House and $ stress

04 Sep

This year seems to be the year that we’re going to be forking over large sums of money to get the house fixed. WTF.

We had this house built in 2011, moving in in October of 2011. So we haven’t been here for four years even. Before my surgery, we had a walkway put in our back yard for the pooches, along our gardens, because said woofers kept walking through our gardens and not only damaging the plants but also dragging mulch into the house all the time. Plus, they were digging in the mulch AND lying in it. So we decided to have a paver walkway put in, including a small patio area to put a chair and for the dogs to sun themselves on. We also had the same landscaper put in a rock garden along the front of the house so we didn’t have to weedwack around the house, plus we needed to have the areas against the house back-filled and graded away from the house because the builder never did it. And we didn’t want to have water running down against the house and causing us an issue. And we thought with those projects, all was good.

Until we were out front checking out our rock garden in the rain and we saw water pouring down the stone front of our house from the small porch. Instead of coming down the gutter (and out through the expensive underground pipe system we had put in two years ago to keep water from getting into our basement), it was rushing down the porch roof behind the gutter and swamping the stone front of the house. WTF. So in addition to the water potentially getting behind the stone and ruining the house, we also saw that the mortar was cracking from the water. And that there was a stone missing above the porch roof where the water was running behind the gutter. So we started calling gutter people to look at the gutter issue, and stone people to look at the stone problems. For some reason, masons in our area are so busy that they don’t care about taking new jobs. They would not return phone calls, or call to say they’d come out to take a looksie but never show up. Or they’d show up and never give us an estimate. Or tell us they’re booked until the spring.

We found a gutter guy (who had a masonry buddy, who never showed up to look at the problems) who would do the repairs we needed–including fix errors the builder made in doing the gutters around our porch–but we needed the masonry work done first. It has taken us over six weeks to find a mason to do the work (he comes tomorrow), and it’s going to cost us a good chunk of change to fix the current issues, then waterproof the mortar so we don’t have these issues again. Then when we can get the gutter guy to call us back (again, WTF people?), that’s going to cost us.

The end of July, our a/c froze over (the interior coil). That usually means we were low on refrigerant. We know this because a) it happened in our previous house and b) this happened to us LAST YEAR in June. So last June when this happened, the repair guy filled our refrigerant, then said we probably had a small leak and we should see how it goes before deciding to do a very expensive search for the leak. We were all, OOKAY and we were find the rest of the summer. This year we called the guys again and they came out, repeated that there’s probably a leak, but the search for the leak is $500 and would take A YEAR to run. We asked about pumping something into the system that would fill the leak (my parents had this done several months ago by the same company we were using), but the tech said he doesn’t use that stuff and wouldn’t do it for us. Same company, different tech. GREAT. But we figured we’d be good for the rest of the summer, so we paid for the visit and the refrigerant and went on our merry way…until 3 weeks later the a/c freezes over again. THREE WEEKS LATER and we’re without a/c again. And it’s damn hawt. And it dies on a Saturday morning. So we go running around to find a portable air conditioner…finding ONE unit after visiting two big box hardware stores and calling multiple locations. Let’s note the unit we find (and they put aside for us when I beg them to over the phone) has already been opened and taped up again by a previous purchaser… So we fork out the moolah for this beast, which turns out to not really work all that well, as we wait to call the a/c company again on Monday. We muddle through two nights of no a/c upstairs and Hub calls the a/c place at 7:15 am Monday morning. They agree to fit us in that morning by noon and Hub works from home to deal with them as I’m supposed to be accompanying my mother to her oncology appointment where they’re planning to decide what treatment to start next. The a/c guy shows up and says he has a “sniffer” to find the leak, that in his experience it’s either at the exterior connection or on the coil. We ask wy the previous tech didn’t “sniff” out the leak for $130 versus $500 for a year of testing. He said not every tech has a “sniffer”. WTF. THEN YOU SEND THE GUY WITH THE SNIFFER. Ahem. So he calls his next appointment to say he’s going to be late and he “sniffs” out a leak in the coil. He fills our refrigerant to tide us over, then says they’ll call with an estimate for labor, as parts should be under warranty. The office calls to quote what sounds like an exorbitant amount, and Hub and I weep over an a/c system that isn’t even four years old and is broken like this. I insist that Hub calls other a/c companies to get estimates for the repair and he finds someone who can do the job for about 30% less. They come out two days later and insist there’s no leak in the coil (they do a nitrogen AND a vacuum test, saying THOSE tests work better than the sniffer — again, WTF) but that they found a small leak at the connections outside. They seal the outside connections, refill the refrigerant they had to take out to do the tests, then charge us for the tests and the refrigerant, which is less than the coil replacement but still, more than we wanted to have to fork out after having forked out for 2 pounds of refrigerant and 2 visit charges over three weeks’ time.

