grumpy about the construction project (success at the architectural review board)

Remember my problems with the architectural review board (aka the ARB)? They wanted me to put brick where I want to put wood, in the back corner of the house. Remember that the ARB told our architect Kristi that they wouldn’t require it, but then they did.

This is a much too complicated story to bother telling accurately or fully, especially with this delicious Redemption rye in my hand distracting me, but here’s my best go at keeping it short and simple.

Not one member of the ARB who was at the first meeting showed up for the second meeting. I have no idea whether it’s because they weren’t invited by the city development guy (I’ll call him Todd, because that’s his name, and I wouldn’t go so far as to rename him “Mr. Toohey”) who caused this whole dust-up with his memo to the permit guy, or because they refused to attend and participate in an argument where they had to admit they screwed up. Todd seems to actually run the show, even though he’s not an official member of the ARB, so maybe they’re just afraid of him. Whatever. It’s LAME.

Todd came out to get us for the meeting and it went like this. He apparently told Kristi (our architect) that we weren’t going to talk about what happened at the last meeting. That’s convenient; we won’t talk about how we think Todd screwed up. Excellent news. Then he told us to come back to the room. I never met Todd before so I was still waiting for one simple nicety. I stared at him and he stared at me as we stood in the hallway. After a surprisingly long moment, I finally had to ask, “Who are you?”  He looked at me blankly. “I’m Todd,” he said, in a tone and with a stone-dumb look in his eye that suggested the following additional silent words: “how can you not already know that I am the King of England?” I held my hand out. He looked down at it. He remembered he had a hand to shake with.

We followed him into a very small, cramped conference room, where two ARB members were seated. We weren’t allowed to sit at the conference table. We had to sit along a wall. I kid you not. So there we sat, Anthony and me and Kristi, waiting for the third board member who would actually attend the meeting. When he arrived, King Todd called the meeting to order and they formally convened. Then Anthony and I and Kristi were formally invited to sit at the table. We got up from the chairs we were sitting in, took one step forward, and sat down in chairs at the table.

Then yadda yadda yadda happened, and yadda yadda. The ARB members wanted to hear from us. I opened my big big mouth. I gave them fresh color copies of our letter and powerpoint presentation. I told them I wrote the letter because that’s what lawyers do, and Anthony organized the powerpoint slides because that’s what economists and professors do. It was really snotty puffery of the worst kind. I have no idea if it intimidated them, but I hope it made a point of some kind. My skort, beach sandals, food-stained black t-shirt, and dirty hair certainly weren’t winning me any points. I didn’t mean to be unclean or sloppy. I just forgot as I was walking out of the house to put on decent shoes, and I don’t have any professional clothes that fit me anymore after a decade off the job market, and the t-shirt was dirty from feeding the kids, and the hair? Well who has time to bathe during summer vacation??

Bottom line: I don’t have to use brick anymore. Wood good. There was some banter about setting the contiguous wall back about 4 inches where there’s a change of material, and something about a shadow line, and Kristi said something along the lines of hey that’s great, it’ll look better that way and we can do that and it won’t increase costs at all — which I thought was really classy of her, because these guys really messed her about.  It’s good enough for me. Now Mr. Carpenter, can you please show up soon?

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