Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Still on plywood

I think I've learned something about renovations today. Nothing earth-shattering; just enough to understand the hard knocks that tend to come with house renovations. Today's hard knocks made me feel like I've jumped from naïve first-timer to wise veteran. Today was the day our laminate flooring was to be put in.

We moved all the furniture out of the way, like we were told. This meant a living room and 3 bedrooms crammed into one dining room.

We took out all the staples on the floor, all the tack strips along the wall, and all pictures off the wall--as we were told.

And in the process, accidentally broke Henry's door down, even though technically every door in this house is broken in one way or another.

The installer showed up and we were very excited to see him. He took out his leveler and crawled all over the floor(s) with it. I figured this was just part of the process of prepping and thought nothing of it.

I was wrong.

He came up to me and said, "There may be some issues." 

"Issues" to me, meant maybe an extra day of work. Nope. Issues was his way of saying he couldn't lay the floor. At all.

We had the measurements taken about a month ago way back in the beginning of all this. The guy taking the measurement did let us know that the hallway was very slanted and that it would need some "filling" before the floor could be laid in order for the flooring to lay flat. He checked it out with the installer and they said this was possible, so we proceeded as planned.

Unfortunately, all bedrooms are also slanted. We have felt it under our feet as we walked but honestly didn't think much of it, probably because we got used to it. However, this never showed up on the measurements that the man took. So basically our one "issue" turned into issues all over the upstairs (including the living room) and all those fillings went way over budget. That is my simple explanation of it; Dennis has more details and information but the bottom line is that you can't put flat wood on a slanted floor.

It took a little bit for this to sink in. I was hopeful that something could be done but as the installer talked to his team on the phone, it was clear that nothing could be done. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.  Not only did this mean we weren't going to get our beautiful laminate "hard wood" floor, it also meant that we would have to continue to live on the dreaded plywood. I had been counting on a new floor; it was what got me through all the inconveniences that comes with renovations: "it will all be worth it for a new floor."

A few days before installation.
I decided to proceed with our plan to spend the day at Grandma's, even though it looked like we didn't need to leave after all, seeing that no floor would be put in. I knew the kids were counting on seeing Grandma and going to Shoots and Ladders park, and even though the installer was still telling us in between phone calls that he was "working on it", I already knew what the answer was.
 Dennis opted to stay behind to talk to the installer.

Later he called to tell me what I already knew. To hear him break the news by saying, "So you want me to put all the furniture back?" still put a sting in my heart. I knew it wasn't Dennis's fault but I guess I was mad that he couldn't make it happen.

I also knew it wasn't my mom's fault when she called me from the grocery store (while we were on our way to her house) and said, "Oh, that's too bad. So what should I pick up for lunch?" and the sting only got worse.

It also wasn't completely Home Depot's fault since their measuring crew comes from a different company that they hire. The whole thing about this that has been so frustrating is that there are different companies for everything--it has been impossible to get questions answered or issues resolved because there is always another company and nobody seems to be on the same page.

Yet, something had to be done. We were now back to square one with no floor and promised with only a phone call from "someone". Yet, throughout this entire ordeal, not once has someone called us with a confirmation order, a confirmation time or any sort of communication. We were promised phone calls but it was always us that would have to do the calling. I sure was not in the mood to wait for a phone call again, so I got on the phone and basically let them have it.

I told them that today something would have to be figured out--not tomorrow. Today someone would have to call us back and today a plan would need to be formed. Not tomorrow! "I want to be treated like a priority," I told the manager on the phone, not even realizing I was basically quoting Home Depots slogan "We put people first".

About a half hour later, Liz, the customer order specialist called us. I still was all bent out of shape and not feeling very trusting that someone would actually help us or even care after all this time of our order falling through the cracks, broken promises, and bad measuring jobs, so I let Dennis handle the phone call. "She's on our side" he assured me, but I still was not convinced. We made a plan that since the kids were with my mom already, we would go to Home Depot to figure out something for a floor and have the order put in today. It was also our hope that they would give us some sort of deal in pricing since they screwed things up to begin with, and if not, I still had a few more slogans to throw out at them.

It turned out that Liz was on our side, but I was still guarded. She was very supportive and sympathetic and even disgusted with all the mistakes regarding our order. It did help me soften a little to know that someone seemed to understand and care. After giving us some suggestions of what to get for flooring, we decided to get carpet for the living room and bedrooms since there was no way laminate would work. I was still feeling disappointed; picking out carpet seemed so boring compared to laminate. We did decide on a nice white carpet though that is *supposed* to be stain-proof. We will see how good we are this time at keeping it clean--and we will have to make sure that everyone takes off their shoes like we did during showings.

