I’m Gonna Jack you Up

We interrupt this radio silence for a little blegging.

It woud appear that Nine Mile Hill is swallowing my house.  Or at least half of it. 

After the fire in 2002, our house was gutted and rebuilt from the inside out.  The right half of the house (what we now call the “new half”) was completely destroyed, so even the exterior facing (stone) was built from scratch.  The left half (or “old half”) was simply gutted – the exterior remained (Crab Orchard stone is darned near indestructable).

For years now, I’ve noticed cracks in the exterior wall on the old half.  For the most part, we assumed this was due to the intense heat of the fire (we had appliances in the opposite end of the house from where the actual fire was – literally melt).  Yet, most of that was wishful thinking.  We have a section of sidewalk – otherwise known as “The lawsuit waiting to happen” that sunk a good three or four inches.

Yet, even that was explainable: the sidewalk sunk in the exact spot where the sewer was installed in the 90’s.  I’ve gotta fix that, but first thing’s first.

Just in the last month, the cracks in the old part of the house have gotten much bigger.  In one spot, it’s about a half inch wide!  For those of you who are curious, no, I haven’t yet called the company that did the blasting at the new Harding Academy fields.  I’ll get around to it, but right now, I’m like a politician: I’ve waited till the problem got too big to ignore, and now I’m throwing money at it.

So, I need foundation repair.  And my experience tells me I could very easily get ripped off here.  Repair people (both home and automotive) can see me coming a mile away.  many times, I find out years later that I was given more repair than I actually needed, or shoddy work, or was grossly overcharged, or even the recieved wrong repair.  Ignorance is very dangerous in a case like this.

So help me here: have any of you had any experience with the big gus, folks like Olshan?  Do they do good work, and are they generally honest?  Or should I go with a smaller company?  (I also have bad experiences when referred to such-and-such’s brother in law – almost as bad as being ripped off by the big guys).  The only local guy I trust is Susie’s husband.

How much money are we talking about here, on average?  Thousands? Tens of Thousands?  If any of you have had this done before, I’d like to know what it cost so I’ll know if I’m getting a fair estimate later.

I REALLY don’t have the money for this right now, but the alternative would truly be a disaster.  This is my bedroom that’s falling into the mountain, after all.

When I think of more action in my bedroom, this is NOT what I have in mind 🙂

Nashville Homeowner PSA

You may already know this, but it was news to me. I was just checking things out before writing my yearly property tax check (paying yearly will make you a Republican), and I saw this message from Metro Property Assesor Jo Ann North:

2005 was the most recent Mass Reappraisal Year for Davidson County, updating the values on all taxable real properties to achieve equity. A mass reappraisal takes place every four years in Davidson County, so the next mass reappraisal will take place in 2009.

I don’t know what this will mean in your household, but in ours, reappraisal means our annual taxes go up. Most of the time, pretty substantially. It’s like a tax hike without anyone having to take the political hit for instituting a tax hike.

I understand the need for it, and I know, slump or no slump, that property values in Nashville have increased since 2005. It’s just a bummer to have to guess how much my taxes are going to go up, and set aside that much extra each month.   And, heaven help me if I guess too low.

We now have to set aside an amount each month that equals our first house payment. This means:

a) We’re getting old and
b) we should get on our knees and thank God we have the ability to live in a neighborhood where property values are what they are.

However, I still reserve the right to grumble when I write that check.

Anyway, if you live in Davidson county, be aware that this is coming, and that you’ll most likely be paying more in property taxes next year.

P.S. – One of the features I love about the assessor’s site is you can “peek” at your neighbors’ property values. Since my neighbors all put up privacy fences, this is the only voyeuristic fun I get to have anymore.

I Get By With A Little Help

Dang.

I have a good friend, bandmate, and commenter here, Susie.  Her and her husband Jeff saved my sanity yesterday.  Let me back up a little.

Some of you know that one of my water heaters died a couple of days ago.  Most of you know that I am absolutely worthless at fixing stuff around the house.  So,we called a very popular plumbing company here in town to come out and look at things.  “When you see the happy face…”

Let me tell you, our experience with this company was right about what we expected. They are exactly what they say they are: very courteous, knowledgeable, and prompt.  The technician they sent out looked a lot like Greg Biffle, NASCAR Nextel Cup driver number 16.  He found the problem (the danged thing had actually caught on fire) , and told us we’d need to replace the water heater.  Now, this company is all those wonderful things, I descibed above, plus one more thing: expensive.  They wanted a thousand dollars.

Uh, no.

He told us we could get a new water heater at Home Depot (the original was still under warranty) – we’d have to go get it, and they’d do the installation for about $500 – better.  Well, to accomplish getting uninstalling the old water heater, I called Susie.  I did this because, like I said, I’m pretty worthless with this kind of thing, and, I have no tools.  I was hoping her husband Jeff (a local contractor) could loan me the proper tools.

Well, being incredible friends and great people altogether, they hopped in the car and came right over.  Jeff helped me unhook the old heater,and told me that it would be ridiculous to pay $1000+ to replace a water heater.  He convinced me that I, with proper supervision, could install the heater myself.  He gave me instructions for what to ask for at Home Depot, and then he and Susie left for a while to do stuff they had to do.

Of course, I had to call Jeff again when getting the hookup parts, and he guided me though.  We get the new heater back (after GE fought with us unsuccessfully about whether the warranty applied), and Lintilla and I, with some struggle, got the heater in place and partially hooked up (thank God for compression connectors).  I call Susie, and she told me they’d be coming around dark.  Why?

They were also bringing us their kids’ trampoline.  Their kids are teenagers now, and they no longer use the trampoline.  It’s got a net and everything.  Folks, this trampoline is HUGE!  Jeff had it on his trailer, and it was hanging off the sides, causing him to use up most of the road on a two lane road.  It was easy to see why they wanted to come after dark.  It was quite an effort just getting it off the trailer and into our sideyard.

But, we get that done (after Jeff reassembled a couple of net poles they had to take off for transport), and then it was onto the water heater.  It turned out to be just like when my dad “helps” me with this kind of stuff: Jeff ended up doing all the work.  Well,  (he) finished the hookups lickety-split, we filled it, and what-do-you-know, it works!  In fact, our hot water in the front of the house (which this water heater supplies) is hotter than it ever was before.

To top it all off? Jeff thinks he may know someone who might want to buy the xB.

Anyway, we just can’t thank Susie and Jeff for not only helping us out of the water heater mess, saving us a LOT of money, but also for the trampoline.  I mean, who has friends THAT wonderful?  At first I was going to cook them a meal to thank them, then it didn’t seem like enough.  So, we’re going to take them to Monell’s.  It still doesn’t seem like enough, but it’s a start.

I’ll post a photo of the trampoline later, after I mow the lawn.  All this weirdness yesterday prevented me from mowing, and I’m afraid the neighbors are going to call codes soon if I don’t get out there.

Susie, Jeff – thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!  Y’all are such wonderful people.  I thank God for your wonderful family and our friendship.  If there’s anything I can do (I’m pretty good with computers 🙂  ) , let me know.

So, that was my Saturday.