Milind Angolkar was the first home inspector to join the Structure Tech team after Reuben, and we love him. In fact, everyone loves Milind because he’s a good, kind person. We start the show by discussing Milind’s history with the company, and Milind shares some crazy home inspection fail stories.
The following is a transcription from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it may be slightly incomplete or contain minor inaccuracies due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
Reuben Saltzman: If you have a hacksaw and you’re bringing it into an inspection, whatever you think you’re gonna do, you shouldn’t be doing that, and that’s what another wise home inspector told me about a hammer.
Milind Angolkar: That’s true.
RS: Bringing a hammer to a home inspection, you probably shouldn’t do whatever you think you’re gonna do with it. It’s good advice.
Bill Oelrich: Welcome everybody to Structure Talk, a Structure Tech presentation. My name is Bill Oelrich alongside Tessa Murry and Reuben Saltzman as always. And on today’s episode, we have a special on-Zoom guest Milind Angolkar, one of our fabulous home inspectors on the Structure Tech team. In fact, Milind is the most senior structure tech home inspector and also in charge of everybody who’s an inspector on our team. So we invited him in today to have a little conversation and let everybody get to know Milind. So, Milind please unmute and tell us all about yourself.
MA: Thanks Bill. Is it inappropriate to say Happy Anniversary to Reuben today?
RS: Ah, your so sweet. Thank you.
MA: Easiest anniversary to remember of all time, 5/5/05?
Yeah, we will release this in six days from now. So we’re pre-recording, but yeah, we are recording on my anniversary, Cinco de Mayo, 5/5/05.
Tessa Murry: Happy Anniversary.
RS: Thank you. You know why we got married on that day? So we could remember.
BO: I’d expect nothing less.
RS: We’re big on numbers. Also, it was a Thursday, we got married on a Thursday and we ended up saving a boatload of money on the location ’cause nobody gets married on a Thursday, and we just said, “Whoever wants to be there, if they wanna come to the wedding, they will be there if they don’t want to, they don’t need to come.” And everybody showed up. So, I recommend get married on a Thursday.
MA: The very Reuben invitation. It’s like one of the most Reuben things of all time. The very bottom of the invitation was in binary.
RS: Yes, I had binary code on our invitation simply because like 555 is 01010101, that’s what it makes if you do it in binary. We just put it at the bottom and nobody really knew what it was, except for the people like Milind who know binary code.
RS: Good times.
BO: That went off the rails quickly but later on, let’s get back to the wedding stories ’cause I’ll tell you all about my wedding.
MA: I’ve known Reuben for almost 20 years. We worked together at Home Depot, but prior to us working together, I screwed up with a lot of things that when you add up the sum of these screw-ups, they actually ended up being a good background for being a home inspector. I went to college to be a doctor. I failed out of pre-med, and then I went to engineering. That didn’t go well, and then accounting, didn’t go well. And then I needed job, so I started working at Sherwood Williams as an hourly associate, and I work my way up from there in Illinois, I grew up in Illinois in Chicago and then moved up to the Twin Cities where they were opening Shoreline stores left and right in the early ’90s, so I ended up taking over a store at Eden Prairie. It’s surprising how these little pieces come together, like a lot of paint failure issues are related to moisture and there’s some old ads saying that you shouldn’t paint your homes or insulate your home because it’ll make sure paint fail-back in their turn of the century days. So then I went back to school because I thought this dot com thing might work out really well, that ended up not going well either.
BO: But you don’t speak binary? Is it what you’re saying?
MA: Yeah, that early ’80s coding didn’t fly very well to that either. So it’s kind of these again, these things that didn’t go well. While I was working at Home Depot I also worked at a construction company called ICF Thermal Wall Structures where we build and design super-insulated homes with insulated concrete forms. So it was gonna be the super-efficient house of the future, which they’ve been around for a while, but they made a good run at it late ’90s early 2000. From there, I went into sales, remodeling sales, and that went pretty well up until the recession of ’08, ’09, and Reuben had always kinda had a standing offer, he said, “I think you could be a good fit for what we do.” And I was like, “It seems pretty fun but I’m having a pretty good time doing this.”
