Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

My Photo
Location: United States

Saturday, August 06, 2005

"He fixed up the planet as best as He could; then in come the people and gum it up good"-A Singing Lee Marvin

Above is a picture of the Nenana. It's a paddle-wheel boat that was in use from the 1930's into the 1950's moving people and things around Alaska. After that, the state gave everyone rocket backpacks, so we had no more need for boats. We use the rocket backpacks when tourists aren't around.

So, I was listening to the radio (for all of you outside of Alaska, a radio is like an I-Pod, but transmits the same sound to everyone at the same time!) the other day and was dismayed. There was a Borough (we don't have counties) board voting whether or not a guy could chop up his property into parts to turn one 10 acre lot into four 2.5 acre lots, build houses on 'em, and sell 'em to Californians who have never seen lots big enough to park a moped on. (Side note: I heard recently that some Californians were paying over a million dollars for a trailer home, plus $2500 a month trailer park land rent. No joke. If any of you are listening, I will sell you two trailers plus acres of land for a million dollars. Just e-mail me.)

Well, the poor guy who wanted to subdivide his land lost. His neighbors complained that itty-bitty 2.5 acre lots wouldn't be like the area they moved into. They convinced a (by one vote) the board. I'm willing to bet there won't be many block parties in that neighborhood soon.

Dang. Just dang.

This doesn't bode well. I mean, (personal philosophy) if you own the land, and want to build a nuclear power plant or a strip club on it, good luck to you. But the real reason this bothers me is that building permits can't be far behind. If I wanted to replace my roof in (insert name of midwest city here) I had to go down and purchase a permit to have some yahoo come inspect what I'd done. Or I was breaking the law. Here, you build what you want, and if you sell, let the next guy deal with it.

Well, I'm the next guy. And I'm dealing with all of the bizarre construction techniques left over from the previous resident, and I'm okay that my house has never been inspected by a Borough-approved inspector. Really, I am. I hired an actual engineer to inspect my casa before I bought. He cost $300, and identified $5,000 in repairs. Not a bad return, plus unlike a government inspector, if he messes up, he's got liability.

But, let me explain further. I'm pretty sure that no building code in the country references the use of grass as a roofing material. But, look at the picture below:

Yes, that's the Visitor's Get An Alaska Pamphlet Building (we were in it a total of 35 seconds). With a grass roof.

I was talking the other day with a Home Despot employee during my weekly pilgrimage, and he told me his roof was made of straw. Straw, you know, just like in that epic novel The Three Little Pigs. He said it was, "cold as hell" in wintertime. "But that's the price we pay in Alaska for privacy."

My own roof is made of foam. Not like sea foam, but like styrofoam. It keeps the water out, and the heat in. I like it. Not sure it's code in the lower '48 either, but it's closer than grass or straw. I've spent about 40 hours this summer fixing mine. No permits, either, and I limit the number of beers I have when I'm on the roof, so I don't experience gravity poisoning.

Is the era of building permits coming to my neck of Alaska? Possibly. I think folks move up here from wherever to experience Alaska, and are frightened to discover it's not the place that they moved from, and then *poof* new laws. I just want to know how that first inspector is going to deal with inspecting repairs to that straw roof. . . heck, soon there might even be roof mowing laws . . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments are right on the button! Hey, Check this out... You're Going To LOVE This Site. Visit Free Software Site!

1:13 PM  
Blogger John said...

Wow. Free software. Wow.

1:20 PM  
Blogger John said...


1:20 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Your way of thinking is why you have that Skinny Dick's bar. And we don't. I am so jealous.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Sure sign you've made it big when your blog site is spammed. Yes, wow.

8:13 PM  
Blogger John said...

Come on up, beers on me. Oh, and the spam? I'm sure that guy meant it when he said my comments were "right on the button." Which button, though?

8:28 PM  
Blogger the Witch said...

Mmmmmm... jet pack seared spamwiches eaten on the the lawn on some guy's roof.

Sounds like a good time.

5:12 AM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Mmmmm, beers. Very tempting. Thanks. But can you guarantee 77F plus or minus 2. We Californians can't handle anything too hot or too cold.

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While Seattle isn't California in terms of housing prices, we aren't far behind. But don't tell my husband about the abundant real estate and lack of building permits--he would SO BE THERE, which probably has something to do with his infatuation with all things Dick Proenneke. (Who, might I add, used ... I think moss? On his roof.)

1:55 PM  
Blogger John said...

They are actually mooseburgers!

If you've never had beer out of a chilled (-50F) glass, you haven't lived!

Dick Proenneke just rocked. What a guy. Makes me feel guilty when I use power tools.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have nothing witty to ad about roofs, so unfortunately this comment will not be "right on the button!"


But I just wanted to tell you that I've really been enjoying your blog!
Hilarious. I think my neighbors can hear me "LOL."

6:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Silktide SiteScore for this website
Blog Flux Directory Blogarama Free Web Counters
Web Counter
Search Popdex:
Humor Blog Top Sites Top100 Bloggers
Top100 uscity.net directory