We figure we still have the mason and the gutter guy, but then we’re done bleeding money. Yeah, fat chance. Saw that coming didja?

Thursday morning I’m hearing dishwashers running as I’m hanging out in the family room. And the noise seems to be going on for an awfully long time. So I ask Hub, who is at work, did he run both dishwashers at once (we have drawer dishwashers), and he says no. He only ran the top drawer of the two, which is the one we use the most. So I go check and I see that the bottom drawer is running, making lots of noise, and when I open it there’s water in there like it was on the dry cycle. So I ask Hub again, “You sure you didn’t run both and just don’t remember?” He swears he didn’t touch the bottom dishwasher. So it started on it’s own… This is the dishwasher that the controls basically don’t light up anymore, even though we rarely use it. So we have to press buttons on it, then assume we got the right buttons when we hit the start button to make it run. Ya’ll, we had this house built less than four years ago, and yet … so many issues. But we’ve been ignoring the issue with the bottom dishwasher because…we rarely use it. But if it’s going to run on its own, we have a problem. At the moment, we’re ignoring the problem. We thought we were getting away with something until…

Yeah, you think you know, but you have no idea.

So Saturday, Hub and I are running errands and he wants to stop somewhere to get a milkshake, but I’m too hot and too tired, so I make him go home instead. An hour after we’re home, I figure I’ll try to make him a milkshake, so I go to the fridge and yank open the bottom drawer freezer and pull out a container of ice cream….and it sloshes. I feel it slosh around before I see it. And I turn it over in my hand (top still on, obviously), and through the clear plastic container, I see the ice cream moving around like it’s chunky milk (it has nuts and chocolate chips in it). And I say, out loud, really really loud, “SHIT.” We bought this refrigerator the same time we moved into the house, so it, too, is not even four years old. In addition, less than a year in the house and the freezer got really frosted over. So we called the manufacturer and after multiple visits, the head repair guy for the manufacturer said the motherboard had a faulty program and wasn’t running the defrost system properly, so our compressor fan was frozen over. He replaced the motherboard (only it turned out to be the SAME motherboard and not the new one, so they had to come out and do the replacement TWICE) and things have been fine. Until now, with our sloshy ice cream. So when I’m cursing, Hub comes over and says, “Hmm, my milk didn’t seem so cold this morning at breakfast, but I didn’t think anything of it…” Fortunately, we have a second smaller refrigerator in our pantry for overflow, and a medium size chest freezer that we use because we buy food in bulk. So we start moving all the ice cream (which we’d bought on sale which I think is now RUINED because it got soupy and then refroze) and the frozen fruit and the dog’s homemade ice cream and the frozen coffee into the big chest freezer. Then we start moving all the food from the fridge in the kitchen into the smaller fridge in the pantry. We cram everything into the pantry fridge and, cursing, I go look for the extended warranty paperwork (we smartly bought a five year extended warranty for this piece of shit). I find the paperwork, go to the website and register a claim. But it’s Saturday afternoon, so you know ain’t no one working there.

Ya’ll, I’m tired. I’m tired of stuff breaking down. I’m tired of having to schedule repair people, get estimates, get work done, follow them around to make sure it’s actually being done (yeah, had THAT happen). I’m tired to trying to figure out who is telling us the truth and who is lying. Who is charging us properly and who is looking at our (mostly) newly built house and thinking they can take us money-wise (you wouldn’t believe the range of estimates we get from some of these places). I’m tired of chasing these people around when they don’t return calls, or don’t follow-up, or don’t SHOW up. It’s tiresome. I’m tired.

We thought when we had this place built and put research into the major systems and appliances, that we’d get a break from this repair bullshit. Not so much. The first year (or two) it was manufacturer defects, builder issues, replacement issues, warrantied issues. Now it’s the same shit we had at our previous house, only it’s on items and equipment that are new and shouldn’t be HAVING these problems…and that makes it all the more frustrating. At least when you’re a/c is 20 years old and it breaks down, you figure, enh, was bound to happen after 20 years in service. When it’s less than 4 years old and it’s breaking down for the 3rd time in a year, you’re thinking WTF.