MA: And then it suddenly became very, very appealing when I was driving around the country trying to make ends meet. So, that’s the long story. But yeah, it was lightning in a bottle, I mean it was… I believe I was employee number one. So it was Dwayne, Neil, Reuben and I, and I got hired as kind of a utility manager a little bit of everything. Radon testing, obviously, before it was licensed little collections showed up at a couple of people’s doors they hadn’t paid their bills.
BO: With the bat or what sort of heavy device did you use for this?
MA: People paid that’s… [laughter]
TM: It’s Minnesota, people pay.
MA: Yeah. [laughter] If you called Structure Tech and you were disappointed to get me because Reuben had done all the scheduling prior to that. It was an awkward transition, but it went pretty well. So I took over the scheduling. It was a binder that we made every month and one column was Reuben, one column was Neil, one column was Dwayne, and we manually typed in the addresses and lockbox codes and it’s just a far cry from what we’re doing today.
RS: Oh my goodness, I remember those days, man. I would carry that binder around with me during inspections.
RS: The clients weren’t there. I would answer the phone, I’d carry the thing on the roof. I mean like, that’s how we scheduled everything. That was so wild.
MA: And you rattle off the voicemail that you leave every day?
RS: Oh yeah, yeah, exactly. I’d say, “Hey, thanks for calling Structure Tech Home Inspections. I’ll be doing home inspections between eight and noon and one to four, but I will be returning calls before and after those times.” Well, I tell people exactly when we would call them back to get people to leave messages. Good times.
MA: Good times, good times.
BO: And that was 2009?
RS: Yeah, I mean I guess it was.
MA: I started December 2009. So that was yeah, pretty much 10-ish, 11-ish until Lisa came over and saved us from ourselves. [laughter]
MA: In 2012-ish. I believe, things became a lot more streamlined then.
BO: Reuben, you just mentioned something that I didn’t know and you said, “Before we had clients at the inspections.” Tell me about the history of this.
RS: This was just if I was doing an inspection and the client hadn’t shown up to the inspection yet. And we do it that way, but the way we’ve always done it, is we’ve always encouraged our clients to attend the whole inspection. That’s the way we have always done it, although, that may be changing. I mean, we talked about that on a podcast a couple podcasts ago. And that’s been the subject of discussion, internally. My goodness, we have spent, like I don’t know, tens of hours talking about this, and it’s probably gonna change but that’s just a teaser. I don’t know.
BO: Just a teaser.
RS: That’s just a teaser, yeah.
MA: Hopefully, will not reduce quality at all.
RS: I think it’s gonna increase quality, really.
MA: That’s true.
RS: I think it’s gonna help people focus on one thing. We were just discussing that on an email thread today, about just the whole myth of multitasking. I mean you talk to so many people and they say they’re good at multi-task and it’s like well you’re good at switching your attention from one thing to another very quickly, and going back and forth, but nobody can truly multitask. The human brain cannot do two things at once. You can switch your attention back and forth very quickly, but that’s it.
MA: One of the things I forgot to mention was that, I spent about four years working for Pella Windows and Doors out of Oakley out of Plymouth in their service department and as well as at Home Depot. Last job I had was an installation expediter, which is a fancy word for somebody that coordinates every phase of an installation, whatever it may be, from doors, windows, generators. It was Y2K. We had quite a few generators being installed. So working with clients, vendors, contractors, suppliers, just kinda trying to keep everybody on task with that type of stuff. But Pella was by far the most, the best experience for what we do today because almost everything that was a problem with the window was related to condensation and water leakage and just about everything was related to installation error. I mean, when just about every time we go out on-site to see what was going on, we’d have our three-page instruction manual and say, “Well, we see this item number here, page 2, it wasn’t very long, but the flashing details are wrong. There was a lot of stucco issues at the time, and the stucco was always tacked to the windows. There was no weep screed around the bottoms and the sides, and yeah it just…
BO: We’re talking insider language now. Everybody dial up your old weep screed knowledge.
