Firedrops

“With one’s face in the wind, you were almost burned with a shower of firedrops. We staid till, it being darkish, we saw the fire as only one entire arch of fire from this to the other side [of] the bridge, and in a bow up the hill for an arch of above a mile […]

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Understanding M Homes

“I really love the internet. They say chat-rooms are the trailer parks of the internet […]” – Carrie Fisher   Whether it is fair or not, mobile homes and trailer parks are objects of derision and mockery. More than one comedian has made a career out of trailer park based humor. After all, if a […]

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Don’t Settle on a Wet Basement

I’m willing to bet that most of your associations with settlement aren’t that great: settling a disagreement, settling for second place, and settling down is, for 20-somethings still on their parents’ insurance plans, something only slightly more appealing than prison. The verb to settle, in fact, comes from the same root as the verb to […]

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Pipe Problems

“It’s a lead pipe lock” What on earth does this saying mean anyway? It is, of course, a common idiom for something that is assured. It seems to me that it comes up most often in the context of sports prognostication. On a radio show out of Washington just the other day, the commentator said, […]

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Winter Winds and Withering Wallets

As a little kid, I was pretty sure that Winchester got its name from the windiness of our winters. When your wet hair freezes at the bus stop and you go to sleep listening to the whistling around the windows, it makes sense. It turns out that my childhood etymology was a bit off; nevertheless, […]

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Wire, wire, pants on fire.

I often get asked if I give some sort of priority or ranking to issues that I find when inspecting a home. I absolutely do. My inspection reports have a summary section that appears before the rest of the report, and issues that need to be addressed first (sometimes I’ll say “before occupying”) go into […]

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The Iceberg Effect

Famously, the part of the iceberg that can be seen above the waterline is only a fraction of the whole. Not accounting for what can’t be seen has led to some historic catastrophes like the sinking of the Titanic, and indirectly to excruciatingly long movies like Titanic. Ignoring what’s not in front of you is […]

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Snap, Crackle, Pop

When I do an inspection, I explain to clients that I will be making a “limited visual inspection” of the house in the condition it is in on the day of the inspection. Sometimes, this language about an inspection being limited raises some eyebrows – with good reason. How would you feel if you ordered […]

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Veterans Appreciation

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, the day we as a country remember the sacrifice and service of those who have served in the armed forces. In just a few weeks, most of us will gather around the Thanksgiving table with friends and family or go out into the community to share dinner with those less fortunate. […]

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Wild Leaves

“As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky” – A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore, 1822 No. It wasn’t originally known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, that came later. More puzzling for me has always been how a beautiful image of […]

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