Monday, July 31, 2006

Day 21: Mon 7/31

Here's what's on my schedule today:
1. Order lumber
2. Call to add electrical inspection
3. Order windows
4. Buy a fireplace
5. Call the HVAC guy to come out and figure out if we can move upstairs furnace so we can raise the ceiling height to 8' (and figure out how to duct the gas fireplace)
6. Check on price of 60" vanity vs. 49"
7. F/U on my internet order where they didn't give my a 6% discount even after calling them and getting their assurance I would
8. Figure out who's installing the fireplace (plumber? fireplace installation specialist?)
9. Hang out at the house all afternoon waiting for the inspector.

OK it's the end of the day and what did I get accomplished on my To Do list? #2 and #9.
Productive day, eh?

Good news is, we got signed off on two more inspections: underground electrical and plumbing. The road to victory, however, was anything but pleasant. Naturally, every remodeling project must have an "Inspector from Hell" story. Well, here's our first:

The inspector arrived right on time, parked in front of the house, then sat in the car for 10 minutes with engine running. I joked with the plumber and Bob (our by now famous on-site manager/neighbor), "Is he waiting for me to go out there and roll out the red carpet?"
Finally the inspector strode onto the property, finished his cell phone call with a closing flip and disdainfully blurted out, "Who's the idiot who installed this Kelly trap?".

The rest of the inspection was an exhibition of chest-puffed, "I'm the omnipotent God", "Don't you know people who do this stuff (i.e. contractors) are idiots", "You'll need to change all your gas pipes or else your house will blow up", rants and raves.

I felt so bad for our plumber, who of course, was standing there, taking the affront. Amazingly, he maintained his composure and would just calmly ask what changes the inspector wanted. (And I say "wanted", not "required", because so many of his comments seemed to be just a reflection of his own personal agenda, not the even, fair application of the actual code). Some of the changes were valid, Palo Alto city codes required a specific type of Kelly cleanout (or so the inspector claimed!). Others though were random and not evenly applied such as the 1/4" min drop per foot run of piping.

After the inspector left, our 3 tongues were wagging. The plumber said out of over the hundreds of inspections he'd been thru, that was definitely in the top 3 if not THE top. Bob casually asked the inspector as he was leaving, if he had a business card. The inspector said "No," without even a pause in his step. Even now, just recounting this, it makes me so mad that someone could be so rude and mean-spirited. Aside from the fact that it's just not nice, it takes away from his professional effectiveness. His delivery left us in complete shock, and at times unable to "hear" the message, valid or invalid.

We regrouped, discussed the changes he requested and why, then went to the permit card to read his comments. None of us expected to see his initials, signing off on the inspections. It confirms for me this inspector didn't really have a problem with any of the work. He just had an unfortunate need to show everyone who's the boss.

1 comment:

Madeleine said...

Oh joy! We got the 20's fixer on Thursday. We'll be watching your blog very closely from now on!