MA: It was basically, there is no way for water to drain properly around these windows from the interior or the exterior. Every window company has some issues with whatever, with a certain segment of windows they’ve made, I found doing what we do now. But basically every manufacturer has some good and some bad windows…
MA: That was a great primer for what we do. And one of the fortunate people as far as training, I had Neil and Reuben and Dwayne to myself really, I just bugged them for hours on end and endless questions about things I didn’t even know I didn’t know. I thought I came in thinking I’ve done some contracting work, and I’ve got this condensation thing down. And then one of the first houses I see in St. Paul has this giant hole in the basement that’s five feet wide, covered with a metal cover and it’s the biggest cistern I’ve ever seen. So this was a doomsday preppers dream in terms of how many thousands of gallons this thing would have held.
RS: And Milind, I just gotta say that word again. You said, “cistern”, it almost sounded like it cut out for a second and I know what you’re talking about just for any listeners who didn’t catch that.
MA: Yes, so…
RS: And what’s a cistern? As long as you bring it up.
MA: Cistern… It’s an old way of collecting rainwater in a big hole in the basement. So you could use that for bathing, washing, drinking maybe, but yeah, it’d be pre-plumbing. That’s how you got your water.
BO: See how ahead of the times we were in St. Paul? Good old St. Paul.
RS: That’s the only one we’ve ever found in St. Paul, Bill, all the rest are in Minneapolis.
TM: Or Maple Grove.
RS: Maple Grove. Yeah, we’re too new up here in Maple Grove to have those.
MA: Yeah, there’s so much, you don’t, you have no idea that until you start going around with an experienced inspector. You know, they ask you what you see in the room and you look around and you’re like… Well, you’re just speechless, it looks okay and then they start rattling off item after item after item. It’s very humbling, very humbling. So I was very fortunate in terms of training. I think it was pretty different than just about everybody else that came along, in terms of training. I got the beginning with all the blogs. I read them as they came out instead of the new inspectors that have to read about how many, 500 of them?
RS: There are several hundred, yes.
MA: I’ve been very fortunate. But all those little things that I did in my past have added up to a pretty good background for what we do now.
RS: Well, you know what? Real quick, I just wanted to ask Tessa, did you ever have something like that happen with you, Tessa? Where you’re going along in training and it’s like, “What do you see?” and you’re going, “Oh, looks good” and…
TM: Oh, yeah.
RS: Then all of a sudden you just get burned and you’re like, “Oh boy, I’m not ready.” I mean I know… I remember that happening to me for certain.
TM: Oh yeah, it happened almost every inspection, right? Because you’re always learning something new. I remember specifically I was on an inspection with your dad, with Neil, and we were in the basement and I was feeling pretty good about myself ’cause I was identifying things in the electrical panel and testing the furnace and all that, and then we’re getting ready to leave and he looks up and he’s like, “Oh, we’ve got some pretty bad cracks in these joists.” And then he identified all these major structural issues, I didn’t see at all. Like you said Milind, it’s just a good reminder to stay humble.
MA: Little things. Flashlights. I had some little rail vac thing for a while and poke my head up in the attic and look around like, “Yeah, it looks good.” And then Reuben would bring out this blow torch and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t see it.” This is ridiculous. I need to get one of these. So now I’m completely obsessed with having the next brightest flashlight out there.
RS: Yes, it makes a big difference though, doesn’t it?
MA: You can never have enough lumens.
RS: Yeah, no doubt.
BO: What I wanted to ask is… Everybody knows my love of this story in the half house, the wonderful workhorse of the city. What houses do you have a particular affinity for?
MA: Oh, mine ’60s ranches. Yes.
TM: Yes. I like those too, Milind.
MA: Ranch houses. For somebody that likes to look capable doing things themselves. It’s usually the mechanicals are accessible from below. Box-shaped hole in the ground, followed by a box-shaped box and then a triangle on top of it. Good water management. It’s by far the best house in the Twin Cities.
