Off the Tracks

Jonas and Lady Kenmore

August 27, 2019

It all started out so nicely. I went downstairs very early this morning to enjoy the freshly painted, cleaned, spruced up garden level apartment - you know – just for a minute, as it was being turned over to new tenants tomorrow. I took my coffee and asked alexa for classical music and opened the door, enjoying the clean, fresh morning air and uncluttered sparkling space inside.


So peaceful.


The cat came in, as he does, announcing his arrival and jumped up on the windowsill behind me. Apparently he misjudged or thought the window was open (they had been open all day yesterday in the beautiful weather) , because he landed behind me with a thud, which caused me to jump, my cup falling to the floor and shattering, sending coffee and white porcelain pieces all over the (clean, sparkly) floor. Our carpenter/painter came in the open door at the same time, amid the fresh chaos. The cat, the cup, the coffee everywhere.


He was there to secure an end cabinet piece over the fridge. I gathered the pieces of the broken cup and walked to the kitchen to look at the cabinet, and after he left to get his tools, I looked down and realized that I was bleeding all over the (clean, sparkly) kitchen floor. Ugh. Grabbing paper towels I wrapped one around my finger, went in the living room, wiped up the coffee spills, and then cleaned the blood off the kitchen floor. I thought as long as he was here, I’d pull the fridge out to have him look at the icemaker water line. As I was pulling the fridge out the end cabinet piece came crashing down on my wrist. The good news was, the nails missed me, the bad news was a large bruise popped up immediately on the bone. But there was other good news - the former tenant had left one of those gel face masks in the freezer (thanks Rachel!) which made a pretty good ice pack. I wrapped it around my wrist and thought while the fridge was pulled out that I’d better clean back there. Ugh. Now I was dirty in addition to being bloody and bruised.

Jonas (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Jonas


The fridge was an ancient ‘Lady Kenmore’ and had been the top of the line years ago, and still worked great. It had all the bells and whistles of its time, and was trimmed in fancy wood paneling. I am a sucker for great old appliances that are well designed. I just had to give up an old jenn air fridge at the Mill House in the country as it just wasn’t keeping food cold enough. My son JJ called as it was being taken out and a new one was being installed. ‘Mom, did you vacuum the coils? Its probably all it needed – that’s a good fridge’. Well no, I told him as it was being removed. ‘What?! Why didn’t you ask me, I do know a little bit about refrigeration,’ he said. He is a paleo/keto chef in Salt Lake City with his own business. I watched as it disappeared through the door.

And here I was in the kitchen of the apartment with an ancient but wonderful Lady Kenmore. As Jaime was fixing the end piece on the cabinet, I asked him how to get to the coils. He motioned to the covering at the bottom – ‘down there,’ he said. ‘remove the panel.’ OK, I thought, I’ll just look. I pulled off the panel. What? ‘I don’t see any coils.’ He got off the ladder and leaned down and added the light of his phone to mine. ‘That’s because they’re covered in dirt. I’m surprised its still working.’


I got the vacuum and lay on the floor and started cleaning the coils. It was addicting. Little by little you saw the outline and then the coil itself. I could just feel the fridge breathing easier. I did not want to unplug it as Jaime suggested, but was glad he was there in case I really hurt myself. I was actually enjoying it, you know – kind of like ironing pillowcases, there is such visible IMPROVEMENT -and for a split second I imagined traveling around and cleaning refrigerator coils for fun. Of course I made a big mess and had to clean the floor but here it was barely 9 am and I had already had so much fun!


Serenity having been restored in the sunny apartment, I closed the door quietly and went upstairs to take a SHOWER and start my day. Maybe I’d bring a glass of wine downstairs tonight to enjoy the clean, sparkly apartment and beautiful evening.

Or maybe not.

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O and P Streets Project Ribbon-Cutting Celebration

September 18, 2012

Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray officially commemorated the completion of the rehabilitation project of the historic Georgetown blocks of O and P Streets Tuesday morning.

(Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor)

In attendance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Jack Evans, Ed Solomon and Jeff Jones.

r/l - Abel Pereira, Superintendent, Tracy Moore, Safety Assistant; Reyes Fuentes, Field Superintendent; Jeckson Fuentes and Cristian Merino, support laborers (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylot) r/l - Abel Pereira, Superintendent, Tracy Moore, Safety Assistant; Reyes Fuentes, Field Superintendent; Jeckson Fuentes and Cristian Merino, support laborers

Afis Idowu (left), project manager, The Temple Group, and Gary Hetrick, supervisor, were on hand daily and provided great support for neighbors. (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Afis Idowu (left), project manager, The Temple Group, and Gary Hetrick, supervisor, were on hand daily and provided great support for neighbors.

The ceremony took place at 3219 O Street in front of Hyde-Addison Elementary School.

(Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor)

ANC Commissioner, Jeff Jones (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) ANC Commissioner, Jeff Jones

Jeff Jones thanked the crowd for being there. "I call this completion to be significant not only physically, but also symbolically as a connection ... Our City is comprised of over 130 different neighborhoods, and Georgetown is one of those.  To me this project connects our neighborhood east to the rest of D.C.  It starts at Georgetown University and leads directly toward One City DC."

Continuing, Jones said, "The O&P streets renovation also connect us to Georgetown’s rich and long history.  As early as 1873, horse-drawn railway service ran through these streets.   And prior to that, I can only imagine workers placing these exact pavers on our streets.   Today, right now, we are not only preserving but we are connecting with this past.  And, this is part of the reason the entire community of Georgetown is designated a National Historic Landmark."

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Hit and Run on P Street

April 26, 2012

“I woke up feeling a huge thud on the house,” Amy Stroh said.  “It was surreal, I could hear a truck and scratching on the windows.  As the scraping sounds continued,  I kept trying to make some kind of sense of it,” she continued.  “Maybe they are doing early tree work of some kind?  That truck is meant to be there?”

No major damage to the house. (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) No major damage to the house.

Ms. Stroh’s thoughts as the sounds continued were to get away from the windows,  wake up her daughter, and figure out what was happening.  

“I wasn’t sure the bricks weren’t going to start coming down.”  

It was 6:10 am, Ms. Stroh’s house was besieged by leaves and branches and the sound had finally stopped.  She looked through the branches and could see a blue truck exiting the scene. 

As it turns out, a huge tree had been hit by a trash truck, apparently shifted into lower gears, and kept going, as reported by a road crew member who was doing early paperwork at the other end of the block.   The large tree hit her house and split, and Ms. Stroh was told by the firefighter who responded to the 911 call that, “the house was stronger than the tree.”

Will Pryce, on his way to school, points out a piece of trim, left over from the impact of the blue truck. (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Will Pryce, on his way to school, points out a piece of trim, left over from the impact of the blue truck.

“I couldn’t get out to take my daughter to school,” Ms. Stroh said, “as my front door was covered with branches and the alley was blocked by the trunk of the tree.  We were stranded.”  “The firemen cut the branches from the door so we could get out and my daughter was picked up by her grandmother, and she made it to school on time.”

Uprooted tree destroyed by trash truck (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Uprooted tree destroyed by trash truck

The tree was gone by noon.  

 “The foreman of the paving company got on with 911 and told them it needed to be attended to immediately, that the tree was putting the neighborhood at risk,” Ms. Stroh said.  “He was great.”

“It was an awakening experience,” Ms. Stroh said as we finished our conversation.


(Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor)


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