Cheer me up? I need to see the bright side of being almost done.

byzantineJuly 20, 2014

Greetings, all. So far we're in the very last home stretch of our remodel. The part where our GC has vanished into the reeds, leaving me alone to find tile (this is harder than I imagined). An occasional worker has showed up at an average about once every 2 weeks, worked for half a day (often screwing things up such that I'll have to redo it when they've gone). We've spent well over 120K on a 10'x20' space, excluding appliances, and I really expected better than this.

First, the good: Capital Culinarian range is nothing short of incredible. On simmer, it melts butter slowly and evenly without browning it. On high, see below. Kohler farmhouse sink with foot pedals and a pull-out trash next to it is heaven for prep work. The Samsung 4-door refrigerator is so big that after 4 $300 visits to the market, we still haven't filled it up. There's a huge stock pot full of pork bones on the stove, 5lbs of pig skin cooking in the circulator, 4 beef tongues cooling on the counter waiting to be peeled and turned into tamales.

The range is not level. A piece of our counter isn't secure. There are gaps in between the cabinets and the floor. The trim doesn't match and the parts of the house that were ripped up that are not directly in the kitchen are still unpainted and untrimmed. Half our outlets and all of our lights are unfinished, some sprouting large wires like hairs from uncle Frank's ears. We can't use the range at full capacity because the range hood vent is just laying in our attic and not vented out of our roof, so there is a risk of a grease fire. Even if the hood wasn't flashing and beeping maniacally, as it appears to have some sort of short that makes it go bananas. Large pieces of stucco are missing from the exterior of the house, the yard is a mess of weeds and chunks of wood, concrete and other assorted pieces of construction debris. The third bay of our garage is crammed full of cartons that might be empty or might contain materials we need. The cabinet doors aren't level with each other, there's a tube running from our furnace (dehumidifer?) into our basement sink, which is now leaking water onto the floor. The entire basement is covered with sheet metal screws, sharp bits of metal and wire and reeks of mold. Seriously, I found an old picture of our squat rack before this started, and just marveled at how clean it was. We need someone to come with a high pressure hose to recover our basement.

I could easily write a paragraph 4x as long as above about all the stuff that is either unfinished or was done wrong, but that one was already too long to read. I knew before we started that things wouldn't go perfectly and I'd really rather focus on how much better things are now than they were... I know that there's always compromises, and that I'll feel a great deal better when the tile's up, the last check is written and my dog can use the back yard again.

Have I gone crazy?

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No. I don't blame you one bit. That sounds like a nightmare. If it makes you feel any better we have been living in remodeling hell since January when we had a flood that damaged most of our house. The house is absolutely filthy. I don't know when it will ever be "normal" again. And while we are 90% done there is not one room that is 100% done. The unfinished bits are starting to get to me. I think we have spent $150K on this remodel. It makes me sick to think about it. On the bright side my kitchen is almost done and makes me smile every time I look at it.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 2:32PM
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Just please, please, don't give them the last check before this kitchen is done. It sounds like it will be fabulous.

Have you asked him if he doesn't need the last check? Because you can sure spend it on someone who needs it and will finish the work.

This seems to happen so often. I just don't get how in the construction world this is OK. This is when they start calling the homeowner picky, never happy, a b!tch, demanding, whatever. Just because one wants the job done.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 2:59PM
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It's not easy going through these renos especially when you are feeling abandoned by your GC. Is there anyone you can go to to help move things along? I feel for you sweet one. It's not easy being at the mercy of these less than dependable people. â¦.I just did a Bible study that was so helpful, it said to just start thanking God even in the bad times and to look at where you can see Him in any of this. Ask God to help you get through this and then thank Him each time something does or even when it doesn't go right. It helped me a lot, not sure if that would interest you but it helps me almost immediately to be calmer and more peaceful about the situations that come with life. The study that I did is called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voss. Her voice is so soothing (see link). All the best to you and may you have a peaceful day and much progress be made! I'll be thinking of you today and lifting you up, you are not alone.

Here is a link that might be useful: One Thousand Gifts

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 7:38AM
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You have not gone crazy at all. Most of the hardcore construction sounds done but you have a LOT of detail work, some small and some not, and a lot of cleanup to be completed. Hold onto your retainer check until everything is done to your satisfaction.

((Hugs)) to you. This too shall pass.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:24AM
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No, No, you are not gone crazy, the GC is.

Going forward please document all the communications with the GC. Give a deadline of each task. Read your contract, do you have any leverage in it, such as due dates, penalty clauses, warranties...etc.?

DO NOT PAY the last check until everything is meeting your expectation.

Hanging there!

This post was edited by azmom on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 8:44

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:03AM
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azmom had a good suggestion that can help you focus.

Go through and make your punch list. Every single detail, because that's your last and greatest chance. Don't rely on memory, because frankly, none of us are that good. I like to think I am, but I'm always horrified when I realize that yet again, I screwed up and forgot something.

Gr8day is also on the money. In the face of pretty bad trauma, I found myself walking the path of all the yoga teachings I'd been learning and teaching my students over the years. The greatest surprise to me was that, in the face of loss of life, I heard gratitude coming out of my mouth. Had to be my inner voice, because I was too shell-shocked to speak coherent thought. :)

You're certainly not facing that, thank goodness, but take a look at all the great changes, beauty, structural integrity behind the scenes, and how you've (almost) realized your vision.

More practically? No fixee no checkee. No finish-ee? Didn't sound as good in my head.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 2:39PM
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I'm guessing (hoping) that you're waiting for a replacement hood & the electrical install is delayed until the backsplash install.
But why can't they clean up the mess? Call the GC & tell him the mess is driving you crazy. Some of the other issues, sounds like you need to get mad & raise some he##.
Our reno dragged on for a year, mostly our fault, but it wears on you. Hang in there. Before long, your biggest pressure will be to post your reveal pics.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:58PM
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Oh, I hear you! I am so reno fatigued that after 2 (or is it 3 years) after our everything but the kitchen reno is done I am still trying to start on the kitchen! We ended up getting a new GC (grey cat) and he's helping to relax us. Someday we will recover and continue. Hope you do better than us.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:20PM
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Yeah it gets weary. I agree about getting GC out to clean up their mess. It may make u feel slightly better. I was in a similar situation with our basement. Everytime I attempted to clean around their mess, I became overwhelmed and more frustrated. Once I made them clean up their debris from basement and rear yard, *I* felt better. My plants were happy too!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:43PM
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Yes, the worst part of this seems to be the last days. I am so "over" this whole project right now. But I don't have these awful experiences to relate to--my GC has not been perfect, and they show no respect to my property (damaging plants, driveway, etc etc) but there have been people steadily working on it every day for months and they honestly seem to be as eager to get out of our hair as we are to move back in. My counters go in tomorrow and I am just praying they don't damage them in the final days after that. My sympathies!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:20PM
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Sending good thoughts. No matter what, there will always be someone who had it easier and someone who had it harder. Embrace the things that you are loving (oh, and people too). Keep reminding yourself that the mess will eventually be gone and those will remain.

Half talking to myself, half talking to you. :) I know my project is minuscule and short compared to many, but I keep feeling sorry for myself with choices I made that would have meant I'd likely be done by now. Everyone around me tells me to chill, it'll be done and there will be many years to enjoy it.

You've gotten some great recommendations on here. Contact in writing. Document. If they call, follow up in writing. Not sure if it's at the registered mail point or not, but it might be. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 8:18AM
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