Sunday Sticker Shock

Rainsplash Drop from Vanderbilt.edu.

We’re finally getting some rain around here after a dry summer. We blame Global Warming. For both the rain and the dry, naturally, because Global Warming is behind everything, especially politicians who become billionaires selling indulgences carbon credits (sorry, got our religions crossed there for a minute).

In any event, this Sunday finds us nursing some sticker shock, or just general number shock. Like anyone who’s in the stock market, we got shelled rather badly at the end of last week (although we were just talking to a fellow who lost three-quarters of a million Friday, so we’re not as bad off as all that. Nothing like another man’s anguish to give one perspective). Most of what we “lost,” of course, was unrealized gains, so it is a paper loss against a paper gain — we’re still better off than we were before. So far.

There are many approaches to investing. We invest for long term growth and income; we don’t try to time the market. That way lies the abyss. We’d rather leave money on the table than see the table yanked out from under our elbows because we got greedy. For excitement, we make small investments in start-ups and give them advice, if they’ll take it. These investments usually go poof, as most start-ups do, and yet they were all good ideas with able people behind them. We suppose you could call it an entertainment expense, although in the poof moment it is not entertaining to contemplate what the meaning of the poof is in dollars. (We nearly wrote “dollars and cents,” but does anyone figure cents any more?). It’s nice when a start-up takes off and you get a wild multiplier for your early money. But for real money, we try to pick something that is going up, and/or something that pays a nice dividend.

The other aspect of sticker shock came when we needed to replace some windows in the Manor. Turns out the maker of the current (installed 1992) windows, Rivco, has gone to that great warehouse in the sky, and while the windows still are all in good condition — something the window guys all say is uncanny with this brand — we have a lot of shade and what tends to be a wet location, and many of the sills are undergoing wood rot. We already dealt with this on the trim (by writing a large check for a contractor to rip off the old stuff and install ha-rot-this-mother-nature Azek), and thought we could just replace the sills, but the contractors said no, gotta do the windows.

So we did the get-quotes thing and got several bids: the $399 any-window guys who are on the radio nonstop, a local installer of Marvin windows, and Renewal by Anderson. The $399 guy was more like a $1499 each window “deal,” when all the extras were toted up, the Marvin guy ran away screaming after one look at Hog Manor (well, maybe not screaming, but our interview was short indeed), and the Anderson guy was half-again the staggering cost of the cheap windows. All of them had some technical limit to what they could do with the windows, too. We loved the Anderson windows — they were definitely better. We collapsed into a catatonic state, at least with respect to windows. Then last week the Blogfather called, and a guy at his golf club had some windows done and was pleased with the entire project. After listening to Dave rave, we called these guys and their quote came in at less than half of the $399 guys and therefore, well under a third of what the Anderson windows would be.  The window? It’s not exactly the same as the $399 guy’s vinyl window, but it’s pretty close; maybe better. As near as we can tell, the price difference is all those jeezly radio ads.

The other shocking thing is just how many windows we had, and that no two vendors counted them the same way. From 30 to 40 windows!

We use a ton of oil here in the winter, and the new windows will help ease the sticker shock with that, but they certainly won’t pay for themselves. So we sign with the guy Dave and the Blogfather found at 0930 Monday. And well, we justify the cost of the windows because, all in, it’s less than the bath that we took Friday.

Apologies for no Matinee or TW3 yesterday. Family weekend; we may catch up or we may not.

We’s just been sitting here for a bit, queueing up some good blog posts for this week, listening to music that charted in 1964 for a project we’re working on in fits and starts. Yeah, we’re going to listen to all 714 songs that made the Billboard pop charts that year (not counting Christmas songs, and yeah, it’s going to take about a week).  A brilliant fellow named Joel Whitburn has compiled all these charts and they’re a great boon to students of any era’s music — and doesn’t the music shape the era?

At the bottom end of the chart it seems to include dreadful stuff the Mob paid (or threatened) somebody to put on the charts, at the top end it’s all early Beatles, and in between it’s a mulligatawny of British Invasion, old-time crooners, crossovers from the R&B and country charts, and novelty songs. Musically speaking, the year was an inflection point.

15 thoughts on “Sunday Sticker Shock

  1. John Distai

    If it makes you feel any better, I live in the south and my HVAC crapped out last week. I have open drywall -related projects on all floors, and I don’t want spend a bunch of dough on nice new equipment only to immediately assault it with drywall dust. Filter or not.

    And to top it off, the HVAC goes is in the attic. The attic has been undergoing a long term remodeling project, without my permit payoff to the city. I was racing (at a turtle’s pace) to finish that before my HVAC quit, and I lost. It will be an interesting conversation with the inspector when I get the HVAC replaced.

    I looked into replacing windows some time ago. The highly rated company in the area wants $700 a pop because the wonderful builder of my house decided to “economize” (how fortunate for him) and run the Hardiplank siding up to the window, instead of trimming the window with a frame. The cost would drop considerably if they were framed. Or he could “box them in the original frame”, leaving me with smaller windows.

    I showed the contractor that if he made a small investment in Festool equipment, he could cut the siding very efficiently, and treat siding clad windows just like those that were trimmed. He looked at the cost of the saw and rail, the capabilities of his labor force and probability of broken or mistreated equipment, and decided that charging people the extra labor was more attractive than being more efficient and passing the savings on to the consumer.

  2. Gray

    Hognose,

    I do not know the pricing in your neck o’ the, but we have Milgard (http://www.milgard.com/) vinyl casement windows that have proven to be very good quality and very tight.

    If its not too late, you might want to examine the brand.

    1. Hognose Post author

      The way to bet on a depot blast is usually human error, for which the erring human frequently has paid with vaporization. But haven’t heard of any casualties.

  3. JAFO

    The real rate of inflation of the USD is wildly in excess of the government figures. Cui bono?

      1. JAFO

        Yes, and who else? Recall that currency itself has no intrinsic value other than its use as a medium of exchange to obtain goods and services (e.g. booze and hookers) .

  4. Wyoming

    I’ve been in the construction business for over 25 years; all types, low to high end.
    If you never want to worry about your windows again, pony up for the Andersen. They’re a bit more than the replacement crap, but you won’t be replacing them again 5 or 10 years from now. They will also still be in business 10 years from now. We’ve installed Andersen on several multi-million dollar projects. They also have the best customer service hands down, should you ever have an unlikely issue.
    Make sure to check into sash packs should you not want to replace the entire jamb assembly.
    I have used ALL manufacturers over my career at some point or other. Stay away from Marvin; too much money and terrible customer service.

  5. Greg

    I’m actually doing pretty well in the market. Been shorting it for some time. The few things I’m long in have taken a beating though.

  6. DSM

    We did Andersens a few years back and they’ve been fine. Same thing as you, shocked at the total window count. Something you don’t really think about until it’s on paper with a price tag. We did see an improvement in our utility bill too.

    As for the stock market, gotta look at it as dollar cost averaging. Market is down, you’re buying more shares. When it’s up your dollar doesn’t buy as much but it ends up tallying out usually in the end. The bulk of our investments are longer term though, the hustle and flow of the day trader isn’t for this kid.

  7. Buckaroo

    If you have money in the markets, you need to be following Martin Armstrong. He is a cycles theorist whose models are pretty amazing.

    Google him for his website. It’s worth your time.

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