17 March 2003
It's a bloody hard ask for any committed property developer (snigger, snigger!) to keep a works schedule on track from 425km away.
With the auction looming on Wednesday the 19th, I'd been faithfully promised by my earthworker that he'd be on site last Tuesday/Wednesday.
My first inkling that something wasn't quite right was the call on Tuesday from my brick paving guy, concerned that nothing seemed to have happened. He was supposed to be on site Thursday.
So I checked in with Ray, who confirmed that he had indeed had some problems which had held him up, but he would definitely be there Thursday, and queried whether the brick delivery and paving contractor could be postponed (pavers were due to be delivered Thursday morning).
I managed, through much begging and crawling, to push this back to Friday, though I needn't have bothered! Gareth left his sick bed for me on Thursday night to call over and confirm that, surprise, surprise, nothing had happened! Thanks again, Gareth... I owe you one... actually, correction... must be at least a dozen by now!
When I challenged Ray Friday morning about the lack of progress, he promised me faithfully that he'd be there Friday afternoon, and would stay until finished, even if it meant coming back both Saturday and Sunday. This set alarm bells tinkling in the back of my mind since the building licence prohibits work on Sundays without prior permission.
Leaving Geraldton late Friday afternoon for my second weekend visit home, I reinforced a recently acquired habit and immediately put the Nokia to work. As suspected, "prior permission" to work Sunday should have been applied for much earlier that 4:55pm Friday, in triplicate and most certainly could NOT be arranged from the car via mobile phone, especially not one that kept cutting out the further south I got from the Geraldton tower.
Joe from the City of Bayswater suggested I talk to the neighbours and let them know my plans to ensure they had no objections. However, my experience with the neighbour from hell suggested my chances of her not objecting were slightly smaller than my chances of personally disarming Iraq of all weapons of Mass Destruction, single handedly! Though perhaps, the disarming of Iraq could be achieved with less conflict!
No matter how successful either campaign was though, the cow would still be my neighbour afterwards! Perhaps I now have an inkling of how George Bush (Senior) felt in '91 after the Gulf War when Saddam was left in power???
My next call, to Ray, brought some good news... I needn't worry about Sunday, as they'd made a start and would certainly finish Saturday. He seemed surprised to hear that I'd be home Saturday and would be around to watch.
When I got home, I discovered the real reason for his surprise... no start had been made after all.
But, Saturday came along and with it came heavy earthmoving equipment and soon the site was swarming with activity.
With this progress, though, also came the potential for conflict, with the real estate agent's advertised "on-site" at 1:45pm to greet prospective buyers. Having thought ahead though, I prepared A3 signs announcing "DO NOT ENTER DRIVEWAY, NO ON SITE PARKING, EARTHWORKS IN PROGRESS."
To aid in this, the real estate agent stood guard on the street and prevented 'illegal' entry to the site, waving cars on from parking in the driveway and refusing entry to the site.
One particular gentleman approached and attempted to drive in, but he was directed to the carpark across the road. Then he approached the site on foot but his path was blocked by the dogged Tiffany, who explained that unfortunately she wasn't able to allow him on site due to the earthworks in progress.
It seemed he knew all about the earthworks, however, AS HE'D BEEN WORKING ON THEM ALL DAY!
Ray was finally as good as his word. The siteworks were complete by 4:30, all ready for the brick paver to come in tomorrow (Monday) in time for the auction on Wednesday night... HOORAY!