Take my money, please!

We’ve been itching to get some work done on our house. Nothing too big…actually we wanted something very big. There is a plan. A master plan. A master plan that involves knocking out walls and parts of the roof and rearranging plumbing. A master plan that would turn our humble “3” bedroom cape (our office/den is counted as a bedroom while the ones upstairs are awkward and small) into a spacious home with plenty of room on both floors.

But that plan had a flaw. And that flaw was the need for money. Specifically a need for money when the global economy decided to flush itself down the proverbial crapper. After a couple months of toying with the idea and speaking with some contractors I finally caved and called a bank. And they laughed at me. Alright, maybe they were actually polite about it, but some words were bandied about that didn’t put me in the best of moods. Words like “not economically feasible” and “decreasing property value” and “fat chance” and “stupid”.

It was disappointing because we managed to find a local contractor that seemed like the perfect choice to do the work. He suggested ways to cut costs even though he was already cheaper than other estimates, showed us some of his other work, took us to his office, bought me coffee, and was just generally a friendly guy. Once the money started to evaporate, we talked to him about doing the outside work that we need for safety reasons with the hope that next year some of the master plan could go into effect. And that’s where it currently ends.

And I’m left wondering, why do contractors not want my money? You see, we already started talking to some people last year about our crumbling front steps, potholed driveway, and collapsed retaining wall. They came in with some great ideas and put together some initial estimates. But once serious adjustments were made… where’d everybody go? Seriously, doesn’t anybody want money these days? Or are all contractors required to be flighty, inconsistent, and at least slightly unethical?

Unfortunately the hardscaping is not something I can do on my own (or even with the help of drunken friends). This isn’t like ripping out sheetrock or putting up shelves or replacing electrical components. We’re talking about demolishing brick steps, removing a concrete walkway, hauling lots of dirt and rocks, building a wall, and paving a driveway. My cordless drill, reciprocating saw, Wonder Bar, and large tub of joint compound just ain’t gonna cut it. Even if I drag up the sledge hammer chances are a few more bricks will be loosened and we’ll end up be using the side stairs for the next 3 years.

For all I know by this time tomorrow someone will get back to us with some concrete (har har!) numbers and we can start making plans to upgrade the decaying rubble look of our front yard properly. But I’m beginning to think the next time The Money Pit is on TV I’ll mistake it for a documentary…

One comment

  1. Cindy says:

    We encountered the same phenomenon when we wanted some minor stuff done to the house in Parsippany. The guy would come, give an estimate, and evaporate. I’m pretty sure it’s a Jersey phenomenon, which makes me think that in some oblique way the mob is involved.

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