Archive for October, 2007
I couldn’t help but share this only-slightly-off-topic article from today’s Washington Post called Taking a Whack Against Comcast (it has to do with a hammer, so it’s home related, right?).
I had originally read this story a couple weeks ago in a local paper, after a front-page photo caption caught my attention – it read: “What the hell? I’m 75!”
The Post was a little more restrained with their captioning, but the story is the same: Comcast screws with old lady. Old lady gets angry. Old lady takes hammer to Comcast office. Things in Comcast office get smashed. Cops arrest old lady. Peasants (i.e. Comcast customers like myself) rejoice.
Not that I’m endorsing her technique, but Mona Shaw’s kinda my hero.
PS: I think we own that same hammer. It’s practically famous!
It’s time to lower the gavel- er, hammer- in judgment of each of the three specialists that we’ve worked with so far. Here are the cold hard facts:
WHO: Danny Parker, Contractor
WHAT: kitchen demo, widened two doorways, closed doorway to dining room (to make it a third bedroom), said he’d also widen brick doorway but backed out.
- 3 day project became a 2.5 day project due to incompletion
- super affordable ($900!) but he hired two kids to do all the work
- his young crew worked nice long 8am to 7pm days
- didn’t show up or return phone calls for follow-up job
OVERALL GRADE: B-
WHO: Richard Southworth, Mason
WHAT: brought in to widen brick doorway after Danny couldn’t
- 2 day project became a 2.5 day project
- crew arrived half day early to begin work
- pricier than Danny ($500 for 1 doorway) but more skilled
- his crew only worked 10-3
- couldn’t move a floor vent which he included in his estimate
- house left pretty messy overnight
OVERALL GRADE: B
WHO: Jason Grubb, Floor Installer
WHAT: Ripped old flooring and installed hardwood in three rooms
- 1 day project became a 3 day project
- affordable ($1000 for entire installation among three rooms)
- his crew only worked 9-3
- broke drain trap reinstalling my sink (causing flooding and undue stress)
OVERALL GRADE: C+
So as you can see, we’ve learned that with every project (and every new hire) there’s always some sort of snafu, it usually takes longer than they say it will, and sometimes people can’t even complete the job that you hire them to do. Our advice: grin and bear it, it’s all worth it in the end. We’re loving our newly opened layout and shiny new floors. And hopefully we only have a few small ulcers to show for it.
Remember how our contractor (Danny Parker) fell off the face of the Earth? Well, yesterday while he was still MIA, I asked one of my fab floor guys if he thought trying to match the original hardwood floor was possible, since widening that doorway would require a couple of new floorboards among the 50 year old existing planks. And we’ve learned to question Parker’s anything’s-possible attitude after that brick doorway was not, in fact, possible for his guys.
Fab-floor-guy said that he NEVER recommends trying to retro-match 50-year-old wood flooring and explained that the wood lightens and yellows over time from layers of polyeurethane and exposure to the sun. He was positive that an attempt to match the hardwood would result in dark, noticeable planks around the newly expanded doorway (and anyone who knows me knows that this would torture me to no end).
Maybe my missing contractor was a blessing in disguise- widening that last doorway was a terrible idea! So I quickly called Danny to cancel the job. The irony is that this time he answered on the first ring.