How's my day going???

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
About how most days go. Worked last night so I slept in. Forgot to set the alarm. Luckily the telemarketer gave me a wakeup call. So I'm winding down my morning routine and getting ready to Do Things...when The Cat decided to get on my lap. Stuck. Played all the MS Solitaire I could. Started doing other fucking off to kill time when my college friend, Retarded William Shatner.

For those of you who aren't familiar, Retarded William Shatner is a good friend. But one of his superpowers is to call me when I absolutely don't have time to talk to him. And it's usually because he is on a long road trip or otherwise bored--he doesn't actually have anything to say, but he just wants to kill time--unfortunately this includes *my* time. So there will be just these long, awkward pauses where he just doesn't say anything (hence the nickname for blogging purposes). But I figure, what the hell, it's either that or look at memes on the computer.

Of course soon after I answer the phone, The Cat gets bored and jumps off my lap. But now I'm stuck on the line with Retarded William Shatner. Plus, I have to stand up so that The Cat doesn't jump back on my lap before I can extract myself from the call. That finally done, I had to stop to bitch about it here.

Now it's almost lunch time and I still haven't walked The Dog or, indeed, done anything productive. This post typed while kneeling in front of my keyboard to prevent a cat from jumping back on my lap.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
OK. Needed to snark a bit and Facebook is probably a bit too public for this snark. But if you're an operator for a plumbing company, you probably shouldn't be confused when a caller asks you about putting a house that's on a septic tank onto the city sewer. That's a pretty straightforward thing. All the other plumbers seemed to understand it. And the fact that I had to try explaining it about 4 times in 1 call makes me suspicious of your service.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
So among the things I need to fix on the new house are that it is on a septic tank instead of the city sewer--and I specifically don't say "connected" because there's just an open-topped concrete sump under the house that sewage flows into before moving to the septic tank. And at some point, someone tacked about 10' onto the back of the house. Actually, it looks like someone tacked 5' on and someone else added another 5'. The roof where the join is looks like the back of a 30 year old mare. The cost to fix either of these things right could just about eat up my whole contingency budget. On top of that, there's no roof vent for the plumbing.

But I'm getting too old to do an entire roof myself--no matter how simple it is. While, if I pay someone to do the roof *right* the carpentry will get expensive to fix the horrible not to code work done before I owned the place. The workaround I'm considering is doing still not to code--but light years better than what is up there now--work myself and then getting someone to put the shingles over everything. And I'm just considering fixing the septic tank connection so it doesn't involve standing raw sewage under the house. And whether you can use PVC for the sewer vent. None of this is optimal, mind you, but over the long term, it could work.

I love it when a plan may or may not come together.
 

Eggs Mayonnaise

All In With The Nuts
It all looks so easy on those HGTV shows. Then again the couple in need always has a hundred grand laying around to do the repairs and reno.

As someone who can't hammer a nail in straight, my #1 priority when looking at any new place is great water pressure, and no septic tank. If the shower doesn't leave marks from the blast, next house please. (That is, on those rare occasions when I'm moving because I want to, not need to quickly).
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
I wonder if I'm a freak or HGTV has brainwashed everyone. When someone hears you're renovating a house, they almost always ask "you gonna gut the place"? Why would I do that? How will I fit a different floorplan into the same footprint that is significantly better--especially after factoring in things like load bearing walls? I like to consider myself a "house whisperer." I can look at the ill advised things that have been done to a house over the years, undo them, and figure out what the house really wants to be--picking paints that work with the floors and cabinets, saving old wood floors, etc. This one is going to have my most aggressive work 'cause the bathroom really needs a lot of help. Weird narrow tan fiberglass tub with a built-in surround, inexplicably low ceiling, vent fan that isn't actually connected to anything--not even power, the electric outlet is wired to the light switch (so you shut the light off and the outlet loses power), bathroom door opens outward. Storage consists of a little medicine cabinet (not the mirror, this has a louvered door instead of a mirror) that won't close. And there's no sewer vent stack. It's going to be...interesting.
 

Eggs Mayonnaise

All In With The Nuts
HGTV has, if not brainwashed the masses, at least homogenized the idea of reno. The first floor of every old house now has to become a big white box with no walls, filled with white and off-white decor. No wood staining anywhere, just a light hardwood floor and blinding white everywhere else.

Apparently the kitchen has to be the crow's nest of the house, where whoever is cooking can monitor everything going on anywhere on the property.

And while I love a good kitchen island, having one so huge that it seats as many people as the dining room table is a bit much.

