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$127 to change a screw

September 14th, 2011 at 03:06 am

I had yet another unexpected home repair bill that I couldn't avoid. Two days ago, I noticed that the jet pump in my basement, which is hooked up to my outdoor-only water supply, had developed a slow leak.

I use the outdoor water quite a bit to water my veggie garden and potted plants. It draws water from my shallow well, unlike my drinking water, which is hooked up to a utility company and for which I pay a quarterly charge of about $36.

So anyway, I like the idea of having a free supply of water. So I called the plumber I've used before. They don't give free estimates, and their minimum service call is $116 for the first hour and $100 an hour after that. Whoa.

I decided to take a chance on someone new, a guy who specializes in well water pumps. I was a little guarded about doing so becus i noticed his website didn't show either his name or any address. To me, these are red flags that someone would prefer not to be found if there's a problem.

But anyway, he came over and fairly quickly found that the leak was coming from an old screw that had become so rusted it popped out, and that's where the water was leaking. But part of it was still inside, and he wasn't sure he could get it out. Well, he did in short order and replaced it with a new screw. Leak solved.

He said if this pump was used for my primary drinking water, he would recommend I get a new pump, becus while it's a great pump (a Gould) it's still quite old and probably won't last long. (It's already at least 16 years old. Average lifespan is probably half that.) But since it doesn't get a lot of use since it's just for outside water (never used all winter) he said just let it go. Here's hoping it'll last a few more years.

So the good news is, I saved myself a possible replacement of the pump, which would be in the $800 range. But the bad news is, i just paid someone $127 to change a screw.

In other news, I met my new friend yesterday at an Ikea near where she lives. We ended up going there cus they have cheap lunches. Well, she actually wasn't hungry, and it was such a nice day out, so we ended up talking and walking around the Ikea parking lot. For 3 hours! She suggested walking down to Long Wharf, but i didn't have my sneakers with me. I think we both liked each other and had a lot to talk about.

So we made plans to get together for a picnic (to save money on lunch out) at a mid-way town at an Audubon Center on the coast. It's a place I've been wanting to explore anyway. It's International Coastal Cleanup Week and this weekend they have planned beach cleanups up and down the coastline, including at this location. She didn't want to do a cleanup, but I have done them before and like to do so, so I'll get there early and spend an hour or so doing that and then meet her there afterwards. I've also suggested she bring her bike so we can bike around after lunch. We'll see. Not sure if she has a bike.

The $ manager who i was supposed to have a 2nd phone conversation with, who i mentioned in an earlier post was a no-show, well, i heard from him and he said he had a funeral to attend and could we talk tomorrow, so that's what we're doing. I've already sent him my 4-page memo with my thoughts/ideas on marketing his business, so the fact he wants to talk to me again is a good sign. Maybe I'll get some work out of this.

Got 3 more small assignments from my real estate client. 1 PR is done and will distribute tomorrow, but have to wait to talk with someone Monday to get started on the other 2 jobs: updating a bio and ghost-writing a second article, to be published in my state's home builder magazine.

This a.m. I spent several hours with my friend F. getting rid of the pile of brush and tree limbs in my driveway, the damage from Hurricane Irene. We made 4 trips to the landfill. He was a huge help. I gave him a hug and paid him in the form of two cucumbers from my garden, plus a $5 bill wedged in between them, to cover his gas. It's the best I could do.

4 Responses to “$127 to change a screw”

  1. Thrifty Ray Says:

    Ouch on that screw! But looking on the bright side as you have, it could have been worse. Glad you are enjoying your new friend..hope the bike ride works out!! Oh, cucumbers and a five spot to F was a nice touch for a helping hand.

  2. CB in the City Says:

    Well, you also paid him for knowing that replacing a screw would solve the problem.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Sometimes paying someone for their expertice is worth it. Sounds like it fixed the problem. And that is good news!

  4. baselle Says:

    You also paid up-front for the knowledge that he was honest, strategic and knew his stuff. Means you have a second plumbing opinion when called for.

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