Ugh. Tomorrow morning, if the fridge warranty place doesn’t call by noon, I get to chase them down. Woo.


Posted by on September 4, 2015 in angry, anxiety, overwhelmed, stress, tired, trust


Tags: , , , , ,

2 responses to “House and $ stress

  1. joey

    September 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I am only liking this because you wrote it.
    Okay, so yes, this all totally sucks.
    Planned obsolescence on the appliances, Hand to God. The warranties only get you so far these days and the extended warranties cost so much, they don’t actually save you any money and the repair men are mostly sharks, and it’s whomever they send out that day, doe-de-doe…People are buying more and more OLDER appliances secondhand, because 1) cheap 2) live decades 3) can be fixed easily. Yeah. Yes, power bill higher on non energy-efficient models, but still…
    “Look at this new and shiny piece of crap that will function perfectly for approximately a year!” or “Look at this old dented thing that will probably live ten more years!” I can’t afford to have all my food go bad, or all my laundry backed up, or whatever, let alone repairs!
    Dishwasher broke last July. I don’t miss it. But then, you know, I was never big on using it unless we fed a crowd. I want a vintage drainboard sink. Screw the dishwasher.
    As for the water issues — all I can say is OMG. I marvel at how people don’t seem to need business. I mean, like our HVAC experiences in the last two years. Why is it so hard to get someone to come do the job they advertise?!?
    If this issue is going to lead to structural damage, that’s where you have to heap your pile of monies. 😦
    Oh the horror of no a/c! I feel your pain. I know nothin about HVAC and do not envy your dealings with the people who are six of one, halfa dozen of the other when it comes to solutions.
    We’ve lived in two old houses, and two new houses. What we found was that the new houses give the illusion of being dependable, are shiny clean and pretty, but it’s maddening when your brand new house starts deteriorating, and quite frankly, just like appliances we bought to put inside them, are not built the way they used to be. I remember builder’s remorse like it was yesterday. Cracks in the ceiling, dryer vent atrocities, bad plumbing, broken disposal, lazy flush, dishwasher leak and repair, consequential floor repair, patio settling and cracking, dryer broke, hot water heater repair…We only lived there 16 months — all new everything — and we are the ones who had it built!
    I am NOT judging you, and I am not bragging, but seriously, this is why we looked at houses built in the 60’s or before. We just couldn’t deal. New things that break and malfunction immediately are definitely beyond our tolerance.
    I wish you incredible financial windfall and all the tolerance possible.

    • meANXIETYme

      September 4, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      I’ve lived in houses that range in age and have sadly lived through most of the repairs of said house. Although it’s annoying and frustrating, I still like this house the most because it is a reflection of what Hub an I wanted in our lives. Also, it’s proximity to may parents has been unbelievably invaluable. But yeah, having a new house and STILL having all the repairs even though it should be new and shiny is a stone-cold-bitch. I HATE IT. Most especially since some of these things are items WE researched before buying, so it’s our own damn fault that they’re crap. Well, not technically because I agree with you that stuff built today is all crap, so no matter what we picked out it probably still would have been crap.

      The a/c is fixed for the moment, although unfortunately, the unit on the main level is tripping the breaker, which freaks me out. But we’re waiting to see if it trips again before calling for help. In the meantime we’ve replaced the filter and hope that it was just too blocked and was causing the unit to run too hard. (PLEASE!)
      Yup, water issues is where we sink our moniez. A year after we moved in, we realized that there is definitely an underwater spring and we spent thousands and thousands of dollars on a underground water pipe system to keep that shit away from our foundation (as well as take our rainwater from the gutters away from the house). Now our sump pumps (two of them!) only run when it rains instead of almost every 20 minutes all day. But we had to protect the foundation. I’ve had stupid-ass water issues in every house I’ve owned. Either from plumbing or a neighbor or a storm…I don’t know wtf it is about me and water issues!
      I feel your pain on those new-house issues. We’ve lived through pretty much all of them, too (plus driveway issues and the underwater spring and probably some other shit I’m purposefully blocking…). But again, location and the extras in our house (like our elevator) have been worth it. I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s worth it! LOL


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