Friday, July 22, 2005

Things on my plate this summer

  • Dealing with the condo fire and subsequent repairs.
  • Trying to sell the condo.
  • Fighting with insurance company about said fire.
  • Managing construction of the renovations and addition to my new house.
  • Trying to get a building permit to complete the addition. A very convoluted process in Somerville.
  • Knee Surgery & appalling aftercare.
  • Physical Therapy resulting from said knee surgery.
  • Major summer projects working for a college IT department.
  • Being Eric's mom and Rich's wife.

But I think I'm still very lucky. It's all time consuming and challenging, but I've got a lot of help from my husband, my parents and sister, my contractor and God.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


We let the appraiser know that we'd be contesting the claim. He seemed to take it a little personally, but WHATEVER. Apparently .70 per square foot for two coats of paint is "fair" in his mind. Or in the mind of the insurance company. Who are these painting companies? I'll use them at Harrison Street!! Of course they don't provide a list of "approved" contractors, because there are no reputable contractors in Boston that will work for these rates.

Here are some samples from the report:

Hall 4.5 x 3.5 x 8

Seal & paint 16' of ceiling @ .75
Seal & paint 128' of walls @ .70
Storage Room 14.5 x 12 x 8

Seal & paint 174' of ceiling @ .75
Seal & paint 424' of walls @ .70

Basement to 1st Floor Stairwell 26 x 3 x 8

Seal & paint 78' of ceiling @ .75
Seal & paint 464' of walls @ .70

We paid $900 to get that hallway painted and their estimate is 732 and change. The $900 was a bargain because it was part of us getting the entire exterior of the house done at that time.

My favorite is the carpeting:

Replace 14 yds of carpeting on stair & landing @ $25
1st to 2nd Floor Stairwell 26 x 3 x 8

Replace 14 yds of carpeting on stair & landing @ $25

Even Home Depot -- the absolute bottom of the barrel as far as service, cost and quality charges close to $600 to carpet two stairways. That leaves $100 to purchase 28 yards of fabric? I don't think so.

So, our plan of attack is this: We are amassing documentation to show that the work can not be done for the dollars he's proposing. He says they are "Industry Standard." I HIGHLY doubt that. I mean they are standard for an insurance company trying to save money. But they are not consistent with industry (as in contracting) standards for what things actually cost.

If this gets no results, we will file a complaint with the state.

At this point, we have nothing to lose by contesting it, and they have nothing to lose by being bastards with bastard sauce with extra bastard sprinkles.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

And I thought the fire was stressful!

The insurance company is dicking us around. I am astonished by their low numbers. They are either based on what it costs to do certain things for a large project, or they're based on how much things cost in Bumblefuck Arkansas. Either way, the association is going to be out of pocket for a lot of stuff if we don't get this resolved ASAP.

For example. A "set in stone" number is .70 c per square foot for priming and painting. WHAT? I've gotten rooms painted professional numerous times and it usually costs twice that. I shop around for better pricing, but I'm usually resigned that to what it costs.

So, their strategy is to give us a ridiculous set of numbers and make us wait two weeks for the next set of ridiculous numbers.

So, we've got to go through the Massachusetts "R&R" Book to document to the agency that he is not paying fair market value for the work. They just hope you'll get frustrated and go away. In some ways, I'm ready to do that and in some ways I want to fight this.

We may need to get a lawyer. I'm hoping we can work something out before it comes to that.