Wednesday, May 23, 2007

There she is...

I don't know why I've decided that our dumpster is a she...perhaps because someone graffiti tagged the side and it says "mom" on it. But here's what it looks like to have a dumpster in a driveway that's barely wide enough for it:

Eli went and talked to the slum lord, er, home owner next door and she gave us the go ahead to park the not so wee beasty in the drive way.

Now why isn't it full of porch? I must confess that we've been a little distracted around the old home stead of late. Something to do with an art fair.

Yes, it was my first "real" art fair, and although I felt like I was pretty ready for it, it turns out there was about a million last minute details to be attended to, including driving to Grand Rapids to buy display materials. Mom and Dad came into town to help with the heavy lifting, the 11th hour display modifications, the sitting in the booth so that I could take potty breaks and spy on the other vendors...all the really important stuff, and I'm pleased to say that the fair went well. I think I'm breaking some unwritten artist's code in saying so, it was actually a lot of fun. I am pretty excited about the next one, which will be in two weeks down in Detroit.

I do have a bundle of notes, things to do better next time sort of notes, that I need to go through, but since I just did a relatively successful show, I'm not especially concerned about getting every last one of them accomplished before June 8th. I am more concerned about getting the house project underway. Eli and Dad moved out most of the furniture on Saturday while Mom and I were schmoozing at the show, and we were going to move out the final load on Monday, but the breaks on Eli's truck (the Revenger...the Revenger is going to get it's own post some day, because it's a good little truck/van/box thingy and deserves it's moment in the sun) decided to go kapluoey and it spent Monday and Tuesday at the truck spa...uhm the repair shop.

Instead of feeding my frustration at the speed of progress I'm going to concentrate on the positive things. We are through the bureaucratic mess, and we have the dumpster and we only have one more load of things to get out of the house, so this space should be updated a lot more frequently starting soon! (the eternal optimist, yeah I know, hush).

And the picture for the day:

It takes a little exposition to explain what is messed up about this picture. See the switch box nailed to the inside of the window frame? That's the light switch for our overhead living room light. See the plug hanging out of the bottom of it and plugged into the wall? That's how the switch is powered. That's right, instead of wiring the switch into the rest of the house, they just decided that it should plug in. And the really messed up thing, is that there's that huge drywall patch between the window and the switch box by the door, so they obviously had the wall open at one point, and the switch for the porch light (by the door) is in a double box, so there's plenty of room for the other switch. I don't understand. The bolt cutter is just there for dramatic effect.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Still playing the waiting game...

The architect did actually call the next day, and we met with her again later that week to go over a few changes. Then there were some phone calls and then finally last Friday I came home to see this sitting on our living room/dining room table. Yes! Our house, all three levels plus a site plan, cross section and two elevation drawings! Hurrah! But it was Friday, and planning offices aren't open on the weekend so we weren't able to take them down and exchange them for a permit until Monday.

You can't just take your plans down to the planning office, lay them on the table and say "I'd like one of those magic yellow papers to hang in my window that mean that no one's going to show up and complain when I remove the second story of my house, please." It's just not that simple.

They really hold onto those little yellow papers, and they grumble a lot and make you agree to put smoke alarms in practically every room of your house. No problem planning office guy, we love smoke alarms. Then they look at your support beams and the grumble some more and say things like "We'll need the specs on these beams...grumble, grumble." and something about how our rafters were going to lose some of their raftering capabilities because the ceiling cut across them two thirds of the way up instead of at the bottom...blah blah, we need bigger rafters, which means we need a bigger ridge beam....etc. No problem planning office guy, you tell us what you want and we will be happy to oblige. "And we'll need to see the specs on these trusses for your porch roof." By this time I had gone out twice to put more money in the parking meter, and was bouncing up and down on the balls of my feet, repeating under my breath, "just give us the permit, just give us the permit." Which he finally did, after we passed him a big pile of cash.

If we have plans, and we have a permit, then what the heck are we waiting for?
We are waiting, for a dumpster.

We have a very narrow (32 feet wide? something like that) lot and a shared driveway. There are wires over our front yard that would make it hard to for a trailer to drop a dumpster there. Eli met with someone from the city this morning about getting a permit to park the dumpster in the street. The answer?

Not in your street, no way, no how, never.

Which is fine ultimately since it was sort of an expensive permit, but I have no idea where we are going to put this dumpster. The alternative would be hauling all the debris away from the site in trailers or something, but there is going to be a lot of debris...did I mention, the whole second story of our house? So that's not an option. We need a dumpster! We shall have a dumpster. We may not have a front yard, but we will have a dumpster!!

And here's a picture of something that will eventually go into that dumpster.

Wow that's awful looking in a photograph. That's the corner of one of our "closets" upstairs. Water runs down next to the chimney, and seeps into the wall. When we first moved in it was a moldy wet spot, and last summer it became a hole. Daylight should enter the house through windows, not through holes in the backs of closets. Part of the plan is to install a 90% efficiency furnace so that we can do away with the chimney so this problem won't come back. In to the dumpster with you moldy upstairs closet!