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Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 1-28-15 – Worst Township Award (Weekly) – RREM / Fema Bill Update – Health tips II –Winter construction

Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog –


Hello Sandsters –

Well, we made it through the Great Storm that Wasn’t, and thank God for that.  For the record, I pegged it at 5-8 inches at the shore, which wins me most Prescient Builder Regarding Weather Forecasts. There’s good press in being alarmist, but it’s hard on the brain living with constant fear of doom, at least for every Sandster I know. I like to deal in reality and most of the time weather items are just not as bad as the media drama portrays them to be.

As a note, spring 2015 is occurring in 53 days. Also, we have 38 minutes more daylight each day than we had during the holiday season. That’s positive. Any little bit of happiness will be accepted by the Sandsters.

Today we have more the joys of winter construction, fiberglass versus composite decking, enduring the CO process up and down the shore, health and nutrition tips II, news on our next Rebuilding Seminar, and anything else I write before I finish.

Seminar news: We’ll be holding our next Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar in Toms River on Thursday February 19th at the Ocean County Library. It is on Washington Street from 6-9. We’ll have great speakers, including Evan Hill, PE, Kathy Dotoli, Esq., Scott Lepley, AIA and Kris Pitcher, LS. As always, I’ll be moderating and providing general construction commentary and we’ll tell you how to design it, survey it, build it and protect it. As a note, the Green Room seats 30 at most, so please drop me a note or give me a call if you plan on attending, so you don’t have to stand out in the hall…JJ 732 300 5619 or vince@dreamhomesltd.com 

FEMA Clawbacks – Bill introduced in NJ legislature – Senator Menendez

Good Lord, this man is dear to my heart, though his politics skew way to the left for me….Senator Robert Menendez in addition to introducing a (fantastic!) bill to prevent the federal government from “clawing back” extra money they may have mistakenly sent to Sandy victims, actually expressed disapproval with our President at the State of the Union address!

Yes, he did. I swear it. Really. Integrity writ real. (Integrity is defined as adherence to one’s principles, and is quite a rare quality in a politician (or a human being)). Senator Bob actually refused to stand up and grovel when Osama spoke about Iran and Cuba. Kudos to him for adherence to principles.

As I have said, Bob Menendez’ politics are way to the left of my own, but he has been an effective voice for Sandsters throughout NJ, so we generally give him a pass here in BlogLand.

Most importantly, he actually stood up for his principles (extremely rare in anyone, let alone a politician) at our president’s (comical, insulting) state of the union address. The link to the Menendez article is below.


As a note, you will never see a link in this blog to anything Barack Osama says, since it is usually absolutely untrue. I will not knowingly perpetrate idiocy.

(Also for the record, if you still believe Barack Osama is the be-all, end-all curer of all ills, and is not a complete flagrant fraud, you need to call me immediately since I have a few wonderful pieces of waterfront property to sell you in Arizona & New Mexico.)

RREM Travesty: Sad but true story. In relation to the above issue, we just lost a long time client who chose to switch back to Path C from Path B, because they received a letter from FEMA saying they might have to repay $5,000 in money they received when FEMA was first sending out money.

As a note, I quoted $95,000 for the project. The RREM price was > $150,000.

The client was scared and worried that they might have to repay the money, so RREM Path C got the job. It will take (a lot) longer and cost $60,000 more, but the state will supervise it so all will be well. (not)

How pathetic is that?

I have said for years that I’m glad to get up in the morning and fight on an even playing field, and will easily compete with any other serious contender in the market. However, the artificial constructs of RREM Path C are generally beyond my acceptance, primarily since we do not engage in fraud, subterfuge or nonsense. I have developed a deep, enduring mistrust of RREM and I think it is amazing that so much effort and resource has been expended to achieve so little. (We work for Path C contractors completing RREM projects and it has always been a MGF (Mongolian Cluster *&$^^#).

Put another way, thus far Path C has shot 1 million bullets and managed to kill 9 bad guys. Path B has intelligently, judiciously deployed 68,000 bullets and killed 3000 bad guys. Hmmmm….let us ponder this calculus.

(Author’s note: Believe it or not, there are still people that are switching out of Path B into Path C. Complete insanity. There are also people that pierce their bodies, get tattoos and sky dive, and all of those habits have potentially unpleasant outcomes. Choose Path C over Path B be only if you really, really hate yourself. You are much, much better off trusting your own potential skill and common sense than a government entities’ fairly certain incompetence.)

Health Tips II for Sandsters:  For the record, yes I had boots on today, since the 2” Snow Rule has been violated and I was sloshing around in the mud at a number of sites.

