05 August 2009

Lost Some Dirt, Got Some Dirt.

Today was quite the day.

The utility company's tree trimmers were coming around 8 to trim some trees away from the power lines, and I had to open the gate to let them in. (We were also secretly hoping that, by being there while they worked, we could encourage them to cut as much of our neighbors' trees as they needed to, so we wouldn't have to be the people who move into a new house and start chopping up our neighbors' trees where they crossed the plane of our property line.) As I approached the house, I saw the truck and a row of traffic cones leading to a big area in the front yard that was fenced off with that orange plastic construction fencing -- which seemed like overkill for some tree pruning in the back yard. As I pulled into the driveway, I saw that the orange fencing was around the hole that the gas company had left when they capped the gas line. Steve and I had partially filled in the hole to (a) reduce the chance that someone would fall in, and (b) get our dirt pile out of our neighbor's yard so he wouldn't hate us, but the hole was back, and now three or four times as big. And they had taken the dirt away (so we wouldn't try to fill it in again? A phone call letting us know what was going on could have accomplished that). Upon closer inspection, I could see not only the gas line exposed but also what appeared to be our sewer line and the top of the big main sewer line that runs parallel to the street. My first thought was that the plumber, who had told us that he had capped the sewer line several days ago (and had dug and then refilled a hole on the opposite side of the driveway), had come back to finish up the job, but I didn't see anywhere that appeared to be capped. A mystery!

The mystery was soon solved when I met the next door neighbor, John, and apologized to him for the huge hole that now extends into his yard. He said it was okay, it wasn't my fault; it resulted from the gas company hitting the water main, and the repair people hitting the sewer line. It appeared that all had been fixed, and hopefully the new (and improved) portion of sewer line will save us some trouble later because we were expecting to have to replace the sewer line anyway. (John is retired and spends a lot of time in his front yard, surveying neighborhood goings-on. He also filled me in on some neighborhood gossip. Our construction just might be the most exciting thing in his world for a while, and I fully suspect that updates on our house will quickly spread along the street.)

To my dismay, the tree trimmers wouldn't be trimming the neighbors' trees. It turns out that the electrical lines are the very highest on the poles, so not much reaches within their 8' pruning zone. Tree limbs touching the phone or cable lines don't matter. Just before leaving, they did see that we had taken the electrical service back to the pole, so they trimmed a little bit of a tree that looked like it would hit the lines if they were connected back up to the house (which we hope we won't have to do; our plan is to bury the electrical service to the house).

[I just realized this is a really boring blog. Hey, no one's making you read it.]

While the trimmers were working, I set up a compost bin in the back corner of the lot, made by tying together the ends of a 10' piece of chicken wire. Yes, we will be composting at the new house several months before we move in. We figured any plants we plant will be at such a disadvantage with us tending to them that starting them off with some compost is the least we can do.

Today we also:
  • Got word from the city that our demolition permit is ready to pick up. I was planning to be in the area running and swimming in the morning anyway, so I'll swing by and pick it up on the way to work. (And yes, by "swing by," I probably do mean "sit for an hour until I am finally helped.")
  • Called the demo company to schedule demolition as soon as possible. Haven't heard back.
  • Got a quote from the geotech company for soil samples and a soils report, which will serve as the basis for the engineer's foundation design. They were itching to get started drilling the soil samples tomorrow; I had to explain that there's still a house on the lot.
  • Bought two curved shower curtain rods for the (tiny) showers in the house we're renting. They will also be the shower curtain rods for the hew house. They're really nice and cost next to nothing! (Thank you, Tuesday Morning!)
  • Met with our designer to go over the latest set of changes, which puts us really close to final drawings. Once these changes are made, she is going to send the drawings to our engineer so he can start working on the beam spans he needs to work out.
and finally...
  • Got a bill from our designer. I think it's safe to say that the financial hemorrhage has begun.

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