book / budget / country dreams / renovations / thoughts

Trying Not to get Ripped off….

It’s not entirely my fault there is no construction sounds going on around here.  Yes I am in my last week of school for the semester and I been busy so I haven’t set aside the time to work on the kitchen but also I am at the mercy of others.  I need my window in place before I can do anything on wall D and I need the electrical work done before I can do anything to the rest of the kitchen.

I was talking to the previous owner of the house on Facebook today and she was telling me about some guy she hired who ripped her off.  Yeah I know he did rip her off because what IDIOT would paint windows and not move the windows to make sure they aren’t sealed shut and why did he paint the ropes of the windows?  I have to have all the windows in the back of the house fixed.  I can’t remember what else he did but I do remember her telling me other stories and I have had to live with the aftermath of it.  It’s not her fault.  I am not sure what the mechanics are that men think it is okay to take advantage of women when we try to hire them to do a job.  Come on man.

When I have to hire someone to do the work in here I have a hard time even picking people to do the job.  When I was married it was gravy.  My ex-husband and I did most of the rehabbing work together but occasionally there were things he couldn’t do or didn’t want to do and a contractor was hired, or maybe I should say a sub-contractor since they only did a small part of the big jobs.  We would set the parameters of the job and he (my ex) would take care of getting the bids and choosing the contractor.  I did not have to have that headache and if anything went wrong I would complain, and he would iron it out with the contractor.  Men feel sorry for each other when they know they are catching a woman’s wrath.   See when you have a man around to negotiate the job and to fix what he did wrong, the men will work it out amongst themselves, but you let a woman complain directly to the contractor… he would rather not come back than to hear her complaining. He probably gets enough of that at home and doesn’t want to hear that mess at work.  LOL.  So there!  Another instance where it’s helpful to have a man around… LOL

This kitchen renovation took on a life of its own.  In the beginning all I really wanted was to have my windows repaired throughout the house.  I wanted to have all the painted ropes replaced and have the panes re-glazed.  I don’t know what got up my butt, because I promised I was not spending another dime in this house but I was determined this year I would be able to wash windows without risking the windows falling apart.  I searched for someone to do it but couldn’t find anyone except one company and he was backed up for months. Everyone else was more interested in selling me new windows. At this time Lowes had a sign saying all window installs were $99 per window but in order to get any information you have to let someone come out and measure and give you a formal estimate.  So I called Lowes and Home Depot just to see how much it would cost.  I don’t remember the bottom line but it was too much for me to do all the windows so I decided to only replace the window in the kitchen. Now I have to also add I don’t really care for vinyl windows but because it is a garden window its okay since technically its out of place anyway.  I was kind of relieved I could not afford the vinyl replacements.  Because the spot where the garden window is going is on a load bearing wall they said a brace had to be installed and they would sell me the window and install it but I had to get someone else to put the braces in. Two separate people who had to coordinate sounded too risky for me.

They also have this thing now that if your window tests positive for lead you have to pay extra.  One of them was $60 a window and the other $99 a window for the lead abatement procedures they have to go through, which is basically putting up a plastic sheet so dust from the windows won’t come in the house.  Woopty- doo… and that fancy rip off priced me right out the box because you know my windows tested positive.  I have 14 windows needing replacing.    In Lowes the install alone was going to be $198 a window or $2772 total for labor  and they claim none of the in-stock windows would fit so I would have to custom order all of the windows.  Well at this point I was disappointed but I still wanted a new window in my kitchen.  I called a local company and they were half the price for the complete window, brace and install.  I did not even ask how much it would be to replace all the windows because now all I was thinking about was this garden window.  The guy left here saying I should have my window in 3 weeks.  That was 6 weeks ago.  But it’s coming on Friday…or so he says.  i haven’t complained because it really worked out to be the best time.

In preparation of getting the window wall ready, one thing led to another and I wound up gutting the kitchen with the intention of now adding some drywall.  Then I decided I need more cabinets and thus the whole kitchen renovation was born.  In truth I am not even sure if I am going to have enough money to finish it without cutting a LOT of corners.  That’s the story of my life, getting what I want but not really getting what I want because I never have enough for it and any time I want something big I am always single so I get mo financial help.  I really don’t like guys helping me with house stuff like this anyway because then they feel like they own a piece of the house.  Nobody is making any claims here unless we are married!!  so ultimately on the renovation I have put my trust in God on this one.  I was going to do a fundraiser by selling my book but I can’t even find the backup file to make some updates and corrections in it.  I guess that just wasn’t meant to be. right now.

