Monthly Archives: September 2008

Holding, holding…

On hold until this Friday to see what the repair agreement will be.

Meanwhile, I found at least one example online of a similar start to an ecovillage in San Mateo.

Other than that I can only dream – greenhouses and composting toilets and solar panels…mmm. Oh yah, and I better start collecting lease forms and all that stuff!

Oceano and I went to the anti-Palin rally Saturday, here is the portion of the ADN photo with us – I’m covered, but O is down low holding the bear!


Repairs and Anti-lawns

We are supposed to come to an agreement about repairs today or sign an extension agreement. I have heard that they will do all the repairs except that they are checking on the muni code requirements for the ceilings. I don’t care if they do the ceilings or not, as long as I pass the lender’s muster and get financing. I’ll post again when I know more!

I should mention, for the record, that dealing with the lender was not super easy or straight-forward for me. If I made a $100,000/year salary or had been at my job forever or only wanted a single family home, things would probably have been smoother. Working for only 2 years, making borderline enough for what I want, being on hourly wage (with sometimes lots of overtime and sometimes a lot of unpaid leave) made things tricky. But by lots of emailing, bugging my lender, sending her paystubs, etc I finally weasled my way up a bit in what I could get. She didn’t tell me this until the process was rolling, but I had to prove a two year history of receiving them to get my overtime and bonuses counted as income.

Finally, and most importantly: I’m re-reading this great book Food not Lawns by H. Flores. I recommend that everyone read it. Just eco-subversive enough to be even a bit beyond me – which nicely gives me somewhere to stretch for. Hand-washing cloth diapers in the tub, nursing my boy for 5+ years, using cloth homemade ‘luna’ style pads, occasionally wiping with cloth, washable ‘toilet paper’, keeping a bin of worms in the kitchen, dumpster diving for goods – these are the levels I’ve reached. Dumpster diving for food, illegally diverting household grey water to a slime-monster garden processing system, growing food in public parks – these are levels I aspire too! I am not that bold just yet. Maybe I’ll get there. I can’t find a grocery store dumpster that is accessible though, I must say…

Happy Autumn!

No new news on the 4-plex front…

It is definitely fall.  The leaves are over half-yellow, the mountains have been snowed on (termination dust is what we call it) and it threatens to freeze at night any day now.  It is a rare day not blessed with cold rain.  We haven’t turned our heat on yet, but we get away with it because our apartment faces south and is surrounded on 3 sides with other apartments, which probably have their heat on.  This is why people should dwell in attached units in this climate, or at least partly under ground.

My 5 year old took these pictures yesterday while I finished my homework for foundation engineering in my pajamas.  Good pictures, but I need another haircut!

I love calculator

I love calculator

Locking in the Interest

Ooh…the process continues with further boring details – signed a request for repairs with the realtor that she will present to the owner, locked in a 6% interest rate with the lender (which I will kick myself over if the economy continues falling apart and rates drop a couple more points :), shopping for hazard insurance.

Spent the week at the Alaska Rural Energy Conference, and boy does Anchorage have it good for energy prices compared to the rest of the state. One interesting fact – the average electricity use in Anchorage is near 600 kWh/month. In rural Alaska it is closer to 300 kWh/month. I feel really good. My household is at about 60 kWh/month – with no great deprivations or inconvenience or expensive sunfrost fridges. That doesn’t include heat or hot water – which is gas.

Home Inspection

Yesterday I dropped $700 on a home inspection. It’s cheaper for single family homes, but the guy does have 4 kitchens and bathrooms to check out. Oceano loved the process, and the guy did some have pr

southeast view

etty neat tools – moisture checker, circuit checker etc. The place was built in 1960 and has quirks, of course. The worst is that there is no fire barrier between levels/units. The ceilings between floors are tho

se dropped acoustic tile things instead of drywall. This may not pass the lender’s appraisal I guess, and could be something that is hard to get the owner to fix, since it is a lot of drywall to install. We’ll see what happens with that. Another biggie is that none of the top floor outlets are grounded, but one. Apparently ground fault circuit interupters will make these safe, but not for computers. My understanding anyway. Also, 3 out of 4 gas range/ovens are unvented, so combustion products can build up inside the house. There are also a couple of leaky faucets and other fairly minor stuff.

Very good things include that the roof is in great shape, the boiler is pretty new, the foundation looks good (even though the basement slab is pretty tilted! I don’t get that from a foundation perspective – concrete pretty much has to set level, then it would have had to have settled differentially by quite a bit, but there are no visible cracks in the foundation walls or structure?? A mystery.), there is no apparent moisture damage anywhere, the insulation in the roof is excellent.

Rejecting Palin

Totally off the subject, I was NOT at the event of the weekend, despite best intentions to be there.  Of course I am speaking of the Alaska Women Reject Palin rally. has some great pictures.  Thankfully, it was very well attended.  I was working at the time…stupid lab tests and their required schedules.  My 5-year old and I were going to bring his stuffed polar bears with signs saying something like “Alaskan polar bears reject Palin too”  Not as clever by half as most of the signs people did show up with!  I really hope the American public cottons on to her weaknesses.  One of my favorite signs was something like: “gee, Sarah, how is that abstinence-only education working out”!!

So far so good…

My offer was counteroffered, but it was still reasonable, so things are moving forward.  Now just gotta hope the inspection doesn’t turn up any deal-breakers.

Zane has some great points that I have spent a bunch of time mulling.  Incedentally, the utilities are not separately metered, so I would pay for them all…some incentive to pay for some energy improvements, though I must admit that by economic, I only mean that I actually have the cash to drop on something.  I am willing to have a million-year payback if it means truly less impact on the planet.  I do need to find a method to order my greening projects, topic for another post.  I don’t think I can legally screen tenants to be green, maybe I’m wrong.  I’m hoping more for self-selection – gardens and a compost pile will attract tenants that like that sort of thing or are willing to learn.  As for incentive to save energy on the tenant’s part, I’m hoping I can legally offer a deal where they all get some money off their rent any month that the total utility bills were less than some threshhold.