turbogrrl: (Default)
2017-09-17 09:36 pm

big changes!

house proceeds apace. (slower than I wanted, but I knew that.)

anyway. when we came back from LA the last time I was super sad because I realized it would probably be *at least* two years until I could visit the best dog ever... given that his parents will be sharing a house for at least that long with the dog that bites nick. And then I realized-- hey, turbogrrl, you are an actual adult! You are allowed to have your own dog!

So I put a deposit in on a litter by the best dog ever's sister. (Her last litter, as it turns out. I lucked out.) We will be picking up our puppy next weekend. I expect this to be hugely disruptive and destructive and confining and I Don't Care, because OMG cute.

cute adorable sleeping puppy
turbogrrl: (Default)
2017-07-09 07:57 pm

again with the brain breaking

so, twice this weekend I've seen something that was relevant to the inlaws and us, and, not having heard anything from them about it, shared the news both times.

Both times, just got a "we know" in response.

You knew that the dad of a good friend just died and didn't bother to tell us? What the hell. THIS IS NOT HOW YOU FAMILY, PEOPLE. Even family you dislike.

I suppose one of these days it will eventually really sink in they want nothing to do with us. I mean, like, altogether, not just on a personal relationship level. They keep in better touch with people they meet at bars.

Fuckit, I'm going for a walk.
turbogrrl: (Default)
2017-06-17 11:42 am

whee

so, we've signed our life away in all varying forms; we closed on the construction loan yesterday. otoh, that means we started construction in advance of closing on the loan, which was *also* terrifying. but we are now almost three weeks or so ahead of schedule, so that is nice. I am sure we will lose that time somewhere else :)


things are fine. by which i mean, things are fine on the surface but with a chance of spontaneous superheating at any moment. congress *and* treasury are doing their level best to shut down our agency, and I really don't know how this particular game of chicken plays out. It puts me in a weird position. It is probably fairly easy for me to find another job-- even within the government, if I so choose, though the nuances of that are hard to calculate. The gov't opportunities I can more easily move to are all appropriated agencies, which would be a significant pay/benefit cut. If I just wait things out until they do a RIF, then there are procedures in place to move to other agencies while still receiving the same salary for at least a year or two (unclear that any of the additional benefits would stay, though), but who knows if those opportunities will still be available in the fall, which is when any likely RIF process would start? The flip side is that my employment is probably pretty safe-- given that I am 90% of a very senior engineer in three disciplines, there are a lot of tasks I can pivot to, unlike many of my colleagues. And then, of course, I'm not really invested in being a gov't employee. I'm nowhere near vested in the pension fund; hell, I have another year until I'm fully vested in in my TSP. I could easily just pivot back to industry. But I hate the idea of just abandoning my team, and so I haven't applied to any jobs.

And then there is the outstanding question of will we have a kid? Things have gotten more complicated in that I've finally discovered what has caused my bouts of arrhythmias over the years, and its kind of critical to the pregnancy process. Basically, elevated progesterone causes my heart to go into extended tachycardias. They first showed up a while after I had the Mirena IUD installed, which makes sense as Mirena releases small amounts of progesterone. SVTs aren't typically deadly, of course, but mine tend to last for 6-20 hours. Combined with some other things, I suspect that pregnancy could possibly be more than typically fatal for me-- maybe 10-15% chance? And I really can't decide if I care. I mean, life is ultimately fatal. And some part of me is convinced I'm never going to live in the new house, maybe this is why. On the bright side, if I got pregnant again and it killed me the house would be paid for? This is how my brain works. I spent my last SVT event just sitting up and writing my will. Which, you know, I really needed to do anyway, especially now that our financial life has gotten so complicated. I even got up and made the needed appointment with lawyers, so hooray for motivation.

