There is an addition behind the kitchen. It looked like it was built in the 30’s or 40’s, possibly by grandpa on the weekend. Inside the walls and ceilings are covered with brown wood panelling. There had been some mysterious repairs. The washer and dryer were installed back here. There was an old ceiling leak in the corner, where the panelling had rotted through, which was propped up by some boards.
Outside, it wasn’t much better. Faded vinyl siding was starting to crumble. The soffits were particularly bad. They looked like they had been repaired or replaced in the 1980’s, with some subsequent incompetent repairs using plywood, and a brick to prop up a corner of the eavestroughing.
The local newspaper – basically a vessel for flyers – had a recurring ad from a “master carpenter” who proclaimed he fixed wood windows, and did other wood-based carpentry and repairs. The bathroom on the 2nd floor had a window that was cracked. I could repair and reglaze this window myself. However – I had no way to remove it from the second floor exterior, and wasn’t confident I could safely remove it from the interior without damaging the casings.
I called the guy in the ad, and he made a time to come by. He sounded older on the phone, which was fine by me. I trusted the skills of an older person who knew how to repair vs replace.
I showed him the window, which he quoted about $ 300.00 to repair. I figured this was a minimum charge, and the window was in an awkward location. I took him around to the back of the house, and showed him the soffits.I explained that I planned to remove the vinyl siding at a future date, so they would not have to be particularly careful. Vinyl siding is a terrible product that gets brittle with years of UV exposure.
Mind you, I was only talking about soffit replacement for the addition. This is approximately 11 x 18 feet. Two 11 foot sides, and one 18 foot side. 40 linear feet, perhaps 8 feet above ground level.
This guy talked a lot. About how he was a vegetarian, how he previously had a cabinet company with lots of employees, but when they wanted to unionize he closed the company instead. And somewhere in this he owned a Cadillac. Or Cadillacs, plural. He fixes a lot of windows and they are perfect. He did this at this and this and this and this address (but sure didn’t have any photos or written references he could show me, or even a paper with addresses so I could go have a look for myself)
He took me to his van, to show me how well organized all his tools were.
I asked him a few questions. I really hoped that this guy knew his stuff and wasn’t full of baloney. I was particularly concerned about several window sills, that I suspected were rotten below the aluminum storm windows.
This dude’s trick was to get the homeowner to write out the repairs they wanted done. Any omissions or improper descriptions would be the fault of the homeowner.
I wrote down the bathroom window repair, and the soffit replacement, using wood. While I was writing the dude walked around outside. He came back in and looked at what I wrote, then wrote down a quote of $ 7,500.00
I previously had several quotes to completely replace all the eavestroughing, including the soffit repair described above. These were all under $ 2,500.00 !
I knew right then that I had invited another misogynist into my home. I told him I would have to consider this quote. He gave me some short period of time to reply, as he was so very busy, as otherwise he wouldn’t possibly be available for months.
Men often tell women they are imagining these things., when they describe these particular dynamics. The way that a man sizes up a woman, and does some calculus about her appearance, her housekeeping, sex appeal. This assessment is present even when it is utterly irrelevant to the matter at hand, like soffits. If I had been younger, slimmer, better looking and apparently richer I would have been treated exactly the same, as men like this enjoy “teaching women a lesson”, and like to “put her in her place”.
The lesson is always the same – it is about how they hate women, and view them as inherently inferior and incompetent. I can’t imagine that he would ever give a man a quote like that with a straight face.
I did not call him back.