It took a bit longer than I would have liked. Seems everything that's related to construction projects is like that.
The day after we gave a big thumbs up to our contractor of choice, the call was made to the architect with instructions to assemble the package of plans, reports, calculations, etc, needed to begin the permit process with the county. That was a Thursday.
It should have moved rather quickly since the engineer had already provided a couple copies of the plans with his stamp and signature, so no need to go back to him. Friday went by. So did Monday and most of Tuesday, at which point a call had to be made.
Turns out, the package was all ready, no doubt leaning up against some file cabinet in the little architects shop. I wondered to myself, When was I going to get that call with the come-get-em notice? Good thing the call was made.
Arrangements were made to pick up the package the next morning. Now, it's in-hand, but due to schedule issues, an opportunity to submit them to the building department won't be upon us til Monday.
That will be fun, so please be sure to check back for that tale of governmental bureaucratic intrigue!
What work got done over the weekend to prepare for the real work?
Not a whole lot, unless you consider work some serious education about granite. And we do.
Idea was to head over to Bedrosians to check out some tile samples, maybe granite slabs if they have em. Turns out, they have a pretty good sized warehouse, as well as an outdoor holding area, for granite slabs. The selection, must say, was pretty good. That took all our attention and time for the couple hours we spent there. Helpful staff, too.
We ended up getting farther than we planned, always a good thing. They sent us home with five samples of 12 by 12 tiles of the granite we most liked (taking account price, too). At home, they were set up in the kitchen, and already we're being drawn to two of them, deciding that the 'generic' looking patterns are a bit too, well, generic.
So far, it's between Verde Butterfly and Ubatula (yes, these are real names). Both have a bit of a green tint to them. Butterfly more so, while the Ubatula looks as though it's black with some shimmery flakes, but when the light is right, it has a hint of green. Very subtle.
Cost of both these varieties isn't through the roof, either, somewhere in the $7 to $9 range.
The image below is a sample we liked, called Ocean Foam, but due to its intricate patterns, the price was quadruple the others. We decided against it.
All the bids are in. And what's most surprising is that they keep going up and up. And we keep asking ourselves, How in the world do these outfits structure their projects so as to come in so much different from one another?
The lowest bidder may actually get the job. But he's not the lowest just because he's a low baller. No. What's different about this guy is the fact that he has a different outlook on things. His bid is labor only. That's it. He gave an estimate on what the materials would cost, and the couple of trades we would need to source ourselves. But after putting all the numbers together, he comes in a healthy percentage below the next guy.
Thing is, he doesn't mark up the materials. He buys them, gives you the receipt, and asks for reimbursement. Or, he tells you what he needs and you make sure he has it when he needs it. That means zero markup. And, he doesn't have a substantial line item called "profit and overhead", like some of the others. He's just making his money off the labor.
There's also the issue of not all the trades being represented. Like stucco. Which can be a big expense. But we know enough people to handle this little bit of subcontracting on our own. Main thing, too, is that we save by not having a middleman taking a cut, but still have the job supervision (read: project management) of a general contractor being in charge.
Are we just trying to talk ourselves into going with this guy. Have to admit, we probably are. But the references checked out, licensing is all in order, and the price is right. It will be a bit more work due to our owning some of the subcontractors, but just enough to make it fun. And we get all that is in the plans; no scaling back, which was the other option.
Kudos to Cupertino Bike Shop for holding their bike swap meet this past Sunday. Two bucks a head to get in, and it was really worth it.
Not only did they have some vendors there selling new stuff, but there was a good amount of individual people who had rented space to sell stuff. Stuff that was sitting in back corners of garages, gathering dust. Stuff that needed to come out and get used again. That's really the heart of any swap meet.
I've been sort of in the market for making my MTB into a commuter, maybe even something I could use in a triathlon. The ideal would be to have an extra front and rear wheelset, complete with tires, skewers and cassette. From a cost perspective, I would be ok with just getting a set of less knobby tires I could commute with. When I really did intend to go offroad, I could see it coming and swap the tires out.
The swap meet figured it out for me. I got the ideal. The rims are light, but I haven't looked close enough for a name or other identifying information. 26 inch and, I learned after I got home, just a bit wider than my originals. The tires are Fatboys from Specialized.
Once home, I suddenly had to teach myself a lot about my bike. I had to adjust the (cantilever) brakes to get them to fit, and the different cassette required some adjustment of the rear dérailleurs. The dérailleur adjustment isn't quite finished since it seems to hop around when going into the highest gear, but for the most part, it's working out.
I rode to work yesterday (Monday) and like the reviews on mtbr.com say, these tires, at near 100 psi, are wicked fast. The most notable thing I noticed was that going up a slope on the trail or road required quite a bit less effort from my on the crank.
It's still kinda freaky running around with no tread on the tires, but it just means I need to be a bit more cautious. And I usually don't ride when it's threatening to rain anyway.