Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mixed Bag

I know you've been dying to hear about how the house inspection went.  And just in case you aren't interested even in the slightest, I'm going to tell you all about it anyway - because that's just how nice I am.

We had not one, but four - count 'em, FOUR different inspectors come out to the house. Their names, in no particular order were Jim, Brian, Keith and the other guy (I am totally crud with names. He was super nice though...and honestly by the end of the day I was so overloaded with information that I could barely remember my own name).  Jim was the structural engineer, Brian was the pest control afficianado, Keith was the boiler expert and the other guy (who was super nice and Inara liked him the best and I feel terrible for not remembering his name.  Chris?  Ken?  Ack! I suck!) inspected our chimney. 

It was NOT quick work.  It took FOREVER, and after the fourth hour Nissa was ready for a nap, Inara was ready to eat, and Yousuf and I had to somehow keep the two of them from going nuclear while still being attentive to the inspector dudes.  I really thought at one point that my brain was going to explode.  Luckily, I had thought to bring snacks, drinks and the most important thing...A BABY CARRIER.  So I had them constantly fed and relatively happy, and Nissa even got to rest a bit as I walked around with her snuggled on my front.  Inara just wanted to jump off things, which was okay too.

Jim The Engineer was by far the most quippy of the bunch.  He kept saying things like: "You know, the only thing that really surprises me about this house is that it's in such good condition, which is REALLY surprising to me!" - which I suppose was meant to make us feel....good?  Or something?  And whenever he referred to the age of the house he'd say "A house of this vintage" which made me wonder if our house had a fruity bouquet, or perhaps it would be full-bodied and unctious (those are actually all the wine terms that I know.  Don't deny that you're impressed).

There were some things that we knew would be an issue going into this whole mess, like the roof.  We knew it would need replacing soonish, and we had budgeted for that in our offer.  So it was no surprise when we were told that it really needed to be done sooner rather than later.  I had also thought that the foundation (being of an older vintage, har har) would have some issues, but we were pleasantly surprised to hear that wasn't the case at all - in fact it looked great.  "Better than great, even - I've seen newer houses with worse foundations!" said Quippy Jim.  Yay!

We also thought we'd be told that all the windows would need replacing, but we found that some of them had already been done - which was great because now won't have to spend as much money on them as we initially thought (which always makes Yousuf, aka El Cheapitan, very very happy).  El Cheapitan also asked Jim if it was possible to DIY more electrical outlets, add some attic insulation, knock down the wall between the living and dining room and do a kitchen remodel by himself (the man is nothing if not persistent when it comes to saving his cashola).  Jim didn't even skip a beat, "Oh sure you can!  Why the heck not?  You look like a handy fellow!"  he quipped.  Now I am pretty sure that Yousuf was being mocked, but El Cheapitan didn't see it that way at all.  To him it was tacit approval of his stingy ways.  Just for the record, I will NOT allow him to destroy our house willy-nilly.  Any destruction will have to be approved by me first (you'll have to stay tuned, as I am sure hilarity will ensue as we embark on our "renovation" adventures).

There were a few minor things that needed to be done - washers needed to be tightened on faucets, an unused gas line was turned off but needed to be clamped, and there was a vent in the upstairs bathroom that basically vented to nowhere.  Nothing major and all fixable.  The rest of the house looked great - no evidence of pest damage, according to Brian, and the chimney was in great shape, according to nice-man-whose-name-I-can't-for-the-life-of-me-remember (Pete? Ed? Mike? Arrrrgh...this is killing me!).

The only big freak out moment I had was when Jim and Keith pointed to the pipes that came out of the boiler in the basement and ran along the ceiling, taking the hot water to the radiators to heat the house.  Well, wouldn't you just know it but they were insulated.  With asbestos.  ASBESTOS, people.  Holy Mother of Goldfish - I nearly died a thousand deaths on the spot and wanted to go running out of there, clutching my babies to my bosom, screaming like a half-blind banshee and never ever look back. 

Jim and Keith watched me (very calmly, I might add), as I repeated in a strangulated whisper: "Did you say there's ASBESTOS in my house?  Like right NOW?  Right HERE?" and Yousuf gave me his wide eyed,  pleading, please-don't-scare-the-normal-people-away look.  And then Quippy Jim said: "Yes.  The good news is that it's perfectly safe down here right now" - which was followed by me trying to quell the bulging of my eyeballs as I gaped at him and retorted: "Jim. I don't believe you.  Tell me exactly how this is SAFE" in a voice that was about five octaves higher than normal.

The good news was that the asbestos in our house (and yes, I'm still calling it our house) is in GREAT condition, it's not worn or damaged in any major way.  If it was, it would release hazardous asbestos fibers into the air and that would be BADBADBAD REALLYREALLY BAD.  But that's not the case at all. Not-so-quippy Keith said: "Mrs. George.  It's fine.  You are FINE.  I have kids too, and I'd bring them here.  You are in no danger from this material."  I could have kissed that man, I swear on all the chocolate chips in the universe I was never ever as relieved as I was then.

Being the uber-nerds that we are, Yousuf and I came home and used our amazing Google-fu skills to find out more about asbestos in the home (if you want to read more about it, this is a really good summary from the EPA).  It also helped to talk to a few of our friends that have been in the same position.  Right now our inclination is to not over-react, and to pay to have it encapsulated.  Once we are in the house and have spent some time finding a reputable asbestos abatement professional, we can have it removed once and for all.

So all in all, it was a good day - slightly more stressful than I would have liked, but still good and informative and I'm glad that we found out everything ahead of time.  We are going to go ahead with the closing on the house, and I am really excited about it.  There is one other minor inspection that needs to happen, but barring any unforeseens I think we are a go!

El Cheapitan: The Man. The Mystery. The Legend.
He's NUTS but I love him anyway.
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