...because everything is funny when it's happening to someone else!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Live from the Taj MaHell (sorta)

Wow...long time, no see!

I just got back last night from six days in Mayberry and what an adventure it was!  First and foremost, let me say that life in Mayberry may have its flaws, but so far, doing business with Berryites is a dream, compared to trying to get anything done here island-style.

Tank and I drove down last Thursday and stopped off at Uncle Todd's Cabin, turned on the A/C and headed over to the Taj.  Tank wasn't thrilled with being at the Taj, which was a surprise since he'd been so nuts about it before.  So, we stayed only a little while and then headed back to the cabin, where it was STILL 86 degrees inside.  We stripped to all but the essentials and tried to get some sleep.  The Cabin A/C was working, but apparently it has just been so hot that the house absorbed a ton of heat and it took about 6 hours to cool it down.  The next morning, we met the City of Mayberry inspector at the Taj and learned the many things that must be done to pass inspection:

--fill in or clean out and cover the pool
--trim all branches back from the house
--fix all holes in floors or walls
--bring electric up to code
--bring plumbing up to code

I nodded and made notes, thinking the whole time, "In 90 days?  Are you sh*tting me?!?!"

But then things just started to fall in place.  By the time Shawn, Tank and I left yesterday afternoon, we had been the beneficiaries of goodwill from two neighbors, two FANTASTIC City of Mayberry electrical workers, two of the nicest, most long-suffering A/C repairmen I've ever met and kind-hearted souls at all levels of city government.  Except maybe for the dude who made me pay $90 for a building permit.  But I guess maybe that's just his job.  We'd more than conquered the branches on the house, drained all but a little water out of the pool (we'll begin digging leaves out next trip, when hopefully they have dried and are less heavy), and we got the heating and air conditioning unit functioning (for $1100, but we also learned it is a VERY good 5-ton unit that will more than suffice for many years to come).

The roofer is coming next week to begin and we've already had one electrician come out and look at the job; we'll get his bid next week, more than likely.  We'll talk to another electrician and a plumber or two, then select the ones we want and get them going.  So far, we've been pleasantly surprised by the costs we've been quoted and have received several good recommendations from different sources, for the same contractors.  So, there, mean dude who made me pay for a building permit and also looked at me like I was a nut job when I said I was my own general contractor for this job.  I poop on your grave!

And outside of all the paid pros who made life so much easier for us, there was family in abundance!  Papa helped Shawn in the Taj yard until I though they would both collapse from heat stroke; Mimi fed us Fourth of July dinner and helped locate good local labor sources; Grandmother and Aunt Bebbie babysat Tank so that Shawn and I could try to kill ourselves working in the heat and Aunt Farm Maven fed Tank and me so full of fresh-from-the-garden veggies that we should be healthy for months to come, even if we subsist entirely on pizza and chips.  Tank's sweet cousin Rebecca also babysat and was a tremendous success, with not so much as a whimper from the little man, who usually protests quite a bit at not having Mama at hand!  We also had generous offers of painting and other help from Uncle Todd's bride Sandi and Uncle Todd himself helped me get through the experience with his medical expertise and the recommendation of steroid therapy and stronger muscle relaxers.

All in all, we had some very pleasant surprises and I think we left from our first work days feeling that this is, in fact, doable.

But now it's back to the reality of Gilligan's Island and the tons of work that piled up in my absence.  More soon, along with the first in-progress photos, I promise!


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