Gift From Mother Nature

As much as I’ve complained this winter about not getting much snow, I’m going to take the timing of this as a gift. We aren’t supposed to get much and we are hovering on the edge of blizzard conditions with the wind, but it is snow, so I’m happy.

Though I will say that it is not at all uncommon to see snow on this day. I can remember numerous birthdays where there was so much snow on the ground, plans had to be canceled. I used to hate having a birthday this time of year, but this year, I’m gladly sitting here where it is warm and watching the snow blow around.

It may be the only peace I get for much of the day, so I’m taking it.

The drywall guys are supposed to be back today to do some more sanding and cleanup of what they did yesterday, so I’m not actually going to get my day free from people tromping in and out of the house. While they did fix and clean up most of the areas I pointed out, the existing area they were supposed to fix is still a long way from where I think it should be, but I’m done with them. Once everything is done and it is back on me, I’ll clean it up myself before I paint.

But that isn’t today. Today, I’m going to watch the snow and, later, indulge in some amazing creme brulee.

Craft Room Project: Drywall Done? Um… No.

I just want to be DONE!

Again, this crew didn’t bother to show up until nearly 11 am (because of course we were not given a frickin’ time) and were only here for about 45 minutes.

I was extremely leery when they said they were done. I had reason to be. While they did caulk up the worst of the bigger cracks, that was ALL they did. We still have a lot of really ugly areas that they didn’t even bother to touch.

Rough Corner On Old Mud Job Not Fixed
Rough Corner On Old Mud Job Not Fixed
Rough Upper Corner On Old Mud Job Not Fixed
Rough Upper Corner On Old Mud Job Not Fixed

You can see how messy it still is. These aren’t the only areas in the original drywall job that I’d asked to be cleaned up that still aren’t fixed, just the worst ones. There are also several really sloppy areas that they did that also didn’t get cleaned up. Looks like one entire area got missed in the sanding. I don’t see how anyone can look at any of this and think it is okay and paint ready.

Narrow Wall Not Sanded
Narrow Wall Not Sanded

To spike my level of frustration up into nearly pissed off is the mess they left behind. Yes, drywall and sanding is a horrific mess (as you can  see in the foot prints in the above photo). I’ve been completely prepared for that from the start of this project, but I kind of expected at least a token effort to clean up after themselves. I certainly didn’t expect an massive pile of crap to be left in our cat room.

Trash Pile
Trash Pile

Or that they’d leave stuff they actually work with behind, though I really shouldn’t be shocked by the random bits of trash (again, more than what I’ve posted here). I’m sick of my house being used as any of these guys’ personal trash can.

More equipment Left Behind
More equipment Left Behind

Needless to say, I was on the phone with the main guy at the company. Turns out, this is a thing, leaving all the crap behind. So much so, that that they actually have a guy that comes around behind them and picks it all up. That would have been something that would have been nice to know instead of, “Hey! Were done!” and then practically leaving rubber on the street in their effort to get out.

Even that really isn’t enough. The big pile simply shouldn’t be a thing at all as we can’t get to our breaker box right now without feeling like you are playing a game of twister. This is a huge problem as I have got to access this area before they do the doors to close off the remaining opening that us under the lower landing of the stairs to keep the cats out.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I had really, REALLY hoped to have all of this done by then. That isn’t going to happen. I’m apparently not even getting my doors in until TUESDAY. Seriously?! You have known about this project since before Thanksgiving and you wait until you need to actually install them before you order them?! And I have to wait, AGAIN, for you to finish your damn job?!

So, no. I’m not a happy camper today. Originally, I was told someone would be out tomorrow to do the clean up, but then he called back and said someone would be out this afternoon. But of course, I can’t get a frickin’ time.

At least this means I don’t have to be up at the ass crack of dawn on my birthday and no one is going to be in and out of my house for the day. So, I guess that is  a positive, right?

Craft Room Project: Too Much To Ask

It is apparently asking way too much of anyone from this company to communicate or actually do their jobs.

As part of the contract for work getting done, I’d asked for any cracks and dings and flaws in the already existing walls going down the stairs to be repaired and made ready for paint. I clarified this with the drywall guy when he showed up the first day. I was assured it was getting done.

It wasn’t done by the time the guys left yesterday, so when the main guy showed up to spray the texture on the ceiling, I asked again and was again assured it would be taken care of.

When the guys hauled some equipment up from the basement just before 1 (only about a hour after they’d been here working for those 2), I assumed they were just heading out to lunch and would be back. Especially because the stairs had only gotten a couple of small fixes filled, but the major crack and one of my bigger issues was STILL not done. I look up a few minutes later and their van was gone, though nothing had been said at all to me.

When 2:30 rolled around and no one was back, I sent a message to the main guy. He called me back and I explained that the area in question was still not done, that there were a few other areas of concern, and questioned if they were done for the day.

Apparently they are.

Four times. I have mentioned or asked about this 4 different times now. How frickin’ hard is it to simply follow instructions?!

They will be back again tomorrow to sand an finish the remaining issues, though the plan for the cracks are caulking and I’m not loving that solution. For that, it really does need to be nearly perfect and I don’t trust they they will do it that well. The whole point was to make those areas look better, not just a different kind of bad. And with caulk, you can’t sand it if it’s bad.