BO: We will agree to disagree.
RS: In the water intrusion class that Tessa and I teach, it’s basically your house that we start off with saying, “This house is never going to experience water intrusion problems.”
RS: It’s exactly what you said. It’s a box with a little triangle on top with nice big overhangs on the edges and the wall stay dry and the basement stays dry. For the most part.
MA: For the most part, yeah. You know these sort of things it’s pre-aluminum wiring, it’s post mostly asbestos stuff, it’s lead paint I guess would be the lone like environmental thing that may be left over from that, but…
TM: How’s the plumbing?
MA: Copper, got copper drains.
MA: Copper water pipes. This stuff’s been updated now to plastic ABS and plastic drains. But yeah, it’s a weird little… You go down there and you see a copper drain stack. It’s like how would… [chuckle] No one could afford to do this today. [laughter]
TM: Yeah. [laughter]
RS: Yeah, for sure. I was thinking about having you on this… On the podcast because last week we were talking about leaky vacuum breakers, and we were talking about what happens if you try to remove this vacuum breaker and a vacuum breaker, it’s this little brass device that threads on the end of a faucet, it’s required by code.
MA: Not really necessary to go into this.
RS: Well, it’s a delightful story.
RS: At least for us, not for you.
TM: I haven’t heard this story before, I’m excited to hear it.
RS: Oh, you’re in for a treat, Tessa. But these things are required by code. And if you’re in a city like say Minneapolis or Bloomington, and you’re getting a city inspection done and you don’t have one of these vacuum breakers, you gotta put one on. It’s required by the city, and when we’re doing these city inspections, and if it’s like the only thing that’s wrong, it’s tough to ding somebody and say, “Look, you gotta put this on and then hire us to come back out for 75, a 100 bucks to come back out and sign off on it.” So we always try to help people, but you know what, I think I’m stepping on the Milind’s story.
MA: I will, I’ve been voluntold to tell the story here. New inspector, I’m helping Neil out at a Bloomington time sale evaluation. And that was the only thing that was left, two vacuum breakers. One for the front outside and one for the laundry sink, were needed and this person just was… They asked very nicely and said, “I don’t feel comfortable putting these on, would you mind doing it?” And I said, “Sure, I can put this on.” And I put on the exterior one, turned it on, no problem. Going downstairs to the laundry sink, they had a pet wash station hooked up to the laundry sink so I disconnected that and put the vacuum breaker on and then put the… Reconnected the pet wash station and turned it on and it starts spraying all over the place. But, just to make sure I was doing it correct, I broke off the set screw. So the one thing this person loves more than anything, they can’t use their dog washer.
MA: So Neil, God bless him, has a drill bit set in his truck and I said, “Neil, can I borrow your drill? You have a drill bit set, maybe I can drill out the set screw and get this off of here.” And he’s like, “Yeah”. He loans it to me and he has to leave so I’m like, “I can handle this, I can get it off, I won’t screw this up anymore.” So, I tried drilling out the set screw and the drill keeps slipping off and I drilled two holes in my hand… And now I’m bleeding and…
TM: No… [laughter]
MA: And the set screw is, well, it’s doing, it’s functioning as intended. But yeah, there’s… I’m drilling it, drilling, it slips off, drilled another hole in my hand, and there’s just no way to get this thing off. Oh, in the process of drilling this, I accidentally knocked the dog wash off of the edge of the laundry sink and that breaks in half. So then…
TM: When it rains, it pours. [chuckle]
MA: Yes, I break the drill bit, I’ve got two holes in my hand, I broke the dog wash and I go to… I leave to go to PetSmart and buy this little plastic sprayer. This thing is like 60 bucks [chuckle] and I’m like, “Ah, okay, times are tight coming out of that last recession.” I was like, “Alright, let’s get this over with” and to get that pet sprayer, I go back. I go back to my house in Roseville at the time, go from Bloomington PetSmart to Roseville, get my drill bit set, and at the time I should have just went and bought another set of drill bits. But, hindsight being 2020, it didn’t work. So I continued to try and drill this thing out, and break another drill bit and drill another hole in my hand. I think there’s an image floating around on Facebook or something from back… This was a BlackBerry, so it tells you how long ago it was. But, eventually, I get it off and that was the last time I installed a back wall preventer for somebody. Until today, ironically.
