"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Week two and things go down hill and up again.....

It has been more than a week since I updated the work at the new house as it has been a week from the place where snowmen melt. *wink* I was talking to my mother and used that to describe the plasterers that were in the house. Since I am not allowed to swear even at middle age, my mother laughed when I told her this description.

We thought it would be good to have the ceilings done up before moving in throughout the house. We had hired two brothers to do the job but only when work started on the first day did we start to realize that this was a bad choice. They did not do the work themselves and left a young man from Romania in the house often to do much of the work all on his own. The work he did have help on, he ended up having to redo as the man who helped him did a bad job on it. He spoke no Dutch or German and very little English. It was actually much better at the moments that the boss (one of the two brothers) left to go check another job as he was a very unpleasant and rude man. He also spent every moment in the house telling us what a great job they do. I was sick of him from the first day! He told us when we were arranging the work that it would be done in two days and then after two days for the plaster to dry, they would spray the ceilings. We are still waiting for it to dry and that after we rented an industrial fan to help dry it.

It was obvious to us by the second day that this company was not good at their work. For all the man's bragging about how mirror smooth they plaster, we now have to have our painter take away time from his work to the sand the ceilings to get them smooth and then paint them for us.

Friday, things came to climax as we decided to tell the man that he had to clean up the mess of his stuff and get out of the house on Saturday morning. He was completely foul to Jos on the phone and when he arrived the next day. I listened while he lied and insulted us until I went to walk out of the house before I said something. I then decided that I should say something. This was a very expensive lesson about not doing this ever again and why should I not stand up to this man. So I walked back and really let him have it! He was so shocked that for the first time since Monday morning, he shut up. He has absolutely no idea how to work with a customer and his method is to intimidate you once you give him the contract. Right up to paying. He tried to get Jos to pay him cash so he could pocket the money without declaring it to the taxman. Had I known that, I would have started on him again and told him he was out the door now.

Now all this being said, I do not like fighting with people but it felt so good to turn and give this rude man a piece of my mind. I was proud of myself afterwards for not cowering from him but taking forceful control instead. There were four of them there that morning and they stood quiet as mice at the shock of the only woman in the house standing up for what was right. Finally, today we felt like we got our house back. It has been an emotional week for us.

These men never cleaned up after themselves, helped themselves to our coffee and treats without asking and also to Jos' tool box. They used up all the tape we bought to use on painting our walls without asking. Even the street a mess and they were able to drag all the mess with them outside. The boss insulted the man who was working on our new shower room and said the wall was all wrong and needed to be demolished before he could plaster the new wall.

Each evening, I went back to the house to clean up as much as I could. Since then, we now know that normally things are much better covered than the way this company works. Everything was full of plaster and dust. It was never ending work that was making me sick as I cannot be in this kind of dust with my chronic airway infection and skin condition.

I looked a mess as you can see from my shoes. Jos actually pulled out an old pair of tennis shoes to protect his Cats (see this old blog post) from being all messed up. And Jos is never without his Cats. *grins* We had what is referred to as a Jewish or flat ceiling plinth created to line the living room ceiling. I am not sure that is the correct word for it though in English. Now tomorrow, work with start on lightly sanding the ceiling to remove all the blemishes.

In the midst of this turmoil, there are always bright points like the flowers still blooming in the new garden. I am already envisioning the changes I would like to make next spring.

And many good friends have been stopping by to help me out like Bep helping me clean and scrap the plaster that dropped on the floor due to them using only a tarp on the ground. Sonja, Saskia and Silvia have been over to help out too. The chatting and laughter while working help lighten the load.

Another bright point is that my new quilt studio has been painted and has a new floor. The flat trim in laid but the baseboards along the walls still has to be painted and then installed.

The door to the garage will have to be slightly altered in length now with the new floor. We bought an extra thick laminate floor since it needs to be hard wearing with 15 ladies from my quilt group getting together here once a month.

I try and come home during the day to rest as I have been increased pain levels with trying to do so much work. Chronic illness and fixing up a house do not mix well. I do what I can to help Jos as much as possible. This week, he has to return to work so I will have to be at the house during the day. We brought over my big leather chair and footstool today so I can relax in the studio as often as possible.

Each evening, this little guy waits patiently for us to return home and cuddle up with him. He is very aware something is going on. As you can see, he is waiting for me now under a warm quilt so I will say good night to you all.

