Renovation Hell (But I Repeat Myself)

By Tony Moorby July 16, 2021 122

The last time I wrote about our home improvement project, renovations on the kitchen and master bathroom, I made a few tongue-in-cheek remarks about time and costs. Having started the two-room project in the first week of March with an estimate of six weeks for completion, some contractors are still with us and it’s almost July.

The painters brushed us off for a month so the electrician couldn’t finish lighting fixtures but they’re a good-humored bunch of guys and easy to have around, especially as the quality of their work would do justice to Michelangelo!

The plumber looked like kin to the Beverley Hillbillies, a monster of a man with a beard down to his more-than-adequate waist and of course, he sported the prerequisite overalls, thankfully obviating the possibility of a plumber’s crack. He bent pipes and fittings into works of art with the most infinite attention to the tiniest detail. In spite of his height and girth, he had the capability to squeeze in and out of the smallest places as though he were a limbo dancer.

The HVAC engineer, at first a growly-bear tempered guy whose time of day we’d interrupted, turned out to be a guru on all kinds of subjects and a philosopher of note. Like his colleagues, an exquisite eye for detail ensured neat and tidy work worthy of a sculptor.

The trim and finish guy, a huge fellow who you’d want on your side in a dark alley, had swept-back hair in a silver- grey cascade of a ponytail and muscles to underscore a self-assured personality of utter correctness in his approach to everything. He was responsible for the initial demolition and tear down with a team of six young men, each of whom had a talent for his place on the team. They were polite, clean, and attentive to working in someone’s home as well as taking an interest in the project, as a whole. The boss drove a pickup truck that looked like it could win a tractor pull. His general knowledge of all things construction is encyclopedic allowing him to solve problems immediately on the fly. At first blush I took him to be a bit of a boisterous showoff but almost immediately took a shine to his worldly knowledge and his appreciation of fine food. He also had an Englishman’s sense of cutting humor and an appealing witty sarcasm – a joy to be around.

Our experience with the stone and tile setters hasn’t been pristine – far from it; the list of things that have gone wrong is a catalogue of crazy catastrophes. They cut holes in tiles that were too big for shower faucet fittings, they brought a countertop for a wet bar with no hole for the sink – it’s a wet bar, duh! They cut the kitchen island template for a cooktop all wrong. The list goes on but compared to the rest of the folks who’ve worked on our house, these guys were sloppy, untidy and uncaring to the point of nuisance. They left their wet saw equipment in our front yard for the world to see as though it were an art installation. One of them had an expensive level stolen, having left it outside – surprise, surprise in this day and age.

To end this unfortunate relationship with the stone folks they laid the tile for the bathroom floor wrongly and the foreman walked on them before they were set. They had to be lifted and reset – they did that wrongly, too. I gave them some suggestions that had to do with sex and travel! We now have a new contractor who has to demolish all that was done before all the way down to the sub-floor.

It’s the first time I’ve seen a renovation renovated!

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Last modified on Friday, 16 July 2021 18:26