I was so proud that I got the recyclables gathered up and out to the curb after dinner tonight, so I didn't have to deal with it in the morning - until I looked up the street and noticed that none of my neighbors had put out their recycling. Back in the house, I checked the calender and realized that recycling pickup was LAST week. Sheepishly, I slunk back out and retrieved the bags.
Gee, what was I doing last week that distracted me? Oh, right - I was getting estimates from house painters.
I don't even have that big a painting job. It's a brick house, so it's just trim, shutters and garage doors. No reason that the estimates should be all over the boards like they were. I got numbers from $900 to $2400 for the same scope. Which is nuts, when you think of it. A variance of 10 to 20% I could see, but the biggest number was two and a half times the cheapest one. What gives?
We did all the things you were supposed to do when picking a contractor. We checked the BBB, went on Angie's List, talked to the neighbors (fat lot of help they were - everyone else has their eaves covered with vinyl and steel garage doors - no painting required). The first one that came out to talk to me was a company that advertises a lot on the radio. $1900 - I was expecting about $1200. Ouch. So I called several more. $900. $2400(!). And, in a particularly insulting move, the one who said he would figure up the estimate and call me back - and then wrote $2100 on the back of his business card and taped it to my mailbox the next morning! What, ringing the doorbell was just too much trouble?
In the end, we found a guy through Angie's List. Seems competent, lots of experience, no complaints, not a drunk or a felon (don't laugh - oh, the stories I've heard). He wants $1500 for the job (still ouch, but less of one), and doesn't ask for money up front - I don't pay until everything is done to my satisfaction. We may finally get this task completed.
Now all I have to think about is fixing my leaking toilet. And spending 3 hours working on the darned yard this morning. The joys of home ownership.