It is looking like at least tomorrow at the earliest before they finish, assuming no major repair requiring another round of mud and sanding. I still haven’t heard from the guy in charge of everything else as to when they will be here for the doors, which is their final piece.

So much for them being done by Wednesday. Damn, do I want them done and gone!

But, hey! I have texture on the ceiling and they got in all of maybe 3 hours of work total today. SO much progress, right?

 

Craft Room Project: Mudding Almost Done

So, so, SO close!

Pretty much everything is now taped and mudded. The corners are all in and the issues I had at the end of the day yesterday were all taken care of. I do have one issue they need to address as they haven’t done any fixing of the cracks on the existing wall going down the stairs. I’m really hoping that doesn’t cause a delay as that mud takes time to dry.

At this point, there will be some touch ups of what they did today and then sanding. They are supposed to spray the ceiling with texture tomorrow. After those things are done, the drywall guys are done and all that is left is moving our existing door and installing the new ones.

Finished Drywall: Fixed Join Between New and Old Wall
Finished Drywall: Fixed Join Between New and Old Wall
Finished Drywall: Access Opening Cut Out
Finished Drywall: Access Opening Cut Out
Finished Drywall: Back Corner
Finished Drywall: Back Corner

Craft Room Project: Drywall, Taping, & Mudding

After a late start (because of course they didn’t show up on time and didn’t let us know) of nearly 11 am, we got the remaining drywall installed and they started the taping and mudding of the seams, screws and any “oops” places along the way.

I had pretty high hopes to see more done, including the corners in place, but with the late start and them still bugging out at around 3:30, they only put in about 4 hours of work, so not as much got done as I’d expected. There are a couple of places that I need to get some clarification on, like the fact they covered my access opening in the new wall. It is easy enough to cut out, but it seems odd that it isn’t already.

There is also a really weird sort of “jog” between new wall and old that really shouldn’t exist. It should match up evenly and be smooth, but for some reason, they didn’t make that happen. The top sticks out farther than the bottom and creates a gap. I don’t know if this was a framing issue or what, but there isn’t an excuse for that. You can’t see it well, but it is in the first photo below near the top where there is an obvious change in color from the small wall over the door into the cat room and the wall next to the stairs.

Finished Drywall: Entrance to "Cat Room"
Finished Drywall: Entrance to “Cat Room”
Finished Drywall: Back Wall & Recessed Shelf Space
Finished Drywall: Back Wall & Recessed Shelf Space
Finished Drywall: Closet & Storage Space
Finished Drywall: Closet & Storage Space

I’m really trying hard to not be cranky about little shit, because if it bothers me bad enough, I can fix most of it. As long as they take care of the parts I can’t do, then I need to be okay with it. I’m also keeping the calm with the mantra of “Only 2 more days! Only 2 more days!”

It is incredible to see walls that are so close to being ready for paint. That part makes me very happy.

Craft Room Project: Start Of Drywall

There was some back and forth and a little confusion yesterday about when the drywall guys would start. We got a text yesterday afternoon asking if they could come today.

It was a really difficult decision. I really, REALLY want them done, but I also desperately needed a day away, so did Hubby. We talked about it and the headache with corralling the cats and all the mess and went with “get it done ASAP” so they started today.

Drywall on Back Wall And Ceiling
Drywall on Back Wall And Ceiling

We had a crew of 4 different guys working. They were here for about 5 hours and got the ceiling (except the dropped section around the duct work), the entire back wall, and a start on the inside of the new closet finished, so they are moving quickly.

Drywall On Ceiling and Start of Closet
Drywall On Ceiling and Start of Closet

There was some talk of them working again tomorrow, which I really wanted to avoid because of that much needed break and the cats, but in the end, they opted to wait to do more until Monday. This guy says everything, including doors, will most likely be done by Wednesday.

As desparate as I am for them to be completely done and gone, I’m also exhausted. It is incredibly stressful having all these people in and out of my house, worrying about the cats, having to get up at ungodly hours when I’m so NOT a morning person at all after getting little sleep because I’m worrying about the project getting done and making sure something doesn’t get messed up, stressing over what idiotic or stupid thing might happen next, and, more and more, worrying about how with each new person that walks through the door, it is one more potential point of exposure. So I am glad they won’t be back tomorrow and I have a full day and night’s rest away from that stress.

My poor cats are going to hate all of us by the time it is all said and done. Their litter box space is down there and having to shuffle it back and forth to the spaces they have to get confined to is stressing them both out. With all the mess from the drywall dust, we’ve decided to keep them completely out of the basement until all of this is done. They currently have free reign of the rest of the house, but both are confused and not happy they can’t get downstairs, especially our introverted kitty that likes to hide out down there.

And drywall dust is the worst crap ever, by the way. It is nasty. It gets everywhere and is hard to clean up. I’ve dealt with it before and I’ve not been looking forward to this part of the project because of that. Really for the first time since this project started, I’m incredibly grateful that they laid down floor protection before they started because my entry floor would be a disaster right now.

But… approximately 3 more days and I can be done with all of that! And it is looking frickin’ awesome!

