Too long


It’s been a while since I’ve actually been able to sit down and write a post. Between the lovely spring cold that kept me out of commission for two weeks, and another two week issue with internet services. But, alas, I’m back and have missed you guys.

Today I actually had a chance sit down and work on First Sight- or oops, I mean the still untitled manuscript and got in a decent word count of 718; after my lengthy hiatus. I’m hoping to get back into my five days a week groove, so that I can actually complete the first draft, but it might prove a bit difficult next month, as I shall be finally completing my still half-completed deck. Which, now brings me to the topic of the deck that I promised I would talk about.

As some of you are aware I’ve had this half-completed deck since the end of last summer, because the contractor I previous hired sucked… No wait that’s putting it too mildly. A better way to describe him would be, a lying, lowlife, scumbag. Yes that sounds much better.

At the beginning of last summer I was looking for a contractor to replace a deck that was built with the house; which was constructed in 1940, so as you can imagine the old deck needed to be rescued before somebody fell through it, and considering the deck is about ten feet off of the ground that would’ve been a nasty fall. Thankfully no such incident occurred.

So since this deck wasn’t like your general deck which is usually what… maybe… three to four feet off the ground. There was already issues there pertaining to standard building codes. Which would mean having your support beams four feet below the ground. This is a building factor that made every contractor who had given me an estimate, cringed at. That, and the fact that I wanted the new deck to go the entire length of the back of the house. This would mean sixty feet of deck, along with sixty feet of deck roofing. If I wanted to stick with the original deck’s design. (Which, at the time I did.) So as you can imagine I had loads of trouble in trying to find a contractor willing to do the job.

So when I happened across a contractor, who (at the time,) was replacing the siding of a multi-fam housing unit, and whom showed me his license, all of his qualifications and so on. I was thrilled but at the same time skeptical, for when it usually came to the estimate every other contractor greeted the prospect of the job with a loud whistle, and the usual. “Well this’ll be a heck of a project.” When Mr. Con-Tractor actually put in a bid at a decent price I was tickled pink. A month later with the new deck still in the framing stage, I went from tickled pink to fuck I’m so fucked.

A month and a half after Mr. Con-tractor started working on the deck, I had to push him to complete most of the railing, the flooring, and he’d started on the stairs. That was as close as the fucker would ever get to finishing what he started; because I had to fire him.

We’ll call this next part plain stupidity, but before I get into it, there are a few factors that I’d like for you to be aware, so that you could get a better understanding on my situation back then.

  1. The deck as you know was as old as the house and it was in terrible condition.
  2. The winters out here on the East Coast usually range from bad to horrific.
  3. The deck couldn’t have lasted another winter (Especially a horrific one.)
  4. If I had been unable to have the deck replaced last summer, and the old deck were still in full operation; during the winter, and it eventually did fall down. It would have damaged the back of the house. Which, is why you have home insurance in the event that it might occur; however that would’ve been a bigger pain in the ass.
  5. I probably would’ve been fined by the town, for still having such an unsafe deck.
  6. He was actually willing to do the job.

So yes, Mr. Con-tractor seemed qualified, his price was good, at the time he seemed very courteous, professional, and for the first week was very hard working. He’d torn down the old deck and was in the process of framing the new one. Life seems good… Oh how very wrong I was.

Let me give you the gist of the next two months. I gave the guy a deposit to start the job. Then I give him the cash for tearing down the deck and the money to start framing the new one. Then the guy drags his feet during stage two which is putting down flooring, railing, stairs, the whole nine yards. I push, he finishes most of stage two. And here ladies and gentlemen, is where I make my mistake. I gave him part of the the money to begin stage three which is roofing. Because; he explained once he’s finished off stage two, he’ll immediately begin stage three. Shortly after giving him that money surprise, surprise, I can’t get a hold of him. So what do I do? I try find another way of contact him via internet, and what do I find you may ask? That Mr.Con-tractor has an extensive criminal record. His MO, contracting scams, along with a dozen assault and battery, charges, and a few car theft charges.

So, fuckingfantastic I have no extra money, a half-completed deck, and Mr.Con-tractor just blew his third strike, because along with conning myself, he’d conned somebody else in another contracting scam and wound up back in jail.