Having said all this, please tell me why the fuck I am completely addicted to Love It Or List It. Hillary Farr makes me smile, even though she is the worst perpetrator of everything I've listed above...
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
This post appeals to me for 2 reasons: 1) Apparently, with the 'rona and people all being stuck at home together so much more, people are realizing maybe the "open floorplan" isn't all it's cracked up to be. It is noisy and has no privacy. So people are looking for ways to break up an open space. 2) Ye gods, the white. The place I'm working on is from 1938 and has a very "farmhouse" vibe. By that, I mean the places my grandparents lived and milked dairy cows. "The Waltons." Cozy. Warm. Rustic. And at this point I'm going to just cut and paste from Facebook rather than retype something very similar:
Ye gods. The Interwebs have never failed me so badly. For my next house, I'm thinking I need the feel of my grandparent's farmhouses. Can't even put my finger on it, but a cozy, homey feel. Might even attempt wallpaper. But I have an idea but nothing specific. So I Googled "farmhouse interior." What monstrosities. When I see white walls, huge open spaces, cathedral ceilings, and exposed beams, with breakfast nook barstool kitchen islands I do NOT think "farmhouse." To me, *this* is "farmhouse":
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Meanwhile, my renters are having *another* plumbing problem. So I gotta to look at that and try to figure out what's going on (I mean, other than running an online bakery out of a residential kitchen). It could just be the miserable curse of that house where everything involved extensive work or it could be that they're pushing things beyond their design specifications.
 

Chuckles51

Member
Those stupid home flipper shows have done nothing but drive up the price of houses. When I was looking for a house I saw that a lot, people buy an older home, rip the originality out of it, do the standard silly upgrades and raise the price way higher than it should be. I was fortunate to find a house than was still mostly intact and I loved that!!
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
And it's amazing how dated they get quickly. Saw one, years ago, and said "this kitchen was remodeled in 2005."

So the renters are off the hook. The sprayer hose on a 3 year old Delta faucet had an internal failure. Went over with the sprayer "gun" from my own sink. The faucet was being demonic. Swapped out sprayers and it was fine. Now I gotta find a stainless/brushed nickel sprayer that looks relatively OK. I guess I could buy the whole hose assembly and just throw away everything but the gun, but that seems crazy. But I can't buy just the gun in that Delta model.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
I am considering just shoplifting the part. Discussion: There will be a display model on the wall for people to look at. It isn't connected to plumbing, never will be connected to plumbing, and will never be sold to someone. My broken sprayer looks fine to all but the most discerning eyes. I can just swap it out and no one will be harmed.

[edit] Hell, it would be simple and easy. Act like I'm looking at the faucet. Pull mine out and compare it. Take the gun off the display model so I can compare the insides. If anyone stops and asks I can truthfully say mine isn't working and I'm trying to compare the 2 and see if I can figure out what's wrong. I probably won't be able to so I put the sprayer back on the display model and put totally my broken one and not at all the one from the display model back in my pocket and leave.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
...and a quick comment on the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Put simply, and as I understand it, this is the tendency of stupid people to be very confident because they have no idea how little they understand while smart people tend to be uncertain and doubt because they understand how complex something is.

My van is having charging problems. The wiring harness is 32 years old and has been used for over 600,000 miles. The alternator gauge has never worked right in the 2-3 years I've owned it. It worked sporadically although this summer it seemed like it may have finally started working. I swapped in new battery cables and added another engine-frame ground, thinking that would finally get it good. Instead it seemed to die completely (or was it working and was showing me the battery wasn't charging?) I bemoaned this on Facebook and someone chimed in "just hook a voltmeter to the battery. If it reads less than 14 volts with the engine running, you've probably got a bad alternator." "Ah," I replied, "but wouldn't a loose or damaged wire between the alternator and the battery also cause a low voltage reading?" No reply. But yeah, my friend had a very confident and reassuring answer--that was easily called into question without even really thinking beyond what I'd already said. Well, I should go make things happen. Or at least look at some porn.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Jesus. So here's something I'm fast learning:
1) A lot of people get rich doing real estate investing.
2) 75% of people who do real estate investing are idiots.

The good news is, if idiots can get rich doing something, it should be easy for me. The bad news is that I have to deal with a lot of idiots. And if I want to figure out how to do something, I either need to figure it out myself or ask an idiot how to do it.

Looking for a roofer. And they're all surprisingly high for what I'd expect for the job. So this girl who I kind of respect gives me the contact info for her guy. He's...interesting. And yes, it took him a day to come up with a quote, but it was about half of my next lowest quote--potentially for more work. As I'm trying to book him, it becomes clear that his quote doesn't actually include *materials*.