Let me know if there's anything of my physical stuff you want. I suspect Nick would most likely toss most of it... well, except for the cars.
turbogrrl: (Default)
2017-06-06 11:33 pm

at long last

we broke ground in the garage of doom. doesn't quite seem real; some part of me is convinced that I will never live there, which makes it increasingly harder to focus on the details and pick things out. In theory, the project should take 8 months. (Actuality is never like theory)

an earth-mover sits motionless in a garage with a dirt floor

but work has begun.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2017-03-15 04:28 pm

best laid plans, etc

I knew when I signed a telework agreement that we would get at least one snow event. But I had hoped that it wouldn't actively screw with my trip... alas.

A friend's husband committed suicide by jumping off the golden gate bridge a month ago. She's got a really awesome support network that had been scheduling people to be with her nearly non-stop at first but the schedule had started to taper after a few weeks-- which is when she realized that their 15th anniversary was coming up and she was likely to be a mess again. I volunteered to fly out for 6 days around the anniversary, which meant that I could just be ambiently *there* 24x7 and folks wouldn't need to worry about getting critical timeslots filled. I didn't want to take 4 days of leave, though, so signed up for telework. The helpful thing about telework was that I could just stay on DC time-- roll out of bed at 4am, work for 8 hours, and then have nearly the whole day to spend on my friend. I took a travel day and the day of the anniversary off, but worked friday and monday. Everything would have worked perfectly... and then they canceled my flight out monday afternoon. The only flight they didn't cancel was the 7am flight the next morning, so I ended up having to take tuesday (the "snow" day!) off because i was traveling during the entire workday. and now I have a migraine the size of texas and the wind is howling so I rolled over and took a sick day this morning. I am wiped.

Usenix folks were incredibly kind- the original plan was to get her to SREcon in the morning monday, I would lobbycon it for an hour or so and then head to the airport. When my flight got canceled they stored my luggage at registration and let me skim into the sold-out event as her Emotional Support Engineer.

---

It's really hard. Nothing we can do will bring her husband back. (Although, in a twist of fate I was somehow expecting would happen while I was there, a commercial fishing boat may have recovered the body. DNA/dental checks will take a month or more though.) She's always going to have dark moments where she replays events, wonder what she could have done differently, and blames herself.

A bunch of us were talking, and it became apparent that ... many of us have an idea of *how* we would kill ourselves, if we got to that point. It both disturbs and comforts me that so many of us have these dark seeds in us. I made an executive decision a long time ago that I would not kill myself while I have close relatives/dependents, which has in several cases gotten me past the window of dismal opportunity. Because lord, it is a terribly cruel thing to do to the people left behind.

Other lessons: get a fucking will together. if you have opinions about how your funeral should go, express them in advance. go to therapy.

god, I am tired.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2017-01-02 02:45 pm

more sadness and death

so, the day after xmas, I see a post from my birthday twin/former neighbor about a birthday twin of *his* having gone missing on christmas. car description, license plate, photo, please keep an eye out. She was friends with a lot of my friends, being both in the dc theatre and yoga worlds. So a bunch of my friends are posting about this, there was a facebook group for the search that ballooned to a couple thousand people pretty quickly. Everyone was hoping against hope that she would turn up...

Late in the day, the police released a photo of a person of interest. My birthday twin posted a screencap* of it, and about an hour later a friend of his commented that he'd just seen the guy, in her car, in dupont, and called police. The police picked him up a few blocks away.

Word came in the middle of the night they had found her body. More horrible details everyone had been hoping weren't the case came out in the arraignment. She died by blunt force trauma and strangulation. She'd been raped. He'd been driving around with her body in the car the entire day. He picked up a prostitute in the car. (I don't know if the prostitute came forward/was identified; hopefully she was not killed.) He robbed a store and assaulted an employee that morning.

He has a long string of court cases, and was apparently homeless. He should have been wearing an ankle monitor, but never showed up for that appointment. The courts did not follow up.

