Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The joys of home ownership

We've had a number of home projects going on lately.

First, we had our windows replaced. Then we had the light in the garage fixed. Today the plumber is supposed to be over, and sometime this week, I'm getting a new dryer! And then my short list will be all checked off, and I'll have to find something new to keep my stress level elevated. Because, in case you didn't know, owning a home isn't relaxing. Despite my resolution to spend more time on my couch, I don't think my stress level has been this high since...well probably since the disastrous relationship I was in prior to meeting Captain America came to an inferno of a conclusion, what would that be, six years ago, or so.

Don't get me wrong: I really like living in my house. It's just about the perfect size for the two of us, the location is great, and we have trees in the yard! In SoCal! Of course, I rarely go out to the yard, but I just like knowing the trees are out there, in case I ever do decided to venture outside. I just don't always like owning my house.

I'll start with the easy stuff. As you know, if you read about my adventures with laundry, the light in our garage went out. My husband tried to fix it, but it only lasted a few weeks. Uncle Chef was supposed to come down to help fix it, as well as make other repairs, but then the dryer went, and I insisted we needed the light fixed. Here's my logic: the dryer man can't replace the dryer in the dark, so we need a light. Captain America argued that there's plenty of daylight in the garage if the door is open. I remained unconvinced, and several arguments and $145 later, the light was fixed.

We have some sort of warranty on our home, which I don't understand, because our house was built in 1958, but for $55 the warranty people sent out an electrician. Except the problem in the garage wasn't electrical, per se. The wiring was apparently okay, but the fixture itself had died. The electrician explained it much more clearly, but in the end our option was, we could pay the electrician another $90 and have him fix it, or for about $40 Captain America could go to Home Depot and buy the fixture and do it himself. I have never pitched such a fit over $90 before.

Apparently, the real problem wasn't the $90, it was that I was taking away Captain America's man-card. I said, when we come back from Europe, Uncle Chef will come down and teach you how to do this, but right now, it needs to be fixed and the electrician is here. And I actually laughed about the man-card bit. But I apologized! I didn't mean to hurt Captain America's feelings. I'm a girl...if I can't fix something, I hire someone who can, or I buy a new one. I forgot that men don't always think like that.

So we survived the electrician with our marriage in tact and headed out to buy a dryer. We ended up at Sears, and we're happy with our pick. The dryer I liked best was rated the "best buy" by Consumer Reports (a coworker of mine, also in the market for a new dryer, went to the library and got a copy of the Consumer Report, which she gladly shared with me. It's nice to know nice people!). They should deliver the dryer later today!

And the plumber came yesterday. Our shower broke. It seems like the handle was stripped, and just wouldn't turn properly. In this case, Captain America watched some videos on how to fix it, but decided that in the end, it might be better to just watch the plumber and save himself the aggravation and time of trying it himself. Good choice, Captain America!

So, back to the big project of having our windows replaced. Captain America had been wanting to replace our windows because, well, frankly, they suck. They were the original single-paned windows that used "stick technology" as the locking devise. I had been hoping to pay off the truck this year. See, Captain America, you do win sometimes! And there's some sort of tax credit for energy-efficient windows.

We decided to go with Sierra Window Concepts, with the hopes of meeting William Shatner. And despite their annoying sales tactics. The guy came to tell us about the windows a few weeks ago, and spent three hours at our house! I had expected an hour or so, but he went over every detail of everything! A couple of times! And then, he would do comparisons with other windows. Good grief! We are totally capable of looking at other windows on our own! In my opinion, and in Captain America's, this was all a little too much. We eventually negotiated what we considered to be a pretty good price, but that was a hassle, too. Captain America had another window guy come over for a comparison, and his estimate was about the same, and we thought the quality was about the same, but the warranty on Sierra Window Concepts was better, so we went with them.

Then we had a debacle about frosted glass. I could have sworn the sales guy said they didn't do frosted glass, but that they could put a film on our windows. Captain America insisted that they said they could do frosted glass, but that we didn't want it. I was discussing this situation with a neighbor from when I lived in New Jersey, who also has a window in her shower (literally IN the shower), and we began to wonder what sort of window company can't make frosted glass.

As it turns out Sierra Window Concepts can make frosted glass, and somehow I was napping through that entire discussion. Evidently, I don't have a long attention span when it comes to windows. So we had to change our order. And I was feeling a little bit like, can't they hold off on our windows...I'm not ready for this!

The two big problems that we encountered were that Captain America went to the showroom without me because I didn't have time to go. I didn't know I had opinions on windows until I realized I didn't want what we had ordered. So we've learned that if there's a big project for our house, Captain America can't make decisions on his own. Not because he makes bad decisions. But because I'll apparently have opinions on things I would never have thought about before buying a house.

The second big problem is that we agreed to the Sierra Windows the day the salesman was there. Yes, we had negotiated them down in price, but I still felt a bit hurried. Like I said, I hadn't planned on buying windows this year at all, but I certainly hadn't planned on buying them before our trip to Europe. Who has time for windows when there's a vacation to plan! Our plan was to get a couple of estimates before we decided, but evidently that plan went out the window during my nap time!

So I worked from home on Friday while the window guys installed our windows. The salesman told us they would clean up afterwards, which, of course, I didn't believe at all, but they did a really good job. Of course Captain America vacuumed after them, but I'm pretty sure Captain America dreams of getting one of those robotic vacuums so it can follow me around the house.

We had huge rains on Saturday, but no tsunami, and we found no leaks. So after about six weeks of aggravation, we have really nice windows.

1 comment:

  1. And to think I've been getting depressed over not having a house! Thanks for the reorientation. ;)
    And we have one of those vacuum robots (wedding gift from the Professor's lab) and it's curerntly sitting idle in the study. Why? The cats discovered if they bang on the top of the robot, it'll come out and play. I caught one of them RIDING the robot one day. I figure it's not nice to torture anyone, even a robot, so it's in semi-retirement.