Archive for the 'Living Here' Category

New Law for Homes Heated By Oil in Massachusetts

New Massachusetts Law Governs Homes Heated By Oil

New Massachusetts Law Governs Homes Heated By Oil

New Law for Massachusetts Homes Heated By Oil  It’s not uncommon in Massachusetts for homes to be heated by oil.  In some areas or communities without gas lines most houses you’ll visit will have oil heat.

Everyone has their own preference, often based on what they’re accustomed to.  It shouldn’t be a matter of price since typically the price differential between oil and gas will vary over the years. I grew up with oil and like it as a fuel source – the oil company guys know what they’re doing – nothing like having somebody with experience show up when there’s a problem, the oil fuel companies compete so service tends to be better than that provided by a company with a monopoly, and I like the idea that oil doesn’t make a house blow up.

But oil can leak and an oil leak can be very expensive.  A new Massachusetts law covering homes heated by oil takes effect on July 1, 2010 and is intended to minimize the potential for oil leaks from the fuel line.

The law requires that an oil safety valve or a protective sleeve on the supply line be installed if not already in place. The law also requires that homeowner’s insurance policies offer coverage for oil leaks. The insurance coverage is not mandatory but must be made available to homeowners for purchase. 

More info is available at the MassDEP website or call your oil company.

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Trees In Bloom – Springtime In Medford

Trees In Bloom – Springtime In Medford    For a brief time each spring Boston Ave in Medford is a magical sight. 

I always wondered what kind of trees these are – they seem to be popular with the City and are planted all over town.  Turns out they’re Bradford Pears and they line both sides of Boston Avenue in the Medford Hillside neighborhood.

When the trees blossom in spring they form a corridor of white flowers against the blue sky.  Catch them before they’re gone!

White Flowering Trees on Boston Ave in Medford

White Flowering Trees on Boston Ave in Medford

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Opening Day At Fenway Park

yankees bumperstickerOpening day at Fenway Park has always felt like a holiday to me. 

Holi-day that is.  Opening day meant that you took off from work, tried to get some tickets outside the park or ended up watching the game at a bar near the park. 

During the day.

But this year it’s a little off. It is a holiday.  And a night game.  Doesn’t seem quite right.

But it’s the Yankees.  Nothing like starting the season off with a bang.

The Boys of Summer are back in town.  Go Sox!

 

Photo courtesy of optimal tweezers

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Lights Out In Cambridge And Somerville

starsIt’s lights out in Cambridge and Somerville tonight in the fourth annual Earth Hour.

The two cities, and many other communities, are taking part in Earth Hour by turning off all non-essential lights in city buildings this evening for one hour beginning at 8:30 pm. 

Earth Hour is a show of commitment and a call for action on climate change.

Truth be told I think it’s great if – for only an hour – we could minimize light pollution.  Sometimes when I come home at night it seems as light as late afternoon – no need for a light outside my door – I can see just fine.  When my parents lived for a while in New Hampshire I was dazzled by the sight of the Milky Way outside their house at night.  Finally I was able to  see the stars I remember gazing at as a child.

So – join millions and flip the switch at 8:30 tonight. You’ll be in good company – the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Parthenon, the Golden Gate Bridge, Big Ben, the Las Vegas strip, and Mount Rushmore will all be dousing the lights.

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First Day Of Spring In Cambridge

The first day of spring in Cambridge felt more like summer.  Wow!  What a week of great weather.  We earned it after the torrential rain the weekend before.

Well you know what they say about showers… flowers follow.

Only the crocuses are out now but there’s lots to look forward to.

Here, to celebrate the first day of spring, are some photos taken last year of spring gardens in Cambridge and Somerville.

 
You’ll get a chance to see more spring flowers when the Secret Gardens of Cambridge garden tour returns on June 13th.

