By popular demand, here are the results of our office repair. if you missed the post, the previous owners of the house improperly ran the HVAC cables out of the wall straight into the rain trench, so when it rained and the water level rose, it ran straight into the wall, flooding the office.
The electrician who came to look at it backed away slowly with his hands in the air. Then we called the company who usually services our AC, SM Air. A couple of techs came out, looked at it, and one of them said, “Well, that’s interesting.” Words you never want a contractor to say. And then they said, “We have to take this back to the office.”
I didn’t think they would get back to us. But a couple of days after they did.
They hired two subcontractors, one for the concrete, the other for the dry wall, came out, and fixed it in a single day. So apparently none of the cables were properly isolated. They had cut the wall up in the office, pulled everything out, rerouted it, made a new hole, pulled the cables through to the outside, sealed it, and repaired everything.
Look. Like it never happened.
The whole thing cost us less than $1,700, which was quite reasonable considering cost involved in dealing with the flood and the danger of mold. So Gordon and I are quite happy with it. We’ve had rain and it hasn’t leaked. Yesterday Dad called via Skype and commented on how nice the office looked. They are having what would’ve been a record heat wave of 102 degrees, except that this is the new normal now. We talked about COVID and people refusing to wear masks, and he told me a joke.
How to get a Russian to kill themselves?
Pick a tall bridge and put up a sign “Jumping off this bridge is categorically prohibited!”
Still no progress on camera. Thinking about it, but most of the energy is going into writing.
Okays, got to go work. Ryder won’t write itself.
Alex R. says
Well, Ryder COULD write itself.
But tech fails around Julie and currently we have no one to magic the book into existence.
Congrats on getting a good, reasonable cost, fix! It’s a home repair unicorn. ????????????
By the way, I like your dad’s joke. ????
I thought it hilarious but mainly because I know a lot of Russian BASE jumpers who would literally take that as ‘game on’ (with a parachute) ????
Repairs that are effective, cheap & finalised = my kind of repair!
Yea!!! House repair done quickly, at very nice cost and FINISHED! Definitely a Unicorn win on the repair! I had been wondering if that issue had been resolved and am so glad it is. We live in Central Texas and have seen some interesting remodeling / installation jobs, but that one wins for sure.
I laughed out loud at your dad’s joke and shared with my husband who laughed and said “Oh. So they know Paul.” Paul was our Russian housemate for 2 years. He and several of his friends would definitely see the sign as “Game on! Challenge accepted!” and gone to find parachutes, hang gliders, body wing suit, bungee cords, etc to try out on the bridge. We were living in Florida at the time and some of the stunts (yes, literal stunts) they pulled and survived always amazed me.
Thank you so much for Ryder! So love seeing “old friends” and how they are doing. Love the character development and story line. Your details always amaze me.
Whaa! Thank you for showing us the result. Have fun writing Ryder! 😀
Patricia Schlorke says
Glad everything is fixed. They did a very good job with the inside too.
Mold…never a good thing especially for those, like me, who are allergic to it.
Off to read more of Magic Rises. I’m reading the parts I bookmarked. Right now, where I’m at is when Kate and Hugh (ahem Lord Megobari – yeah right) are fighting the ochokochi. Curran is off with Lorelei in the hunt.
kim hurt says
Office looks nice. Isn’t that human nature to do the opposite of what the rules are.
Thank-you for writing Ryder. When I read it I want to cry. I can’t wait for more Derek and Julie. It is just a book, but I was so upset when he looked at her so coldly. I am a reading whimp.
Carol Hartin says
You are not alone! I’m almost anxious to see them together again and get a happy ending…
Congrats that you got the work done!
Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer says
Wow, that was reasonably priced!
Sue Nagata says
I’m glad that the repairs didn’t cost you an arm & a leg 🙂 How did the previous owners/builders? get away with that cable mess? Also, why didn’t the building inspector say/notice anything when you were buying your house? I would think that cable install was way beyond code.
