earth moves, part 2

Backhoe: $100/hour
Topsoil: $48/yard yards/dumptruck: 8
Just so you know

And DSL is back up. My earth links again.


earth moves

I broke four nails. But the ground, too, is broken, ready for the mason who arrives in a couple weeks. If I can only land a building permit by that time, all will be well. Had to get some more info from the engineer, the surveryor. The architect is redrawing grades, I'm still xeroxing my brains out. And I have a lot of poison ivy roots and two house-high stacks of prickers to deal with. I still have six fingernails.


big surf

This photo shows why some people illegally dump brush over the dunes. They must do it late at night, because I never see them.


nephew triumphant

We got the hay bales out, thanks to Pomegranate and her sons.
Just a word: I don't have DSL for a week, so may be a little flaky about posting. But lots of news!


a man, his car, his dog

This is a person who likes antiques. Except when it comes to girls and dogs—and even then. . . He is also a man who takes apart 18th century houses and puts them back togather on your land. His website is stephenpmack


smoked salmon run

Gotta go buy out Zabar's, then Home Depot. Spending the night with the Mack attacks, then buying out Super Stop n Shop. Then I'll get on the ferry with many many bags to unload.
"What's for dinner?" (My second least-favorite phrase, right after, "What's for lunch?") takes on a whole new meaning when you're trying to plan dinners for, say, a month in a single shopping session. But carpenters have to eat.


hi ed!

Everybody say "hey" to Dangerman in Ukraine.
Even if he does work for the you-know-what news channel.

one site to another

It's time to say goodbye to the guys repointing the fascade of the building. They've been hanging around my windows for months now, fifteen stories up, in the howling winter wind, singing songs in Spanish and pounding on my walls. I wake up early to close the windows, but still a layer of fine cement dust settles. I have to remove the air conditioner and window guards and windowsill plants in case they get to the airshaft wall before I come back. Should I knock on the window today and give the guys sandwiches and cokes?


building permit

This is the amount of paper needed to apply for a building permit. Architectural drawings, engineering drawings, site plans, wind sheer tables.

Kinko's charges by the square foot for large xeroxes. Total price: $225. This day.


site work

Problems getting to the ground, never mind off it.
An exchange with the Septic Maestro:

Claudia—If it appears I've been avoiding you, you're right. I've
got at least one and a half systems to do before I can get to surf
city. Maybe you should get the footings in before we do the septic system. If they are concrete there will be lots of digging and pouring traffic
which will be hindered by septic. DBD

Dave—Well, the house is on piers. The holes will be dug by hand, footings poured and bricks laid. I was rather hoping that you would do the site work as well, which basically is moving some bushes and giving the mason room to put in his footings. The site would be where all the biggest bushes are, naturally. I suppose I can find somebody else (and the luck of the Irish to me) to do the site clearing. Maybe.
When do you think you might get around to me? Gulp.

Claudia—I'm heading out today and will be out for the week. We can certainly take bushes out when we have the machine there. I didn't know if you needed stuff cleared before we get there. When are you there?

Soon, I guess, since I have to hump hay around before any digging is done.


angelina, don't marry him

In honor of the maybe nuptials of Angie and Brad, and the for real wedding of their prototypes, Hannah and Chris, we reissue this neo classic by Spogga.


why i need new tires, part two

So anyway, I got the new tires. Only 40,000 mile warranty. For $30 bucks more coulda had 80,000. Said to the guy, "This truck has 118,000 miles on it. I don't think I need a really long warranty." So for $225 or so, I was outa Sears with two new tires I didn't really need. Well, I really needed one of them—the one that had been slashed while parked in newark, NJ. What with the Valvoline oil change ($40 something) and the gas ($61), I was not exactly a happy vehicle owner by the time I reached NYC and found:
a freaking movie shooting in my neighborhood that had caused all cars left between 79th and 86th of Riverside Drive to be towed
After feeding a meter until 10 pm and moving the car at 8 in the morning to a lot, I was even less all about car ownership than before. I am so out of town next week.
And maybe breaking ground.


why i need new tires, part one

For one thing, the guys love a truck. Perhaps that is why the morning after this bank-run heist, I woke up to a Mack attack. This man, his girlfriend and his very large dog bundled into bed with me at 6:30 am, pretty much an unconscionable time for socializing in the winter months. Just as well I got up early, however, as I didn't want to tax the spare tire by leaving that heavy load in for too long.


the signing

There's something about owing a million bucks until long after I'm dead that I find a trifle intimidating.


off island

Today I close a mortgage on my old house to be able to pay for the new one. And not a moment to soon—the floating home equity loan that has been floating me has floated above the cost of this fixed rate I'm closing. Goddess willing. At 4:30 this afternoon in Cranston, RI. Beauty spot of the Providence area. Not.
Probably a good spot to buy the two new truck tires, though.


a quick survey

"That's good for wood!" The Surveyor yelled. She had recovered some from the extremely rough crossing we made on the 9 ayem boat. Her helper did the staking, and I did the bushwacking, and the corners of the building were marked—not to mention a certain portion of the nextdoor neighbor's driveway that goes over my line.
"I was a little worried that the client was coming out, and that she was a New York City type," confessed the Surveyor. "But you were OK."


frame this

Dear Architect:
You know you're well and truly in the soup when you're unemployed, in debt and you start writing out checks for $30,000.
I am signing off on the timber frame today.
I hope, in your experience, South County Post and Beam knows what they're doing, because I am just closing my eyes and signing. These drawings mean nothing to me.
Yr friend and sometimes client,C

Dear C:
South County does know what they're doing. If you'd like I can review the first round drawings. Probably a good idea, for tweakage purposes.
It'll be a beaut. South County owner excited about the project. You're in good hands.


it begins

The big assent is finally in place. I began the process in October 2004.
To recap, I had to get Historic District, Planning Board, Zoning Board and Conservation Board permissions from the town. I had to get Department of Environmental Management and Coastal Resources permits from the state.
My next building project will be far from watersheds, viewsheds, historic communities and protected terrain in rural Missouri or Arkansas where you can do anything you want anywhere. Maybe a retirement community where you read novels and ring for bon-bons every few minutes.


flat city

One of the new tires I purchased at Bailey's Ford last fall. Fortunately, I had just gotten OUT of the Holland Tunnel. No Visible Means of Lost Support.


point of no return

The deed is done. Most of the Save-the-Date cards (a concept I had never even heard of a few months ago) were mailed an hour ago. Now all that's left is a house to build, a party to plan and the prenup agreements.


my amazing bed

I slept in my own bed last night after an unanticipated stopover in Chicago due to ice on the runways in New York. Ah, spring. But it was fun. The Drummer picked me up and took me to his house and cooked me breakfast in the morning before returning me to O'Hare. My suntan has about peeled off, the stack of bills towers and there are a lot of dirty sheets and towels (hey, thanks guys!) but it's home. For another couple weeks, anyway.



So. I'm meant to be returning to Norte America manana. What do you think?