The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

From Remodeling 2009

The wife and I recently got gutters installed on our house.  Overall, they're really awesome, but there's this one place that's not right and needs to be fixed, but the gutter company has been dragging their feet on (fortunately it means I'm also dragging my feet on paying them, so at least I have some leverage).  Essentially the whole thing boils down to improperly explained for what a part was, and then not being able to take the day off to supervise the whole thing (something that's immensely important for really any work somebody else is doing to your place).

After playing phone-tag with the sales rep for this large gutter company we got in touch earlier this afternoon an I said I needed a do-over on some of the work, and asked if he could meet me out there to pull a new piece.  He then said, "No problem, I'll need to call into the office, see who we can get down there and get it taken care of for you."

Later this afternoon I got a call-back from him, I was pretty stoked at the potential fast turn-around and said, "[Contractor's Name] what's up?"

He then replies with the following:
"I got this customer [Otis] out here and he's being a little bitch.  Yeah, there's something he's just being nitpicky about and we already sent a guy out there*.  Frankly we can do it, but I'm gonna need him to be there cause I got no clue what he wants.  Trying not to be a dick, but don't need this from him.  When we get somebody in the area can we just swing by and fix the problem.  I mean, what do you think I should do?"

*They did send somebody, but they wouldn't allow him to do the job necessary because they wanted to see if the patch-job would didn't.

My response:
"Well, first off, if I were you I'd make sure that I'm not calling my customer when laying into them."
[Begin stammering and jaw on floor]
"Secondly, I hope you realize I'm not trying to be a "little bitch" about this.  It's just that I spent several thousand dollars for your product and I want to make sure I'm satisfied with it before I consider the job to be done.  Most everything is great, but there's just one piece that needs to be fixed."

From there on the rest of the conversation was in the following vien,
"I'm so sorry"
"God, today's just been the worst day"
"I've had like 10 bad calls in a row"
"I shouldn't have called you that"
"Oh man, there's nothing I can do to take any of that back now"
"I shouldn't have used language like that even when calling into the office"
"Oh, don't worry I'm going to get you taken care of"
"I'm so sorry"

Me, "Not a problem, I understand, stuff like this happens, let's just get it taken care of"

I think that was the conclusion of the absolute worst phone-call of that sales guy's career.  Fortunately I got a good laugh out of it, and hopefully we'll now get the work done right.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

One Year in the House

The other day marked the one year anniversary of when we bought our house.

This past year has marked a lot of trails, victories, setbacks, learning, joy, exhaustion, satisfaction, fear, creativity, and confidence.

Here is a pretty comprehensive list of the things we've done since getting the house (original condition):
  1. Replaced the roof (before, during, after)
  2. Removed fake shutters, screen doors, house numbers (that banged my head), cheap hose reel, over-sized gutter (after)
  3. Replaced locks
  4. Repaired the foundation (before and after)
  5. Tore out a wall (before, during, after)
  6. Redid majority of the sheetrock
  7. Rerouted lighting/ducts
  8. Installed radiant barrier
  9. Added supports in rafters
  10. Created new washer/dryer area
  11. Installed new electrical service (old)
  12. Got new (safe) wiring to kitchen/bath
  13. Complete gut & remodel of the bathroom (before, during, after)
  14. Entirely new plumbing for all incoming lines
  15. Installed tankless water heater
  16. Refinished floors (before)
  17. Painted interior rooms
  18. Fixed all windows so that they are now double-hung
  19. Replaced, repaired, or added fascia boards around entire house
  20. Created support for sophet
  21. Removed all boards that were touching the ground (aka termite highway)
  22. Replaced back door
  23. Replaced door to garage
  24. Installed Crestview door kit (before, during, after)
  25. Painted entry doors (before, after)
  26. Replaced dozens of rotted/rotting siding boards
  27. Added new corners for add-on section
  28. Installed metal lathe and supports for skirting
  29. Created a garden
  30. Sanded entire house to bare wood
  31. Used 33 tubes of caulk to seal up the house
  32. Bondo'd cracks and divets
  33. Cut down 1 tree
  34. Trimmed all trees in backyard, including Ash (before, round 1, round 2)
  35. Cabled the ash tree
  36. Installed gutters & gutter screens
  37. Painted exterior (before, during, almost there, after)
  38. Removed scraggly bushes from front of house (before, after)
  39. Dug pit for grounding plate
  40. Undid jerry-rigged setup for fan in bedroom
  41. Added setup for fan in livingroom
  42. Created a bar between kitchen and livingroom
  43. Added GFCI circuits where needed
  44. Removed old waterheater closet
  45. Removed mercury lamp on corner
  46. All new exterior lighting
  47. Insulated plumbing
  48. Put up barriers in all rat-entry points
  49. Added piping to divert water away from the foundation (before)
  50. And fell through ceiling
I think 50 is enough for now. What I love though is how much we were able to get done while still traveling, working full-time, finding new eateries, playing in parks with the dog, brewing beers, seeing family, running, biking, watching BSG (hey, that's a huge time commitment), having friends over and!

But, I think really the best thing is to look where we were a year ago:

And then look where we are today:

Big thanks go out to all the friends, family and contractors that helped us.
  Greg, Debby, Hannah, and Regina
  Brian, Amy, Jeremy & Jess, Whitney, Rachel & Andrew, David, Kelly, Stephen, Pam & Don, Val & Paweena, Kasandra, Kristy, Heidi, Britney, and Danielle & Justin
  Bobby Platte, Bob Jahnke, ABC Handyman, Longhorn Roofing, Chango's Tree Service, Austin Gutter King, Mullen Electric, and all the illegals we unwittingly employed.

But most importantly to the Wife, for putting up with everything and being a good sport when things went wrong.