MA: I think I can handle this now, so…
RS: Yeah, it’s been a little over a decade.
MA: I think that was dried out and it didn’t leak so…
TM: And you’re not bleeding?
MA: Not bleeding, yeah. [laughter]
BO: Did you require stitches?
MA: No, no.
RS: Milind, that is just such a good story.
TM: Oh, it’s so traumatic, but thanks for sharing that because we all have our own stories as home inspectors. Embarrassing stories, so… Oh, that’s terrible.
RS: Yeah. And it just underscores the things that can go wrong during an inspection, you think it’s the most innocuous little thing like… Yeah, I can just thread this on for somebody.
MA: Then Reuben’s blog comes out. I think not too long after that on how to properly remove one of these.
RS: Well, and that was something that I have learned post your experience.
RS: That was after this.
MA: It’s brass, for people that are listening, and I should have just cut it, that would have been the end of it, but…
BO: You would have had as many cuts in your hand by trying to do what Reuben was suggesting.
TM: Hey, you just get a hacksaw, right, Reuben? Just get a hacksaw.
RS: That’s it. Tessa made me feel like I’m using some foreign term, I said just grab your hacksaw and Tessa’s like, “Who owns a hacksaw?”
TM: Who’s gonna go after their faucet with a hacksaw?
MA: Who has a hacksaw in their tool bag for inspecting.
RS: Yeah, that I’d say, if you have a hacksaw and you’re bringing it to an inspection, whatever you think you’re gonna do, you shouldn’t be doing it. That’s what another wise home inspector told me about a hammer.
MA: That’s true.
RS: If you bring in a hammer to a home inspection, you probably shouldn’t do whatever you think you’re gonna do with it. It’s good advice.
MA: Yes, yes.
BO: So why do you carry a hammer, Reuben?
RS: I leave it in my truck. I don’t really use it for home inspections, but every once in a while if I’m really curious, and I wanna pull out one of those joist hanger nails. Tessa and I did a video on this. If you wanna make sure that somebody has the right nails in a joist hanger, I used to kind of pop them out. I might use a crowbar and a hammer, but now it’s like I just use my tiny little… I’m holding my hands up to illustrate size, this is good pod. I use my tiny little crowbar, it’s about six inches. It fits in my tool pouch. And I’ll use that to try to pop out a nail to make sure they used the right nails on a joist hanger. If it’s the right nail, I ain’t getting it out and I’m done. If it’s the wrong nail, it’ll pop out like nothing. So, yeah, I haven’t used a hammer during a home inspection in probably a good decade. It’s been a long time.
BO: I have a follow-up question.
RS: Go ahead.
BO: Why is it called a crowbar?
2 RS: It sounds like you have the answer.
BO: I don’t. I just started asking questions about these unusual names. We’ll fill in that blank later.
TM: Not good pod.
TM: You know what? There are some more good stories that you should share with us, Milind. But which one do you want to share? ‘Cause there’s so many, I’m sure that you have.
MA: I’ve got this running list of like goofy things people have said during inspections to me.
RS: Oh my gosh, the title of this podcast just flashed in front of me. I can’t wait, Milind.
MA: This one person… I had an inspection. It’s pre-COVID, obviously. Go up to the shower, and we’re looking at the shower and the plumbing code had recently changed where there was a requirement to: If you’ve got a glass shower door, it has to swing both ways, in and out. And then the client just immediately looks at me and goes, “Hey, it swings both ways.”
MA: I talk about ice dams all the time. I think when I started, 2010 was one of the prime crazy ice dam years. The Metrodome collapsed that year. Then I think that was the first year we had our the thermal imaging camera, Reuben. Remember we were just driving around…
RS: We shared it. It was always, “Do you have it? Do you have it?” We were shuttling that thing back and forth between the two of us.
