We competed in the Pepsi Refresh Everything contest in July 2011. Thanks to online voting by hundreds of bird lovers from all over the country, we were able to finish in the top 5 of the $25,000 category. We are used this grant money toward building a 16 by 53 foot addition onto the Burge Bird Services veterinary hospital. This new room is used to house birds we have rescued while they wait to find new homes. Here is what happened with the construction process in late 2011 and early 2012:
Our building sits on a 1.6 acre plot and there is a huge back yard, so most people thought we would add the new room onto the back of the building. However, on the north side (to the left of our front door) there was an empty patch of ground, and a door we never use opens from the lobby into that space. By building the new room adjacent to the lobby, prospective adopters will be able to go right into the Rescue Room without having to pass thru the lobby or the boarding area.
So here we were on December 11, 2011, with the privacy fence adjoining the building torn down so it was out of the way. Get ready for a muddy mess!
December 12: Since the ground wasn't level, the concrete guy said we needed a truck load of dirt to level the site. While trying to maneuver the truck to the spot where they wanted to unload, the driver managed to find those two old former water meters next to our parking lot with his front tire. The truck immediately sank to the axels and could only be removed by dumping the dirt, moving it all out of the way, and then backing the truck right onto the site they had been trying to level.
Once we get some good freezing weather, everyone is invited to come ice skate on our new pond that formed in the deep ruts they left in our yard!
December 12: Once the dump truck was gone, there was rapid progress in the mud making department. Machines were moving and digging and generally making a mess of the yard I have spent so much time mowing. Good thing I never spent a lot of money on grass seed or weed killer. Our parking lot and front porch accumulated so much mud that I wondered if much was left to level the building site.
Mind you, I am not complaining about the process. I swore I wouldn't complain if we could ever get past all the delays and actually get started building. So while it may sound like I am whining, I am really just describing the process in detail so you can feel like you were there. : )
December 16: At last it looks like something more than a mud wrestling pit. These guys were trying to work fast to get the concrete poured in between rain showers and before the ground froze. I was finally able to sort of get a feeling for how big this new room was going to be.
I wanted to write in the concrete before it was hard, but the contractor stayed there working on it until it was nearly solid. I thought it would be fun to put a macaw's footprints into the floor, but that proved to be impossible with the watchful eye of the concrete man making sure I didn't mess with his creation.
December 21: YAY!!! Something is standing up at last! I think we are going to have a real room here pretty soon. The messy muddy concrete guys are gone, now the messy construction guys are here. Little bits of wood, big chunks of wood, empty cups, all kinds of debris started to accumulate around the site. About 3 times a day I would have to go outside and ask somebody to move their truck so our clients could find a little bit of space to park. Our parking lot is already too small, and having a large pickup parked at an angle doesn't help. (Not complaining, just describing, right?)
At the bottom of the photo you can see the pond we hope will freeze soon. Meanwhile, if we could find some homeless ducks they would have the water all to themselves.
December 27: We now have most of our walls, one window, and part of a roof. These guys may be making a mess in the yard, but they are sure working fast to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. Their plan is to get the exterior stuff finished as fast as possible so they can work indoors when the real winter weather hits.
I don't go inside the room much because I get the urge to start cleaning up all of the debris that is laying around. Not that I ever want to clean my house because it is a losing battle against all the dog and cat hair, and my birds like to have food fights daily. I think I will go sell more feathers on eBay rather than cleaning the construction site. Gotta earn more money to pay for this room!
January 1, 2012: Guess what, the contractors actually worked on New Year's Day, but then so did I. The roof is done, 5 of the 6 windows are in now, and the only reason there is still a hole in the front of the building is because they are waiting for the drywall to be delivered. They don't want to have to drag it thru the lobby, which I believed was because they were being thoughtful. Turns out they just didn't want to have to go around a corner with it as they carried it.