Here’s my advice to you on how to avoid hiring an asshole like this guy.

  1. Do an actual background check, (don’t just assume you’re safe because he shows you a license. (Because, it could be fake.)
  2. Usually a legit contractor will give you his insurance info, in the event that he might be unable to complete the work.
  3. He’ll have a building permit setup during construction.
  4. You’ll usually pay a deposit in the beginning and then the remainder of what you owe at the very end. (Not stage by stage.)
  5. If he’s a decent contractor, he’ll get your job done in a timely manner, and won’t drag his feet.

So that’s been my experience with a contractor, and what an ordeal it was. I hope that my first experience might help you fellow home owners out there, so that you can avoid a lot of headaches later on down the road.

Update Post


I’ve been meaning to come around and actually write a blog post, instead of posting YouTube videos.

I’m pleased to say that First Sight is progressing nicely. Since starting to put more of an effort into the book at the beginning of last month, it has gone from, a word count of around 4,800 to 20,650, which is amazing. However, on the downside of the book’s progress, I have recently discovered that I need to change it’s title, for there are too many books out there with ‘First Sight’ somewhere in the title. So, unfortunately I’m back to untitled; which I think is sort of better, considering, that I have no idea how this story will end. I have a feeling that it’s going to be one of those books, where the author is blind until somewhere around the climax. At least it’s progressing, and I’m getting more of a sense of my main characters Roxy and Lexi; both of which have a tendency to surprise me on a daily basis.

On an entirely different subject, I should have some new posts revolving around the house, home Improvement projects, contracting don’ts (which will save you from home owner hell,) as well as some painting tips. I think that I might start with the contractor don’ts. Now that I’m in a better position with the deck; I think that I can actually get through writing a post, without cursing my contractor’s name, on every other line.

I think that’s about covers it with this little update post. Hopefully, I’ll be back around sometime next week, once I’ve finished filing my taxes.

I’ll see you guys soon.

Enjoy your weekend 🙂

Contractor Don’ts


To be perfectly clear this post has to do with a contractor who really sucks at his job. This post is not meant to be a guide on which contractors to avoid, though you might take a tip or two away in this post.

I hired this contractor in late June to re-build my second story deck, which runs across the length of the back of my house. The old deck had seen its best days perhaps forty years ago. At first the guy seemed great, he had given me a good price and began to re-build the structure immediately. That first week was paradise he had the old deck torn down within three days max, and began to build the frames for the new deck.

As I said that first week paradise, now it’s August 9th and I don’t even have the flooring fully in, so now that you’ve gotten an idea of what I’ve been dealing with I’ll continue.

For privacy sake I’ll be using a different name for my crazy, nut job contractor, we’ll call him… Loony Larry, or just Larry for short.

Hmm, let’s see what was the first indication that Larry was indeed loony, ah yes the garage door moment.

Friday, 10:30AM, July 29th, location: driveway/garage.

I came around to the back of the house to ask Larry a question about the deck, I expected to find him up on the deck. Instead I find him sitting again one of my garage doors, with his radio sitting beside him. The radio was cranking out country music, I’m pretty sure I heard Reba McEntire’s For my broken heart playing.

Larry sits against the garage door, his face, the definition of gloom. The lyrics, (I guess the world won’t stop, for my broken heart.) Play on, making the gloom on his face even more defined. I approach him cautiously, for fear that I might be seeing apart of him that he wouldn’t want one of his customers to see; or at least I certainly wouldn’t if I were in his shoes. He looks up and sees me, suddenly I feel awkward, as if I’ve intruded on a private moment. But then the business side of my brain pops into play with, he shouldn’t be having a private moment while on the job site. This propels me forward and I stand near him waiting.

Larry: (Turns down the music) Sorry Chelsea, I’m just feeling a bit blue at the moment.

Me: (Can’t help feeling sympathetic, though I don’t even know why he’s depressed.) I’m sorry to here that.

Larry: (Kicks at a piece of gravel.) I’ve been working so much, and I guess I’m just worn down.

Me: We all get worn down, but I wouldn’t get depressed about it.

