Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Fifth of Five

The second floor of the Cheney Cottage, waiting on 62nd Street

At long last, we finally brought the last piece of the Cheney Cottage home to 62nd Street today. It was a long day, but everything worked out.

The day started with us realizing that it was the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, and we had to turn the clocks ahead an hour - meaning that we lost an hour of sleep. This was problematic in that we were getting up at 5:30. When the alarm went off, we had gotten very little sleep, and it took a while to get rolling.

We got down to the Gill Tract around 6:45. It was still dark, but Phil and the crew were there, hooking the house up to the truck and getting ready to leave.

Also there was a representative of the City of Berkeley. We had to give her the $25,000 for the rest of the City's bond. So we wrote out a check and handed it to her, but she told us that she had to get the check from the University. I guess that, in addition to yesterday's article in the paper where Dan Marks referred to us as "amateurs", they also think our money isn't good enough, or that we go around writing bad checks.

Fortunately, Kevin Hufferd came down and gave us the check. Kevin Hufferd is a mensch. He has been a true supporter of this entire project, making it happen and giving us a lot of good advice, trying to creatively find solutions to problems, and encouraging us every step of the way. He has represented the University of California-Berkeley professionally, worked with us to find solutions and has never hidden behind bureaucratic and arcane "rules". How unlike the City of Berkeley staff.
Thanking Kevin for all his support as the Cheney Cottage leaves Albany Village

How many times can I describe the wonder of watching Phil Joy and his crew work? They are amazing, and everything went smoothly. Despite having trouble with some trees on Sacramento Street, and the occasional bad driver who couldn't figure out that a house blocking both lanes was hard to pass, we moved relatively rapidly the four miles from Albany Village to 62nd Street.

It was an amazing moment with the house turned the corner onto 62nd Street. Finally, the two sections of the house were close together again, and Phil unhooked it form the truck. Then the winch slowly pulled the house onto the lot, right between the two stacks of cribbing that support the second floor.
The first floor being pulled beneath the second floor

Dre helps steer the first floor into position as it is pulled back onto the lot
The first floor, almost in position
The first floor and second floor of the Cheney Cottage are now aligned on 62nd Street, in their new location.

Next, we spent the afternoon working on the first floor. We nailed some trim that had come loose during the move back in place, swept up both floors, and fixed the front door of the house so it locks (we had been keeping it bolted closed). We also put plastic between the two sections, to keep the rain out.

We also spent a lot of time chatting with our neighbors. Everyone who came by was excited seeing the house on the site, and they were enthusiastic about the work we've done to date. Most had seen the Chronicle article yesterday, so we commiserated with a lot of them about difficulties dealing with the Berkeley Permit Center. There is a great deal of anger in the community about the Permit Center, and people were enthusiastic about our ideas on how to address the issues.
Tony Lopez, Phil and Celeste Joy, Dre Swanson, Gerardo Camargo and Leo Rosales

On Tuesday, Phil and the crew come back and take the dollies out from under the Cheney Cottage, and put the first floor on cribbing. Then on Wednesday, Eric and his crew will start working on the foundation. Hopefully, in two weeks, the foundation will be done, and Phil can come back and lower the second floor gently down onto the first floor. We'll reconnect the walls, and put all the trim back on the outside of the house. A new roof and a paint job, and the Cheney Cottage will be weatherproof and ready for the interior restoration.
Contemplating all the work left to do


  1. As my mother used to say, "It's a showplace!" Congratulations, boys! Great post. If I may, I'd just like to recommend new captions for the pictures. Starting from the top:
    "I lost my keys and I tore the place apart looking for them"
    "Kevin Hufferd and puffered, but would never blow our house down"
    "These guys are pretty good house movers, but MAN, can they parallel park!" (for the middle three pictures)
    "Anybody remember where we put the bathroom?"
    and finally, "Can I cook, or can I cook?!"

    Love you! Ricky

  2. Phil may be a "force of nature," but you two take tops in determination and perseverance! Congratulations - this is a huge milestone!

  3. So, do you now get your fifty Gs back from those momzers?

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