More DeNova Repairs!

It’s been far too long since I have taken a shot at DeNova Homes (#dontbuydenova) for their poor craftsmanship and lack of quality control. This has been seen repeatedly in our “new home,” lacking from before we even put down a deposit to confirm our home. If we knew all the red tape and bullshit we would run into with this purchase, we would never have gone through it and held onto our hard earned money. As a warning to future DeNova Homes owners, please rethink your purchase before it’s too late.

Just because I haven’t pushed the #dontbuydenova movement doesn’t mean all is well and good. It hasn’t been and we know it’s not going to get better. In fact it’s getting worse. It’s been a few months, but pulling up to our home in Emerson Ranch, Oakley I saw pick and green spray paint on the sidewalks. Not knowing what it represented I contacted a friend who was a Comcast installer and he gave me his best guess. Following that I Googled it. As the markings fell by the wayside, I didn’t put much thought into over the holiday period.

All the concrete in front of our home was marked, as seen to the left, as was much of our street. To my surprise, I came home last Thursday to see construction and many pieces of sidewalk suddenly missing, as a contractor has started to remove the marked areas. many of these marked with pink were due to cracking and I can only guess the green arrows confirm the portion of concrete to be removed.

A day later, we receive a letter on our door from DeNova Homes dated 1-12-18:

Their estimate of “2-4 days” hasn’t been realistic. Received the letter day after it was dated. While there has been some foggy, rainy weather over the weekend, as of this morning nothing had been addressed nor had all the concrete been removed. The same areas that were pulled out that week had been framed for pouring concrete.

Out of curiosity, I contacted the City of Oakley for clarification of the removal and replacement of the concrete sidewalks. Their response, “We haven’t accepted the concrete improvements yet and our inspector has marked some that we know needs to come out. DeNova jumped ahead to fix those – without notifying the residents or us. It doesn’t look like drainage is related.” The last comment from the city was related to a question my wife asked of the contractors doing the work. Since we owned the house there has been a major drainage issue. While DeNova Homes will claim the lot was “graded for drainage” NOTHING drains. This can be seen very clearly in the front yard right on the property line, as we had a swamp growing in size before a contractor attempted to come out, on the request of our neighbor. No drainage pipe was replace, which tells me there was no real fix to the problem. All the swamp grass was removed and they covered the area with new bark. Guess that qualifies as “fixed.”

My point of contention is, if the concrete poured isn’t acceptable as seen by the City of Oakley, then why the hell doesn’t DeNova Homes address the poor concrete that forms our driveway and patio? I cited on 6/21/2016, in another email to DeNova Homes, “059. Concrete on front porch, in front of door cracking.” The response from their warranty manager, “The crack is not wide enough to repair. No action will be taken at this time.” At this time, so when it does become wide enough, does it suddenly get repaired with DeNova footing the bill? Of course not, by that time the house will be our of warranty and the homeowner will be required to pay the price to repair the poor concrete that was poured.

These cracks are just part of the problem. Along with color footprints in the concrete there are chucks of the top surfaces that have start to break off, compromising the concrete. I guess this is also not the responsibility of DeNova Homes. The concrete being replaced on the sidewalks speaks. Sadly, we are coming up nearly 2 years of ownership and the problems DeNova Homes has claimed to repaired still exist. We still have blue and green tape in our walls signifying a problem area that was never addressed by their sub-contractors.

There has been no worse buying experience than that we have continued to face with DeNova Homes. After this email I will be sending them another email regarding these sidewalk repairs and to question why our concrete problems were not considered for repair. Hopefully discussion reopens with DeNova and they are willing to accept more criticize regarding our home. My wife and I have received numerous contacts from other, new DeNova Home owners and sadly they all have similar stories of poor quality and craftsmanship in their new homes. It’s not just our house. It’s not just us, as we were told it was. It’s a MAJOR problem with DeNova Homes. Not sure why homeowners have not united together and put forth a class action lawsuit against this company and this poor quality homes. Maybe that’s something I need to explore, I am sure there is an attorney willing to go after a developer like DeNova Homes.