I started looking at his court cases. The store he robbed? was in my office building. The last assault case from this fall that magically was dismissed because the witness failed to show up? a few blocks away from work. a store he is forbidden to enter due to robbery and assault? near by home. The whole thing has just been making me sad. and afraid. I don't recognize him, but clearly this is someone that has spent a lot of time in the same areas I do. There is a constant level of panhandlers in front of work, some aggressive and some not and now I just... don't want them anywhere near me. I don't know how to balance empathy and feeling safe. And I find myself irrationally angry at the front desk security at work. What use are armed guards that sit on their ass in a glass lobby when they do nothing about an assault 20 feet away? When that poor girl was tied up, dead, in her car outside? What use is our fucking judicial system when they just let these guys go, over and over and over again?

I don't have any good answers. I'm just... sad.

And then today I have discovered that my favorite weaselly past-boss has died suddenly. no word on how, or why. He was three weeks older than me. Feeling my mortality extra hard these weeks.

-----
*social media lessons learned: The screencap photo was more likely to show up in newsfeeds than the link to the facebook post, missing person report, or the POI update. If you need to get something to the bulk of your audience, posting it as a new photo is the way to go. Add the source link as a comment after.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-10-02 02:50 pm

mercury is not in retrograde

It feels like a lot of friends and loved ones are wading through terrible things; and they are mostly things I can't help with.

There is a lot of depression; a lot of money troubles; drugs and other addictions; the loneliness that comes from not having a partner, or having one who can't help with the challenges they are in the middle of.

I suppose in the abstract I *could* help with some of these things, but I suspect that in many ways these problems are like little personal black holes— one could pour infinite amounts of time or money or caring into them but frequently there doesn't seem to be an end or it's not the right type of time/money/caring... and the reality is that I probably would wake up three months from now with a 30-something on my couch in our one-room one-bathroom home who was only "looking for a place to crash for a weekend". (And I know at least two of the people in that situation do drugs. I can't have that in my house. I understand wanting to escape, but... but.)

As the price tag for our as-yet-unbuilt home keeps spiraling higher i keep wondering if we're being hopelessly irresponsible. If spending this money on a home is utterly selfish, when I have friends worrying about being homeless, worrying where the next paycheck will come from, worrying that their loved ones won't make it home one night due to the color of their skin.

Some days I feel awful about how incredibly lucky i am.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-08-28 06:27 pm

vignettes

a friend had linked to Gizmodo's "This is How South Florida Ends, and I remembered something that I had otherwise long forgotten.

The summer before my senior year, I'd gotten an offer to intern for the State of Maryland, studying wetland ecology. I have no idea how it came about; I think I had applied to a generic internship program, because it's not like I did any work on biology or ecology in high school. But the internship (it might have been paid, or might not, again, can't remember) would have been in annapolis. It would have been a summer of 6am drives to annapolis, striding around in muck, getting multitudes more sun than my bookworm self would have otherwise gotten. I wanted to take it. But my parents said Absolutely Not. They, I'm sure, couldn't deal with the fact that I'd be far away for so much of the day, and it would have meant leaving my mom stranded without a car all summer. Not to mention the gas bill.

So, I had to say no. But in reading that article I had a brief flash of what my life could have been like if I'd said yes. Because we are absolutely shaped by our opportunities. My opportunity to clerk at the Howard County Library utterly changed the direction of my life. The people I met there, and the people I met through them, are the reason I'm in computing. It wouldn't have happened otherwise.

But I confess I have this wistful nostalgia for the wetland girl I never got to be.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-08-13 05:52 pm

bleargh

so, another thing i have to do is a 24-hour urine collection. except that i'm now 10 hours into it and worried that I will overflow the jug before i'm done. aieeee.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-08-09 08:20 am

meh

so, the doctor i started seeing a few years ago decided to retire earlier this year; I called up in his last week to ask for a recommendation for a new doctor, and also to get a rec for a cardiologist.

see, over the last decade, my blood pressure keeps creeping up. doesn't matter if i lose weight, get off birth control, get a less stressful job, or exercise more. and so each time I go to a doctor they chide me: your blood pressure is too high, you need to do something about that.

