Aerial Pictures!

MassGIS has finally released its April 2005 aerial pictures of everything in the state. You can see a picture of our house under construction. It probably won’t be too long before you can see the pictures on other online mapping sites, but in the meantime, you can check out the OLIVER Viewer and turn on the “Images/Orthophotos/Color Orthos 2005” layer if you want to browse what the rest of the state looks like. (There are a bunch of other layers you can turn on as well to see different things. Not quite as snazzy as Google Earth, but still interesting.)

Public funds for private roads

Residents of private roads, which have been open to public use for six or more years, may now petition selectmen to provide temporary repairs such as filling holes, oiling surfaces, resurfacing and drainage installation. Voters at the May town meeting approved the new practice of using public funds to repair private roads if 51 percent of the landowners abutting the road sign a petition for repair. Last week, selectmen approved the new petition form and decided each petition will be valid for three fiscal years. The new practice is pending approval by the state attorney general for action taken at town meeting, after which, residents may obtain petition forms from the town administrator’s office.

— Today’s Telegram & Gazette

Despite that I voted against the measure at town meeting, I think my dad and I ought to sign one of those petitions, just to see what they might do to our road… :)

Random Life Update

I finally broke down and applied for a credit card last weekend. The prospect of better fraud protection and cash back was just too tempting. I’m now eagerly awaiting for it to arrive in the mail.

Today and next week I have off of work. I needed to use up some vacation time before May or I’d lose it. I figured I’d take off this time since it’s public school vacation week, and thus my Mom and wife have it off as well. My dad is also taking it off. So, we may go out to the Berkshires sometime in the middle of next week, if the weather’s good.

Today, the electrician came and finally finished off the stuff that he had yet to do on our house. We now have a light at the end of our driveway lighting up the driveway and yard. Our house feels much more complete now.

Jessi also planted lots of stuff today.

Tomorrow, I run my first tournament at WPI that I’ve run in a long time. It promises to be the biggest one yet, partly since the WPI SFS got funding to subsidize the cost.

An ethical dilemma

Jessi and I are settling into our house well. It’s starting to feel normal to live here. Our driveway got paved yesterday, and it looks nice, although they left a lot of dirt in our front yard.

So now, they naturally would like payment. They’ll take $5,000 if I give them a check, but if I get cash, then it’s only $4,700. This seems a bit… fishy to me. I know that it can’t cost them $300 to process a check. So, there has to be something more going on. My guess is that if they get a check, then they report it on their income taxes. But if they take cash, it just goes into their pockets and they don’t properly report it. (And it’d be much tougher for an IRS audit to establish a paper trail, or something.)

So, what should I do? Just pay the cash, and hope that they’re honest people who just don’t like dealing with checks? Pay them the full amount with a check, just to hope that they do the right thing anyway? Pay cash and send in a tip to the IRS or something?

We have a move-in date!

My dad managed to get most signatures we needed for the occupancy permit today. (I don’t know how people with a normal job ever manage to get anything done at the Town Hall.) The only thing left is the final building inspection, which is scheduled for a week from tomorrow. So, assuming that goes well (and there’s no reason to think that it won’t), we’ll be moving the rest of our things and ourselves that weekend (the 15th).

The return of the Government Bureaucracy

So, our house is basically done. We could live in it. The only things not done are the hookup to Charter, the microwave isn’t installed, and there’s some touchup painting in places.

So now, we need to wait for several town offices to sign a piece of paper saying that we can live there. I’m not quite sure what “occupying” it means. Certainly, people occupied it to build it. We moved most of our stuff in there. We’ve even played games there on several occasions. So, I don’t know whether we need to wait for them in order to sleep there at night or not. Or maybe we’ve already broken the definition of “occupying” and just nobody really cares.

The main problem is most town offices have ridiculous hours like Monday through Thursday, 10am to 3pm, with an hour off for lunch. So getting them to sign things may be difficult.

Networking Blues

Apparently, our electrician doesn’t know an RJ-45 jack from a hole in the wall, and networking the whole house wasn’t really in the original contract, so apparently we’re going to be on our own for the final networking. The cables are all there; we just need to hook it all into jacks.

Anybody want to come to a networking party? We’ll feed you! I’ll even pay you if you know what you’re doing.