M and I spent our entire Sunday afternoon at the local home and garden expo and it was truly not quite enough time. We closed the place down, but I still would have liked another hour or two to browse several displays we rushed past and talk to other vendors. Next year we will go earlier and we will go on Saturday. It’s so depressing to be walking through the buildings and seeing the beautiful displays reduced to empty spaces or packed up carts.

Our mission this year was concrete. Two years ago we had our pool resurfaced and had planned to update the pool deck in 2014. For whatever reason we did not get around to it, so this is on my unoffcial aspirations list. I had thought we would install all new concrete, but after having a dream about a turqoise kitchen (in the house) to match the pool which suddenly had a turquoise pool deck (and we really are not crazy about turqoise; it’s just the color of the water with our white pool surface), I had a change of heart about resurfacing the existing concrete rather than destroying and replacing. We both thought it would be less costly than destroying and repouring all new concrete. Boy, were we ever shocked about that.

From the various vendors we spoke with, resurfacing runs between $4 to $10 per square foot, and destroying/pouring all new runs $7 to $12 per square foot. The costs are dependent upon the areas involved, and think it’s about 2800 sf of landscape to cover. Ugh. I plan to get estimates from both resurfacing contractors and concrete contractors for comparison purposes. If we cannot decide/get started by March I’ll defer it until the fall.

Which brings me to the deck. Our decks have desperately needed to be replaced since our home purchase 3 years ago. M has wanted redwood for various reason, and I have generally agreed, because I have not particularly enjoyed the look of the composites I have seen. Yesterday we met a vendor who had a different line of decking that came in lovely shades of gray, which would coordinate nicely with the new pool deck we are planning. M has thought he would replace the deck himself, but it’s been 3 years and not a movement in that direction, so I have gently nudged that we hire it out. He is definitely seeing things my way right now.

Only with the deck replacement, I also want to paint the exterior of the house. In my mind these two jobs simply go together. So in addition to inviting the decking contractor out to discussion options, I am planning to invite a painting contractor to do the same. Hopefully they can play nicely together and coordinate their efforts.

With the deck potential brings up even more potential work for concrete, beneath the raised deck. I am not sure we will pursue that, maybe go with our original pea gravel thoughts instead. A lot of things to think about, a lot of talking to contractors and explaining (repeatedly) what we are seeking with regard to updates to our home’s exterior. I am bracing myself and praying for patience.

Another point of the homeshow: I was actually surprised how many vendors managed to trip the discordant note with me. A lot of our choices for vendors depend upon the presentation of the personnel, how they interact with us, how much we “like” them as presenters of their products. There were a couple of concrete contractors who probably had the actual guys who do the work manning their booths. Those guys might know a lot about pouring cement but a lot less about dealing with potential customers, particularly women. I explained to one what we were considering and what we wanted, and instead of looking at me and responding to my stated desires for the project he would look at M and direct his comments toward him. After we were away from that booth I told M they were not in the running for bids, because I got a bad vibe from him. The nice thing about us as a couple is that if one of us doesn’t like someone, we don’t do business with that company. Sometimes it’s silly, but we both have to trust the vendors we hire. Usually it’s M who has a negative vibe, but this time it was me. Two were immediately off the list, one I am giving the benefit of the doubt because M had a good feeling about her. We shall see how that evolves.

We also met electricians. I am compiling a list of the things I want done and they bid it as a cost per item rather than lump-sum for everything type work. Little things like having an exterior outlet to plug in Christmas lights is a very big deal, and I am as excited about finally getting some of those small projects completed as I am about the potential big-ticket items under consideration. Fingers crossed we are not paralyzed with sticker shock once the bids start rolling in.

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