Eventual solution: don't go to doctors. (Actually, this is ingrained- I grew up without insurance until adulthood, and then job/health plan changes meant I'd rarely see the same doctor more than a few times. This is how growing up poor fucks with you, even after one is no longer poor.) But seriously, it's frustrating. I do try, and the result is always the same: your blood pressure is too high. I don't know what the fuck they expect me to do, pull a bunny out of my arteries? Also last they checked, my cholesterol levels were great.

Anyway, it took a few months, but I eventually made an appointment with the cardiologist because I was running out of meds. (Actual conversation with nurse: "um, your blood pressure is high." "yes, that would be WHY I AM HERE.") And maybe this particular doctor has just learned a better bedside manner, but instead of chastising me "why have you let your blood pressure get so high?", he just frowned and and slowly explained some of the reasons for high blood pressure, and then concluded "a 40 year old woman who walks five miles a day should not have high blood pressure, especially blood pressure that doesn't respond well to medicine." So now I get to go have pictures taken of my insides, to see if there is anything physically impinging on a couple of arteries. But it's disorienting to go to a doctor and get a game plan rather than another a lecture.

Edit: maybe it's time to figure out what's been bugging me in my low back for the last 20 years or so.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-07-03 02:10 pm

made it

I'm no longer a probationary federal employee, huzzah. though not without some minor heart attacks... monday afternoon I got an email from the security office saying they couldn't verify my birthdate or place, and could I get them a copy of my birth certificate, thank you. Monday I got home late and meant to look for where I had stashed my copy of my birth certificate, but totally forgot.

tuesday morning, I had another email from the same person, saying that they needed the notarized copy of my birth certificate before the close of business thursday. what the actual fuck? now, things get complicated because in actuality, my original birth certificate is sealed under court order, and I can't actually get a copy of that. (clearly I can never run for president.) I had no idea whether or not the copy I have has a raised seal or is notarized. I refrained from flipping out, and responded by saying I was unsure if I would be able to lay hands on a notarized copy in two days, but would do my best. In the mean time, please let me know if this passport is of any use to you? (I attached a scan).

Fortunately, they replied that the passport was sufficient. (of course, they should have had a copy of my passport from my I-9. whatever.)

So I received email on the 30th informing me I was now deemed eligible to work for the Treasury. Good to know!

Last week we had dinner with nick's aunt and uncle, and thus found out that Nicks parents were taking his sister to Hawaii for a week. They had clearly been just planning to not tell us. When we asked about their trip they justified it by saying only Kitty likes the beach. We replied that we like Hawaii very much, thank you, and so haven't heard from them since. (To be clear, Nick absolutely hates the Caribbean and the Bahamas, and while I have never been either to make a determination, I certainly am not going to go while Zika is a thing. But I *had* explicitly suggested Hawaii as a place we could visit them in place of LA.)

Which is fine. This last cycle I was exceedingly hormonal and weepy, and I probably would have punched a wall or worse if I had then found out it didn't work while I was around them. 4 days late, so I think it was a chemical pregnancy. Two friends had babies on Friday, and I had a one-year-olds birthday party yesterday. I'd like to just curl up with a pint of ice cream and a pile of books for the rest of the weekend but we have a wedding to go to tonight.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-06-21 10:18 pm

always a small world

So, i've had somewhat of a history involving people that at one point used to work at a now-defunct wall street firm. some of those experiences have permanently scarred me. and yet i keep tripping over tendrils that lead back to these people. an executive at my agency used to work there. and he has the same sort of air of complacent brutality, that buccaneer swagger, that jovial bully style. Much like the others, he enjoys pushing people off-balance, calling them out, making them uncomfortable. The good news for me is that I mostly don't have to interact with him; when he does his drive-bys my brightly innocent helpfulness usually completely throws him. He suspects I am laughing at him but he can't quite be sure, and yet he keeps trying. The trick is to not take it personally.