Strangely (or not), I received as many comments last week regarding the health and nutrition notes as I did for my construction commentary, so here are some additional thoughts.

Upset stomach or nausea: Ginger (pills, tea or fresh ginger), toast, chamomile tea. I am not a fan of coke syrup, but it can help. No smoking or coffee.

Psychosomatic illness: Over 86% of the non-emergency visits to the hospital that last longer than 1 night are mental issues. (Google it). If you haven’t realized it, we can easily think ourselves sick. In fact you can think yourself dead if you work at it hard enough.

You manifest illness in your body through your power of thought. Simply saying “I’m sick” makes you feel weaker. (I absolutely never say those words, by the way. I also never say “Can’t”. Who invented that word anyway?).  “I’m feeling less than perfect” is much more of a positive mental positioning and allows for the possibility of improvement.

Why order (program) your body to do something negative? It’s ridiculous and too many people do it constantly without even thinking about it. Stop that today and start being nice to yourself.

And stop worrying about all the exotic things that might be wrong with you. Take care of the obvious items first before you diagnose yourself with Rare Unhappy Disease because of a few late nights on the Interweb.

Get more sleep. Eat better. Get rid of negative things in your life. Stop smoking. You’ll feel better.

Deal with what is, and not what might be. You’ll be much happier.

Repeat: daily vitamins & nutrition

Vitamins: Daily: 4000 mg of C (general health – read about Dr. Linus Pauling), 800 mg of ginseng (energy and mental clarity), Fish Oil, B-complex, Glucosamine Chondroitin (joint health), CO-Q10, magnesium, Echinacea, Vitamin D, Niacin (get the no-flush), and a multi-vitamin (to cover my bases).

General malaise / feeling sluggish: If you feel something coming on, get Zycam (zinc) lozenges and take one every 4 hours until you finish the bottle. If you don’t take Zycam, take zinc pills. When you feel tired, sleep more. Turn off the TV. Drink more water. Don’t talk to anyone and conserve your strength.

If you aren’t feeling 100%, increase Vitamin C to 8000 – 10000 mg a day. Take it every couple of hours throughout the day or your body will just flush it out.

We are what we eat. Truly, this is the case. GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). Cheese is binding. Wheat products (pasta) don’t generally sit well with your system. Lettuce and greens give you gas. Artificial sweeteners cause cancer. Soda and cookies make you fat and completely skew your sugar levels. Etcetera, etcetera. If you eat it, it will affect you, so think about what you put in your mouth.

When you eat or drink something, it directly affects your body. Don’t eat after 7 pm. Eat within an hour of waking. Don’t eat sugar in the morning (substitute the buttered roll or donut with an egg sandwich (and don’t eat half the bread)).

Sandsters, hope this helps.

No, it’s not building stuff, but you’re here and you’re reading it, so hopefully it is positive in some way. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t read it.

Back to building.

Winter Weather: We are slogging gamely through it (winter) and it is what it is (a mess). Many Sandsters up and down the sure right now have small Builder Ouija Dolls that they are abusing regularly in frustration. Everyone feels the same – annoyed and aggravated. Progress is being delayed for weather reasons (construction) and general reluctance to leave their warm cars or cubicles (inspectors). It helps that we have extra daylight but it’s still unpleasant to work or be outside on many days. I think the dividing line is the low 20’s with wind under 10 mph and a little sun. Anything worse than that in any area causes complete atrophy.

Like I said earlier, we have only 53 days left until spring, at which time it will instantly be 60 degrees (in Charleston)!

New development: Dream Homes Mobile Web Site is now Live!

You can now log onto www.dreamhomesltd.com from your mobile device and see a mobile site tailored to a smaller screen. Yay!

Repeat – Reminder: Start your design work now to be in for summer 2015. If you haven’t started your design work, you’re just about cutting it too tight at this point to be in for summer. If that’s your goal, call us so we can help you make that happen. If you want to get your house finished by summer, and still take advantage of cheap winter rentals at the beach, you have to get started now.

If you have your design work done and RREM under control, what are you waiting for to get started??

Worst Town at the Shore, weekly update: Well we’re in it Sandsters (winter that is).  As if there aren’t enough challenges roofing, siding, framing, pouring concrete or doing earth work when the planet seems like we’re entering the next ice age, we have the Jersey Shore building departments, which have been consistently awful across the board.

This week, we’ll chat about Little Egg Township, since they’ve been abusing us this week. This is a real, actual conversation.

Us: “Hello kind Township Person. Is our CO ready on 111 Happy Street?”

Response: “What? You must be joking. We have no CO application on file for you, Mr. Builder.”

Our response: “We have a time stamped copy of our final survey, final flood elevation certificate, soils conservation and CO application that we submitted to you last week.”

