marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
[personal profile] marydell
We are engaged in some home improvements.  Our house is a fixer-upper, it needs fixin', and we're doing our bit for the economy by spending a crapload of money on fixing shit. We have a baby who has just started crawling so making the home and yard comfortable for family-style living (like, eating meals with the TV <i>off</i>, eek!) is a priority.  And since all of our cash & credit was tied up in adoption stuff for the past  3 years, and is now mostly paid off (thank you, adoption reimbursement programs--the government gives you a tax credit, and your employer may also give some--look into it), we are long overdue to take care of stuff.

I bought a kitchen table. The current one came with the house, and is an object of hate. The sales guy saw us looking at a table, asked if we had any questions, and then walked away to let us talk about the table in private.  When we asked him for the price, he gave us the base price, and then also told us the cost for various add-ons, in a tone that suggested the extra add-ons weren't all that important and we didn't need to buy them.  He did not mention that the half-price sale was for one day only, because he assumes we can read.  He did not suggest that we look at any other table, despite us buying the third-cheapest table in a showroom with about 60 tables in it.  We bought the table, 2 extra chairs, and a scratchproof coating. We would refer other people to that store (Darvin furniture, for anyone in Chi looking for something between Ikea-priced and la-di-dah Smythe priced).

Then we went shopping for laminate flooring for the kitchen, because the 40-year-old vinyl stuff is too gross to let a baby touch. That sales guy showed us the cheapest floor in our color, the middle range, and didn't bother with the high end because we didn't want to spend a lot.  We picked a tile.  He said "take the sample tile home to make sure you like it and we'll come over and measure and quote you for the labor then." The guy who came to quote us suggested a waterproof tile for the foyer by the kitchen instead of the wood laminate; the tile he suggested was cheaper than the one we're using for the kitchen. We're buying the floor from them.

Also we had sod put in the front yard, because otherwise the grubs would go hungry, since they had eaten ALL the grass. Um, we also put down grub treatment, sorry grubs.  That sales pitch went like this.  Us: how much for sod? Landscape guy: $$$. Us: also we have this situation in the back yard, where the rainwater pools behind the house because of the pitch of the yard. We can't afford to re-grade the yard this year, but eventually we'll have to do it, according to most landscape guys - how much do you think that'll be?  Guy: Oh, you don't have to re-grade they yard, I can run a drainage pipe under the yard for you, it'll cost about a tenth of what re-grading would cost, and it'll dump all the rainwater into your garden at the back of the yard.  Us: here, take all of our money, we love you.

Then, on a lark, even though we probably can't afford to do it for a couple of years, we had people come and quote us for new doors and windows.  Mainly I just care about the side door, which won't open when it rains and which we hang a wool blanket over in the winter to block the breeze that comes in. But Mike wants to do the whole caboodle.  Place number one has a website where you can pick out the styles you want; they quoted us (well, they quoted Mike; I wasn't home when they came) for those exact styles without trying to sell us on something else.  So they seem cool but they came in with a super-expensive quote, so we called a competitor for another quote.

Lady from office of competitor calls ahead of time to make sure we're both going to be home when the guy comes. Wha? They like to have both halves of the couple there, because there are so many styles, etc.  That right there suggests that they have a particular image of my marriage, one in which the wife picks the things that are pretty and the husband pays for them. So right there I was ready to cancel, because fuck them, but Mike convinced me to just let him handle it and so I did.  Guy showed up today when I was unfortunately NOT at work, because of a bad asthma flare up at the tail end of a cold. So, having trouble breathing and the guy has totally taken a BATH in cologne. I tell him I have errands to do but I can stay for 15 minutes or so if he wants me to look through a book or something, since they said they want us both to look.  No, he doesn't, because he has to do a presentation. The company won't allow him to do a shorter presentation, he needs AN HOUR AND A HALF to look around the house and then show us options and give us a price.  Our house has, like, 16 windows, including the basement, in two different styles, period. An HOUR AND A HALF.  He also says he'll be able to make us a good deal if we can commit to the job at the end of his presentation; otherwise he'll quote us for the regular price.   I look at Mike to see if it's ok for me to kill this guy in our kitchen, since they're gonna replace the floor anyway.  He's like "I got it, honey," so I go to do some errands and get lunch while the guy starts talking about types of windows.  20 minutes after I leave Mike sends me a page that the guy has left.  After he started making Mike look at all the available styles of windows Mike said "look, here's the ballpark that we're looking to spend, is that realistic?" (Probably not, from what I can tell...) And the guy apparently took offense, said that they were going to charge in about the same ballpark as the other folks so it wasn't worth his time to do the presentation if we're just comparing with the other folks, and wouldn't give Mike an actual quote because Mike hadn't listened to the whole presentation. 

Then he had to call back to the office to say he was canceling, and they had to call the national office, and Mike had to talk to a guy at the national office in order to get the presentation canceled and send the guy packing. WHAT THE FUCK.

I believe they key phrase here is "national office."  All of the other places are local outfits.

Date: 2009-06-02 10:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elettaria.livejournal.com
Good lord, that sounds insane. My plan for when I can afford it is to get the secondary glazing fixed on the front window so that we can open both our windows again. Which is probably worse, actually, as I've only been able to find one glazier who fixes secondary glazing, and since his quotation got both my address and my GENDER wrong, I don't trust them to get my window measurements right.

Can you get draft-proofing as a stopgap for the side door? I've had it put on my front door, though in my case it was so that it would stop rattling, and while I got it from a service for the elderly/disabled called Care and Repair, so the labour was free and I think the actual bit of draft-proofing was either very cheap or they just gave it to us as they had a spare bit hanging around, I believe that it's generally very easy to do and pretty cheap. As for not opening when it rains, can you shave a bit off the door or something? Before adding the draft-proofing, of course.

Date: 2009-06-02 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marydell.livejournal.com
Shaving the door isn't a bad idea, as a temporary measure, although when it's not raining it might then not fill the space. The problem with wooden doors in my area is that if they're not protected from the weather, they get wet, soak up water, and then freeze, and after enough times the wood is very wonky.

My parents just had some glazing done, since they have nice old-house windows in a nice old house. So their repairs always have to end up looking like the original stuff. My house is about 50 years old, so it has completely boring features - plain pine trim, plain double-hung windows, plain doors. Which should make replacement cheaper, but since we're trying to increase the energy efficiency of the house, plus make everything more secure, that's driving the cost up. The US economic stimulus has some tax kickbacks for homeowners who replace windows & doors with higher-efficiency models, which is why we're considering it this year. The security thing is mainly to keep Charlie *in* rather than keeping anybody out...I would love to be able to lock the screen door and leave the inner door open and enjoy a breeze. The current one doesn't latch and doesn't really deserve the name "screen door." It manages to trap flies inside the house because they come in through the holes and can't find their way out again.

I'd agree that someone who can't find your house isn't likely to do a good job with your window!

Date: 2009-06-02 12:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bifemmefatale.livejournal.com
My brother sells new windows--lmk if you'd like a quote from his firm too. I'll make him give you the friend of Chris price. :)

Date: 2009-06-02 02:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marydell.livejournal.com
Oh, that would be great, can you send me the name of his company? Even the regular price would be fine as a starting point, since we're still in that stage of trying to figure out where it fits in the 5-year budget.

Date: 2009-06-02 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bifemmefatale.livejournal.com
Email harry@opalenterprises.net Tell him you're the friend his sister mentioned. You can also see their website at http://opalenterprises.net

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