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Posts Tagged ‘houses’

New Floors!

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 13, 2015

So after much aggravation, we finally have some new floors!

In early January, we started researching this and settled on a place that seemed fairly reliable and had a good selection. We wanted a new kitchen floor for the first thing (well, my wife did) and we (I) wanted hardwood floors to replace our carpet throughout much of the rest of the house. The question was just how much. That question was answered two ways. One, we found out we would be put out for several days — we and our cats — with the contractors having to move all of the furniture, including the beds, etc., and that didn’t jibe with us. So we eliminated the three upstairs bedrooms. That left the dining room, living room, foyer, and hallway. So the question remained, what about the downstairs? We have a smallish den, a laundry room, which we didn’t want touched, and our office, as well as the stairs. Well, the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a massive hassle it would be to pack up the permanently messy office. It would even be a minor hassle to pack up the den. But we were still open. Until we got the prices. We decided on a pretty LVT kitchen floor that was pretty reasonable. They said they could get it done in one day. And we took some wood samples home to look at, including cherry, but they were too dark for me, so I begged Gretchen to consider something lighter. We had really light wood in our old house and I thought that might be too light for this house, but our living room is pretty dark here and I thought the cherry might make for a pretty depressing room, so I asked for something in between. And we found a nice one, oak I think, with a nice texture at a somewhat reasonable cost. We asked for estimates on the upstairs and the downstairs too, including the stairs. Well, we found out we could afford the upstairs, but the downstairs was a little too rich for our blood and they wanted to charge $2,000 to do the stairs alone!!! That’s crazy! So we decided on the upstairs. They said we’d have to paint our own trim, but I said no way, they’d have to do it or no deal, so they agreed. And they were supposed to start on that this past Tuesday. It was supposed to take two days. The project manager had recommended a floating wood solution, as opposed to a glued down wood, for various reasons, so that’s what we went with. And things went downhill from there.

On the day the contractors were to show up to do the kitchen, they didn’t show up. At all. After awhile, I called the folksy saleswoman who had pre-charged us thousands of dollars and told us we had paid for “everything” then and she looked into it and said there had been a misunderstanding and they wouldn’t be coming that day, they’d be coming the next. I wasn’t happy. I told her. The next day they showed up and after several hours of work, it became apparent that they didn’t have enough materials with them to finish the job. And the warehouse they came from didn’t have more. They’d have to order more from the actual plant. I called the saleswoman and let her have it. She said she’d call the plant and would have the materials overnighted to her and they’d be there mid-morning the next day. So these guys showed up the next day and finished up and even though we were ticked, we were pleased with the finished product and thought the floor looked good. Still, we were apprehensive about the hardwood floor installation.

That was last month. On Tuesday, these same contractors showed up to install the hardwood. It was really difficult for me because that meant I’d be trapped downstairs with two ticked off cats for a couple of days with a lot of noise overhead. I have severe insomnia and depend on naps to survive and I wouldn’t be getting any, so that was frustrating too. Well, they moved furniture around and took up carpet and started laying wood in the living room and then called the project manager in to talk to me. Turns out they said the floor had dips in it. Major dips. They said many houses had dips, but they were usually a quarter inch — ours were an inch. They said they often put a cardboard box in the dip and that works. They said they’d tried three with ours and that didn’t work, so they didn’t feel comfortable laying our floor and said we’d have to do something different. We’d have to get a leveler and get it laid overnight. Then the contractors would have to glue the wood to the floor. This, of course, would cost a whole lot more. I wasn’t happy and when I contacted my wife, she was livid. She felt like it was a bait and switch and I felt similarly. So we had to wait until the saleswoman called me with the figures and I laid into her and she said we didn’t have to do this at all, but it was obvious we did, so I ok’d it at an additional cost, part of which I had to prepay. Then the contractors went to get the leveler, came back, started spreading it around the floor, and left it to dry overnight, which meant we had to leave the cats downstairs all night and which also meant this two day operation was now going to be a three day operation.

On Wednesday, they returned anxious to lay wood. And boy, they did. The cats and I were downstairs and could hear them going to town. At the end of the day, they had done the living room and dining room. We still couldn’t let the cats up though, because all of the furniture was scattered everywhere and we knew we’d never be able to catch them to put them downstairs the next day when the contractors returned. So they stayed downstairs another night.

Remember when I said the saleswoman said we had paid for everything? Not true. When I was talking with her on the phone, she said I’d have to pay the project manager for installation. I asked her what she was talking about. She asked if I’d gotten his quote. I said I thought I had, yes. But I reminded her I had paid for everything up front and she had told us so. “Oh no sir, you did not,” she told me. She said I’d just paid for materials and I still owed many thousands of dollars in installation charges. This was devastating news. Devastating. We have a limited budget. Damn, I mean come on! When you told us we paid for everything, we thought you meant everything, not just part of everything. My wife was livid and I wasn’t far behind her. I said so this is going to be a “X” amount deal, is that right? She added things up and said, no, it’d be less than that, but it’d still be thousands more than I’d allocated for it. Shit!

