TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2005 (part 1)

Four fires

This morning started out badly, and got worse:

– First, my architect called this morning (forgetting the three hour time difference) and we talked about the appeal on the sprinklers. While he didn’t say anything negative, I could tell he didn’t think we had a chance of winning. When you’re paying someone to be on your side, and they still aren’t on your side, it’s very disheartening.

– Then Dawn called, telling me the electrician wanted to erect a billboard in the middle of the farm. We had told him we didn’t want the meter on the house, because, you know, we’re restoring an historic house. He was concerned the local power conglomerate wouldn’t allow us to keep the meter on the center pole, but Dawn talked to them and they didn’t have a problem, so everything was a go. Well, apparently the electrician failed to mention that to increase the service to 400 amps, he needed to install a four-foot by three-foot electric box right in the middle of the farm! I argued that it was still better than putting a meter on the house, until I found out this would also cost us an additional $8,000. So we’re putting the meter on the house.

– Next came the roofer. On my last trip, we met the folks at After Eight B&B, who referred us to an Amish roofer. We had already gotten several bids, selected one of them, and even told them they had the job, but we figured we should get another bid just to be polite. The new bid was $40,000 less. You’d think we’d be ecstatic, but instead we spent twenty minutes trying to decide who would call the other roofer to cancel. (You can’t draw straws over a cell phone. Dawn said she flipped a coin and I lost, but I didn’t fall for that again.)

– Finally, the heartbreaker: We decided not to go with geothermal, although the reasons were a bit unusual. We couldn’t afford it, the company had never done a large retrofit like ours, and everyone advised us against geothermal, but we had gotten past (i.e. ignored) all of those reasons. No, what happened was Dawn found equipment prices on the Internet and thought our company had an unreasonable markup, so she wanted to negotiate. The company wouldn’t budge, which ticked Dawn off, and now we’re not getting geothermal.

So, come see the historic house with the sprinkler heads, electric meter, bank of air conditioners, and the cheap roof. I’m going to go cry now.