Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?

Our air conditioner hasn't been doing the best job of keeping up with demand. I first began to notice it last summer. By the time I got around to calling our service company the temps had cooled too much to put a load on it for them to check it out. They made it out a couple days ago and found that it was low 1.5 lbs of freon. The guy who came out topped it off but told me that we may want to give some consideration to having it replaced. The compressor was making more noise than it should. He said the average life span of an air conditioner is 15 years and ours is one year beyond that. Furnaces typically last 20 years. We could probably use a new one of those too he suggested as what we've got in our home is just standard builder grade stuff. Nothing at all efficient...just enough to satisfy code requirements I'm guessing. He said that the newer stuff is much cheaper to run and will pay for itself over time.

I suppose these are the sort of things you want to replace while they're still working rather than waiting until a crisis. We've got a guy coming out next Wednesday to give us a bid on both our furnace and air conditioner.

We've already got plans to replace our asphalt driveway with a concrete driveway as well as the front walk in a couple weeks. The driveway isn't in terrible shape but it's showing its age. The front walk is suffering from a lack of rebar to hold the slabs together; they're separating. It's mostly a cosmetic thing and we're still debating the need to have it replaced.

I was on my bike yesterday and saw a concrete driveway which had a nice color to it. I thought that would be a nice touch for ours rather than the stark white color of typical concrete. I phoned our concrete guy when I got home and he told me it would be an additional $2000 to add color. I have a hard time believing that. How much can the upcharge be on the pigment they're using? I'll need to do some checking around and see if I can get some figures together to make a case to our contractor for a more reasonable price if we're in fact being gouged.

I was at Fleet Farm a couple weeks ago when I got a call from Rachel. Jim Wolter was at our home and wanted to know if I was around. Jim last painted (stained) our house ten years ago and he was back to give us a bid on doing it again. I was hoping to put it off another year with the expense of the driveway but he said we should really do it now to avoid a more expensive job next year. He's right; it really does need it.

So, between the driveway, painting the house and replacing the air conditioner and furnace we've got some expenses to cover in the coming months. I suppose it's nice to have these projects done before I retire. Sorry Tim and Mark but I won't be turning down any OT calls...not that I get any.


John said...

And of course we are working on our third year at the same wage with no foreseeable raises for the rest of our careers! Everything keeps going up except our pay. Follow the example of our Executive leader and just go borrow money from China!

Kevin said...

Or I could follow the example of one of the supes in my area...last Father's Day he was on sick leave due to back pain. Wouldn't you know it that his birthday was the following day and he still had back pain.

I was in the sector tonight and I heard the supe mention that this particular supe wouldn't be in tomorrow (Father's Day) because he has an abscess tooth. I'm quite certain the tooth will still be hurting for his birthday...but what do I know? Oh, and this is the same supe who wrote me up for being insubordinate. Such integrity.

Yes, John, it's frustrating when you have a ring-side seat to what's happening in our government. Sometimes life is much more blissful being ignorant.

I've got my blog until they take that away from me. Believe me...there's much more I'd love to write about but I don't for fear of reprisals...but then, you know all about that.