Saturday, October 21, 2006

More Baby Pics

I got a chance to upload a bunch of pictures (found here
that I have been taking over the last couple of weeks.  
There aren't that many yet but I will add more as I get time.

On another note, the ramp/deck on the front of the house
finally passed the county inspector.  The changes forced
by the inspector pushed the cost of the ramp up another
50% from the original estimate.  I plan on writing a letter
to the local government to let them know how unhappy
we were with the whole process.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

More inspection problems...

So, the first week of December I signed a contract with a local contractor to build an ADA compliant ramp and to extend and raise the front porch on our house. This you wouldn't have thought would be a problem (what is the county going to say, no you can't add a ramp to the front of your house so your disabled wife can easily get in and out of the house when she can't use her artificial legs?). However, it took the contractor around two weeks to get a design together that Anne Arundel county's department of permits and inspection would approve. This caused the estimated cost of the ramp to go up another $2k from the original agreements do to changes to bring the ramp design up to code. I would have been fine with this but then the silliness with the inspections began. The contractor used a bobcat with a post hole digger attachment to dig all of the holes for the support structure for the ramp and the deck they would be building. The following day the inspector from the county came out and inspected the holes for the correct depth. My contractor knowing that there would be some loose dirt at the bottom of the holes dug deeper than the required 36 inches (so that any loose dirt at the bottom of the holes wouldn't be an issue). The county inspector didn't agree and failed the inspection due to loose dirt at the bottom of the holes. This was compounded by the fact that they left a very cryptic explanation on the sticker informing us of the failed inspection (in turn forcing us to waste another day just attempting to track down the inspector to figure out what was wrong and to have the holes re-inspected).

We then lost several days following the first inspections due to weather. I can't fault anyone for that but it did make things frustrating. My wife went into labor starting the morning of 10/02 and our child was born the following afternoon. While all of this was going on the contractor continued his work and completed the majority of the ramp and deck and put up the railings that were in the county approved design. On 10/05 the county inspector again failed the inspection because they decided that since the ramp had a rise of elevation over 30 inches that there had to be vertical slats rather than just a middle railing. This came as a surprise as the design given to the county had the detail that the rise was going to be more than 30 inches (around 36 to be level with the front door of the house). The contractor didn't have the lumber for the change the county forced on the design after the fact and had to take apart the existing railing structure to complete the changes (again another day lost).

This morning was supposed to be the final county inspection. There are a few cosmetic things to be completed but the ramp is a sturdy structure and is perfectly usable (we actually used it to get my wife into the house in a wheelchair following her stay at the hospital). The county once again failed the inspection. This time, they said that the vertical slats were too far apart (the contractor used a spacing of 5 inches and the county wants 4 inches). Again, we had to contact the county inspection office to figure out this information as they left notice that we had failed but didn't clearly tell us what needed to be fixed. They claimed the explanation was written on the back of the "failed" sticker but I looked at it and it was just as cryptic as the first failed notice we received. In any case the contractor wasn't happy at all to hear any of this and will be sending his crew out again to fix the items noted in the inspection as well as some other items I noticed myself. Hopefully this will all be done this week at some point.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Welcome Charlotte Rose!

Charlotte Rose was born at 15:10 EDT 10/03/2006 at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, MD. She was 6lb. 3oz. at birth. I have some pictures and video that I took myself but haven't had time to get them off of the cameras yet. In the mean time here is a picture my dad took when she was 5 days old as well as some other pictures that our friend Kim took at the hospital. We all made it home from the hospital last Friday (10/06) and so far aside from a few relatively sleepless nights things are going well. I will work on getting some of the pictures/movies I took online as I get a chance.

While all of this has been going on we have had a contractor in to build a ramp and addition to our front porch (well actually build a deck over top of the existing porch). Things seem to have progressed at a snails pace. First there were all sorts of problems getting Anne Arundel County dept. of Permits to sign off on the design and then they decided to fail several inspections on several technicalities (loose dirt at the bottom of the post holes and then the latest they decided that the plans that they already had signed off on were not up to code after the fact and caused the builder to redo the railing that they had already put up). All in all it has left me with a bad impression with how contracting work works in this county. I will have to find out a way to fast track the permit/inspection process the next time we have any more projects of this sort.

Anyhow, off to do some work for a change and then back to feeding/changing the baby.