From the full version of Sunnyside's Lousy Book.
It’d be nice,
if I had a house to live in
I was overwhelmed by at how much money I had invested in painting equipment over the years before the fire. By the time the insurance cut an advance check a few days after the fire I had already spent over five thousand dollars on painting equipment from the money I had in accounts receivable. In the first week after the fire I put five thousand down dollars on a new cube van and spent over ten thousand dollars on replacing painting equipment.
I learned from the people who the insurance company sent out to help inventory the damaged personal property that independent adjuster who help settle the insurance claims for a 10% commission, usually get 25% more out of a settlement than if they are not used in settling the claim. The fall back of using such adjusters is that it stalls the insurance company’s process and usually takes longer to receive the settlement money. Basic-ally the insurance companies don’t like them because they’re less likely to take advantage of a private homeowner when there is some else fighting for them.
As tax time in April approached, I found myself living in the back of a cube van. The insurance company had not paid the settlement early enough to take care of my income tax obligations. Since the insurance policy didn't cover the painting equipment; I purchased the bare minimum amount of equipment needed to perform the painting jobs I had under way at the time.
Seven months later, the insurance money finally came through. I chose to perform the repairs on the house myself. Because I felt I could get more bang out of each buck if I did, bit the thing I didn't realize, was the standard practices of insurance companies. That is that they withhold some of the money until they are provided receipts for the personal property inventoried after the fire and they withheld some of the money on the dwelling under the same conditions property. In my case, I think it was about thirty thousand dollars. (Possibly $20,000 for the dwelling and another $15,000 for personal possessions. Or was it $30,000 and $20,000? I can’t remember.)
About the smartest thing for a person to do in the situation, would have been to put money down on another house and sale what was left of the burned out property. In my case I had to replace my equipment, so there went my personal property money out the window and since I've been in the building trades, I decided to rebuilt my house in my own spare time, thinking that the repairs would get done right and I’d end up with a nicer house than I have before. Another reason I choose to rebuild was that I felt I would end up with less of a house payment than if I went out and bought another one.
I put a couple thousand dollars down on a used Airstream travel trailer and parked it in my back yard. Since my house payments were still due every month, I figured the payments on the trailer of $111 a month was about the most cost effective way to live during the construction process and I’d just sell the trailer afterwards if I felt I needed the money.
Another short fall was that the check for the house repairs arrived with not only my name one it, but John's too. (The one who sold me the home on an owner contract.) John's desire was to steer clear of any gamble and I can see why he didn't want to own equity in a house for less than the $26,000 still owed on it. It was his desire to only finance the value of the land because the structure was no longer intact. Before he would sign the check he had me pay a balloon payment on the contract so I had to kiss good-by to $ 15,000.
When began demolition and the clean-up of the property knowing I'd run out of money while rebuilding it. I realized that most likely I'd sooner or later have to get a loan from a bank to finish it, but I wanted to see if I could rebuild it with cash out of my pocket as much as I could. Another road block I was facing was the fact that a bank would request my income tax statements for the past two or three years before they'd consider granting a loan on such a project, so my options were a little on the narrow side.
I ended up ordering two different trucks equipped with a Cummins engine. The first one was ordered through a dealer in Olympia Washington on a day I was actually shopping for a trailer to live in. I saw a dealer and actually stopped in to use a phone book to locate a local RV dealer in the area. But as soon as I pulled up in the cub van I was approached by a young salesman. I found myself sitting in front of his desk, trying to negotiate a deal on a new truck with him. I'd already studied the cost of them and knew he wasn't cutting the best deal. I knew it should have went for about $25,000 for a two wheel drive, but he kept me waiting while he’d go into another room to discuss it with his sales manager. He’s come back in stating he was getting beat up, because I drove a hard bargain. Finally to told him to give it his best shot, because I was using my credit card for the down payment and that I would just cancel if I'd find a better deal elsewhere.
