Friday, January 14, 2011

Let It Be

The camper was ready to be delivered on Wednesday afternoon.  Joe and I were to meet the seller back at his place, some 25 miles from here, where he'd lined up a couple of friends to help with the delivery.  We were to lead them to our place.  In sharp contrast to Tuesday, which had been nasty, freezing with "icy drizzle," Wednesday was brilliant blue skies, though ice still clung to the tree branches, no warm up predicted until the weekend.

Going over the bridge -- Glorious Sky

When we arrived at the seller's place, he and his friends were waiting for us.  We all introduced ourselves and both Joe and I had a good feeling about these guys.  They just seemed very down to earth and decent folks. Within a few minutes, the caravan was on the way to the old farm house.  We led the way, followed by the guy in the minivan pulling the purchased camper, followed by the seller and his friend in the little Honda. When we turned on the radio in the Amigo we were treated to the Beatles' "Let It Be," and I decided that was a really good omen.  First stop was the gas station to put air in the camper's tires....they were pretty flat.

Starting out with pretty flat tires...

Getting a little air

With tires filled, we proceeded to the old farm house.  The day was glorious and the two rivers we had to cross were quite beautiful, with the sun's rays glimmering off the water's ripples.  I took pictures of the day as we drove, and took pictures of the camper behind us, in the side view mirror.  We collected quite a little caravan behind us, so, when we had to opportunity, we pulled into another gas station, to let the other cars by.

Draw Bridge
Camper in side view mirror

Caravan in side view mirror

Awesome sky

Once back at the old farmhouse, Joe directed the parking of the camper in an out of the way place, where it will undergo its repairs and transformation into its next life.  And then, for the next two hours, we chatted with the three men, one 46, one 36 and one 28 years old, all in need of work, and all possessing skills we could use.  We showed them the projects on which we were seeking bids -- both small projects and huge projects.  They promised to get back with us with bids.

Camper with last remnants of snow
Camper in her temporary spot
This afternoon, the two who were bidding on the small projects, and whose bids we accepted, started the first of these projects.  While I worked away up in my office in the garage apartment, they, under Joe's supervision, worked to install new hot and cold water PEX pipe delivery to allow us to install a washing machine and a kitchen sink in garage. Then it was on to the electrical work.  They installed a couple of breakers,  6/3 wire and receptacle for the installation of a range, and 10/3 wire and receptacle for the installation of a clothes dryer.

Plumbing
Electric
More Electric
Everything went well, and, by the time I came downstairs at the end of my work day, they were just finishing up.  We chatted awhile about the next little projects for which they will return next week, and we chatted about a little bit of everything under the sun.  When we paid them for this first day of work, they seemed genuinely pleased, and eager to do the next projects.  They are hoping that guy number three's bid on the BIG project (raising the farmhouse, installing the new beams and joists, and installing the new floor) will be the winning bid, and that they will be able to work with him to complete that project.
Chatting after the work is done
From my perspective, our innocent little answering of a Craigslist ad for an ancient "canned ham" camper, has resulted in our acquisition of a very inexpensive storage shed, contacts with three capable tradesmen, AND, within two days of making the deal to buy the camper, has resulted in our being one step closer to being able to do laundry in the garage, and to cook with an oven for the first time since we moved into this garage apartment nearly a year ago. And, the best part about this whole deal, is that the guys doing the work are really nice and very happy to have the work, meager as it is.

Let it be, Let it be, Let it be, yeah, Let it be,
There will be an answer, Let it be.............
Let it be....

15 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

I have no doubt that the Lord pulled you all together. It is well!

The Griper said...

Stories like this really gives me inspiration for the work ahead of me.

have to say i'm sure pleased to have found all of you.

Louise said...

Glad to hear that all went well. Finding good people to do those types of jobs for you is such a gift. You are lucky and, thankfully, you know it.

Sharon said...

It's great that you have found some help for the jobs that you need to have done. Not being a doubting Thomas, but are these guys certified? The reason I ask, is that, around here - anybody can hang a sign and print up business cards and screw up your new windows, your floor or your bathroom up in a hurry and at great expense and none of the problems show up till they have cashed your check and gone. ALL, were friendly likable guys.

Judy's Corner said...

I agree Gorges.

Judy's Corner said...

TG,

Do you have a lot of work ahead of you in the form of reviving an ancient structure?

And thank you!

Judy's Corner said...

Louise,
I feel lucky when we happen on these people. We are really in no hurry to complete any of these projects, and when everything comes together, and a project gets accomplished, no matter how small, it is a wonderful feeling!

Judy's Corner said...

Sharon,

We share your concerns, of course. So, on the matter of the "big projects" -- yes they are performed by certified folks with license and plenty of customer references. For the small projects, they are typically folks who have always worked for other contractors, and have been out of work, or under employed since the whole economy took a tank. These guys are not left unsupervised, and their work is monitored by Joe, who has sufficient experience to know what we are getting for our money. For the most part, these smaller projects are those that Joe and I would do ourselves, but which would be MUCH more expediently executed by folks who do this type of work regularly.

Both of the guys who did the work yesterday, are in the process of building their own homes... they are neighbors. Their work is scrutinized by the inspectors every step of the way. Guy number three is a licensed and bonded builder, currently building a spec house, but willing to tackle the job of raising and stabilizing the old farm house.

These guys aren't going anywhere. They are locals who have been here a long time and whose past employers are well known in the communities. But when work is hard to come by, the employers have to let them go.

Now, where I HAVE been dissatisfied with workers has been in situations where they are not only licensed and bonded and insured, but also not local....
examples of these are:
1. installation of the first carport next to the garage.... the non-English speaking workers installed it with a leg DIRECTLY in front of the garage side door... we had to move the 31 foot structure ourselves to be able to regain use of the door!
2. the installation of gutters on the old farmhouse and the garage.... lovely gutters, but, when on the third trip back to fix a corner joint that still leaked, the installer informed us that we'd have to raise the house 2 inches to make the gutters work, I knew we would never employ him again.

With everything else, we have had very good luck!

THE OLD GEEZER said...

Restoring an old trailer sounds like a fun project. Good luck!

Have a nice day :-)

~Ron

Canyon Girl said...

It's such fun to read about all you guys are doing to get your place together. You work so hard and I know it will pay off big time.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I was holding my breath as I was reading about the trailer making the trip to your house--I'm glad it made it there and all went well!! It really is a good feeling when the pieces come together!

I hope you're having a good weekend--It's warmed up above freezing in my part of VA--It was nice to be out running around today!

Leigh said...

I love it when things just fall together like that!

Chris said...

Hi Judy! Isn't it great to meet really nice people, and find you now have more good friends? Friends are second only to family, and not always that! ;)

Judy's Corner said...

Thanks, OG! I think we will have fun with that project!

The Griper said...

"Do you have a lot of work ahead of you in the form of reviving an ancient structure?"

yah, judy, but it is called my house. lol
got ceiling work, roof repair, window repair, flooring, cabinet replacement, and that is all before a complete paint job inside and out.
so, yah, i have a few days work ahead of me.