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CONVENTION APPEARANCES

At Miscon 2013, around Memorial Day, Missoula MT, At SoonerCon, in OKC, around June 15, also Spokon in Spokane, in July/August, Beyond that, we aren't sure.
November 2014
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OMG—the fence is here.

We haven’t gotten our permit.
We haven’t lined up help to take down the old fence.
They told us two weeks.
[racing in useless circles, here]
typical, typical of our projects!

26 comments to OMG—the fence is here.

  • did I understand that the contractors were supposed to take care of all of this? If they were, then this is unsatisfactory, and I’d be on the phone with Home Depot telling them that if this is the best they can do for contractors, you’ll consider looking elsewhere.
    I went ahead and got my own permits from the city, I didn’t wait for the contractors to do it for me, or I’d have been waiting for Hell to thaw out.
    I don’t understand why they think this is acceptable behavior, either Home Depot or the contractors. Maybe because they think wimminfolk don’t know what they’re doing anyway, and whatever we can pull over their eyes is acceptable behavior on our part….
    Sorry, I just get my dander up when things like this happen…..customers shouldn’t have to put up with this kind of treatment from businesses that depend on good referrals. If the contractors are fiddling around and it’s not Home Depot, but Home Depot did the referrals, I’d tell Home Depot that they made a bad referral and might want to reconsider ever referring these contractors again.
    Now, if none of the above are true, then well, I dunno…..

  • chondrite

    Agreed. HD and their affiliated contractor seems to believe that a. the fence is a sooner-rather-than-later need, not unlike a burst pipe, b. that you, as women of the female persuasion, are likely to be less informed and aggressive about your home repair requirements, and c. this gives them enough leeway to handle your job however they please. A. might be closest to the truth, but regarding b. and c., please give them both barrels. It is still my uninformed opinion that you might have been better served with another vendor.

  • CJ

    Oh, we haven’t heard from the fence guy yet; we’ll call him Monday.
    The guy could do the permit, but there’s a charge for it; big enough one (dollar a foot) from the city for the permit; and we don’t live far from city hall…so we’ll give it a shot. We’ve got the figures. This is a case of just handling it ourselves to save a buck.

    Home Depot is the ONLY vendor in this area for the fence we want. Sigh.

    But meanwhile (again to save money) Jane and I are dismantling the extant very heavy fence to serve as a temporary fence (by pulling it in and propping it up, during the days the concrete sets. We hope a local friend and wife can help us. We hope.

    We ARE paying for the guy to do pickup on it, rather than have it delivered here and then have it sitting on a major thoroughfare unguarded.

    It’s just a week sooner than they said.

  • CJ

    Did I mention that 2 (count ‘em) two Whirlpool brand in-line filters for the fridge icemaker have failed, I am soaking wet, and had to trek clear to Home Depot to get the only one left in this end of a city of 350,000 people?

    • Teegan

      Too late for today, but there is a website retailer called House of Filters that DH found when we discovered the filters for our Kenmore fridge were going to run $60 every 6 months. He ordered a box of 20 and we saved significant $$ and they’re convenient. And since I kept my last fridge 20+ years, they’ll get used up. The knock-offs fit perfectly and seem to do as good a job as the expensive Kenmore brand.

  • You need a permit to replace a fence in Spokane?
    Wow!

    • Phil, many cities require a permit to replace a fence. If you are taking out the old one entirely and replacing it with a new one, the city codes require certain construction, certain materials, certain height limits, etc.
      In my own small town, (20,000) if I want to put up a fence, I have to get permission from the city. Just the way things are, so that people don’t start putting up razor wire-topped chainlink fences to keep the kids next door from climbing over and chasing their errant baseballs in your yard….

      • I grew up in the construction business here in the San Francisco Bay Area and I’ve NEVER heard of a permit for a fence around here. Regulations yes. In Berkeley you can’t put a fence over 6 feet tall in your front yard but no permits.

  • chondrite

    To quote Ulysses Everett McGill in [i]O Brother, Where Art Thou[/i], “Well ain’t this place a geographic oddity? Two weeks from ever’where!!” At least one hopes that the permitting process is a matter of “You want to replace an existing fence with an equivalent? Fill out these forms, sign here, your fee is $XXX, here’s your permit, thank you have a nice day!”

  • CJ

    You need a permit to replace a wall plug.
    OTOH, what we do inside the house without calling a contractor is pretty well our business.
    WE can, we assure you, replace a wall plug! ;)

    • chondrite

      It’s a two-edged sword. You want to make sure that no one is doing things that can cause problems down the line, like too puny electrical wiring that can cause fires, but frequently that leads to micromanaging that won’t let you do simple stuff like replacing a wall plug. My take on the matter is overengineer if in any doubt, be sure of your skills, and take the path of benign ignorance, i.e., “Oh that? It was always there.” A neighbor started to put in a rock wall and got an irregular 2 feet put up, then someone must have discovered they didn’t have the right permit. The wall has been unfinished for the last 3 years, and shrubs are starting to take root in parts of it; it looks awful and I’m fairly sure the completed wall would have been much better.

    • chondrite

      There’s a fine line between wanting to make sure that dangerous and/or illegal skilled trade work doesn’t go in, like a too-puny electrical line that can cause a fire, and micromanaging to the extent of needing a permit for relatively simple household repairs, like replacing a wall plug. Many people can do at least apprentice level work on electrical or construction, but get strangled by regulations. My take is overengineer if in doubt, be sure of your skills, and that wall plug was always there!

    • In many places home owners are exempt from permit requirements for stuff like that.

