- Tim Tower
After closing last year, my main focus was to get our winter projects list in order and to start moving on them. After the previous winter, I was expecting the same; a cold very snowy off-season. Our biggest project, a total repair of the support pieces (pilings, deck floor joists, 13 major "I" beams, etc) and foundation at Barnacle Billy's (original), didn't really get off the ground until the first of December. The "I" beams that had already been ordered were still being galvanized. The pilings hadn't been ordered yet. Everything was just getting off the ground.
For seven years I had been concerned with the state of the foundation at Barnacle Billy's. During all those years we had people (mostly Jack Ladderbush - our best carpenter) shoring up support pieces, sistering "I" beams and the like. I took a keen interest in the structural integrity of Barnacle Billy's (original) after our father died. So in early spring of 2015 I hired an engineering firm (Caldwell Engineering) to draw up plans for a total repair project. A bit later I contacted Atlantic Mechanical to see if they would take on the project this year when the engineering plans had been completed. I was very lucky that AMC had the time and agreed do the project. They are, of course, the best. By the end of the summer I had the plans, a price from AMC and a start and end date. The finish date was slated for March 1, 2016. I suspected it might go longer. So I figured a week more and adjusted our opening date to April 8th in accordance with a potential late finish.
As projects go, we added and subtracted things as it progressed. Improvements in materials and stronger reinforcements caused the price to go up somewhat in places. But we saved money in others. The most salient feature of the project, though, was the weather. No one ever expected that the winter would be so mild. The project flew along. The whole thing was completed before the beginning of February! And it was under budget. And it was a perfect job, better than I ever expected. Thank you Larry Paul (President of AMC)!
It was so early, in fact, I was able to get Tim Darling (a local contractor, Darling Industrial Group) to totally revamp our street drain system. The weather was so good that I was able to get the Town of Ogunquit in on the project as well. Together, with the continued good weather, that project was completed before the end of February! This included three new catch basins, three new style grates and all connected with 18" straight pipe. Three times the amount of water can be removed from the streets now. We used cold pack to seal the road up. But the Town of Ogunquit is planning to pave the whole area as soon as the paving plants open this later spring. The drainage system is the best we have ever had at Barnacle Billy's, an added feature I never thought I would see completed this year.
I take a vacation most of March. While I am gone, my brother, Court, takes over everything. We keep in touch via email. But most of the winter decisions, getting the crew together, planning the opening and getting it all done on time is his thing. Court has been doing it so long that I don't have to get involved much. Oh, I have questions. But they have always been easily answered.
And that brings us to today. We have other projects, most completed by one of my favorite people in the world, Jack Ladderbush. There are always quite a few of those. And if you want to know the details you can ask me when you get here. Suffice it to say, to mention it here would take too much time. And I couldn't give Jack enough credit here in my writing.
We are just about ready to go. All the pricing has been completed. The lobsters are in the tanks. The chickens are cooking on the rotisserie (we have to pre-cook the chickens for a couple hours before we cook them tomorrow). Mitch Perkins is making the salads and the chowder. He's the best. Eric Littlefield (Kitchen Manager) is making the lobster stew. Just as good as my father used to make it! Chuck MacDonald (the GM at BB's, Etc.) is double checking everything and instructing where there needs to be instruction. Etc & etc. I am happy about where we are at. The weather looks like it is going to be good for the weekend - without the cold of last weekend. And I would celebrate with a rum punch if it were legal to do so! By the way, Stu Dunn (our liquor manager) is ready with the rum punches! I'm looking forward to a wonderful season. My sister, Meg, will be on the floor. My sister, Cathy, will be working behind the scenes. But you will also see her opening night. What could be better? See you there!