There is quite a lot of dangerous and ugly stuff laying in the yard, and I hope nobody steps on one of the hundreds of nails that is probably scattered all over the ground or sticking up out of boards.
January 8: Look, no more hole in the wall! The drywall was delivered, so they finished the exterior walls. They even got two coats of paint on it since the weather has been incredibly dry and warm (thank you global warming!). You may also notice that all the debris is gone from the yard. It doesn't look like such a construction site now.
Our ice skating rink/duck pond/mud wrestling pit has dried up in the drought, but if it rained there would be such a mess that we would lose clients in the sinkholes if they stepped off of the parking lot asphalt.
January 15: TA DA! The exterior is finished! Guttering done, all shiny new paint, and the privacy fence is up. The area adjacent to the building has the edging stones in place and mulch, the rest of the lawn that was torn up has been tilled and smoothed out. No point planting grass seed yet, but as warm as the weather has been, it may actually grow now. Later I will worry about putting in some landscaping.
Now I have an area about 8 feet wide between the building and the property line that will be part of the back yard. Too narrow to mow with the riding mower, too shaded by the room on one side and the privacy fence on two sides to grow anything. Right now the whole thing is covered with mulch, but maybe it would make a nice area for pigeons and chickens and wild birds.
January 15: So what does it look like on the inside? Well, here is the lovely decor we have so far. Exposed insulation, a big stack of drywall, tools laying around, and you can see the underside of the roof because there is no ceiling yet. The contractor can't hang any drywall until the electrician and plumber come and do their work and the city inspects it. So when will those guys come in and get busy? Who knows! They were supposed to be here last week, then they were supposed to be here this week, and now I am told they will be here next week.
I'm turning blue holding my breath waiting. Oh well, at least we have a nice looking finished exterior. Patience, patience.....
February 8: Yes, there has been a 3 week delay during which time virtually nothing was done in our room. The electrician who originally said he wanted the job never showed up because he had so many other more important things to do. I finally put my foot down and fired him. The contractor, who was also sick of waiting for the guy to show up, found out that he could do all the work himself as long as a licensed electrician inspected it, so it was done within a couple of days!
Now at last the drywall can go up. These guys are fast with hanging rock! They had almost the whole ceiling up before I had a chance to grab the camera.
February 8: The plumber has to run a drain along the back of our building because we will have have a large shower stall for washing bird cages. Three of my dogs were willing to pose alongside the ditch, but they didn't want to get inside. They have heard about people being trapped in a trench collapse on construction sites.
They did later have fun daring each other to jump over it. I'm thinking of leaving it open, creating a moat full of vicious dogs to prevent burglars.
February 10: You know, nothing makes a room look like a room quite like having walls! Bye bye insulation and studs, hello solid surfaces. It is much quieter around here when they are hanging sheetrock because they use screws instead of nails. No pounding, no generators, just nice little drills.
There is a window in our exam room that now looks into the Rescue Room. I like to open the blinds and watch while the boys work. If they are moving too slowly I open the window and yell at them. I love bossing men around!
February 15: We were hoping for white walls, but we didn't want the floor to be white! All that mud they use to smooth out the walls creates quite a lot of dust when they sand it down smooth. There are white footprints thru the lobby, into the bathroom, out the front door, across the parking lot, and it looks like a ghost has been walking around here. I can't wait to see how they manage to clean up all that dust so we can work on the floor later. We are thinking about doing stained concrete, so the dust has to be completely washed away before that is done.
Maybe we could just open the windows and set up fans to blow all the dust out. I hope my dogs aren't standing downwind!
Now that the men are out of the way and done making messes, the women take over to clean up all the dust and debris. Several of our friends volunteered to help us with this enormous task thank goodness!
Look how big and beautiful and shiny the new room is. Finally! Thanks to our friend Kerry who knew how to stain the concrete and apply the sealant, this floor will look good for years!
And at last, on March 30, 2012, the grand opening party was held for the new Pepsi Parrot Pavillion Rescue Room!