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Wednesday, Apr. 06, 2005
I’d like to thank those who left their thoughts in the guest book over the last few days. There are times that knowing that there is a measure of kindness left in this age of avarice, I can feel a little hopeful. So thanks for that.

Stu and I are installing a series of kitchen and bath cabinets in a condo complex at the moment. 10 condos to a building, a dozen buildings in the complex. That sort of place. We happen to be working on the last of the buildings.

The previous installers were run out, or outright quit I don’t know. The installs don’t pay enough for the degree of difficulty, I do know that. Having us, the original high end carpenters perform this sort of stuff for peanuts is akin to driving a waxed Mercedes to the liquor store for a bottle of ripple.

The superintendent running the job is in rapture. We show up, knock out two condos worth of cabinets before 2 in the afternoon and vanish with a stealth worthy of large birds of prey. Next morning, the super will poke a nose into the kitchen and see me grimly screwing cabinets together. “Gosh these look great! The best I’ve seen in this place!”

“Yep, reckon so.”

“Y’all been doing this long?”

*Now what would make you say that? I mean, apart from the box truck with more tools in it than the average Home Despot and the two graying war horses driving it, what is it that tipped you off, sonny?*

“Yuh, long enough.”

“I’ve got a couple units need trimming out, you guys interested?”

I took a look at him. “For the money being paid on these things, I don’t think we can afford to do much more than bang two of these a day with cabinets. Sorry.”

It should be noted, for those of you playing along, that trimming takes considerably longer than a day, and costs more out of pocket for the stuff that isn’t supplied by the contractor.

These particular condo units cost $150,000 for one large bedroom, a small living room, a small kitchen and bath and a couple of closets. And they’re crap! Popcorn ceilings, mediocre carpet, cheap windows. No garage, no yard. Nice exterior features with an interior that looks like your average Super 8 motel.

12 years ago, I paid way less that 150k for a four bedroom Colonial with too much yard and a two car garage.

And yet again, as part of the wearying theme that I’ve been harping on for some time now, we run into the cost versus sale of modern construction. If the building materials cost only relatively more than they did 12 years ago, and the labor cost is damn near the same as twelve years ago, where in the world does 150k go to? And why for such a smaller residence?

I know, I know. Screw the cabinets and enjoy the ride.

Far be it for me to complain (snort).

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