Sunday, November 6 2005
The weather has been so warm for the past few days that the household boiler has been off and I've been collecting solar energy and either storing it away in the basement slab or putting it into the hot water tank. I've also been benefitting from it far from home. Today I was out on the Stick Trail a mile and a half away from home in a short sleeve shirt while the dogs chased after deer through the fall foliage, which fell down like precipitation, jarred loose by the mildest of breezes.
The laboratory deck is a balcony built a little over a year ago over the shop area of the garage. It is accessed from the laboratory's one window, under the north gable of the house. The building inspector, having been tipped off about new construction by our solar deck, took an interest in the laboratory and laboratory deck as well. In the laboratory I've had to get an electrical inspection (which it recently passed) and add hand rails to the two sets of steps. As for the laboratory deck, the inspector told me that my rail balusters were too far apart (they were four point five inches apart and needed to be no more than four) and that the rail height was too low. Today I spent most of my time correcting those two problems. My original plan for correcting the baluster spacing issue had been to just put up some metal fencing and be done with it, but today I decided to just go ahead and move the balusters one by one. It helped that weeks had passed since my initial exasperated reaction to what had seemed at the time (and still seems) like a maddeningly fussy concern on the part of the building inspector. Moving the balusters took several hours, mind you, but the reward was the satisfaction of not junking up the deck with a bunch of wire mesh. I accomplished the second fix, raising the rail's height, by adding a top rail of iron pipe fittings and galvanized pipe running about three inches above and about an inch out from the old wooden rail plank. This would add some functionality as well as height; now I can hang things off the balcony or set a beer on the old wooden rail plank with confidence that the new galvanized rail will keep it from being knocked over the edge.
Tonight there was a thunderstorm an hour or so before I had to pick Gretchen up from the Kingston bus station. I went up the solar deck just before the deluge, not even aware that it was coming. The first flash of lightening was so unexpected I thought maybe it was a headlight of a car coming down Dug Hill Road. But then there was another, and then a boom, and then a great wind. Finally came the precipitation, which took the form of wet marble-sized snowballs. Both Clarence and Julius were up on the roof at the time and they seemed traumatized when I next saw them dashing in through the laboratory window.
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