Grant Money Still Available

If I could, I would.  But I can’t.  But you might be able to.  Here’s the official press release and they really want to find homes for this grant money!!  From the city,

$150,000 available to qualified residents

(La Vergne, February 25, 2011) The city of La Vergne wants to give you money! The city received $150,000 in grant funding from THDA for the federally funded HOME program. The money is directed at the production, preservation and rehabilitation of housing.

“In other words, we want to help residents make repairs to their houses,” said city grant writer Montique Luster. “There are a few residency strings attached. If a grant recipient sells the home in less than five years, they will have to pay some back. If you own for five years, you will not owe any money. If you sell after four years, you will have to pay back 20 percent, three years is 40 percent, and so on.”

There is a 15-year lien requirement for residences that have to be completely torn down and rebuilt.

To qualify for the grant funds, you must own your own home and lived there during 2010. Income limits for family size are as follows: 1 – $36,550, 2 – $41,750, 3 – $46,950, 4 – $52,150, and 5+ – $56,350. The funds can be used to correct code violations or repair any developing deficiencies in the structure of the home (e.g., siding, gutters, flooring, lead paint remediation, etc.).

The deadline to apply has been extended to April 1, 2011. For information, contact Luster at City Hall, 5093 Murfreesboro Road, or call her at (615) 287-8606. To formally apply, Cindy Raymond can be reached by email at cynthia.raymond@comcast.net or call (615) 855-0883.

Bleach Useful, But Microban May Be Better

I am not an environmentalist.  I’m not an expert on mold.  I’m not an expert on matters of fungi or other generally ickiness.  However, I’m hearing that the use of Microban may be a better option than bleach when cleaning mold.  I’m hoping there are some experts who might comment on here and let me know the low-down on this.  Bleach apparently doesn’t kill mold spores, while microban does.

Here’s a link to info about Microban, which is available at Lowes.

A word about Lowes… my friend who had the flood damage said they have been GREAT to her there.  Very courteous, helpful, and kind.  So kudos to Lowes!

Sky Lights + Rain = Bad Mix

rainWe’ve had a leak in our skylight for some time now and have reached the point where it really needs to be fixed before major damage occurs.  In the past both skylights leaked, but a friend of mine was able to fix one of them.  We really don’t want to go to the expense of replacing the whole window if we’re able to simply make the repair.

So my question …. can anyone here recommend an honest, skilled person to repair a skylight?

I love home ownership except for when things go wrong.  We did finally find the leak in our water line and had that repaired for $230 rather than the $1500 it would’ve cost to replace the entire line.  I’ll be trotting my repair receipt to the water department soon to see how much of an adjustment they can make on our outrageous water bill.

In my dream world, I want vinyl soffits put up around the entire house, I need the columns replaced on my front porch, new gutters, and WANT vinyl replacement windows (double sashed so I can clean the tops too).  In reality, we’re doing just one little thing at a time and hoping nothing else falls apart in the interim.

So if you’re thinking about buying a home, the good part is this year (if you’re a first time buyer or haven’t owned a home in 3 years), you get an $8000 tax credit that you won’t have to repay (and interest rates are fantastic).  the bad part is when repairs need to be made, you’re responsible.

Photo by Tapio Hurme via flickr creative commons.

The LaV Water Department

I have a feeling people who work for the city – especially the water department folks – may be thinking “UH OH!” when they read the headline up there.  But no fear.  I’m here to brag about them a little.

We got our water bill last month and my husband and I nearly had a stroke.  It was almost NINETY dollars.  You read that right – $90 – and we have NO sewer fee attached since we’re on septic.  I suspect if we had to pay sewer fees on top of the water usage, our bill would’ve been like $180.  (By the way, we also got our newest electric bill with the rate increase and let me just say NES you are despicable.)

So I carry myself to the water company during lunch today to ask about this huge bill which is a good 3 times bigger than usual (it’s typically $25 to $30).  The lady working the front counter today was Tammy (get well soon, Ms. E!).  I found Tammy to be incredibly helpful and professional. She gave me her full attention, showed me a “sample” meter and told us what to look for if there is a leak somewhere in the line.   There’ s a black triangle that will spin like crazy if there’ s a leak.  If there is no triangle and there’s a leak, the hand that’s not unlike a second hand on a clock can be seen moving ever-so-slowly.

Tammy also explained that if the leak is from the street to the meter, the city would pay for repairs but if it’s from the meter to the house… well it’s on us.  I suggested that if it was from the street to the meter, then our meter might not be registering the water usage and we’re pretty sure that would be the case.  So it’ll likely be a leak we’ll be responsible for.  NOOOOOOOOO!  Sadly, yes.  Tammy went on to say that sometimes the homeowners insurance policy will pay for this, but I’ll have to contact my insurance agent to ask.  I fear that if the leak isn’t actually in or under the house, we’ll still have to eat this.  Meanwhile, Tammy also looked at our December meter reading and found that yes, the water bill is actually even higher than the November bill.  Probably a pipe failure somewhere down the yard.

Why am I stressed about it, you wonder?  Way back when, builders used polybutylene pipes which were eventually found to fail in the epic proportions.

While scientific evidence is scarce, it is believed that oxidants in the public water supplies, such as chlorine, react with the polybutylene piping and acetal fittings causing them to scale and flake and become brittle. Micro-fractures result, and the basic structural integrity of the system is reduced. Thus, the system becomes weak and may fail without warning causing damage to the building structure and personal property. It is believed that other factors may also contribute to the failure of polybutylene systems, such as improper installation, but it is virtually impossible to detect installation problems throughout an entire system.

