Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Save-A-Bucks Strike Again

When my sister first moved to Phoenix, she bought her house from a man named Ed.  Ed quickly became known to our family as "Save-A-Buck Ed" because he had obviously cut every possible corner - and a few we would have believed impossible - in the maintenance and repair of his home, to its long-term detriment.  He was the ultimate Un-handyman.  Sue (and my Dad, during the winters) spent years re-fixing Ed's improbable DIY improvisations.

In a post-Barry resolve to be kinder and less sarcastic I said that I would refrain from complaining about the previous owners of my new house, but this week's adventures with the heat pump have only confirmed what I already knew - they were Mr. and Mrs. Save-A-Buck, spiritual heirs of Save-A-Buck Ed.

My first inkling that this might be so was the pre-purchase inspection report.  Replacement faucets had been plumbed backward (the "hot" control actually controlled the cold water and vice versa).  Electrical outlets had been wired with reverse polarity.  The hot water heater relief was plumbed to code but unsafely.  The garage door opening mechanism was installed too low so the door doesn't open properly.  When I demanded that the most critical of these items plus the roof be fixed, they hired unlicensed contractors to do the work (NOT what I had asked for).  Their main criterion for hiring repair people appears to have been whether they belonged to the same church, closely followed by "are they inexpensive?"

When Dad installed the thermostat this week and the fan ran but the compressor apparently didn't, I called in a professional who climbed up on the roof and announced that the heat pump (replaced during the previous owners' tenure) had been wired incorrectly from the get-go.  I was not particularly surprised.  The Save-A-Bucks strike again.

This afternoon Dad is coming over and we are going to raise the garage door mechanism by a couple of notches.  That should finish the repairs due to the Save-A-Bucks' stinginess, with one possible exception.  They bumped out one side of the kitchen to make an eating nook, and the tile over the join with the rest of the room is cracking ominously.  Eventually I plan to replace all the tile anyway, since it's only a year old but already badly chipped (can you spell CHEAP?); I just hope the breakfast nook doesn't fall off the house in the meantime.

The cheapness of man is every day's tragedy ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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