This summer, I’ve learned more interesting stuff looking out my home office window than I would have if I were still working in the bowels of the demented bureaucracy. Today was a case in point. With the new water mains installed and connected, the contractors hired by the city have now begun the arduous process of returning our street and hopefully our front yards to their previous state. As of yesterday, all of us on the affected section of the street have had to park around the corner as the workers installed guidelines and dug trenches on both sides to lay new cement curbs, in preparation for repaving our lovely little avenue.
For some reason, I expected the arduous installation of plywood forms into which cement would be poured. Not so fast, old guy. Technology has marched on. They now have a machine that swallows cement straight from the truck and spits out a continuous concrete curb. In the space of one afternoon, they were able to do the opposite side of the street, meaning tomorrow they’ll do ours, and hopefully by the end of Friday, we’ll be able to park in our driveways again. And next week? Paving! After more than three months of dust, mud, gravel and gunk… real black pavement. It makes me hope our front yard will once more be reasonably ready for winter. I took a picture of this concrete curb laying machine. Fascinating.
Watching roadway rehabilitation hasn’t kept me from working. I’m more than 15,000 words into the fifth Dunmoore adventure, Without Mercy.
It’s been an extraordinarily wet, rainy and chilly July in our part of the Great White North, but the last few days have brought us weather closer to normal, and today is shaping up as one of those summer Sundays I look forward to all winter. Of course, the drier weather has a downside when your street is being ripped up for water main replacement — dust. Every car that passes raises a big cloud, and those who drive like moronic maniacs raise clouds visible for kilometers, redepositing the dust all over our houses, cars, properties, etc. It reminds me of nothing so much as the dusty dirt roads that crisscross the military reservations I’ve come to know during my younger years. For those who, like me, remember spending their summers eating dust in the Gagetown training area every time a deuce, APC or tank rolled by, you’ll know what I mean. That’s what our quiet residential street feels like these days.
There are moments where I wish I could put a spike belt across the street and teach the ignoramuses a lesson in giving their neighbours some consideration by driving more slowly rather than racing to the next intersection. But their turn will come next year. Right now, the city is doing the first 300 meters of the street, the part on which we live, however I already see the subtle signs that the city is preparing to do another section next year — the same signs I saw last year on our segment.
I wish the work would be over soon, but we’re looking at another 4-6 weeks, if not longer, before the street is repaved and things back to normal. And tomorrow morning, like every weekday, we’ll be woken at precisely 07:00hrs by the beeping of heavy machinery backing up. I can’t fault the guys who are working this project. They routinely put in 10-12 hours a day and it’s not uncommon to hear heavy machinery still hard at it after supper.
What won’t take another 4-6 weeks is the work to publish Black Sword, the latest Zack Decker adventure. It’s in the midst of the second round of editing right now, and should come out of that within a day or two, leaving only proofing and final cover design. I’d say, barring any unforeseen circumstances, we’re looking at publication before mid-August for sure.