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PD – Day 14

Now 2 weeks into the new year and “new me!” Actually, it’s the same me but with the mental fortitude and desire to “get it done” as my running partner always says. This time around feels very similar to how I started back in October, 2011 with a commitment to myself. Some called what I was doing, “short term” and “extreme” but 10 months later the results were shocking! The weight loss, eating a starch based diet was incredible.

This time around, I have found my Kryptonite. Snacking. I know Julie mentioned this recently in Class #200 – Stop the Snacks Challenge. Following her Guide to Optimal Health, I consider myself to be somewhere between Level #3 and Level #4. I’ve already eliminated the “food addiction and cravings” and understand the basics of a Protective Diet living.

While I may never perfect a Protective Diet, I know what my goals are, where I currently am and know what I need to do in order to achieve it. As Julie mentioned, I have achieved my goal some years back. I got a false sense of security that I was “heart attack proof” (remember Dr. Esselstyn?) and I let my guard down slowly. I lapsed into making poor dietary decisions and failed to follow what got me to where I wanted to be. It’s starts with a Protective Diet.

Not sure if its snacking in the true sense of the words, as I have been doing well, while at work avoiding the crap that shows up in the break room. Even during my days off from work, I am not caught in the kitchen too often ahead of a planned meal. My problem comes after I eat dinner, I find myself unsatisfied and wanting to eat more and have dipped into the pantry for some otherwise unacceptable bites.

Currently, I am trying to get myself to the point of feeling satiated when I eat. Right now, as has been the case for a few weeks I feel bloated even before a meal approaches. Eating on top of that only makes me feel like a fat slob, as guilt starts to creep in and I question my determination.

Being able to identify “true hunger” is what I need to key on. Being able to stop at “full and satisfied” is where I need to begin, while staying away from the between meal bites that are aiding that “stuffed and lethargic” feeling I currently have. It’s a terrible feeling I have been struggling with for nearly 2 weeks. Eating until satiated has been a challenge.

I fall back to what I have learned since 2011 and pictures of before and after. The motivation is there! I will succeed but need to fine tune some of the practices of mindful eating in order to take advantages of what a Protective Diet promotes. Reviewing the Goals of Protective Diet Mindful Eating Practices, there is work to be done of what allowed me to achieve my optimal health. For me, the most important aspect is, “experience and appreciate true hunger before meals.” Too many times I notice I am cooking and eating because the clock dictates it’s lunch or dinner time.

I can identify with Jerry and the need to snack because of all the calories burned when running. When I was at my optimal level, I would eat after I got done with a run and follow it up in a few hours with a meal. However, with a foot injury and my current health, I haven’t been all that active on the trails, putting in the miles to justify those “added calories” (snacking) to my lifestyle. In the future, when I get back to where I need to be and the running increases, snacking will return in due time, but that isn’t now.

Maybe writing on my experiences, when “overwhelmed,” sharing my previous and current challenges with others allows me a solution. Just sharing details of what I am doing helps me mentally on a Protective Diet. I know I am not the only one who has struggled. We all have at some point and time. Even Julie, as amazing as she looks and feels now has struggled.

In conjunction with watching Class #200 today, I am challenging myself to “Stop the Snacks!” One step I have already taken, as been attempting to drink more water daily. The past few weeks I start the morning with 32 ounces of water on the way to work. Once I am at my desk, I easily drink 4-6 cups of tea in a 2-hour period. I will revisit this challenge in 2 weeks as I near the end of January to see where I am.

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PD – Day 11, 12 & 13

A Protective Diet, like life takes some planning. It is that key element that I am currently failing on. The first week was nothing short of amazing, but I have noticed once I fall behind, I struggle to catch up. While I would like to commit to a SUS, responsibilities around the house usually do not allow me hours upon hours to prep for the upcoming week. In a perfect world, it works, however perfect I am not, but continuing to walk the straight and narrow as I look to reacquire my health.

