It All Started with the Carpet

We have light-colored Berber carpet in our family room. It wasn’t in great shape when we moved in 7 years ago. We always meant to replace it, but then we got a dog who wasn’t housebroken. Then we had a baby, and carpet was the least of our worries. We also weathered several storms that caused the skylights to leak onto the rug.

Then, we had a second baby. This baby spit up all day, every day, all over every surface in the house. We spot-cleaned, steam-cleaned, and covered the carpet with area rugs. Clearly, there was no point replacing it until the barrage of bodily fluids ceased.

So here it is, 2 years later, and we finally decided to do something about the carpet. But first we have to remove the old, unused woodstove that sits on a raised brick platform in the middle of the family room. We used it once shortly after we moved in, before we had kids. The entire room filled with smoke, forcing us to open all the doors in the house, thereby reversing any warmth that the stove generated. That was the end of that.

Basically, this big black stove is a danger magnet. Kids are drawn to it. They climb on it, bang on it, draw on it with chalk. And the brick platform it sits on — square, with raised, sharp corners — is just high enough to trip over. And believe me, kids trip over it constantly. We covered the edges with foam, which my younger son promptly took big bites out of.

So this weekend we had a contractor come over to give us an estimate on removing the stove and bricks. This is how that went:

Contractor: “Sure, that’s no problem. Since we have to patch the ceiling where the chimney was, would you like us to go ahead and patch the drywall around the skylights where you have water damage?”

Us: “Yeah, that makes sense. Sure.”

Contractor: “How old are those skylights, anyway? At least 20 years old? They don’t even make those anymore. You’re losing a lot of heat out those windows, you know. I could put in some new ones for you.”

Us: “Um, well, if they’re THAT old… And they DO leak… Maybe just price them for us?”

Contractor: “The thing is, they make ’em smaller now. I’d have to build out new frames, and add some new shingles around the windows on the roof. They won’t match, though. But if the roof is also 20 years old, you might want to think about reshingling the whole thing. It’d be cheaper for me to do it now.”

Us: “Oh, boy, I don’t know…”

Contractor: “’Cause it could actually end up COSTING you money down the road if you don’t take care of it now. I’m just letting you know. It’s your decision.”

Us: “Sure. Yeah. Um, price that out for us too, OK?”

Contractor: “I notice you don’t have a vent in this bathroom over here. That’s probably why you’ve got some mold up there on the ceiling. I could put in a vent real easy for you, while I’m doing the roof.”

“Vent? Huh?”

Contractor: “So what do you think about adding another skylight? Wouldn’t be that hard, since I’m already up there, you know.”

Us: “Uh, we’ve got this thing to go to soon, so we should probably let you go now… Yeah, just send us the estimate. We’ll call you! Thanks!” We closed the door behind him, dejected.

The carpet’s not THAT bad, I guess. I mean, with all the toys scattered around and unless it’s really bright sunlight, you can hardly see the spit-ups stains at all. Right? RIGHT?!


Laura said…

Yikes! Sounds like he was trying to sell you the moon on a silver platter! Good thing you got him out when you did!

We've owned 3 houses and now are back to renting. It's sooooooo much easier to call the office and have them come fix stuff when you need it. Really enjoying watching someone else do the work!

MamaTales said…

OMG! That contractor was trying to get you to redo everything. Why don't he just build a new house while he's up there. Sheesh! It's almost as bad as telemarketers. I say keep looking it's hard enough to get jobs that I'm sure you can haggle or find one willing to work with you. Good luck!

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said…

I am going through the exact same thing!! Although my carpet isn't exactly the start of the problem…more like my non-working kitchen appliances. I have only three crappy burners I can use, the oven doesn't heat correctly, and you would not believe my microwave. Long story. But we had a contractor come over too, and when you re-do the kitchen, then you need to think about how that affects the dining room…and oh! What about knocking a wall out to create access to the living room? And what about the awful 60's brick fireplace? Should we have that drywalled? And flooring. Can we unify the flooring so it's all hardwood? Well, we can't have hardwood in the entry because it was an add-on and is sitting on concrete…

Visits with contractors make me want to move out and find a rental. And poke my eyes out with sticks while I'm at it.

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