The Story With the Contractor

Some of you are wondering why I didn't go after said Contractor for his shoddy work [WI shaking her fist for rectification of this injustice]. It's a long story, some of you may already know it, but here it goes.

Back in July, we had a horrible plumbing experience that cost of an assload of money ($5600) and left us with water damage in the kitchen. Since we bought the house last year we had lamented about the size of the kitchen and how incredibly small it was. So small that when we moved in we bought a counter-depth refrigerator to make up for the lack of space. Since the water had damaged the lower cabinets and they would all have to be replaced, we figured it was time to take on the "kitchen project".

Initially, the kitchen project was going to entail an addition. Opening up an exterior wall and adding about 120 square feet of space. I, honestly didn't think this would cost more than 25K (we were not going to do nice counters and cabinets like we have now - we were going bare-bones. We were also going to do the drywall and finish work ourselves). We had The Husband's co-worker draw up plans and I went to the City for permits, etc, etc. City came back after a long-ass time with "You need this drawn up by a licensed engineer." Estimates started coming back and it was looking like closer to 40K. There was no chance for a loan since our home's value was (and still is) in the toilet, and being in a recession and all, I was not ready to dump our entire savings into this project.

So, we bailed. Came up with a new plan. However, technically, the new plan still required some permits for small stuff (the windows being shorter, moving the sink, and the electrical which was nothing more than adding a few outlets and adding recessed lights). Honestly, I wouldn't have known you needed permits had I not done so much research for the first plan. We weren't doing anything major - in fact half the stuff I see on HGTV and DIY network looks questionable as I know they don't always get permits (like on Designed to Sell). The permit process would have taken another two months. They take 10 business days just to review your submittal and give you back corrections. I mean, for sure we'd have at least one round of corrections. So, it would be 20+ business days before we could get started. All the while, we would still be living with the musty smell from the damaged cabinets and drywall. Every day spent waiting was more time for mold to set in.

So we went ahead without permits and I still don't regret that. When we demo'd the drywall, mold had started to grow on the back of the drywall. It simply wasn't smart to wait any longer. This did, however, leave us with a bit of a conundrum. We didn't want to just pluck a contractor out of the phone book because we didn't want to get someone who would turn around and tattle. Referrals was the route we tried to take. Unfortunately, this referral turned out to be not so good for a number of reasons.

Now, he wasn't altogether crappy. He shouldn't have said he could do the electrical because it was clearly over his head. Drywall and framing he seemed quite competent. The "bad" was (1) he is related to one of my Husband's coworkers, (2) he only took cash. And #2 is sort of the root of the problem. He has had a tough situation - his girlfriend has had a number of health issues (heart stuff) and they have no insurance. Essentially, all the money and his house is gone from paying medical bills. On top of that the state is after him for back child-support from like 20 years ago, stripped him of his contractor licenses, etc. I mean, he really is in a tough situation. So, you see, I have no way to get back anything. Sure, we could call him and try to get him to fix it, but do we want to? Not really. Can't say I trust him to fix the electrical. And it's not like he was expensive. I am obviously not going to turn him in because I should've been going by the book on my end, too. Which is why I sometimes feel bad for berating him about this work (though even if I were in his situation, I wouldn't have taken money for stuff that I wasn't really able to do).

So, I am sucking it up and paying someone who is licensed (who I managed to find by asking my yoga students for a referral) to fix it, but not without bitching to you all here in the blogosphere. Thanks for listening to it. I am a champion complainer.


  1. I haven't read this post yet..I will...LOL just want you to know I tagged you on my blog, so when you have time, take a look! :)

  2. Sounds like you helped the guy out. Never a loss if that is the case.

    I saw a floor you might like. It would be easier to install than slate. I'll send you a pic.

  3. ahh, well that does make sence then. I think I would do the same thing. Thats really to bad that he cant get it together, he could maybe pull himself out of this hole if he could learn to do the jobs that he is getting paid to do. Word travels sooo fast in a small town. -Oh and your comment on my post just now cracked me up!! You guys are sooo funny, Im so thankful for my friends in bloggy land!!! LA


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