Change Indeed

So Barack Obama won. I got this from Meghan, a peace corps volunteer in El Sauce, Nicaragua, who has been helpful in our efforts to start a solar oven program there. "...I actually feel hopeful about the US and the world. Early risers in El Sauce and the taxi driver who brought me to the PC office today asked me what I think of Obama. "He'll be great," they say. "We have hope that the US will remember the corners of the world again."
I won't be running around swathed in the stars and stripes, but over one long, tossing and turning night, I have emerged hopeful for the US.
So just wanted to share the joy from far away, though it's a little solitary when everyone around you isn't jumping around and yelling. Same thing happens when the Red Sox or the Celtics win the champs... most people just look at me out of the corner of their eyes and wonder what that crazy gringa is up to now... "
Enough has been said about the election, and I'm no political analyst, but the change was needed, and there's so much work ahead.

I've been intrigued at some of my own change of late. The move was tiring and our companies full of energy and challenge. and there is the looming spectre of starting the build process, (this is what I'm supposed to be writing about, so I'm reminded by you mortar and technique hounds.) But I needed a bit of a break, really. hmm. No, I'm not taking a vacation, just a bit of a slow down from warp speed. Bought a tractor, brush-hogged the site. Bought a TV, my first purchased tv ever, (ooh la la 42" LED 1080 pixel 120hertz refresh rate wow those hand-me down things of the past are SO of the past,) and watched the world series. Sierra looked at me during game 4 with a tilt and declared, " By god, Jonathan, you are officially unrecognizable." Hey quiet down, can't a fella watch a ballgame in peace?

Even thinking hard about a fishing boat. mmm yup, trolling motor as an extra, take it down the river, maybe a little ways out into the Pacific. First i have to figure out the pro's and cons of 2 stroke vs. 4 stroke, prop vs. jet, degree of chine, type of electronics and where to find all this in something reasonable, used but still shining. The only thing for sure is it'll be aluminum, not painted, with a windshield and canopy. This is Oregon, and we fish 12 months (I'm told.) Suggestions and your two cents are welcome. I know quite little about all this, which makes me a bit embarrassed and a bit giddy.


Falling for Hope

A sweet Halloween thing late Friday night.: trick or treating with Jake River and a LARGE group of neighborhood kids, one house was visited where the fellow was surprisingly gleeful to see the crowd. Seems he hadn’t been visited since 2000. Every year he was ready, though, and this year he got to pass out the goodies, in generous handfuls.

Hope has been in my air, lately. There’s clearly a chance to elect a “transformational figure” to quote General Colin Powell. In many ways, it doesn’t matter one’s politics. It’s hard not to become a believer in the human condition, once again, with what seems to be brewing for this Tuesday. I, for one, will be staying up late with friends in NY while digi-camming with Maxine in Oregon.

Hope is in the air, for sure, as we begin to feel like we might even get a building permit for this Vermont Street Project. Seems engineering in Portland is down to barely more than bureaucratic wrangling, although I won’t believe it yet. Maxine says they’re spending so much time on our application because they don’t have anything else to do. Permit applications are down from a high of 20,000 or so in 2005 to less that 4,000 this year.

We’re certainly seeing it in New Energy Works, to be sure. Not in timber frames to cut and raise, thankfully. We’re still flat out, and actually are having another extraordinary year,. But these projects are almost entirely relationship-based projects: word of mouth references, repeat clients like builders and architects, and similar. Our “new acquaintance” line is shorter than we’d like, and I don’t imagine we’re alone. Most of the people in or business are slower than normal, from a little to a lot. Makes us wonder about 2009.

There’s good news for those, like myself, who do want to build now. After the last half dozen years of sometimes double-digit increases, construction costs are going to level and in some areas decrease. We’re already seeing it. Sub contractors are returning phone calls immediately. So there, Portland permitting-nightmare- department, you’re probably just doing me a favor by this unconscionable delay.