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Jingle Bell Run (Saturday December 11, 2010) Bellingham, WA - 10/31/10 07:15 PM
Whatcom County residents seem to, pretty much universally, believe that the Jingle Bell Run/Walk is one annual event in Bellingham where everyone can go out and dress funny and act silly, while being serious about raising dollars for charity -- the Arthritis Foundation. Participants come in all sizes and shapes. The walkers and runners may go out in groups, with some specific theme or matching costumes (photo below) or bring pets along. Many people wear bells on their outfits.
All of us know someone with arthritic pain of one type or another. Statistics being as they are, you might have arthritis yourself. One (3 comments)
Happy Halloween From King of the House - 10/31/10 04:46 PM
Happy Halloween to all of my fellow Active Rainers out there. I was at the hair salon the other day -- we home inspectors have to look great so the cobwebs in our hair do not show -- and I saw the painting below. The owner of the hair salon is Mexican, so he is very much into the Day of the Dead theme. I really liked this Day of the Dead painting and I took this shot to post today. Someday I hope to be in Mexico at the time of the Day of the Dead festivities.
Even though (5 comments)
Scandinavian Fair (11th Annual) Bellingham, WA - 10/31/10 03:53 PM
The Scandinavian Fair is one event that I take part in, when I get the chance, every year. I fess up that I am not Scandinavian. And I do not, necessarily, go to the event for the colorful and warm atmosphere. I admit it, I go for the food. Have you ever seen and tasted all those wonderful cookies, assorted sweets, pastries and deserts that the Scandinavian women bake? Treats like these are a big part of the Scandinavian Fair. The local Scandinavian Fair is hosted by the Daughters of Norway #41. Along with the bakery goods, the event includes plenty (6 comments)
Winter Solstice Concert -- David Lanz at Jazz Alley, Seattle - 10/30/10 06:07 PM
In Bellingham, we are fortunate enough to have as a resident a leading musician of international fame. David Lanz and his compositions are known around the world. He was one of the innovators of "new-age" music more than 20 years ago. Lanz has had several best selling albums and numerous Grammy nominations. David's Christmas season performances, which include seasonal music and his past and current repertoire, are a feast for the ears.
David tours extensively, but around this time of year, he does a performance or two near home here in the northwest. Last year he did a concert for the locals at (5 comments)
Keeping Up With Halloween Costumes - 10/30/10 01:31 PM
Yesterday my wife and I took my daughter and grandson out for breakfast. My grandson, soon to turn four years of age, was wearing his ninja outfit this year. Now that is some sort of Asian warrier and not to be confused with Charles Buell when he wears his ninny outfit.
It just so happened that we had breakfast near a supermarket, so we had a wonderful backdrop for a photo shoot. Hay and pumpkins go well with little boy's costumes at Halloween. Thanks for stopping by, Steven L. Smith
Stoney Ridge Farm (Pumpkin Patch and Christmas Tree Farm) -- Whatcom County, WA - 10/30/10 12:54 AM
I wish that Stoney Ridge Farm in Everson had been around about 50 years ago when I was a youngster. Stoney Ridge Farm is, relatively speaking, quite a new and wonderful family owned addition to the Bellingham area and Whatcom County, WA. I first heard about, and visited, Stoney Ridge Farm two years ago with my daughter and my grandson. Stoney Ridge Farm has much to offer this time of year, Halloween, but the fun goes into Christmas. First things first: The farm has the largest pumpkin patch in the county.
The farm has a craft and giftshop, hay (10 comments)
Bellingham Home Inspection (King of the House) Skylight Issues - 10/29/10 09:38 AM
Skylights can be problematic. I know a roofer here in Bellingham who says there are two types of skylights -- those that are leaking and those that will eventually leak. As a home inspector one does not, necessarily, have to foresee the future, but one does have to have a pretty good idea as to whether or not a current skylight installation is going to be problematic. You look at the flashings but, sometimes, various other clues enter into the picture.
That is the view from above.
