Thursday, May 7, 2009

Preparing.......

I can squeeze a few words in here before I have to go to the dentist, for the third time in a week. There's no huge problem, just that he can't get a crown to fit properly. Every time I go expecting to have a new tooth in my mouth I end up having to bite down on what feels like unflavored chewing gum for 3 1/2 minutes while he makes yet another impression. The dentist is actually more frustrated with it than I am--the first time it happened he was sputtering in anger and I actually thought he was going to start flinging his instruments about the office. I had to calm him down. I take it as one of those things that can't be helped and just roll with it. The stainless steel temporary is working just fine and frankly I could be happy just leaving it at that. It's way in the back, upper, so nobody's going to see it anyway.....

We passed one more troublesome hurdle yesterday on the house: a successful radon test. To test for radon, a technician installs a meter in the basement near an obvious entry point--in our case, adjacent to the crawl space beneath our living room extension. The meter stays in place for 48 hours and does a reading automatically once every hour. During that period, you can't open any windows, and doors you can use only to get in and out of. It was a bit worrisome because radon is so common everywhere, and the fix, a fan system, isn't that cheap. And it turns out that rain, of which we have had amounts in biblical proportion lately, can cause high readings because moisture traps the gas in the escape seams underground, making it more likely to get into the house. So with all that, I was a bit concerned. But we passed with flying colors. Any reading over 4.0 mandates a fix. We were consistently at the 1.2-3 level. My fellow males will understand when I say this is like receiving a good PSA reading. Like prostate cancer, radon is a silent menace. And the readings are similar in scale. A low score is a relief.

The very last possible stumbling block is the requirement of a new appraisal by the buyer's lending bank. Could a different appraiser come in with a lower number? That would certainly throw the whole deal into jeopardy for us. But Ron, our Realtor, tells us that there is so much refinancing and real estate marketing going on at the moment that appraisers are booked solid and the mere lack of time may obviate this step. If an appraisal were going to take place, it would have to be done and turned around by May 22. Ron says if we don't hear something by the end of this week, we're probably home free. Besides, our current appraisal is only three months old, and a new one could just as easily come in higher as lower.

Steve will be spending Saturday doing the minor repairs found necessary by the engineer visit last week. The brick furnace-exhaust chimney has a few rows of loose bricks at the top and needs a new cap, and for that I engaged a bricklayer who will do the job for $1100. That's the most expensive item on the to-do list, so we're getting out of this part of the process pretty inexpensively .

I've also been interviewing movers. We were hoping we could avoid having to use professional movers--we are both able-bodied, and lifting boxes and furniture is well within our capabilities, but 10,000-12,000 pounds of belongings is just too much for non-professionals to handle--you can't even rent a truck that's big enough to take it all. So the move should be the only major debt we'll incur in this entire venture. Prices are all over the map. An invaluable tool we have in this area is the Washington Consumers' Checkbook, a Consumer's Union-type organization that covers only the DC area. Think Angie's List, but much more comprehensive because it's been around for decades. For $30 a year you can check their enormous database of user ratings, comparisons between cost and quality, etc., of every service you can imagine, from drycleaners to pet sitters. It's a natural go-to for movers, and that's how we're choosing.

Off to the dentist. Third time's a charm.

7 comments:

Linda - SE PA said...

Whew... dentistry has become such an art these days. Dentists overwhelm me in price and replacements of caps,crowns, bridges - and the expense for all! He should offer you a discount for your time and patience. Sure it is not his fault - more than the ineptness of modern materials etc.

Re: Movers - when we looked at relo, I found movers who combined loads - NY to FL. As this is the season for the snowbirds to return (if not already) and these movers have regular scheduled trips - they may have an empty or light load - they may be receptive to doing the short run on a return from VA to NC. It may be worth a phone call to at least one of them to inquire. I sense you may have a concern of combining a move with another... I know I would - but, like with anything else, you have to do the homework.

Jeff said...

Just came from the dentist this morning myself Ralph - busted tooth and receding gumline to be bonded. If only they could do something about that high pitched squeal from the drill...

Yah - the days of moving ourselves with friends are in the past. We may be able-bodied but our bodies still ain't able the way they used to be. Heck - coupla yanks on the lawnmower these days sends me running for the Advil.

Moving's an expense and thankfully an aggravation just a few times in our lives. But there is that reward at the end... :)

Ralph said...

You're right about the moving, Jeff--although really, we really were ready to bite the bullet and save thousands until we realized the size truck we'd need. Oh well.

Zoey and Me said...

Is it Crowder United you have up Alexandria way? We were very pleased with them.

In 25 years I have only once ran into a radon problem and it was on a first floor unit, on the river side, in Satellite Beach. Apparently the builder never removed the shell from the site which had accumulated over the years and just bulldozed it into the foundation. There was enough radon in that reading to kill off the city of Pittsburgh, so said the local newspaper. What a mess we had with that project.

I hate dentists so I'll leave it there.

Ralph said...

Interesting about radon in that part of FLA, Z&M. Guess there's not much uranium that close to sea level. Or something...

Jenny said...

Get three estimates--you may even end up throwing out the cheapest. Stick with reputable companies associated with national names. We went with United Van Lines. Our moving experience was good--they actually overestimated our weight by quite a bit and it was good to get a refund of over $3000! Our move was international and heavier than yours, so probably cost more than you will pay--plus it took over a week for the movers to arrive. We were nervous, but the movers were great on both ends. We also shared a truck with a smaller load--no problems related to that. Remember, your BACKS will thank you if you hire someone to do the heavy lifting for you. It never occurred to us to do it ourselves at our ages--that's for college students willing to help a friend move for a case of beer!

My husband is a retired dentist and I know from experience that sometimes things go awry when fitting crowns, etc. Guess it just wasn't your turn to be the patient where things went perfectly!

Ralph said...

Good advice from somebody who's been there and done that fairly recently, Jenny. We got the three estimates. The middle price actually seemed to be the most shoddy, business-wise, while the lowest-priced and the highest-priced presented themselves equally well. So we're going with the lowest, because the highest was simply out of our range. When you're a novice at this stuff it's all a crap shoot anyway. We'll learn some lessons during this move we can share with others but which I hope we'll never have to use again.