MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2005

Structural engineer

They want to put 75-pound weights on each stair to make sure the grand stairway can support all that weight. I have no doubt it will pass the test, I just think it’s a funny way to test it. I could just get fifteen friends to stand on every other stair, and save a little money.

We tried to argue that we only need sprinklers in the hallway and stairwell on the grounds that if we had a fire-rated stairwell, they wouldn’t make us put sprinklers anywhere else. They didn’t go for it. Nope, sprinklers everywhere. They’ll probably want sprinklers in the upstairs closet. This is too bad, I really don’t want to rip out all the ceilings to do this. And it’s not money (it’s cheaper to replace the ceiling than to patch a lot of holes), it’s just the wanton destruction. It’s sad when you want to restore a building properly, and nobody will let you. Very frustrating.

They started taking out the bathroom tile today. We thought this was put in the 70’s because of the color scheme – gold and black – but Barry Stover, the architectural historian, told us that in the 40’s, bull-nose tiles only came in white and black. So it was probably original to when Dawn’s grandparents put in the bathrooms but, unfortunately, that didn’t make it any less ugly. It doesn’t matter; in order to replace the plumbing they have to take it out, anyway.

And the best news of the day: The well is going dry. Last week we had the pump replaced and everything was working fine, and today they started getting brown water, indicating the water level was so low it was pulling in mud. And here’s the irony: I’m flying in Friday. If you recall, when I flew in for Christmas, the water pipe burst and I couldn’t take a shower. And when I flew in at the end of January, the drain leaked so I couldn’t take a shower. And now I’m coming in on Friday and the water goes bad. Should I be reading into this?


I have no idea what was going on with the well — a month later everything appears to be fine. (And yes, I did get a shower.)