Week 6: A Few Glitches


We've encountered a few glitches of late ...none of which have to do with our actual kitchen contractor. So far we've been having great luck with them; it's the ancillary retailers who are driving me crazy. (Like Sears last week, which delivered the wrong color frig and then gave Lee a hard time when he told them they made a mistake and needed to correct it).

Our furnace was replaced yesterday. (It was old and was unlikely to be able to handle the increased living space; we were planning to replace it anyway.) Following the replacement, it took a l-o-n-g time to get actual hot water. I timed it this morning: it was a full three and a half minutes before the water got lukewarm in the shower, and 4:30 before it was hot. NOT acceptable!

Happily, Lee contacted Brian, our project manager, today, and it was taken care of (hot water in about 10 seconds now. MUCH better!)

Glitch number 2, as yet unsolved: We got a message from Wilson's Casual Furniture today that the manufacturer of the kitchen set and stools we ordered Saturday has discontinued the fabric we selected. The fabric was dropped on Wednesday, he said. "We just missed it by a few days," our salesman explained oh so helpfully, informing us that we now need to come and select new fabric. NOT EVEN AN I'M SORRY! This is a 4-figure order -- for which they've already thoughtfully billed our credit card in full since it's a special order (that they can't deliver) -- and it didn't even occur to him to toss in an I'm so terribly sorry that we have such crummy communication with our suppliers that we were showing you options that have been discontinued and we are inconveniencing you telling you to schlepp all the way back to Berlin. Livid? Me? Alas they were closed when I called back, more tomorrow....

Otherwise, the main news this week is the pile of lumber in our dining room, making it a bit tricky to pick our way into the plastic-zipped living room (balance over the lumber, hold steady on the 2x6 while you unzip the plastic, then teeter your way in amidst the clutter....). Without the living room, we'll be down to our bedroom, the computer room and the bathroom for total living space (the guest bedroom is piled with boxes; family room is half gutted and half piled with stuff and sealed off; dining room and kitchen are emptied and part of the work area).

Meanwhile, without insulation (and walls) yet in the addition area, temperatures in there are reaching second circle of hell magnitude in the current heat wave; it's just scorching in any of the walk-through areas not sealed off with a working room air conditioner.

Am I having fun yet? Sigh....

New on the kitchen project Web site: Calendar of events: The initial proposed schedule, and how it's stacking up to actual work so far: Just one Week 6 photo to date, of the lumber in the dining room.


So, Lee and I decided to take a long weekend last week to get out of ConstructionWorld for a bit, head out to the Berkshires and relax.

Before we left for the Berkshires Thursday morning, we stopped back at Wilson's Casual Furniture to pick out new fabric for the kitchen furniture we ordered (if you missed last week's installment: 3 days after we ordered our furniture, we got a call saying the fabric we'd chosen was discontinued the previous week and we needed to come back and pick something else).


Non-relaxing event #1: As we near the store, about a half-hour drive from Framingham, I smell burning rubber. Is that *our* car? Turns out it is: When we arrive at Wilson's, we see smoke pouring out from the left front wheel area (background: Lee had brake work done on his car the day before, so the car would be all safe and ready for the trip HAHAHAHA).

First we go in to deal with the furniture issue, pour over more fabric samples, finally find something we both like that matches our color scheme. Lee then asks the sales guy to call the factory and make sure that one is still available. So the guy calls, and THAT FABRIC WAS DISCONTINUED TOO. At which point we cancel our order -- one screw-up was bad enough, but two? AARGH. Have these people never heard of supply chain management?

Non-relaxing event #2: Lee calls the place where we had the brake work done, explains what happened, and has them dispatch a tow-truck -- which the guy assures us will arrive shortly. It takes about 45 minutes of waiting in the broiling sun before the tow truck arrives, and then we're towed back to Framingham.

Non-relaxing event #3: While we're waiting for the tow truck to arrive, Lee gets a call on his cell phone from Sears, to inform us that the delivery people were at our house with our dryer, nobody was there, so they were leaving. Lee had left a note on the door for them to page our kitchen project manager, but they refused to do that. He arranges for them to deliver the dryer Monday 8/19 when they were coming with our new refrigerator anyway (background -- they delivered the wrong color refrigerator a couple of weeks ago).

Non-relaxing event #4: So we're finally back in Framingham, Lee's car is back at the shop, I drive my car to the shop, we transfer our luggage to my car and finally -- 3 hours after we left the first time -- we set off for the Berkshires at around 1:30 p.m. We get as far as Westborough (2 towns west), and ....

MASSIVE TRAFFIC JAM. I mean MASSIVE. It is not simply the lead item on the traffic report, it is the lead story on WBZ radio at the top of the hour -- a tanker overturned at the Massachusetts Turnpike and Rte. 495 interchange, spilling something all over the roadway. Lanes are closed, traffic is backed up for miles ... this is 4 hours after the accident. Even my sister in South Carolina heard about this.

Good news: We did finally make it out there, and the rest of the weekend was nice (if hot). Took a few photos of Tanglewood (summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where we saw a great concert Friday night) and the inn we stayed at.

Non-relaxing event #5: Sears calls Monday morning to say they've found a couple of small "cosmetic" flaws on our refrigerator -- one on the side and one on the front -- that won't affect the operation of the appliance. So I should wait for delivery, check out the frig and then call them if I have any concerns. In that calm, quiet way I have, I inform them that I paid full price for the refrigerator and do not plan on accepting something with defects -- if I was willing to take something with defects, I would have purchased a floor sample or gone to a discount warehouse place that sells banged-up appliances AT A DISCOUNT. Well, they could stop delivery of the frig but then they'd need to set up a new delivery date. Fine, when's that? I'm on hold.... new delivery date is this Saturday.

However, the dryer did arrive Monday. Hopefully we will get a refrigerator this Saturday -- correct model and undamaged. We'll see....

Regarding the actual kitchen construction progress: Wood frame is up where the "peninsula" (sink/dishwasher and counter eating area) will be, and lots more plumbing and wiring. There are a few more week 6 photos.

Back to kitchen project schedule page