Thursday, January 6, 2011

Seeing Red

Here is a picture of a cement ball. This cement ball was one of my Christmas gifts from my husband, who bought it after I suggested that I had fallen hard for a cement ball at Urban Farmhouse in Oldtown Salinas. I love this cement ball and it is going into my garden, when I have a garden. Looking at this cement ball makes me happy.

Cement Ball

Here is a not terribly comprehensive list of things currently making me unhappy: our idiot architect; our contractor; architects in general; the city of Salinas building department; contractors in general; famous architects of the 20th Century; building inspectors; anyone threatening to red tag our project; and, oh yeah, our idiot architect.

If he didn't live three hours away, I would drive to his house and kick him in the shins. You might remember him from previous posts. He's the one who told Chuck he didn't work for us, he works for our contractor and only takes direction from him.

This week, we find ourselves at the point of screw inspection. (Consider the irony.) The drywall is up, the screws are in place, the inspector was scheduled to come out and inspect the screws so Al and the all-Oaxacan construction team could commence taping and texturing.

Here is a picture of the drywall, pre-screw inspection.

Master Bedroom

Simultaneous to preparing for the screw inspection, our friend Grady was gathering his own team so they could come and shore up the garage. Built around 1900, the garage features a chimney, a canning room, a swiss cheese roof and feral cats. It looks like something from "The Road," albeit with fewer cannibals. The garage was to have been included in the plans. The plans the architect drew. Because Chuck told him, the garage needs to be included in the plans.

The inspector shows up yesterday to inspect the screws, sees Grady and the gang working on the garage and says something along the lines of, "What the fuck are they doing? You don't have a permit for the garage." Au contraire, says Chuck; it is on the plans, because I told the architect to put it there.

You can likely figure out the rest. It's not on the plans. Inspector comes back this morning and says, "It's not on the plans. You have until 4 p.m. to start the process of getting a separate permit for the garage or I am red-tagging the entire project." Upon hearing this, our contractor rounds up his crew and says, "Ok boys, we are OUT OF HERE for the rest of the week." Because Chuck surely isn't capable of getting the permit issue dealt with in four or five hours.

Oh yes he is. Yes. He. Is. Ten minutes later, he has a response from another guy in the Building Department (I guess I can't hate all of them) telling him what he has to do. The building guy tells him the email exchange officially launches the garage permit process and there will be no red tagging. The inspector comes back and signs off on the drywall screws, and that will be the last inspection on the house until the final. Contractor starts kvetching about starting work on the garage prematurely until Chuck, undoubtedly using the voice I like to think of as ex-Navy officer, tells him: "The screw inspection was supposed to happen three days ago, and the garage was supposed to be included on the plans by your idiot architect. Had you been on time, and had the architect done his job, none of this would have happened."

Chuck needs a drink. I need this project to be done.

My other Christmas present was the Lego architecture kit, which includes an 800-plus piece set of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. (I'm an architecture junkie.)

Once I finish building it, I am going to put it on a shelf in the library, and attach a little red tag to it.


  1. I love to read your stuff and your project is such a good source of stories

  2. 1) I will have a sympathy drink in your and Chuck's honor.

    2) Is there some way Idiot Architect can be sufficiently humiliated online, without any of us needing an attorney later?


  3. Linda and I will happily join Sharon and you and Chuck for a drink in your new living room. Glad your husband is a miracle worker and I'm glad you're such an entertaining writer.

  4. I don't understand. At what point do you get to fire the architect?


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