The phone rang one Tuesday late in June. It
was Alex, the owner of the hundred-yearold
farmhouse that I soon would be expanding
by 1,000 square feet. "We've run into a
problem with the excavation," he said.
"Think you could take a ride over here?"
The job was 35 minutes away, and we had
agreed that Alex and his wife, Andrea,
would act as the general contractors. So I
was surprised at the request, all the more so
since I knew the solid reputations of the
backhoe operator and the concrete crew.
Driving there, I wondered what the problem
might be. Water? Ledge? An archaeological
find? If so, why call in the carpenter? I