MA: We were driving around doing these ice dam inspections and the story was almost always the same, air leaks, bypasses, air sealing one-and-a-half-story homes, just generally that type of thing. So I talk about homes that don’t have that issue that have an energy heal in the roof structure. So, I explain to people like… So they literally raised the roof, and I’m doing my hands up and down… People were just like, they start breaking out in the song and dance, they’re like “whoop whoop.”
MA: It’s a pretty awesome job. My only regret is not starting it like a decade earlier when we talked about it, right at the beginning. I just get giddy, like looking at getting a look at houses and how fascinating they are. And each one is different from the next and it’s just, figuring out the story this house is gonna tell.
BO: I love that, every house has a story to tell.
BO: It’s true. It’s our job to figure out exactly that and convey it. You know? It’s cool.
TM: Milind, did you have an incident with a squirrel during an inspection with Reuben one time?
BO: He told me to stop telling that story, too.
TM: Oh no! I’m so sorry I brought that up. We can skip that. I just have heard that story when I was learning how to teach these classes, it might have come up a few times, although no names were mentioned.
MA: People have asked me about this incident, Reuben. Thank you.
MA: It’s another one-and-a-half story home. Saint Louis Park, I remember it well. For some reason, I remember the brown shingles and we’re up there, it’s fairly steep, I’m still getting my roofing legs underneath me, and Reuben prances right up to the chimney, takes the cap off and this squirrel comes bounding out of the open chimney now and takes a leap off of my head, and I thought I was gonna die. And Reuben’s cracking up.
RS: I thought I was gonna die laughing.
MA: I know. He was laughing so loud he wasn’t making any sound. His face is moving but no sound was coming out.
MA: He told everybody about it.
RS: Yeah, I told everybody, I’ve told it a few hundred times total, to be fair. It’s not like I’ve told everybody, it’s just a few thousand people.
MA: Oh, okay. [chuckle]
TM: Did it scratch your head, Milind, with its toenails?
MA: No, I don’t think so, it did a soft takeoff.
RS: I don’t know why you wouldn’t tell more people that story, Milind. I don’t know, I think it’s an awesome story.
TM: It’s great.
MA: I have no shame, so it’s cool. No, there’s definitely a lot of stuff. I have a weird memory with houses. I can just… Picturing that it’s south face… I don’t know, it’s just a strange, specific memory with homes. But now you bring up this squirrel roof thing, it was like, I can remember everything about it. I don’t know.
TM: PTSD, Milind.
RS: That’s right. That’s right. You talk about PTSD, Tessa. Alright, we’re getting long on time, but I… Milind, what about the house from hell that you and my dad inspected?
MA: The house from hell. This was definitely the most, by far the most things that have ever gone wrong in an inspection. There was so much stuff wrong, he actually wrote an article on it and got published in The ASHI Reporter. There was a lot going on, but he, “What was he doing?” He was inspecting the outside, he puts his hand down. He puts his hand down in dog crap and he goes into the attic and he loses his flashlight and there’s a ton of insulation up there. And if you dropped your flashlight into a bunch of loose-fill fiberglass, it’s gone.
RS: It’s gone.
MA: It’s not like it’s this subtle glow that you’re seeing below the insulation, it’s dark. So I didn’t know this, I was on the outside somewhere and I’m like, “Oh, where did Neil go?” and then sure enough he’s just like floundering around in the attic of this 5000 square foot house in pitch-black.
TM: Oh no!
MA: Somehow, he found it. But the sellers were there for some reason… Oh, picking up a radon test. I was doing the radon test on the house and sellers were there. They had this little dog that was just off. The dog bit me, and bit me again. Oh, with the furnace. I forget the furnace. I was testing the furnace for Neil, and I’m trying to get a good look at the heat exchanger and, where the flames go into the furnace, and I’m trying to get close to this one burner chamber where the igniter is, and my mirror nicked the igniter, and cracked it. So, I gotta fix it. So, I go to… This is in Chanhassen, and then I go… The closest place to buy this replacement igniter was at Dey Appliance in White Bear Lake, so…
TM: Oh, no.