This is the view from below. Loose shingles and poor (9 comments)
Visting Assisi - 10/28/10 11:37 AM
I am slowly, but surely, recovering from my recent trip to Italy. The plane trip over was brutal, about 24 hours without sleep and delays in airports. So, when we got there, the body/system was shot and my wife and I both had nasty colds off and on. The trip back was the same. That said, we did make the best of it. I have not had time to do much with photos from the trip as of this point. However, this is a photo I had on file from my visit to Assisi. It gives a nice perspective as the size and grandeur (9 comments)
Bellingham Home Inspector (King of the House) Octopus Wiring - 10/27/10 09:54 AM
Can you identify octopus wiring? Do you know what it is? I see lots of it in Whatcom County and Bellingham. Basically, it is often found in older homes where there are too few receptacles to meet the needs of the occupant's electric demands. It is easily recognized by anyone who knows what to look for -- electric extension cords being run all over the house -- heck they might be routed over the burners of the stove and often receptacles will have one or more multi-outlet adapters plugged into them and additional electric outlet strips plugged into those. Octopus wiring (17 comments)
Steve's Exciting Italian Vacation -- Back Home Again - 10/25/10 09:32 AM
I am back home from Italy. More tales to come. Or, as Nutsy says, more tails to come. We are jet-lagged. On these trips, my wife criticizes me for it but whenever we go to Italy I have a fair bit of pizza. I gained weight! Yep I did. I mean, if you go to Italy, you have to have some pizza. The pizza in Italy is different than pizza here. In most cases they do not put on every topping but the kitchen sink. They tend to select only a few. I have, many times, seen the natives eating pizza (11 comments)
Do People Really Farm This Stuff Out? - 10/12/10 01:21 PM
I get a few calls a week, maybe even a call a day, from someone who is promising to improve my rankings in the search engines. Fact is, I look pretty good in that regard so those are brief conversations. True to form, these same companies also solicit business by Email. I am used to that. But I had never thought about there being companies that make a living by doing social media for other businesses. I guess it makes sense, and is an extension of advertising agencies if you think about it. However I cannot imagine turning the reigns of (8 comments)
Whatcom County Home Inspector (King of the House) Wood Decay - 10/11/10 01:41 PM
Wood that is continually exposed to high moisture levels will decay. The term used mainly in this state is wood decay fungi. What is meant is plain old rot. Wood, when it is at 20% or higher moisture levels is prone to rotting. If I see a damp environment in a crawl space, I often will put in the moisture meter and see what kind of moisture readings I get.
The moisture readings here, under a modular commercial building in Bellingham, were over 30%. Overtime there is probably going to be a final consequence -- the wood will rot away. (3 comments)
Whatcom County Home Inspector (King of the House) Wide Handrails - 10/10/10 06:45 PM
It is not a problem at guardrails, but when a handrail at stairs is supposed to be graspable then it needs to be something other than a 2x4 or a 2x6 on its side. Codes have all kinds of specifications that define the term "graspable." With outdoor building, at least around here, we see mainly flat handrails at outside decks and stairs. More often than not the handrail is a 2x4, but I have seen 2x6's and 2x8's. None of those rails are graspable. A guidelines is that flat material needs to be no wider than 2 5/8". The rail below (4 comments)
Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House) Footings - 10/08/10 05:14 PM
I was doing a commercial building inspection the other day in Bellingham. I do more residential inspections that commercial inspections but a few of them appear along the way. One of the things the clients wanted to know was whether or not there was a footing below the perimeter foundation wall. It seems like there would, and should, be a footing on a large building. But that is not always the case. Often, to determine if there is a footing or not is fairly easy to do. You can see it when in the crawl space. However, in this case, it (4 comments)
Sink-o-pated Cat -- Contest Entry - 10/07/10 10:54 PM
I was running around, preparing for Charles Buell's highly exciting contest. I was thinking to myself "which sink do I look under for the most unusual items". I must have, in the frenzy of the chase, gotten quite scatter-brained because, before I was done, Tigretto Tartufo decided that he too needed to find out what was hidden under the sinks. The bathroom sink is always a favorite spot of his. This photo was taken while the two of us were scouting out under the various sinks -- looking for the best stash of something.
But then, quick as a flash, (15 comments)
It Isn't All Glamor -- Read This Before Becoming A Home Inspector - 10/07/10 02:06 PM
Here in Bellingham, I speak to many people who wish to become home inspectors. And I speak to counselors for government agencies who are retraining individuals who have disabilities or their clients were working in dying fields -- professions that no longer hire anyone. It is amazing to me how many of these people, the counselors and those looking for jobs, are under the assumption that we home inspectors have cushy jobs. They visualize us as wearing nicely ironed khaki shirts and khaki trousers, maybe sporting white hard hats too. Then they imagine us walking around the house, mainly inside, with (13 comments)
Helloooo Dooown Theeeere! - 10/05/10 07:31 PM
This is a photo I took today while standing on the roof of a three story condo that overlooks some of Bellingham's prime waterfront. The photo gets two things across (1) I felt like a kite way up there (2) we have some pretty incredible views in Whatcom County. And, compared to many areas, the prices are still reasonable. Oh oh, I sound like a realtor now.
