I haven’t posted this year because the year has been full of a flurry of activity and then long waits.
The house flunked the frame inspection for a variety of issues, ranging from the builder not using metal plates between wood and cinder blocks, to the wrong nail plate on a drain, to the porch rail being an inch and a half short for its distance off the ground.
In all, that took three weeks to fix, and involved me taking a day off of work to change the nail plate because my plumber decided to quit returning my calls. (That’s another story.)
The porch still doesn’t meet codes. The builder wanted me to spend about $400 on trucking in dirt to raise the level of the land under the porch so that the porch is less than 30 inches from it and then the porch meets codes.
I agreed at first, but once I thought about it, I decided to just add a 2×4 to the top of the rail and small spindles between the big ones so that there’s no more than a 4-inch space. I don’t have children, but my nephews and nieces have children and I don’t want them getting between the spindles and hurting themselves when they visit. My plan costs $30.
So the interior walls are complete now. I thought the flooring would be a breeze. I want wood laminate and when I went to order it last week from a box store, I discovered it’s not a simple matter at all.
The sales person called me after I ordered a measurement and asked if there was electricity in the house.
Me: “There’s an extension cord from the power pole that the carpenter, plumber, electrician and mechanical contractor used without issue.”
Salesperson: “The installers won’t work without power actually in the house.”
Me: “Why the hell not? Everyone else has.”
Salesperson: “It’s their policy.”
Me: “Thanks. I’ll find another store where the installers are a little more hardy and don’t run the show. How do I get my deposit back?”
So the store refunded my money and I hightailed it to their competition during lunch. The guys there were great. They couldn’t see why working with an extension cord would be a problem. As one guy wrote up my order, another guy called the installer.
New sales guy: “Is your house heated?”
Me: “No. Is that a problem? If it is, I have a portable heater I’ve used with the extension cord. It can make the house comfortable for them.”
New sales guy after talking with installer: “The house needs to have a working HVAC before we can install wood laminate. It has to sit in the house for a couple of days to acclimate. It can’t acclimate without a working HVAC.”
I walked out of that store dazed, my mind running through hundreds of scenarios, most of which included me spending extra months living in a $400 a week hotel.
I have a contractor who is planning to work on the drainage between the house and the hill as soon as the weather clears. But the weather hasn’t really cleared since before Christmas and the forecast was for more rain this week.
That’s important because the power pole is on top of the hill and to get power to the house, we have to dig a trench and bury the wire in it.
We can’t dig the trench until the drainage work between the hill and the house is done. And I can’t install the kitchen cabinets and appliances until I have the floor installed.
And now I can’t have the floor installed until the HVAC is up and running and that’s being held hostage by the weather which is holding up the drainage work.
I called the first salesperson back.
I told her that from what I understand, it’s not so much an electricity issue as it is an HVAC issue. I asked if we could get the house measured and the flooring ordered so we have it ready to go while we work on getting the HVAC running.
She agreed and I had to pay the deposit again, since she refunded it to me earlier in the day. The installer called me on Thursday and asked which room I wanted to have the flooring installed.
Me: “The whole house. If it has a floor in it, I want wood laminate on top of it.”
Installer: “We don’t install wood laminate in bathrooms.”
Me: “I’m living in a hotel that has wood laminate in the bathroom. If they can do it we can do it, humor me.”
The conversation ended and life went on.
Today I was looking at lavatories and kitchen cabinets at the same store when the flooring salesperson called to tell me the quote was ready.
Me: “I’m in the store. I’ll be right there.”
It turns out my house is a little bigger than I thought. But the bathroom issue came up again.
Salesperson: “We won’t install wood laminate in bathrooms.”
Me: “Why the hell not? If my hotel has it, I don’t think there’s a problem.”
Salesperson: “It’s our policy and the manufacturer’s policy. If its installed in the bathroom, it voids your entire warranty.”
Me: “Why in the hell is that?”
We went back and forth and finally it became apparent — wood laminate isn’t waterproof. I could buy that much better than “just because.”
So in the end, I ordered a vinyl laminate for the bathroom, which is waterproof, but stuck with wood laminate for the rest of the house. They’re not a perfect match, but close enough. My bathroom is 6 x 7 and I have three rugs for the floor there, so it’s not like you’ll see a lot of the floor.
I paid for the flooring and they’ll be delivered to the house in two weeks.
Two weeks. Shit.
So here I sit in my extended stay hotel room (which I did not budget for in the first place) and the WiFi is finally working for the first time this week.
The landscaping is set to start Monday, but there’s snow and rain in the forecast for Monday.
I’m buying light fixtures and working on doing as much as can be done without finished floors.
Hopefully the HVAC is running on the 23rd, when the flooring is delivered. It has to sit in the house for a couple of days before it can be installed. Installation will just take a day,whenever that day comes.
So I’m looking at the early part of March now, when I had originally hoped to be in the house by Christmas. We can get the bathroom fixtures and kitchen cabinets done fairly quickly but the appliances can only be delivered on a Monday and I fear the flooring won’t be done in time for them to be delivered this month.
I still have to get the water system up and running too, but that’s for another day.
My goal now is to have a cold beer on my code-compliant porch on St. Patrick’s Day.
Time will tell.