I have lost track of how many contractors and/or workers have been over since we moved in. Whether it is roof, gutter, foundation, or insulation, somebody's come over to look at it. I may post a sign by the mailbox: House With Problems Straight Up the Driveway. And Bring Yer Own Flashlight and Measuring Tape this Time.
In the case of the foundation, if five contractors have been over to inspect the underside of the house, there have been that many opinions about the state of the foundation. These people all seem to describe a different house, ranging from shrugged dismissal, the age of the house given as an explanation for its shabby state, to manic smiles in anticipation of a fortune made to bring everything to 21st century standards, to paranoid rants about how one should be paid to even look at anything like that. Yet, there is never any mention of the issues that had been pointed out in the house inspection report (repairs Mrs. Previous Owner promised to do, but didn't).
And when one of these guys goes under the house, it's not like I can really tell him that I'll be in the house, and to just let me know when he's done. No; there is a sort of unspoken expectation that I will be standing by the side of the porch leading to the crawlspace, and kill time while whomever is crawling about under the house. Some guys like an audience and talk away the whole time (inaudible muffled sounds coming from under the house)... There I am, patiently standing by the opening under the porch, thinking of how to muster dinner out of what may or may not be in the refrigerator, or looking for weeds to pull by my feet, while nodding and making sounds of agreement to whatever he may be saying.
When he comes out, and rattles on about whatever repair he thinks is necessary, I try to look interested, but pinch my hands behind my back as I hear the keywords that trigger yawning reflexes: posts, piers, cinder blocks, etc. Then I ask inane questions, like were there spiders under the house? Little spiders, or giant ones? How about rats? Any carpenter ants?