life is full of unexpected toll plazas
Tuesday, April 22 2014
After the unpleasant news that we would be needing structural engineer to sign off on the solar deck eight and half years after we thought the Town of Hurley was done bothering us about it, Gretchen reached out to a number of structural engineers. We don't know any such people, but some friends of ours do. The hope had been to get a hippie puppeteer who happens to be a structural engineer (Gretchen discovered him through the Hudson Valley Seed Library guys) for this project, but, being a hippie puppeteer, that guy flaked out, and we were left with someone recommended by our neighbor Georges (the guy who has that farm at the end of the Farm Road; sometimes I call him "the Duke of Luxembourg."). He was a straight-laced guy named John who arrived promptly at 10:00am this morning. Though he looked a bit conservative for our needs, he didn't seemed the least bit disturbed or freaked out by the things I showed him or the spaces I took him through. Up on the laboratory deck, he snapped a few photos and said that the structure actually looked fairly good to him. But we'd already agreed that in order to placate the Hurley building inspector, he was going to have to run the numbers on the structure, and (since John charges $150/hour) it would be best if I took the measurements myself. So that was our agreement. It was a relief to see a pathway out of the present bureaucratic limbo, and I felt noticeably better after the structural engineer was gone. It might cost several hundred dollars to make this problem go away, but life is full of unexpected toll plazas.
While the structural engineer was here, Nancy showed up with the dogs Jack and Bruce. Gretchen and Nancy listened to WAMC to hear a segment that included Gretchen's poetry (Gretchen's boss at the bookstore is occasionally interviewed on WAMC, and today she read one of Gretchen's poems). Then they took the dogs for a long walk in the forest. I should mention that Bruce (the squat enormous-headed Pit Bull that belongs to Ray's brother Kim) is looking good these days. Those his head is still an enormous anvil-like mass, his body has slimmed down substantially from the effects of all this Upstate exercise he's been enjoying. He seems to delight in running around like crazy in the yard nearly as much as Jack (a much younger dog), though of course he still has inertial issues that smaller-boned dogs do not face.
This afternoon, clouds blew in and threatened (and even produced) rain. Just before that got underway, I made another run a short ways down the Farm Road with the hand truck to gather more of that green Red Oak. Bucked into pieces, they were thick enough to require splitting, but when I did so, a number of the bucked pieces proved to be full of a material similar to excellent topsoil. This was the rotted remnants of the tree, and I've seen this material inside many trees since I learned to look for it. In this stony region, that the actual topsoil in the forest is probably principly comprised of this stuff. There was also a colony of large-bodied ants living in the tree, and I felt bad destroying their home, but by the time I discovered them it was too late to do anything about destroying their home. If there's any downside to burning salvaged firewood, it's the duress of being unabiguously responsible for causing tragedy to many thousands of insects. Most people don't care at all about the concerns of insects, but I do. And I always have.
This evening Gretchen and I celebrated the end of Passover by dining at La Florentina, our favorite Italian restaurant. We ordered a bottle of good wine and our usual favorites (especially the sformato). We also got an order of linguine pomodoro, which was surprisingly mediocre. But we always forget how truly delicious the sformato is, and, as always, it did not disappoint.
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