$1700 seems like a bargain for something as unique as this situation. Glad you got it taken care of and kudos to that contractor
Gaëlle from France says
Are you bound to laugh at your dad’s jokes in Russia ? I force a laugh every time my father or one of my grandparents make a joke. I can’t stand the awkward silence if I don’t…
They’re not very funny, much to my dismay…
that’s the definition of a dad joke ????.
Congrats on a quick, effective and cheap(!!) office solution, IA – a Bucky of a repair
Great joke! Office looks good too.
SQ: does anyone know if the BDH recommendation thread survived the blog update? I can’t find it.
I just finished kiralik ask (quite possibly the best Turkish romantic comedy drama I’ve ever come across — I highly recommend it if anyone needs a funny, light weight, somewhat comically over-the-top escape from life rn) but now I need something new to read.
Thanks in advance!!
Here are the books recommended by House Andrews (thank you HA!!)
Note: Terminal Alliance by Jim Hines is missing from this page
However, I don’t see the most recent BDH Recommends blog posting
Mm, shame. Thank you thank you though! I’ll browse through the HA recommendations.
If you Google bdh recommends ilona you can find the original post. I keep going back to it also.
Yay!! So glad you got that done properly and are safe from floods and mold. Keep those contractors and AC guys! It’s hard to find good workers who are responsive, responsible and reasonable.
Looking forward to more wonderful stuff with Ryder!
Carol Hartin says
Thanks for sharing. It’s so nice to hear about/ see repairs or renovations that turn out well and are resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Have a great day!
Yeah, glad they did a great job! When we tried to fix our bathroom 4-5 years ago some workers did a bad job and now we have some kind of leakage from the shower wall. We tried to block it ourselves, then called a construction worker. We hope he solved it, or we will have to do another renovation because of the original renovation…
Glad it got fixed. Surprised at whoever originally did the cement work would seal up those cables. I am sure it will be a relief not too worry about it anymore. We are considering making some changes around the house but it is always so much more. We would like to do solar but of course that will mean a new roof, we also should paint plus we need new gutters plus since we live in Ca when we pull a permit it allows inspections to the whole house not just the work being done. So it could be super big expense to start any project. We’ll see which can of worms we will open first. ????
Wow, a repair done well and at a reasonable cost! That’s heartening to hear. Must be such a relief to have that taken care of.
Harriet Chow says
It still looks interesting. But if it works, that’s all that matters.
Good luck with getting back into the swing of it. Lots of love.
Behold the miracle of correctly done work! I’m so glad it was fixed and yeah that was a bite but I know what mold costs so that was totally worth it IMO. I’m grateful for competent craftsmen.
I don’t think that only applies to Russians. Tho in the US you would probably then be sued by belligerent, bereaved family members for posting inflammatory signage or some such manure.
Yaaaayyyy! Looks great.
Huzzah on the fix! What a relief for you guys…I would’ve been obsessing over that hole. That price is great too. Thanks fo Rd yh ed update and stay cool!
So glad it worked out!!
Our A/C went out and although we don’t have Texas summers in the DC area, it being in the 90’s is too hot for me. 80s is still too hot for me. We have home warranty and they quoted us 17K to replace the HCAV! The mind is boggling of what we should do.
Definitely shop around with other A/C contractors for a fair quote and consider turning in the home warranty company to the State Insurance Board. Sometimes you have to be really assertive to get the fair treatment you deserve. Good Luck!
When ours went out a couple of years ago in NYC it cost 11k to fix (we live in a 900 sq ft apt). Between waiting for parts and then the work to be done it took weeks. It was incredibly hard just finding a contractor. Not a lot of them that do residential work in the city since commercial pays so much more. It was a very hot and humid summer – not fun but happy it eventually got repaired and all is well now. We saved a bunch of money by sourcing the parts ourselves.
Wow is all I can say. Sorry! You can replace a unit for a 1500 sq ft house, add 3 vents and upgrade to a very fancy programmable thermostat for a lot less than that in TX. Of course I will say that the shelf life is probably only 10 years. Then you get to do it again.
