Home Repair 102

I’m still in the estimate gathering phase. One of the ironies of procrastination is that things just never move as fast as you want them to once you decide it’s time to get something done already.

In the past three days I’ve met with three different contractor/repair type people and talked with two others on the phone. And I’ve realized what it is I truly dislike about this process. Other than the whole call people, leave a message, wait for them to call you back, miss their call, call them back, leave a message and wait again thing. Because of course that doesn’t irritate me. Much.

It’s not that these guys aren’t nice or that they don’t know what they’re doing or that they’re condescending while I explain what I want done. On the contrary. The thing that bugs me is that apparently I’m not supposed to believe a word they say. I’m supposed to be distrustful and suspicious. I’m supposed to get more than one estimate, in case they’re trying to rob me blind. I’m supposed to get references, in case they’re lying about their ability and experience. If they tell me they have insurance, I’m supposed to ask to see proof.

The hell with that. I like assuming that people are being straight with me. I like being naive and trusting. It makes me feel good. I want to believe these guys are hardworking and honest and doing their best to make a decent living so they can feed their families. I want to believe that if someone has been in business for 25 years it means he’s doing something right and that at least some of that longevity has to do with competence and trustworthiness.

I don’t want to expect the worst and hope for the best. If we end up having a problem, we’ll deal with it then. I am entirely confident that any problem will be resolved. To my satisfaction. Really.

So work will begin soon. I hope. The next thing, after the yard work, is to fix the seal on a plumbing vent pipe that leaked and caused water damage in an upstairs bathroom. And by the way, ma’am, you need to replace all the ridge cap shingles. [sigh] I was going to take a picture of the ceiling stain but it’s so ugly. No one wants to look at that. You’ve seen one stained popcorn ceiling, you’ve seen them all. Here, use your imagination:

Of course, then the ceiling needs to be repaired and painted. And since I’ll have people here who know how to do that sort of thing, they’re going to repair the ceiling stain in the back entry from when the washing machine died. And the one in the kitchen from when– um, never mind. They’re going to fix that one too. And then the out-dated wallpaper in the upstairs bathrooms has to be removed and those walls painted. Along with the walls in the front foyer and stairway and upstairs hall.

And yes, I could do much of that work myself. I’ve stripped wallpaper and painted walls before. But this all needs to happen sometime in the current decade. And I’m busy. So I’m getting estimates. And trying to maintain my faith in humanity.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Home Repair 102

  1. Merry

    I choose contractors the same way I choose any male companion. (Contractors in my experience being invariably male.)

    Either he’s cute or he’s someone I feel comfortable being around. Preferably both.

    I’m curious — how are you managing to fit in the contractor phone tag with work? Do they contact you after hours? I ask because I’ve got a whole list of fence guys I have to call for estimates and I’m not sure how to balance this with meetings, deadlines, etceteras.

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  2. BCB

    I agree. I don’t understand why “he seems like a nice guy” doesn’t carry more weight with some people. Cute helps too. And that guy with the charming Scottish accent… [sigh]

    As for working around work, it helps to have a boss who likes to leave early on an almost daily basis. And when it’s time to meet up, I just try to sound entirely reasonable when I say I can meet them any day that fits their schedule, as long as it’s after 5:30 or so. Good luck with the fence!

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  3. McB

    I, too, believe in going with my instincts. Sometimes I regret it, but mostly not. And if he’s cute and has a Scottish accent, it’s just an incentive to stay home and ‘supervise.’

    Merry – remember that you will be paying them. If they want the work they need to be flexible and accomodate you.

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