Thursday, March 20, 2014

That's Enough

Believe me when I tell you that in this blog I have only touched on a small portion of the problems encountered with the basement room that I've been trying to have built this year.  It's been incredibly stressful, and the final straw was yesterday when the guy I was considering hiring to do the millwork deliberately kicked Lewis down the stairs.  I quit.  I need my life and my home to get back to Normal.  So, I've shoved an old armoire in front of the hole that was to be the hidden door, and I've hauled my old tiny desk to the new work space.

I'm going to call that good enough for now, and put off the wall of bookshelves/built in desk that I wanted for the foreseeable future.  I think that, as long as Alberta is in such a boom where it's so difficult to find good workers and reasonable human beings, I'd rather stay with the status quo than to risk having the sort of people I've been dealing with in my home.

And so, without further adieu, here are a few pictures of the finished part of the room.


The foyer at the bottom of the stairs
(Note the fancy cat hole beside the door that I made for Winter.)

The front of the room
... I still need to find a proper console to house the tv and its paraphernalia, and a coffee table... window coverings too.  But, it's done for now.



Behind the couch is the area that I'm going to pretend doesn't exist.  Instead of the wall of bookshelves and built-in desk, it's a 12' x 16' space with blank walls, mismatched furniture and a lot of frustration.  It'll have to do for now, because I'm done.

And on the note of being finished,  I think it's time to admit that this blog is also done.  It was fun while it lasted, and I thank you for reading my ramblings.  It's time, though, to wrap up and move on.







Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Room

... no, this is not THE new room that I've been harping on for 6 months.  This particular room was put up by my new contractor in an afternoon, using left over materials.





I needed it because code requires that I have a fire break between the mechanicals (furnace/hot water tank) and the living area of the house.  Except, I don't want Winter's litter box in the finished part of the house.  I *could* have them finish the new room, and once it's passed inspection then cut a hole in one of the walls or doors so that Winter could get into the unfinished area, but it was suggested to me that if I did that and the house burned down, Insurance would have cause to deny my claim.  The walls that were put in today are walls that I'd planned to do some day anyway, so I decided to get it done now. Better safe than sorry.  When the door is installed tomorrow, I can cut a hole in the wall behind it and then Winter will have free (legal) access to his pooper.

PROGRESS!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Impulse Purchase

Tallulah has at five full-sized dog beds in the house.  All of them are big enough for her to stretch out on her own, or curl up with the wee beastie.  The two dogs often share beds, so it never occurred to me that Lewis might need or want his own bed.

I'm not sure what I was thinking last night  - this was a complete impulse purchase - but something tells me it's a hit.

These (quick - low quality) shots were taken at various times throughout the day today.








Apparently, Lewis wanted a bed of his own.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Half way there... and other random stuff

Last week, I was in Calgary to work though the third of six courses (exams) I have to take to earn my expert certification in ITIL.    The classes are dry as dirt, but I always come away with ideas for how to improve things at work.  I'm guessing that's the point.   That, and passing the exams to get the certificates.

I won't be going back for any more classes until spring arrives.  The drive to Calgary was awful - again -  with a heat wave rolling in after a big dump of snow.  I had to use my windshield wipers non-stop because of the dirty water spraying off the roads the entire drive, and ran out of wiper fluid about 3/4 of the way there.

Last summer, I had some skin cancer removed.  It's the less-scary variety of skin cancer that should be gone once it is cut out; except that mine keeps growing back.  What was a small mole is now a big scar across my collar bone.  I went to my doctor in December about new spots in the area, and he prescribed a cream to put on them.  Except, the cream costs $300/month.  Yesterday I went back to the doctor to ask for a less expensive option and he scheduled another appointment to do some more cutting Monday morning.   Dang, I have a lot of scars... I guess a few more won't matter.

My dad and I have been scrubbing the heck out of the tile floor in the basement.  We've been pouring vinegar on it, scrubbing the grout with a brush, then using a floor polisher before sucking it up with a wet vac and then rinsing off with water.  We've done this to the area twice... it took three hours both times.  Improvements have been good, but it's not there yet.



Saturday, January 11, 2014

Burned Again

I haven't slept since Christmas Eve.  I can't.  I go to bed and stew, wake up multiple times throughout the night and stew, and am up stewing every morning at least an hour before the alarm goes off.

The reason why I am stewing is because of the basement.  On Christmas Eve, I finally received what I'd been asking for since October - a tally of the expenses to date.  I didn't really need that tally, because I had a quote for the entire job.  However, in October one of the subs told me something that made me feel suspicious.

The bill I received for the framing, drywall and electrical (which is still hasn't been fixed) exceeds the entire quote already.  It doesn't include tile, trim or the extensive millwork I was planning.  It also doesn't take into account that the tile is still covered in grout haze, which is curing (getting harder to fix) every day.

And let's remember that the job was supposed to have taken a month to six weeks - five and a half months ago.

Shortly after New Years, I went to see a lawyer to discuss my options.  He confirmed that the quote I was given is legally binding.  His recommendation is to have a trusted contractor come to give me a quote for how much the work that has been done is worth, less the cost of the corrections to the electrical and tile and pay that out.  It may be higher than the original quote, but it is unlikely to be nearly as high as what is being asked now.

I emailed the contractor yesterday to tell him his work at my house is at an end, and that I'd mail him a cheque once I had calculated what I owed.  I honestly don't know if he set out to take advantage of me, or if things just got out of control.  As he is the spouse of a coworker, I am hoping it is the latter.  Either way, he has caused huge problems for me.  Having somebody come in to take over - fix his mistakes - is going to cost a lot more than it would if he'd just done the job right the first time.

A friend's husband is a contractor.  He is one of the three that I interviewed before the job started.   I was leaning towards going with him, in fact; but his quote came in quite a bit higher than this one's.  I realize now it was a more accurate, honest reflection of what the job should cost.   He's on vacation right now, but has agreed to call me when he is back.  At this point, I suspect I'll just hire him to finish the room and get it up to code.  The millwork (the highlight of the room) will probably have to wait until I've recovered from this financial hit.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

May 2014 be a year of good friends, good times and good fortune for you.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

If at first you don't succeed...

Assuming that the basement will eventually be finished one day, I'm going to want a TV down there.    At first, I was going to get one through Telus, when I switched over to them from Shaw for Internet/TV/Phone.  I quickly determined a free TV wasn't worth having to deal with Telus, though, so I bought one on Black Friday.

That TV came from BestBuy.com.  It was sold as a smart TV, but when it arrived I realized that it wasn't web enabled... was in fact only called smart because it had two USB ports. (!)  It took no less than - honest to God - four and a half hours on the phone to convince them to take the TV back and give me a full refund.

After that, I waited until Boxing Day to take advantage of the sales.  Since my experience with the last TV convinced me that Best Buy is not a store I want to support anymore, and options are limited if I don't want to drive to the big city, a friend told me about her nephew that works in an electronic store that could probably get me a deal.  So, I woke up early on Boxing Day and went out to meet the nephew.  He didn't get me any huge savings, but the price was slightly lower than anything else I'd seen until then.   I bought the TV, hauled it home and set it up.

Yesterday, I was at Costco and saw that they had the same TVs, only bigger and $60 cheaper.  I went home and called a friend who helped me load the Boxing Day TV back into the car and return it, then drive out to Costco, pick up the new one and take it home.  The Costco TV is in my spare room and still in its box.  I probably should set it up today so that I can test it out and make sure it works before the return period is up.  After having set up and disassembled so many TVs, it shouldn't take me too long but I am having trouble finding the energy.  One thing's for sure - this is the last TV that I'll be buying anytime soon.