I have 3 days to decide my first steps, but I’m leaning towards paint first. At the very least, painting the ceiling, which isn’t going to be fun. The fact that I’m actually at the point where I can start working on specific plans for my parts of the room is amazing.

Craft Room Project: Electrical Complete

We passed the rough in inspection and the electrical has been completed so I now have both lights and power in the new room.

Recessed Shelf Corner of Room With Lights
Recessed Shelf Corner of Room With Lights

The lights that are currently in place are only temporary. My fixtures will go up once the drywall is done, which is supposed to start on Monday. The one sad thing is that means the one guy we’ve actually liked working here is done with his part and we will be dealing with yet another crew for the remaining pieces.

Under Stair Storage and Basement Access With Lighting
Under Stair Storage and Basement Access With Lighting

By my calculations, the drywall will take maybe 2 or 3 days and then the doors have to be installed, which is about another day. So it is quite possible that by Thursday of next week, I’ll be done with contractors in and out of my house and the rest of the work is down to me.

I cannot wait to get started!

 

Broken Frozen Soap Bubble

This one is actually from a couple of years ago. I had really thought this was from last year, but I was shocked to realize it was back another year. I have this in the rotation of background images on my computer and I saw it pop up the other day. It is one of my favorites from that particular attempt to do frozen bubbles. I’m hoping to get a chance to try these out again this year if the weather cooperates.

Yesterday, they got all the electrical in place. The only thing left is to have the electrician do the main connections and work out the specifics of connecting the three way switches, which is happening today.

I’m also supposed to get the rough in inspection done today! I was told that the city is being wonky about showing up though, so it might not actually happen. Fingers crossed that there are no hiccups on that front.

By the end of the day today, if the inspection happens, all the electrical will be done and we will be ready for drywall. As of right now, that is scheduled to start on Monday and won’t take but a couple of days, so I’m in final countdown mode to the end of the contractor part of this project.

I wasn’t able to get any photos of the progress because there is no power in the space, which means no lighting. Not that there really is a whole lot to see, but having lights in there made a world of difference and I can’t wait to have my lights in place instead of the temporary ones they’ve got now.

Craft Room Project: Outlets!

Outlets! I see outlets!

Okay, I’m such a dork. When I saw the boxes go up on the framework, I just got stupidly happy. No wiring. No actual outlets or switches. Just empty boxes. And I was giddy.

Imagine how much worse I got when I saw outlets in place and wires running through the studs.

It really doesn’t look like much got done today, but my guy was here all day and this was some huge progress. We spent probably an hour or so this morning going through the entire layout and marking placement of each and every piece to make sure it was exactly where it needed to go. It is a little tedious, but it is also kind of fun to put these suckers exactly where you want them.

Do you have any idea how cool it is to know that you picked out the location of every single electrical outlet in your house? Or how annoying it is to realize way too late that you screwed up or should have done something different? Ever grumbled at whatever idiot put an outlet THERE instead of there? Well, I’m that idiot in this house. All the placement issues or successes are mine. All of that is going to be an even bigger deal in my craft room, so in the months or years to come when I complain about the brainlessness of of outlet locations in that room, feel free to remind me of this post.

All the boxes are in place. Two of the walls are almost completely wired (as in wires in place, not hooked up to power) with their outlets in place and another one is started. There is still a whole lot of wire that needs to be pulled into place, but it is starting to take even more defined shape. I did realize I forgot to place a switch for the closet light (see? brainlessness strikes already), so he will have to add one more box, but it is so awesome to see.

Also, today was absolutely, positively dull on the drama front and I absolutely loved it! It was a VERY good day.

Craft Room Project: Framing Done!

It is a stark comparison of what got done in slightly over half a work day today vs. what had been done in the three-ish days the other crew was here. It is kind of shocking.

Framed Entrance to New Craft Room From The Other Side of Basement
Framed Entrance to New Craft Room From The Other Side of Basement

We found out why we only had one guy today. It’s because the other guy just flat out didn’t show up to work. Apparently he had a buddy working at the company and he got let go. Our guy is assuming that this guy just decided to leave as well.

Built Out Wall On Outside Of Storage Space
Built Out Wall On Outside Of Storage Space

The really bad thing about the second guy not showing? This was our guy’s first day back after abdominal surgery and he really needed the help today. He ended up leaving after he got the framing done because he was in too much pain to start working on pulling the wires, so only managed a little over a half day’s work. I really feel bad for the guy and it was obvious he was miserable.

I can probably say part of that pain was caused when he had to do some straightening of the framework for the doorway under the large beam, something that was required because the other crew didn’t get it right. It’s fixed now, but that is some serious stress on abdominal muscles that have suffered that kind of trauma, even 3 weeks post op.

Build Out Around Beam And Wiring
Build Out Around Beam And Wiring

Beyond the straightening, he did the build out around the wires along the large beam.

Duct Work Framing And Build Out For Wiring On Small Beam
Duct Work Framing And Build Out For Wiring On Small Beam

He fixed/finished the build out for the wires on the shorter beam.

Duct Work Framing Inside New Closet
Duct Work Framing Inside New Closet

And he finished wrapping the duct work inside the new closet space. There is a chance that there is one more board that needs to be put in place, but I’ll confirm that tomorrow. That said, the framing is finished.

