Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 05/31/11 06:41 AM
"No longer are Republicans arguing with Democrats about whether government should be big or small. Instead they are at odds over what kind of big government the U.S. should have."
Janet Hook (WSJ political reporter)
Ain't it the truth!
When gubment gets involved in markets the markets respond.
How? With dislocations, erratic movements, pricing nobody can figure out, inefficient employment of resources, less choice, etc. The beat goes on.
Take one example. What has Medicare and Medicaid done to the medical industry? Stabilized prices? Equalized results? Encouraged really
The Mighty Oak Or The Lowly Grass. Which Are You? - 05/30/11 08:34 AM
The mighty oak.
Iconic symbol of strength.
Its spreading branches will never get so large as to tip its balance to one side or the other.
Its roots are said to be twice as large below ground as the branches we see above ground.
It is stable.
It gets stronger with time.
Even in this juvenile state, only about 10 years old.
It will live a long time, said to be centuries.
It will grow tall.
All manner of animals love its spreading branches for their homes.
It is a giver.
It asks little in return.
It grows without much care.
I Am Inclined Toward A Different Bathroom - 05/29/11 06:30 AM
Sometimes people desperately want something in a spot that just might not be the best place for it. and basement bathrooms are something that people sometimes desperately want! At times the basement is arranged such that there is only one place you can even consider for a bathroom.
Take this space for instance.
This bathroom divides the basement into two areas.
But where oh where can the toilet be put?
How about this cute little area right under the stairs!
The rest of the bathroom is just as fun. It is so narrow that when standing at the sink and closing
Robotics, Take Two - 05/28/11 06:34 AM
Previously a stellar robotics team from a local Virginia middle school, all budding-engineer 8th graders, competed in a Prince William County-wide robotics competition. They did well enough to progress to the next competition! Twenty two teams advanced to this new competition.
This competition was entirely different. They had three months to come up with one of two kinds of bots - a large one that does work and a small speedster. The eighth graders did the speedsters only.
This course was entirely different - this one is a figure 8. The large bots had to be low enough to go through
What Does ActiveRain Mean To Me? - 05/27/11 07:26 AM
Not being the computer person so many on this site are, I am not the collage creator that I should be. But a collage is a collection or combination of various things.
ActiveRain is a collection or combination of various things. Its composition is of similarities and differences. This composition is symbiotic, with each component contributing to and benefiting from the whole.
NOW, THAT SOUNDS ESOTERIC AND MEDICINAL, DOESN'T IT!? I don't mean it to be. Here is what I think...
Look at this representation of what goes on every day on the AR site:
What is going on here? It
When An HVAC Register Blows No Air - 05/26/11 02:42 PM
Nothing unusual on a flip to find a new heating and air conditioning system. And such a new system often has new duct work as well. Such was the case in this house.
So, in this bathroom ceiling, I saw a new HVAC register. Looking inside I also saw new duct work.
But after turning on the system, and I checked again, there was NO air flow. Zip, zero, nada, as they say.
What do you say when an HVAC register blows no air?
Looking around further, there was not another single HVAC register in the ceiling. This was the only
Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 05/25/11 07:05 AM
"It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low - and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now."
John F. Kennedy
Not so paradoxical really. If people can keep what they earn they do things with it! And what they do contributes more to economic activity than what gubment can do with it.
What does the gubment do with the money? Transfers it, usually to people who do not create economic activity.
When more of what a populace earns is left with that
Keeping My Eye On The Prize - 05/24/11 05:56 AM
Sometimes you do a good deed without even trying. It is best to do a good deed daily. Well, I did my good deed today. Just keeping my eye on the prize.
It seems the sellers did not like the fireplace mantel that the builder left them.
They had another one made, but it is slightly too small for the area intended.
So this new one is just laying on the two stone shelf holders and not really into the slight cavity framed by the mortar.
Not realizing that, of course, I pushed the mantel slightly with my hand as I
Gas Shut-Off Valves - 05/23/11 06:41 AM
When a house has gas appliances, the gas shut-off valves should be easy to get to. And you should know where it is! The idea is to have it nearby should it need to be turned off for repairs or emergency. All codes reflect this!
Walking into a recent inspection on a flip, before I put my bag down, I noticed that the very nice granite counter top was cut to accommodate a much larger gas cook top!
That was funny in itself, which the Realtor and buyers had not noticed on their previous trips to the house.
The Realtor looked
A Porch With A View - 05/22/11 06:06 AM
Continuing west from Warrenton VA on Lee Highway (lots of Civil War names for highways in Virginia) about 30 minutes or so you will pass a little bungalow on the right.
OK, it's not so little!
Very large, gorgeous house would be better put.
To the rear is an expansive, covered patio porch, complete with fireplace, wind chimes, comfy furniture, a nice deck behind ...
AND A VIEW.
If you have ever seen one, this is a porch with a view.
Sitting on an acre, this house abuts the Narmada Winery to its rear.
This is a view of a small
The Overflow Valve MUST Be Checked! - 05/21/11 02:30 PM
When I am on new construction inspections I always check the overflow valve on bathtubs. Especially when I am in a flipper's property I always check the overflow valve, if the tub is new.