Okay so since I was redoing the kitchen and it’s gutted I might as well do the electricity.  I need to convert my fuse box and add some plugs on the wall so I can finally get my extension cord out of the drawer and also get a range hood so I won’t have a greasy kitchen anymore.  I also wanted to put in some recessed lights as I always thought they look classy in a kitchen.    I asked around for recommendations.  First I asked this AC guy I recently met.  He highly recommended a person whom he said would not over charge me and really knew his stuff.  Because of the nature of his business I trusted his recommendation. I called the guy, he sounded nice and knowledgeable and honest.    He was in the middle of a job so he said it would take a few days to come over and give me the estimate.  He kept in contact with me and I thought cool, I think this is going to work.  But then he made 2 appointments and stood me up.  I am not very forgiving of anyone who stands me up.  That is just too inconsiderate!!   He’s done.

Next, I asked my Pastor if there were any electricians in the church.  He gave me the name of someone who does a lot of work for the church and is insured.   He gave me an estimate that I thought was very reasonable.  Two days before he was supposed to start the job he called me to tell me that he had to change the price of the job because he did not figure in all the supplies and the price was going up by $175.  I was thinking to myself that he did not even ask me what kind of recessed lights I wanted and I was hoping he did not think he was going up on the price and then putting in those super cheap contractor grade lights in my kitchen.  Humph. On top of that he said he was not going to be able to start on Friday as promised because he had to go out of town and he would be over on Monday after working hours to do the job.  What?  Work at night?  Hmmmm, I did not like that at all.

Despite my reservations, I went to Home Depot to look at the different styles of recessed lights and to get their sizes.  I figured I would buy my own lights since he went up on the price for supplies and he would have to go back down.  Once I pretty much figured out what I wanted I tried to mark off all the spots for the lights in the ceiling and the plugs on the walls.    As it so happened, as I was marking the spots I realized the recessed lights were not going to work in my small, small kitchen with the current light.  It was going to be “either” or “or”.  I needed to call him and tell him this.   After I slept on it I changed my mind totally on the recessed lights and  decided I wanted pendant lights hanging down in front of my garden window.  I also decided I would make my own lights out of these nice vases I found at a yard sale.  I could see them with some old fashioned bulbs in them…


I called to tell him that I would be supplying my own lights and he said okay but that’s not going to change the price because…and get this,…it didn’t really depend on the materials..  Ummm hmmmm knew it.  I told him I will call when I needed him to come because next week was not going to work for me. He called me on Monday to get me to sign a contract.  I told him no because I was no longer sure what I wanted.  He wanted to know when I would want him to start so he can get me in his schedule.  I told him I will call him.  I am pretty much done with him also.

I put an ad on Craigslist for someone to do the electrical work and the brick work.  I had goo-gobs of people responding, just as I thought.  There are so many contractors out of work.  I did not give my number nor would I call them because I wanted to filter them out first.  I sent an email detailing the job and asking if they could handle it and from that I narrowed it down to two people.  I called both of them to see when they could give me an estimate.  Neither answered their phones and I decided not to leave a message.  Person 1 text me saying  “I got a call from this number”  and before I had a chance to answer he dialed my number but as soon as I said hello he hung up.  Hmmm… He waited about 5 minutes to call me back and then he sheepishly asked me if I called him.  I asked who he was and he told me and I told him who I was.  He then said some things about having to speak with his father about the job and saying he was too busy to give me an estimate now because when he first responded (that was just yesterday mind you) he did not have any work but I waited “so long” to get back with him and now he had a big job and needs to do that before he could get to me.  He sounded a little slushy to me (like he’d been drinking) so I told him don’t worry about it and thanks for his time.  The second guy called me, he is from NY and he sounded very businesslike.  He gave me a couple of references local to me, and made an appointment to give me the estimate tomorrow. He is unlicensed but he claims to know what he’s doing.  I can tell if he knows what he’s doing once he starts work and if I have to stop him I will.  I have no problem with that.

So to make a long story short… Friday the window gets put in and hopefully I will get some plugs and an empty wall for my fold out table and get some things accomplished around this joint.  Pray for me!!

Oh duhhhh.  The real reason I started this post was to talk about my experience in ordering that book “Free Money” and how I wanted to warn you:

  1. If you see the infomercial don’t watch it because its convincing and I know you will take a chance and buy the book
  2. I am warning you not to buy it because its a rip off
  3. They guarantee if you don’t get $500 you can send the book back for a full refund but you pay $12 in shipping and handling for each book (2).  If you send the book back you’ve paid for the book in the shipping cost $24 which you will NOT get back plus you’ve paid to send it back and they don’t reimburse that and you end up with nothing.  They basically got free money off of YOU anyway you handle it.
  4. I did not see anything in there worth paying the money that I paid for that book.  Instead of him getting down to the meat of do this.. do that.. the whole book is advertising other services.  Go on and search for unclaimed money and it brings you to a search engine that will allow you to do a free search in all states in the US in one database for any unclaimed money. Free money charges you $99  if you opt to use their database and its the same thing!!  I have no unclaimed money out there :-(.  Neither does my kids :-(. You can use that free link I gave you to search for any unclaimed cash you might have out there.

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