I throw rocks at houses. (Confessions of a rock thrower!)

Yes. I throw rocks at houses. I started in back high school.

I’ve resisted the temptation for years but fell off the wagon a few years ago. I’m back at it.

And my rocks, they aint’ pebbles. No sir these are big. Big chunks of granite (when I can get my hands on them).

But no homes are ever damaged! Ever! Why not?

Because….Not all houses are the same.

As an inspector I rarely come across houses that are not livable, but…

Theses are not!

They’re just painted rings under ice.

Yes, I’m talking about ‘the house’ in the game of Curling. It’s the target zone where the game is scored.

curling zones rink

And those rocks I mentioned, they are chunks of granite. They’re 40 pounds each. So ‘throwing’ them is just an expression.

rockscurling stone

This is one of the ways we spent the winter . For those who don’t ‘get’ the game take a look at the following video.

Here is one of those shots that, like in golf, it’s why you play the game!

So get out and enjoy the season, it can’t all be about work.


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Invasion of the house snatchers! They’re not teenagers but they’ll eat you out of house and home!

Treed property

Invasion of the house snatchers! They’re not teenagers but they’ll eat you out of house and home!

It happened here. At a million dollar estate, a beautiful house in semi rural ‘horse’ country. With big beautiful evergreens towering behind the home. Picturesque. 

The Tree -Up close; -It’s away from the balcony deck, 10′ from the house wall, so not perfect but OK.

proximity overhead

-Shallow root system – low plumbing or footing interference risk, OK

-Within range to hit the house if toppled but healthy free standing tree, seems low risk, but:

root area sign holes

I see dust, like saw dust, at the base, now I see holes, ant holes and……….WOW a HUGH carpenter ant infestation. I could see holes in the trunk as far up as I could see. (Last photo is eye level.)

Clearly a not so healthy tree and actually a severe risk to the home!

The ants had to be exterminated first. Taking the tree down with out destroying the insects first risks inducing a mass migration into the house.

Second the near walls opened and examined by a specialist for ant colonies and extermination done as required. Third the compromised tree has to be taken down. I recommended the wood be removed from the property (Ants can live in and re-infest fire wood just fine, thank you).

So this picturesque beautiful tree that looked so healthy was actually a big threat to this home.



Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post



dangerous fan placement


This is a photo from an inspection I carried out last summer (July 2010). It had what I would call an O.M.G. (Oh My God) situation.

Can you spot it? In the photo all the lights are on, plus flashlights, plus the camera flash. It’s still hard to see.

I had led a party of 4 out of bright sunny daylight into this unlit basement.  As there was no switch by the door I was moving cautiously picking my way by flashlight.

I was hearing a sound I couldn’t identify at first, then I saw it.

THE GUILLOTINE: That’s what I called it to ensure that everyone waited until the lights were on and knew where this ‘guillotine’ was.

Three foot steel blades spinning at maximum speed!

No housing, no cage, no protection!

Right at neck-to-head height!

Yes. Its’ a fan. A ceiling fan! Normally mounted overhead in a large high ceiling room. Yet here it is hanging from the underside of the floor above, in the basement of this apartment building where all the tenants have storage lockers.

The ceiling height is about 6′ to 7′ so the fan blades are neck level for many people. So if you are shorter the good news is you don’t get decapitated, just an eye, nose, ear or major concussion.

The entrance is from an exterior basement walk out and the first light switch is about 10 feet in.

If you miss the switch and go a few feet further and turn towards the strange noise, you’ll walk right into it. That is if you don’t trip and fall on the junk on the floor. Then it won’t get you till you stand up.

O. M. G. indeed! (We found the switch, shut it down, stopped it, no one got hurt. On with the inspection.)

So stay safe, and have a great summer.

     Originally posted on my site www.AspectInspection.com last July 25 (2010) link via  Guillotine O.M.G. I’ve reposted this here to showcase this situation, one of the most dangerous I’ve encountered in years.



Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post