Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers' Day

For making sure I saw all the Marx Brothers movies; for introducing the concept of taxation while sorting through our Halloween candy; for giving me first crack at the New York Times crossword puzzle all those Sundays; for a bone dry sense of humor that can still stand to be silly; for not letting blindness, illness or infirmity get the best of you; for the gold spray painted coat hanger halo on my angel costume that one year; for all the bad puns (is that redundant?); for the custard-colored 1980 Chrysler LeBaron I drove to California and back; for "giving me away" twice, but never acting like you owned me in the first place; for being my biggest fan, thank you, Dad.  Happy Father's Day, and here's to many more.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

How's 2012 -- is 2012 good for you?

We're building an addition on our little Cape Cod house. Contractors will do the things that licenses are required to do, but Mr. Sandyshoes is doing most of the rest himself. You may remember he has a full time job as an oceanographer at a university. Yes, he's on sabbatical this year; but that relieves him of teaching and faculty meetings, not of his research, which continues at a greater pace, if anything. He's actually at sea for a month-ish, as I type.

Getting a building permit was a long, complicated, expensive process, riddled with really, really boring conversations, even though it's my house and I'm supposed to be fascinated (support beams! rebar! sub-slab plumbing! Honestly, all I can manage is a Beavis-like snicker whenever anyone says "double hung.")  Eventually the permit was granted and work began.  Astute readers may remember my account of the Bean's 8th birthday festivities amid the chaos of a new septic system installation and destruction of our deck and alcove, just days before I left for our short-term move across the country. Good times.

Since then, various, usually pleasant representatives of the Board of Assessors like to come visit. "Hello," I tell them. "It's not done yet." "Oh, OK," they say, "can you give me some idea of your timetable?" I explain about Mr. Sandyshoes and the full time job, and they say gotcha, and everything seems cool. Lather, rinse, repeat.

By the way, there is nothing against the rules about taking a long time to do a permitted project, as long as work is ongoing, which, as the pit o'dirt in front of my soon-to-be-demolished garage makes manifest, it is.

When the most recent emissary came up the driveway this week, clipboard in hand, I came out to greet him as usual. "Hello," I said, cheerfully. "It's not done yet." For some reason, this one seemed kind of annoyed. "Well," he said, gesturing at our foundation, then back at his clipboard, "this doesn't look like an 'addition.' It says here, 'addition.' This just looks like a garage."

Actually, what it looks like is a garage foundation around a pit o'dirt in front of an existing garage, but let's not quibble.  What you see there, is what we've got so far. The plans for what it will become are at the Building Department. It's an addition.

I explained about the parts that, looking only at the foundation, you can't deduce will be built. I confirmed his information about our existing house.

After a short, inconclusive silence, he said, "you know, when this is all done, we're going to have to come in and look at your whole house." At which my inner Beavis struck again, but I managed to keep it at "yes, I know."

It's still not done yet. 

And, y'know, I'm sorry about that. We are not on a mission to dupe or inconvenience the Board of Assessors. It's just not finished. Believe me, nobody would be happier than I if it were. Summer's going to bring banging of hammers, screeching of power saws, and a spike in ibuprofen consumption. Also, that pit o'dirt isn't nearly as charming as it sounds.