And here we go again

I’ve posted a couple of times recently about how we are embarking on a new round of home improvement around here; the new roof is more or less set in stone and is happening in a couple of weeks, the new bathroom is almost certainly happening (more on that in a bit) but doesn’t have a timeline yet, and today we had someone out to talk to us about a new water softener.

Technically this would be a replacement water softener, but the one it would be replacing has never been used once in the entire time we’ve lived in the house and may actually be as old as the house itself. I’m not going to go looking for posts right now, but I know I’ve talked about this house and its plumbing issues before: the original builder was a contractor, and there are clearly things about this house that were done by someone who knew what they were doing and was concerned about doing a good job, and … and then there’s the plumbing, which … was not. We have had people out before to look at the plumbing and they have declined the job, and when the water softener guy went into our basement to look at the existing “system” and the various pipes involved in bringing water into our house and moving it around, it literally rendered him speechless. He was so shocked and horrified that he couldn’t get through a sentence for a good twenty minutes. This is not an exaggeration.

We are being charged for installation. He was very apologetic for this, saying that installation was usually included in the cost of the unit, but there is so much repiping required and so much work necessary to figure out just what the fuck all these pipes are for that he felt he had no choice. We asked how often they felt like they needed to charge, and the answer was that in seventeen years of water softening he never had.

My wife and I spent most of the consult laughing our asses off at how clearly flummoxed this poor guy was. He’s bringing three other guys out with him when they come out for the install. It was hilarious.

I asked him whether he thought it would be okay if I documented their attempts to fix our system for the Internet, and he got a little twinkle in his eye and suggested we video the whole thing. I think I like this dude.

(Re: the bank; further cementing my wife’s theory that banking is bullshit, I had a car drive very slowly past our house today, pausing for about a minute at the foot of our driveway. The car had a magnetic sign on the door, but as I was in my office looking out the window at the time (and teaching a class, for that matter) I was unable to read it. If I find out that that was the appraiser, who did nothing more than basically ascertain that a house did in fact exist at the address we provided, I’m going to laugh my ass off. Then I’m going to hire a couple of black actors to go into that bank with exactly the same information we had and ask for a loan and see if they’re handed thirty grand as easily as we were.)

Adulting!

Pictured: my aesthetic

Well, we talked to the bank today, and we talked to the contractors on Thursday, and it looks like in addition to the new roof that is Definitely Happening in less than a month we’re finally fixing our master bathroom up this year, and at a cost that has us looking around and thinking about ways to make it more expensive than what our estimate was. I have discovered that I have strong opinions about our standalone shower. I want some shit in there, y’all. I want body jets and lighting and shit, and if we can figure out a way to hide some speakers in the walls that would be awesome too. But yeah, apparently at … how old am I? 44? I’m not 45 yet, right? Right, at 44 I want to be able tot take a shower in the dark with LED lights color-shifting in the water and high-pressure body jets massaging my various nooks and crannies.

Oh, and throw a bench in there, too.

The actual visit to the bank was at once both deeply annoying and aggravating and super easy. First of all, the lady who was taking care of our application not only wasn’t wearing a mask but had a Goddamn two-foot-wide sheet of plexiglass taking up maybe a third of her desk, but since there were two of us on the other side of her desk only one of us could partake of its utter lack of actual tangible usefulness. Then she very much did the “talk to the man” thing throughout the process, including at one point actually asking my wife, who makes a lot more than I do, if she had a job. Not what her job was. Did she have one.

And then we hit this weird point in the interview process where she had to ask us if we were male and female? And she apologized in advance for “all the questions” she was going to have to ask us and then that was it, and she was so apologetic for it that it managed to come off as transphobic? By this point in the conversation I was thoroughly ready for the whole thing to be over and so I didn’t ask a whole lot of questions, but if you need to get verbal confirmation of whatever, just ask and let’s all move on with our lives. But why would it just be gender? What the hell does that have to do with anything?

(ETA: My wife reminds me of something I’d forgotten, which was that she also asked about our race, which means that this was very likely the bank tracking who they’re giving their loans to, and not actually part of the application process per se. It was still very, very weird.)

Oh, and never once were we asked for ID, which strikes me as … odd. Like, my credit got a hard pull today, and while there’s supposedly going to be an appraisal of the value for our house that we more or less made up on the spot and gave her, it might be a drive by? As in the appraiser might never enter the house, and might just be making sure it exists? And, boom, $30,000. And no ID. I verbally gave her a Social Security number, and so did my wife, but never once did any paperwork more complicated than a pay stub come into the picture.

Kinda wondering right now, honestly, what sort of experience a black couple or a gay couple might have had in the same situation.