What dumb thing have done with your house? Have you ever tackled a misguided renovation project? Tried to install a sink disposer upside-down? Planted bamboo in the backyard, only to watch it take over? Bought a Hummer with the money from a cash-out refi?
Consider this an open thread for Monday afternoon. Comments are not only welcome, but demanded.
I'll start. After the hurricanes of September 2004 (yes, plural -- Frances and Jeanne), I installed storm panels on my house the following spring. I measured the windows, ordered the hardware, and installed it by myself. Another hurricane (Wilma) hit in 2005, and the storm panels held up wonderfully. A tree branch, hurled by 100 mph wind, whacked the panel covering the bedroom window. Undamaged.
Cool, right? Except that soon after, we requested an estimate for window replacements. The estimator got out of his truck, and before he took the tape measure off his hip, he asked who installed the hurricane shutter hardware. I told him proudly that I did. "Did you get a building permit?" he asked. I said no. "Sorry," he said. "Without a permit for the shutters, I can't get a permit to replace your windows." And with that, he got back in his truck and drove away.
My town is Taliban-like in its zeal for permits. To get a shutter permit, I would have to remove my hardware, patch the holes and paint over them, hire an architect to make blueprints for shutters, get a permit and then reinstall them. Ain't gonna happen. So we're stuck with the original windows.
Outsiders seem to think that this is something that can be finessed, but it can't. You remember the end of "Chinatown," where the detective says, "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."? Well, forget it, reader. It's Jupiter.