Larry: It’s not so much that, it’s really the fact that I had to fire one of my guys last week, for stealing tools.

Me: (I have heard this story a dozen times since the termination of the employee’s position. I know the details so well, that I could recite them. So I do; out of pure annoyance and frustration.) I know the guy worked with you for years, and you’ve known him since you did flooring installs for Bob’s furniture. But the guy can’t have been that great if he stole from you.

Larry: (sighs.) I know you’re right, but he was a good friend, and I miss him.

Me: (I feel the need to repeat the last bits of what I just said to him, but decide not to because he’ll yammer on and on about the guy, and all I want Larry to do is get to work on the deck.) Say you know what would help take those blues away? (He looks at me perplexedly, then shakes his head.) Good old fashioned hard work, so roll up those sleeves, and I bet you’ll be feeling better before you know it.

Larry: You know something Chelsea, I haven’t had to use. (He raises his fists.) Old Betsy, and Bertha, since I was in high school. We’re talking fifteen years.

Me: (Tried as I might to avoid this, he’s started to yammer, great.) I’m sure that fight is a hard thing to come to terms with. But I’m telling you the kind of work that you do, building things, that probably just makes you feel so good, and releases your tensions. Perhaps I’ll join you up there, that is if I weren’t afraid of heights.

Larry: Chels you’re gay right?

Me: (wondering what in the hell my sexuality has to do with this conversation?) Yes, why?

Larry: (beginning to sob.) I- I- was just wondering if you could tell me why guys are so mean?

Me: (He’s joking right?) Well that’s hard to say considering I’m a lesbian and have never dated guys.

Larry: (Now sobbing into my shoulder.) It just sucks, why can’t you just be able to trust an employee anymore? Why would they just rob you blind, I mean he was paid a decent wage.

Me: (Creeped out and losing my patience.) Sometimes people just suck and you just need to get over it. (I pick up his hammer and hand it to him.) I’ve got to get going, so you should get back to work on the flooring install of the deck.

Larry: Yeah, I should. (He begins to sob again.)

Me: (For Christ sake.) What now?

Larry: Nothing, it just, this was Kevin’s hammer.

Me: Look there’s another hammer in the garage, I’ll be by later to see how things are progressing.

It’s ten days later and I’m still waiting for him to finish the flooring, but he has at least attached all of the railing and some of the stairs. Apparently I attract the same type of contractors as the type women that I date, both are crazy, and are full of excuses, and are extremely lazy.

 

 

The flooring overhaul


I know that I’ve discussed my plans to re-do my office floor, which I’m still doing by the way. However I’ve found that when it comes to certain home improvement projects, you’ll find yourself doing more than you ever expected, and flooring falls under that category.

In this post I’m probably going to sound a lot like a broken record which I probably should have mentioned in the beginning of this post, but If I had would you have continued to read? I hope you would have, and now that you’re aware of this fact, I hope that you’ll still continue to read; although if you’re already this deep then odds are that you intend to do so.

A few weeks ago I completed part of a flooring overhaul which involved me ripping out carpeting in my office. This lead me to discover that the previous owner had not only one carpet pad underneath the carpet itself, but a second which had been glued to the hardwood floor. To fix this unexpected issue I had to use a paint scraper, hammer, and most of my patience. After working through that, plus sanding down the wood I figured I could handle the rest of the carpeting in the house confidently.

Not so much.

FB floor 1 I’m not sure who the previous owner had hired to do the carpeting jobs in this triplex, but I’d personally like to smack them upside the head.

We all know the basic idea of how carpeting is installed, you have tack on strips to help hold the corners down good and tight, you have the carpet padding, which you staple down, and then you lay the carpet. The idea seems pretty simple although physically it’s difficult; but the concept in general doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out.

FB floor 2In all of my years of seeing how the job is done and the material used makes me question the intelligence of the installers for this house. Instead of using foam carpet padding, as you would expect somebody to use, they laid down this sort of steal wool, I kid you not. This stuff was like a gigantic SOS pad with staples, so many fucking staples. The steal wool was so thick that I couldn’t even cut it with my exacto knife, instead I had to pull out my portable jigsaw (even the saw had issues cutting through the padding they’d used.)

