I could have baked a baby in the number of months that I looked at the hole in my bathroom ceiling. Nine. Long. Months. Not gonna lie, I bought a condo to have an introduction to home ownership: ownership-light. So I was a little butt hurt when I had some house maintenance problems a year in. Yes, I got an inspection report before I bought it, I did all the good little things you are supposed to do to protect yourself from buying a lemon. But, turns out, that doesn’t include finding leaking pipes.
There is a really nice new dishwasher in my condo, and I have used it exactly twice in almost two years that I have lived there: once right when I moved in, and twice when we had a dinner party. The first time I used the dishwasher, there was a bubble that showed up in the paint in the bathroom wall (our bathroom walls are the shared wall). Being literally a week into home ownership I didn’t think anything about it. Then, the second time I used my dishwasher another bubble showed up under the pain in the bathroom wall, so I poked it. And water came out. Sausages.
So this time I took it more seriously. And I called a plumbing company to come check it out. Initially they cut a little hole and said it was a leaky pipe in the party wall and I talked with my condo board, and they said it was a condo issue and would be covered. So, when the contractor wanted to cut a big hole to fix it, I said go for it, I didn’t care. Because, I wasn’t paying for it. Then, my condo board changed their mind and decided that they weren’t paying for the repair after all. To say this was upsetting would be a gross understatement. This was also upsetting because when I bought my condo I was told I only needed to worry about the paint in, and from my insurance company, I was told I can only insure from the paint in, because the condo association owns the structure. So now I was in this magical gray area where no one wants to take responsibility but in the end if I want it fixed I have to pony up the cash.
I also had a crash course on working with construction companies. Little did I know, not everyone wants every job. A few contractors said that they only really do re-models, or something bigger than just fixing a hole (and here I thought size didn’t matter, pshh). And that was frustrating. Because this isn’t something I’m going to just look up on Pinterest and hope for the best. #Nailedit Plus, there are perfectly capable people who actually know what they’re doing that can do this. There are home-improvement things I’ll do on my own, but this isn’t one of them.
So I kept calling around looking for someone who would take my project and take my money. One construction company came out and looked at it, and encouraged me to take it to my board again, because he believed they should cover it. Problem being, that didn’t actually help me get the hole fixed.
Fast forward a few months and two more construction companies, and I finally found someone who was interested in my project. Xentropa Services had an ad on the radio that I heard one day, and I wrote down the number. But when I tried to do a search for them, I was spelling it with a Z so I came back with no results. A little while later I heard another ad, so I confirmed the number and gave Ben a call. Turns out if you spell Xentropa correctly, he has been doing home repair for years. I explained my current situation, and Ben said he would get me on the schedule for next week. NEXT WEEK!!! My months of waiting were finally in the home stretch.
The following week Ben’s team came out and patched the hole. Ben sent me texts to check on my happiness with the work, and I sent texts back like “yep, looks like not a hole! ” Over the course of three days, I was able to watch my hole slowly disappear, and then on the third day, just be gone. To think that it took 9 months to accomplish with Xentropa did from getting me on the schedule to finish in a total of 7 days makes me a little sad. The number of showers I cut short because the hot air was hitting the cold water pipe, condensing, and dripping down on me all could have been rectified in a mere week if I had just called him first. But alas, we live and learn.
I did forward Ben’s number on to a co-worker who was having some attendance issues with her other handy man. And again, Ben got her on the schedule and boom, project done. This has made me seriously re-consider some of my home improvement projects that I have been thinking about – now knowing there is a company out there that will actually take small jobs, and get it done pretty quickly. I have wrestled with how much money do you invest in your place, when you aren’t sure how many years you will live there? Even from when I moved in, I knew there were a few things I would change and fix. But I’m not sure how many years I’ll live here. I know I want a garage, and obviously this condo doesn’t have one. So I don’t want to sink a bunch of money into my place now, just to move in a few years anyways. And I mean, except for a few things, the stuff is just cosmetic to make it look and function the way I want. But maybe this is part of owning something instead of renting something. Making it yours.
But at least now I know the guy to call who actually wants to take my money.
Courtney Wendel has lived in Juneau since she was a year old. She has a twin brother and an older brother, and learned to enjoy the outdoors at a young age by following the boys into mischief. Graduating from JDHS in 2006, she attended UAS to receive her Literature of the Environment, BA English degree. When not at work she spends most of her time on the diverse trail system hiking, running, or camping with her spotted pooch and adventure buddies.