I had gotten two bids for trash/fence removal and was about to call the first company back when I decided I should probably get a third bid. I called a company from the Greensheet, and Sal, the owner, said he had to meet me at the site in order to give me a bid. I was about to just tell him to forget it, but he was so insistent about getting the address site and setting up a time, before I knew it we had agreed to meet the next day.
I'm glad I let myself get bullied because Sal's bid was $150 cheaper than the other bids. He showed up with five kids, each around 15-16 years old. He told me that he works with Covenant House (a runaway shelter), and he gives them work to help with giving them structure as well as some spending money.
It was the most amazing/amusing thing I've ever seen. Sal stood next to the trash pile and barked out orders like a drill sergeant while the kids scurried about picking up the trash.
"HUSTLE, HUSTLE, HUSTLE, WE DON'T HAVE ALL DAY, AND DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT TOUCHING THE HOUSE!"
"SON, I CAN SEE YOUR UNDERWEAR. THAT IS OFFENSIVE! PULL UP YOUR PANTS!"
"NOW IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT TO BE DOING THE REST OF YOUR LIFE???"
They finished picking up the trash pile and removing the fence in less than an hour. I swear, they picked up every cigarette butt and gum wrapper floating in the yard. While waiting for me to get back from the bank, Sal made them pick up trash in the neighbor's yard, too. Idle hands and all that...
We also dropped off the bathtub to be refinished. As soon as that's done, we're going to have the plumber install the fixtures and dishwasher. Other than that, we're pretty much done. The floors are finished, lights installed, appliances delivered. I'm enlisting help from my sister and a friend this weekend, and we're going to do some minor landscaping this weekend to help with the curb appeal. Removing the fence has already made a huge difference.
Oh, here's a shot of the floors, too. Refinishing floors is always my favorite part of a remodel because it always makes such a big impact. I originally wanted to go with a darker stain, but my floor guy said that with the age and type of wood I had, going with the lightest stain possible ("natural") would be best as the darker the stain, the more obvious any scratches or discolorations would be. I think the floors turned out really nicely considering their original condition.