So in the last couple of months, a few major house issues have occurred among other significantly less critical things (the feed water line to the ice maker is clogged, which means about $400 for a professional bastard who owns a welding torch to crawl under the house, lop the end off and install a new non-clogging type of valve that they've invented since this was installed in 1970-something. Imagine about 35 more things of that type of non-severity but similar time & cost). The only things that occurred that I was truly concerned about were:
1. The sprinklers in the front yard started leaking constantly due to a borked valve. Not only did this start giving me a $500/mo water bill, it also led to standing pools that turned into mosquito orgies. Not OK.
2. The sidewalk directly in front of our house decided to pursue an alternate career as frag grenade/sarlakk pit, and chipsploded/pitted all over the goddamn place. There are a lot of families with young kids and spry retirees in our neighborhood. This means a lot of power walking. I didn't want to risk a broken ankle, liability potential or not. It's just not cool.
Because the sidewalk is technically half city property, they are technically liable for paying half the cost to get it replaced. I looked up the procedure.
HA HA HA HA HA HA.
Oh ye gods, I'd love legal loopholes, if I weren't getting fucked by them so hard. Let me break it down for you:
1. If your sidewalk gets bad enough, the city can demand it be repaired within 90 days.
2. They are legally obligated to offer an assistance program where the city pays 50% of the repair/patching cost as long as they get to pick the contractors from the lowest bidding pool.
3. However, the budget for this assistance program is first-come-first-serve, and it is the first thing to get axed every year especially in a deficit, like we've been in for the last, say, half a decade.
4. This means that the waiting list for this assistance program currently extends into 2015.
5. But the law of getting your shit fixed in 90 days still applies.
6. Which means that you either get your own contractor to fix it and suck up 100% of the cost, since you didn't go through the city process, or you sit back and eat FIVE YEARS of monthly fines and/or lawsuits on your fucked-up risk of a sidewalk while you wait for repair budget to become available. Awesome, right?
So yeah, even though my sidewalk wasn't bad enough for the city to give a shit yet, it was still bad enough that I saw it as a risk, and decided it needed to get fixed. Got a contractor out, who looked at it and gave me a very reasonable price to patch it.
Oh, life. Fuck you in the ear.
Standard issue with Dallas sidewalks, apparently, is that most contractors don't bother to seal the surface, so water damage eventually makes it "eggshell" into a brittle crust that shatters and flakes off the walkway surface.
As it turns out, once they got the eggshell off, is that I'm one of several lucky neighborhoods who got sidewalks poured in an especially bad budget year. not only is the top layer shit and non-water-sealed, but the whole goddamn thing is. Which means instead of having to chip off the top layer and re-patch it, I have to tear up and re-pour half the sidewalk.
And no, I'm sure the guy wasn't ripping me off. After he came to the house and told me about it, I came out and watched while one of this coworkers chiseled up a portion of crust on an entirely new & untouched-by-him slab, then poked the underlayer with the toe of my boot and watched it crumble into crap.
I just got lucky enough to be one of the 'burbs where they hired ESPECIALLY cheap labor, and the sidewalk they poured is made of spit and cumrags. And I get to replace it on my dime, if I don't want to eat 5-10 years of fines. So anyway.
Got the sidewalk patched/resurfaced/replaced where necessary, RIGHT this time, with sealant and balancing and a 10-year guarantee and all that shit. Ate pretty much 90% of the money I was saving after this summer's financial wipe-out in order for us to be able to have a 4-day vacation over Halloween (our only vacation this year, BTW. Everything else is family obligation or working conventions.) BUT, despite the fact that this and the sprinkler exhumation & repair ate ALL of my savings, I figured that it was worth it, because I've now proactively protected my neighbors against annoyance, West Nile virus, potential twisted ankles of themselves and their grandchildren, etc. I am Being A Good Neighbor, because I actually give a shit about people.
I come home this evening and go to pay the contractor, and he decides to tell me an "amusing" story. Apparently one of the neighbors came out to demand what he was doing. When he explained the work, she sniffed angrily and said "I don't see why she's wasting money on THAT, when she oughtta get those damned trees trimmed before I call HOA!"
Okay bitch, seriously?
A. We have no HOA in our neighborhood. The contract expired in the 80's. One of the reasons we bought here.
B. I had the trees trimmed less than 2 months ago, due to a random branch break. They're not winter-prep short now, true, but then again, it's fucking SEPTEMBER, so if you're bitching now about something I need (according to societal standards, not law) to have done by TWO MONTHS FROM NOW you can suck my metaphorical cock.
C. You know what? I wasn't legally responsible to get any of this shit fixed until the city gave me notice, and they are WAY too busy going after big-ticket offenders to give a shit about me for at least 5 years. Actually, I'm 99% sure that neither of these things were even in the cite-able range yet. I just spent ALL OF MY SAVINGS to fix them because I felt it was the right and respectful thing to do as part of a community. But y'know? Since you felt it necessary to come out and harangue my fucking contractor for half an hour, while he's trying to fix shit I voluntarily paid for FOR YOUR BENEFIT, about what a shitty homeowner I am, which, by the way, you have never bothered to drop by and ring the doorbell or stick a note in my mailbox regarding?
I will fucking GROW A COCK FOR YOU TO CHOKE ON, you stuck-up, pompous cunt. I'm fucking myself financially out of the ONE respite from work I might get this year, in order to protect you and your grandchildren from injury or even fucking INCONVENIENCE, and your response is to turn around and grab complete STRANGERS, for nearly 20 minutes, according to group consensus, to tell them what a horrible, white-trash slackass I am, because I "haven't done" something that was actually done 2 months ago? I am a hideous cocktail of hurt, depressed, and fucking INFURIATED which is a new one for me. My normal response is to blame myself, no matter what. So if you've stuffed your head so far up your own self-serving ass that I actually feel righteous anger? You're hitting epic levels, lady.
* This is also why I tend to preface any lengthy statement with a heavily-accented "Hhhokay. SO."