I started a meal planning Excel spreadsheet, which has assisted in planning out the week and what recipes I will make and what foods I will eat for each meal. Unfortunately, when it goes without an update, it’s back to square one to prep and start again. While I had planned week 2, I was unable to follow through with all the recipes, skipping dinner one night and falling back on a meal I made previously.

As I look forward to week 3, I will need to put more effort into the meal planning in order to make this journey successful. As it stands right now, I have one meal I cooked last night, which will last for 2 days, beyond that. Nothing.

It seems to be a constant struggle if nothing is cooked or available, ready to eat. That goes back to SUS and having prepared food for the upcoming week. Consider it a deficiency I need to improve on, if I want to be successful. However, I was successful before this video even came out. Maybe it’s just being lazy and not putting in an hour or two to prep some PD foods for the coming week. It was great to do a chipotle lime and pinto beans for my son, which I too, could partake. What made it even better was the fact I already had taco sauce and ultimate cheese sauce done and ready to go!

Just little steps help tremendously when it comes to following a PD lifestyle. That is the point of what Julie preaches. Make it easy and success will come. Right now, I appear to be tussling with success and I am attempting to make things more difficult on myself moving forward into week 3.

With one meal already cooked, I will work on putting together 2 weeks of meals, along with a shopping list in order to prepare for the upcoming meals I would like to prepare. All is not lost, I still feel better than I did last month, weight is slowly dropping. If I had food prepared I do think things would be accelerated. Since they are not, we will have to take things a day at a time and get the meals planned and prepped in order to be successful

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PD – Day 10

This week hasn’t gone according to plan in the kitchen, which has been a bit frustrating,  as my menu planning hasn’t quite happened. Monday was cut short due to a doctor’s appointment with my wife, while Wednesday was spent at the pharmacy arguing with the insurance company over an approval for one of her back medicines. This was followed by scouting, which left me no time to put together my Sloppy Jerrys or Hoppin’ John.

Tonight! Tonight! Tonight! *queue Phil Collins* “I am going to make it right” by cooking up the Hoppin’ John with cornbread. Over the last 10 days, if there has been a weak spot, it’s putting in the necessary time to get the cooking done. While the weekend is set aside for SUS, I don’t really cook much on my days off. Maybe I should, given I have the entire day, but usually end up working around the house and after 8 hours, cooking is sometimes the last thing on my mind. Guess that’s a GREAT time for a one-pot meal, huh?

Yet today’s piece isn’t on food or where I stand on the journey just began. Julie had an interesting response to Dorothy’s comment on the PDL group on Facebook.

…one thing I’ve noticed is expectations are what we experience. Our minds are powerful and what we expect becomes our experience. Stephen Toumi has done this successfully once and knows it produces dramatic fast results. He expects them and there they are. We must all visualize and expect results while we take action to achieve

The mind is a very powerful tool when it comes to your success, not only on a Protective Diet but whatever you decide to do. While I never gave up eating a plant based diet, I did fall away from principles Julie taught, which had negative results in my life. There was weight gain, bloated feeling, aches and pains returned. At age 48, I don’t want any of those in my otherwise, healthy life. Experiencing the health I had, I want to regain control and continue to put into practice the principles she teaches.

Everything I had worked for over the course of 10 months was undone because I lost the mindset and started making exceptions. “Oh just this once.” “Just a little bit won’t hurt me.” Even friends and family would hop on this, “go ahead and try a bite.” With the cards stacked against me, it was the experience I had when I started this journey. Looking in the mirror and seeing the physical changes were a powerful thing. Wearing clothes that actually fit; jeans not too tight, shirts that actually hang properly. The new found energy I had, the positive mindset of knowing whatever I challenged I was going to end up victorious!

This was the same powerful mindset I had when I attempted my first 50 mile ultra marathon. With no training runs over 20 miles and just a 50k (31.1 miles) under my belt I made the decision (with my running partner) to attempt this race. From the first gun to the final cow bell, I knew I had this race won. For me, finishing is winning. While I like to consider myself competitive in my younger days, it’s now about having fun. I knew going into the race I wasn’t going to win or even come in hear the top of the pack, but it didn’t matter. Thus my motto for these longer races was “finishing is winning.”

