OT I probably can't do that
Today I bought some 4" 10-foot treated posts, and then took them to a
sawmill to be split down the middle.
The owner took one look at them and said, I'm not sure they're big
enough to be held [in the machine].
This despite the fact that on the phone he'd told me twice that he could
do it. The first time 8 or 10 weeks ago when I gave him all the
details and the second time yesterday, when he didn't ask so I figured
he remembered me or it didn't matter what I had, that he could still do
And the words brought back vague memories that iirc, people say this a
lot. It's often the opening words from someone I want to hire to do
something, and maybe from friends too. Memories are still too vague to
Has anyone noticed this? Do you have any ideas why people would start
off this way. I'm still trying to remember if I do this.
In alt.home.repair, on Tue, 29 Sep 2015 20:11:24 -0700, "Bob F"
He did ask me yesterday if it was new or old wood, that is, if it might
have nails, etc.
I only got treated posts because that's what they sell. (Mostly they're
used for posts! By farmers. A big flat-bed trailer truck arrived when I
was leaving with about 10 bundles of posts, 30 posts to a bundle. The
guy helping me said the store sells that much in about a month.)
The goal was to get half-round rails, to replace those in my fence which
have worn out. Mostly the ones that don't get much sunlight. I don't
think the original rails were treated and they all lasted at least 20
years, many of them 35 years and counting.
They used to sell rails like this at Lowes, but styles have changed.
(If I'd known they were going to stop, I would have stocked up.)
BTW, he didn't give any words of reluctance after that. He measured
both ends and adjusted his mill, which used a circular blade about 4
feet in diameter. The whole thing was impressive. A bar came down to
hold the wood in place. The bed moved according to buttons he pushed.
Somehow his employee came over from another building and he took the
split parts and piled them near my car. Charged $30 to do 7 poles,
the most I could fit in my car.
It looked pretty funny my Solara convertible with 10 foot poles sticking
up and back from the back seat.
7 poles make 14 rails. All together, I use about 56 rails. I've
replaced about 14 already, and about 14 get loads of sun, so maybe I
will need 14 more a few years from now.
I found 5 or 10 portable lumber mills around here, that owners would
trail to wherever a big tree had been cut down, but I lost the list over
the winter and couldn't make the list again. The one guy I did find
again never callled me back. FWIW, they use a big bandsaw. Today was
more like the sawmill with the Olive Oyl tied to the log and Popeye has
to save her.
In alt.home.repair, on Tue, 29 Sep 2015 23:47:16 -0400, micky
The ones for sale as rails already had half of their thickness cut out
for the last 4 inches at each end, trimmed to curve around the post they
are nailed to.
I didn't expect them to come to me for this. I was going to go to his
home or wherever he kept his mill, on a day he wasn't doing someone
The portable saw mills are designed to cut and move down the same amount
after each cut.
I guess this guy's mill today does the same thing, Those trucks full of
enormous logs you see on the road sometimes, well, he had a bunch of
those logs lying around, and a few wide boards cut from them. I think
most of the boards he had cut were cut to order or were already sold and
Sometimes a mouse is tied to the log, and my namesake has to rescue her.
On 9/29/2015 7:37 PM, micky wrote:
["I can do" becomes "not sure I can do"]
I think it boils down to folks not *seriously* considering what is
ACTUALLY being asked.
As a consultant, clients/potential clients FREQUENTLY (i.e., ALWAYS!)
ask impromptu questions as to whether something can be done, how much
it will cost, how long it will take, etc. And, they always condition
their request with "I'm not going to hold you to anything... just
give me a general idea..."
But, of course, when the time comes to actually (formally) *estimate*
the job, they are STUNNED at the discrepancy between your initial
"general idea/estimate" and your *formal* estimate:
"You told me it would take X months, so I estimated $Y from that!"
"But you didn't indicate what EXACTLY you were after! And, you
wanted an on-the-spot answer -- you didn't want me to THINK about
it -- possibly fearing I would uncover many subtle issues that would
complicate the effort, etc."
Over time, I learned to give answers that were as USELESS as these
"What do you mean: 'anywhere from 1 week to 5 years'?"
"Well, refine your requirements and I'll refine my estimate!"
Some years back, I had to have some medical tests done. While they
weren't "exotic", they were, nonetheless, not "standard fare". So,
I called to make sure the facility *could* (and DID!) perform the
tests. And, asked for information regarding what I had to do in
order to prepare for them, if I had to make an appointment ahead
of time, if they had to ensure they had the required test materials,
Fearing that the answers I got were just too "pat", I called, again,
some time later to see if I got the same story *twice*.
When I arrived for the test, it was as if I was asking to have my
DNA tested for Klingon ancestry. Or, to have them test for the
color socks I wore on my first day of kindergarten!