Tomorrow, I’ll go through the electrical layout with him, marking where all the new outlets and switches go, where the new lights go and where I’m moving the central light. He will be running all the wires, but we still have to have their electrician do any hook ups and whatever else needs to be done at the electrical box to support all of that. I’m not certain of the time frame to get that done, but I’m hoping only a couple of days.

There will be a potential lag between that getting finished and starting the drywall because the electrical has to be inspected before they can move on. I’ve been told that right now, getting an inspector out is really spotty on how soon they can show up.

I’ve got to say, it was a HUGE relief having our original guy back out here today. It was amazingly quiet, even with the sawing and banging and low volume music.

Today was progress. Mostly stress free, positive progress. Definitely the way to get this project going again.

 

Frozen Fog Spikes

The frozen fog yesterday was absolutely stunning. I was very limited on my time because by the time I got my camera and got out there, the wind was picking up and starting to knock all the spikes off of everything. At one point, it looked like it was snowing with how much was falling. I did manage to get in quite a few really good shots, so it was a successful little outing.

I was beginning to think that I was going to get a shot at two days of frozen fog to take photos of, but even though we had fog again last night, it wasn’t quite cold enough to freeze it and coat everything this morning.

That’s probably a good thing since we are back to having contractors working on my craft room today. The main guy from the original crew is here, but he’s by himself. He also wasn’t aware that the main guy told us that he’d be the one running the wiring. So… yeah. I’m ready to be done with that part of this project. The upside is that he will most likely be done with the remaining framing today.

At least I got some pretty pictures!

 

Craft Room Project: Status Update

We had our meeting and walk through with the main guy today. I mostly let Hubby lead because I’m still pretty pissed about everything. It wasn’t a very satisfying meeting. The end result is that whatever issues we have are going to be taken care of, one way or another.

They shut down all work starting next Wednesday and don’t start back up again until January 4th. With the issues we have and the people they have available to work right now, we are opting to wait to pick back up on this after the new year.

I have very mixed feelings about this. Mostly because this pushes the whole project back to the point where I will be lucky to have them done and gone so I can start my part by my birthday in the middle of January. I’m really kind of ticked that this is going to take so long to finish.

The plus sides are that we get a stress free and peaceful holiday with no pounding or singing or obnoxious laughing or trash or bathroom messes. Our cats can roam free and I don’t have to stress about the difficult kitty being completely pissed and unhappy about being confined.

It also means that we get our original guy back. I have no clue how in the hell he is cleared to go back to full work so soon after a surgery like that, but apparently that is what he is being told. Having him back means I know the rest is going to be done right and he can fix any of the problems the recent guys created (and there are several.)

I don’t love the extended time frame at all, but I’m going to take the road of looking at the positives right now. I really do want to be able to enjoy the holidays without being constantly ticked.

Hell, maybe now that I’m not so tied to the house I can get out and get some new photos for a change.

 

Craft Room Project: Welcome To The Shit Show

Aaannnddd… today is an epic fail.

It started when only one guy showed up. He came in with a huge broom, which tripped my WTF mode because that would indicate they thought they were done or close to done and they weren’t. I just decided to wait and see. At that point, I had no idea if the second guy, the singer, would be there later or what.

About an hour after he got here, I started hearing a very different kind of sawing, more like a higher pitched grinding. It reminded me of my Dremel tool, which really didn’t make sense with what he most likely would have been working on. That was soon followed up with a lovely, crunching/ripping kind of sound that is more associated with destruction, not construction. I was seriously concerned by this.

About 10 minutes into that, Hubby gets out of his meeting and we decide we really need to find out what is going on and go check. The dude is cutting a rather large notch into one of our wooden support beams above the steel I-beam. The apparent thought process was to give a place for the wires that ran under those support beams a place to go so that drywall could be attached (the wires are currently in the way).

Um… NO. This was NOT the plan. The plan was to build out around that so you didn’t have to mess with the wires at all. Same goes for the other beam. I honestly haven’t a clue what the dipshit was thinking he was going to do as we have wiring that runs all along the top of that I-beam and underneath the floor beams, so he would have had to do this to EVERY single floor beam. I cannot imagine that is even remotely good for structural integrity, but that’s neither here nor there as it wasn’t the plan at all. I would have outright rejected that if someone has suggested it as a solution, but no one said a word to me about it.

When we told him that this wasn’t a part of the plan and talked about the need to build out instead, he said that he wasn’t sure how to do that and he would need to talk to the main guy at the company. That and he was actually scheduled to go to another job with singer guy when he finished up, so he was just going to clean up and go and that he’d have main guy call us.

Seriously?! There are so many pieces that are wrong with all of that. First, you don’t know how to do that and yet you are here, working BY YOURSELF, and were supposed to finish?! They apparently forgot all together that the much larger beam wasn’t done and ready for drywall because it wasn’t even on their plans to do anything with it. They also apparently thought they were done with the duct work in the closet as well because all this guy was going to do today was this crazy shit with the wires (which he managed to jack up the insulation around one in the process, exposing some bare wire). Why on Earth do you have someone that doesn’t know jack shit working unsupervised?

Secondly, why in the ever loving hell did they schedule these guys to go work another job without confirming that not only are they done, but it is done right and there are no issues? I’m so sick of the people that are supposed to be working on this job not actually DOING this job.

