Winchester, VA offers little pieces of heaven. Do you have yours?

Winchester, VA offers little pieces of heaven. Do you have yours?

One of things I love about living in the Shenandoah Valley is the small town feel in a community with all of the conveniences of the big city.  This morning, I was running between stops and I needed to make up a little time, so I took a back road.  I was driving along enjoying the farms and the quiet, and along came a pair of horses pulling a small cart (a two wheeled cart with big wheels).


In 5 minutes or less, I could be in the middle of town from that country road, and from the middle of town, I could be in the peaceful countryside where horses still travel the roads and farmers wave and say, “Good morning.”  It’s a wonderful place to live, raise kids and work.  If you’re looking for your own little piece of heaven, Winchester, VA might just have that place for you.



You Can’t Afford to Cut Some Corners on Your Remodel

You Can’t Afford to Cut Some Corners on Your Remodel

Since I own an electrical contracting company along with my real estate brokerage I have a simple advantage when showing clients a new home.  I always make sure the electrical system is safe.  I will also send one of my sons, who works for the company, out to the home after closing to test everything and make corrections if we’ve found any problems before or after closing.

Much of the time, I don’t participate in the electrical business directly.  I will go out into the electrical field if we’ve contracted a complicated commercial job or we have a job on a really old house.  Both types of projects present a lot of challenges.  So, they often need more experience than the boys can provide.  I enjoy the change of pace.

Today was one of those days.  We have a client who has a 1700s era barn Cooper's Quality Electric Co., LLC - Winchester, VAthat has been converted to a home.  It’s really fun to work on it, but it’s really difficult.  It has slits in the walls where early settlers would slip their guns through in the event they needed to defend themselves.  It has wide plank floors (12″-16″ boards).  It’s actually a brick and stone barn.  That is not a common barn in this area.

Today, we were asked to remove some of the previous wiring upgrades that former owners had done, and I was really glad they decided to do that.

Cooper's Quality Electric Co., LLC - Winchester, VAAll of the upgrades we removed looked perfectly fine on the surface.  The average homeowner would never have known that they were all code violations and they were all fire hazards.  Most of the items we removed had gotten so hot over time that they had actually charred the devices.  I’m sure they were near fire more than once.

That brings me to my point.  Whenever you have an electrical need in your home, please do not skimp on the service.  That doesn’t mean you need to find the most expensive contractor in your market to do the work, but you need to find the most skillful contractor you can afford to do the work.  High price doesn’t necessarily mean quality, but huge discounts by an unqualified servicemen doesn’t necessary mean you got a deal either.

I could field a team of electricians who solely do repairs on work done by other electricians.  I’m always amazed when someone tells me their brother-in-law, or a friend, or somebody they found on Craigslist did their wiring.  “Oh, is he an electrician.”  “No, but he knows a lot of stuff.”  That kind of response scares me.  Today was a great example of someone trying to get by on the cheap and it nearly cost him his home.

Ask around.  Find competent professionals.  Ask for references.  Call the references and take this area of a remodel as seriously as you can, because a jack-leg electrician can cost you more than a few bucks.  This is no place to hire the weekend warrior with a Stanley Wiring Made Easy book and a tool-belt.


Keep on Truckin’ Team Jayden Style

Keep on Truckin’ Team Jayden Style

While I was out meeting clients today, I stopped by a drive-thru to pick up a sandwich for my wife.  When I arrived at the window the young man handed me a note and said, “It was paid for by the lady ahead of you.”  She was paying it forward “Jayden Style.”


When you’ve got a minute, drop by the “Keep on Truckin’ Team Jayden” Facebook page.  It’s an interesting story, and it’s a movement that started in the heart of a very sick little boy who lost his battle with cancer, but his vision carries on.  Can we ask for anything greater in life?

Here’s your fine . . .

The local paper in Winchester does an interesting page every Monday.  On Monday they publish articles from 100 years ago, 75 years ago, 50 years ago and 25 years ago.  I’m Copalways most fascinated with the 100 years ago.  Since I wasn’t here to remember them they tend to be the most enlightening and entertaining.

On a recent Monday edition, the first story was my favorite.  It seems that the postmaster had complained to the local city government that too many men were spitting tobacco on the floor.  There were spittoons all around, but these uncouth city slickers had taken to spitting wherever and whenever they wanted, and since the postmaster was also the custodian of the post office this had to stop!  Besides, it was a health issue.

Local laws had to be amended to make spitting on the floor of the post office a fine-able offense.  It could cost up to $4 if the offense was severe enough, and in 1901 $4 was a lot of money.  Well, the story got me thinking.  What would I fine people for if I could stick a $4 fine on offenders?  Here’s a partial list:

  • Wearing pajamas anywhere but in your home – cha-ching!  $4.00 please
  • Non-handicapped parking in handicapped only slots – cha-ching!  $4.00
  • Sitting right beside my table in a completely empty restaurant – Cha-ching!  Move over.  Leave your $4.00 on the table!
  • Wearing too much cologne anywhere – teary-eyed, sneezing cha-ching!
  • Driving 10 miles under the speed limit in the passing lane – cha-ching, cha-ching!
  • Talking loudly on your cell phone – we all have them – nobody is impressed – cha-ching!  Hand over the $4.00 and use inside voices!
  • Trying to impress me with your intellect while using bad grammar – cha-ching!  That should be $8.00, but I did set a $4.00 limit.  Your lucky day Sparky!
  • Not returning important phone calls, emails or text messages – cha-ching!  Ante up, $4.00.
  • Playing your music so loud in traffic that my car vibrates – cha-ccchhhhiiinnnnggggg!
  • Chewing with your mouth open – cha-ching!  What was that?  $4.00, cough it up!
  • Butting in line anywhere – cha-ching!  Back to the end of the line, Bub.  Oh yeah,  $4.00 please.
  • Texting while traveling down 95 out of DC at 5:00 pm (actually, at any time) – cha-ching, put down that phone and hand it over, $4.00.
  • Leaving a piece of equipment dripping with sweat after you’ve used it – that will be $16.  The bio-hazard team needs to get paid too you know.
  • Showing up at a grieving family’s house after the funeral to try to get a listing – CHA-CHING!  Where do these people come from?  $4.00 please.
  • Controlling the speaker’s teaching time at continuing ed classes so that half the material is skipped – cha-ching – $4.00 and half your credits please.

You see my dilemma.  There are just to many things to fine people $4.00 over.  Of course we could use these fines to settle the national debt.  What do you think, two weekends?  We should be there in two weekends, maybe three.  Anyway, what’s on your $4.00 fine list?  I may need to take out a loan if this ever becomes law!