Sunday, November 16, 2008

Christmas Sneaks up Once Again

OK, maybe sneaking up isn't the right phrase. After all, Wal Mart has had their Christmas stuff out for about three months now. It's just arriving so quickly.

This Year I Pledge to Avoid the Christmas Rush

Yeah right! Like that's going to happen. But one thing I want to do is try out LED Christmas lights. I'm all about going on the cheap with the electricity bill. And they say they last forever. Troubleshooting light strings is not my favorite chores.

We'll probably end up going to the Christmas tree farm and chopping down a choice one. We missed doing it last year because the tree rancher was giving the land a break. He just raises them for fun so he can afford to do it right.

Pre-Winter Chores

Actually, come to think about it, doing the holiday decorating is a great time to take care of those change of season chores. Home maintenance never ends. No complaints though. I'm lucky enough not to be an ARM or sub-prime mortgage volunteers, uh, I mean victims. Locked in at 6% and glad of it.

Do Your Christmas Shopping Early

This is something I've always wanted to try! It's one of those things most people keep saying they're going to do so as to avoid the crowds. I don't mind being out there in the mall on December 24, as long as I'm not standing in line. I just like the people-watching aspect of it.

No, this year I'm going to do my shopping on the Internet. Low stress, no mess...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Select a Roof Contractor with Caution

Those of you that read this blog know that I recently underwent the Hurricane Ike experience. That was one rip-roaring ride!

Anytime a storm of this magnitude happens, folks experience roofing problems. The big blue FEMA tarps are still all over the place. Since my roof is new, I didn't have any roof issues (knock on wood). But a lot of my neighbors weren't so lucky.

What Kind of Roof Material do You Want?

If your home insurance company is paying for a complete new roof, this is the time to ask yourself flavor you want, a metal roof or composition shingles. Composition is cheaper but steel shingles or panels last longer and boost home equity.

How to Hire a Roofing Contractor

Man, this is an important issue. There are a lot of "storm chasers" out there. Easy to spot - out of state license plates. Even Houston's Mayor White is running radio ads warning citizens to use caution. They may be professional or they may not. The bottom line is that they won't be around later, no matter what their warranty says.

So, what to do? Follow a vetting checklist and do your homework. Only then hire a roofing company and accept the bid.

What's on the Contractor Checklist?

Basic things, mostly.
  • Check the company history.
  • Get references.
  • Call the BBB.
  • Ask to see and verify bonding and insurance paperwork.
  • Is everyone on the construction crew working legally in this country? (If they cheat here to cut corners, they'll cheat other ways.)
Do these things and you'll do well!