Category Archives: Adventures in Remodeling

Florida Has A Cement Shortage

First we put half our stuff in storage. Then we moved into the front half of the house, about the size of a NY two-bedroom apartment, putting the kids into a bunk bed. The idea was to start the project in the fall, and finish by about, well, May or June. Then we had permit delays. Then, finally, in January we knocked down the empty half of our house — including a piece of the kitchen — so we could rebuild it better and bigger. Then they started to build, poured a foundation, built some walls, and almost a month ago got ready to pour the beam and install the trusses.

But wait! We failed inspection! The city of Coral Gables has tougher requirements than the County and even though these were noted on the plans, the engineer just did the routine calculations. Three week delay to recalculate, get twice as many trusses, re-inspect. Ok, that takes us to last week. Good to go to pour some beams, right?

Oops. Seems there's a cement shortage. As the contractor tells it, there were three local plants that supplied about 60% of south Florida's needs with the rest coming from abroad. Most of the imported stuff is being diverted to other places, like China, that are willing to pay higher prices than Florida (!). And all three of the local plants are having mechanical problems. The biggest plant has problems so severe that the owners have decided not to repair it, but just to wait for the new plant to come on stream in about a month.

So after a few days extra delay we managed to get a truck to come and bring some of this precious commodity, and we poured yesterday. Except we ran out.

Question: Is it more reasonable to imagine we'll finish in August (contractor's current estimate), December (my guess), or some time after next March….

Posted in Adventures in Remodeling, Florida | 6 Comments

OK, I’m Jealous

I got some very useful private responses to my plea for help about some basic home network questions . But Doc Searls's similar plea —admittedly one of more urgency—resulted in personal advice from the Head Lemur.

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Please Help Cure My Ignorance About Home Networks

I know from the email and blog comments I get that I have really smart readers. Many of them are people I've met at one time or another, many others are people I hope to meet someday. (By and large they seem more willing to email than to post comments; perhaps shyness comes with wisdom?) Certainly, every time I've asked for any sort of tech help here, the responses have been overwhelmingly useful. So I can't resist asking again.

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Notes on Travel (Pitfalls of Orbitz Dept.), Xmas in the Dark, and an Uncertain Number of Septic Tanks

Assuming the existence of some future point when I have more energy, I will explain further why our bedroom is now in a different part of the house, and why my desk is in that room too. The story involves architects, a contractor, vast sums of money, permits, the acquisition and filling of a 10×15 climatically controlled storage space, the expectation of permits, an as-yet-undetermined number of real and proposed septic tanks, vast sums of money, the partial destruction of our kitchen, the Sisyphean expectation of the final permits, and of course random and unpredictable delay.

Meanwhile, however, as we appear to have hit a period of delay until the waveform number of future septic tanks collapses to an integer and either produces a permit or a lawsuit, I have cancelled my plans to cancel my plans to go to England for two weeks of Xmas revel with the in-laws. Rather than stay here and grade exams, I will use my ticket. [Much more than you probably want to know about the dangers of buying air tix online in the extended entry.]

I am not the only person I know who abandons Miami when the weather is at its coolest (ie just warm), driest (ie just a little damp) and most perfect in order to go spend a fortnight in the exciting outskirts of Didsbury, a suburb in the outskirts of Manchester, England, which is a somewhat dark and wet and cold and dark and wet and cold place at this time of year. After all, my wife and children do it too. But they are 50 to 100% British, so they may be genetically predisposed to enjoy four daily hours of what is euphemistically called “sunlight”. (Lest I be suspected of Manchester-bashing, it's a great town, and often very nice in the summer time.)

I intend to keep adding to the blog while in Didsbury, but as my internet access will be POTS rather than broadband, and metered POTS at that, I may have fewer posts, and they are likely to have much more about England and the rest of the UK than is the normal fare here.

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