The problem, of course, is the anger the associations bring up in me. I'm fairly certain he's sleeping with his admin, which would be par for the course. Shopping in the company store is a bit of a hallmark of the people I have worked with from that company-- rules are for other people. Unfortunately, it's given his admin more than a bit of an ego about things and she seems to delight in being a petty tyrant. They have completely misinterpreted a telework policy, as to insist that everyone needs to have a signed telework agreement whether they want to telework or not. The policy they linked to clearly says otherwise, but I have literally a week left in my probation period and I can't afford to argue about it with her.

So apparently I'll be teleworking soon. And I'm sure the full moon is laughing at me, as not an hour later one of the other wall street refugees called me, wanting to get coffee.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-06-20 10:31 pm

parents

saw mine again for fathers day. both of them are pretty vague, and I wish I could drag them both out for cognitive testing. Not that I have any idea what could be done for them in any case.

wished nicks dad a happy fathers day. they originally were going to visit in april... then may... then june... now it's "maybe fall." Nick's sister is back from shanghai finally so they aren't going to go anywhere until they stock up on time with her.

today they dropped another "you guys should move out here." bad combination of general frustration, hormones, etc., but I lost my filter and replied that given that so cal makes me suicidally depressed within 24 hours and has consistently done so for 20 years now we aren't moving out there unless nick decides he wants to try out being a widower. that otherwise a couple long weekends a year is the best I can do, sorry.

that killed *that* conversation, fast. but I am tired of them constantly reframing things like it's my fault we don't see them. I made it very clear even before they bought a place out there that I hated LA, and would not visit more than a few days a year if they lived in LA. Happy to meet up any other place. It's obvious they aren't going to visit more than once a year, if that. I've removed the third bedroom from the house plans; there is no point in spending the money. At this point I figure a) we probably won't successfully have a child, and b) if by some stroke of statistics we do then they can just get a hotel if they ever visit. Once upon a time they were going to get a small place here so that they could split time between their kids, but they are now spending that money on remodeling their LA house. Mazel tov, etc.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-05-29 10:06 am

incentives

So, there were a few options for the north wall short foundation issue. The first, which would require active buy-in from our north neighbor, would have dug new symmetrical footings underneath the places where the beams meet the wall that would extend a foot past the wall on either side. The upside is that the support would be symmetrical, which seems kinder to an aging wall. Think of it like an upside-down tetris-T, with the T part being under the existing wall. Another option would be to essentially put in a tall tetris-L underneath the wall, where the footing pad extends only under our property. The third was to eschew any additional footing under the wall and tie in new vertical beams sunk into concrete piers inside our wall.

We sent some mail to our neighbor (our neighbor who is renting our garage for his own construction staging at an insanely low price) asking him if he'd be open to option 1, sending him a quick sketch of what it would look like. What we got back was fairly harsh, calling the sketch illegible, and also shitting on the partial underpinning required for the basement stairway. He said he was forwarding everything to his structural engineer. Now, he doesn't really get a vote on the stairway as long as it's structurally sound (actually, going back and reading the DC notice of underpinning, he doesn't actually get a vote even if needed partywall footings extend onto his property) but I was cranky about the whole exchange and went home and considered the stairway at length. I sketched and researched and grumbled and eventually went to bed, doing math on my fingers as I went to sleep. (It is *really* hard for my brain to handle foot-inch math, I keep trying to make a foot to be 10 inches.)

When I woke up, I had put the jigsaw puzzle together. I flipped the stair, moved the second story staircase a couple of feet, moved the garage wall a bit, and created a code-compliant stair that would not need any underpinning. There, I fixed it. No partial underpinning, and never mind, we will just add support structure inside our own building and leave the wall alone. You're welcome.

