Monday, June 22, 2009

The Reveal, Part Deux

Sore point. Way back when we were getting our permits from the City, they added a requirement for us to "improve" the back alley . Many of the properties in this neighborhood have a unique feature of a shared alley running down the center of the blocks. A few of us have built garages on these alleys as it enables us to use the yard behind the house for things like a pool, rather than a garage.

Because our legal city parking spots are in the garage, the City is now requiring "big projects" to improve the alley by putting down an "all weather" surface. We almost lost it when we discovered that 200 feet of asphalt paving "done right" would run us $15-18K.

I tried valiantly to fight the city attorney on this, but in the end he pretty much told us to "suck it up".

So, in the spirit of "if it isn't worth doing, it isn't worth doing well", I managed to talk the public works department down to the smallest upgrade I could. We finally negotiated down to 3-inches of "compacted, class-2 aggregate base rock" -which only cost us $3200 after shopping around a lot. Not bad considering where we started, but still, the whole thing still sticks in my craw.

Anyway, today was the day for long-awaited upgrade:


I have to say, begrudingly, that the whole thing looks a ton better and has really given us a useful way to get to the garage in the wet California winters without having to crash through mud puddles. For us and the neighbors, I might add. Maybe I'll get a Christmas card or something from them. Still, I think I'd rather have my $3200.

The front yard got a major facelift today as well - the construction fence finally went away, which is a sure sign we are nearing the end! Whoo hoo!

The house is stopping people as they walk, drive, & bike down the street. We had a couple of architects wander in yesterday as well (not the first ones I might add), so it is clear we got a lot of things right. Everyone seems to really love it.

The kids were enjoying sitting on the front porch this evening as people walked by. Today is Lizzie's 8th birthday, so it seems appropriate that we unwrapped the house for her today!


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