Saturday, November 18, 2006

Friday, November 18 (Look Ma, No Fence!)

I had gotten two bids for trash/fence removal and was about to call the first company back when I decided I should probably get a third bid. I called a company from the Greensheet, and Sal, the owner, said he had to meet me at the site in order to give me a bid. I was about to just tell him to forget it, but he was so insistent about getting the address site and setting up a time, before I knew it we had agreed to meet the next day.

I'm glad I let myself get bullied because Sal's bid was $150 cheaper than the other bids. He showed up with five kids, each around 15-16 years old. He told me that he works with Covenant House (a runaway shelter), and he gives them work to help with giving them structure as well as some spending money.

It was the most amazing/amusing thing I've ever seen. Sal stood next to the trash pile and barked out orders like a drill sergeant while the kids scurried about picking up the trash.




They finished picking up the trash pile and removing the fence in less than an hour. I swear, they picked up every cigarette butt and gum wrapper floating in the yard. While waiting for me to get back from the bank, Sal made them pick up trash in the neighbor's yard, too. Idle hands and all that...

We also dropped off the bathtub to be refinished. As soon as that's done, we're going to have the plumber install the fixtures and dishwasher. Other than that, we're pretty much done. The floors are finished, lights installed, appliances delivered. I'm enlisting help from my sister and a friend this weekend, and we're going to do some minor landscaping this weekend to help with the curb appeal. Removing the fence has already made a huge difference.

Oh, here's a shot of the floors, too. Refinishing floors is always my favorite part of a remodel because it always makes such a big impact. I originally wanted to go with a darker stain, but my floor guy said that with the age and type of wood I had, going with the lightest stain possible ("natural") would be best as the darker the stain, the more obvious any scratches or discolorations would be. I think the floors turned out really nicely considering their original condition.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Balls they are a jugglin'

I'll be doing a flip update soon, but I wanted to post a link to my new blog about house construction - Watch us build a house!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thursday, November 2 (Progress!)

I apologize, oh faithful reader, for my lack of posts recently. A lot of progress has been made since the last update - the granite counter has been installed and tiling has been completed for the backsplash and the bathroom floors, and not without a few tears shed. What's a remodel without a good, angry cry?

Last Monday, I had arranged to meet the granite installers in the morning at 8:30. At 9:30, I call, and they say they're on their way and about an hour out. I'm frustrated, but not overly upset since being rescheduled is par for the course in a remodel. I leave to go get some coffee and return in an hour. Another half hour goes by, and they're still not there. I call again and get another lame excuse. Long story short, we don't meet until 2pm. Mind you, I'm doing this remodel while I have a 2 year old in tow. Suffice it to say I'm already a little agitated by the time the installers get there. When they get there, they start taking measurements, and the countertop will not slide onto the counter. A board has been installed on the backsplash rendering the counterspace about 1/2" too short. No big deal - the board can either be cut so the granite can be slid underneath it or removed entirely with no huge effort. Of course, I don't get off so easily... The kitchen counter is flanked on both sides by doorways to the adjacent rooms. Around these doorways is 100 year old wood trim that needs to be removed before the counter can slide in. I say 100 year old wood trim in not the "oh, falling apart already" way but rather, the "petrified wood, not going anywhere anytime soon" way.

I make an attempt to control my frustration, but I do tell the installation team that I'm really disappointed I wasn't told these things when measurements were taken so that I could have a) taken care of the trim removal sooner and b) made the changes prior to the painters having painted the trim. As a result of not being told sooner, my schedule has slipped, I have to schedule a carpenter to return (at additional cost), and have the painters recaulk/paint the trim after removal.

As they drive off, I walk into the backyard and just burst into tears I'm so angry! I know as I'm crying that I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, they're not insurmountable problems, but I hate, hate, hate it when things don't go as I plan. Alright, I admit, I just hate not getting my way.

After I finish snuffling and cursing contractors not-so-under my breath, I make a few calls, and Jesse was able to make the necessary modifications that evening. The granite guys came back the next morning (on time this time), and my painter said that he'd have his crew patch and paint when they came for the round of touchups.

So, it wasn't the huge, horrible crisis that I had built it up to be. In hindsight, it was silly for me to have gotten so angry. I guess part of me was hoping that I'd get through this remodel scot-free and avoid all the horror-stories you hear about flip projects. J reminded met that if this has been my biggest issue, then I should count my blessings. He also gave me a dose of reality and said I'd probably encounter a few more hiccups before everything's said and done, and that would be perfectly normal. I'm hoping that everything else will go smoothly, but I'm feeling a little less pressure to do everything perfectly.