FB floor 3As if the SOS padding weren’t enough to deal with, it left behind this black, rubbery, residue, which when I tried to remove with my sander made the entire house smell like burning rubber. (It still does.)

I really cannot for the life of me wrap my head around the installer’s way of thinking. Now I’m actually afraid to rip out the rest of the carpeting in the house. Oh and did I mention that they’d actually used linoleum as another avenue of laying down padding? That’s right underneath the carpeting in my master bedroom laid the SOS padding, followed by linoleum.

Scary right? And also just plain weird.

So much I wanna say, yet so little time


I want to start this post with something positive, well at least positive for me and all of my friends out in Colorado. I’m so happy that the Broncos are their way to Super Bowl 50.

(A quick side note:) I have friends and relatives that reside out here in Mass, so out of respect to them and the Pats I will say that the Pats played a good game and that Brady had me biting my nails in the 4th. So good game Pats I wish y’all the best next year.

This week was very progressive for me, I’ve accomplished a few goals that I’d set out a couple of weeks ago, until a slight elbow injury stopped me in my tracks. The first is that I finished ripping the rest of the carpet in my office.

20160104_220956

Then the next piece of the project before sanding down the hardwood floor, was to finish painting the walls. They turned out to be a beautiful white.

wall painted

Hardwood sanded

Finally to wrap up part of this office space/home improvement I sanded the floor, and successfully got rid of the nasty leftover glued down bits of carpet pad. At least now I can say it looks and smells a lot better. The sanding I am most thrilled to be finished with because to do the job and to also save some money, I used my portable belt sander to do the job. I will say on the up side it gives your arms a fantastic workout.

The final and one of the most important things I did this week was that I continued to chisel out the fossil that is Jenny Mac, although no major story pieces have been written this week, two important pieces to Jenny’s psychic abilities were. Even though that seems pretty minimal it’s actually a big step for me at least.

I know that I haven’t blogged much this month I do apologize people I’m trying to better proportion my time, but I do however have a few Stephen King books that I’d like to share with you when I have more time. There’s three so far that I’ve read On Writing, Christine, and Carrie; I must say so far I’ve liked Christine the best. I’m also in the midst of Misery so I will have some new posts coming soon.

I hope y’all have a good night and I’ll see you soon.

Wait and sling


Yesterday and today I was having a very productive go of things. I was in the midst of ripping up carpet in my office, which I learned yesterday that the job was going to take a little elbow grease. If you pardon the pun, I say this because today I had a slew of incidents that lead me to this elbow pun.
1 my sister has a golden lab.
2 the dog is very crafty.
3 a busy road with plenty of traffic.
4 the dog can go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye.
5 me plus chasing after the lab, plus ice is not the best of combinations.
So long pun short, the dog runs out of the door across the road, and as I attempted to catch him I had an encounter with a patch of ice.
The ice won, now my right elbow looks the size of a grapefruit. On the positive side of things I didn’t break any bones but I do have a lot of swelling, and I have to fashion this bad boy for a few days.

20160105_190958_1

If you were wondering why the carpet destruction would take some doing it’s because, whoever had the carpet installed thought that it would be a brilliant idea to do two layers of carpet padding. Oh and did I mention that they glued as well as stapled the padding to the hardwood floor.
People and their carpet.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ode to my Triplex


Dearest triplex I can’t wait to own you, to get to know, but most of all I cannot wait to customize you.

To give each of your rooms a splash of color, to smell the smells of fresh paint.

Shaping each room to meet its fullest potential.

Cosmetically remodeling your bathrooms, giving each of your bathtubs, sinks, and tiles a new sparkle.

Removing all of your dated kitchen cabinetry and replacing them with modern unfinished beauties.

I can already see your kitchen appliances shimmering, fitting in perfectly with the new cabinetry.

Oh how I can not wait to start building you up and to give you all that is needed to shine as if you’re a newly built beauty, and with closing day a mere 9 days away; I pack my things up patiently.

Awaiting for the deed, the keys, and the paperwork, soon it’ll be a matter of signing at the x then you’ll officially be my first property.