Friday, June 17, 2016

What do you mean you don't have a first born? How do you plan to pay for all this?

Our new home is perfect. It is exactly what we were looking for and are quite happy with it, except for a few things. Like the kitchen, it needs a completely new kitchen. The one in the house is an ugly circa 1970's monstrosity. So that has got to go. And then there is the plumbing. If I flush the toilet in our apartment the upstairs apartment gets no water, and by no water I don't mean a trickle, I mean absolutely no water. Which makes it just a little bit hard to rent out. Of course if I do the laundry in the basement, nobody gets any water. All around the house, especially in the front, the windows are failing. They need to be replaced. And then there is the electric. The other day Mark wanted me to hang his new chandelier in the dining room. I climbed up on the ladder and started to remove the old one. I took the decorative cap off the junction box revealing a spaghetti bowl of ancient wiring. Whoever had hung that lamp had stuffed ten pounds of wiring into a one ounce package. So there is electrical work that needs to be done. The result of all this is that I have had a parade of tradesmen, salesmen, and those who claim to be experts, over to the house.

First up, the re-pipe guy. He walked through the entire property, tapping on pipes, running water, and looking up into wall openings. He then sat at my dining room table, tapping at his iPad, and writing furiously on a piece of paper.
"Let's see, remove old pipe, replace with new.... chop holes.... fix holes... add new line for kitchen... charge for city required valve... Okay then, $17,800."
He looked up at me and saw the horror on my face, which I think he expected and wanted.
"Now I can discount for the kitchen... discount for new customer...  discount for the hell of it... use cheap crappy product.... Oh, and how old did you say you were? Senior discount... and if you sign away your life right now, today, we can do it for $11,800."
He looked at me with a grin, as if he had just given me a gift, as if he had just done his best friend a huge favor. Knowing that after the first high number, eleven thousand, eight hundred would sound acceptable.
"Thank you." I told him, and showed him the door. "I have two other guys coming to give me estimates. I'll let you know."
And that is the way it has been for the last week. One after another showing up for pipes and windows, giving me inflated prices as if they were giving me gold plated crap. One thing they have all done is drop their prices the minute I told them that they were only one estimate, that I had others coming over. Now I am quite popular on the phone, getting plenty of calls asking if I have made up my mind. I haven't. I still have to get over the shock that I can't keep all the money I made off the sale of my old house, that I have to actually spend it on our new home. Our new, perfect home.


  1. The woodwork looks nice.
    For us we had to redo the electricity and replace fuse box.
    Then a new bathroom. After that, kitchen. New roof. Windows.
    New rooms in basement. Garage collapsed, new one. New Furnace. Brand new dining room... Did I mention water heater replacement? Another roof.
    After thirty years in this century old house, we still need to replaster walls in living room, main floor bedrooms. And the cathedral ceiling opening into the attic? Never happened.
    Good luck with the projects, Alan!

    1. Cathedral ceiling? Just put a cup of holy water next to the door so you can dip and do the sign of the cross as if you were entering a cathedral.