I don’t even want to think about how much it would have cost if we had to do venting. Hubby had the place gutted when he bought it and installed IT at the time (16 yrs). It was the first NYC apartment I had lived in with central air and an in suite washer dryer!!! W/D are usually not allowed in older buildings here due to insurance / flooding concerns. I am spoiled now. ????
Unless you have a humongous house that is a ridiculously high price. I agree with Regina. Shop around for quotes.
Love the joke! Thanks for sharing how this was fixed. Love hearing about the stuff in y’alls lives. Thank you for all you do
Congratulations on the successful repair! You write your life episodes in such an enchanting and interesting way, you could just bundle them up in a book (called „just life“) and it would sell…
PS: Your father“s joke would be even funnier if it weren‘t true… and this kind of behavior is not limited to Russians…
You know you have an amazing contractor when the work is done properly, any repairs blend perfectly into the pre-existing construction, and when they leave it looks like they were never there. I hope you have great joy in your rebooted and refreshed creative space!
Margaret Bates says
Looks amazing and the fact you got it sorted at long last, nice to hear about your Dad the jokes great hope you’ll forgive me writing to you like a good friend I’ve been reading your books/ blog for so long now I think in my mind your part of my extended family ( hope you don’t mind ) take care and stay safe ❤️❤️❤️
“Well, that’s interesting”
Either leads to a Nobel Prize or a very large bill.
Had a plumber working on our slow draining tolet. Got the bowl taken out, was looking at the stacks. Had two 5″ lines feeding into a 3″ line using a cast iron Y (which is about as bad is logic implies), “I didn’t even know they made this part…”
Hooray for well done and well priced home repairs!!
I’m so glad to hear that you were able to get a permanent fix, and appreciate you sharing the info. I kept wondering, and now my concern and curiosity are satisfied. And no more flooding of the office! Yay!
So glad you got it resolved, and for a somewhat reasonable price. Nice that you gave them a shoutout here.
You may want to consider whether you can report the repairs as a business expense for your office on your taxes. I too wonder how the home inspector missed that; it’s pretty obvious that’s a dangerous setup.
And it sounds like your Dad was in good spirits, which is nice. A compliment, and a joke, both in the same session!
okay, I am nosy and curious, like others, and want to know what books you have on your case and what those glass – clearly awards – are for. whenever i walk into an office to chat with someone my eyes NATURALLY sweep to the desk and I read what is on the papers, i don’t think we can not do that – it’s human nature…so nosy me am checking out – yeah say it stalking – what is on your bookcases.
btw thanks for the update, and thanks for the writing – very much appreciated!
Good to know that when some contractors say they’ll get back to you that actually go, brain-storm, maybe consult others to determine the best solution, come back & fix it instead of just leave you hanging.
Oh the joys of homeownership.
Good you can now write in peace & comfort.
SM Air and their sub-contractors get a Gold Star!
So glad this was taken care of and you aren’t going to be flooded or electrocuted!
Marie S says
Great to hear the office repairs worked out well.
You can enjoy the space again and it looks lovely.
Selfish of me that I get a buzz of excitement when I hear you are off to write more of Ryder. ????
Your dad sounds in good spirits. It’s less stressful when those close to us are happy. He should be proud he has a very humorous daughter too. ????????
I don’t know if you ever said you do or don’t talk about this… How are people taking it that Putin just made himself president until 2036 over there?
Something else you never want to hear from someone working in/on your house:
The tech from the gas company working in your basement to install a new meter: “Oops!”
Only thing worse is when your eye surgeon says oops as he is operating on your eye…..
Yay – looks great and so much safer! You could put a vent cover over where the wires go inside to prevent that area from being rained on.
Funny joke. Human nature is to be contrary.
looks much better than it did. Congrats
Happy the repairs went well. Looks great and seemed reasonably priced.
Let’s hear it for effective repairs, and the people who make them!
Your dad is giving me some ideas which are best left unspoken, given the current state of affairs.
