Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Don't get me wrong. 90 percent of our remodel project has gone fantastically. And the majority of the big work, the stuff that really matters like laying a foundation, framing, electrical work, etc., has been done flawlessly and on time.

But in all projects some rain must fall, and the last three weeks it's been pouring. And unfortunately these final "touches" have everything to do with the creature comforts of why we took on a remodel in the first place, so they are hard to ignore.

It started with our kitchen backsplash tile, which I saw installed for the first time as the tiler was putting the final piece into place. I walked in and stared in utter astonishment -- were my eyes deceiving me?

"How do you like your tile?" he said, expecting a positive response.

"It's beautiful!" I replied. "'s not the color I picked out."

"Oh, ha ha, people say that to us all the time."

"No really, I wish I were kidding. It is not the tile we picked out."

Within 30 minutes the two people who had spent an entire day tiling our entire kitchen began the work of ripping it all out before it set and took the drywall with it. I felt badly for this small business owner to literally un-do an entire day's work, not knowing if he would get paid for it or not. It hurt all of our hearts to see that gorgeous tile in a trash can, all that beautiful greenish-gray tile, when we had selected white.

Turns out that the store we had purchased the tile from mislabeled the sample. Our designer ordered the right color, assuming that "Whisk Me Away" meant white since that's what the label said on the sample. I had set the white tile out the night before, but, in a fit of neatness, Wayne had put it away, so they didn't have a piece for comparison.

That same day our electrician informed me that the lights we had selected to hang vertically alongside our mirrors in our master bathroom were only meant to be hung horizontally. Plus...they were as bright as a fucking lighthouse lamp. He hung one up just to show me -- I can't imagine how someone could see past the brightness of that light to see their reflection in a mirror.

Back those lights went and a re-order for more appropriate light fixtures was on task.

The tiler got to work tiling our bathroom while waiting for the re-order of the correct white kitchen tile. Then the plumber came to put in our faucets -- finally, we would have a working master bath!

But alas, the faucets were set too low, the nozzles hung into the sinks themselves and the turn knob could not be turned before hitting the countertop. The beautiful tile work around the faucets was ripped out, the dry wall taken out, and the plumber raised the plumbing up and all was re-done again. Only this time the tile is not QUITE as perfect as the same time it was laid, and we can kind of see where the tile had to be taken down for this fix.

Throwing away more beautiful tile.
At least the SHOWER is ready to use! Except...the glass shower door hasn't arrived yet. And we still don't have mirrors. So we can use the toilet in our master bath, but then we have to walk to the original bathroom to wash our hands and brush our teeth, and the four of us are in a familiar bathroom battle.

Finally, the shower door arrived along with the mirrors, and the faucets were re-installed in the new, proper location. A working bathroom! I couldn't wait to take a shower in our OWN bathroom! Except...why doesn't the water drain? Not a single drop of water made it down the drain -- I had to stop my shower early or risk an overflow onto our bathroom floor.

A shower full of water.
Did you know that plumbers do an air test any time they install new plumbing? That makes sure that there are no leaks in all of the pipes that are laid. When they're done with the air test, they're supposed to take out the plastic stopper that keeps the air from escaping the plumbing during the test. And when they don't, well, then you don't exactly have a working shower.

Then this past week we were startled to get a text from our girls informing us that water was pouring into our kitchen through a recessed light. The water was from Marissa's bath in our original bathroom, NOT the new bathroom. What?!

Turns out that the construction work against the back of the original wall had displaced tiles in our original bathroom, so there was nothing keeping the water from running through the floor and out our new kitchen ceiling.

The radiator was drained, moved away from the wall and the tiler was called back again so he could fix the files underneath said radiator that had broken during the construction project.

Broken tiles (plus nasty dirt) in our existing bath due to construction on the wall behind it.
Our circuit breaker that controls our oven and frig goes off at random times, apparently due to an electric current fluctuation in the frig model itself. Fix is in order.

Our newly corrected bathroom faucets apparently STILL don't meet code. Being worked on.

Our hood vent for our oven was delivered with two massive scratches down the middle of it. The hood vent sat in our basement unopened for 2 months before they went to install it and found the scratch. We are waiting for a replacement. Seriously, people.

By this time our project manager was pretty pissed with the number of things that weren't going right at the end of this project. And for as nice and understanding as Wayne and I can be, we were rather pissed, too.

We appreciate the work all the crews have done in our house, but we just want them to leave and not come back.

Once it's all working, that is.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016


Our family has had to get used to constant change since this spring. For the most part I think we've adjusted well - the girls shared a bedroom beautifully for nearly three months. We learned to live without running water or a sink. We adjusted to eating in a variety of places: the Desk Kitchen, the patio table, now standing around an island because we have no chairs.

What better way to embrace chaos than to plan a surprise birthday party for our still-being-remodeled house?

The party was entirely planned by her big sister Lindsey. After sharing a room with her for three months she knew her well and planned a spa party put on with her friends. There were four stations: pedicures, manicures, facials and make up stations. Lindsey told Marissa that she was hosting a spa party for her own friends, so it didn't seem unusual for Lindsey to be planning and scheming.

Wayne took Marissa out for lunch as a special daddy-daughter treat, since he had been traveling over her actual birthday a few days earlier. While she was gone Lindsey and I frantically prepared -- I got groceries, Lindsey set up the spa stations and drinks in the kitchen.

When Marissa got home Lindsey led her into the kitchen to show her the spa set up. All of Marissa's friends had arrived by then and hid behind the island, then jumped up and yelled "SURPRISE!" And she was!

Marissa had a fantastic time getting her nails done, a facial, pedicure, all of it. We learned that some of her friends aren't quite as "girly" as Marissa is and didn't take advantage of the spa stations, but they seemed to have a good time anyway. We had gluten-free chocolate mousse cake which was divine!
Cake cutting.
It was supposed to rain that afternoon which was concerning,  since all the activities had to happen outside. At the time our living room floor was covered in paper, our dining room filled with furniture and our basement was our storage area where everything else is stored! Thankfully it turned into a beautiful afternoon and everyone could enjoy the great outdoors.

Marissa was very surprised and grateful for her party.