Sunday, October 24, 2010

You Can't Kill the Rooster

To paraphrase David Sedaris, when shit (like a snail-slow architect who shows you nothing but disdain and a schadenfreude-ridden city building department that loves not giving you a building permit) brings you down, sometimes you just gotta say "fuck it" and sand yourself some motherfucking floors.

(The swearing quotient on this blog is about to go up. As of Oct. 27, I will no longer be working for the American City Business Journals chain, where I was once pulled into my editor's office and scolded for calling Pat Robertson a douchebag on Twitter after this guy read the tweet and ratted me out. I'm not sure what the "E" in his name stands for. I'm thinking "exceedingly earnest." Just so we're clear: anyone who says that Haiti got what it deserved when the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit because the country once "made a pact with the devil" is a douchebag. And a journalist who rats out another journalist for saying so? Well I guess he's just a company man.)

But I digress.

About ten days ago we got the comments back on our second building plan submittal. There was a list of 30 things that needed to be re-done on the plans before we could resubmit. I'd say about 70 percent of this falls squarely on the building department, because they were decidedly unclear when they gave comments on the first round. But the other 30 percent, I'm laying at the feet of the architect. There were things that should have been done on the second round that he knew about, that were spelled out and that he still didn't do.

Chuck emails him and says the following: "Since these comments were all there the first round and you did not address them properly, I expect you to make the changes and overnight the plans to me at no cost."

The architect shoots back this: "As for my fees, my contract is with (the contractor) and they will be billed in accordance with my contract with them."

And this is the point where Chuck loses his mind. Because Chuck? He's the guy who does his job. And right now? Everyone else is pretty much the other guy.

As a result of us still not having a permit for the main house, it's safe to say Thanksgiving is fucked. I'm hoping that Christmas is not fucked as well. But having a new job at a paper where journalism still means something is reason to celebrate and damnit, I want to have people over for a soup party before I start.

We got some of our furniture out of storage and set up the dining room. Hung some lights, hung some art and polished up the dining room table, but the floor looks like hell. Underneath layers of grime and some type of paper-backing (because at some point apparently some idiot thought it would be a good idea to lay down linoleum on top of the pristine, clear redwood planking), there is beauty to be found. But it's going to take more than a wet mop to make it happen.

So yesterday, we rented a sander.

(to be continued ...)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Miracle of the Freecycle

Got this off of Freecycle:



So after we get it restuffed, what kind of fabric? Crushed velvet? Blue and white ticking?

Advice, please.

ETA: Blogger seems to give people problems commenting. So here's what some of the Facebook gang has to say:

Matt Hanner I like the red velvet idea but you'd have to have the little hanging gold dingleberries to pull it off.
On a serious note it's got a fantastic shape. I love the lines of the arms and the back.
10 hours ago · Like

Matt Hanner I bet a high quality zebra stripe would look good on it.
10 hours ago · Like

Patti Rosenberg I was going to suggest a leopard skin pattern, but zebra would be nice, too. Either way, in crushed velvet. Make sure it doesn't have bedbugs, though.
9 hours ago · Like

Joseph Divar Purple zebra or cheetah stripe.
9 hours ago · Like

Smadar Lieberman Meer Your big items should always be neutral. Accessories are where you bring in pops of color, like rug, side chairs, etc. Save the zebra/cheetah/leopard/giraffe for something smaller and less expensive cuz you will get sick of it
9 hours ago · Like

Michelle McGurk I can't see the ticking with those lines, needs to be a fabric with a little shine or softness.
4 hours ago · Like

Smadar Lieberman Meer i vote for a tone on tone cut velvet, with a modern pattern (not your grandmother's cut velvet)
3 hours ago · Like

Godzi Linda I'm kinda voting for the the OliverHair, could be velvet...
about an hour ago · Like

Pam Valentine sort of depends on what the rest of the room is like. You can bring home sample swatches and see how they look in your room. Would suggest doing that before deciding. However, the sofa is beautiful! Dont get someting that is dryclean only if possible. Velvet is very difficult to clean.
24 minutes ago · Like

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Tempest in a Long Island Iced Tea Pot

I'm taking this post off the beaten track. But before I do, a quick update.

Yes, I still want to kill our architect, or at least kick him in the shins until he cries like a little girl. He neglected to put something on the second round of plans the city told him he needed after the first round; when Chuck told him he needed to get his act together, put a rush on it and that we wouldn't be paying for him to correct his own mistakes, he responded: "I don't work for you, I work for your contractor."

Oh yes he did.

Here's the thing: the city, the architect, the civil engineer and even Al the Contractor seem to exist in this alternate universe where time has no real meaning. What should take a week in the real world takes three weeks in Bizarro Building World. Chuck and I, on the other hand, live in Deadline World. He writes and implements code. If his code isn't perfect and the implementation flawless, portions of a Fortune 100 company stop functioning. I write news. If I don't, I lose my job.

Which leads me to the point of today's post, construction, the Blue Goose Bar & Grill and the Montessori Learning Center. Our youngest son is a student at Montessori. He's a 7th grader, a foot-and-a-half taller than his teacher, he's rocking the beginnings of a mustache and I know for certain he is the only student who walks to and from school. Shrug. When he lived in Berkeley, he took BART by himself and that was almost two years ago.

Montessori is kind of special snowflake land, but it works for us and has for 11 years. Both boys are Montessori kids.

The Montessori building, along with a former restaurant around the corner, are owned by the same guy, Chris Evans. I wouldn't know him if he stepped out in front of my Mini as I went screaming out of the parking lot at a high rate of speed. I don't know if he's a good guy, a bad guy or a neutral guy. No clue. But I know he is trying to open a new restaurant around the corner from the school and this means one thing for certain: he's got a masochistic streak a mile wide. Anyone who tries to get anything done in the city has a masochistic streak, but it's especially true if you're going into the food business.

Evans and his partners (I guy I do know and like quite a bit, Todd Fisher) are seeking a full liquor license for the place, which shares a parking lot with Montessori. The school is freaked out because they have visions of Blue Goose customers running down the little Sams and McKenzies and Ashleys and McKennas at Montessori. The Blue Goose is freaked out because they've already invested a shitload of money in trying to get this place open (tip: never, ever buy your equipment first) and Montessori is standing directly between the restaurant and those 300 percent markups on liquor sales.

The local newspapers have gone out of their way to get the story wrong, or at least forgotten a small thing like fact checking. The students aren't gone by 3 p.m., for example. Evans may have put $1 million into tenant improvements of the Montessori building, but that comes back to him in a little thing called rent, as another example. And neither story noted the stop work/permit violation notice plastered to the future Blue Goose door. For more on that, read on.

The school had to battle to get a restriction placed on the liquor license that says no hard liquor sales until 5:30 p.m. And don't let anyone fool you--it was a battle. I seriously doubt any of our kids are going to get run over by a produce salesman on an afternoon bender, and Chuck thinks this is mostly a tempest in a tea pot. But given that Evans already has a stop work/permit violation notice on his door, a sign he's willing to ignore the law when it suits him, I feel better having the restriction in writing. He owns both buildings, he has a right to run a business and the school has the right, in accordance to its lease and generally accepted practices of running a school, to keep its students alive.

It could be a win-win situation. With booze.

The way the city works, though, the poor shmoes might never get open. But if they do, I plan on being there on opening day, ordering one of Todd's burgers and a martini.

But only after 5:30 p.m.