Through a GM dealer, I found out about a fleet salesman in the town of _______ who offered the best deals on the kind of truck I wanted. After meeting with the fleet salesman, I found that when ordering a new truck from the factory, they buyer will save $750 in advertising cost right off the bat. And the way he sold them was that it only took $200 down, (which is non-binding and totally refundable for any reason.) Not only that, but he sold them at $100 over dealer invoice. That meant that the $300 electric seat was only $190 and the four wheel drive option was only $1,500 instead of $2,500. Bottom line is that I ordered it with every option but the trailer towing option, spare tire, and CD player. The second truck I ordered ended up costing $26,500, and that was a far better deal than the striped down two wheel drive the dealer in Olympia was trying to get $28,600 for.
It was about two weeks into the original deal with the dealer in Olympia when I called them and told them to cancel the order and refund my money to my credit card. They said that they couldn't do it because the truck had already been built and that I’d a signed an agreement that meant that they didn't have to because the down payment was theirs if I cancelled the order. He even tried to negotiate a pay off to him if he did refund part of it. Basically he was trying to scam $1,500 out of me. My salesman for the second truck said that the agreement they had me sign was illegal and meant nothing.
Later I got a call from the dealer in Olympia informing me that my new truck was sitting on their lot waiting for me to pick it up. I told them not to move it and that I'd be right down to discuss things over with them personally.
I drove down to Olympia and was approached by the young salesman, congratulating me for buying such a beautiful truck. I laughed at him and informed him that the truck was never going to be mine, but I did own interest in it, there-fore I didn't want the mirrors installed on it and that I didn't want it to be driven by anyone. I was only down there to get the mileage registered on the odometer just to make sure they were not using it as a demonstrator. I said, “Until you refund my $5,000 to my credit card, I own part of that fucking thing, and I don’t want it to be moved from where it’s at until I see that I have my money back!”
I went home and called my credit card company and told them of the problem. A day or two later I received a call from the dealer saying that they had just refunded my money to the credit card account.
Before ordering the second truck from the fleet salesman, I got to thinking about what I'd like to get out of a work truck, because being a painting contractor, getting up in the morning and loading all equipment needed for the day into the work truck is always a challenge. If anything is forgotten, the day usually starts out the hard way. That is turning around and driving back to the shop and hoping nothing else is forgotten. Rule 67 applies to many of us here too.
At the end of the day on the way home I'd usually eat dinner and usually arrive at home after dark. Often I'd find myself unloading equipment because if the tools and equipment were left outside in the back of truck overnight, the equipment could either get wet from rain or even worse end up stolen.
Since a truck with a Cummins diesel engine didn't come in a cube van and the truck I was going to buy was bare a cab and chassis, it would arrive with nothing on the back of the truck’s frame. Therefore I was planning to buy a moving van box to mount on it. As I was looking through a Northern Hydraulics catalogue, I noticed some heavy duty crank up legs for trailers for only $39.00 each. I contemplated the idea of installing the crank up legs on each corner of a moving van box and install some in the same manner on a flat bed. I thought it would be nice to be able to raise the van box off the truck frame and be able to back the truck under the flat bed for days when I just wanted a regular flat bed truck and vice versa. But with the experience I've had in my past with loading campers; I knew it would take all morning just to change over and secure the different payload beds to the truck. Because if Stupid Rule 67, I decided to drop the idea.
Then I wondered how I could make such a set-up more automatic? Thinking about it for awhile I decided the hot setup would be a small roll-off truck. Therefore when ordering the second truck, I decided to take advantage of the PTO (power take off adapter) that was offered as an option.
By the time I received the truck, the house had less significance to me because by then, I had plans for what I was going to do with the truck. I've got a copy of what I ordered minus the anti-slip rear-end differential. My plans were to build the world’s greatest work truck which would in turn to be the work truck of the future. You can bet I wasn't too thrilled when the truck arrived without the PTO adapter, but the deal was; it that it only come in the two wheel drive automatic transmission models.
Now days I'm more knowledgeable about power sources and I doubt if it would have supplied the constant power source weather I have the transmission in neutral, park, reverse, or forward. That's where the place for a PTO adapter on the transfer case would be worthless. It’s best to run off the engine directly if all possible.
The next chapter of Sunnyside's Lousy Book is:
Back to the Snoopy City
Have you seen the other Book Excerpts?
Featured chapter prior to
It’d be nice if I had a house to live in is-
The Eyes of the City of Tacoma
My Synchro-link truck
is a whole fleet of trucks in one
Check it out at MiniRollOffTrucks.com