Teamwork and Home Improvement”
If you're a homeowner, have you ever had one of those years where it seemed like every time you turned around you were pouring HUGE amounts of cash into the house for maintenance and improvements? Well 2020 has been and continues to be one of those years for the Wistrom family.
Home Improvement projects in the past have always come at a reasonable pace. The dishwasher is kaput. You get a new one. The washing machine stopped washing - ok - time for a new washer and dryer (God Forbid you don't have a matching pair). This year though - of all the 41 years of home ownership - decided to follow suit with the entire world going crazy and throw the biggest home improvement projects right at us in rapid succession.
Truth be told most of these projects were known but "put-offable" in prior years. But this year - they all demanded to be done. One after the other. It was like being hit by a Gatling gun loaded with contractors.
Before I talk about teamwork, I want to complain just a bit more - so here's the list of the work done (or about to be done) this year along with the cost (translated into Maria and I work days for enough take-home pay to cover the cost).
- Taking Down Popcorn Ceilings- Comes a point when she just can't take 'em anymore. I admit - we've put this off for a while. Maria and I worked 13 days to pay for that.
- New Roof - oh yeah - while they're taking down the ceilings the painters tell us that based on some of the stains they were seeing - we need to put in a new roof asap or ther'll be water damage on the new ceilings. Maria and I worked 33 days to pay for that.
- Gutters - Well - if you're going to do the roof you ought to just work another week and pay for that too! Sure!
- 80 Foot Ash Tree - I thought it would have to be trimmed. You know - just fix it up a little. HAHAHAHA.
Apparently it was being taken apart by Emerald Ash Borers and if we got a strong wind - it was ready to fall onto my house. Not bad - only 7 days of work to get that done.
- Repair and Repaint Back Decks - Normal maintenance - we only worked two days for that - whew!
- New Patio Doors - The ones we had came with the house - and that was 35 years ago... They had failed enough that they provided the same amount of winter protection as a screen door. 11 work days handled that.
- New Driveway - during the winter last year my snow blower was throwing snow - along with CHUNCKS OF DRIVEWAY during every snowstorm. I'm not even going to add the snow blower repair into this list.... Maria and I worked 13 days to handle that.
All of those were MUST DO's - but wait - there's more on the list!
After 5 days of living in the stone ages this summer (the electricity was off from a freak storm that came through Connecticut) I decided I'm too old and frail to live without power ever again. We survived 7 days without power from the "Halloween Storm" a number of years ago. I was not a happy camper - but not unhappy enough to make any changes. Sure, we lost everything in the refrigerator, and the stand alone freezer, and we shivered to sleep every night next to a crappy wood fire in the fireplace. We bathed at the town's emergency shelter, but we figured that would never happen again. HA!
So yeah - let's just order up a standby generator that we will probably never use. 22 Work Days for that!
Let's run this generator using the new Natural Gas service that just became available on the street. That makes sense. I don't want to be filling up the generator with gasoline every 6 hours... What's that? You won't bring the gas to my house unless I convert my oil boiler over to a nice new Natural Gas one? Sure. No problem. 24 more days of work to pay for that.
So let's tally it up.... I'm coming up with 132 work days to get all that done. That's 26 weeks. Half the year we will have worked just for home improvements.... The other 26 weeks went to Income Taxes, Property Taxes and Insurance. Thankfully, we stocked up on Ramen Noodles in 2019.
Dang, I'm out of time and never talked about teamwork. Maybe I'll actually write about the contractors I met and their superb teams another time, but the best teamwork I know of is working with my wonderful wife to continue to get things done in the order we she wants them.