We talked to our AMAZING plumber (Earl Chandler of Smyrna’s Chandler Plumbing) some time ago and he gave us a ballpark figure of what the cost would be to replace our pipes leading to the house.  It ain’t pretty.

Meanwhile, Tammy said once we have repairs made (think costs in the thousands unless my insurance agent comes through) we hould bring in our paperwork showing the work was done.  At that point, the Water Department will apparently review the situation and may be able to make an adjustment to our bill.

And for all Tammy’s great advice and to their willingness to be helpful, the city Water Department gets my shout-out *slash* KUDOS today.  Thanks ladies and gentlemen.

Does anyone have any plumbing advice?

Introducing Another Small Business Owner

Every now and then I have the opportunity to introduce to our community new businesses or small business owners.  Today I talked with Matthew who is starting a pressure washing business in our area.  Although I don’t personally have a home right now that needs pressure washed, I told Matthew that I’d post here about his service.  He said,

Single Story home I charge $150 and two story home I charge $250…I really need the work…My number is 615.319.6340 and just ask for Matthew or Jenna…I am always available to take a call from a future customer.  I will perform this duty any and all days of the week!

Remember, this is pressure washing a WHOLE house, so $150 or $250 is very reasonable! If you or your neighbor have green crawling up the side of your house, please consider calling Matthew.  What a great way to clean up our neighborhoods!

Matthew and Jenna are expecting a daughter in July so could really use our support! 

Also, don’t forget my friend Patrick Anderson if you need auto glass replaced.

This is BEAUTIFUL LaVergne Award

This is LaVergne is pleased to announce that we have selected an April winner for the first ever “This is Beautiful LaVergne” award.  To ensure the privacy of winners, we are not publishing addresses.  We hope to reach the point in the future where people are nominated by their neighbors and we have permission to print addresses.  However, we applaud the winner and two runners-up for maintaining a beautiful yard and outside-of-home!

WINNER
Home in Lake Point subdivision.

WINNER

Not only is the lawn mowed, but the shrubbery is nicely trimmed and flowers have already been planted to welcome spring and bloom this summer.  This home has obviously been well-cared for and I would be thrilled to have a neighbor like this!

RUNNER-UPIvy’s Pick
Home in Lake Forest Estates subdivision.

This home is always neat and maintained – from winter through summer.  The landscaping rock and corner garden are nice, but the curve around the front flower garden and a wooden fence (not pictured) definitely add a special touch.  Here’s the garden curve:

RUNNER UPKathy’s Pick
Home in Stones River Cove subdivision

This house has pansies by the mailbox, the base of the trees are cultivated, lawn is mowed, flowering shrubbery is gorgeous, and finishing touches include a wicker chair on front porch, wreath on the door, and little statuettes that are whimsical.

Great job to the winner and runners-up!  We hope their beautiful lawns will inspire YOU to get outside, work on your yard, and submit it to This is LaVergne for consideration in May.

Time to Spring Clean Your Home

With spring definitely in the air today, it’s time to think about giving your home a good cleaning.  Not that any of us (*cough*) have messy homes that need a good spring cleaning or anything, but….

Okay!  Here’s a great site that gives you 52 ways to spring clean your home.  Also, I found some great tips for spring cleaning over at Home Ec 101.  Room to room here we go with random tips pulled from the posts!

Bedrooms

  • Pull all the furniture away from the walls and wash the baseboards and use your edging tool on your vacuum cleaner to clean where the wall and carpet meet.
  • If your curtains can be washed, take them down and wash them. If not, do a thorough vacuuming of your curtains. Wash the windows, too!

Kitchen and Bath

(Kitchen)

  • Dust the ceilings and tops of your cabinets, then wash the fronts of the cabinets. Pull your stuff out of the cabinets and re-organize. Wash the insides of the cabinets if necessary.
  • Yes, you are going to have to deal with the plastic stuff cabinet, too. Suck it up and just do it.
  • Go through your pantry or wherever you keep the food. Get rid of anything that is expired or you’re just never going to eat. Don’t give expired stuff to a food pantry, but anything you’re not going to eat can be donated to a food pantry.

(Bath)

  • Now, the crappy part. (Pun totally intended) Tackle the toilet. Start with cleaning the bowl, then clean everything else. Take it apart, if you need to. If cleaning the toilet really grosses you out, imagine you’re a crime scene investigator or you’re cleaning some rich and famous person’s toilet. I used to clean toilets of the rich and famous and their toilets were as nasty- sometimes nastier- than anyone else’s.

Disastrously Messy Homes

  • A completely messy house is overwhelming, so let me tell you where to start. Start with the laundry. Picking up those clothes that are strewn everywhere will make an immediate difference in how your house looks, plus it’s a task that you can do while you’re doing lots of other things. As you’re doing laundry, put a plastic bag by the dryer for  clothes you are going to give away.
  • Once the laundry’s rolling, go clean the smallest room in your house. Usually, that’s a bathroom. Or sometimes it’s your laundry room, which is handy since you’re doing all this laundry anyway- might as well have a sparkly clean laundry room to do all that laundry in. Bag up trash, get rid of stuff you won’t use, and wash the floors. Dust the walls and wash the woodwork. Clean it as if your mother-in-law was coming to inspect it with white gloves.

Once you’ve done some spring cleaning, go to the OUTSIDE of your house and start cleaning.  Wonder why?  Special announcement coming tomorrow!