May 09, 2018

May Building News

by Alan Beatts

Whew.  The past couple weeks have been kind of a blur.  We've finished the west and south walls -- all patched and painted (well, primed actually).  They came out really well and it makes a huge difference to how the place looks.  We've also torn up all the horrible carpet which has made another huge improvement.  It turns out that, when the carpet was installed, they did a proper job and nailed down plywood to glue the carpet to.  That's a great thing for two reasons; first, I'm not going to have a sand off the carpet glue when I refinish the floors and, second, the plywood has probably protected the floors since the 1970s.  I'm sure that they're going to be pretty worn when I get down to them but, it's better than it would be if they hadn't been protected for forty-plus years.

Along with working on the electrical (more about that in a moment), I've been working on the fences in the back yard (with a lot of help from the volunteer crew).  Today I just did the final work on the south fence.  It was the trickiest because it's (mostly) straight, so getting it level along a 25' run was a challenge. But, it all worked out and it looks wonderful.  The east fence is about half-finished and the west has yet to be started.  Big thanks go out to everyone who helped with that -- Jim, Z'ev, Maddy, Salem, Aliza, Carl, David, Melinda, Russ and Zach.  Despite my sudden inability to measure anything accurately (or do fractional arithmetic in my head), Zach, Russ and David were very patient with me (thanks and sorry, guys.)

One very exciting thing about getting the fences finished is that we can start on the garden almost immediately.  We'll be putting in hanging pots ASAP along with planters along the top of the retaining walls.  That will get the garden started growing down while we get the ground-level planters built.  It's looking like the garden will be pretty nice by the time we open.

The inside work has been progressing, if a bit slowly.  We've gotten all the electrical work done that we can do, pending PG&E getting the engineering finished.  That's going to be slow (their promised date is around the middle of August) but, after a lot of thought, waiting is smarter than trying to rush the process.  But, about half of the challenging work is done and we're only looking at a week or so of work, once PG&E comes through.

Other big news for the inside work is that all the plans and engineering drawings for the bathroom are completed and approved.  All that's left is going down and paying for the permit.  Once that's done, we've got two things that have to get sorted before we start on that job.  The first is getting the steel beam for the basement fabricated and delivered.  That will allow us to remove a bunch of the absolute forest of posts that are down there now.  Since there are foundations that need to be built to support it, the wise move is to have it on-site and placed before digging holes and filling them with steel and concrete.  One those foundations are poured it's kind of hard to move them (read that as, "impossible").  So, we'll get the beams, shore them up into place, and then dig the foundations.

The other thing we need to work out is sort of ridiculous.  To know where to put the foundation for the big beam that goes upstairs we have to decide on . . . what sink we're putting in the bathroom.  Really.

Here's how it works; the position of the foundation is determined by the beam.  The position of the beam is determined by the wall.  And, the position of the wall is determined by . . . you guessed it, the width of the sink.  You see, ADA requirements are very specific (as they should be) -- the center of the sink must be not less than 18" from the near wall and the edge of the sink must be not less than 60" from the other wall.  So, the total minimum length of the wall is 18" plus 60" plus . . . one half of the width of the sink.  Obviously I'm going to allow for a couple extra inches just in case but I can't do much 'til I pick the sink.  It's surprisingly hard to find an ADA sink that doesn't look like it came right out of a hospital room but I'm working on it.

The upshot of how things are going with both the electrical and structural work is that I don't think that we'll be moved by the beginning of August.  Since the World Science Fiction convention is going to be in San Jose this year and we'll be having quite a significant presence in the Dealers' Room (as well as doing a bunch of other stuff around the con), August will be pretty much completely taken up with getting ready for the con, doing the con, and catching up after the con.  So, it's starting to look like moving will be post-August but, by how much is unknown right now.

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