A fine example of the kind of negotiating approach you should take with contractors can be found in the excellent corporate training film, The Godfather, where as part of his negotiations with a movie producer, Marlon Brando gains a subtle psychological advantage by arranging to have the producer wake up in bed next to the head of a deceased horse. This is not to suggest that to get a good price you need to go around decapitating animals. No indeed; wild animals are more than adequate for most residential transactions. But the point is, you have to be firm.
Theres a new man in my life. Im reluctant to say too much for fear of jinxing it....Because this is a guy I could really commit to. I also dont want to say too much because, well, I find myself insanely jealous of his time
and I dont want to risk some Other Woman coming along and stealing him.
It all started when my stoveafter probably 50 years or so of use (or whenever it was stoves were invented)went out with a blaze of glory. Literally.
Id turned the oven on to preheat and left the door ajar to get the kitchen nice and toasty; walked into the dogs room to feed him; and returned seconds later to find flames leaping out of the oven, where (on slightly closer inspection), the circa 1950s-1970s coils had spontanously ignited.
My mother asked me if Id used the fire extinguisher theyd responsibly provided me with as a housewarming (pardon the pun) gift, and I quickly diverted her question by impressing her with my quick-thinking fire-safety knowledge, wherein Id fearlessly slammed the oven door shutthereby cutting off the oxygen supply, and extinguishing the flames.
(The truth is, I think that fire extinguisher is in its original packagingalongside the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors they also got mewhich I think are in a utility closet off the dogs room. Where they are admittedly useless as he does not have opposable thumbs.)
To be honest, I hated that stove. But it came with the house. And it worked. Sort of. Sometimes.
And according to my Calvinist upbringing, you dont throw anything in semi-good working condition simply because it is hideously uglynot if it has YEARS of service left in it missy!
Sure, as colors go, it put the burnt in burnt siennatwo of the burners didnt work, and the oven temps were wildly erratic and temperamental, and it was much too small for the amount of cooking I do, but what can I say....I wasnt raised in the kind of profligate luxury where one just buys an unnecessary EXTRAVAGANCE like a NEW stove, just because they dont like the one they have.
Were NOT people who just FLUSH perfectly good money away (which reminds me of how I had to forcibly break a ballcock just to talk my stepdad into switching the hideously blue, sporadically functional toilet in my bathroom for a simple white one that works ALL the time, even when it rains, and you dont EVEN have to jiggle the handle
but thats another story). But any appliance that tries to burn the house down can be thrown away in perfectly good, guilt-free conscience.
So initially, I was kinda excited to hike on out to the burbs and see what sort of gleaming stainless steel bargains might await at their recent ONE DAY ONLY sale.
And I was crushed to learn: NONE. Not in stainless steel. Not in ANY color.
Because not only was my stupid burnt sienna stove ugly, it also turned out to be a non-standard 27-inch drop-in, which has to to be special-ordered, for about a grand.
So I took the advice of the appliance guys, who Ive always found to be supportive and helpful, when they told me, Lady, maybe itd be cheaper to just make a bigger hole.
Thats where Wayne comes in.
Oh sure, Id had handymen before. Several, in fact.
I usually discovered that they billed out their hours at roughly the same rate as a pediatric cardio-thoracic surgeon (I only know what that fee is cause I used to date one, and trust me, its quite a bit).
They frequently broke (and/or stole) things and never finished anything. (Like when I hired one to rip up carpet in one room and lineoleum in another, he LEFT the black rubber tar-like substance that was underneath so everyone could track it through the entire house. As if Id chosen it as part of the decor and LIKED it there. In the front hall, he left about 672 nails and staples, which I have spent the last PAINSTAKING year prying out of the floora fact which necessitates everyone being issued slippers when they come in the front door.)
All I knew was, Id been scarred.
So I asked around....and one of my girlfriends gave up Waynes name and cell number. She rents now, so I guess maybe she doesnt rely on him QUITE as heavily as she once didplus, she knew I could be trusted. Id passed the background check.
He and a buddy came right over and meticulously laid down drop cloths. They taped. They measured. I sat transfixed. Mesmerized. I initially hadnt wanted to watch (warning them it was entirely possible that they might find anything from the Lindbergh baby to Jimmy Hoffa under that stove), but I couldnt turn away.
They sawed. They broke off blades and replaced them with new blades. They drilled. They stripped wires and located correct fuses. They used a belt sander AND a random-orbit. It was a veritable ballet of mechanical precision. And then they SHOP-VACd up the ENTIRE MESS.
Where once there was a 27-inch hole, there is now a gaping maw of THIRTY. And I can go shopping in peace for a nice, standardized bargainwhich I pray Wayne will install.
Ive always had a love-hate relationship with my houseits got good bones, but the wirings shot; the plumbings aging fast; and the exterior has certainly seen better days. Its a lot like me.
But I got NUTHIN but love for Wayne. Im just tryin not to blow it. n