Fresh Blacktop

On our way into the office Monday morning, we were greeted by the smell of tar. It was the best smell in the world, because it meant that they were pouring asphalt, at last. The water-main construction out in front of Pemba Base is finally finished. If you’ve talked to us at any time over the past few months, in the background you’ve most likely heard jack-hammers, incessant beeps from heavy-equipment backing up, and earth-movers lumbering down the road. Team Pemba has also experienced ankle-deep mud, smothering dust, parking difficulties, and they even shut off our water a couple of times.

It’s been a hoot. Really.

As much as we like the fresh blacktop, the best part of this project was when they first tore up Main Street. Deep down underneath the layers of asphalt patches they found old cobblestones. These were mostly intact – like big bricks – and they piled them up by the side of the road. I meant to borrow one for the office before they hauled them away. I think I was hit by a car or something and never got around to it. This is just as well – really – as I’m no thief. (See “Integrity,” below…)

Pemba Base is on a block that’s been in Madison since it was founded. The building we’re in is over one hundred years old. Our sample warehouse is in an adjacent building, and the roots of it go back over one hundred and forty years. There’s an old aerial picture here in the lobby – most likely taken from a kite – that shows our warehouse and several other buildings from the neighborhood. Across the street is a former hotel and brothel; out our back door is an old train station. Both of these are still here. (Well, NOT the brothel – much to Pete’s dismay – but the building that housed it, anyway.) Down the way a bit is a former grocery store which is now the headquarters for The Onion. In the picture, you can also see Madison’s second capitol, which burnt down in 1904.

There’s a lot of history in this building, and on this block, and for that matter among our team. We’re proud that Pemba Base is here. We also like our space. It’s a good place to work, and it really reflects who we are. Maybe someday we’ll post pictures. I’m not tech-patient enough to figure it out, at the moment. Until then, if you’re ever around feel free to drop by. You have the address, and unless we’ve gone out to play – Parkour, cyclocross, slack-lining, and fly-casting have all been a part of our workweek in recent months – we’ll be here.

2 responses to “Fresh Blacktop

  1. parking difficulties? you mean you all don’t bike to work like Pete does? I heard that he is so hardcore he bikes 50 miles, uphill both ways, rain or shine. totally amazing.

  2. He’s not biking now: His bike is in the shop. I heard he took it in and they told him to get a real mountain bike and stop beating up his poor road bike.