MA: They’re the only people that had it in stock, so I go to White Bear Lake, you know, 45 minutes, almost a solid hour drive there. I get there, and I’m like, “Can I buy two of these, and return one if it doesn’t work?” And again. New inspector, not a lot of cash on hand. They’re like, “No, no returns.” “Oh! I can’t screw this up, I’ll just buy the one.” So… [chuckle] I pick up one, I drive back, and putting it in, and it cracks, it just shatters into three pieces.
MA: I drive back, and get another one, put it in, it goes fine after that, but yeah, there was many, many things. I think I’m leaving some stuff out, but yeah. It was a mess of an inspection.
BO: I think I would’ve been done at that point. I would’ve been just like, in the fetal position.
MA: Yes, it was a long day. Those don’t happen very often then, Neil. I tell everybody that is working with us nowadays, “I don’t ever want you to screw up, but know that there is a standing challenge to screw up in a way that I have screwed up.”
RS: Yeah, or, and same with me. Whatever mistake, gosh, I’ve made it. Milind, we’re talking about screw-ups that you’ve made, but I gotta talk about the time that you saved the day on one of mine. Well, actually, there was a lot of them, I’m sure.
TM: Milind has saved the day for me multiple times, too.
RS: Yeah, you know what, I think everybody on our team can probably list a dozen times that Milind saved the day for them. I mean, Milind is like… When you think about the inspectors on our team, Milind is like Superman. He’s like the guy in the cape who flies in to save the day for all of us. I mean, that’s what he does now. It’s like, he can fix everything. But one of the first ones he ever did, where I was just… Oh, I was so thankful. I was doing a house in Minneapolis, and I used to operate the valves on radiators with impunity. Like, “Alright, radiator’s not heating up? No worries, I’ll just open the valve and we’ll make sure it’s working.” I’m not gonna call in somebody else to make sure it works. It’s like, I’m gonna save my client’s money, I’ll just open it. And it worked fine.
RS: For a long time, I would do that on every home inspection, until it didn’t work fine. And that was where I had operated the valve, and it started leaking, and it would not stop. And I’m like, “No big deal. I’ll just tighten on the packing nut, that’s always worked in the past,” but didn’t work this time. And it leaked, and it leaked, and I ran out and I got my towel, and it soaked through my towel, and I got another one, and nothing I could do would stop it. And the owner was home. And I’m like, “Dude, you got this leak, and you got a leak in the radiator,” and he’s like, “Well, you better fix it.”
RS: And he went downstairs, and then just like, “Alright, whatever. Don’t bother me with any of this.” I’m just like, “Shoot, I really gotta do something here.” And I ended up calling Milind, and he ran to the store, and he got everything they had in the repair department. He got this magic putty, and… Flex Seal didn’t exist at the time, or he would’ve bought that.
MA: Yeah, reflex.
RS: I remember, he bought this tape, like this magic tape that [29:13] ____ Paula had seen on TV stuff, and I ended up using the entire roll of this silicone tape, and wrapped it around that thing a bazillion times, got it to stop leaking. But, I mean, Milind was on the other side of town when this was going on, and he had to run to the store, so it’s like, I sat there with this single leak and mopping up water for a good hour and a half, but Milind showed up with the stuff to fix it, and it worked, and I will never forget that. It’s like, I don’t know what I would’ve done if Milind hadn’t saved my butt. This is 10 years ago now, or whatever.
MA: No problem at all. You’ve done the same for me, and I will happily do it over and over again for everybody else. There is an internal post, I think, Tessa, you shared with everybody about how something went wrong, and then dozens of people just started chiming in with, “Oh! John did this for me. Somebody locked their phone inside the house,” and so they had to go to a gas station, get a phone to call John up, and he unlocks the door. It’s just something we do, it’s one of the… We have a service mindset, and it’s one of the huge benefits of working for a team.
TM: Milind, you saved my butt. Do you remember that furnace where the… One of the fuses blew in the blower compartment?
