John Brandi 9 p.m., Sept. 17
- Community Blog
Home Ownership- Not for the Faint of Heart
I painted my own fence. My twenty five year old double sided made of cheap wood that has knot holes fence. Some of the neighbors, those with lots of outward facing fence, bought that horrible white vinyl fence. I'm sorry manufacturers- but that stuff is too white, and when it starts going bad, it's going to look cheesy.
I did the outside first. About 100 ft of fence x 5 to 6 ft high. I did it in stages, over weeks, quitting when I got too sweaty and my face, arms, and legs were streaked with grey paint plus primer. Last year the bees of summer visited my fence, and built a giant hive and honeycomb inside a 5 x6 ft area. I didn't really notice until the colony grew, and then had a bee guy who makes honey come out and he scraped them into a bucket and took them to Escondido to work for him. $200 but i did get a little bottle of honey, and a foot long piece of the honeycomb. After paying him off, I had my handyman replace the area of the fence the bee guy took down. It looked good, and it should for $500, but I had to paint it and discovered that it appears to be some sort of indoor siding, because the paint dissolves the surface.
I have a pretty wild garden, as the direct result of my obsession with wierd looking plants that bear edible fruit, or just look cool. I have trimmed it back from the inside of the fence 3 times so far, and now its grown back again, before I got around to painting it. Last weekend I finally got out there and used that cool growing foam gap filler stuff in the knotholes before this years bees move in, so I really need to go out in the next day or two to trim the bubbles that protrude from the fence surface before it is completely inaccessible. I bought the paint two or three weeks ago, but will probably have to take it back in to "shake it" before I actually open the can to use it.
I also intended to paint the trim on my house long before this weekend. I had a "non-contractor" bid on the paint, and then noticed that some of the fascia needed to be replaced. The house was built in 1986 or so, so I guess it's time. I'd also noticed some sawdust outside the front door, so called a local company to do a "FREE" (note the quotes) termite inspection. The guy came out, smiling and friendly, and I left him to do the inspection, until i heard sounds like someone hammering on the house and saw him leaning his weight into his "probing" tool, and actually poking holes all over the place, including on my flower boxes. Within less than 5 minutes he had managed to take my decent looking trim and turn it into a bonanza for his employer, and probably his friends who he's hoping I'll hire to fix the damaged wood that he made worse. I was sick to my stomach when I saw what he had done. Several weeks later when I got their "estimate" I couldn't even open the envelope, I was so angry.
I got a friend of the "painter" to bid on the wood repair/replacement. He was really a roofer, and pointed out that my roof could use some work. He managed to get a check from me for 1/2 the cost $800 before he left, before I had a chance to think. By now I'm feeling really vulnerable, and wasn't going to let him near my house. After two calls where he managed to talk me out of delaying the work or cancelling the job, I asked the painter to do it, since it was his neighbor. I put a stop on the check, and ate the $15 bank charge for doing so.
Everyone is looking for work, and some appear to be creating their own jobs needed or not. Since I have a loft, and the wood would require at least two people to repair it, I made the decision that it was probably not a good idea to let an unlicensed, uninsured contractor near a ladder on my property. I asked friend for referrals, and had a licensed contractor come out. Or rather the "estimator" of a licensed contractor. He said he works for 12 termite companies, along with selling wood repair services. His bid was twice the cost of the non-contractor, but he told me he was giving me all sorts of "good " deals that he didn't want to write on the estimate, but he would do if I reminded him after I signed the contract. Nice enough guy, but it appears that in these times, you can't trust anyone. At this point I have no money to do anything, so that bid is hanging over my head, because I do have to do something and I can't do it myself.
My stove, an expensive purchase less than 6 years ago, has been shutting itself off routinely for the last few months. It is the only thing in the kitchen that seems to have a power failure over and over. I finally decided last week to call a repairman from a well know local company (and the same company that sold me the stove)- they said the service call was $75, but if they repaired it that cost would be deducted. There was also a 10% off labor coupon on line. The repairman showed up, on time, dressed nicely and polite. He took a look, tested everything, and said it looked like a "relay" was bad in the electronics, but the stove itself was working perfectly. To replace the "board" it would be $400 but that would only fix what the display said, and if I didn't care about that, I could be assured that the stove worked fine anyway, and would just have to reset the clock the next time it happened. That sounded great to me, and so he told me that the total would be $125 and he would put down that he couldn't discover what the problem was (even though he told me what it was) and that he would give me his own phone number because he could do repairs "on the side". He told me if he put down that it was a bad relay, it would cost me $150 more so he was saving me money. I gave him the 10% off coupon and he had to call his boss to see if i could use that since he didn't really repair anything, just tested it, and was told yes I could, so I "only" had to pay $106. The $75 service call was I guess just a travel charge because that was never mentioned at all.
I'm hoping to go on vacation this year, or even out to dinner, but I'm not quite sure I can afford it, and I have no way to tell who is being straight with me, or who is trying to create an income for themselves. I don't think this has anything to do with being a woman, I think it is just the times.