LEH Response: Pause. “We don’t time stamp anything. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Our response: “Really? I am emailing you copies of what you stamped when we submitted it.”




LEH Response: “I don’t know who stamped this. This is unheard of.”

Us: “Well, someone stamped it. You received it. You acknowledged it. What gives, kind Township Person?”

LEH: “Well, no one here stamped it. We don’t stamp things.”

(Yes, this is a real conversation.)

Us: “Ok, let’s move on. Since you don’t have what we’ve submitted to you, that you acknowledged receiving, how shall we proceed forward from this murky point, dear Township Person?”

LEH: “You’ll just have to resubmit everything for our review. Even though you’ll have to get 3 new copies of your sealed final survey, flood elevation certificate and soils conservation, that is tough toenails, too bad, so sad, and you are well and truly screwed, Mr. Builder.”

Us: “That is excellent! Thank you for the opportunity to perfect our administrative skills!”

This really happened. Happens all the time. This is why we are obsessively anal retentive about keeping copies of every single piece of paper that leaves the office.

Definitions & Important Considerations That Can Delay Your Project:

Lowest adjacent grade (LAG): This is an important elevation since the lowest point in your crawl space has to be even or above the LAG. That is important because even if you don’t want your crawl filled that much (so you have more storage space) you will not pass final zoning / final building if this condition is not met. LAG is defined as the lowest grade immediately next to your house. There can easily be a foot or more difference between one side and the other, or back to front, so if you wish to use the least amount of fill (maximizing room in the crawl) make sure you find the lowest adjacent elevation.

Elevation: Elevation refers to “height above sea level” and not the height above grade at the house or distance the house is being elevated. It’s easy to make a mistake with these descriptions and it causes much confusion. Example: If you are raising your home to elevation 11, your finished floor is 6 and your grade is 4.5, you are raising your house 5’ to elevation 11, or 6.5’ above grade. When you use the expression “elevating my home 5 feet” that means you are lifting it 5’ from where it is now. The expression “building or raising the home to elevation 11” refers to the height above sea level, not the distance you are lifting.

Survey: An exact depiction of what exists on your lot, from a top view.

Plot plan: A top view of what you are proposing to build, including new heights, stairs, entries, decks, etc.

They are not the same and you will need both for your project.

You Tube Link to a Nearly Famous Rebuilding Seminar: If you’ve missed our seminars and can’t easily attend, here is a link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVI69KoM8DRXqoEblHd94xg

It is not edited and is about 2 hours so feel free to fast forward and skip around to watch what you like and need to know.

Remember – if you have a specific question, send me an email or a text. You don’t need to wait for a seminar or a site visit to clarify a point or two. The same goes for those of you under construction. Whether or not you are Dream Homes/Atlantic Northeast Construction client or not, I’ll always try and help you or guide you in the right direction. If you’ve sent me email or left a voice mail and have not received a response within a day or so, please try and contact me again. I do miss messages here and there.

Note to Sandsters: Though I write this blog to help as many Sandsters as possible, Dream Homes Ltd. and Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC are new home builders and general contractors who are actively renovating and reconstructing projects up and down the shore. We actually do all of the work that I talk about in the blog. We work with private clients and Path B in the RREM program. Call, text or email to set up an appointment for an estimate on your rebuilding project.

That’s all for today Sandsters. I hope it helps you move forward. As always, call or write with any questions.

Stay well.



Dream Homes Ltd.

Atlantic Northeast Construction LLC

Licensed NJ New Home Builder License# 045894

Licensed NJ Home Improvement Contractor License# 13VH07489000

PO Box 627 Forked River, NJ 08731

Office: 609 693 8881 F: 609 693 3802

Cell: 732 300 5619

Email: vince@dreamhomesltd.com

Website: www.dreamhomesltd.com

Blog: http://blog.dreamhomesltd.com

Twitter: foxbuilder

4 thoughts on “Dream Homes Nearly Famous Rebuilding Blog – 1-28-15 – Worst Township Award (Weekly) – RREM / Fema Bill Update – Health tips II –Winter construction

  1. Vince
    I just read your post re: path A to path B.
    I have a story with PROOF about the ridicules pricing in C. I guess we are one of the few C homes finished to completion. BUT at a final cost of 218,000.00 to lift our existing home.(no interior work other than new smokes). Just lifted on existing block.
    Please respond, I would love to talk to you about this and hopefully be a part of fixing this craziness.
    Ps… I have now real axe to grind with my contractor. They actually moved very quickly and were fairly helpful. It’s just a matter of where the money’s going!!!!!!
    Our story is pretty unique I think as we have pre and post rrem contracts with the same builder.

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