Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Five Weeks After The Move…

Well five weeks have come and gone. I have been calling all kinds of people to do all the work we need done. My husband is a saint, but the scope of his handy skills are limited to changing an occasional light bulb. Thank God he earns a good living to pay others to do what we can’t. The first thing I did was to make a list for my electrician, Frank, to take care of. There were a couple of carpentry items he said he wouldn’t do because he wasn’t comfortable. That’s fine. I had plenty of electrical work on the list and he is a wiz at all that. I have five light fixtures changed, some outlets added and switches too.

Then I called a roofer/brick guy, Mik, who specializes in waterproofing to check the front and back of the house. He found some cracks, but more importantly, he said the lintels over four of the windows in front needed to be replaced. The engineer who inspected the house already told me this, so I knew it was true. He also said it would cost $800 to $900 a window. I hadn’t planned on doing this, but as both men explained, the lintels are holding up all the bricks that make up the front of the house. When they break down the bricks will crack and crumble. Mik told me he would replace 4 lintels, repair the cracks in the stucco and paint it, power wash the slate roof and repair/replace missing and broken slates and do some pointing on brinks that needed it front and back, plus caulk all the windows. We hired him to do it all which saved me from calling a few other people to take care of these jobs. It was expensive, but when he showed me how rotted away the old lentils were I knew it was a wise decision.

Once that work was done I needed a handy man, I called Marco. The kitchen cabinets are a nice cherry wood and not very old, but the damn hidden European hinges on three of them need adjustments. If you don’t know what kind of hinges these are, you are very lucky. If you ever get new kitchen cabinets, avoid them at all costs! Anyway, I wanted the handyman to adjust three of the cabinet doors that were not properly aligned and driving me crazy. The ones in the corner were the worst and I would not use them they way they were, and they had plenty of storage space that I needed too. I also needed the copper roof over my front door sanded and painted. He came yesterday and did both jobs. Two more things checked off the list!

I have been having ongoing conversations with the painter. The whole house needs to be painted on the inside. I don’t want to think about painting again for a few years. After coming and finally giving me an estimate, it took some back and forth texting and emailing to get him to bring the color charts and set a date to begin work. He tells me he will start day after Labor day, I can only pray that’s true. I haven’t been unpacking a lot of stuff so as to keep the clutter to a minimum and make it easier to paint all the rooms. I have not been buying furniture or curtains or rugs either, for the same reason. So this is holding me back a little, but based on his reputation for neatness, I was willing to wait. I had a very sloppy painter in the old house and that was a disaster! The mess he made was ridiculous. In the mean time, I let him know we picked our colors out and he plans to come back soon to iron out the final details.  So hopefully I will be reporting that the painter has started work next week.

Next job on the list is the front yard/patio. I called a neighborhood construction guy who seems to do most of the concrete, brick and paving work in the area. Of course he is also expensive. His name is Anthony and he is Italian. The both of us talking together sounded like a scene from The Sopranos. He had the nerve to make fun of my accent, when his is just as bad. Brooklyn accents are very distinctive! Besides that, I had him laughing because of my bluntness. He tells me that pavers for the front yard/patio wouldn’t cost much more than concrete and I know this is BS because I did my research. In the end the whole job is more expensive that I guesstimated, but my husband and I agree to hire him. It’s not worth shopping around for a cheaper price and then not have this big job done the right way. Anthony tells us to go to his office with a deposit and to pick out the pavers. We get there a little early. His secretary has us look at the various color pavers. After a few minutes Anthony comes out and he says, “Let me show you something,” as he grabs one of the books. I say, “So now you are going to show me what you want me to pick?” He breaks out laughing. As it turns out, I had already decided to go with the same pavers he was going to “suggest.” He promises to have the job completed by September 21st, one month after we sign the contract, unless we get a lot of rain and he falls behind. We agree no one can fight the weather.

So all my ducks are in a row, so it seems. I am hoping that everything I planned to do for now will be done by September 21st. Then I can focus on unpacking and buying what I need to finish all the rooms. I am tired just thinking about it.

On a good note, I was feeling around the outside of the huge bathroom mirror this morning, don’t ask me why. I have been grumbling for weeks about how there is no medicine cabinet in such a huge bathroom. Well guess what? There is a very big cabinet behind that mirror! I love it! This was one of the good things I discovered. Most of the others were problems that had to be addressed. So I will be fully utilizing the space behind that mirror shortly! I also found six bottles of expensive perfume and aftershave that the previous owner said I could keep. One bottle I know is $100 because I also have it!

I miss writing my blogs damn it! Can’t wait to get back to them full time.

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