Friday, July 14, 2017

Middle Class Cost Saving

I did something recently that clients do when we're installing their garden.  Used my middle class skill set to 'save money'.  Oh yes, gonna save money.  Most jobs, clients increase the scope of the project within 24 hours of starting.  What?  Their money tree was bare when they signed the contract, no more funds.  Poof voila, the phone call, "Let's add the entire backyard, and that middle section of the front yard we took out, and go ahead and put in irrigation.  Also didn't mention, around the garage, let's do that too."  Seriously.  From no more $$$ to all that?
Within working our jobs we'll be off site getting materials or lunch, return and the client has taken a man, or 2, off bid items, for just a little clean-up here/there.  We cannot absorb those costs anymore, hourly pay, social security, workman's comp, vacation, sick, bonus.  Sonny/Cher said it best, The beat goes on.
Enlarging the project, after starting, pricing for plants won't be the same, it's not the same for us, plus the extra overhead of delivery.  But let's get back to my personal middle class 'cost saving'.  It happened here, below, in our dining room.

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Our home built ca. 1900, with a central hall, 9' wide x 50' long, 3 rooms off each side.  Originally our home was meant to have doors shut during certain seasons.  Four fireplaces, central hall door shut, warm rooms, cold hall.  So.  In the dining room, above/below, why not close the doors?  I knew it would save greatly with the HVAC bill.  Brilliant.  Yes?

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A hint of the central hall, below.  Do notice, all the doors are open.  This story is after the disaster of middle class thinking.

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Off topic, above, Mr. Salmon Tureen.  He reminded me of a salmon spawning river, inches wide, deep into an Irish estate I studied during a historic garden design trip.  Had a dinner party, and a guest that lives nearby asked me if I bought it at XYZ shop.  Yes.  She had her eye on it for months.  No worries, she can borrow him.

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More off topic, because it's easier than the middle class cost saving blunder.  Blue/white china is to the left of the fireplace, colored china is in the walk-in closet to the right of the fireplace, built-in shelves, obviously meant for survival with rings here/there on the shelves from glass canning jars thru the decades.
Symmetry of clients using their middle class thinking to save money, and mine, is rather a pay back, every terrible pun intended.
Here is my best middle class cost saving brain.  I shut the doors to the dining room, and guest bedroom, and their air-conditioning registers/intakes.  Yep.  The rooms are large, with 11' ceilings.  Why not shut them?
Several weeks later, the air-conditioner quit.  Late Friday afternoon, of course.  Do you know how hot/humid it is in rural middle Georgia in summer?  A client owns an HVAC company.  Pitifully called, described what the a/c did before dying.  He mentioned it may be 'frozen' and I should turn off the a/c, and turn on only the fan.  Then, told him of my middle class cost saving, shutting doors/vents. Quite polite, he said it probably played a role.
Blessedly, doing as told, which I can do in a pinch, the a/c worked again.
Their man arrived Monday to check the unit.  Aside from ancient HVAC, he had a picture from his work on the unit under the house.  Within the unit, insulation had pulled away, covering the cooling coils.  Go me !!!  Middle class cost saving.  
Decades of clients & their middle class cost saving thoughts.  Mine, a rather nice bookend.  Oh my, where my best thinking got me.
Garden & Be Well,   XO T
Have not painted the dining room yet.  We can't decide on a color.  Neither of us with a strong emotion for any color to even suggest.  Red until inspiration arrives.  Will replace the chandelier with one that is historically correct.  It's on the list.  The List !


David Cristiani said...

The AC...sometimes putting up with unattractive ventilation is worth it. I hear the more efficient systems now have several returns, even 1 in each room.

That's great you're able to watch budgets suddenly increase to do more or all of a plan. More of that, and I would have not given it mostly up 15 years ago, only to really give it all up by now. Oh well...

At least we're finally cooling down, though with the monsoon season humidity (for us) the AC is still used. Now to get real rain...

Brenda Coffee said...

Shutting off vents and closing doors in unused rooms is my middle class savings plan as well. Hmm.... And they're guest rooms on the second floor that I never use. Was up there all afternoon, getting ready for guests next weekend. The heat and humidity was brutal... Was thinking about when to open it all so it will cool down... Now I'm rethinking that whole thing.

BTW, the red looks great! Just don't talk politics or religion with people of unknown sides during dinner. It might make the bull charge!

Dewena said...

Love this post! Love seeing your dining room and I think it already is a beautiful color. I'm sure I'll love a future one too. The salmon tureen is marvelous! I collect Italian fish majolica from the early 1900s and have 2 small fish tureens, not nearly as handsome as yours.

As far as the AC malfunction and discovering the insulation pulled away, it reminded me of the old saying: "It's an ill wind that blows no good" or something like that.

Customers who "borrow" your employees for unbid work though, have had that happen often. One elderly lady wanted my husband to help her clean out the attic and he did, feeling sorry for her having no help. Lots of her attic stuff went in his dumpster but she did gift him with a wonderful large round old speckled mirror that is now a favorite mirror of mine.

And once, totally unrelated to your post, just a freebie thrown in here, an insurance company refused to cover storm damage on an elderly couples' house. Not only could they not afford to do it but they were both blind. My husband told the insurance agent to forget about it, that he would be sure not to ever use them for our insurance and that he would pay for the job himself. Two weeks later we landed the job of installing slate roofs on all the buildings in a family compound belonging to one of Nashville's famous country music stars (she has red hair!). God gave us back much more than the elderly couple's job cost us.

Four fireplaces? How wonderful! Do they all work?