Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Meet Al

Originally uploaded by Mary Duan
This is Al.

Al is our contractor. And the fact that he is standing in my front yard means one thing: work has begun.

When we last left off, it was May 4 and we had just found out that our permit was approved. It meant that Todd the Barista could stop threatening the permit department with sudden denial of caffeine. It meant that I could stop crocheting a voodoo doll that looked strangely like the head of the planning department. It meant that work could start.

But Al had a job to finish in San Something or Other. San Rafael, maybe. I'm not sure. He came down last week to pay for the permit, purchase his Salinas business license and start figuring out the job site. (One thing he figured out almost immediately: his foreman would be sleeping at the house during the week so all of their tools wouldn't get ripped off. Some little rat bastards broke in a few weeks ago before we put new locks on the doors and broke a window and damaged most of the screens.)

Mike the Sprinkler Guy started installing sprinklers in the basement this morning, and plans to finish installation for the whole house by Monday. Al and his guys started working on installing the new water main today, and called for the rough plumbing and electrical inspection for tomorrow. He doesn't expect to pass; he is, gasp, an out-of-town contractor, and a city usually likes to flex their muscles a little bit with the new guys. (Do not make me start crocheting again, Rob the Planner.) Once the rough inspection is complete, I get to have walls--hopefully sometime next week--and shortly thereafter, I get to live with my family again. In the basement.

In the basement, because this permit is for the basement work only. Before we get the permit for the rest of the house, we have to finish the site plan inspection. We had to hire a civil engineer (I'm referring to him by his last name in the same tone of voice Seinfeld used to say "Newman!) for the parking area and curb work, and his plans just came in today.

Friday, we will hit IKEA to buy cabinets for the basement, and order the tile. The strawberry plants are doing well, as is Sam's corn, and the lemon and lime trees are full of buds. One of the pomegranate bushes also is thriving, but I'm not yet sure about the other two.

(As to why we chose a, gasp, out-of-town contractor: I needed one qualified and certified to do an FHA 203k project, and when we started this process, I couldn't find one in Salinas. There is one now, but his website just launched this year.) So for every Salinas resident who is a winner of the lucky sperm lottery (meaning your grandparent's grandparents came here 150 years ago and bought all the land, leaving their offspring with a grandiose sense of entitlement and very little ambition) and has shot me a look or questioned why we're using a, gasp, out of town contractor?

Now you know.


  1. Is there, by any chance, a well or other deep hole-like object in the basement? Let's just say, I have a friend who is curious. Yeah, that's it, a "friend."

  2. At last! Let the wild rumpus begin!

  3. Yippy. I'm so glad the process has actualized into real 'building' stuff!

  4. one step at a time. Here's looking forward to you living in the basement!

  5. The basement IS a step up from being homeless!


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