(Hint: not actually what he wants us to do, either. Alas. He doesn't get a vote.)
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-04-07 08:56 am

last meeting

...i hope.

Procedurally, the CDC sends its recommendation to the ANC, who then votes and usually just does what the committee recommends. (this also has an interesting effect of washing the votes; the CDC could be split, like for our variance hearing, but the ANC vote was unanimous, which is the vote that gets passed to the other agencies.) I still wasn't going to count on that going well, though, so went to the ANC meeting last night.

Unexpectedly, a family friend (of nick's parents) was there. He's actually a pretty Big Deal in the city/neighborhood, so I think I got a little bit of (confused) halo effect as we sat in the back and chatted. He also very kindly stayed to the bitter end to see how things turned out for us. In the end I was really grateful as some of the intervening meeting was enough to give me a heart attack.

They ended up *reversing* a CDC decision that had been unanimous; CDC had voted to approve, people raised a stink after, and so then the ANC ended up protesting the project. I felt bad for the architect, as he hadn't been handling the comms and ended up with a phalanx of angry neighbors yelling about stuff the owner did a year ago that had nothing to do with this work. Also they were yelling about structural concerns for a historic concept and massing. (typically, about a year out from structural drawings.)

Eventually, they got to our project (about an hour late); the committee chair summed up a garbled history, then moved to approve. He saw me in the back and gave a little wave. All voted to approve with one abstention--the guy who hates cor-ten.

We waited till the end of the committee report, and then made a move to get up, at which point we got shamed into staying till the end. !!! 15 minutes later, we finally all could escape. I went up and thanked the committee chair for his help; he told me that he really doesn't like our design but totally supports turning it into a livable space so voted to support.

I smiled and thanked him prettily.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-03-27 12:07 pm

bah

medical procedure on weds, felt off yesterday, fever and chills and painful kidneys this morning. Called and they were like "are you sure you haven't been around sick people? maybe take a tylenol and see if you feel better..." I took half a percocet last night and woke up feeling like this, so, no, I don't think tylenol will fix it.

so they called in some antibiotics. which is when I discovered that CVS hasn't been applying the correct insurance to my meds... *sigh*

and now we head up to gettysburg. wheee.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-03-24 10:16 am

house, house

In various background shenanigans, the ANC filed a protest with historic that they weren't given enough time to consider our project and others, and their opinions were not given the "great weight" they were supposed to. The result of the discussions was that historic agreed to keep them in the loop on our design before it went to permit. Historic reached out to our architect, got the final facade drawings, and shared them with the ANC. The ANC, however, felt that this meant they could call us back to perform in front of them and vote on our project, again.

So they put us on their schedule and didn't notify us. We only found out by chance, as our local rep was walking through the alley and stopped by to chat about it.

I was in a towering rage for a couple of days. We decided that Janet should not go, as I had no desire to pay her $1000 just for all of us to be yelled at to no point, and besides she had an early flight the next morning.

So Tuesday night I put on my bitch face and we went. One dude on the committee is an architect and he has opinions. He doesn't like the glass garage door, he feels it just is just a showroom for our car collection and he doesn't want to see it. We pointed out that it would not be possible to see inside the garage, and provided photos of an actual door like what we intend to install. Obscured or not, he felt glass doors just don't fit the historic neighborhood. I pointed out that nearly *every* renovation in Blagden (same historic district) had absolutely clear glass doors in that style- La Colombe, Lost Society, The Dabney, Longview Gallery. Furthermore, the building next to us has a wall of glass sliding doors. I pointed out that a 25' wall of metal garage door would make the neighborhood *less* inviting and less residential. He then just spluttered he wanted to see an iron gate and a courtyard... really, he felt it was inappropriate for the site to have parking at all. I pointed out that among other things, to eliminate parking spots *even in a historic district* would require yet another variance.

