Herald and Journal Herald & Journal, August 9, 1999

Probable torrential rains ahead

By ANDREA VARGO

Standing in the rain, feeling like Mary Poppins protecting Robbie the Robot with my little black umbrella, I wondered how it could rain so quickly, when just minutes ago there was blue sky.

Well, I should have expected it. Any time in our lives when we have built something, dug a big hole, or cut one in the wall for a fireplace or glass door, it has rained for 40 days and 40 nights. There is usually a good wind, too.

You may or may not remember when I wrote about going to see the county assessor regarding future taxes on my new house a few months ago.

Well, we have sold our home, and we need another place to hang the toothbrushes for awhile.

We are building a house, finally. I have the permit to prove it (almost).

Tuesday morning, I stood in the middle of an alfalfa field with my socks and sandals soaked and held an umbrella over a piece of surveying equipment that is worth more than the new pickup truck I want (and probably will never get).

As I stood there in the drizzle with my umbrella raised high in the air, the big, yellow global positioning unit whirred and clicked next to my head.

On the side of the box was a warning: Danger, do not look into the lens, laser radiation.

Oh, great!

Luke Ellestad of Ellestad Land Services in Buffalo came out to stake the corners of the house. Luke used to be a student of mine, when I was teaching, and I am pleased he is doing something he really likes.

But, someone, maybe me, was the cause of some miscommunication and on the site plan my sun porch was located over the edge of a ravine that has a 35-foot drop.

That's not right.

Someone, not Luke, missed one of the coordinates that told him where to place the stakes for the house corners. Those pesky coordinates were not in the computer, and it sort of messed up the staking job.

Luke came back, patiently, to correct the problem, and everything is fine, now.

Although, my husband Ron, who is a little excitable at times, was jumping up and down in the alfalfa field, all by himself, the day before, when he saw where the porch was.

Advice to Ron in the past has run something like this: in a soothing voice I say, "Just let it go. It will be fine. We will just get it corrected (or fixed, or found, etc.)."

He has gotten quite proficient at repeating this to himself and calmed down fairly quickly.

Within 24 hours it was corrected. No problem.

I also took a trip to planning and zoning after the site plan was finished.

It was time to apply for my building permit.

Chuck Davis of planning and zoning filled out my application. I've only seen Chuck a few times, and he seems to be quiet with a deliberate way of speaking.

He asked me who my general contractor would be. I said, "Me."

The eyebrows went up ever so slightly. I suspect he thinks I'm crazy.

I told him who was going to be doing the construction work, and he wanted to know if I had my scheduling done.

I do. But I couldn't help telling him, somewhat smugly, that I was writing about the experience.

If there are problems, or if I do something wrong, many people will know about it.

"This might keep people from showing up way late for a job," I said.

The eyebrows, again. Chuck asked, "Isn't that, uh, blackmail?"

"Kinda," I said.

"Are you going to write about your nervous breakdown?" he asked.

Well, I guess I will. If they will let me have a sharp pencil and take my arms out of the straightjacket.

Just remember. Expect an unusually wet, windy September and October, with maybe a major snow storm on Halloween.

The Vargos will be digging a big hole in the ground, soon.


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