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you, Ilona Andrews for the post. Good job by the HVAC people. I loved your Fathers joke. As the nephews say I ROFLOL. Grin. Okay, so I have an odd sense of humor but it was hilarious. And you are correct you never want to hear a professional go “ well, that interesting”.
I’m so glad they handled it! Competent, quick, and relatively affordable 🙂 Yay!!
My father was a builder. He took great pride in doing the job right, doing the job on time, and making sure the customer was ecstatically happy. Can’t tell you how many nights he got calls from someone that a sub had done something shoddy and my dad took off in the dark to fix it himself. There is no excuse for leaving your a/c wiring in such a dangerous condition. No excuse at all. I hope this is the end of that tale.
I don’t know. Looks like they were a little light with that sealant. (sarcasm)
Apparently you have conditioned me too well with your pics. When I went to the blog and saw the smaller picture at the top of the post, I thought I was looking at the hilt of a sword and thought it was another Ryder post.
Matthew Smith says
The other thing you don’t want to hear a contractor say is, “I’ve never seen one of these before.” ????????
Thanks for the update!
Sara B says
Your dad is correct — office looks great. Love the book cases with the flooring.
Hope it is conducive to lots of quality writing.
Glad the office wiring is all set and it looks organized from the outside and very nice inside. Always relaxing for me if things get resolved and don’t rattle around in my mental to-do list anymore. Hope it works that way for you as well and you can enjoy your office.
Woo hoo, nice work by all concerned! Congrats!
Is it true that in Texas you have to pay 200.00 US to get tested for covid??
Thanks for the update and the joke! 🙂 ba-dam-dam!
Congratulations. It’s wonderful to get something off the To-Do list. Thanks for the Rider installment.
Repair looks wonderful! That must be a relief to have completed.
Thank you for Ryder. Love it!
Yes, people do not like to feel that their freedom is being infringed upon, even for the sake of keeping them alive so that they may enjoy their freedom!
This is great! So glad you got it fixed, and it looks wonderful. I am a claims adjuster that handles construction defect claims so this is right up my alley.
I like the joke, too. My soon to be son-in-law is Belarussian and while not actually Russian, will still appreciate the joke!
Kim D says
I’m glad that your AC people solved this for you. That’s awesome!
You could replace ‘Russian’ with pretty much any stereotypically obstinate or ornery group in that joke and it would be accurate. Still made me snort.
Cherylanne Farley says
Coolness. On all levels. Hehehe. Unpacked camera kit from shipping box. Still looking at it. Next 8days in row over 103 degrees. Need to frog maybe 3″of knitting just too crummy and OPEN UP THE CAMERA BOX ALREADY.
Bill from nj says
Glad it got sorted out and the price is reasonable,around here it seems like any job, no matter how small, is 10k. It was interesting to see they used a mini split system in your house for AC, up here new houses use the standard ducted AC (I assume that came with the house). Looks like they did it right,not only was that a flood issue but also could end up causing a massive short and potential fire or worse. Unfortunately a lot of house inspections are pretty cursory, I have seen blatently horrible things get through home inspections, exposed wiring, do it yourself black (gas) pipe work, unreal.
Maria Z says
I have had two doors replaced in my house recently. The one from the house to the garage and the front door. I am still reeling from sticker shock for the front door. What is really interesting is seeing what the original builder did and what my contractor had to do to fix it. The framing for the front door was done OK but the door was too big, but they put it in anyway and only used 3 nails to hold it in. The front door never worked right but now I know why.
Thanks for the update. Bet the technicians keep pics of THAT mess.
Laura from Chico says
One thing to consider if you buy a new camera is that you can rent an expensive lens that you might like to have. Then you’ll be able to see if you really, truly have to have it. Or not.
Mary Beth says
Yesterday I heard the mail arrive, and my Hubby beat me to the door and refused to open it until I was in the kitchen. When I asked him why he said the heat index was 107 and he didn’t want my brain to melt. (I pass out when the temp is over 80.)
Thank the Great Whatever for air conditioning.
Congrats on the office fix! It looks fantastic, and is sounds like the price was reasonable. Looks like a good place for a cup of tea and word smithing.
