Obviously, all the plumbing had to be replaced. I had not planed to do this nor budgeted for it. This was a major setback for us. I had a strict budget to follow and not wiggle room for unexpected costs.
The plan was to use credit cards and advances from my line of credit to fund the cost of remodeling. The first order of business was to call the credit card company and get a credit card advance. When I do this I feel like such an idiot. The mere idea of it; to think that I have to beg, borrow and plead, to have the privilege of repaying the money at such high rates, borders on loan sharking.
I absolutely hate it. There is something fundamentally wrong with it; but what is one to do? I either had to do it or go without.
As I made the call, I joked to myself, “Don’t forget to smile while they are doing it to you and don’t expect to get even a kiss”.
The next step after the phone call to the “loan sharks”, was to call my old buddy David.
If you recall, he was the guy that I met while driving my bus, the master plumber and electrician who had had a stroke and couldn’t do much anymore but supervise. He is the one who helped me with Ms. D’s house.
I needed his expertise because I knew I had to replace at least every inch of plumbing in the basement.
As it turned out, I was wrong; it turned out to be the whole house.
Another one of those, “Oh man, what can happen next and how much will this cost?” moments.
I think there is a direct relationship between my experience and the Master Card “Priceless” advertising campaign. The trouble is, they aren’t priceless. For me it seems they always are “Expensive Moments”. The price is never less, but more.
I called David and he agrees to come over on Tuesday afternoon after he finished his work. He told me that he would still be on call and that he might be called back to work. I explained that it wouldn’t be a problem and that I would work around that. I was just grateful he agreed to come over.
I had my work cut out for me because I had to have all the cement broken up, the contaminated sand removed and old plumbing exposed in less than two days. I also had to place all the material in 5 gallon pails and carry it up the steps to the dumpster outside the door.
I discovered another moment; I named it the “Advil” moment.
I hurt in places that I never felt before.
One bucket at a time, I removed everything.
I was now convinced the city was right, it should have been bulldozed down.
And for this privilege I paid almost one hundred and fifty grand?
“How stupid was I?” I questioned.
Luckily, I didn’t answer myself. I had a good idea already.
David showed up and we got right to work. I did all the bull-work; he supervised. He made drawings and did a list of materials. We made a trip to the big box home center about a mile from the house. Just for the plumbing pipe and the parts needing replacement, this trip cost $1200.00.
And I hadn’t pent a dime yet for fixtures. Ouch!
It was a feeling I would come to know only too well.
On the way home, David received an emergency service-call. He had to go.
He told me what to do next and that he would be back tomorrow.
I unloaded the truck. His wife picked him up to take him to work as he couldn’t drive due to his stroke. As they pulled away, I waved goodbye and said, “See you tomorrow.”
I never saw him again.
Later that day, his wife called me and said that he had gone to the service-call. There was an unknown problem in the swimming pool area at the college where he worked. He opened the door and was hit with a cloud of ammonia gas and Freon. He fell to the floor and was taken to the hospital.
He is in a coma.
Oh my god, I thought. I started shaking and sat down and cried.
What next I thought?
I would find out soon enough.
copy write all rights reserved D.Jerzak 04-014-07