$4,700 Utility Bill!?!?!

WOWZERS!!!!!!!!!  Imagine my shock when I am told I have a $4,700.00 utility bill!!!!!!!!!   For me to have $4,700 utility bill, ALL of the following things would have to happen:

1) My heater or air conditioner on 24/7, 20 degrees higher or lower than the outside temperature;

2) All of my water systems dripping, leaking, cracked pipes and gushing out into the street;

3) My gas line being ruptured all month and gas flowing out into the atmosphere;

4) Steven, Vivian and I taking 5 baths a day and leaving the water running all day;

5) Have every electric system in our house plugged in, running and going 24/7, which includes leaving all lights in the house on, 24/7.

And then, even if we did ALL of that, for a one month period, I still don’t think I would have a $4,700 bill!

I did not get my utility bill this month and, upon a disconnect notice in mailbox yesterday, I called to see what was going on.  I checked my Excel Spreadsheet and noted that I did not receive a bill, but that I had the funds allotted waiting on the bill to come in.  So, upon the getting the disconnect notice, I called the City of Alexandria Utility Department to let them know that I have the money to pay my bill, it was just that I did not get a bill this month.

So, I called and imagine my surprise when they told me that my bill last month was $4,700!!!!!!  The lady said that it could not possibly be right and saw that my meter was re-read, so she recalculated my bill (I heard her tap-tap-tapping on the calculator) now I only owe $1,017.00….what???  My bill has never, ever, ever been that high!  So, I went to the Utility Office and sat there a while to talk to one of the supervisors.  After seeing two people and waiting a while, a supervisor came out and she asked me why I did not come in after getting the $4,700 bill (like this is my fault) and I informed her that I never got it.  I received a rather short typed notice that some utility bills were sent out in error, but I trashed it, not thinking about it, waiting on my bill to come in.  After all was said and done, she assumed that someone saw that my bill was $4,700 and pulled it and sent someone out to re-read the meter.  It was re-read, but no new bill was sent out.  Then, looking closer, over $500 was penalties and late fees from the $4,700 not being paid.  They forgot to adjust the bill to take those penalties off.  I never got a bill so how could I be penalized for not paying it?

They were nice about it, for once.  But she kept telling me that I should have called in….that I should have asked for a bill….that I should have known something was wrong….  hmmm…..  I always  pay my utility bill when I receive it, so usually it is paid 2 weeks before the due date.  So, I did not think it odd to not get a bill, I just assumed I had already paid it.  In my Excel Spreadsheet, based on my usage from last year, I have that amount held out in my budget waiting on the bill to come in.  If they don’t send me a bill, how will I know what to pay and when to pay?  Whatever…………

So, after all was said and done, my bill was reduced from $4,700 to around $500.  That is a BIG difference….lol…..  I still didn’t get a copy of my bill to compare my usage to last year’s usage.  When I asked for a copy of it, you would have thought that I was stupid based on the looks I got.  I told them I like to see my usage from year to year and I base my budget calculations as such.  Still got a stupid look.  I didn’t push my luck.  I paid my bill, and left.  I just hope none of that stuff appears on next month’s bill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Andrea

Things to do in Cenla

I am sitting here at work, on a very cold day, surrounded by several space and gas heaters and what comes in the mail?  The City of Alexandria’s three month event calendar.  I was considerably cheered when I read the events which will commence from now through March.  My favorite picks (the ones I circled and plan on going to) are as follows:

January 8th – Second Saturday Market at the Museum

February 12th- Second Saturday Market at the Museum

Alexandria Museum of Art.  10am to 1pm. Local art, food, music and children’s activities.  Call 443-3458 for more information

January 30th, Sunday – Tea and Puppets

Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center.  3pm.  Talented Ventriliquist/Comedian Lynn Trefzger will be there and a tea and puppet crafts will conspire in the lobby.  The admission is $5 a person, or $20 for groups.  Call 443-4718 for more information.

March 19, Saturday – Spring Artwalk in the Main Street District of Leesville

6-9pm. Features knwn and new art and artists. Live music, contemporary and traditional art on display.  Admission is free. 