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Somerville Snow Emergency Tickets

Somerville Traffic and Parking Office - Apply for your snow emergency ticket waiver here

Somerville Traffic and Parking Office - Apply for your snow emergency ticket waiver here

Somerville Snow Emergency Tickets   Cambridge real estate agents tour their offices’ new listings every Wednesday.  Today, despite the dire forecasts, we had a dozen or more new listings to see in Cambridge and Somerville. 

Well, as it turned out, there wasn’t a storm.  In fact as we finished our tour it was 36 degrees and sprinkling.

Despite the clear streets the meter maids parking enforcement crews were out in force.  While viewing a beautiful condo at the Park Street Lofts in Somerville several agents received tickets.

Despite the lack of snow, despite the fact that there was no mention of snow emergency restrictions on the parking signs, and despite the fact that the cars were parked for less than ten minutes – perhaps less than five – several agents returned to find $100 tickets on their windshields.  That’s right – $100!!

Somerville Waives Snow Emergency Tickets

Somerville’s made the news before for excessively aggressive tagging and towing in advance of storms that never materialized.  I imagine they got complaints today – or perhaps the writing was on the wall and they decided to do the right thing.

Mayor Curtatone  has announced an abatement program for snow emergency tickets issued today, Feb. 10, 2010, for the storm that wasn’t. The snow emergency was lifted at 6 pm.

To receive an abatement for your snow emergency Somerville ticket you’ll need to pay a visit to the Traffic and Parking office at 133 Holland Street or to City Hall on Highland Ave.  If your car was towed only the portion of the tow charge that goes to the City will be refunded.

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Longfellow House On The New Cambridge Parking Sticker

Longfellow House on the new Cambridge parking sticker

Longfellow House on the new Cambridge parking sticker

Longfellow House On The New Cambridge Parking Sticker  I love the new picture of the Longfellow House on Brattle Street that’s on the 2010 Cambridge parking sticker. 

Jim Landfried took the winning photo in the 2010 Resident Parking Permit Photo Contest.  There’s a slideshow with all of the entrants on the city’s website – more than 80 beautiful photos of Cambridge through the seasons.

Tomorrow is the last day to get your parking sticker – or risk a ticket on Monday. 

To get a Cambridge parking permit you need:

  • Your current automobile registration showing your car garaged at your Cambridge address
  • $8.00 and money to pay any outstanding parking tickets
  • A current utility bill sent to you at your Cambridge address – or
  • Two pieces of current mail sent to you at your Cambridge address (magazines don’t count)

The name on your proof of residence mail or bills must match the name on your vehicle registration. 

The Traffic and Parking Department is at 344 Broadway, Cambridge MA 02139

Don’t forget – tomorrow’s Friday so the office is only open from 8:30 am to noon.  Get there early and get in line.

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Cheap and Easy Way to Keep Out Drafts

It’s nippy in Cambridge tonight and I’m glad I finally finished one of my winter chores this weekend.

Some of my windows are a bit drafty and since I’m not a big fan of replacement windows (subject of a blog post to come!) these older windows are here to stay.

Pulling the shades down at night and letting the sun in during the day is a good idea. Some people do the plastic on the windows trick but I’ve always worried about taking the paint off when the plastic is removed in the spring. And insulated shades are a super idea that I’ve yet to implement. Window rehab would make a difference and weatherstripping would help I’m sure.

Rope caulk keeps out winter drafts

Rope caulk keeps out winter drafts

But if you’re not terribly handy or don’t want to spend a lot of money my method to stop the drafts is easy – and cheap. 

This box of flexible rope caulk that I picked up at Tag’s in Porter Square for $6.39 does the trick.  It’s as simple as can be to unroll the clay-like caulk and seal any cracks where the sill meets the frame of your windows.  A box or two will do you.

Maybe it’s my imagination but my house always feels warmer after I get the windows caulked. 

I first saw rope caulk on the windows of a Union Square condo I listed. It was springtime so we had to remove the caulk to open the windows. Afterwards I realized that the caulk and the tighter seal had meant the condo was quieter so if you’re on a busy street it may help to keep noise down too.

For less than $15 rope caulk can’t be beat as a wintertime fix.

Stay warm!

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