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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

In Need of a Handyman

thWe live in two locales for half of each week. At the dacha, we are in need of a handyman. The problem is, with rising interest rates and an economy that is moving out of the sluggish realm, building contractors, plumbers, electricians, HVAC workers and even general handymen who can install new windows or doors, refinish a hardwood floor or replace bathroom fixtures are all in high demand. I drive down a main street of multi-million dollar beachfront mansions: heavy machinery parked here, bricks and concrete block piled high there, a pool under construction with no fence visible, actual laborers at another site.

My bottom line: I want someone reliable, available and legal. Almost sounds like a match-maker for marriage. This particular combination is not very easy to find as anyone who has a building or renovation project, or in the market for a mate, knows.

“Don’t do that to me,” I advise a contractor who comes to bid on the job. “Don’t take this job, park your stuff, and then be off on A couple talks to a contractor.another project.”

He blinks and swallows.

“Well, that’s the nature of things right now. Everyone’s juggling multiple jobs,” he says.

I appreciate his straightforwardness. He won’t know for another week or so if he can even accept my job, since he’s waiting to see if he won the contract on another, even bigger, project.

th“I understand, I just want you to know that this is my timeline….”

“That’s unrealistic,” he shakes his head.

“I appreciate that,” I nod, knowing their constraints and mine.

We come to the point of creative thinking, standing in the hot sun and tossing around ideas. These are the kinds of chats that can save you tens of thousands of dollars. He, another friend who introduced us and I come up with some very unique ways of viewing the project. It might not even involve this particular contractor till a much later date, if at all, which I consider to be quite professional of him.

Meanwhile, it lands me at the city engineer’s office, saving myself even more money as I check in on the legalities of various building codes.

The bottom line in a full day of checking, negotiating, checking again: there are no contractors and all of the basic trades call for a higher skill degree on this project: Master Licensed Plumber, Master Licensed Electrician, etc. Sigh.

For now, I’m going to have to do a lot of the work myself (did I mention that I can putty and paint my own windows, if necessary?). general-contractorsDouble sigh. I don’t have this kind of time. I also don’t have the kind of time to put a project on hold.

So here I am, full circle, looking for a simple, old-fashioned handyman. Or woman. I already have some of my own teens involved. However, I need to hold the line at anyone who would be doing more harm than good at this stage of the game. We will do simple fix-ups and then deal with major things later.

It’s at that point, that our friend agrees I should proceed with that plan, along with another plan of action that will net me big bucks, big, big bucks.

I love chatting with folks who know more than I do. If only I can find a handyman or two to help me.

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