i woke up today with a phlegmy cough and an ache in my joints that felt more viral than simple fatigue from the shoveling i did yesterday and thursday. i was coming down with something for sure. also i had a hard time raising my body temperature, kept getting these cold chills. my father called me around 10:30am, said he was at the cafe and could come and pick me up.
along the border between cambridge and belmont on grove street are a string of cambridge houses that face fresh pond. these are expensive properties that are each worth several million dollars. one such home was purchased last year, and is often the case with these rich homeowners, they elected to demolish the old house and build a new one. however, the house they built in its place can only be politely called a garbage house. the size of the house increased by 6x (encroaching out onto the street), with mismatched windows of different sizes and what looks like new garage doors that face their next door neighbors. we could see that the owners were chinese, and my sister guessed that they were turning the single family home into multi-family rental units. then in late fall work on the house abruptly stopped. it stopped so suddenly that the house was half-painted, ladders were still out, and dumpsters sat in the driveway. maybe a neighbor complained, because what they were building seemed illegal.
being naturally curious, i decided to do some investigating. first there was the question of what exactly was the address of this property? it seems to have two addresses for some reason: 195 grove street and 201 grove street, according to redfin. 201 wasn't for sale (though still has a listing), but 195 was sold back in december 2014 for $1.56 million. i then searched cambridge online property records database, and there was nothing for 195 grove street, but there was a hit for 201 grove street. the owner was somebody named yujia zhai with an address in new york city. when i searched the address however, it was just a UPS store. the store happens to be located next to columbia university, and maybe it's a coincidence, but there happens to be yujia zhai associated with columbia, earning a master's degree in financial mathematics between 2014-2016, during the same time when 195 grove street was purchased. her linkedin profile is quite impressive, graduating from peking university (the harvard of china) and exchange programs and internships in hong kong and with companies like JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse. so has no association with massachusetts, but could a family have used her name to buy a property?
i then tried looking up building permits. 195 grove street did secure a permit for a "substantial renovation w/2-story addition" valued at $500k. the permit was issued back in april 2017 but expired by october 2017. i looked into zoning records but there are only minutes from the meetings in pdf formats and they're not searchable. certainly a property expansive like this needed some zoning permits? i will continue with my investigation...
in solar news, not too much improvements. one of the ice-covered panels is more exposed now, but the inverter still won't leave night mode. i wanted to climb on the roof and clear the snow, but not only was it too cold (i didn't mind) but it was just too windy and i didn't want to get pushed off the roof. so once more we will wait for some natural melting.
during dinner we opened up the bottle of yellow tail moscato. that was a really good sweet wine, very carbonated, almost like a soda, but a soda that gets you drunk. everyone seemed to like it.