Back in 2012, a renovation expert by the name of Mike Holmes started a new television series called Holmes Makes It Right. The past couple weeks I have been wondering if Holmes could make it right here on the farm.
While the guys finally got it right this past week finally finding someone to fill the hole Shaggy left after he passed away, I was hoping a lot would have progressed on the house renovation as well. I saw their good fortune at finding someone who took to the work like a duck takes to water as a sign that just perhaps things here would straighten out. With the polar vortex and a lot of other misfortunes behind us, I thought with the positive change that occurred this past week outside that the same would happen inside.
For a good part of last fall, the house renovation was moving along with a few hiccups along the way like weather and funerals as you may recall. December and January presented seasonal illnesses that cost us a week each month of our contractor not being well enough to work on the project. Other weeks during those months, he was pretty much here on a weekly basis, five days of the week working. Big C enjoyed the diversion of working inside in between chores without having to deal with the elements outside. Lucky participated as well.
The only bad thing is that our contractor never did get to wrapping the house exterior up or get the siding on. There were no windows installed either, even if he had ordered them (so he said) back last fall. Rather, he focused working on the inside once the roof got shingled. Needless to say, without siding it was rather chilly during the polar vortex. Big C and Sunny, though they were camping out in the backyard in The Shack, often had a warmer environment inside with two oil heaters running than Lucky and I did in the house. Many nights I had to wear layers of clothes in bed to stay warm even though I had an oil heater plus the furnace running. Many days when I worked in the home office, I had bundled up in a blanket in the early morning hours sitting close to an oil heater in there as well.
Come February the pace on the renovation slowed down. A pattern emerged where the first week of the month the contractor didn’t show up to work. The second and third weeks, he didn’t show up on Mondays and Tuesdays. The fourth week, he didn’t show on Monday. The following week he came every day.
In March, the same thing happened except toward the end of the month, the contractor started showing up with only one task in mind to complete and stayed no more than an hour at times. He did make it possible for Big C and Sunny to move back into the house in their new rooms, but their rooms are not completely finished. The same is true for the other rooms including the bathroom upstairs. Big C and Sunny do have access to a sink with running water, a toilet and a tub/shower, but the doors and the drawers for the vanity have not been installed. Closets are not completely finished with some that have doors and rods while others do not.
Now in April again the contractor didn’t come the first week (normal), but the second week he showed up on Monday and Tuesday with only one task for an hour each day. The rest of that week he didn’t come. This past week he came Monday to install a set of bi-fold doors in the office only. He said he was returning with more for the office the next day, but he came briefly (a whole 5 minutes) to get a nail gun and took off without saying a word. He didn’t come back the rest of the week.
With planting just around the corner it looks like moving forward upstairs isn’t going to happen any time soon. The contractor knows that he will be on his own once planting starts (the crew he claimed to have had before work started never materialized). We reminded him of that again when we tracked him down the other evening. He claimed he had a funeral to attend which he took off for a whole week for someone not really related to him. Then he said he had been working on the vanity for the bathroom (recall I said the vanity already is in the bathroom). He had difficulty acquiring some things to begin work on the siding, but he never took the time to call us.
I knew renovation would take a while, but in my experience with renovations, when you hire people, they usually show up and get things done. In this case it is not getting done. What makes it difficult besides the absence of communication is being able to communicate to this contractor. He ignores voice mail on his cell phone and doesn’t pick up either to answer it. The worst part is he is a so-called friend. Often I have been told contractor friends are the worst contractors to hire, and now I believe it.
So, until Mike Holmes shows up to make it right, I will have to move on with Plan B, that being selling some things to make room and make life more tolerable in my very cramped living space including my current office. I don’t like this plan, but what choice do I have.