The mindset early on was strong, as I kept positive thoughts, yet went through a whirlwind of emotions at different points of the race. I recall talking to my wife briefly, as she was at Disneyland and it was all I could to do, to hold back tears when talking to her. Her voice was a much needed motivation that came at the right time.

Approaching the final timed aid station, my running partner said he was quitting, as he’d been running on a twisted ankle for 20 miles and could not go on. I succumbed to the fact I would quit, in support of him. However, the combination of his words, telling me to go on, coupled with a feeling I will never forget as I rolled into the aid station.

I saw another runner I am friends with on Facebook, who’s local to my area. He’s a very positive guy with lots of energy, who appears to have lots of love for the running community in general. This was the first time I met him in person, but his smile, comforting hug and words of encouragement reinforced the mindset I started the race with 11 hours earlier. “I CAN DO THIS!” With just seconds to get over the timing pad, I was off for the last 2.5 hours of my race.

The mind is a powerful thing and the feeling I had as I achieved my health goals were nothing short of amazing. Just like hearing the cheers and my name as I crossed the finish line in my race. I find I fall back on these experiences more often than I think, when it comes to a Protective Diet, as well as running. As my running partner says regularly, “You got this!” You know what? I do have this. The past experiences play a major role for me going forward. While it’s only been 10 days, it’s been 7 years of living a plant based lifestyle. I can’t stress enough the amazing results I have achieved in that time.

While no results are immediate, each day builds upon the previous day and before you know it 30 days will be up and the results could astound you. They did me the first time around. At the end of 10 months, with little exercise and following the principles set forth the results were something I never thought I would experience. A picture is worth a thousand words. I think that sums it up.

(L) Before in 2009. (R) After taken 2014.

 

 

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PD – Day 9

The best part of a Protective Diet lifestyle is the simple fact you when hungry. At the point you feel satiated, you stop and repeat the process when hunger strikes again. Never in my wildest thoughts did think the love for starch would see me dropping over 40 pounds! Now, as I look to rekindle the relationship with this favorable lifestyle and food, there is a component I don’t follow.

We are each individuals and make our own decisions when it comes to how we live and to what degree we want to be successful. Julie and Jerry have provided more than just a recipe for success with all the wonderful food we have seen flourish on a Protective Diet. The countless “lifestyle” videos allow you take your plant-based habits to a new level and truly live life!

For me, I will achieve my goals in the coming months, for that I have no doubts. One tool I use that isn’t on a Protective Diet is the counting of calories or tracking of food. Since 2011 I have used a few programs that aid me in my progress. Originally I started with a PC program called Fit Day, while it was a bit clunky back in the, the online version and mobile application have improved over the years. When I upgraded my Garmin running watch, I linked it to the popular mobile app, My Fitness Pal. Along the same lines of Fit Day, I am able to track what I eat and drink over the course of a day and track my eating habits and weight loss, including the ability to record photos.

While stepping on the scale isn’t encouraged, I make it a religious habit. Why? As a tool I am able to see the progress by the numbers. More tell, as I am sure Julie will agree is to look in the mirror. How do you see yourself? Are your clothes fitting better? The numbers should back up the person you see staring back at you. I still recall that point in my journey when shirts started to fit different and pants were “too baggy.” It was an amazing feeling. Like Julie shedding the different pants in her Class #181 video, I was finding myself fitting into clothes I had not worn in years.

Now into the second week of I am down close to 5 pounds and have cooked more recipes in the last 7 days for myself than I did over the last 2 months. All this thanks in part to Julie and the Protective Diet. Of course I wouldn’t be successful if I didn’t give accolades to all those in the Protective Diet Lifestyle Group on Facebook who are always so positive and supportive. Not only towards me but to ALL people who are willing to give this lifestyle a try. It’s been just 9 days, but it’s amazing to see how people come together as one to thrive.

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