Saturday, September 15, 2007

Shameless Product Endorsement

Through the process of being a home owner of a fixer upper that also was my childhood home, where things were not so good for a lot of my childhood, I have learned a lot. I have always been a neat freak, but I have had to learn some heavy duty cleaning type stuff. I have become an expert at dumpster rental. I have learned about clearing brush. I own and know how to use probably as many tools as Norm Abram at this point. I hate painting trim. Contractors drive me nuts. I will probably drop dead from shock if I ever get a contractor who shows up on time, does what they are hired to do, in the time they said it would take, does not break any of my stuff, cleans up after themselves, and does not come up with any other stuff that "needs" to get done.

My roof looks great, it is working very well at protecting my house, but my roofer pissed me off. It was some of the longest three days of my life dealing with him and his crew. I should have fired him before he even started, but I was desperate to get the roof done immediately, and I just could not wait to hire someone else. I had seen his finished work, and it was good. He showed up, unannounced, half in the bag, a few days before he was supposed to start, dumped a bunch of equipment in my yard, on top of tarps and equipment I had in my yard, and put a generator in my rickety ass garage. I did not want anyone in my rickety ass garage or fucking up my ladder, tarps, and other tools. While they were here, I was unable to get in my house because they felt the need to simultaneously accumulate their debris on the front and back porches. They also decided to unplug the motor home, which needed to stay plugged in to keep the mechanicals in it from deteriorating and unplug a freezer full of food as well. My favorite part was that he and his crew kept parking on the grass, when I told them not to do so. The capper was when he told me I could not tell him he could not park on the grass because technically the first fifteen feet in can be annexed be the city through eminent domain so it is not mine anyway. This is wrong in that the land potentially subject to eminent domain for the purpose of widening in the road is not anywhere near fifteen feet in my town, and also, IT IS MY FUCKING YARD! The day I came home and found they had unplugged the motor home, which is quite a feat, instead of using the extension cord, and outlets I told them they could use, was the last straw. I was visibly livid. He asked me what he could do, I told him he could finish the roof and get the fuck out of my yard. I handled that well, huh?

My electricians were great, they did everything I asked, including some stuff they did not have to do, like pull all the old TV and CB antennas down for me while they were up the ladder hooking up the new service. They always showed up when they said the would, cleaned up after themselves, and even told the plumber to stop being a pain in my ass. So that worked out very well. Unfortunately, they are high end and very busy, so I had to find another electrician to come and do the little stuff I need help with as those things pop up. They are good too, but I keep finding little wire carcasses all over the place after they are here.

The plumber, what a freaking prima donna. After this experience I decided I am going to marry a plumber because mine was always on vacation in exotic locations, had all kinds of high tech equipment and trucks, a huge house, as did his ex-wife, and he worked approximately 72 minutes per day three days a week. Suhweet. Sounds like lotsa fun to be Mrs. Plumber. Being plumber’s customer not so fun. Plumber is a slob, plumber makes a fucking mess everywhere, and "will clean it all up when he is done." Yeah, fuck you, so I can either clean up after you or put up with piles of debris in my yard, my basement, my hallway, and my living room until you decide to get around to finishing. Also, so not cool that I caught him putting his tools on my couch. Dipshit!

The plumber is also the contractor thanks to whom I came up with the joke that when a contractor tells me a job will take two weeks, I need to be sure it is two weeks in a row. I hired him in early June, he started mid July, and when he had not yet shown up for the finish work he was scheduled to do the third week of August, I just had the electrician do it. He eventually called me to tell me he had been trying to get in touch with me. So not true, I have caller ID. I explained I figured he quit since he did not show up as scheduled, or call. So he told me ok, he will be right over to pick up his final payment. I printed out a spreadsheet of what I hired him to do, what I had paid him thus far, and docked him for all the shit the electrician did as well as all the shit he and his crew broke. I will be honest, the plumbing is great, the bathroom looks amazing, and it was the best money I ever spent.

When it came to the tile, they thought I was nuts, and gave me a lot of static. They finally shut up when I told them; "well, if it sucks, good for you, I write you another check to fix it, and you can say I told you so. Otherwise, all you have to do is tell me I am right." I think they were more enticed by the possibility of an "I told you so" than by the possibility of another check. They did what I said, and it came out amazing. It looks great, and they, as well as all the other contractors said "Lana, you were right." I did have them redo the grout because it was cracking and not filled well in some areas the first time. Eventually, it seemed to me that the grout around the edge of the tub was crumbling. Rookie error, I did not know all the stuff to double check. So, I made one of the grave tactical errors I have made since I became a homeowner. I half assedly caulked over it. So, of course, I ended up with caulk encased mold, which aggravated me no end, particularly since it was my own damn fault. I tried several things. Cleanser, liquid cleanser, bleach, shampoo, dish soap, laundry soap, old toothbrush, baking soda... At last, I found salvation. Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover. Buy It, Use It, Live It. It got rid of the mold. The edge of the tub is once again shiny and pristine. When the weather gets cold, I will pull out all the caulk and grout and regrout and reseal the edge of the tub, but until then, I am blasting the crud back to the Stone Age with the Tilex.

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