I talked to HVAC Guy who answered the rest of my questions. I talked to Electrician Guy who is going to make room in the panel for the HVAC (not hard considering the 10 breakers currently dedicated to baseboard electric heaters and the 6 breakers dedicated to plugs for window AC units) and run the wire to the new systems. We're all going to meet here next Tuesday to walk through what needs to be done and so that they can talk about coordinating what they each need to do. I'll have a deposit check for HVAC guy, and he'll have a starting date for me, "Very soon" he said, since he wants to have this done before the vacation season starts since he is apparently very popular among the weekenders with big fancy houses who all have him scheduled up to a year in advance to come in and do annual maintenance on their systems, put in a new one if it needs it, etc. He said he no longer can do any new installations during the spring and summer, his business has gotten so busy just with basic high-end-summer-house maintenance. He said it will likely take two weeks for them to do the work on my house, which puts the cost in perspective.
Oh! Speaking of cost!! I need to see who won the "guess the cost" contest and post the winner and decide on possible prizes!
He also warned me that "with old houses, you have to understand that sometimes you don't know exactly what you're going to find or what's going to happen until you get into it." I had to chuckle. Except for 6 years with a "retro" (60's) house, which had its own quirks, that's for sure, I've only owned old houses, so this I know.
Of course, with our luck we'll have a totally unseasonable cold snap sometime between when they disconnect all the baseboard heat and get the new system in place. Hell, watch it snow. HA!
I had thought that we could wait and take out the baseboard panels at our leisure but most of the vents are going where panels are installed -- floor or base of the wall, under a window. I told Electrician Guy that we'll take out the actual units, if he can just disconnect them completely from the panels and mark the wire (I'm not going to bother pulling it out), then we can take out the units, mark and hide the wires on that end, and save us a few bucks. I thought for a while about doing some of the other electric - I'm perfectly capable of freeing up space in the box, disconnecting the heater wires, moving the AC plugs to the same circuit for the rest of the plugs in that room, etc. But he can do it easier and faster and hey as long as we're spending this much money, whats a few hundred more, right?!? ::gasppantwheeze:: I did talk him into giving me a small discount for paying by check, equivalent to the fee he'd pay if I used credit card. Hey, it will pay for the electrician.
And a quick note on something totally unrelated, I just got a very special email and I'm dancing on the ceiling with excitement that a very dear friend who I hadn't heard from (or contacted, to be fair) in a couple of years will be in the mid-Atlantic area soon, and will hopefully be coming to visit me for a few days. This is good incentive to finally get all the windows cleaned, since she usually assigns herself that task if she visits and I want to just relax and play and catch up! Oh, this makes me a very happy girl.