Wednesday
Apr132005

« The Decline Of The Swine »

Well, it's but a few minutes before noon on the 13th, and the last of my items have been struck from the hallowed halls of Hog Heaven Studio (singular).

The Rhodes piano was the only thing that took two people to move, and the other stuff was reduced to the little junk laying around. I had mostly stripped it on Friday night.

My old man is out there with saw and hammer and crowbar taking apart the face of the house that was the outside wall of the studio. Seems he got into some trouble with the city for building a garage like stucture where a carport had existed for a few decades. His garage "improvement" was to close in the two remaining open sides of the carport. But he didn't do that work to code, and I don't think he did it well at all. Of course this is a point of great contention between us, to say little. He has done other out-of-code mods to this house and his own, and has gotten busted for them.

It happens that the street-facing side of my studio is bound by a wall that was about a 6' addition to the house, and then the carport was extended another 14' or so beyond that toward the street. There was a garage here before, but it is actually the room from which I now type, and now it is the big loungy office space Kelli and I use. It was remodeled this time last year to meet our needs more specifically, and looks great. But this room never filled the whole garage. Its wall sat about 6' back from the original face of the house, which after the modification of a long time ago, was moved out another 6'. The old 6' and the newer 6' were the space in which my studio was built, giving me something just shy of an 11' square box for a studio. A huge beam slices through the top of the studio ceiling and that was where the old garage face was, so basically my studio, were it not for a million mods to the house, would be half inside and half outside of the original garage.

Looking out from HHSSo the carport-to-garage mod was clearly illegal and had to be rectified somehow. But apparently there was some question about what had and hadn't been permitted, and apparently this 6' extension wasn't legal either, and had to be dealt with. I've been told that the same regulation could have been met by extending the carport out to its maximum length, but the old man, in his infinite "wisdom" decided to move backwards and subtract space from the place. Of course, it's his "wisdom" that got us into all this mess because he had always had designs on this house since long before he took ownership of it. He always wanted to do one mod or another, and he could barely seem to wait till both his parents were gone. In fact, he was over here building his garage walls only three days after my grandmother died, and I objected to it all along. To no effect. This is the way these projects go. He just steamrolls over my requests and suggestions. To him, doing the work just to say he did it is more important than doing the work well, and even legally. So this garage thing was put up and it was the first of a couple instances that caused us great grief. Well, it caused me great grief. He never seemed to give a shit. He was intent on "raising the value of the house." We'd see my next door neighbors sink $150,000 into their house for an extensive and legal remod of their house, and so he wanted to keep up. But it was silly. He never would do it right by hiring a contractor or even much in the way of competent labor. He'd do a lot himself, and quickly, and not with any attention to detail. Most of it was never actually finished in any way that most people would call finished.

After about two and a half years of this shit, and his ignoring my input on things that affect the house that I live in, and not he, and when I was just off my rocker and wanted to snuff myself out, I took the liberty to call the city and report this shit. After all, who else had any power to stop this racket? I couldn't make a dent in his progress, and I was watching as my house slowly turned into his house with modifications that were substandard, even if functional. So, since I wasn't planning on being around for more than another week or so, I just did this, supposedly anonymously (these house mods are apparent enough to passersby). It took a year or so before I started to hear about anything actually being done, and it actually got started when coincidentally enough, at his own house, he had tenants who were causing complaints that got the city to descend on his place. I swear I had nothing to do with that bunch of trouble. So the city checked out his place, and finally checked out mine and started laying it on thick. He argued and protested that his stuff was better than code and all that, but he still had to play their game, getting new prints made up of the structures and all, so they could be compared to the last known blueprints. This took many months, more than half a year to get rolling before anything had to be done. He would come over and curse whoever turned him in and all that and I just stayed mum till one day he came in and asked me why I turned him in.

I had an answer for him, sure, and it went sort of like, 'hey, you know, I never asked for this stuff to be built. This was your idea and your responsibility to build it according to the legal specs, which you never even consulted.' He loves to argue for how the city has its head up its ass and how he can build stuff that supersedes code. Nonsense. Even if structurally it was superior, it still isn't made to their specs, and that's what matters. So he had guys come over to evaluate his work and pass it on to the city. In each case, there was something that just didn't work out. Finally, he got the word that this garage and his comparable patio project (which really sent me ballistic) would have to be returned to the condition they were in before he started his work. So March and now April has been a time when these things have been reversed. The garage was taken apart a wall at a time, and then its inferior concrete footings struck off the driveway. It took another two weeks or so to find that the garage extension had to be struck. This of course was where the studio was. I had been bracing for that, and had already been warned well before the first nail was driven that he regarded it as a temporary structure, and that it would be in jeopardy after my grandmother died (there was about a three year overlap of studio and her life). So, since she died this month four years ago, I pretty much have been given a four year extension on the studio above and beyond what I would have expected. For all I know, this could have happened in May of 2001 after she died. But no, the old man and I had to go through all this shit to get here.

Some say I shot myself in the foot to narc him out, and I certainly understand that, but I also had to do it as a matter of principle. I called the city at a time when I had given up music (it ended up to be a false ending that lasted four months or so) and had given up on life. My long term plans were not to be here to care or see much done about it. But the main thing was that before my grandmother died, she wanted me to have this house, just so that this sort of power play wouldn't be going on. Well, she didn't get that in writing and legitimized, and I didn't contest the result of his inheriting the house. But I stayed here, just as I had been for three years, and now for seven, and set up home just as if I had owned it, and buck his power whenever I can. There isn't much I can do to keep him from doing this, and all I could do was to call the city. It's not just that the house is modified. It's that he totally disregards me when doing this work, and can't treat me like a person, and certainly not like an adult. So I did what I could do that would actually have the real power it takes to stop this construction shit. It doesn't address the deeper stuff, but it will stand in the way of further mods which would no doubt take on the same form as these earlier ones.

Bad Jesus messageSo the studio is a done deal now, but since I argued that without a garage, studio, or even shelves in the carport, the house would be worth less, I got him to let Kelli and I move into a room that he would ordinarily expect to have rented. It's not the same as a studio (sits right next to our other rental), but it allows Kelli primarily to spread out her stuff which has been crammed into the two rooms we have. My studio stuff will come inside, and whatever I can set up and use, I will set up and use, same as every other place I have recorded in. But yeah, that little cramped and sweaty box had some magic about it. I took pictures of the various bits of graffiti that were left there over the years, and there are lots of pictures I've accumulated of all the stuff that went on inside.

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