Last month, I finally ordered the kitchen cabinets I’d been researching for nigh on a year, opting for the “made in China” logo at Grossman’s Bargain Outlet for $1500 less than quoted at Home Depot. I’m on a really tight budget (that truthfully doesn’t include a new kitchen, I write for Patch, after all) and planned on doing as much of the project as I could as a DIY.
Still, there’s only so much this 5’2” lady can do herself, so before “pulling the trigger” I lined up a Jack-of-all-trades construction guy named Rick to help me with the job, not least of all for his attractive fee of $300. He was eager to help, calling me and offering to even go up to Plymouth with me to pick up the shipment when it arrived. He’d swapped out a garage opener that had died for one that is somewhat temperamental, so I figured he’d have to be back at some point anyway to tweak the thing.
Although Rick said he was available to pick them up once the cabinets arrived, he was nowhere to be found, and certainly not at the other end of his phone. When he did finally answer, he said he was unfortunately booked through the following week. He’s always been a bit unreliable, not calling or showing when he says he will, but once he does show he’s pretty thorough. So I drove up to Plymouth with a friend in her SUV and my Subaru hatchback and loaded the cabinets in our two chariots.
By then, all but the sink base of the original cabinets had been torn out and carted away, no thanks to the first Craigs List responder who simply blew me off. (Thank you, Matt, you’ve been great and the sink and base still have your name on them).
I was on to Plan B. My neighbors have been using a plumber guy, Patrick, for years, and recommended him to me when I first moved onto the block three years ago. “I think he has a drinking problem,” said the neighbor, “he can’t drive so he always gets a ride over. But he does excellent work.”
Patrick had been working across the street almost all spring getting the master bath renovated in time for the neighbors to arrive. So it just so happened that the day Rick blew me off, Patrick came over, introduced himself and admired my little dog. We chatted and long story short, he came inside, took a look the work that had to be done, quoted me $500 and said he’d be over the following Monday or Tuesday.
The first thing that had to be done was a replacement of the drywall where the tile backsplash had been. In the interest of teamwork, I told him I’d pick up the drywall sheets from Home Depot. Unfortunately, the drywall wouldn’t fit in my Subaru Impreza hatchback, so I called an left him a message saying as such, suggesting that he and his sidekick pick it up on his way over the following Monday or Tuesday (his start date was slightly fluid).
I should have cut him loose when he didn’t call or show Monday or Tuesday. He did show up to do some work across the street on Wednesday though. My dog’s bladder being 16 years old, avoiding each other was not an option. His excuse? “You called and said you couldn’t get the drywall.” But his delivery seemed a bit fishy.
He then finally admitted that his partner thought his estimate was too low, but that if I still wanted them to do the work for $800, they would.
Now I really don’t like to reward bad behavior, but at this point I just wanted the job done, and the very fact that he worked across the street meant that he’d at least be around. I toyed with the idea of calling Rick back, but Patrick and his sidekick said they’d start the following Thursday. The next day, when they showed up at the neighbor’s to pick up their payment, they even confirmed, telling me I was in good hands. They said they’d be at my house at 10am.
Thursday arrived, and 10am came and went. At around 12:10pm, I heard the car pull into the driveway. “Did you guys get lost?” I asked half jokingly. The sidekick had a mortified “I’m so sorry” look on his face, while Patrick sauntered out of the car carrying a Red Bull.
“I thought you guys weren’t going to show up,” I said.
“If we say we’re going to be here, we’ll be here,” answered Patrick. “Maybe a little later than expected, but we’ll eventually be here.”
“Well, that’s good to know, because I really wasn’t sure if you guys were coming.”
Pat apparently didn’t like my reaction to their somewhat fluid schedule, so he said, “I don’t know if I want to do this job if you’re not going to have a little faith in me.”
That was it. I was at my wits end.
“Well, I’m not going to beg,” I replied.
And they got back in their little sedan and drove off.
I came back in the house and in absolute desperation called Rick. He said he was on a job in Truro, and the soonest he could get to me would be Monday or Tuesday, but only if it’s not sunny. He really said that. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up.
It seems as if he has his own project going on in his garage, and if the weather cooperates, he’s going to work on that instead. He’ll call me if it rains though.
So I finally, FINALLY called my A-list guy, who sadly, only does construction. He’s reliable, friendly, honest and has a ton of integrity. So why didn’t I call him first? Because I was hoping to get one guy to do all the phases of the job, from the drywall, to the hanging of the cabinets, to the disconnect/reconnect of the plumping. Sigh.
He wasn’t available for a couple of weeks.
I’ve called around to some of his recommendations, and their recommendations, and I’m sitting here at 5:15 waiting for the guy from Barber Drywall to arrive (I’m not holding my breath). A general contractor is supposed to come by the house on Sunday morning, and against my better judgment, I’m fairly hopeful. As a backup, I’ve left a message with a guy my electrician recommended, Dean Stanley of Stanley & Son Builders, so if Sunday’s a bust, then I’ll try and make an appointment with him.
What’s your remodeling nightmare? Please share. Misery loves company.
Note: The drywall guy never showed up.