Catching up

In the two weeks since my workroom/storage shed went up in flames, I’ve been dealing with that reality as well as reaching several other landmarks.

The insurance company sent a pair of adjusters to look at the damage and estimate the cost of repair and replacement. They indicated that contractors would probably prefer to raze the structure and build from the concrete slab rather than trying to replace all that was damaged by the fire. After considerable study, they estimated the cost of replacement, subtracted our deductible and depreciation, and handed me a check. The check had to be sent to the holder of the mortgage, since that company’s name is also on the check; someone will sign the check for the company and mail it back.

In addition to the cost of the building, my insurance policy also includes contents of the building. As a result, my family and I have spent much of the past two weeks listing everything that was in the shed, then researching the cost of replacement. That started the day after the fire, when I went to the hardware store to replace tools that I need to use this spring. The next replacement purchase was the lawnmower, which did not appear to be damaged, but which started once, ran twenty or thirty feet, and died, refusing to start again, even after I replaced the air filter. Children’s clothing and toys, which my family was gradually removing to donate to the church for its periodic rummage sale, now has to be listed, photographed, and in most cases discarded. Some homemade dresses are being saved for their nostalgic value. Then there’s the Christmas decorations. Many of the ceramic and glass figures were scalded by the fire. I will soon make arrangements with a professional cleaning company—recommended by the insurance company—to see what can be saved rather than replaced.

Meanwhile, I am inviting general contractors to place a bid on the work to replace the building. Many of my readers probably know a lot about general contractors, but some might not know about them. (Mrs. Dim didn’t understand them. When I asked her if she could recommend a general contractor, she told me not to use the one she had used. He showed up once, then took her money but sent other people to do the work.) General contractors oversee a building project, but they hire various specialists, such as carpenters, roofers, and electricians, to do the work. A person can save money by not using a general contractor, but that saved money is balanced by the time it takes to negotiate with each specialist, along with the necessity of knowing enough about construction to speak with those workers and to know that they are doing what they should be doing. The insurance company recommends a general contractor.

One general contractor came to the property the same day she was called and promised to email a bid. I haven’t received that email yet. A second general contractor did not return the phone call for two days, promised to come by on a certain day, and did not show up. A third came to look at the shed and wanted to know how much money the insurance company provided so his bid could match the insurance payment. I told him I planned to get several bids and compare them all to the insurance company’s evaluation, but he said he would submit a bid with a paragraph promising to adjust his figures. I’m hoping to receive one more bid, so I have three to compare.

All this overlaps wrapping up the school year and preparing to teach a summer class. At the same time, I have started my summer writing project, a study of the parables of Jesus. (I will post a few chapters, but since I plan to publish the whole book through amazon, I don’t want to share the entire work for free.) My car—a 1999 Ford Escort—crossed the 200,000 mile mark this month. I have seen license plates from forty-seven different states this year, but I am still looking for Maine, Rhode Island, and Delaware. And the exhibit I curated is open until the first of July. J.

7 thoughts on “Catching up

  1. LOL! Thanks for the check-in. You have my sympathy, I married a contractor. Sorry we’re so far away or I’d send you a bid.

    If you ever come across any young whippersnappers who understand building and want to start a business,tell them to just do the precise opposite of what everyone expects contractors to do. Bid quickly, show up, be honest, and finish on time. That simple, those are rare commodities, much in demand. I kid you not, business will be booming and word of mouth will keep you afloat. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I began the process without expectations, but they are forming. What about this contractor who wants to know the size of the insurance check before he submits his bid. Am I right that his approach is a warning signal that something is not right? J.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! I’d be a bit disturbed if someone wanted to know the exact amount of the insurance check.

        There is a sight possibility he is offering to adjust his bid down or up, wanting to accommodate how much money you have. Slight possibility, have to go with your instincts there! We have done a few jobs like that. There’ s a big difference between a 5000
        dollar shed and ten thousand dollar one, so having some idea of how much money you have to spend could have something to do with it.

        Usually a state will keep a list of licensed contractors,including complaints,etc. Ours go through Labor and Industries. So in theory you could go on line and look them up, see if they’ve had any major violations, red flags,how long they’ve been in business.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for that advice. I will not settle on a bid without researching the bidder. The one I mentioned returned paperwork without numbers, just a promise to build it for what the insurance company estimates it should be built. I suspect he believes he can build it for less and wants to increase his profit, but doesn’t want to hurt his profit by offering to build for too little. No, I don’t trust him at all. J.


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