TM: Yeah, and the switchboard? Yeah, I had a… I was doing inspection, it was with Scott, actually. And, after we tested the furnace, it just… What happened? I think we had opened up the blower compartment, and that’s what blew the fuse.
MA: One of those weird electronic, or statically charged filters, and the wire…
TM: Oh, yeah.
MA: Was wonky where in order to put the cover back on, you had to squeeze the wire.
MA: So there’s just… If it wasn’t you, it would’ve been the next person.
TM: Well, and we called Milind, and Milind went to the hardware store. Or you went to an auto-body shop, bought a bunch of fuses, and came out to that furnace, and replaced it, fixed it, and…
MA: One time.
TM: That was awesome, thank you.
BO: Sounds like the job goes smooth every day, there’s never any hiccups to be had.
MA: Oh, yeah, exactly. [chuckle] We try, there’s never… The goal was always to never do any harm, and get as much information as possible, but things aren’t perfect, and we’re human, and we just wanna do the best we can with the time we’re given to give people good information about the house, and things happen sometimes.
BO: Yep. Well, I think we’re gonna have to wrap it up. I mean, we could go on for hours and hours, talking about the little foolhardy mistakes that we’ve all run into over the years, but it was fun, Milind. Thanks for doing this, and…
MA: Well, thank you for having me.
BO: We probably need a part two, and part three, and…
RS: Yeah, we do. I gotta…
RS: We gotta hear about your wedding story, too, Bill. I haven’t forgotten, I wanna hear it.
BO: Really? Okay. Do we have time? So…
RS: We have time for anything we want, go for it.
BO: My wedding story was the best of all time. I got married on a boat on Love Lake. So…
TM: A true romantic, that you are.
BO: Yes! Listen, I punch all the romantic buttons all the time. Okay? My wife will confirm all of this, but no, we…
TM: This is a work podcast. [laughter]
BO: That’s not what I mean. I mean, when it comes to saying the right things and doing the right things. Jeez! Get your mind out of the gutter.
BO: Anyway, so, this wedding I’m referring to was the second time around, for both myself and my wife, and we just decided like two weeks before that, “Well, let’s just do this.” And we found a justice of the peace, and we had four friends on the boat and the photographer, and we launched out of Ernie’s at… On Gull Lake, drove up in the Love Lake, got down, did the whole thing, it was 15-20 minutes, and we were off to cruising, so. It was like the best wedding of all time. We spent the rest of the day on the lake, going to all the various establishments on Gull Lake, which are… There are many and drove back from Bar Harbor to Cragun’s at 1:30 at night, and for anybody who knows that lake, that’s about a 13, 14-mile drive, about that. And the Northern Lights were going, and the water was flat as glass, and we just cruised across the lake. It was amazing, so.
TM: That’s a good story, Bill.
BO: Yeah, I loved it.
MA: And was Jodie as big a fisherman before you got married, or is that something that developed?
BO: It was a simultaneous thing. I wasn’t very into fishing either, and…
BO: She kind of talked about it a little bit, and I said, “Well, I can show you a little thing or two about fishing,” and the next thing you know, we were off and running, so. At first, it was mostly ice-heavy, but now, we’re more open water folks, too.
RS: Do you have to say fisherwoman or fisher-person? Does fisherman still work?
BO: Well, Jodie’s rockstar fisher-person, whatever you wanna say.
BO: She kills me all the time, she catches more fish than I do. However, you want to identify her. It’s…
RS: I’m just curious. I’m honestly asking, ’cause I’m always catching myself using a non-PC word, and as soon as Milind said fisherman, I’m like, “Wait, hold on. Can we say fisherman anymore?”
BO: We can do whatever we want, it’s our podcast.
RS: Alright, good. Alright. Excellent.
TM: I’m not offended by it.
BO: Awesome. And so, we’re gonna close on that note. Tessa is not offended. Thank you very much, you’ve all been listening to Structure Talk, a Structure Tech presentation, and we will catch you next time. Have a great week.
Author: Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections