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The Outside of the House

So we are finally getting ready to start thinking about the outside of the house, and just in time.

The gutters have fallen off one side of the house, there are lots of little nicks and holes all over the house, the paint has come off, there are lots of cracks in the current/board siding, and even some of the siding is coming down. All that stuff is not going to fix itself.

We’ve had three (well, four people come out) to give us quotes on fibre cement and also on vinyl siding. Nearly everybody that we’ve talked to has said that vinyl siding is the way to go. Cheaper, easier to install, and easier to maintain. Not quite convinced yet, but based on the quotes so far that’s the way we might have to go.

So far we can’t quite afford ANY of the quotes (well, we got one that was 10K cheaper than two of the other guys, but we didn’t actually meet him. He blew off the appointment, and then sent an email saying “I couldn’t find a place to park, and I have a bum leg” and then proceeded to give us a quote WITHOUT ASKING US WHAT WE WANT. From my perspective, that guy could PAY US to side the house, and we still wouldn’t go with him.

We’re still waiting on one quote, and meanwhile we have to have a serious look at our finances and see how in the hell we can afford this.

We can’t afford to not protect the house, but we can’t afford to protect it either.

Anybody out there done vinyl siding? Anything to watch out for?

Will the merry go round ever stop?

The last few days have been pretty crazy– We’ve had a lot of people here in the house today. Although things are getting done– it’s slow and frustrating, and a little bizarre. Here’s a little preview–


We started off by moving everything we own into the other third floor bedroom so that the electricians could work on the one we’ve been staying in. That involved getting up at 7 AM to make sure we didn’t miss anything, and to get Stephanie off to work on time. But in the meantime, the door of the room we were going to keep the cat in needed to be planed, so we had to stick the cat (and his litter box) into our room. Much fun.

Aaron was here all day– building up stuff, redoing stuff, fixing doors that were stuck, and reminding me that today was Extra Loopy Friday.

Electric guys were here all day, doing the electric work– they seem to be going very slowly. Complaining about the job a little, but mysteriously not speaking English when we ask them what’s wrong! Things are moving along– our office has power! They’re mostly very good natured, and delight in my clowning around with Spanish and with funny looks, etc. They are Dominican, I think, and there’s a Dominican way of saying “I’m thinking.” They showed it to me (it involves wetting your finger, and then touching the lobe of your ear) When I do that they are VERY HAPPY. They also like it when I mangle Spanish for them, and say things like “Changes!” What can I say, they’re weird!

ADT alarm guys came to install (after not being able to install two days before, and inexplicably not showing up the next day) They have now spent close to 9 hours here, and they are not yet done (they are busy cursing in the next room) Not sure if they are incompetent or what, but they seem to have spent a LOT of time trying to get their drill out of the wall where it somehow got stuck as they were trying to drill a hole for a wired smoke detector.

DirectTV guy came and showed up (without gloves!) on a very cold and blustery day. He showed up later than expected. Got the dish up and installed, but it turns out that the dish isn’t getting a signal. So he has to come back tomorrow!

Oil guy came twice– for the same problem. Second guy told me that we had to wait until all of the work was done– and then we should get the motor rebuilt (due to sawdust)

Stephanie– is off at the synagogue, adn then has loads of work to do for the big shindig tomorrow that we both helped organize.

Other things– noticed a strange dampness next to the old water-heater and the even older toilet (no longer functioning in the basement) It’s possible that it’s just snowmelt that has backed up from the drain– or it could be a more foreboding problem. ONly time and a plumber (if we ever find one) will tell.

TOMORROW the whole craziness starts up again:

Electric guys
Blow-in insulation
DirectTv guy to finish the job he started.

And POSSIBLY THE ADT guys, if they don’t finish here by midnight.

Amazingly, Aaron will take a day off!

list of stressful items

This week’s highlights: cabinets, carpeting, floors, heating oil, snow. Plus a funeral.

The last few days have been especially stressful, as we rushed out of town on Saturday to attend my stepgrandfather’s funeral leaving a bunch of things undone. Prior to jumping on a plane (which we had to do Saturday early to avoid the Blizzard of ’06), we ran out to Home Depot to place our cabinet order (yes, we’re back to Home Depot cabinets, more on that in another post). Of course, not an hour after we left HD did I regret the decision we made to order partial overlay cabinets, as I really don’t like the look. Inevitably, as soon as we landed in Chicago on Saturday I called to cancel the cabinet order, and we spent the whole weekend measuring every kitchen we visited (four in total!) to make sure of our dimensions. We’ll have to reorder this weekend if we’re ever going to get them.

Then, just before the funeral on Monday, Adam got a call from Aaron, who was working diligently in the house despite the 24″ of snow. Apparently the heating oil company we supposedly contracted with had forgotten about us and we were out of heating oil! And – the heating contractor had just arrived to rework our ducts. So en route to the funeral home, Adam simultaneously shopped for a new oil company (who managed to get us oil in two hours!) and got a haircut. Meanwhile, Aaron was digging out the driveway so that he and the heating guy could pull in, as Yonkers doesn’t allow cars on the street after a blizzard. Fortunately the neighbor kids we’d hired to shovel the sidewalk had gotten that part of the job done – I don’t think they knew what they were in for when we hired them on Friday.

So on Valentine’s Day Adam and I arrived back in town, visited with Aaron to make some more decisions, and then went to buy carpeting for the 3rd floor. A very romantic Valentine’s Day and gift, indeed: beige nylon berber carpeting, about $2k of it. Installing Friday. And, starting Tuesday, the floor guy will be sanding and sealing the floors on the 1st floor and the 2nd – LR and DR on the first floor, and master bedroom and hallway on the 2nd.

All the flooring progress is fortunate, since I’m moving a week from next Monday. Which brings me to the next stress: movers. In all the commotion surrounding leaving town I completely forgot that I’d meant to hire a mover last week, and started calling yesterday to find that a number of movers were already booked for the 27th. I did manage to get a bunch of quotes, however, and chose one that was both reasonable and really, really responsive. I’m still not sure when I’m going to pack….

No wonder I’ve had a migraine for two days.