Both Hubby and I are absolutely livid. He knows better than to have me talk to the main guy (I do not have the ability to keep a calm head right now), so he has called and left a message for him. We are now waiting to find out what the hell is going on and when we are going to get this cursed job finished.

You have no idea how tempted I am to tell them they are going to have to just frickin’ wait until after the new year to continue any work just to give us a stress free holiday, but I also want this done and this company gone. I’d even be tempted to say they can take the rest of the contract and shove it where the sun don’t shine, but after the hell of even getting a response from anyone else, I know I have zero choices right now.

I want to know how the hell a company that does business like this and has guys like this on their crews can manage to get as many high a ratings as they have and even able to win a few awards because this is all just a whole bunch of bullshit.

Craft Room Project: Snail Progress Day 3

Yesterday’s progress seems a little better than the previous days of work. At one point, I got the wild idea that they were actually working until they finished today, but that was extreme wishful thinking on my part. All because they worked later in the day than they had the other days.

I was pleased to see the outside wall of our existing storage area get built out so the pole could be enclosed when they drywall that area. After the other day, I was really concerned they would forget it. I can say that I’m REALLY glad that I’m not the poor sap that has to drywall this because there are a couple of areas that aren’t exactly flush. Not sure how they are going to overcome that, but I’m not the one that has to deal with it.

Storage Area Wall Build Out
Storage Area Wall Build Out

They also finished the walls of the closet and started wrapping the duct work so that drywall can be mounted around it. Again I’m wondering if they forgot something or if they aren’t aware that the inside of the closet is also getting drywalled or they just simply aren’t finished because the duct work inside the closet isn’t done, but the outside is.

New Closet And Duct Work Framing
New Closet And Duct Work Framing

I now also have a frame for the ceiling over the new doorway.

New Doorway Ceiling
New Doorway Ceiling

That lovely (read ugly) reddish brown beam will also need to be wrapped so it can be drywalled. There is another, much longer, beam where the opening to the rest of the basement is that also needs to be wrapped, but it also has a lot of wires along the top edge that makes wrapping that one a bit of a challenge. I’m not exactly certain how they are working that, but it may be built out a bit.

Those really are the last parts of the framing that needs to be done: finish wrapping the duct work in the closet and wrap the two beams. It would be easy to imagine it would only take another day to finish, but I just don’t see that happening with this crew.

I ended the day with a clean bathroom again (not sure anyone actually even used it) and a headache. I’ve decided that I NEVER want to be serenaded. It would likely send me into a murderous rage. I came close by the end of the day, so I know this for a fact. Hubby’s coworkers got a bit of an earful during a meeting as well because the guy was belting it out like he was trying out for a Broadway musical and he wanted to ensure the guys in the back could hear it too.

Would I be getting too nitpicky if I ranted again about the fast food cup still full of soda left in my basement (and on my new frickin’ counter top that is not exactly in the area they are working) or the lack of mask wearing when the one guy goes in an out even though he sees me sitting on the couch wearing mine? Have I said I can’t wait for this project to be done yet?

Craft Room Project: Start Of A Closet

Well, there is progress. Not a lot, but progress.

I still do not understand how it is possible for two guys to be here from 9am until about 3:30pm and all they get done is framing a doorway in an existing opening, putting up an outer wall frame (no internal studs) and the door frame/front wall of the new closet.

They did add two boards to the the large opening they worked on yesterday and that took them most of the morning. Hubby went down when they left for lunch to see what they’d done and that was the extent of it. Based on where they were working, I was expecting the wall build out on the outside of the storage area to be getting worked, but that didn’t happen today.

With as much as I’ve complained so far, this feels like I’m just being nitpicky, but it really is shocking how little they get done. At this pace, I honestly expect them to be here the rest of the week even though our last guy really expected to only have about a day or two worth of work left before he got sick.

It was also fun to have some random guy I’ve never seen before unexpectedly walk into my house and head to the basement, sans mask, with a little mumble that he was with the company. Again, no name. He was only here for about 10 minutes before he left, but it shocked the hell out of me to look up and see someone I didn’t know standing in my house.

*Sigh* At least I have a clean bathroom today and this IS progress. I can say that it is awesome to see this really taking shape.

 

Craft Room Project: Contractor Etiquette

I debated with myself over posting this because, honestly, it feels like I’m just being cranky about the whole thing. Reality is that I’m not actually just being cranky. It is about general respect and decency from the people you hire to work on property you own and the fact that this company really doesn’t have any.

I’d say I don’t know how I managed to forget to put it in yesterday’s post, but I do know how. It was because there were just SO many things that bothered me yesterday that it got lost in the mess. The first utter lack of respect and concern I experienced from the new crew was them showing up at my door without masks on or anywhere in sight after having parked a massive truck in my driveway, blocking all of our cars in, without asking. I hesitated at first to say anything, though I’m opening the door with my own mask on and Hubby standing with me, also with a mask on, so it is obvious what I felt about the issue. One guy finally asks if I want them to wear masks. After they are standing in my house. Needless to say, after only getting the text that morning, this didn’t start the day out on the right foot at all.

