It’s been a tough couple of weeks but there are now signs of it getting better. My arm finally feels like it is on the mend and the electrician is nearly done drilling holes in my house. He’s also a week behind schedule.
You have to expect problems when you’re working on an old house. I’ve tried to be patient with this whole process, but at times it can be a bit overwhelming – the number of details, the issues, and the wacky people you have to deal with – all conspire to drive you nuts.
Here’s one that drove us to close to the point of wanting to smash heads in: We bought a hood for the stove. It was a nice “island mount” unit. We researched it. Told the crews what we were buying and had it delivered. After it was delivered, the same crews opened the box, fussed, measured, argued and then pronounced, “It won’t work.”
After a bit of gritted teeth discussion and attempts at staying cool under stress we decided to return the unit and get a different hood that everyone thought would work. We then called the company we bought the first hood from and asked about returning it. Their first reply was, “You can’t return it, you’ll have to sell it on Craig’s list.”
Heather’s reply was, “You’re insane.” I won’t report the rest of the conversation, but will say that it is a good thing she was on the phone and not at the sales desk. People could have been injured.
Yes, they did take back the hood, charging us a restocking fee plus shipping which I’ve recorded in the books as an “education fee.”
That’s been our life the last couple of weeks, lots of stresses that multiply rather than add. At night we have few lights, can’t find a comfortable place to sit and Heather gets to cook outside and wash dishes in the laundry room sink. During the day we have a house full of noisy workmen – hammering, drilling, cutting, and generating epic amounts of dust and debris while yelling at each other through walls and over the roof. Because of my tendonitis I’ve taken some medical leave and stayed home, resting my arm while sitting on the swing seat listening to the plaintive call of the electrician, “Andrew, where did you want this?”
And then there was the rain. Yes, rain. California is in the middle of the worst drought in recorded history and I’ve got to worry about rain. November, December, January, February, no rain. Not a drop. So March rolls around, we sign the contracts to open up the roof and presto: rain. Not much, not often, but just enough to delay the start of the project by two weeks.
It was just two weeks ago that we let the crew start tearing off pieces of the roof and I became obsessed with reading the weather forecast. At first I wasn’t worried – the weather would be clear for 10 days and after all we’re in the middle of this epic drought, right?
It was a week ago Thursday that we first saw the 20% chance of .01 inches rain for Tuesday. The roofer wanted $$ to put a tarp on the roof and the electrician warned that tarping the roof could on Monday could delay the project by another full week.
So Heather and I weighed the costs, risks and benefits. Another week of living in a dark house and cooking on a camp stove. In February all the storms swung north and not a drop landed here. Project is already over budget and behind schedule.
So we decided not to have the tarp put on and I pushed the electrician to get back on schedule.
You guessed it – it rained in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Not much but enough to get us out of bed at 2:45 am running for buckets, rags, paper towels and flashlights. I can’t be sure but I think I managed to get a bath robe on. It rained for about half an hour and the water found nearly every hole that had been drilled into the roof. By 3:30 the worst was over and we’d managed to prevent any real damage other than our frayed nerves.
The good part of our risk? It kept our electrician on schedule and we have a rough electrical inspection scheduled for Tuesday.
That wasn’t the only rain. Another storm system came through at the end of the week but this time, with a 50% chance of rain, we had the tarp put on. Good thing too – rained a lot on Friday, and a bit yesterday. Now the weather forecast shows us going to a dry period and a possible heat wave.
Which is good because, if all goes well with the inspection we’ll be able to have the roofer put the roof back together and we’ll be water tight by next weekend.
Just in time for the epic drought to continue.
Till next week,