Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Headquarters Under Development

Well, what can I tell you? We're still holed up here at our farm in Vermont, and we've parried the several legal thrusts of some of these stick-up-their-ass timeshare claimants. It helps that I've rigged up a wicked home theater system in what we're now calling "the Great Room." The county sheriff and his deputies have an open invitation to come watch the college football games in high-def on Saturdays — and if I can keep the chips and guac coming, they're quite a bit less determined to serve me with their writs.

We'll see if the goodwill from local law enforcement holds up after the bowl season in January.

But I'm a reasonable man, and I know what's fair, so I've offered to buy out all the timeshare owners — regardless of what week they have — for fourteen cents on the dollar. The way I see it, possession is nine tenths of the law, right? So in essence I'm offering a 4% premium to anyone who cooperates.

To date I've managed to speak with 29 of the 37 owners (some people bought up more than one week), and I've consolidated ownership of the farm for most of January and February, the third week in April, all of June and September, and from mid-November through the end of the year. Those dates float a bit with the calendar, so they're just approximations. I'm close to deals with most everyone we've tracked down so far. One guy in New Jersey has been a real thorn in my side, but for the most part people have had the business sense to cut and run.

At some point I'll be doing a blog-exclusive walkthrough of this place, and you can expect a more authoritative description of its facilities and features then. To do that now would be premature, because we're making improvements — and building fortifications — left and right, and we haven't yet decided what we want to keep secret and what we can freely discuss.

Right now, and uncontroversially, I can list among this estate's assets forty-five milk cows and three bulls (we might sell off the animals, depending upon how profitable the cheesemaking operation is), a couple good-sized John Deere tractors, a chicken coop, fifteen three-foot wheels of signature artisanal Vermont cheddar, ten pair of snowshoes, a Ford F-150 truck (left behind by a pair of middle-aged vacationers we put to flight), a snowmobile, and an Artesian well out back that will provide a site-specific water-source to the complex, once we get the old set of pumps cleaned up and repaired.

You don't want to rely on City Water if you don't have to.

PePe is hard at work installing the perimeter defenses, starting with two fences: chain-link-and-razor-wire on the outer boundaries of the property, then an electric fence. There was some discussion about what should come first. I favored the high-voltage fence, on the ground that electrical shocks have significant short-term depreciative effects on a person's motor skills, making it difficult for him to perform the delicate movements required to skirt a three-foot loop of razor wire.

PePe championed the razor wire, for liability reasons. With the electric fence on the outside, a guy can just walk into it by accident and sue us for the burns and disfigurement. If he's already cleared a forbidding razor-wire barrier, it's clear he is an intruder and we owe him no legal duty not to shock the daylights out of him.

That's the kind of prudent observation that makes PePe not only my Piper, but also a Trusted Advisor. I'm leaving that project entirely to his discretion while I work with the architect about opening up the farmhouse interior (and wiring it for T1 Internet: this dial-up crap has got to go).

Anyway, busy busy busy. We need to get all the exterior work on the estate buildings done by winter — and up here winter comes early.