After an hour watching folks run around trying to figure out *if* they
could do the test, then trying to figure out who I had spoken with
on my two phone calls (no one would 'fess up), they finally sent me home
Should I have asked for a reply IN WRITING -- *notarized* -- before
considering it reliable?
In alt.home.repair, on Tue, 29 Sep 2015 23:07:03 -0700, Don Y
That might be it. Or part of it.
I needed a partiuclarly shaped piece of foam rubber one time, and called
in advance to see if he could do it. He said yes, and I went all the
way downtown when places much closer also sold foam rubber. I hadnt'
quibbled about the price at all, and he didn't bring it up either, but
he tried to talk me into a standard shape, just so he wouldn't have to
do the work, cutting, gluing.
It's in keeping with my opinion that most folks are lazy -- "Why think
about what is being asked BEFORE a commitment is needed?"
So, by extension, my clients should have insisted on written estimates?
Which, of course, means they'll get NO estimates -- unless they are
willing to invest a comparable amount of time/money to prepare written
Would you have been willing to prepare a written set of requirements
prior to expecting a *written* commitment from the mill operator?
But, presumably, he would have been willing to produce the custom
shape -- at *some* price.
In my "medical test" example, they were unprepared to perform the
test at *any* price! "Sorry, but we can't do that test, here..."
In alt.home.repair, on Wed, 30 Sep 2015 01:00:43 -0700, Don Y
Maybe I should have included a smiley, but that doesn't capture, "Yes,
it looks like that's what it takes."
And he didn't actually charge much. Not much more than the basic shape
that foam wedges come in, iirc. And ironically, it turned out to be
too big for the place I planned it for. Then I found another wedge
already covered in cloth, and I didn't get around to using the first one
much for 25 years. I'm glad to say that although the foam in the
second one is falling apart -- it keeps getting smaller as the outside
"layers" fall off, the first one is still in good shape 25 years later
and 6 months of use haven't affected it. But like I say it was too
big and I'm not using the full thing. I'm using a 1.5-foot length of
it, and when that wears out (surely it will, since it's already so old)
, I'll split the remaining 3 feet and use each one in turn.
My laughing was about everytiing but that you went home with nothing.
Understood. My point was that this is just plain ridiculous. *Nothing*
would get done if that was the case. As opposed to "very little" getting
done "satisfactorily" without! :<
Would the operator have even *bothered* for "such a small job"? Or,
would he prematurely have said "No" just to avoid the effort required
for that "proposal/estimate"? When does the "let your fingers do the
walking" approach fall apart?
If I had only "invested" a couple of phone calls and the time to
drive to the facility, it would have been "merely annoying". But,
given that I had already been inconvenienced by having to prepare
for the test I was nowhere near as "accommodating" of their
In alt.home.repair, on Wed, 30 Sep 2015 12:29:14 -0700, Don Y
Yeah. I don't know what preparation you did but I once had to drink a
gallon - literally a gallon -- of something to flush out my insides. It
was one of the few times I missed having a wife, who I figured might
pour it down my throat. But left alone, I couldn't do it. I think I
drank between 2 and 3 quarts. The guy the next day didn't complain.
If the guy at the saw mill had said he couldnt' cut my poles, I would
have had to drive 30 minutes back to the store I bought them at and try
to get them to take them back. I guess they would have done it, but I
have an image of most of their customers knowing what they want, buying
what they need, and not bothering a farm store with annoying returns.
But actually the sawyer was very nice. I had a hundred, but I forgot
that I spent 130 at the computer store the previous day. I'd meant to
take a couple hundred in cash from my desk drawer, but forgot that too.
The farm store took charge carrds but the sawyer didn't. He said, Just
stop by and pay me later. I said, Can I mail you a check? He said,
Just stop by and pay me later. At first I thought he just didn't
want checks, but surely he gets paid by check very often. He must have
just been thinking I lived nearby and saying I didnt' have to rush to
So I went to a cash machine and got money and paid him right away.
Or, *not* sleeping (because of an "urgency" shortly after you
lay your head down!)
Many tests require fasts (of varying durations). Some also require
"no fluids" (of any kind!)
I.e., you aren't comfortable when you set out to undertake these
tests. You *sure* don't want to be arguing with someone while you'd
previously CONFIRMED all would go without a hitch!
Yeah, living without food (for a day) is easy. But, nothing (not even WATER)
gets to be really bad after 4 or 5 hours! Go to bed. Plan on sleeping a LONG
TIME. Wake up and head *straight* to the procedure!
The out patient version. They did it with very small incisions that I
may not be able to find unless I knew where to look.
I was home when not allowed water.
Unexpectedly, the nurse called me the day after the operation to ask if
I was OK.
82 days until the winter celebration (Friday December 25, 2015 12:00:00
AM for 1 day).
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