March 18-19 – Friday and Saturday – Que’in on the Red

North Levee Park, Fri 5-10pm and Saturday 12-10pm,  Sponsored by the City of Alexandria.  Championship barbecue, music and a carnival.  Admission is $10.  Call 449-5225 for more information.

March 19th, Saturday, Corley’s Miniature Petting Zoo

Well, even though this is bad timing for this event, I am including it because I think it is a cool idea and that Vivian would really dig it.  TREE House and the Martin Foundation is sponsoring a petting zoo for children 1-3pm.  Cost is $4 per person, children under 2 are free.  Call Kara for more information: 619-9394.

Great things are going on in Cenla!  Hope to see you at one of these events.

Andrea

2401 Monroe Street

I have passed the Coldwell Banker sign on numerous occasions.  Ok, I’ll bite.  I looked up the information for this lot:

Status Active Listing
Type Vacant Land (0-10 Acres) RESID
Price  $30,000
Location  2401 Monroe St
Alexandria , LA 71301
Country  USA

But the kicker is:

Nearly one acre of land, suitable for construction of single family homes.

WHAT A JOKE! 

 If you are confused, click here to read about the house that used to be there and click here.

Andrea

APOLLO

Gyro Salad with Apollo Dressing, side of Grecian Dip...good stuff!

I love mediterranean/mid eastern food.  Apollo is out of this world!  You definitely have to like and understand the culture in order to eat there.  I love their salads…the Gyro salad with the Apollo dressing is the best.  The chicken schwarma is an awesome choice too!

Apollo Greek and Lebanese Cafe

(318) 448-0455

3425 Jackson St
Alexandria, LA 71301

If you love gyros and Greek food, you definitely have to give this place some of your business.  I plan on trying my best to eat there as often as possible.  We need more places like this.  I am tired of the run of the mill chains.  Let’s keep these people in business!

I read a lot of ignorant things said in reviews about this restaurant most of it had to do with the culture or the ethnicity of the owners and NOT anything to do with the food.  This makes no sense to me at all.  The owners are very kind and I have had great service, with the exception of one blonde, very rude waitress who could not even pronounce gyro (yee-roh…yee-roh say it with me people yee-roh) correctly and then she proceeded to tell me that what I was ordering was not really what I wanted.  That’s interesting…I had ordered it several times before, I am so glad she can read my mind.  However, the owner came out and saw what was going on and recognized me and quickly took my order.  Unfortunately, you will run in to people like that anywhere.  So, I have no complaints.  The food is awesome!

As far as listening to the different music and the TV being tuned in to a middle eastern channel….uh…you are at a middleastern restaurant.  Do I really need to say more?  Enjoy your experience and enjoy the good food.  

The next thing we can work on is getting Whole Foods to open up a store….now wouldn’t that be something?

Andrea

PS:   Some interesting facts:

1. Our numeral system (0, 1, 2, 3, etc.) are Arabic numerals.  This numbering system we use today, originally developed in India, was taught to Europeans and in the Americas by Arabs from North Africa.  Thus, the name Arab numerals.

2. Lebanon is called the “Paris of the Middle East”.  Lebanon was under French Mandate until their independence in 1943.  The official language is Arabic and French.  It is bordered by Israel to the South and Syria to the North and East. It is a very popular tourist area due to its mountains and beaches.

3. Beirut is the largest city and capitol of Lebanon with a population of 1-2 million people.  Beirut is named one of the ten most livelist cities in the world.

Hotel Bentley Records Discovered

I thought this was neat.  This was sent to me this morning.  Thought I would repost.  It is neat to visit the museum.  Anyone who has not visited, it would be well worth your while and best of all — it’s free!  My favorite time to go is when relatives come in.  We make a round to the Kent House and the Museum, as well as other cool things.

“The photograph you are looking at is part of the core history of the Hotel Bentley. It is the Hotel Bentley Corporation Stock book. It has surfaced  after spending almost 60 years in a box in the back of a closet,  in Houston, Texas. It records the investors in the Hotel Bentley from 1919 to 1936. The names of the local businessmen who thought enough about Alexandria to invest their hard earned money in the Bentley.
 
