Final Answer

After talking to a dozen references, we finally chose Olde York Homes as our new contractor. In the end, it wasn’t the references, but the attitude — Gary was so open and matter of fact, we couldn’t help but trust him. (Of course, if his references hadn’t been impeccable, he wouldn’t have even had a shot.) It also didn’t hurt that his assistant, Toni, was a pleasure to deal with. We let Gary know today, and he’s already scrambling to get subcontractors so he can put together an estimate. This is a good sign.



The boiler in the mansion cracked. They are having to add water twice a day to keep the radiators going. (Of course, I’m in Los Angeles in 70-degree weather, wondering what the big deal is.) As long as they keep adding water, it should limp through to April, and we can turn it off. (Of course we’ll replace it before next winter.) After sitting quietly for twenty years, in the last year we’ve had:

  • A limb fall through the roof of the Paymaster’s Office
  • A leak in the mansion roof which destroyed the walls around the staircase
  • The furniture warped and buckled from the humidity
  • And now the boiler cracked

I don’t know if we’re a little late, just in time, or this is the mansion’s way of telling us to go away.


Endangered Species

We had a “PNDI hit,” meaning the state was concerned our septic field would impact an endangered species. But here’s the catch: they won’t tell you what the species is, or where it is! Fortunately, the septic engineer is experienced in this, and told us it was bog turtles. We googled them and found they are 2-3″ long, live in waist-deep muck, and hibernate for five months of the year. Not exactly a tourist draw. So now we have to hire another consultant to write a letter to the DEP saying that bog turtles live in streams, and our septic field is a quarter-mile away on top of a hill, and we aren’t likely to impact them. Another $300 well spent.