I was up on our roof with my landlord* fixing stuff this weekend and while I was up there I took a picture of the construction around the Shaw/Howard Metrorail station. The yellowish building is the newly renovated Howard Theatre, expected to host a grand opening on April 12. You can see some damage to the red brick house on the right from the August 2011 earthquake:
Shaw/Howard and LeDroit Park
Here’s a closer look at the damage to the neighbor’s house from the earthquake. Some of the chimney has already been repaired, but much of it had fallen in August. Granted, these chimneys probably hadn’t been maintained in decades but the quake did wreck a few things in the area.
August 2011 Earthquake Damage
This morning on my way to the Shaw/Howard MetroRail station to work I saw that they were preparing to put up the marquee sign for the newly refurbished Howard Theatre.
Howard Theatre marquee
It’s been fascinating to watch the repair work progress and nice to see the city putting work into a historic place. It was a dump and an eyesore for far too long.

* You may wonder why I was up on the roof with my landlord or why should I care about the place when the landlord should be doing maintenance? Well I have a fairly good deal on the rent, and the landlord likes it that I take good care of the place so it’s an arrangement of sorts. Plus in all the rental places I’ve lived I’ve picked up a lot of homeowner tips, tricks and things to watch out for should I ever own a home. So I pay attention to what needs to be done when I can. I’ve learned a lot about termites, crappy on-demand water heaters, mold, and other things that can go wrong with an old house should I ever grasp the American Dream of home ownership. But alas with the high cost of living and my bloated (not) Federal government salary it will be a long time until I build up a sizeable down payment for my own house.


  1. Jeffrey C says:

    More renters should think like you. As a homeowner, I always hang out with the repair folks working on the house to try and learn things for the future.

  2. henry says:

    Re: handyman credentials – picture with a tool belt (and little else) or it ain’t true.

  3. Brent says:

    Are all on-demand water heaters crappy, or did you just get a bad one?

  4. Joe says:

    smart man…. i thought the one demand ones were good, that bad huh. Are they just not hot enough?

  5. Mari says:

    Yes, Jim. What’s so crappy about them? Details, I want.

  6. jimbo says:

    Since I moved in we got a new one which is working fine. However if you are impatient you won’t like them. My roomate is always in a hurry and says it takes “forever” for it to heat up. When I run the shower, I just do a couple stretches while it’s warming up. The time doesn’t bother me. They do save money in the long run if you get it installed right. It connects to both your water line and your gas line.

    The initial problem when I first moved in was the system in place was the first Rinnai on-demand system v1. And I suspect the landlord hadn’t maintained it either. And according to the plumbers (and there are plumbers out there trained in on-demand systems) the gas line was “dirty” and clogged the gas line, making it difficult to fire up and warm the water. There also needs to be a secondary connection so you can flush the system out to give it a good clearing of water scale and stuff in our water.

    I didn’t mean to give the impression that I don’t like them, it’s just that the first one in place when I moved in gave lots of problems with many times no heat at all. The new one has been working fine so far but I had to lobby the landlord for over a year to get a new one. But in that time I learned a lot about on-demand tankless water heating systems!

    More about them here:

  7. Mari says:

    Thanks for giving the low down on tankless. I keep hearing they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but didn’t hear anything about the drawbacks.

  8. I’m so sorry…. | ustreetbeat says:

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