In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a bunch of people in to look at the house in order to estimate some repair costs. As with everything else, it’s all more expensive than I was hoping for. But I knew my hopes were completely unreasonable, so the prices are actually pretty good considering the amount of work to be done.

The first thing I wanted to check out were the basement windows, which offer as much security as a sheet of saran wrap, and half the thermal protection. And, of course, they aren’t standard size, so every replacement needs to be custom made. I had a guy give us quotes for four vinyl windows around the perimeter of the basement, and while each one is pretty cheap, the total price adds up quickly. While he was here, we had him estimate the cost of replacements for the dining room windows as well, and it turns out they are much cheaper than I’d feared, but still expensive in the grand scheme of things.

Secondly, I had a strange little man come in to estimate repair and cleaning of the gutters on the south side of the house, which are about half a story too high for me to reach. (Also, the main power and phone lines run off the back side of the house, making three-story ladderwork very dangerous). This guy reminded me of a nervous ferret on valium—jacked up but super-mellow at the same time; I could hear his record playing at 45rpm but the words coming out of his mouth were at 33. Again, the price was higher than I’d hoped, but when I broke it down, it seemed reasonable. My next step is to have a larger company come out and price out total replacement of my existing gutter with a single-piece covered dripless version, because I got kind of a hinky vibe from ferret-man, and I wasn’t all that impressed with his gutter guard choice.

Meanwhile, the driver’s window in the Jeep decided to go down but not come back up last weekend on the way back from the airshow. Dreading the worst, I pulled the panel off the door and dug around in the guts to diagnose the problem: It wasn’t the window motor, and it wasn’t the mechanical linkage; it was the worm screw that connects the motor to the linkage. More specifically, it was a $.50 piece of plastic that keeps the worm screw in place to provide consistent upwards pressure. Calling around last week, I was quoted $500 for parts and labor, which was about what I figured. If I had more time to fool with it, and another couple of weeks of warm weather, I’d buy a used part and attempt the repair myself—I’ve spent some time cutting my skin on the innards of door panels before—but this is one I’m going to have to suck up and pay for, I think.

I have dreams of getting this basic stuff accomplished, but it seems like every time I get the cash together to tackle something, another need comes along and knocks it right back out of the realm of possibility. The most annoying part is that I’m in repair limbo: I could do all of this stuff—I’ve replaced windows, cleaned gutters, and repaired window assemblies—but I don’t have the time to do it, yet I don’t have the money to hire it out.

Date posted: October 16, 2007 | Filed under house | Comments Off on Money Shuffling.

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