Sunday, June 28, 2009

Remembering Mum

I don't know if these will last through the long, hot, foggy summer months, but today I planted a Strawberry and a Gooseberry Geranium Pelargonium to commemorate one year since my mum Mina passed away at the age of 83... or 84... or most likely 85. Somewhere around there, since her date of birth seemed to always keep moving around between 1924 and 1926. I miss my mum, and this house will (one day!) be my monument to her.

Next week I'm flying off to the Philippines for my summer vacation. When I get back to San Francisco in mid-July, I very much hope that I will be able to pick up my permits and begin excavation, foundations and, finally, construction. I've already arranged to start with clearing out all of the stumps with a backhoe service on July 16th.

In the meantime, here are some photos I took from the lot last night. Lovely!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

No Comment

Guess what? Eleven more comments from the city - and that's just from the building department. Ugh. Got them on Friday, and now I'm trying to get everyone to help respond to them in a timely fashion. I don't think any of the comments represent major problems, but even if I get all of the responses together this week, it's still looking doubtful that I'll even get the permits before I leave for my vacation in the Philippines on July 3rd.

On a more positive note, after another long week of fun in the sun at the lot, the entire site is looking cleaner and cleaner. Today I had help from Steven, Queenie, Bill, Michael and Kofi, and with so many hands we got loads done. There's not actually that much more we can do now without equipment, so I think the next step will be to get a backhoe to get rid of all of the massive stumps and root systems that remain.

The IKEA kitchen and appliances are scheduled to arrive next Saturday afternoon. With any luck there will be enough room to store everything in my basement. Fingers crossed...

Meanwhile, in the photo below you can see the ramp to the front door in the foreground, and the driveway in the background.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Just build the frickin' thing already!"

Of course, it didn't happen last Monday, but on Friday I was - finally! - able to resubmit my building permit application, after providing answers to all 45 building department comment questions, and four further questions from engineering. The process took four weeks, which was three weeks longer than I had hoped, but as they say back east, whaddya gonna do, huh? Fuggedabouddit.

In the meantime, much progress has been made on clearing the lot: cutting down shrubs, weeding, pulling up wild grass by the roots, and generally preparing the site for eventual excavation - you can see the current state of the building pad area in the photo (the two stakes at the top right show where the front door will be). I love working there, especially on beautiful days like last Sunday, and the neighbors always come over for a chat, which is a wonderful new experience for me. I'm a Londoner, and have never really been close with neighbors anywhere I've lived, either back home or here in San Francisco (where I've been living since 1992).

I'm also talking to general contractors to nail down budget proposals, and feel a lot of pressure to keep the process moving. If I can get someone under contract in the next two weeks or so, maybe some day soon I'll actually be able to break ground and follow my niece Madeleine's advice and "Just build the frickin' thing already!"