You've seen them. The are found high on the wall under the hardware and covered, typically with a metal disk.
If the tub is forgotten while the water is running, or if slightly too full when someone dips themselves into the water, the only place for water to escape, except into the house, is the overflow valve. So, the overflow valve MUST be checked!
What I often
I FLIPPED Over This Master Bath Shower! - 05/20/11 05:38 AM
A recent inspection of a flip, as I call them, was loaded with fun. Except for the many hours during the inspection of head pounding trying to figure out what is going on, and the boatload of tools necessary to do that, and the extensive verbiage and necessary syntax of the careful report writing to follow (which of itself requires many applications of ice to head and neck) - well, EXCEPT for all that, inspecting a flip is loaded with fun!
And I FLIPPED over this master bath shower!
The tile was done so the larger piece was toward the outside.Very
Home Inspector Continuing Education Is Very Important - 05/19/11 08:39 AM
One of the most difficult things home inspectors have to try to fit in is continuing education. I like to do 30 hours a year, or more. But, it is time consuming and can be expensive traveling all over the country. There are classes on line, but they are not so good, and the topics are old hat and ones I have had before.
It is important to learn new things. There are so many new products, techniques and practices out there. It really is impossible to keep up with it all.
I was contacted a couple of months ago by
A Sinking Into The Ground, Fault Interrupter - 05/18/11 04:59 AM
For a few days now I have been anticipating doing a home inspection on a flipped property. Unfortunately Mr. Jay, of Mr. Jay's Neighborhood, was otherwise occupied and could not make it today.
I CAN TELL YOU HE WOULD HAVE HAD A BLAST ON THIS HOME INSPECTION!
One reason I was looking forward to it is that I had understood this particular flipper had pulled permits. There had not been a final inspection yet. He was waiting for me to look at the property so see what I came up with. To me, that's not a good sign. A builder confident
Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 05/17/11 06:53 AM
"Beware the greedy hand of government, thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry."
One of the most influential Founding Fathers, as regards the populace anyway, was Thomas Paine. He has been called, variously, "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination."
His famous (or infamous) pamphlets did much to sway public opinion at the onset of American desire to separate from British tyranny.
Having little influence on the Continental Congress or the writing of the Declaration of Independence, his pamphlets were read aloud in groups large and small. We forget, or
Three Great Life Lessons - 05/16/11 07:21 AM
There have been many life lessons thrown at me over time. These are three great life lessons that have made a huge difference.
When I was 12 we moved from my grandmother's house to my mother's house which had been rented the previous 8 years or so.
After my first day of school I went to the school nearby to see what was happening. To my joy I found the football field full of kids my age!
Wanting to play, I was invited to one of the teams. Its leader, who became my good friend, said, "You cover Ann. She's fast
The Fabled Tankless Water Heater - 05/15/11 07:54 AM
My water heater is over 13 years old. How much longer will it last? If I was my own home inspection client I would say to myself, "This water heater will last another month or another 10 years. It is truly unpredictable." I say that to clients all the time. It is a very accurate statement!
What are the factors that combine to age a water heater?
1. The size of the tank, with larger tanks retaining hot water longer. 2. The number of people in a house using hot water. 3. Washing machine habits - do you use hot or
Electricity Is Resistant To Rust - 05/14/11 06:05 AM
The electricity in a house comes and goes. It arrives, happily flows around the house, and is continually connected to the distribution facility nearest the house via a closed circuit. It likes to flow freely (don't we all?) and energize every spot in a house it is supposed to. Anything that interrupts or slows down that flow causes resistance, and its path is impeded. One thing that can cause resistance is rust. Electricity is resistant to rust.
Water or rust in a panel box is a WARNING SIGN. If the box or circuit breakers are rusting, unseen corrosion could be causing
Squirrels In An Attic Are A Danger! - 05/13/11 05:33 AM
I have had squirrels in my attic before, and they were hard to get rid of. A Havahart trap from the local farm supply center worked great, along with some apple and peanut butter bait, and they were finally removed. I took them to the Manassas Battlefield Park and let them go right where Stonewall Jackson waited for the Union troops and earned his nickname. They lived happily ever after! And I still have the trap!
This is why squirrels in an attic are a danger!
The same thing was happening in this attic that happened in mine.
The squirrels took
Stick Yer Screen! - 05/12/11 05:30 AM
Hi folks! Billy Jays here!
I am so happy to be here to introduce our new product!
No doubt you are like me! We all have houses with windows. And don't those windows have screens? Sure they do!
And how often have you been waken up at night by the banging and pounding of a screen against the window when a stormy wind whips up? Well I know I have!
AND IT CAN BE AGGRAVATING!
Introducing Stick Yer Screen!
Yes, Stick Yer Screen! is guaranteed to stop that banging and shaking forever!
No more getting up at night and thinking about
The Dangers Of Kit Decks - 05/11/11 07:40 AM
One of my bugaboos as a home inspector is deck installation. Or decks in general. So often installation is incorrect. And among decks, my least favorite are the kit decks.