How wonderful to get competent repair people! One more check in the “project complete” list. (Makes you wonder what else the home inspection guy missed.)
Having a good repair service is like having a wonderful jewel. I am not mechanically inclined at all so having capable, reliable, experienced and smart
plumbers, electricians, HVAC folks, and all-around handyman types is one of the most calming influences in my life. Honestly.
I’m hoping it’s one of the good things to come out of this pandemic. We have to develop a greater appreciation for the people in the background who keep our lives running and they’ve been out there without fanfare quietly working as usual without the freedom to freak out like the rest of us. Hats off to them!
Bringing odd old repairs up to code is always a pain. We’ve experienced this with our house a fair bit as the previous owner was an independent contractor in his own right, and he did a lot of the work with leftover mats or had his buddies come in and do stuff on the side. It’s been.. interesting.
The office looks amazing! I love those bookshelves especially! I’ve been looking for bookshelves of that height for my house.
I’m glad this got fixed correctly. I can believe the inspector missed this because the inspector for this house missed that it was almost overrun with termites! Fortunately, I saw the tunnels and called a “bug guy” and the former owner had to pay to kill them, but the inspector missed it entirely. They miss a lot. SM Air probably had to go back to the office to figure out who to call to fix the wall inside. It was patently obvious that the wiring had to be moved above the drainage ditch, but they needed someone to do the mold removal and replace the wall, too, plus the concrete work. Hang onto their phone number.
Johanna J says
It’s so refreshing when a company does some good problem solving and also allows you to keep all your arms and legs. What a relief! Thanks for the update. You know we worry. 😉
So glad you were able to get the problem fixed and at a reasonable price.
It’s great knowing there are still people and businesses willing to meet the challenges of unusual problems. AND not charge based on customer desperation.
Thank you for all your wonderful books and generously sharing your talents.
Jolene Henshaw says
I’ll share our saying for our house when we run into stuff like that (which happens more often than we’d like):
“Welcome to the house the monkeys built!”
I am so happy for you! A resolution with quality work and low cost is so great!
I wish someone would post those signs in the U.S., we might get some of the stupid out of the gene pool.
I moved into a house in Eugene and had trouble with my cable (tv and internet). It was intermittent. Finally called xfinity. The previous owner was a fantastic (that’s sarcasm) DIY person. The tech from xfinity finally pulled at where the coax came in and the DIY solution was to connect multiple 6” pieces of cable together so it could stretch about 3 feet. Tech said “That is interesting” … I didn’t need to have concrete work though…
Ryder is lovely btw!
Your dad’s joke was so funny. You could put American in there and it would apply.
Ann M says
Looks a lot safer than the old set up and I am happy for you both that it didn’t cost a fortune.
Wow, fast repair and at a reasonable price (IMHO)…I just had a minor plumbing repair done for $800, so $1700 seems pretty good considering all the ppl involved. And they did such a good job, that dry wall looks pristine! Congrats and enjoy the peace of mind!
Marti Garner says
Fantastic job. It is wonderful when service technicians step up, figure things out and get the job done. Thank goodness there are still smart “Blue Collar” workers out there.
Bill G says
It looks like these folks got it right. Great to see it.
Congrats on finding a great company to do the work correctly & at a reasonable price. Also, I love the flooring in the office.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
Nice! I used to have a damp spot in the backyard. My kid-who-mows-the-lawn said “You have a pond in your back yard.” Seems he stepped in it and went down about 4 feet. I called the water company, and yes, our water feed to the house is leaking… and yes, it’s “our” responsibility. I had my favorite contractor come out… he says a new feed should be about $2500. Seeing as I’ve been making double payments on the house for a while, we’re down to significantly less owed than is mortgaged so … I don’t know if I’m going to have them rewrite the mortgage or going to do a home improvement loan… or an equity loan. Fix the waterline and remodel the downstairs bathroom are both on the list for this year… I’m starting to think my cousin is right. She sold her house and lives in an apartment now. Something goes wrong, she just calls the building super and they fix it.
