Surface – it’s expensive


Today’s writing challenge, Daily Prompt: Surface, came at a perfect time.  I’m obsessing over the SURFACE of my roof, my future shelter from the storms and travails of life.  My home purchase is seriously denting my “fun” budget, so I’m juggling multiple demands on my limited funds, trying to fit everything in before I run out of time.

In my case, I’m dealing with being unable to do anything substantial for myself because, of course:  a) I’m on disability, and b) the lawyer says I must sit and do nothing.


I’m the daughter of a plumb-trician (Mom would try and fix anything before calling a plumber or an electrician, as calling either would mean that someone [usually her] would go without necessities like food or heat for an unknown period of time).

I’m also the daughter of a master carpenter, so even though being anywhere near the refinishing / construction zone would make me sick as a dog, I love working with my hands and refinishing furniture, painting things, and generally am all-around-capable when it comes to basic home repairs.  Screw the impact on my health !  (Or, something of that nature, until I smartened up and learned that my triggers served a purpose to protect my health).

Being a female in a man’s world, I’m also used to someone trying to take advantage of me because of the generally held belief, still, that “wimin folk ain’t supposed to know nuffin bout doin’ no man’s work”.

This belief structure is a serious irritant, as I’m a liberated female who came of age during a time of change, the 1970’s and early 80’s, and I resent being told that some big, manly man should do the work for me.  I just need to hand over the bucks, with a penalty markup, for being a helpless little woman.

Yeah.  Ri-i-i-i-ight.

So, in this case, I paid $150 or so for the roof to be evaluated, and was informed that it was a new metal roof, installed within the last 10 years (good), but which needs work to seal it from leaks.  $1,740 worth of repairs.

Needless to say, with my background in procurement for facilities and construction jobs, that pricing seemed high, and I wasn’t going to stop until I got 2 competing bids.  (I really want to do the work myself, as I’ve also priced out the materials, but being lectured by the lawyer for doing more than I should, plus harming my health, has me making 2nd and third guesses about what’s the right thing to do vs. the cheapest thing to do.  Sweat equity I got – energy?  stamina?  Not so much).

However, I looked at the local forecast for this sort of job, and my estimate falls squarely on the “more expensive” side of the bell curve of costs, reinforcing my belief that I’m being taken advantage of because of my gender.

Repair Costs - roof resealing

If 28 thousand homeowners in my zip code / general area can get roof repairs done for around $1,000 on the max side, then it behooves me to look beneath the surface of the quote to make sure I’m not getting taken for a ride.

Until I hear from the new guys, I don’t know whether or not I’m going with the original guy’s quote.  But, it behooves me to challenge a 1 year warranty on work that should also carry a multi-year warranty.

Surface.  It’s all so shiny and pretty, but digging beneath it is where the value lies.

4 thoughts on “Surface – it’s expensive

  1. I hope the 2nd estimate came in nearer the mark for you. And reporting that first overcharging bozo to the Consumer Protection Agency or like in your area is a good way to send a message that he takes advantage. Me? I tell ’em outright that I think they’re trying to f*ck me without a kiss, and that I’m going to report them for it, and usually they straighten up and claim they made a ‘mistake’ in their initial calculations. This happens (to me) most often with mechanics who think I don’t know a spark plug from a carburetor. The mechanic group (it’s the dealership up here) that I deal with now tends to listen to me because I’ve caught problems with the PT early and in one case before they even knew it was there…they sent me away with a pat on the head and a “oh you’re being overly cautious” lecture (didn’t charge me at least); but when I came back again insisting they actually LOOK for the problem, they found it. It was my brakes and the manager was embarrassed because they didn’t catch it the first time I brought Baby in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post really struck a chord with me. And I agree with Embeecee. I dislike that people can take advantage of others based on age, gender, physical ability or level of knowledge. Even recently, a company tried to take advantage of my grandparents based on their age, on a remodeling project. They gave them an estimate for materials, which would have made my grandparents overrorder, allowing the company an opportunity to carry off the excess materials. Also recently, I went to get my car’s oil changed. The mechanic tried to upsell services by emphasizing issues that I knew for a fact were normal on my car and did not warrant purchase. When I displayed my knowledge, the mechanics in the shop were taken aback and tried to backtrack on their strong suggestions. I may be of the opposite gender, but that should never be an open invitation to scam me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The biggest challenge, WithASideOfBurntToast, is that as we age and our resources deplete, we get tired. Tired of just getting up and moving to do the necessary every day. Add in lack of energy to deal with scammers, and it becomes a test of endurance to not lose faith in humanity as a whole.

      I know a big part of being a “sales” personality is pushing for what YOU want. I get that, as I’m on the opposite side of the table, a “buyer” personality, which is pushing for what is appropriate for the job, and not taking the scammers personally.

      But, the longer I’m out of work, the more I look at these pieces of opportunistic slime as the scourge on humanity that they sometimes may be. My boyfriend works in sales, but he’s the shop foreman and would not overcharge anyone for anything. His boss? Sells things he doesn’t even own, fails to deliver on promises, and is stealing from Peter to pay Paul while going out jet skiing every day, supposedly to “drum up business” for the boat shop. Yeah. Ah-hunh.

      Thanks for visiting, and adding your two cents. I’m very glad that you were there to both stand up for yourself, as well as help out your grandparents by standing up for them.


  3. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Embeecee, but the 2nd estimate won’t be done until next Friday (since I still haven’t closed escrow). Good for you for being insistent – it makes me madder than a wet hen when someone dismisses my input.


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