Last week I was in Houston for a business conference. (Apologies to those of you who were subjected to my presentation. I understand I sustained 80 words a minute with hurricane gusts of up to 170.
Nervousness. I hope you enjoyed the live demos. Also, my joke about including “the gratuitous store separation” animation was not intended as disrespectful. Instead, it’s (a) an observation that the example occurred no fewer than a dozen times and (b) hope that I’d someday get access to the data set showing the store being dropped by an F18, B1 bomber or Imperial Star Cruiser. As it stands, I only have a delta wing attached to… nothing.)
Anyway, to answer some questions my friends have had about this week:
- Gas was only $2.07/gallon (For comparison, it’s about $2.69 here.)
- Temperatures were in the upper 80s, with 1,000% humidity. I was drenched whenever my skin came in contact with outside air.
- Iced tea is excellent. Here, it’s either been brewed in a coffee maker or made from a powder.
- I ate well, too 🙂 Best meal was El Tiempo with my parents.
- Rice’s campus had a lot of new buildings and dorms. The surrounding neighborhood has improved, and is a lot prettier than I remembered.
- The Water Wall’s over twenty years old.
- Houston is a textbook case for zoning. I saw: churches in strip malls, liquor stores in strip malls, strip clubs in strip malls, all randomly sequenced.
I’m glad I went, but am glad to be back home.
After the shock of the first estimate settled in, I hunted around for more. Two companies called me while I was in Houston. Both have been out to do whatever it is they do to come up with a large number. I’m supposed to meet with one of them tomorrow afternoon to hear The Bad News. Meanwhile, a guy from a fourth company came out Saturday, as I was lugging in 50 pounds of (“both”) pumpkins out of my car.
He was personable, but spoke in thick Toolmanese. For example, instead of saying “Is there an outlet in front?” he said “We need provisional access to the structural electrical service on the western facing segment of your domicile.”
He pointed to my neighbors’ roofs (rooves?) as examples of various things that could be done to mine. I nodded politely as he excitedly tried to convey why a “2×2 Rake Edge Flashing (with a kick)” was a significant upgrade over “the more commonly used 1.5×1.5 inch rake edge flashing.” Rakes are a garden tool, right?
George H.W. Bush
The proposal he dropped off Monday evening is written much like he spoke. Indeed, its first paragraph reminded me of the peculiar patentese experienced a few years ago.
001 DOCTRINAL REFERENCES: The Technical Specification and the Roof Assembly INstallation Conduct For this proposed roof system is structured around following Doctrinal References: 1) 1997 (Refroofing); 2) The NCRA (National Roofing Contractors Association) Roofing and waterproofing Manual, Fifth Edition; 3) Residential Asphalt Roofing Manual; and 4) The manufacture’s specific Asphalt Shingle and/or Cedar Shake/Shingal installation specifications.
Ouch, I sprained my cerebellum.
After unfurling from the reactionary fetal ball (okay, not really), I patiently read through the proposal, highlighting the salient words of the 29 subparts. His proposal, while much more detailed than the other, assumes I have a master list of the individual components going into a reroofing project and am comparing this line-by-line to the estimate. In contrast, the one from two weeks ago assumes I’m a dolt.
Whereas the first estimate came in at a Suburu Impreza just for the roof, the second one is that price for the roof, gutters (he quoted only the “no frills” variety), tubular exhaust thingie, some kind of facia board purported to be a better surface on which gutters are mounted, and a new bike. It’s difficult to make a true apples-to-apples comparison, though the primary difference is the workers in the lower bid get to use my toilet while those with the expensive bid would bring their own. Hey, for $5k difference, I’ll splurge for a pink, fuzzy seat cover. (Or by the time I get approval from my homeowner’s association, I could try knitting one 😉
The other two estimates should be in by the end of the week. I’ll pick the two that sound best, then call references.