They also didn’t even give their names. Just that they were with the company we hired and were there to work on the project. At that point, I was stressing more about how to deal with the mask issue that I just let it slide. I never did get a name for either one of the guys that worked yesterday.

I was quite honestly concerned about what exactly they were doing yesterday hearing some of the things I did. At one point, I was really concerned they were attempting to straighten a major support pole, one of two that are both problems when it comes to framing, but were NOT supposed to be messed with. I could hear the pounding and feel the vibrations through the entire house, so it was obvious they were at the very least working in that area. I didn’t think they’d be stupid enough to attempt to straighten a pole that was concreted in to the floor, but… I was still worried. That, thankfully, didn’t end up being one of my many problems by the end of the day.

There were a couple of times throughout the day that at least one of the guys came upstairs to either get more lumber from outside or go to the bathroom and he wasn’t wearing his mask. In all honesty, I wasn’t at all comfortable with these guys. I don’t know if it was this lack of respect, the refusal to wear their masks and the rudeness from the extremely loud and obnoxious one or if it was something else, but I just was not comfortable and felt incredibly relieved that Hubby was working from home and there with me. I had not felt that way at all with our first crew.

After they left for the day, Hubby and I do our usual walk through to see what kind of progress they’d made. What they got done, did look good, so quality hadn’t suffered from the previous crew. At least as far as the construction aspect goes. The clean up? That’s a little different.

While the tools and things were mostly organized and confined, the materials weren’t as well cleaned up as the previous crew. They also had a large trash bag sitting in the middle of the room that was never there before, but really not a big deal or a huge concern for either. What annoyed the ever loving shit out of me was the empty water bottle and fast food cup that were sitting on a couple of storage bins under our stairs. This is even more annoying when you consider the large trash bag just a few feet away. I’m feeling like I’m just being horrifically petty and picky at this point and just let it go. It really isn’t a huge deal.

Even with all of these things, I was just irritated and annoyed and not truly pissed. THAT came when I went to use my bathroom, one I’d cleaned the night before, and was forced to clean it before I could use it.

Let me just say, I threatened to quit my job years ago when the company I worked for at the time suggested canceling their contract with a cleaning crew for the bathroom and having us employees clean it instead in an effort to cut costs. I do NOT clean up other people’s bathroom messes. Hell, I don’t even clean my kids’ bathrooms anymore. They do their own. Having to clean up after a stranger pissed me off.

I’m sorry, how fucking difficult is it to check after you’ve used a bathroom to make sure you didn’t leave a mess? I’m not talking a couple of drips here. I’m talking, someone obviously wasn’t feeling awesome and splatters happened. I had crap on the underside of the seat and around the rim and those expected male drips on the seat.

I’ve been a home owner for over 20 years and dealt with a lot of various different service people and contractors in and out of my house. In all that time, it was exceptionally rare that a worker would even ask to use the bathroom and NEVER have they left it a mess. I was absolutely livid.

I wanted to call the company owner up and rip him a new one. The problem? I also want my job finished and finished correctly and I truly believe that if I do that, I just might piss him off enough that that might not happen. Hubby and I spent a significant amount of time discussing it last night and both agreed to just keep quiet about it for now. If anything worse happens, we will say something. Once the job is done, though, we will be leaving a review.

Oh! And if that wasn’t enough, I was absolutely floored at how little they got done. The first picture below is what it looked like when they started their day. The one below is after.

New Wall and Start Of Arched Opening
New Wall and Start Of Arched Opening
Large Doorway Framing
Large Doorway Framing

They managed to frame in my access opening in the wall on the left and they built what looks like the framing for the large doorway opening to the rest of the basement. That’s it. For an entire day’s worth of work. Do you have any idea how long it takes for them to frame out an entire house? It really isn’t long at all. Maybe a couple weeks tops.

I’m not entirely ignorant when it comes to construction. I’ve watched my dad work on all kinds of projects for years. And yes, he actually did work construction for a while when he and my mom were first married, so he actually does know what he is doing. It should not have taken two guys all day to get that little bit done. It took a day and a half for the previous crew to do three and a half walls, one of which included a door frame and the rework of half a wall including the build out.

They still have to build out the wall by the storage area to be able to enclose that pole, frame out a new closet on the other side of that area and wrap the duct work on the ceiling so it can be dry walled in. I really don’t want these guys in my house for as long as it is going to take them to do all that. Not with the pace they are going. Hell, it looks like this whole thing my now be going on through mid-January and I was hoping to be done by Christmas.

So, yeah, I’m frustrated and pissed off. I am desperate to get this part of the job done so we can move on to the next part. I’m also hoping like mad that the electrician is better than these guys and that the people that come to do the dry wall are NOT them.

Craft Room Project: Update – I Think?

Today is one of those totally mixed, “I have no fickin’ clue how I feel” kind of days.

It started with another text, no phone call, informing me that a couple of guys would be out to finish up the framing. No time frame, just that they would be here. I asked for an ETA and was told 20- 30 minutes.

Yeah. Thanks for the heads up that I specifically asked you for. It is beyond obvious that you are not a cat person and have no clue what it means to try and get a cat somewhere they don’t want to go. Shockingly, our difficult kitty was oddly cooperative this morning, so that was a bonus as we were resigned to leaving her hiding in the basement and keeping our fingers crossed she didn’t decide to bolt up the stairs during one of the many trips up and down and out the door while it was open. We managed to get her safely closed up in her designated room before anyone showed.

