First, . I originally spoke to the guy who does odd jobs and cuts my grass about some new fencing. He's an extremely nice guy, but not entirely reliable, as few workmen are these days. He said (I think about three weeks ago now) "oh yes, I'll come this weekend and measure up and give you an estimate" Of course he didn't. So the following week, I called a company that do home repairs on contract, one of those franchise operations. They came promptly, but I found them off-hand to the point of rudeness, they didn't discuss any options and their quote was high, and this was just for labour, not materials. They didn't measure, and they claimed the fence-line to be 70 feet. I phoned three other places. One said they'd come last Friday and didn't. One never returned my call. The third set up an appointment for yesterday which he kept almost to the minute, came with wheely measury thing and told me fenceline was 50 feet. In the meantime, my neighbour on the other side, who is also getting fencing estimates, sent his guy over late last week. This guy gave me a lower estimate than the first lot, but it still seemed rather expensive. He didn't measure, either, but his guess was at least accurate. He argued with me - somewhat needlessly - about the colour of the fence, which kind of pissed me off. Also in the meantime, my handyman calls and says sorry that he hasn't been in touch but, blah blah blah, so I had to tell him that I was going ahead with other estimates. Anyway, today I got the estimate from the most professional, polite and businesslike company and theirs was less than half of the second and half of the labour estimate of the first company that I didn't like. So guess whose estimate I'm accepting?
Second, Quite some time ago now, I had my annual furnace servicing. The service guy tells me that my furnace is too big and inefficient and I'm paying more than I should and would I like a new furnace that they just happened to have a lease offer for? So, I thought about it, but with the cost of oil and also environmental concerns, I decided to explore other options - electric forced air and natural gas. So I called a company I picked from the phone book and really liked the voice at the end of the phone. He told me that I didn't have the right ampage for electric, without costly upgrading, and in any case the BC government gives rebates for high efficiency natural gas. So they came to give an estimate. While they were here, they asked me if I was interested in a gas fireplace, and possibly a water-heater. As I knew my water-heater was getting on in years, I said okay, have a look and see what you think. Well, it just so happened that when they went to inspect they discovered my water-tank was leaking. So I called for service, but I wrote about that yesterday (leaky water tank is still under warranty YAY).
The outcome is that as of today I have a new water-heater that I only had to pay the installation for. I have put a deposit on a natural gas furnace and fireplace, to be installed on October 13. I have arranged for the gas company to come the week before. I have accepted the estimate for new fencing, at a price well within my budget. All I have to do now is cancel my oil contract. Nyahahahaha. With the current outrageous price of oil my calculation is that the new furnace will more or less pay for itself in a few years (unless the price of natural gas goes up, sssshhh, fingers crossed!)
*PHEW* I feel so grown up!! Now I'm going to have a glass of wine to celebrate.
(and tomorrow maybe I'll be able to get some Real Work done...)