: views from the Hill

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Summer time in the City

Our guys are almost done, they keep saying. Maybe soon. Maybe today or tomorrow. Then all that's left is for a final walkthrough on the project and some water testing to make sure that the leaks that were to be fixed have been.

It'll be none to soon for the downstairs neighbors in our two-unit condo building. They were keen on watching the soccer finals that started this week but their satellite antenna has been out since work started in May. They didn't mind before, they always said. They could read or go out, but the match on Wednesday started at 3 a.m. and THEY HAD NO TELEVISION!

Soon. Soon.

The top floor neighbors on the other side had a baby this spring and she (the baby's mom) is not thrilled with the banging and thumping and people walking around over her head while either she or the baby's trying to sleep. Our guys need to walk on the roof there, you see, in order to get over to our places that need work done. They've cut back on the shouting back and forth and raucous talking after she asked, but the thump-thump-drill is just something that has to happen.

But our guys are almost done.

The folks three buildings to the south along our path, at the corner of Filbert, are gutting their historic building and rebuilding it, preserving its historical-ness, of course. They're also adding a lower level cut into the hill that won't be visible from the public walkway and they're tinkering with the roofline. They've already ripped off the roof and reroofed the place and rebuilt the supports.

These days, when we go out during the day (or come home midday from a medical appointment as I did this morning), we bump into sturdy worker guys carrying 5 gallon plastic buckets full of rocks and dirt up the path, up 42 steps to Montgomery, and then over to the large debris box that's taken up precious parking spaces.

Yes, you heard me. The worker guys are hauling 5 gallon buckets of dirt up on their shoulders and dumping the buckets, carrying them back down, filling them, carrying them up, dumping them.

5 gallons of dirt weighs approximately 65 pounds.

This job will be over none too soon for them.

The couple who owns the building right uphill from us (with an address on Montgomery) bought it for a bucketload of money. It was for sale The asking price when they bought it for was $10.5m for a 10K sq ft house with seven car parking. (I have no idea what they actually paid for it. Can't find the information easily online. The property tax information implies that they paid far less than asking for the building but still a pretty penny.)

All the neighbors had been agog when the property went on the market: SEVEN CAR PARKING!!!

Well, agog and envious.

The couple who bought the building are gutting it. They're retooling the layout inside on the multiple floors. They currently have the roof ripped off as well and will rebuild the 4000 sq ft roof deck. They are clearing out underneath the seven-car parking garage to make room for some storage. They plan to add a small exterior elevator up from the garage storage level. Fire safety regulations also require them to pour a flat landing spot under their fire escape and create a path to either our path or the steps as an emergency exit route. A fixer-upper, the place be.

I haven't planted any flowers this year because we were "away" and then were back and then our guys were working on our place and then ... well, the folks uphill would just be tromping all over trying to get their lower level dug out and fire escape work done.

In the last couple days, their guys have ripped off the bamboo netting and ivy and what-not we'd planted so we didn't have to look at the dirt under the building. They have ribbons stretched to show where things are going to happen.

Tomorrow morning, I think, when his nibs is home and can spot me in case I fall, I'll do some work on the slope up to their property and move some of the plants that I care most about down closer to the path, so the plants won't get trompled in all the activity up there.

Ugly. It looks very ugly right now, but if all goes well, the finished product will not look any uglier than it did to begin with.

Our new mom next door said that she'd thought about moving when she found out she was pregnant, but decided she'd stay because it was so quiet here ... but now it's not quiet! And aren't the contractors not to supposed to start work until later in the day?

Well, no. San Francisco rules are that construction work, even in residential areas, can start at 7 a.m.

But not to worry. Soon all this work will be done and things will be quiet again ... until the next person decides there's some "remodeling" work that needs doing.

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