What are kit decks? These are decks that are picked out of a catalog at a hardware store or design center. They offer different designs, with decks that are put together with panels which fit into slots created by framing. The patterns are pleasing, checkerboard, herring bone, alternating angles, and so forth. Different guardrails are offered and you can mix and match and design a deck! Kit decks have personal appeal.
Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 05/10/11 05:21 AM
"If the practice persists of covering government deficits with the issue of notes, then the day will come without fail, sooner or later, when the monetary systems of those nations pursuing this course will break down completely. The purchasing power of the monetary unit will decline more and more, until finally it disappears completely."
Ludwig von Mises
This happened before and after von Mises said this in 1931. This was an article he wrote, compiled later into a book called "Causes of the Economic Crisis."
When he wrote this the collapse of the first and second most powerful countries at
All Dressed Up And No Where To Go - Vinyl Siding Over A Brick Chimney! - 05/09/11 07:39 AM
I have to admit, I have never seen vinyl siding over a brick chimney before. And this is a flip (which you have met before) and as such anything that covers something else leads me to wonder. Is this lipstick on a pig?
Some things bother me:
1. The inside of the firebox and as much of the flue I could see was full, thickly covered, with creosote. So this is an uncared-for chimney. And a fire hazard.
2. The mortar cap on top is very cracked.
3. Looking at the bricks from the side they do not appear to be
Gumming Up The Works - 05/08/11 05:28 AM
It was a dark and stormy night...
It really was! We had just moved into our new house, about 13 1/2 years ago. It still had that new house smell.
OK, I had done the final walk through and there were 400 things the builder "promised" to take care of. Yes I ended up doing most of them myself. I like to take care of things right away. But the house still had that new-house smell, and we had never experienced that before.
It was September and deep into the night. I could hear a storm whipping up in the distance,
The Main Problem With The Water - 05/07/11 04:47 AM
Sometimes at first glance something appears to be professionally done. But be sure to look carefully!
The previous main valve must not have worked and has been replaced in favor of this lever valve.
It is easier to operate.
The assembly was done correctly.
The soldering is a little messy, but there are no leaks.
A new pressure-reduction valve was put just over the assembly.
On is parallel and off is perpendicular.
Right now the water is on.
And now the water is off.
Wait a minute...
Someone put that wall in the way!
How can the water be turned off?
Hide And Seek Electrical - 05/06/11 06:33 AM
Entering the house and walking up the stairs I looked at the kitchen ceiling and said, "Uh-oh..."
I knew I was in for some hide and seek electrical during the inspection. Before I even turned on the dishwasher (always the first thing) and unpacked my tools, I was thinking how to approach this one.
Do you see what got me so excited?
There are six new canister lights in the ceiling. And the original single light has disappeared.
What's wrong with that?
The original light was attached to a junction box which housed the cable servicing it.
I see no cover
Sinko De Mayo - 05/05/11 06:42 AM
Perhaps unknown among most people is how much the Mexican people like mayonnaise. One of the most important early trading partners for the young country of Mexico was France, a country then famous for its production of mayo.
The Mexicans liked mayo so much they actually named a month after it.
A favorite ship used for transport was sentimentally christened "Mayo," and used for years, filling its holds with nothing but cases and cases of mayo.
Grand celebrations would take place at each docking when finally arriving in port.
One stormy night Mayo, and its whole boatload, full of bottled,
"Added Insulation In The Attic" - 05/04/11 05:13 AM
I was impressed today to read feature information about a house that was totally correct. The feature sheet was provided by the Flipper, and in part read, "Added Insulation In The Attic."
What impressed me was that it is totally true. Insulation was indeed added.
Yep, added indeed!
Yep, added indeed!
Yep, added indeed!
Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 05/03/11 07:50 AM
"Distinction is the consequence, never the object of a great mind."
The thought, "Build a better mouse trap and the whole world will beat down your door," comes to mind here!
The very essence of capitalism, as born by the free market, is innovation and distinction. The freedom to bring a new product to market, or to market a product in a different, more efficient, way, is the very thing that made the west rich.
And particularly the United States.
Few realize the great entrepreneurship of George Washington. He is emblematic of the greatness the
When Builders Say Green, Find Out What They Mean - 05/02/11 05:21 AM
On new construction inspections, I have learned a couple of things. First, everyone wants to say their product is green, although I am not sure why. And second, when they do, when builders say green, find out what they mean.
My clients on a recent new construction said that the builder told them it was a "green house." I asked which standard was used to determine that and if he was going to give them a certificate. They knew nothing of that.
So I asked, "Why do you think it is green?"
"Well, the appliances are Energy Star, we think he
Git Yer Gap! - 05/01/11 07:26 AM
Hi everyone! Billy Jays here!
Today I am going to introduce our first product for kids only!
They will love it!
I call it Git Yer Gap!
Boys and girls, do you know how scary it can be to go to your parents' doors only to find them closed? And they are usually those big, double doors! What can you do?
Well, have a look at this!
This is Git Yer Gap!
From a distance like this it might not look like much!
But it is! You know, as you approach the door, sometimes your parents are making noise and sometimes