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Diary of A Fixer-Upper: Small Project, Big Headache

Sometimes the strangest things can wear you down.

Heather’s kitchen after the floor was fixed and the fridge and cabinets were installed.

As you may remember, I tore the drywall off the chimney in my kitchen, which meant I had to patch the four-inch border of wood flooring that surrounded it. Luckily, I thought, the company I used to refloor my entire house was great with tiny repairs and patches.

I was used to calling my project manager’s cell phone, but kept getting his voice mail, so eventually I called the main office. The secretary took my information and said she’d call me back to schedule an estimate. After a week passed, I called again, and was able to get an appointment. That Saturday the PM came over, took a look at the job, and said it would be pretty easy because they could manufacture the patch in their shop. He said he’d call me later that day with the exact cost.

Days passed with no word, so I finally called him. He gave me an estimate of $175 and said he could come on Friday. I took the morning off work, waited hours for him to show up, and finally got a call around noon from his secretary canceling the appointment.

I was annoyed by the phone-tag—not to mention wasting precious vacation days —but we rescheduled the appointment for two weeks later, the soonest they could come. Because the base cabinets could not be attached to the wall until the floor was patched, my entire kitchen renovation was being held up for this project.  

The day before the appointment, I called to confirm, but couldn’t get anyone on the phone all day. I just knew he was going to stand me up, but what could I do? The next day, the secretary called me at 1 p.m. (despite not answering her phone the three times I’d called her that morning) to say he couldn’t make it (surprise!). The best part, though, was after another excruciating week trying to get someone—anyone—on the phone to reschedule, the secretary told me, “Wilber wanted me to tell you it would be $375.” Excuse me? How did that happen? Wilber stopped answering his cell phone, so I started calling other companies.   

I called another contractor and explained the situation to him. He spent no less than 15 minutes describing his long history in the flooring business, then another ten minutes explaining how difficult this patch would be, until he finally told me flat-out that he wouldn’t do it. He’s pretty lucky that conversation wasn’t in person.  

After the first time I was stood up, I asked my kitchen contractors if they could do it, but they told me they didn’t have the proper tools.  By this point, they were getting as annoyed as I was by this hold up, so I asked them again if they could do it if I paid for the tool rental. Not only would they do it, but they’d beat the price the flooring contractors quoted me. I needed some minor drywall patching done around the house as well, so my kitchen guys told me they’d do the floor and drywall work for $350. Sold!

They had it done three days later. The wood stain doesn’t completely match, but I could care less. They secured the cabinets, moved my fridge in place, and just like that, the floor patch of my nightmares was hidden and my kitchen was 90% done. Sometimes it pays to keep it simple.

To read Heather's home adventures from the beginning, click here. 

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