Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


It's Final

I may have never blogged the virtues of our apartment building, but let me do so in a sentence or two: It's an old, heavy wood everything, former nun housing, five unit, white with green wood shutters, well made and in a great neighborhood, building. The closet doors weigh 30 pounds apiece and ride on brass tracks, and everything is solid. It stands in total contrast to the first place we lived, a chipboard and plastic megacomplex that shook whenever somebody used the stairs outside and will have to be torn down in 40 years when it wears out.

What's final? Vinyl's final. That's what we used to say when I worked painting houses with Lance and Jesse anyway. For the last few weeks, the property management company has had a crew here adding some r-1 insulation and vinyl siding to the structure. I guess they weighed the cost against repainting and went with the hose-off siding instead. I'm all for increased efficiency, but I loathe vinyl siding. It looks ugly and cheap, it's made with foreign oil instead of local trees, and it encases much of the architectural detail of an old house like this under the hermetic seal and charm of a double-wide. New windows would have added way more thermal efficiency, but probably would have cost five times as much and not resolved the need to paint this summer. Further, out go the wooden shutters in favor of more plastic, with the new shutters about 3/4 as wide as the old. Ugly.

The sting is even greater considering that our next door neighbor spent most of last summer removing the crappy vinyl from his place, replacing old claps, and repainting- his place looks great now, and ours is a sad caricature of its former self. It's no wonder people who own homes in our neighborhood rail against "renters" as bringing down property values. Maybe it isn't the people, maybe it's the level of care the owners give to the structures. Our place now stands as another bit of disposable built environment within a neighborhood that was built to last (sidewalks poured in 1913, maple trees from New York planted in the boulevard around the same time). That's the real shame. They aren't making any more places close to downtown Missoula- the neighborhoods we have now are the only ones we'll ever have, and in an era orf rising gas prices, neighborhoods like ours will become critical when walking to the farmer's market becomes a way of life and not just something to do for hipster points.

All told, it isn't really final, but it will be a mountain of work for somebody who ever wants to bring this place back to its former glory in 20 years or so. It makes it more likely that they'll just consider a teardown when the time comes, which would also be a shame.