I am a jaded home inspector so I seldom take view shots. But this gives a pretty nice idea of the view from some of the condos along State Street on Bellingham's south (13 comments)
Proof that I can blog about anything (aka: Proof that I can run a CONTEST about anything) - 10/05/10 12:02 AM
Chuckie Bee has a creative one here. I know that I will participate, even though I am getting ready to go on vacation. I just need to know what I might find under the sink, hopefully no rodent droppings. Via Charles Buell, Seattle, WA, Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections.com): People have often commented on my posts, “You can blog about anything!” I think I got a comment like that once when I blogged about my favorite coffee cup. When I get these comments I am never sure whether that is a compliment or a criticism----but given the number of comments they (7 comments)
Tough Road To Hoe -- Service Clubs - 10/03/10 07:55 PM
I first joined a service club, Kiwanis Noon Club in Bellingham, in the early 1980's. I served as President of that club from 1989 to 1990. I took a hiatus for a few years but got actively involved in Kiwanis again about three years ago. I joined the morning club -- Kulshan Kiwanis Club of Bellingham. I wrote about one of the fundraisers for that club here.
Anyone who knows Kiwanis knows that the club, internationally, commits time and effort to many worthwhile projects. Knowing that, I regret to say that, as of last week, the Kulshan Kiwanis club faded (7 comments)
Electric Safety: Sometimes An Inspector Knows Without Opening - 10/03/10 04:08 PM
I did an inspection a month or so back and it had to be the weirdest and worst electric system I have ever seen. The photo below gets across the multitude of assorted electric switches, fuses and buses. The workmanship, readily apparent, is not up to par. Even though I did remove the covers on some of these, very reluctantly because I was afraid parts might fall out, it was probably pretty much a pointless endeavor. From the moment I saw this, and I also saw all of the receptacles with reversed polarity, improper equipment grounds, no apparent grounding electrode, I (6 comments)
Go Figure -- Vacation Timing - 10/02/10 10:53 PM
This time my wife and I have had many obstacles we had to overcome in planning our upcoming Italy vacation that is supposed to begin late in the week. We still have a couple more things that have to be done, prior to being free and clear to go for sure. Tonight I was looking at a news site and I saw that, as of today, the state department has now put a travel warning on all of Europe. I bet that is going over big in Europe. I can tell by prices, based on last time that I went, that (10 comments)
No, The Squirrel Is Not Going to Italy! - 10/02/10 07:00 PM
I have had a number of Emails from people who are wondering if my certifried home inspector assistant, Nutsy S. Wallenda, will be going with me to Italy. The simple answer is "no". The squirrel will not be going. There are a few reasons for this. 1. He needs to make the top management decisions at King of the House while I am away. 2. He needs to do inspections at King of the House when I am away. 3. He needs to keep a close eye on Charles Buell to make sure that Charlie does not make any glaring errors (15 comments)
This one makes use of inspection photos from my collection, also some great photos were kindly provided by Charles Buell. That is a guy who gets down and dirty (see his nice fungal shot live from Seattle and embedded below). I am finding that many people are more tuned to "watching" than reading. Good trait or bad trait, some people are wired that way. This was first pointed out to me by (5 comments)
Pest Entry Points -- Painfully Obvious - 10/01/10 11:51 PM
Rodents are a big problem in the Pacific Northwest these days. I am, of course, speaking of rats and mice, and I would never speak poorly of the squirrels and bunnies. I have found it painfully apparent, at times, where rodents are gaining entry to people's homes. Below is an example. The vent screens were all out in the perimeter of the crawl space. Then there was this gap in the floor by the toilet. No surprise, there were rodent droppings all around the area. Rodents can be hard to keep out, but at least a person needs to do a (28 comments)
Steven L. Smith, King of the House Home Inspection, provides information for real estate buyers, sellers and real estate industry professionals.
Blog posts emphasize issues commonly found in Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County. Smith is Washington State Licensed Home inspector #207, a state licensed structural pest inspector and one of the most experienced inspectors in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest.
Steven L. Smith is lead instructor of home inspection at Bellingham Technical College and teaches classes for Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Steve was a two-term member of the state licensing board.
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