And then another dude started in with the cor-ten. Historic insisted we couldn't do brick, as the addition needed to be in a different material. We suggested cementicious panels or cor-ten, they picked cor-ten. Why not stucco? BECAUSE I DON'T WANT A HOUSE MADE OUT OF STYROFOAM. (I kept my mouth shut and let nick answer.)

They went on some more saying how much they hated the design, and slowly wound down. And then our rep pointed out that their problems were with historic, and they weren't going to solve them here, and haven't we put this poor couple through enough? So he made a motion to approve the design, and a nice guy seconded it, and then they voted: 5 to approve, angry door dude against, and three abstentions. Your government at work.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-03-11 09:31 am

timelines

I will note that when the listing agent was making our life hell, they said that it would take several years for us to get anc/historic/zoning approvals and the owner of 1315 would oppose any renovation.

Well, the owner *did* oppose, and we still got our approvals in less than 9 months. so there.
turbogrrl: (robotcoffee)
2016-03-09 08:14 am

zoning, zoning

We had our hearing yesterday. I fell asleep on the sofa at like 9pm the night before, and had a super-early doctors appointment, so while I had checked our case during the day on Monday, I was sitting in the hearing room a few minutes before the theoretical start at 0930 before I remembered to check the case record again.

Of course, our next-door neighbor (the one that sold us the place) had filed an objection at the 11th hour.

I sighed, downloaded it, and sent it to all of us (nick, our architect, her assistant). And then gnawed on my knuckles, and fretted. and waited. and waited. And, of course, he eventually showed up. Fortunately, our architect also eventually showed up.

And then we waited some more. We were supposed to go third, but apparently they had continuances from other cases so we ended up going around 6th, at a little after noon. I was really worried they would break for lunch before they even got to us.

His objection rested on two points: our plans appeared to show that we were using the steel ibeams and he thought that putting our second story on those beams would tear his wall down. And our plans would result in closing up four of his windows in the party wall, and he objected on the basis that his building is historic and was there first, and we would be occluding his light and air. It was his understanding that in terms of party walls "Neither owner can use the wall in a manner that impairs the other's easement or interferes with his or her property rights."

Mostly I was annoyed that I didn't see it that morning, so that I could have at least brought the evidence that three of those windows were added 50 years later, based on a lie on the building permit. (1945 permit states "NOT a party wall", as you aren't allowed to *put* windows in a party wall. Because they might get bricked over later.)

As it turns out, it wasn't necessary. We didn't even need to confront him; the board did nearly all the work for us. They let him speak for three minutes (he filed two weeks too late to be granted party status). Regarding the beams, the board passed the mic to our architect, who assured the board that we were working with a structural engineer, who had already visited the site, examined the beams, and the load had already been calculated and found to be good.

Regarding the windows, they went around in circles for a while trying to determine how his building was constructed ("what is on the other side of your building?" on the other side of their structure there is another building. "No, on the other side of YOUR building" I don't follow. "Your building has four walls. One is the party wall under discussion. What are the others." My building only has one party wall. [Actually, his building has two, but no matter. The point being he has an entire 95' unobstructed south-facing wall full of windows. They eventually got there.]) The board informed him of the concept of "at-risk" windows. ("I didn't know that applied to party walls.") They then asked if there was anything else we wanted to say. Having gotten the hint from them telling us we didn't need to go through the presentation, we declined to add anything to the record. They took the vote, and it passed 4-0-2 (two seats on the board are vacant).

And that was that. No discussion of our second story percentage. (Janet was worried they would try to make us keep the second story to 60%, but since our lot coverage is already at 100% that really makes no legal sense. Still, one never knows. I wrote our statement rather than paying a zoning lawyer $5000 to do it, so we didn't have legal representation, just our architect. Fortunately that worked out.) So we now we just need to pick a contractor, and start on the permits.

And after that, we had lunch and then I went to work for four hours.