I should apologize for this journal; it certainly isn’t what I started out to write. I imagined great tales of exploration and learning, with some entertaining or even harrowing passages thrown in. Instead, it’s a 12-month gripe session on what we’ve been through dealing with the local bureaucrats, which has nothing at all to do with the restoring the house.
I let the bastards wear me down.
So my first question is, why didn’t I see any of this on This Old House? Norm Abrahms (and Bob Vila before him) come to the job site, review what needs to be done, and do it. They never spend four months standing around waiting to find out if they need to install sprinklers because some local official can’t tell the difference between a house and a hotel. They never get written up for not having a building permit six months after they were given a building permit. They never say, “Well, we were going to restore this house here, but the local yahoos told us we have to move a hill, widen the road, install a second basement door, build a new septic system the size of Rhode Island, create stormwater detention, and repave the parking area, and our remaining budget is $46 so instead we’re going to take the crew for hamburgers and forget this crap.” You never see that.
So if I seem bitter and angry, it’s because I’m frustrated (and bitter and angry) about everything that we’ve had to do that’s not about the house. We didn’t come to town to provide full employment; we actually want to accomplish something. Yet every week we just get more grief. And they always smile and tell us we’re doing a great thing here just before they tell us to install an exit sign in front of the 250-year-old door. Hard to believe that for 250 years, people have had to figure out that the front door is actually an exit without a sign posted in front of it; how did they possibly manage?
So my point, before I got all hot-headed again, was to stop focusing on the negatives, and to get back to the restoration. Amazing things have happened over the past six months, but I’ve been completely distracted by the side show circus. So please let me know if my vitriol spills over (you should have seen what I wrote about the code inspectors the other day…) and I will endeavor to make this what I had hoped it would be: informative, engaging, and fun.