Thursday, December 29, 2011
If you ever want to hate your house, and I don’t know why you should but we all get strange cravings from time to time, just hire an inspector to look at one little thing. Like the face boards out front, or the drainage out back. Or the fireplace in the middle.
As for the last, I hired an outfit, one highly recommended by folks I trust, and A and C came by, sweet-smelling and handsome (oh yes, they were) at 8 a.m. (oh yes, they did).
“Nice,” said A, patting the brick monolith on the thigh. It looks solid.”
While C cleaned the fireplace, A climbed up on the roof. And that’s when things went south.
“Kar-een!” he said (A is German). “Kar-een! I must show you something.”
And he climbed down the ladder and played back some photos. “Who did this…this – what’s the word to describe the flashing around the chimney, I could say it in my own language …”
“Abomination?” I’m a walking App for the missing word or phrase, thanks to immigrant parents.
“Yes,” he smiled, impressed. “Exactly. Abomination. Let me tell you why we have a problem…”
Well, two things, here. First of all, on a yearly basis, I have some new roofer walk the house and tell me how every guy who ever nailed my shingles has been either an idiot or a scoundrel. I expect they’ve all been right about that.
Secondly, when it comes to almost any problem other than nouns and verbs, I don’t want the back story. I don’t want, for example, to hear all about the history of the Roman sewer system just because my bathtub won’t drain.
Similarly, I don’t want to feign interest in gunky spark plugs or my dental x-rays. I don’t want to look at my dog’s hookworms under a microscope. Why must these people continually parade the incidentals of their disgusting job in front of me, as if I didn’t have my own disgusting job to do. Just hang a dollar sign on the problem, is my motto, and I’ll take two aspirin and think about it in the morning.
But of course, no one cares what I want. For three hours today, it was nothing but, “Kar-een! Kar-een! Come here! I found something …” Of course, that last sentence never ended in “fabulous.”
The estimate to fix all these problems is … well, I don’t know how they say it in German or English, but the French have a word for it.
After they left, and as I was hanging a painting above the indoor structure which we will now refer to as the giant brick easel, it turns out A left the check behind. So twenty minutes later:
“Kar-een, it's me …”
And then, twenty minutes later, he came back again.
“Kar-een, I have a question …”
And then six hours later he delivered a 24-page pictorial of my naughty fireplace. Amazing service, really, from a company that requires a three-week wait for the initial appointment.
Anyway, A could have saved himself the fourth trip of the day. When many, many thousands of dollars stand between me and cozy, cold and bleak looks mighty appealing.