I’m not a fan of people who whine. You know who they are. (No, it’s not you gentle reader. My readers don’t whine unless it is medically necessary!) Well, here I am with another interesting contractor story.
For (suffering) long-term readers, you know that I’ve been in construction for the last year. Two large scale projects with a few little ones thrown in. We are in the middle of the last small scale house project for this year (and the beloved husband hopes forever).
It’s simple and straightforward. Technically, we could have done it ourselves but decided a contractor would be faster (ha!) and would produce a better product without boogers (like we tend to do) and multiple runs to the hardware store.
That rationalization was wrong, wrong, wrong. In July, we locked in a date in October with a contractor we have used before. His work is excellent. The only stipulation was that he had to be out by Thanksgiving. Easy. The job should take a week at most. The date he picked was dangerously close to a family visit with guests staying here. What could possibly go wrong?
If you’ve done house projects, you know that stuff is displaced and there is a constant layer of dust with plastic drapes all over the place. When he started last week, I was hopeful that it would be completed before the visit which starts on Friday. After he finishes, I have a lot of cleaning and painting to do and furniture to rearrange. At least a day’s worth of work moving at Mach 1 speed.
He did a lot in two days. I was hopeful. Then he got a call. He has a friend with a terminal disease, and he appears to be at the end. His wife called our contractor needing a ramp built ASAP. The contractor is trying to balance both jobs. I’d like to whine about this but how can you whine about a person that is dying? (Yes, the contractor made the right decision but this is about me!)
Will my project be done by Friday? Who knows but I’m working on not getting stressed. Sleeping arrangements will be tight because unless it’s finished, we can’t move furniture out of a small bedroom. Another area in the basement is not quite ready (but almost).
Just a recap of our experiences with contractors over the past year. Most don’t manage the clock well (the beloved husband says this is a sports metaphor). Stuff happens – one lost a week because of a knee injury, then another week on crutches and rehab sessions, wife leaves another contractor turning him into a broken-hearted nut case (this continued into another project because we don’t learn our lessons and contractors are as scarce as hen’s teeth!). Contractor’s departing wife canceled all the items for our job (other jobs too) just to stick it too her soon to be ex which meant the four-month lead time for products had to start all over. Promised crews never materialize because well…we don’t know. I suspect no one wants to work for a crazy contractor.
We don’t have a lot of projects left. There is one big one – a bathroom remodel – looming in the distant future. It gets more distant every day.
Lessons I’ve learned include using contractors with crews. I love the single carpenter concept but if anything happens, your project is impacted and yes stuff happens.
The first contractor told us that he never gets sick. He’s worked for 40 years in this industry and never once took a sick day. First weekend into the job he took his kids swimming and got a bad case of swimmer’s ear. Out three days. Then he had a panic attack (this was before the wife left). Lost more days and came back medicated which made him crazier. Kids started to act out and he needed time off to meet with school officials and/or police. Need I go on? Never a sick day in 40 years?
In the end I’m glad my issues are only delays and my house wasn’t washed away, but I reserve the right to whine.