On the one hand I should be grateful that there are people here and working. Mostly. I think. I cannot even begin to predict how much they will get done as the one guy has been on the phone pretty much the entire time he’s been here and the other guy was gone for an hour and a half on a supply run.

They also had to call in our other guy, who apparently hasn’t actually had his surgery yet (though I know he cannot work in his condition), to come out and walk them through exactly what needs to be done because apparently what I attempted to walk them through on wasn’t enough. Granted, I couldn’t give them door sizes that still need to be framed, but I’d thought the guys had noted that on the floor when they marked all this out. I’m not feeling that these guys are swimming in the deep end of gene pool and have a bad feeling these are the same guys our guy was complaining about messing up their previous job.

I felt horrible that they had to drag the other guy in, he looked like he was in a whole hell of a lot of pain. I am grateful that he was willing to come out and make sure they did the job right, but I still felt awful for him.

When they took off for lunch after they’d been here for a few hours, I went to check progress and honestly couldn’t see that they’d done much at all. It is a little concerning, but I’ll take slow if it means it is accurate. I just don’t have the confidence that these guys are going to do as good of a job or as accurate as the previous guys.

I am massively relieved that the part that had the most critical measurement is already done and it can’t be messed up.

When It Was Sunny And Bright

And we have a no show, no call day with the contractors!

Sure, the guy said probably and about, nothing definite, but for fucks sakes, can you NOT pick up a damn phone and give me an idea of when I’m actually going to be able to expect someone to show up?! Seriously? Am I just asking too much here?

FYI… doing any kind of a construction project around the holidays is probably NOT a good idea if you want to maintain a cheerful attitude for the season. I’m going to just go look at some pretty pictures in the hopes that it puts me in a better mood.

Bug Bitten

I’m taking advantage of what might be my last no contractor day before Christmas that isn’t a weekend and getting the last little bit of needed shopping done today. I’d rather not, but there are a few things I need to get that aren’t easy to order and that Hubby can’t get for me, so I’m making what will hopefully be a very quick run.

How sad is it that even though the head guy at the contracting company said two days when I talked to him the other day, that I can’t actually count on that? I did ask him specifically to keep me updated on the timing because of needing to contain the cats, so we will see if I actually hear anything today or not.

MC has two finals left, one tomorrow and one Saturday, and he is done with his first semester of college. We are STILL waiting to hear if he is allowed to live off campus next semester, which is beyond frustrating.

Fun fact? eSports, even though it is all computer games and doesn’t require any kind of fitness ability at all, still requires you get a physical before being able to participate. I now have to help MC navigate that process because it seems to be a little bit complicated for something that should be simple.

They also have a few interesting rules about participating as a team member. One is that you are required to spend so much time each week doing actual physical activity. I think it is a great requirement, I just think it is kind of funny, and not entirely surprising, that they have to have that rule.

I do wonder if those requirements get waived for someone that has physical limitations. I’d think the world of eSports would be ideal for those that aren’t able to participate in physical sports.

This photo reminds me of how my brain feels most days. Full of holes. I’ve joked for years that it is a swiss cheese brain because I tend to forget stuff all the time. This week, I got to learn that I can turn a white boxed cake mix into chocolate, because apparently I had one of those moments. I’d asked Hubby to pick up the white mix at the store even thought I KNEW I was using it for my chocolate cupcakes. Imagine my shock when I pull it out to make them and realize what I’d done. At least I learned a nifty new trick!

I’m having way too many of those swiss cheese moments lately.

Craft Room Project: Officially In Limbo

It appears that our head guy working on the framing for the craft room did require emergency surgery at some point over the weekend and isn’t able to work at the moment. I wish him an easy and full recovery.

How did I learn this do you ask?

It certainly wasn’t because someone picked up the phone at any point over the weekend or even this morning to inform me that no one would be here to work. It was because I had to call to find out what was going on. After we’d locked the cats up and gotten up at ass crack of dawn again and waited for well over an hour past his normal start time with no one showing up.

This is not the guy’s fault that he ended up in the hospital. I feel horrible for him. I’m pissed that the company didn’t have the basic understanding of customer service to make a simple phone call and let us know.

I get it. They are now scrambling to rework their schedules and crews because our guy is absolutely going to be down for the count for quite some time. It is going to take some time to work those issues out. They still should have informed us that we wouldn’t have someone coming even if they didn’t have any kind of idea as to when they would have someone available again. You cannot tell me they didn’t know their guy wasn’t going to be able to work today until after he was supposed to be here today.

I’ve got to say, I’ve been extremely unhappy with the communication aspect from this company and their lack of respect for their customer’s time. Yes, I’m having them build a craft room. No, they aren’t even doing the full thing, stopping when they get the drywall done. Yes, that may seem frivolous and unimportant in comparison to a bathroom or kitchen remodel that will make their portfolio all pretty, but it is still a job that I’m paying to get done and deserves the same kind of priority consideration as any other job. I’m really not happy that this isn’t being treated as such.

