Chet Chat

This morning I was going about my day off routine, (basically, Wednesdays are trash day and generally get shit done day) when I happened to notice Chet, the contractor that lives on the next street, backing his truck and trailer into the piece of property across the street that he just purchased. Taking the initiative, I went across to talk to him.

Chet works on old houses primarily. Which is advantageous as I own a house that was built in 1838. He’s already helped us a couple of times, when we needed a wall replastered in 2005, and when we needed our front porch repaired in ’08. On the other hand, there are a lot of old houses in this area, so he’s in some demand. The same wall that was replastered needs to be done again, as we had another contractor install new gutters near that wall, and he accidentally installed a downspout upside down, which caused water to cascade down the brick and ruin the repaired wall underneath. That contractor didn’t know how to plaster, so it remained unrepaired to the present day.

Too, we have a sidewalk that has heaved over the years because of a tree root, and it’s only a matter of time before someone trips on the heaved square and sues us. It just figures in the Village code, even though the sidewalk is outside of the property line, we the landowners are responsible for the upkeep of it. Which is curious as the Village has been replacing large tracts of sidewalk in the more well-traveled areas under a contract with a major company (rumor has it was in the neighborhood of $1 million) and none of those landowners had a pay a dime. As with many things it seems to be location, location, location.

Getting back to Chet, though. He’s been unavailable due to a few medical issues in the last few years; the pandemic didn’t help, and we’ve been on a waiting list. I could have gone with other local contractors, but I figured since Chet already is familiar with the house, knows how to plaster (many of the other contractors don’t bother, they rip out the plaster and use sheetrock because it’s cheaper) and he owes me a favor since I clued him in on that piece of property he recently purchased.

So, after my conversation, my wife and I have about a week to come up with a list of things that we want him to accomplish:

  • There’s a door in the living room that is rotting from the underside up that needs to be replaced. Given that it’s a good 7 feet tall, it’s probably going to be a custom order. But it will go towards security as the lock it has right now is rather questionable.
  • The aforementioned wall in the dining room that was plastered in ’05 needs to be re-done, and it’s a bigger job than before, because of the water damage caused by the faulty gutter.
  • Sidewalk in front of the house along the width of the property frontage. Might as well get the front walk done at the same time as there is at least one cracked square.
  • Our upstairs bathroom needs updating. It was dated when we moved in, and hasn’t had any attention over the past 23 years. Chet mentioned a few years ago a bathroom upgrade would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $10k USD. I can’t imagine it’s gotten any cheaper.

I expect there are more issues, but at least that’s a start. Paying off the mortgage will free up funds to use on home repair. We also need to get the name of a decent painter, as the house hasn’t had a good paint job since before we moved in. Too, I need to see if Chet can recommend a roofer, since I’m concerned about ours. Usually roofs are changed out every 20 years. Ours is way past that.

Of course, this opens up a huge can of worms, since there are many, many projects that need to be attended to. Let’s see how many we can get accomplished before 2025.

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