Home Improvement Hell: Day Fourteen

They’re still at it, now just outside my second-floor window. To the accompaniment of pounding and wall vibration I shall write a terse recap.

Take a Leak

Last night I discovered a water leak right at my meter box, which is strategically and rather unaesthetically located on the front lawn. Upon examination, I noted that the meter’s leak indicator wasn’t spinning, which led me to believe that the leak was on the supply side. This was significant for a couple of reasons, but mainly because that would make it the water company’s responsibility; otherwise, I’d probably be looking at a four-figure bill. I sure have been spending money lately.

I was thinking that the dumpster in my driveway was suspiciously positioned close to where that meter box is located, and maybe when the garbage hauler emptied it over the weekend, he backed in over it. I could never prove that, though, because as far as I know, there were no witnesses.

When I checked to see that the leak indicator wasn’t spinning, I decided to run some water to see if I could make it spin, just for the hell of it. In addition to the kitchen and the downstairs bathroom, I opened up a tap in the wet bar adjacent to the dining room, then went out to watch the meter spin. After happily viewing the results of my experiment, I came inside to shut off the faucets. That’s when I found that I had forgotten that the drain plug was engaged in the small bar sink, which was overflowing — another damn cleanup to keep me busy!

Fortunately, the utility company came out first thing this morning. The technician said it was just a gasket and they’d take care of it. Thus, no blame assignation is necessary and more importantly, no expense.

Circuitous Routing

The boys just popped a GFI again, so I’ve been doing laps from my upstairs office to the garage, where the GFI resides. No rest for the weary. I suspect that much like the outdoor outlet I had to replace on Day One, this one was in the same shitty shape. I will have to replace it, too. For now, I found an alternative circuit into which they could plug one of their compressors. Nothing like a major project to give the whole house — and its owner — a workout.

Just What I Needed

Couple that with the fact that the air conditioner guy is here today. When I scheduled maintenance on my three units — which happen to be located at the favored exterior location for the siding project guys’ compressors — I thought the siding job would be further along. Nevertheless, the polite, persevering, pierogi popping Miloje said “no problem.”

The air conditioning outfit has been sending me its largest refrigeration technicians ever since I blew my cork at one of their guys. Last time, it was a 300 lb black guy; this time it was a 6’5″ Serb. Can’t wait to see what I get for the next service. Hulk Hogan doesn’t live far from here and Shaq is never far away.

But it’s all good. Miloje was very polite. He finished in about three hours, finding nothing awry that would cost me more money.

Avoidable Delays

So, why aren’t we further along? Well, let’s start with last Friday, when they decided to suspend operations in view of a forecast deluge that never came to pass. Yesterday, I wondered why they started late — 9 am instead of the usual 6:55. I got my answer from the foreman this morning.

The guy driving one of the equipment trailers got stopped by a cop for non-functioning tail lights. When the Florida Highway Patrol officer checked the guy’s license, he discovered that it had been suspended. Furthermore, there was a bench warrant for the guy, for non-payment of child support. Fortunately, the officer investigate that on our good ol’ boy’s insistence and found that indeed the guy’s daughter was 20. The warrant had been issued a mere two months ago, clearly an error inasmuch as child support was required only until she was 18. The guy’s ex-wife probably was trying to get away with something. The cop figured that out, and left him go on his own recognizance. It’s the foreman’s trailer, and he’ll be paying the ticket this morning. As for the suspended license, I don’t know. Not my problem.

The foreman dropped off a check this morning for the balance of the window repair bill. (Recall that they had broken one of my windows. Cost them $230 to fix that.) The window guy will be here tomorrow to replace it. My cleaning crew will also be here tomorrow. It’s been like Grand Central Station around dis joint!

I’m thinking that, weather permitting, they’ll be done with the siding by the end of Monday. That won’t be all, though. The gutters and downspouts will follow, and then the entire house will be painted. I should have at least another week’s worth of fun after Monday. Nevertheless, I — as well as my neighbors, no doubt — will be happy that the mornings of pounding and sawing will have ended.

Sophomoric Move-Out

Cupcake and AS at the White House
Cupcake and AS at the White House – Summer 2010

Meanwhile, there is no rest for the weary. This weekend is move-out weekend for Artificially Sweetened’s daughter Cupcake (whom you might remember from my summer vacation series of about years ago — she was fourteen then, and now she’s all grown up), and I’m committed to trekking up to Gainesville to assist the young Gator in her travails. She’s finishing up her freshman year. AS, Sk8er Boi (aka Sharkbite), and I will drag a U-haul up there on Saturday and meet Cupcake at her dorm after she finishes a final exam. I intend to do only the driving, supervision, and meal buying. There are enough young, strong bodies to do the heavy lifting.

But I Digress…

Back to the great siding project, I am fortunate that when the old siding was torn off and the framing exposed, no rot or otherwise compromised framing was detected. That would have pumped up the cost of the project considerably. Whew! It’s all buttoned up now, so one big bullet dodged!

My house is going to look great, and the extra layer of half-inch plywood should result in some energy saving. It takes three pretty large air conditioning units to cool this place, and my electric bill, which has been known to exceed $500 in the dog days of summer, could use a break. I’m happy with the work these guys have done thus far. When this is all over, I’ll write a glowing recommendation for the remodeling contractor on Angie’s List.