      • but if you go to sell the home, and the buyers have a home inspector out there prior to the sale, and they find stuff out of code, guess who gets to pay to have it brought up to code?
        I asked the city about permits, they said it doesn’t matter. They say that any contractor who accepts pay for the work must also be registered in the city, which is primarily for tax purposes, and which turned away a lot of contractors who would otherwise have done the job – even though I said I would pay for their registration fee – $65. If I did the work myself, I wouldn’t need to register with the city, but I would still need a permit for both jobs.
        I’d feel awfully bad if my wiring job ended up causing a fire which would destroy my house and possibly my neighbor’s house. In a case like that, I’ll pay the $40 to have the permit from the city – it’s good for 2 years. The hot tub permit was only $25 and it’s good for 2 years, too.

  • I needed two permits to install my hot tub. One for the electrical panel upgrade, and then one for the hot tub itself to ensure that it wasn’t too close to any electrical outlets, that it was wired up correctly, and that the structure on which it was resting was strong enough to hold it and the combined weight of the occupants.

  • WOL

    I went out back with my cordless drill and most of a box of aluminum 4-inch deck screws and screwed the pickets back onto the cross members on what is probably a 50-year-old fence, and screwed a board patch to keep it up, just to keep the stray dogs out of the yard. However, after May 19, I officially quit caring whether it stays up or not. The place will be vacant. Durn absentee landlord lives in a little two horse town south of here, won’t answer letters, won’t return phone calls. But come May 19, I’m outta here. Moving to a place with an on-site maintenance man, emergency phone number, a landlord who lives in town, and cheaper rent. I’m reporting his bee-hind to the city too for not maintaining his rental property.

  • chondrite

    Have you ever been compensated in any way for the handyman work you do for the landlord around the house? Keep your receipts, just in case he tries to do something stinky like keep the security deposit. That way he’ll have a hard time blaming the general decrepitude on you.

  • nzreaderlyn

    Good luck with the permit and fence. Hope the permit is easy to get. In NZ it would take weeks to get one.
    Totally OT. Peacemaker only took 10 days from the UK by post to arrive in the letterbox. Even better it arrived on a Saturday. Sunday is the end of daylight saving so I get an extra hour to read. Almost finished my re-read of the series. Three quarters of the way through Intruder – it is also raining. If I have a lazy Sunday reading, I can probably get to Peacemaker too seeing I am up an hour early. Sign of a really tidy house means no new CJC book. To paraphrase the other saying about a broken computer.
    Thank you again for some thoroughly enthralling reading.

  • Kroyd

    One is getting new siding (Hardieplank) and windows this week on the house. Permits, of course, and the city surprised my contractor by stating that the building code for windows in siding has changed; now waiting for 3 new windows. And, they said, you have an expired permit from 2009. After research, the contractor that replaced my HVAC in ’09 never got a final inspection…and that contractor went out of business in ’11. Godz. Its going to be another interesting week.

  • CJ

    Congrats on the move, WOL!
    And OMG on the siding and windows, Kroyd. I feel your pain!

  • chondrite

    I believe the normal course of events should be, if reasonable efforts were made on your part to satisfy the permitting process but the contractor screwed up, you should be able to have an inspector verify whether the work was done correctly anyhow. You may be on the hook if you need to redo work to satisfy current codes, but the city or county ought to be able to clear you for the final inspection.

    There’s a fine line between permits that make sure nothing illegal or dangerous is done in the course of home improvement, and micromanaging that won’t let you (legally) replace a wall outlet yourself!

  • I don’t ask electricians to come out and change light bulbs for me, either. I don’t ask them to replace wall outlets, light switches, install dimmers, or any of the other little things that can be done easily by the homeowner with minimal fuss. If your city requires you to get a permit to replace an outlet, then they’ve gone way too far in their zealousness to protect us from ourselves.
    In my case, when the inspector came to check out the electrical upgrade, he found two items that were what he considered out of order. The grounding for the system, needed to be “interbonded”, so they had to get a special part from the company to do the work. The other item was an electrical outlet on my rear wall right next to the hot tub, which is a no-no. No electrical outlets, even GFCI protected, within 6 feet of the tub. That’s so you can’t put your boom box or portable TV up on the side of the tub and plug it in. Well, I’ve seen some really determined people with extension cords and multi-outlet strips try some stupid stuff around water, but I’m not one of them. I went out and got a blank cover plate and installed it myself. The inspector didn’t have a problem with that, the electricians didn’t have a problem with it…..
    Kroyd, I tend to agree with Chondrite on the permits, if your contractor followed the code requirements, then the inspector shouldn’t be penalizing you at all. After all, even though the homeowner is usually responsible for the final inspection, you took the contractor’s assurance that he would contact the inspector. I always ask, anyway, just because I want to make sure it’s done. Funny to hear that windows in siding codes have changed, and nothing like surprising the homeowner with that little tidbit. Your contractor was either not keeping up with code changes, or the city made a change and “forgot” to publish it…..

  • Kroyd

    My contractor was rather upset. Apparently there are 3 different requirements for windows depending on type of siding/location/etc. “The firemen have to be able to get through your window in order to save you in case your house is on fire.” I heard a horror story about someone building stairs up to their windows in order to pass inspection; once the house passed, he promptly tore the stairs back down. Chondrite, you are right as far as that situation. I had to sign a paper acknowledging responsibility in order to get the permit for the siding. I just dread having to deal with the city code department next week; what new twist awaits?

  • chondrite

    Custom windows are always fun. I had to go around Robin Hood’s barn to get a slider that would replace the double jalousie windows in our bedroom. That window also had to have a non-load-bearing divider removed so we could put a window in that would satisfy the fire regs further down the road. The contractor was surprised to arrive the morning of installation and find I had already take out the jalousies and aluminum racks…

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