Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I am trying to stay positive

I have been told by many people that I am a pessimist. I tend to think of myself as more of a cynic and a realist with a bent toward angry and ranting than a pessimist. I usually try to stop and think of a way out of or of "the bright side" rather than to wallow in misery or stay in a state of "doom and gloom". But why split hairs - call me whatever you want because today I am having to work really hard at not drowning myself in drink or screaming at the top of my lungs.

The pool and patio project began in June as just a little, innocent idea. I thought it would be kind of cool to have a pool and suggested maybe we try out an above ground one for a couple of years to see if we would use it, like it, etc. Aaron was not terribly gung ho on that as it would kill a big patch of yard and they are ugly besides. True statements, and after further consideration and a list of pros (I wouldn't have to go to the pee filled public pool with 87 million of my closest friends, the kids would love it, we could have nice family fun in our own backyard, it will be easy to locate our teenage children in they are hanging out in our pool) and cons (maintenance, MONEY, safety), we decided to go for it. Let the trouble begin.

Who knew it is so difficult to find a decent pool company? Being in a small-ish town without too many people to give us the name of a reputable company made it a little more difficult. But being the obsessive individual I am, I researched and called and interviewed somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen pool and landscape companies. I probably complicated matters by trying to find someone who could do the pool and the patio (with firepit and outdoor kitchen), but I figured that someone out there was capable. And with the economy supposedly being so bad, I figured they would be eager to work for us and do a good job. Hahahahahaha - what am idiot I am.

Between people not bothering to call back or show up to appointments or treat me like a complete moron because I am female and ask a lot of questions and the fact that this little project was turning into a large project with a gargantuan price tag, we just about threw in the towel a month and a half after the birth of the idea. Enter last ditch effort - call a guy who had lots of experience in pool building but a brand new company. He not only builds pools, but specializes in outdoor living spaces including patios and kitchens.

Woo hoo! The bid was reasonable, the guy was nice, the pictures looked good, I talked to 2 satisfied customers. We decided to take the plunge and hire him.

Six weeks, numerous rain delays and many checks later, I sit typing while looking out over a backyard that has about 10 square feet of grass left to go with a patio that is poured way too high (actually over the siding), has water pooling all over it (against the house despite two "fixes") and feels and looks like popcorn ceiling (I guess my idea of knockdown texture and his are two different things despite the fact that the sample looked like my version of knockdown). The fire pit is full of about 6 inches of water, the bricks are covered with patio knockdown coating. The fence is down, the yard is a huge mud pit and we have to take the dog out for walks (not fun considering he thinks he needs to go out every 10 minutes since he is used to just being able to go out back). The pool looks fine, the patio is a debacle (and probably wouldn't pass a building inspection) and my nerves are beyond frayed.

All I wanted was someone who was dependable and would do a good job. I am here every day if you need to ask questions or run something by me. I was very up front about the fact that I expect people I hire to show up when they say they will, do the job I hire them to do and communicate with me about it. It doesn't have to be perfect, but I expect it to be better than Grant and I could do during commercial breaks from the Young and the Restless.

After two botched jobs (don't even ask about our hardwood floor debacle), I am beginning to wonder if anyone out there takes pride in their work and does a good job anymore. I am beginning to think that the entitled and lazy are going to take over the world. I am beginning to think that I am not going to be able to look at the patio without spiking my blood pressure and becoming homicidal. Maybe I am a pessimist after all.


Amanda said...

Oh Kara, I'm so sorry that this is happening. However, before you pay another cent to this contractor, make him fix what is wrong. If that means hammering out the whole freggin thing, the make him do it. Take lots of pictures, and start keeping a jornal about the water it is holding. Hope this helps.

Jean said...

What Amanda said! Get it fixed before the guy thinks it's done, disappears, and stops answering his phone. After a couple of similar though smaller-scale things here in our almost quarter century of home-ownership, fear any sort of major home project. DIY or don't do it could be my mantra.

Karen said...

What Amanda and Jean said, but look at it this way---He's still there! I'm sure he's a nice guy and you like him. However, he hasn't borrowed a ton, or a little, bit of money from you, disappeared never to be seen or heard from again. He can put this project back where you want it. Make him do it.