Shangri La

Shangri La

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Checking In - January Edition

I'm writing from one of the common rooms at the Saxtons River Inn, enjoying a Switchback ale and trying not to let the gloomy, overcast day get me down. On the plus side, it's in the lower 40s; on the minus, there is mud and dirt everywhere. Blah. But you take the bad with the good, right? Bob (the inn's owner) was here to welcome us back, there's a game on in the pub, and The Boy is behaving, so all in all I can't complain.

The cabin? Still standing and dry on the inside, looking just a little forelorn beneath the grey skies. The only tracks on the property seem to be those of Michael Marquise - the site engineer who stopped by 2 days ago to make sure all of the monitoring tubes were in order for the septic reassessment. I traced his path around the cabin and noticed that the southern side of the roof is completely barren of snow, in contrast to the north side, which still has about 2' worth, trimmed in icicles.

I spoke with Michael (of Marquise and Morano, LLC) a few days earlier to confirm the reassessment work. He had taken the letter I had drafted giving permission to access the property, combined it with the monitoring tube plan he had provided to my excavator last spring, and forwarded both to the State of Vermont. As I understand it, Michael will monitor the tubes weekly throughout March, April and May to see how high the water table rises. Generally speaking, at least 2 of the 11 tubes need to show water no more than about 4' from the surface for the test to be successful. If all goes well, the engineering plans can be revised and turned around to me by mid-June. I'll be about $1,200 poorer, but the savings on the septic work could be as much as $6,000. If the test fails, Michael will stop monitoring immediately and only bill for the time spent. Some of the people around me have in-ground systems, so I've got a better than average shot.

At first I thought this would delay the work this year, but I suppose it doesn't. I've still got siding to finish, the front porch to build, and a few interior walls to put up. Most of the materials for those jobs is already in hand, so I can start when the weather is good enough. Beyond that, I won't know how much cash I'll have to work with this year until around April 15 anyway, so - with a little luck - the septic and well work can begin as soon as the odd jobs are done.

For now, however, there's nothing to do but check on the place once a month and dream of sunny, warmer weather...

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