Now. If someone asked me how much it would cost to shingle a roof--I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say a pretty big part of the cost would be, I dunno...SHINGLES. But no. This guy's quote is just for labor and the cost of renting a dumpster(?!) So the dumpster is included but not the shingles? Well when it's all said and done, his quote is still going to come in low and my girl is trying to calm me down about how it is perfectly normal to estimate the cost of shingling a roof without including the cost of the shingles.

Now, I will say, I was getting some warning bells from her stories already, but I was holding out hope that, even though she is happily married with kids, she wasn't an idiot. Sadly...

So she's asking me about my quest for a plumber and I went with one of the more expensive local plumbers. Why? Because even though their hourly rate is pretty steep, they know what they're doing and that knowing will actually save me money because they (potentially) have a smarter way to do things than anyone else. I did NOT use her plumber because any call to their phone--the 24/7 "emergency number" or otherwise--goes straight to an automated system. MULTIPLE times. And there's really no way to simply e-mail them from their Website. So she gives me a direct number. Which is no good.

Anyway, while we're chatting about the plumber, I mention that I'm planning to use her roofer and she says if she uses him again, she's just going to have him buy the materials instead of driving all over town to buy them herself.

Wait, what?

Who hires a contractor that subcontracts to you to gather the materials?

And here's the kicker: It's a pretty simple roof. Basic rectangle. Chimney in the middle. A few vents. Drip edge on the border. If had to, I could do it myself. It would suck. But I could do it. And if I did, I wouldn't drive around town picking up shingles. I'd order them online and a truck would drop them off at the house. So I dunno. We'll see. There's a decent chance I'll try to get back to the guy I very nearly hired. Yeah, he's about $2,000 more than I estimated. But he got me a quote in 2 hours, isn't flakey, and the quote included the cost of materials. That or I'm gonna be on a roof with a goddamn hammer.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
"If you pay peanuts, you're going to hire monkeys."

OK. Gotta steal from a FB IM conversation with her:
"If I used him again for a roof, I’d have him tell me what materials and then I’d tell him to order and have delivered and I’d pay. Was not worth it to drive all over town trying to find the right materials.
Reese is the warehouse he uses and cost is pretty close to Menards,"
Wait, what?
1) How do you recommend someone and then later say "*IF* I used him again..." and
2) Am I reading this right, she had to drive around town and hunt down materials? Or she paid him to drive around town and hunt down materials?

Either way now I'm thinking about how to tactfully get someone else and I've wasted about 4 days.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Problem solved. The other guy called up so I hired him. I write him a check for half tomorrow, they start at dawn on Wednesday, and get done no later than Thursday. So I texted the other guy and said I had some unexpected expenses. Now I hope I haven't jinxed myself and that comes true. He's going to be about a grand more, but it should be worth it for professionalism.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Things are proceeding. I guess the best metaphor is having the tiger by the tail. I'm trying to be aggressive about real estate investing because my 11 year old dog is perfectly charming, obedient, and well-mannered...unless she has to be left home alone for oh, 9 hours five days a week. Then she gets herself worked up into a frenzy and destroys things. I own enough rentals and I don't have to leave her home alone for extended periods.

Anyhow, my "expensive" plumber came in at 1/3 the cost of another plumber--with a better plan. I was never able to reach the one my girl recommended to me. They never answer their phone--even the "24/7 emergency number"--the automated system is maddening, and even their online "contact us" is basically useless. Not that it probably mattered because my girl tells me all the plumbers are "3 weeks out right now." That's weird. Because my expensive plumber is going to trench a sewer line the day after Thanksgiving. He was hoping to be able to do it tomorrow but it doesn't look like he'll be able to. Meanwhile I met with the roofer I wound up using. Handled everything very professionally and is going to be there at dawn tomorrow (so yeah, I plan to get up in the middle of the night and head over so I can be there when they show up), weather permitting (it isn't supposed to be, but if I don't go...)

I'm going to be stretched a lot more thinly than I'd like for the next month or two, but...sometimes you've got to roll the hard six (I'm too superstitious to finish that sentence any other way).

So then it is picking the things that need to be done to get the new place livable, listing my place, and starting to move stuff. Well, after first finishing up The Plan. Ideally I'd have had that before I started hiring contractors, but sometimes you've got to carpe the diem. Oh, the other worry(s)? The sliding door on the van needs adjusting to get it to open and close right and I'm having a problem with charging. I almost wish it was as simple as a bad alternator. That isn't cheap, but you pull a couple bolts, put in the new one, and you're back in business. I'm 90% certain I've got a bad/loose wire somewhere. On top of that the dog who hates to be left alone also hates riding in the van. So I've got to work out how to handle that. Well, gotta go for now.
 
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