22 September 2009

Not a Great Day

I know people out there are facing much worse things than we are, but in the grand scheme of our admittedly very blessed lives, today wasn't the best day.

It started with a call from the builder whose bid we already received (not R -- we're still waiting on his). Although the numbers were different, the format was very similar to the guesstimate he gave us a couple of months ago. The numbers were rounder than it seemed like they should have been for actual bids from subcontractors, they were presented in really broad categories, they didn't indicate what the allowances were (for things like plumbing fixtures, tile, etc.), and our alternate bid items (such as a solar water heater as an alternate bid for tankless water heaters) didn't seem to have been taken into account. During our call, when I asked about these issues, his answers were wholly unsatisfactory, and I realized that he's too much of a spec house builder for us. Our strategy throughout this process has been to go for the best value we can afford; while he seems to be a good builder, it has become clear that his strategy is more about simply what the budget is. He had no explanation for not bidding the alternate bid items as we had asked and even asked me to e-mail him a list of those items (which were already in our plans) for him to look into. No, thanks.

I just wish R would give us his bid so that, assuming it's within the realm of feasibility, I can break up with the others. Imagine being forced to keep on dating someone you don't want to date. That's just awkward all around. So I keep hoping that R will get his bid to us soon. I'm a low-stress person, and I'm frankly not great at dealing with anxiety. This is causing me lots of anxiety.

Today I also had to run home to meet the appliance delivery people. They were bringing us a new dryer because the first one was scratched. During the installation, one of the guys bumped the gas valve (it's an electric dryer, but there is a gas line right behind it). Fortunately, the valve whistles when it's all the way open, so it was immediately obvious that gas was flooding into the garage (where the washer and dryer are located), and we were able to turn it off quickly and air out the space. Then, when the other guy plugged in the cord, a huge spark leapt out from the outlet. I assumed it was caused by the really, really old outlet and felt terrible for trying to kill not just one but now both of the delivery guys. We promptly e-mailed our landlord to let him know there was a problem with the wiring, but when Steve got home and checked on the way they attached the power cord, we found that the delivery guy had connected the hot to the neutral. So back to the store we went to sign up for another exchange and to encourage safer installation practices among their delivery staff.

After the dryer debacle, I returned to the office to a phone message from the reviewer assigned to our permit application. I'm still waiting on the promised e-mail telling us what we did wrong, but he said that there were issues with McMansion compliance. (That is the ordinance that prohibits construction of overly large, boxy houses that would overwhelm the neighbors. Our house is no McMansion.) I know we did everything in accordance with the published requirements, so I can't wait to see what unpublished requirements await us. At least he said that he was forwarding our application to flood plain review, so we'll be working toward that while we're sorting out the McMansion issues.

AND I was supposed to pick up my little buddy, Schaefer, from school and take him to his swim class, where his mom would meet us, but he woke up with a bloody ear, which messed up the whole plan. His ear is okay now, but I'm bummed that I didn't get to hang with him. That would have been the perfect pick-me-up after an otherwise draining day.

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