about your wall. I hope it's just cosmetic damage? Do you want me to consult two elderly architects about it for you?

My dad just took a while to clue in that my screaming 'earthquake' wasn't part of a bad skype connection (and indeed a real earthquake). I guess when people are on the phone with somebody who is in another area (it’s hard to understand that something as weird as an earthquake is occurring on the other end until you yell earthquake about ten times!). I mean this is Toronto, it’s like yelling volcano...

We have friends in New Zealand and they are still in shock. Pretty jarring stuff. Things are definitely not alright with them yet on so many levels.


Sorry about the cracked wall. I hope it doesn't leak water. My mum explained to me at a young age that the main goal of architecture is stopping water leaks...


Hurricane Irene

Aaaaand, less than 24 hours after the earthquake, apparently, DC is going to get plowed by wind and rain from Hurricane Irene.

So it's off to Home Depot for me and my roomate on Friday, so we can put tarp and sandbags underneath my porch in a sad attempt to prevent water leakage into the basement.


Devastation in the Dominican Republic After Hurricane Irene

Earthquake in DC

Yep, we had a 5.9 earthquake in the District of Columbia and nope, I don't have earthquake insurance... Here's an email I sent to family:

Hi All,

We're all so glad that it wasn't a bad earthquake, but I must admit that not having access to calling the family for 2 hours after the earthquake (all phone lines were jammed) was quite panicking. I have several hairline fractures in my dining room wall in the drywall, which I suspect are not a structural issue, but I'll be calling my insurance and getting some professionals in the house to check if the fractures impact the actual brick wall underneath :(

Ack, who ever convinced me that owning a house was a good idea?

Anyhoo, hope all is well with everyone,

xoxo [007 in Africa]

PS: By sheer stroke of unluck, there is one building at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that is closed for further inspection, but it doesn't happen to be the one in which I work! I could really use a day off today :)

The church spire of the Church close to my house fell unceremoniously and dropped unto the stairs in front.

Life-threatening damage from a plastic gutter that detached from the front of the house in Petworth.

OK so the gutter fall was not that life-threatening but it's now resting on a loose electrical wire.  I'd like to see you handle electrified metal!

August 05, 2011

Blue Moutains

Sister on her mean motorcycle

Sister at her Radio Desk

White Rocks of Bondi Beach

Looking Back at Bondi Beach

So I finally made it to my sister's last week.... She lives in the Blue Mountains around Sydney, about an hour's train ride away. I arrived on Friday while she was still in class. She has ordered me a taxi from the station, but no taxi to be found. So I followed her directions, with suitcase and backpack in tow, and climbed odd hills blindly (the directions were far from perfect), and frustratingly asked for directions to her house. It's a small town here but no one really seems to know the street names, and the streets are poorly marked.

Finally, she caught up with me, in her leather jacket and helmet on her little postman motorcycle. A sight to see. Regardless, she was able to show me the way, but I still needed to climb the hills with my heavy suitcase. Sigh.

It's unbelievably cold here. I can't believe I'm saying that, having living in Canada in -25 degree weather. But it's a humid cold that seeps into your bones. There is no heat inside buildings, so you never quite recover from your chills. I slept with long johns and socks, in a sleeping bag, with a cover and a heater. And still felt cold. When I took a (hot?) shower, I couldn't tell whether the water was cold or hot due to my skin being so chilled.

We went into Sydney yesterday - it took us three hours to complete a trip that usually takes one hour, because of track maintenance. You think DC's metro is bad? Think again. After walking for 20 minutes, taking the train for another 20, a bus for 1.5 hours and a a short taxi ride, we met up for brunch in Bondi Beach with my colleagues.

Bondi is gorgeous - for a winter day, it finally warmed up and we went for a walk on the beach sidewalks, seeing surfers in the waves, cautious swimmers in swallow pools created into hollowed-out rocks, white and beige jutting rock formations and people just generally sunning themselves on the grassy patches close to the beach. It's so beautiful here, I would move in an instant if there was a good job for me.

Then we walked around in an outdoor market full of local designers' wares, had drinks with her friends at the Opera House overlooking a sunset over the bridge, and had a wonderful Chinese meal in a tiny authentic restaurant. We also went to check out my sister's radio show, Diffusion Science Radio, and she interviewed me for about 5 minutes!

We finished off with walk in Glenbrook National Park (Bush Walk) and a picnic.

I'm now back in D.C. where it's been more than 90 degrees for 19 days. My lawn is a poor sight to see...