Friday, May 30, 2008
  Some practical advice (for a change)
With Chris so busy and me off of school, I'm helping him out with his condo, acting as a little project manager. I've so far learned one very important lesson.

The last tenants didn't pay their rent or valet bills, so after some verbal and legal scuffling with them, they moved out while we were in the Galapagos. We already have new tenants, who are actually the old ones, that rented for a year before these non-payers.

These new tenants are nice, but whoa(!) the woman is high maintenance. We told them we'd have the place painted, which is pretty standard in between tenants. She wanted her own colors. We said that was fine. When she pulled swatches out of her purse and started in with what colors she wanted, for the ceilings and all. What we figured out we would do is Chris would pay for however much a NORMAL paint job would be, and they would be responsible for anything over that. I broke the news to the woman, thinking it was a really fair offer, and she went crazy. (She apologized later, blaming it on being Italian.) She was going on about a few little spots of blue on the ceiling, as evidence that the whole ceiling needed to be repainted. I'm just like, omg, that's what touching up is for. I had to sit there and think to myself, "How would Chris handle this?" because Chris is always so tactful and nice, whereas my instincts here were to tell the lady she needed a reality check. Then I said, chill, let's wait to see how much of a price difference we're talking about.

So the paint guy came and did an estimate. He told me that the place was in good shape and just needed some touching up. So what the condo needed to be ready for new tenants would cost, oh, $2,000. What this woman wanted would cost between $5-6,000. When Chris called to see if he could get the price down, the guy said the price may actually run close to $7,000. We were so not paying an extra $5,000 for a paint job.

Long story short(ish), these tenants know a painter down here who said he could easily do it for $4,500. Anything over that, the tenants will be responsible for the cost.

So we told the painter who came in to do the estimate that we found someone else to do it for $4,500. He matched the price. Yes, his estimate went from $5-7k down to $4,500 when it became a matter of not getting the job. Insane, right?

I knew it was ideal to get multiple bids for jobs like this, but I didn't realize how much of a difference it would make. We have guys coming in to do the marble on Monday, but that will be the last job we have scheduled without getting 2-3 bids for the job.
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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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