Note: I hope to be able to visit with you once things settle down in a couple of weeks. I miss your blogs!


Sonja said...

Wat heerlijk dat je nu van die stukadoors af bent! En heel goed dat je je mening hebt gegeven. Bovendien lucht dat op!
Wat wordt jouw studio mooi! Het begint er nu echt goed uit te zien!!!

Rhondi said...

Hi Heidi
It's been quite awhile since I've visited! I didn't even know you were moving. What an ordeal you've been through. I'm glad you stood up to that man.
It is so great that you have your own room for quilting. Can't wait to see it when you've moved in.
Hugs, Rhondi

onlymehere said...

I'm so sorry for the mess they've put you in. I am very proud of you for standing up for yourself and for not swearing. I don't swear either and I certainly like your description (where the snowmen melt)! Thank heavens for good friends to make our loads lighter. I hope it's smooth sailing from here on out. A quilting studio...sigh...the thing dreams are made of!

Jeanne said...

Poor Heidi! I'm glad you stood up to the contractors and gave them what they deserved! It is very hard for me to be confrontational with people as I hate conflict but sometimes you have to do it - they are working for YOU after all! It is never very pleasant having work done on your home. We have been getting estimates on remodeling our bathrooms and we are already nervous! We think we have decided on one company because they seem very professional and do not use subcontractors which I like, I think it makes the workers more accountable. The new flooring in your studio looks great Heidi. Thank goodness you are not living there yet with all the dust etc. Take heart....and think of the day you will be sitting in your new studio enjoying life!

Ginny said...

Oh, Heidi, I can't believe all you are going through with your new house. You always hear of people who hire bad contractors, but never think it would happen to someone you know. I guess you have to keep your eyes on the goal and be patient. Your new studio is going to be wonderful. Here's hoping things progress well and smoothly from here on out.

Elizabethd said...

What a rotten time you are having Heidi. How dare these men take advantage of you in that way, they sound awful. Well done for showing them that you were not to be downtrodden.
I do hope things take a turn for the better now.

Jackie's Stitches said...

I'm happy that you really shared your true feelings with your former contractor. He does sound very arrogant!

The worst is behind you. I love the big window and the floors in your quilting studio!

Tracy said...

Hello, Heidi, and hello there Dagi! Goodness, in many ways this has not been an easy move for you & Jos. So sorry what happened... but good for you both for standing up for yourselves! Do hope things fall in place more... Your quilt studio is lovely--what a great space! Happy Days ((HUGS))

Dutchquiltster said...

Wat zullen jullie blij zijn dat je van die KNOEIERS af zijn .En nog beter dat je je stem hebt laten horen.Het is jammer dat ik niets voor je kan doen ,maar leef echt met jullie mee.En je weet Heidi,na arbeid is het goed rusten.Heel veel sterkte voor jullie allebei en een Big Hug.

Nancy said...

Ahhhhhhhhhh, little Dagi, just waiting and wondering. I have been hearing a play by play so know what has been going on.
I am Prouddddd of you for telling that jerk off. You go girl.
The floor looks very pretty. It will all come along now I bet.
Love you, Mom

Melanie said...

Oh my goodness, what a nightmare with those contractor men! Is there a place where you an officially complain about these guys? For instance, here in the States, we have the Better Business Bureau. I'm so proud of you for standing up to that man!

DebbieSFL said...

I'm glad that you stood up to those bullies---and that is usually what they need! But sorry that they made such a mess in your home :(

DonnaTN said...

What a terrible time you have had! Good for you for standing up to the rude and inept workman. Take care of yourself during these stressful times. I'll be sending good thoughts your way!

Maggie said...

Sorry you are having problems with workmen Heidi, plastering is THE worst job to have done, i remember the mess well!! Good for you for standing up to the workman though - i take it you wont be recomending him to others!

Celestial Charms said...

I'm so sorry you are having such a difficult time with all the renovation work. Some people are just miserable, and they feel the need to spread their misery about. So sad. However, in the end, I know all will work out. Your kitty cat is ever so cute.

Simple Home said...

I'm so sorry for all of the headaches you've been encountering. I know you'll be glad when it's finally done. Good for you for giving this crooked contractor a piece of your mind!