Well, the contractors showed up yesterday to finish up. They had the painting to do, the foyer and hallway, the quarter rounds (whatever those are), and then cleaning up and moving the furniture back. They finished up late in the afternoon and the project manager came back to give me his bill. He was nice enough, I guess, not to charge me for the painting, which was a decent savings. I still had to pay thousands though. Still, after they left, I just walked around and admired. It looked like they did a really good job. It looked really nice. The living room actually looked bigger. I took my shoes off and wandered around barefoot. I opened up the door to the downstairs and let the cats up. They were elated to be upstairs again, but tread cautiously. They weren’t sure what to think, especially Ace, who’d never seen a wood floor before. When Gretchen got home, she seemed to like it too. So we’re done with that chapter. Now we’re thinking of getting a large carpet for the living room. Why? I’m not sure. It just seems to be the thing to do. Anyway, I’m going to post some pictures for you to see. Cheers!

Kitchen floor

Kitchen floor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hallway floor

Hallway floor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foyer

Foyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living Room

Living Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dining room floor

Dining room floor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Snippets of 2013

Posted by Scott Holstad on January 5, 2014

Last December 31st, I wrote an End of the Year Post where I wrote about highlights (and lowlights) of each month. In fact, I did so for the previous year as well. Well, obviously I didn’t this year. However, I thought I’d take some time to write a few snippets about some things that happened in 2013.

In April, Gretchen and I got married. We had a lovely wedding and an awesome reception attended by a number of close friends and family members. Then we headed for the beach at Gulf Shores, AL, where we had a blast. The weather was perfect, we did a lot of fun things, went over to Pensacola FL for a day trip, and returned home feeling good.

However, on July 28, my father died while mowing my grass, completely unexpectedly. I was at a meeting and had returned home just in time to hear him stop mowing. Minutes later he was on the ground moaning, and as Mom and I tried to give him CPR, he died. Ten minutes after we were at the hospital, the doctor came in with the bad news. It was devastating.

Three days later, our house was broken into while Gretchen was at work and I was on my way home from Knoxville with Mom. These thugs had kicked in our wooden front door and took our big screen tv and my iMac. We felt very victimized and we couldn’t get anyone to come replace the door, so I sat up all night watching the door with my Glock to make sure we weren’t invaded. The next day, we had a metal door installed. Days later, we had an alarm system installed. We felt a lot safer, but not completely safe.

On August 8th, Dad’s funeral was held in Knoxville TN. About 1,000 people attended. I spoke, as did two others. Afterwards, Gretchen, Mom, and I had to stand in a receiving line for about four hours as everyone tried to speak with us. Many of my friends came, even from as far away as Nashville and Virginia, and I didn’t really get a chance to talk to them because we were crushed with people. Family came from all over and that was nice. Sad circumstances, but good to see them.

I spent much of August and September traveling back and forth between Chattanooga and Knoxville with Mom to deal with funeral directors, pastors, financial advisers, lawyers, insurance professionals, and more. Mom has gotten increasingly flustered over the course of the year and relies on me a lot for things that Dad used to do for her, which truthfully doesn’t make me entirely comfortable. But she’s old and lonely and needs help, and I’m the only one there for her, along with Gretchen.

On a different note, I  had only two very minor surgical procedures last year — one in October and one in December, both on my back. I don’t think they’ve helped and am looking at major surgery or living in constant pain. Neither option seems good.

In sports, my Penguins nearly made the Stanley Cup last year and are doing well this year, while my Steelers recovered from a horrible start to nearly make the playoffs. The Pirates did make the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, and the Vols football team had a rough year, but with a new coach and decent recruits, so I have high hopes for the future.

A few months ago, Gretchen joined the bell choir at church, and last month, I was voted onto the Vestry. I am to be installed today. It’s a weighty responsibility and I hope I do well.

A few weeks ago, there was a shooting with a fatality at our only local grocery store about a half mile from us. And there is so much crime in this neighborhood that even though we love this house, we’re looking for a new one in a crime free neighborhood, probably closer to Mom — although she’s thinking about moving back to Knoxville. We have found three good houses so far, with one being on top, so now we have to seriously clean our house and pick it up before we can put it on the market. The main problem is even though we live in a nice middle class neighborhood, the general area isn’t too good and there’s so much crime, that property prices are severely deflated and we’re not bound to get very much for this awesome house and will have to pay a lot more for the next one. That blows.

On an unrelated note, after two months of trying, we were finally able to sign up for Obamacare last month! We’re getting a great deal with Blue Cross with a $1,000 deductible for the both of us and a subsidy, making our payment only $35 a month! That’s sweet. Last week, I paid our first premium. Gretchen’s been without health insurance for over a year and desperately needs to see a doctor, and I’ve been on COBRA, which is about to run out, so we have high hopes for this. The only hitch is that it doesn’t cover all of my meds, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that, but hopefully something will work out.

Finally, on New Year’s Eve, we spent the evening and the night on the Delta Queen riverboat hotel, celebrating with a bunch of people we didn’t know, listening to a covers band that ranged from horrible to decent, depending on the song. We had champagne and kissed at midnight, and we had a good time, although our cabin room was tiny. Heh.

I guess that about covers it. Hopefully 2014 will be a good year. 2010, 2011, and 2012 were horrible years for me, while 2013 was mixed, so I’m hoping 2014 will be the best of the bunch. Cheers!

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