Monday, November 29, 2010

NZ's Crazy Wacky Reward Trip...

... is now set in stone.  Which is more than we can say for my driveway.  Remember these guys?  Contractor One has now come up with a bid of $7,750 to redo the driveway in concrete with the brick border.  Interestingly, Contractor Three had bid $5,900 just for concrete and said it would be an additional two grand for the brickwork, whereas Contractor Two wouldn't bid it at all, but said doing it in concrete would be about $6000.  In other words, all my bids are in happy alignment.  This damn thing will cost about $6000 in concrete, or $8000 with concrete and bricks.  Or... Contractor One will just dig up and reset the one "trip hazard" line of bricks for $600, and I postpone tearing up my driveway for another year or so (depending on how fast the roots of the mulberry tree grow).  Tempting, really.  I generally like fixing stuff once and for all, rather than a stopgap measures, but if I'm going to put $6000 into my house, there are higher priority items.  (Like, say, curtains.  Maybe a carpet.)

(And the $200 I just paid to fix my trash compactor...  And the $600 a new circulation pump will cost me.  Yes, I know, we thought we had a cheap solution to that problem.  We did, until we discovered that the current circulation pump -- albeit the wrong one in the first place -- actually needs to be replaced.  Why?  Don't ask.  It's too stupid for words, really.*)

On to the reward trip, though, the planning of which is Way More Fun.  I mentioned thinking about making it more wacky the other night -- this because that there new Spider-Man musical just had its first preview last night in New York, and it sounds all kinds of interesting.  Now, being as I'm a critic type in L.A., I generally don't fly to New York for theatre trips anymore -- I just wait for shows to come to me.  But this Spider-Man thing has some 27 aerial stunts in it, so is somewhat site-specific.  In other words, if I'm going to see this as intended -- whether it's the most awesome thing ever or a sixty-five million dollar train wreck -- I should find a way to get my butt to New York.  And I should be able to accomplish that as part of this trip -- as you can fly from NY to London cheaper than you can fly from LA to London, and the difference should more than cover a cheap one-way between NY and LA.

I will not bore you with the many, many hours I spent almost getting this trip to work for exactly the same price as I had before.  (I came dangerously close a few times, but then the last leg would shoot up $150 for no reason ... or else I'd make it work, but then I'd arrive in London the day I had tickets to a dramatic play, and I always want something musical and/or funny that first night to defeat the jetlag.)  Four successive brainstorms and some date juggling later, and I ended up wiping out my frequent flier miles (thank you, Citibank credit cards that give AAdvantage miles) and getting the whole thing in Business Class for a couple hundred bucks in taxes and fees.  Now that, my friends, is a sweet reward.  :)

Better get back to the whole "sleep well, work well, lose weight" plan, in order to deserve this.

*OK, you can ask.  See, my idiot contractor installed a continuous circulation pump, which, as previously discussed, was bad for the health of my tankless water heater.  (It was also a "for indoor use only" pump -- when I complained, he built a box around it.  Why the hell the home inspector didn't fail him for that, I'll never know.)  ANYWAY, one plumber said he'd yank the pump and replace it with an on-demand pump for something like... I forget, $1200 maybe?  I thought this was way too high, so called THIS plumber to bid it.  He said, why bother with that when you can just install a $20 timer on the pump, so it (at least) isn't pumping 24/7?  This seemed reasonable -- the warranty on my tankless is already blown by the circulation pump, but a timer would greatly reduce further wear and tear.  BUT, when the plumber was out here, I mentioned that the circulation pump seems to be taking an awful long time to, well, circulate.  That it takes about 2 minutes for me to get hot water in the shower.  So we ran a test -- I unplugged the circ. pump, waited a couple hours, and then he came over to plug it back in and see how long it took for me to get hot water.  When he came to plug it back in, he said, "Well, first, we've gotta open this valve," and opened a partially-closed valve on the intake to the circ pump.  I said I'd never closed it.  He stared at me.  He then asked me how hot the circ pump was when I pulled the plug.  Answer: really, really hot.  He plugged it back in and discovered it took a couple minutes to get hot water with the pump on.  Add it all up to get ... are you ready? ... the circulation pump is burnt out because it wasn't getting enough water through it.  Opening the freakin' valve drastically improved my hot water pressure (which had been lousy ever since the contractor did the initial installation) and now sent enough hot water through the circ pump that it might actually work -- but a year and a half of grinding with insufficient fluid in there killed the pump.

To sum up:  I need a new circulation pump because my idiot contractor didn't open the valve all the way.  Now, I know damn well that this was his fault, not anyone else's, because nobody has touched the valve since he did and I was complaining about the hot water pressure way back then.  But I also know damn well he can go into court and say, "Of course I left the valve open; the meter reader must have jostled it," and I'll have nothing.  Annoyed.  Annoyed.  Annoyed.

Yes, must think about Crazy Wacky Funtime trip.  This makes me less annoyed.  :)


Janiece said...

Isn't home ownership fun?

Wil said...

Between this: "Contractor One will just dig up and reset the one "trip hazard" line of bricks for $600" and the last post, I'm sure I could take you for everything you have or will ever have, if I just trip and break a leg on your driveway. Worth the 6 grand to replace? What are your net earnings worth over the next 20 some odd years?

The reward vacation sounds like fun...

nzforme said...

Three things, Wil -- First, I'm heavily insured. Second, I warn everyone who has reason to come to my house. Third, the trip hazard is so open and obvious, I probably don't even have an obligation to warn.

But still, yeah, I'll be taking care of the trip hazard very soon -- just not sure whether I'm going to redo the whole driveway to do it.