Friday, November 18, 2005
With the impending Saturday move to Ruston, we devoted most of our energies on Friday to packing the kitchen. Emptying the cabinets was a trip back in time as long-forgotten items from the '50s, '60s and '70s saw the light of day for the first time in decades. And while it should have been their last time, mom insisted on packing almost everything. And because she was not inclined to sort into groups of essential and ancient, the two groups got mixed up in every box and defied my effort to isolate "Long- Term" items for later safe disposal. Indeed, little effort was made to provide any order or accurate labeling to the boxes, making it necessary to open numerous unnecessary boxes when they got to their considerably smaller Ruston rental home.
When we contracted my cousin to perform the house repairs, we all assumed that he would handle everything and leave us free to move and live our lives. It turned out that getting building materials in that part of the country were harder to acquire then expected. While Sean had tentatively planned on starting work on 11/14, he ran into a legal dispute in Missouri between his client and the developer of his client's neighborhood over the color of the shingles he was installing. Shingles also became a delaying factor for us as the only outlet in our area carrying our desired color (ABC Building Supply in Nederland, TX) was facing extraordinary lines at the store and would not accept our contractor's credit card over the phone. They were also backed up for delivery. They finally were able to schedule a delivery on November 17, but required payment on the spot (strangely, via check which was much less secure or verifiable than credit card). The shingles arrived on November 18, although they refused to take part of the order behind the house out of fear of getting stuck in our damp and rutted lawn.
With all the damage to roofs in the area, people with roofing skills suddenly became quite in demand. The sounds of Spanish music and dialog testified to the importation of cheap labor, sometimes by less than scrupulous employers. Our next door neighbor contracted an otherwise reputable firm to repair his roof. However, when going to bed that evening, he looked through the studs in his gutted bedroom and noticed that the holes in the roofing wood had been covered with sheet metal. He contacted the roofer, who insisted that was common and perfectly adequate practice, but consented to send his men out to redo the repairs. On the second pass, our neighbor noticed that they were using plain pine rather than the tongue-in-groove wood that the house had been built with. When he called the roofer again, the roofer insisted that tongue-in-groove was unavailable due to the shortage of building materials in the area. However, when my neighbor said he wouldn't pay until the job was done right, they found a way to get it. Squeaky wheel and all that. Yet another demonstration of why I have no interest in owning a home.
Next: Saturday, November 19, 2005
People get what they deserve, not what they expect. (James Howard Kunstler)