We also picked out some tile for the foyer. This did cheer me up a little. Tile, though expensive, is a nice upgrade to for the house, even if just for a small portion. It also meant I got to keep my foyer, whereas putting carpet in the foyer would have taken it away. That was another concern I had had and I wasn't sure I was ready to face another disappointment.

After that, we sat down with Liz and she began to "build by hand"--as she called it--our order. This meant she was constructing our customer order piece by piece, making sure every detail was placed and all communication communicated. She got on the phone and talked to the installer manager (he was another one that never returned our calls) to make sure that all the materials were on hand and people were available to put it in. She ordered our carpet for us (the same day!) even though we hadn't returned the laminate flooring yet. She also promised us that she would try to expedite our order so that we wouldn't have to wait weeks and weeks for the carpet (though we will have to wait at least one week for it to be shipped.) And, she had someone already investigating our order, including listening to all phone calls placed by us, to find out what went wrong. She and the managers at Home Depot agreed that the measuring company were definitely in the wrong--someone screwed up not just with the measurements but also in informing us that it is possible to put a filling (cement) on top of plywood which it is not. This was possibly the biggest mistake of all.

Because of this mistake, they are trying to make it possible that we will not have to put any more money into the carpet and tile. In other words, once we return the laminate, it will be credited to our account along with a discount for our new project. The tile does add a little more to the price, so we might have to pay a little extra. But for the most part, it should all be covered--including installation fees.

So we walked out of there maybe not happy customers--because we still had to come home to plywood and our excitement of laminate flooring had been squashed--but at least satisfied customers. I did feel that Liz single-handedly saved her company's reputation that day.

She also called at the end of the day to let us know where she was at with building our order--there were a lot of details to be put into place because the tile complicated things a bit and she wanted to make sure that everything would be done. I was very grateful for her effort in communication.

Dennis dropped me off at Grandma's and went back to our house to start dragging the furniture back into the rooms. We decided to just put the beds back and the couch and leave the rest in the dining room since we will have to take it out for the carpeting.

I fulfilled my promise of taking the kids to Chutes and Ladders park though I lived to regret it. I had been to the park once before but they either added onto it or else I've forgotten how big it is. It has four big parks full of rope ladders, tunnels, stairs leading about up to four different levels and of course, Henry immediately ran straight towards them. Letting him get lost in one of these contraptions is the same as letting him loose in a city and I knew that if I let him go in one of these "playgrounds" I would either have to go through it with him or else never see him again. So I grabbed him by the arm and led him--kicking and screaming to the smallest of the four playground--for preschoolers. He was not happy.

We did compromise on a slightly larger playground that wasn't nearly as big but still big enough to make Henry feel like a "big kid". I couldn't take my eyes off of him for a second though, or I would have lost him in the crowd of children (it was extremely crowded) and I know he would have sneaked away into the bigger playgrounds meant for the older children. Otherwise, I would have taken pictures of it just to show you how big it is.

As it was, I pretty much lost the other four kids to one of the four playgrounds. The only thing worse than "losing" your kid in one of these things and waiting for them to come out is losing them to FOUR different playgrounds--and not know which one your kid is in! Not to mention I had not just one or two children to collect, but five of them. Yes, what a dumb decision that was to go to that park!

Have I also mentioned that this was all on pavement and it was 90 degrees out? Thankfully, the park had sprinklers to go through, and all the kids (including me) cooled ourselves off with the nice cold mist. Not one child got scolded for getting completely wet; it was just too hot and it probably saved some kids from becoming overheated and sick.

Later, we picked up some pizza. Comfort food for having to come back to plywood flooring, I will admit.

So we survived our disappointment of losing our laminate floor and gaining back carpet. Of thinking we wouldn't have to deal with slivers and dirty plywood just to face another few weeks of it.

Yet, keeping it all in perspective, I am reminded that it is only a floor. And carpet is better than nothing and probably warmer for the winter anyway. It's very hard to cry over disappointments when disasters continue to happen throughout the world, or FB friends ask for prayers for dying friends and family, or when Christians are being persecuted and killed for their faith across the world. That is how I got over my disappointment. In the grand scheme of things, we have it pretty good.

And I really cannot complain.


  1. Sorry Becky. I know what's it like to live without a floor. And the floor that was installed last summer is faulty and will have to be replaced, which means, as you know, at some point we are going to have to move all our furniture. That's assuming that the manufacturer admits its a faulty product and agrees to replace it. But like you said, someone hasn't driven you out of your home with the threat of death because you are a Christian.

  2. I know the no-flooring is a disappointment and so glad that Home Deport finally put someone knowledgable on the case to be a project manager.

    Wow, Henry sure keeps you on his toes with all this adventures. He sounds like he's a very brave little boy who just wants to keep up with his older brothers and sisters.

    Finally, the real me was very grateful and thrilled to receive a certain package today.