And… you know you’re an adult when you have a favorite contractor.
I’m glad it’s fixed.
On the other hand … how the heck did that get past the home inspector?
Also, the flooding issue is definitely the kind of thing that the seller/prior owner is required to disclose in their paperwork when listing the property. The post-flood mold issues would probably also need to be mentioned in the disclosures.
At least, it would be where I live, and I’m pretty sure that that’s the kind of thing where there’s effectively a national standard for realtors. Though, I don’t actually know what the rules around real estate disclosures are in Texas … so it could be that there isn’t a requirement, or the prior owner/seller left it out, since I don’t believe you’d have overlooked or ignored a disclosed flooding issue.
But if there is a requirement, and the prior owner/seller (or their agent) didn’t properly disclose a known issue with the property, you might have a legal case against them, and get at least the cost of repairs. On the other hand … pursuing a suit against them might not be worth it for you.
Great news on the repair. Check that insulation bulging out of that wall every year or so. It is not made for exterior use and sometimes rodents enjoy chewing on it. Exterior caulk is better. ????
Thank you for your time and effort to create this blog. I keep the page open on my phone and read your blog several times a week. I enjoy reading book snippets before the books come out, but I also enjoy hearing about your life.
d lm a says
Ba dam damnnn … seriously, oh for the shame of it all …
you know I can’t stand it,
O K, forgot the name of the repair crew (already) ???? but hot damn is it not wonderful, when the help you call, helps.
Amazing! I’m so pleased for you guys!
My [former contractor] brother-in-law ‘s version of “Well. That’s interesting.” is ” Isn’t that PRECIOUS! ”
Several years ago, my husband [now ex-] was fixated on a particular house in the “funky/cool part of town.
In a last-ditch effort to inject hubby with a little sanity, I asked brother-in-law to please do an inspection…let me know where the land mines were…..save me?….please?
The verdict? SIX! SIX! Six “Isn’t that PRECIOUS!”
Hubby bought the house anyway. And people wonder why he’s my EX-husband.
I hesitated on buying Small Magics, because I had those stories separately. Also, I didn’t want to be faced buying it again in 2 years because EVEN MORE NEW CONTENT was added. I did buy it yesterday though, and I’m glad I did. Just the additions to Curran and Jim’s POV was worth $4. I’ll check out the rest later.
This is excellent news indeed!
(couldn’t find it with just one quote…)
Stacy McKnight says
Wow! I am glad that is fixed. That could have been so much worse so I’m thankful it is done. I am also thankful you are working on Ryder! I am loving it!
I would like one of those units in my bedroom upstairs. It has one window and I hate spending all summer with an AC unit in it.
They did a beautiful job on it!!
Pollyanna Hopson says
like the joke. You could just place “Russian” with just people. I know most Texans would react the same way.
Glad you got your flooding problem fixed. Now you can move to Florida with peace of mind.
And thanks for Ryder. It’s just great
Jeffery Wolf says
It might be worthwhile to protect the foam Insulation on the outside of the wall. It is not UV stable and will break down in direct sun,
I am not sure if painting will work. There are neoprene gasketed covers that might be able to be retrofit. Normally the covers would slide over the line set before it is hooked up but you might be able to slice one enough to slide it on after, The. Ones I have seen fit under siding but there may be some made for a stucco wall.
Jeffery Wolf says
I just did a quick search for air conditioning line set covers and found a Fortress brand 4 1/2” cover that seems like it would work on a masonry wall. It appears to be a PVC 90 degree hood with a flat face that can be screwed to a wall. I don’t know anything about the brand or if the size is right but the configuration would probably offer good protection for the wall penetration. I am a general contractor in St. Petersburg FL. I love your work and hate to see a small problem become a larger issue. If you want to follow up I will be happy to check with my HVAC contractor about proper covers
Oh, my. Just got hold of Magic Stars , do feeling much more up to dat on things Derek-related. It’s Grey Wolf Book One. Wondering if the dots between it and Ryder are all in Ryder, or perhaps part of the GW series.