Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You're Fired

Our contractors never came back. So, after several more phone calls, we called our lawyer on Friday, and on Saturday prepared a formal You're Fired note. I tried to fax it to the number we had, and it just kept hanging up. So I decided to deliver it in person. DF Sara, who's been a process server in the past, offered to come with me and get their signature. So we traveled to the address on their business card, which listed a street and a suite number.

Said suite number ended up really being a PO Box number inside a closed UPS Store.


So we came back to the house and set about the task of finishing the upstairs. We got about a quarter of the way through. Sara and I worked on wiping down the walls and starting on primer in a few areas while Jason did taping and mudding and hanging a few last pieces of drywall in the closets. We're on our way. I figure we've got about two more days before we can start actually painting anywhere. There's two areas still needing sanding, and then we've got the priming to do as well. But we're on our way ....

And we've learned a lesson or two as well.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Tag ... we're it!

Fellow Oak Parkers tiny oak park bungalow have tagged us ... so we're going to tell you, dear reader, five things about us you didn't know!

1. Before we bought Humphrey House, we lived in a condo - Jason didn't even want to consider a house. He convinced me that we should live in a condo when we moved to Chicago (from Urbana, where we met at U of I) because he didn't want to get bogged down doing yardwork and worrying about home repairs. HA.

2. We do freelance graphic design/web design/pr to support our bungalow habit. :) www.oneflowermedia.com. we make things pretty for you and you make things pretty for us!

3. We have two kitty cats who think they are dogs, merlin and cosmo. Merlin is 7, a grey tabby with an small body and a freakishly long tail, who has never meowed and has developed a bit of a breathing problem of late. Cosmo is five months old, all black with two white hairs and is already 3/4 of Merlin's size. The both play fetch and try to kill each other all day long. Sometimes they snuggle, too.

4. We're rock stars. Well, Jason has more of a rock-star cred than me, having appeared on the mainstage at the House of Blues not once but TWICE so far, playing bass for Frank Tribes (www.franktribes.com, another one designed by us). They've got a new album out called GALLERY. It's got a nice groove, and is available on iTunes! My baby can rock the bass.
As for me, I used to sing with an industrial band (we were evanescence before they were cool) with the exceptionally tacky name Torn Skin that was acutally signed to a label (and of course we broke up within six months), and more recently sang for Bad Nurse (www.badnurseband.com - you can listen to me sing!). Now I just wish I had time to be in a band and write some tunes, coz it's the one thing I'm actually good at without trying, but am adjusting to being married to a soopastar for the time being.

5. We have a love/hate relationship with television. More specifically, with cable. We got so much more done before cable. SIGH ...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

MIA ... again

Just an update.
There's only been one guy here the past week, working on finishing the mudding of the drywall. He's done now. Contractor called on Thurs, apologized for this all taking so long, and vowed to show up, full crew, Friday. All that's left is the sanding and priming.

Again, not so much.
Jason called. He assured Jason he'd be there Saturday morning. We had plans and had to leave the house by 3. Jay called him around 11, and he said they'd be here between 2 and 3.

We left at 3:30.

He called at 4pm, saying he was on his way over. Jay told him that wouldn't work, becuase we had plans and had left the house so they had no access. He said he'd be here today, Sunday, at 3 instead.

Guess what?

Aw hell. At least the Bears won. :)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

To mix or to match, that is the question ...

So last summer when the home expo jason's mom was working at was closing (in aurora), I swung by for the last few days of the sale and found some sconces I totally loved. They weren't a matching set, but they were from the same series. They were 70% off, and I had to buy them. So I did, and then set them aside for later. Lo and behold, in December there was a sale at homedepot online and I was able to pick up the mates to each sconce for roughly the same price I got them at expo! Here they are ...

As you can see, they are rust-colored with frosted glass and a satin nickel tip. We're putting the single ones in the bathroom, each flanking the tub, and the doubles are going into the bedroom, each flanking the entry area.
But here's the dilemma .... do we have to match our faucets to the fixtures? While a rust or oil-rubbed bronze would match nicely with these fixtures, I'm afraid they are probably going to be out of our budget, considering we have to purchase not only the sink, but a separate tub fixture as well as two different fixtures for the shower (one for the showerhead, and a different one for the shower sliding bar thingy (dontcha love my pro terminology? sorry, I lose nouns a lot). I'm thinking brushed nickel would be a lot more affordable, but is it taboo?

Friday, January 05, 2007

For Christmas, Santa Claus brought me these lovely house numbers.
Can't wait to put them on in spring. Now just have to decide where they'll go ...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

They're baaaaaack ....

Yesterday afternoon I had Jason call his father and stepmom, who've had their fair share of renovation/remodeling/construction experiences, to give us their opinion about our contractors not showing up lately. When I got home from work, Jay said he'd been advised to cut them some slack, and not to worry since we had some of their tools - they'd be showing back up sooner or later. We could start to worry if they hadn't shown up by next Monday.

Monday?!? I took a deep breath, and mentally began giving out some slack on my home-renovation fishing line. A little, anyways. Monday, really? Okay. Breathe. I can deal. We could look at carpet. Pick out wall colors. Keep busy. MONDAY????

It's hard to keep things in perspective sometimes when you're thisclose to moving out of the basement.

But Bob was right. The contractors came this morning. Well, one of them anyway. We got a phone call last night from the guy, saying the contractor had been trying to get a hold of us with no success (?), and promising to be there in the morning. At 8:30, he arrived, telling us more would follow.

So there's a good. YAY!

But I'd still like to hear from others on how they've handled situations like these. As we're the folks always likely to go with the lowest bidder, we might find ourselves stuck again and no wiser. What have YOU done???

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Contractor Issues ... Any advice out there?

So what do you do when your contractor repeatedly doesn't show up?

We hired a teeny contracting firm (read: two brothers and some guys they pay hourly i would guess) to do the drywall upstairs. They began work in mid-December. We were pretty happy with it, and I'd say about 85% of the work has been completed.

But now our contractors are MIA.

We last saw the crew boss on December 23rd. He said they wanted to work while we were gone on holiday, and we arranged for them to have access to the house. We were excited, expecting we'd return back from Christmas with the folks to the completed upstairs, ready for tile and flooring and such.

Yeah, not so much. In fact, they never entered the house at all while we were gone, nor made any attempt to do so. We were pleasantly surprised when one of the workers showed up on Wednesday and worked solo for a few hours. He assured Jason full crew would be showing up Thursday. He even left the contractor's toolbox in the workspace.

But since then, nada.

We've made several phone calls to the main contractor, all of which have gone unanswered and unreturned. Granted, New Year's eve was Sunday, we expected nothing to get done that weekend, but there was still Thursday and Friday, plus today (Tuesday).

Yes, they were the lowest bidder for the project, significantly lower than the other contractors. And we did not find them through a reference. But they've received half the funds for the job (the other half contingent upon completion). We're not sure what to do at this point. We already had to cancel the tile guy we had scheduled, and postpone an inspection. The backerboard has yet to be hung, and there's still some finish work to do (sanding, corners, etc.) Should we find another contractor to finish the job? Should we just wait it out and keep making phone calls? Has anyone else experienced this? Are we being too impatient? Are we just stupid?