Tag Archives: projects

Waiting 10 Months on a Permit!


Repair work in progress after old balcony removal.

I have written before about my awesome list of things I need to get done.  I started with 100 line items and I’m ecstatically reporting the list sits at 25 today.  It represents a lot of my time and an additional $32,000.  Ouch!

I’ve budgeted $10K to construct the replacement second floor deck over the patio.  My handyperson is visiting his grandchildren in Illinois and will be back in a few weeks.  I hope to have the permit from the city by then.  It is about a 50/50 shot, I’ve been working on it since September 2016.  The plan check engineer had just a few more items for me to include, but my engineer was in a vehicle accident!  He is o.k. but the vehicle was totaled, someone ran a stop sign.  It could have been worse and I so glad they are alright.  I’m hoping to get his results this week so I can submit the final changes.  The plan check engineer says he wants a P.E. designation, something that the code DOES NOT require and will cost me a lot of money.  My Civil Engineer is doing a lot of work for free, he has quite a bit of experience but is young working on his E.I.T. (engineer in training, precursor to the P.E. designation).  He has access to state-of-art design programs that take the guesswork out of the plans.  The building code gives the city leeway to demand just about anything, but it is not required.  I will give it one more try with all the plan check requested changes.  Keeping my fingers crossed and saying my prayers!

This will be the only job I seek a permit for.  It has been a painful process, with five trips down to the city.  The clerk (who is NOT an engineer and has no building experience) continually refused to take the plans for submission.  She finally saw it my way when I mentioned that I have made five trips and the exposed second floor doorways present a liability exposure for me.  Oh, and probably an exposure for the City as well, since they refused to even begin the permitting process.  I convinced her that we should let the plan check engineer tell me what he wanted and stop guessing.  (Yes I was a bit snarky.)

I will be revisiting the problems I have experienced with her after my job is complete.  She has created unnecessary obstacles, malicious ones, and even told me to have a man come down and help me out.  I’m not particularly a feminist, but that statement made my blood boil!  I have been a technical writer for 30 years.  I’ve worked for various building and manufacturing businesses.  My father, brother, and foster sons are in trades.  I know my way around a simple build like a balcony/deck.  It’s simple construction and physics!  I will be addressing this issue with the City Manager before long!  I don’t need this level of headaches in my life.

The final work on front of my house will be complete today.  I will write a separate post after I have a nice photo, it’s looking fine and dandy!



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Bitter Fruit – Introducing – the Limequat



The Limequat tree is a cross between a Lime and a Kumquat or so I have been told. Why? The fruit is so bitter that it will numb your mouth, your tongue or any other mucus membrane it touches on its way down to your stomach. If you don’t throw up first. Just nasty. I have found no known use for this prolific fruit.

Contrast that with the very sweet fruit I tasted on my trip to Italy. I was very impressed with the community in Sant’ Orsola, when I visited with family a few years ago. It was my only trip, so far, and I loved it! I was loved and accepted unconditionally and it was a bit overwhelming at first. It was a happy discovery! My cousin, Paolina, and I walked through the town and up the hill on the paved road. She speaks no English and I speak very bad German and even worse Italian. She speaks Italian, Mochini and some German. It was fun to communicate with each other as she pointed out different things and gave me the Italian or Mochini words.

What was the most surprising is how the community reinvented itself to revive the economy. They have a thriving tourist economy, host sports events, and grow fruit, one among the many different types is Lemons. Yes, Lemons in the Alps. I was there during the summer but I could see the structure around the trees ready for the sheeting that would turn that section of the valley into an enormous greenhouse. Not sure how they handled the snow?

My California yard should be able to grow just about anything. I have a pretty little tree that produces fruit like crazy. The only problem is I have not been able to find a single use for the fruit.   A co-worker didn’t believe me so I brought some in. He tried it, only to spit it quickly into the trash and say; that’s just nasty! I told him it was.

So the nasty tree is at the bottom of my epic to do list. The list was at 75 items at the time of my beloved’s death and I have managed to whack it down to 34. The easy stuff is done, can I call the list nasty? It is certainly bitter that my beloved is not here to partner with me in finishing the list but, I am vigilant not to become bitter. I keep telling myself that I can’t retire until the list is completed It’s the journey not the destination, right! At this pace I will be 75 when that happens as I keep adding to it almost as fast as I complete items. Sigh! When is my next vacation day?

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Filed under Garden, Grief, Life Lessons, Projects, Urban Farming

Lagging Energy? Take Baby Steps!

I survived my duel with mono and strep as well as the National Novel Writing Month. Yes, I hit the 50K word count goal but, no, my energy level is not back up to par. I’m o.k. with it taking a little longer to rebound since I am sleeping well and it is still the rainy season. My son-in-law has been very generous with his time and has kept my fire box stocked with wood from the outside.

I have about forty projects on my list. I have banned any additions to the list as well as a prohibition on any new starts. I managed to actually complete a project even with my lagging energy. There is a beam over my fireplace in my den that is about 10” x 12” big and runs the length of the den. It had been painted several colors through the year and the finish was nasty looking with bumps of plaster in places.

I used an orange oil based paint stripper because of the allergies my daughter suffers from.  It did not work as fast as the toxic ones do and I had to re-apply it a few times.  It did work well and I didn’t have to worry about the fumes so I was happy with the product.  My patient son-in-law busted out the big sander and went to town after the stripping phase was complete.  Have you ever held a heavy belt sander upside down, over your head for an extended period?  I tried for about 20 seconds and then called in the cavalry!  It is now stained and sealed and I love the look!

I will write a separate post about how to deal with a midnight visit from an Opossum and sew up a chicken butt.  No, we did not eat the chicken, it was an option though.

My project list for my little urban homestead was over 75 items long three years ago.  Baby Steps, just press on.  There have been many times that I was tempted to feel sorry for myself.  It doesn’t accomplish anything but one more small step in the right direction, day after day, will accomplish much.  Now it’s on to my next project, tiling the master shower, and planning for the start of the growing season. 

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