When I spoke with the guy about where we are in the project, I suggested that enough of the framing had been done that the wiring could be run as it is apparently done by another guy, but he was insistent that every last bit of framing was done before they even considered starting that portion. I do know enough about framing and wiring to know that this is a preference thing and not a requirement, so I was not very happy with this response because it means there will be zero progress until someone can finish the framing.

It also means that we are officially sitting in limbo. I was told that they would know more soon about when they can get back to this and I should get a call either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

One of the things we were hoping to get out of this outside of this project was a potential contractor for what we know will be a rework of our bathroom at a much later date. If I had to make that decision right now, based on how this has gone so far, I’d be hard pressed to give the job to this company.

 

It’s A Cranky Pants Day

I think that most people have certain expectations when they hire someone to do a job.

For a contracting job like this craft room, it can be expected that your life is going to be at least somewhat interrupted and inconvenient for the duration. That people will be going in and out and making noise. That there will be messes. That the people involved provide some basic courtesy and respect for you and your property. That the company treat your job seriously and give it priority when it is being worked on. That plans are followed and what you asked for and got a bid for is what you receive.

Over my years of being a home owner I’ve had a range of projects where contractors were needed.  These expectations are all pretty standard and, for the most part, every company I’ve ever worked with did a decent enough job to mostly meet those expectations. I’m not being overly picky or unreasonable about most of them anyway.

So far, this crew has done a pretty great job in almost all of those areas. The one that has been a problem, and is the fault of the company, not the crew, is the giving our job priority. For the second day in a row, our crew has gotten pulled to go do something on another project.

Now, I’m flexible and understanding. Yesterday was about going back to a previous job and fixing something, so no big deal. I do understand and wasn’t too bothered by it. When they showed up this morning and told me they were getting pulled again, I joked with the guy about going to the same problem job (he is chatty so I got to hear about some of the issues and how bad they were), but no. This time it was a different job and I was really NOT happy.

There are multiple issues that I have with this and it really kind of ticked me off. One is minor, but annoying, and that is the fact that I was up, yet again, at the ass crack of dawn so they could get started. They showed up ready to work when they get the call to go to the other job. If they had been told yesterday before they left here (and I think it was a possibility), they could have just let me know they’d start later like they did the day before and I could have stayed the hell in bed. But no. They didn’t get notified until they were about ready to walk in the house and I was already up.

Another issue is the fact that this company seems to make it clear that our job isn’t a priority for them. I don’t think I’ve worked with a company before that didn’t have the policy of “once we are there, we stay there until the job is completely done” kind of thing. I’d never really understood why they all stressed this until this project. Now I know why that is so important and I value that even more now than ever. It is extremely frustrating to feel like your project is the bottom of the priority ladder. Now I’m wondering how long this project is going to drag out because other people get to butt in on the time the guys need to finish.

Either that or, and this is becoming a concern, that the work they are doing is problematic enough to require regular call backs to previous jobs to fix the problems they created. It definitely doesn’t reflect all that well on the company with either option.

The other, and this one really pisses me off, is the exponential exposure risk these guys are bringing with them. I have been so extremely careful since spring to protect my family and myself that it bothers me to no end that someone else’s lack of concern, after I emphatically let them know that I am at high risk, may negate all that hard work. The back and forth and in and out here and at multiple other job sites, pushes my comfort level a bit too far.

I understood I was taking a risk having people in my house working. I’ve done everything I can to reduce that risk as much as possible. I wear a mask the entire time they are working and I stay upstairs unless they need something. I was okay with that when I thought they were going to be here for the duration of this project, but I really don’t like this 2 out of the 3 work days they’ve had so far being pulled to different locations.

Another piece added to this exposure risk issue is the fact that apparently the electrician lives part time in Florida and has been there for the last week or so. This is something I was not made aware of before this whole project got started. I do not like the fact that I wasn’t given all the information I needed to be able to make an informed decision.

To add to the cluster this day has apparently become, my guys showed back up as I was writing this only to inform me that the head guy was headed to the hospital because he thought he had an appendicitis. The other guy that has been working with him is brand spanking new and can’t do the work, so we are on complete hold.

I feel absolutely horrible for the guy because those are miserable. I hate it that he feels so crappy. I absolutely want the guy to go and get it taken care of. You cannot be expected to do a job under those circumstances.

As sympathetic and understanding as I am, I also expect the company to make contact with me outside of the guy coming and talking to me himself to give me an idea of plans moving forward. At this point, I don’t even know if they have anyone outside of the guy that has been doing the work that is capable of finishing this project. For all I know, I’m in permanent limbo.

There are so many different possible outcomes going on here. If the guy does in fact have an appendicitis and gets surgery, then he is out of commission for a while. Is our project on hold until he can work again? Or, he doesn’t and it is something else that they send him home with meds of some sort and he is back to work on Monday. After having spent a significant amount of time in a hospital. Amping up my already huge concerns about exposure risk.

The day started with me in an awkward and unhappy position and is now in limbo mode. This company has already make it clear that they aren’t overly concerned with exposure risks, either to their people or their clients (though the guys do wear masks unless they are working alone in the basement with the door shut), so I have no doubt they fully intend to send our guy back the second he is able to work and is most likely their plan. I would hope they’d actually call me and tell me that. Or anything at this point would be nice.