It paid off for them. All their names are displayed and the amount of stock they purchased and date of purchase are on display along with this book. A piece of Central Louisiana History, at the Louisiana History Museum. Come view the expanded Bentley Hotel exhibit. It’s free.”
       
Andrea              

Genius Antiques

My friend, Dale Genius, has created a website to sell some of the antiques he and his wife have amassed over the last thirty plus years.  They previously owned an antique store and have lots of inventory still stored that they have now organized and are trying to sell.  If you are interested in checking out what he has for sale, be sure to visit:   www.genius-antiques.com
Happy shopping!!!! 
Andrea
P.S. If you purchase something, be sure to come back here and tell us what you bought! 

Some call me inhospitable

Or, maybe that is what the doctor whom I almost tossed off my front porch thought.

It started out as a pleasant day.  Lazy Saturday…sitting around the house.  I heard a knock on the front door and went to answer it.  Standing on my front porch, well dressed, was a man in his late 30s.  I took it in and thought, hmmm….this man is somebody, or THINKS he is somebody.  The first thing he said was “You may think I am crazy for knocking on your door, but do you want to sell your house”.  Immediately, I am intrigued.  This man appeared to be well dressed and his demeanor spoke of money….lots of money.  Even though I love my house, in the interest of historic preservation and if it would get “fixed up” quicker, I entertained the thought of selling it.  I was processing the thought and heard myself reply “We can talk about it”.  At that time, my husband moved out on the porch and my dogs went berserk.  Not a good sign.  So, I hushed my dogs and put them in their kennel and came back.  The man was gone.  I looked accusingly at my husband for an answer.  I was wondering what he said to the man that caused him leave.

My husband chuckled at the questions in my eyes and said only four words “He’s friends with Ratcliff“.  Immediately it dawned on me.  This dude wanted to buy my house, hack it up into pieces, and move it to a “good” neighborhood.  I became incensed and threw open the door to give him a piece of my mind and what I thought about people like him.  He was gone.  Darn.  Poor man.  He had no idea that being friends with you know who was a con as far as we are concerned.  He would have done better keeping that name to himself. 

My husband told him very kindly (he is the nice one) that he should not say that name so loud, that his wife (me) might overhear.  He warned him about my feelings on the matter and told him that we prefer to advocate for historic neighborhoods rather than to tear out the good pieces in them which leaves empty lots and only memories.  Pulling up a large house in this area would be like pulling out your front tooth.  He also informed him that we advocate for neighborhood revitalization, better preservation laws, better oversight from the Housing Authority, better code enforcement, landlords paying attention to their properties, pride of ownership, etc.  That what he proposed to do was not the answer.

So, I guess I am glad that I had to return inside the house.  Otherwise, they might have had a write up in the paper about some crazy blonde woman chasing a man down Monroe Street with a crowbar…..  🙂  Well, maybe not that drastic.  But, you get my point.

Andrea

Formerly Known as the Palmoire

View from the backyard

The house on Florence that was formerly a spa and Bed & Breakfast is for sale.  It has been foreclosed on by Capital One.  Steven and I went and viewed it yesterday with the realtor.  Here are a few pictures from that walkthrough.  It has repairs that need to be made due to its standing empty for almost two years now.  Despite that, it has a good yard and a nice open floor plan on the first floor.  The second floor is all bedrooms. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The asking price is $300k.  I was astounded.  Noles Frye is the listing agent and they have comparable houses on Jackson Street and in the Garden District that have sat on the market from two, all the way up to four years now.  I don’t think they are going to get that price.  One problem is the appraisal due to no comps being in the area, they will have a hard time putting a value on the house (I know this from experience times two).  Since it has several repairs that need to be made (I will not include a list or pictures), comes with no appliances, and is not located in a prime neighborhood, I don’t see anyone paying that price for this house.  Who knows though?  Maybe someone will.

Andrea