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A very sudden garagemahal! episode 1

framing and leveling

When we bought this house, it came with a hand-made garage that was a good 50 years old, rotting into the ground, with railroad ties set in dirt instead of a proper floor. A family of possums hissed at us from a corner when we opened the door for the first time. Thirty years later the city made us tear it down. The possums shared it with skunks in winter. It reeked.

So the plan was always to replace it.

Fast forward many years, with a false start during the pandemic, while it doesn’t happen.


About three months ago we signed a contract. Thursday this week, the concrete guys came and dug the foundation, graded it, poured and graded the gravel and laid reinforcing wire, and framed out the concrete forms. That took less than two hours. This was craft. Two days later they came back and poured. That took longer because making a nice smooth concrete surface is a dark art, like hanging drywall, and only senior journeymen are allowed to touch it. This was art. That took under five hours. Including waiting-for-the-cement-mixer time.

gravel work

Rich and I had planned to be on hand because we’ve never had contractors on the premises, and Rich wanted to snoopervise, which is always a good idea even if you don’t have construction chops, as he does. But snoopervising was unnecessary. And we wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

the pour

These guys did not waste one gesture. If a guy walked across the site, it was to do something useful. The Bobcat driver who dug the foundation was speedy and madly precise; it was like watching a waldo the size of a VW Bug do brain surgery. And yet nobody got run over, the forms went in lightning-quickly, they made a shockingly small amount of mess, and they left zero trash. I lie, there was one cigarette butt. But it may have been from a neighbor who came by to gawk.

We fed them brownies and, for the guy who couldn’t have any sugar, apples.

Three weeks from now, when the pour has cured, we’ll see the rest of it go up. The contractor says that’ll take four or five days. Stay tuned!


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