Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Contractor was Not Hit by a Bus

He had just decided not to show.

He didn't return the consultant's calls all day, and instead left a message at about 4:55 (after which he was, of course, completely unreachable) saying something about a crew's truck breaking down and being overbooked and he'll be out 9:00 a.m. the following morning.  (I think the key word in that sentence is "overbooked."  Yep, he decided not to come.)  This was a bit problematic as the leak detection people were also due out the following morning at 9:00 a.m.  And we didn't get word from the contractor in time to cancel them.

So the leak detection guys come out Friday morning and, sure enough, can't do any sort of water testing because the contractor hadn't plastered up any of the work.  (Funny thing about water testing -- it's really hard to water test a wall for water tightness when the wall isn't there.)  Yeah, so they went home without doing anything, and we rescheduled them for Wednesday.

At around 1:30 (which is apparently the "contractor" definition of 9:00 a.m.), the contractor's guys show up to replaster the wall on my balcony (and a similar one on the balcony leaking into my living room).  The guys do a fine job replastering the wall.  Let me be perfectly clear with this -- I have no quibble with their plastering abilities.

They left without putting the outlet cover on.

You may recall -- I certainly did -- that the outlet was the reason we tore up the wall in the first place.  It was leaking in the general vicinity of the outlet and we'd hired this contractor to remove the old outlet, replace it with a nice, new waterproof one (which we'd already purchased and had sitting right out there for him) and seal it real good with silicone.  While the contractor had convinced us that opening up the wall was also prudent for stopping the leak, this didn't mean that his guys could leave without putting the outlet cover on.  You know, the thing they were originally hired to do.

I pointed this out to the contractor's guys.  They were plasterers, not outlet cover putter-onners.  I deduced this from the fact that the guy ... oh, let's make it multiple choice:

(a)  did not have a screwdriver, so put the outlet cover on with a knife.
(b)  put the outlet cover on backwards
(c)  seated the outlet cover awkwardly on its gasket, so that the gasket was half covering the place where you plug stuff in
(d)  re-installed the old, leaking outlet cover, rather than putting on the nice, new waterproof one.

Yes, kids, all of the above.

I had kittens.  I'd been, all things considered, remarkably even-tempered about things to this point, but honestly.  I walk out on my balcony and see the old outlet cover back on, backwards, with gasket sticking out, and knife marks around the screws, and ... given the choice between bursting into tears and letting loose with an expletive-laced tirade, I'm somewhat proud to admit I chose the latter course.

The consultant made a few phone calls, the contractor's guy borrowed a screwdriver from me, and next thing we knew, he had the right outlet cover on. 

Now, obviously, if the man comes to the job without a screwdriver, he surely didn't bring silicone sealant.

Thereafter, the contractor (of course) failed to respond to Monday's phone calls asking him to come out and silicone the damn outlet.  (Why would he?  If he's that overbooked, there's no reason to take some of his precious time for a five minute job.  Which would have already been completed had he sent out his guys with the right stuff.)  So our consultant drove to Target, bought a tube of silicone, and slathered it all around the outlet.  It isn't the prettiest job, but I am long past caring.  On Wednesday, it passed the water test!!!

Put the champagne back in the fridge.

The balcony upstairs failed.  That would be the balcony leaking into my living room.  The leak that made me take my condo off the market in the Spring, and which is preventing me from re-listing it now -- still exists.  The consultant got on the phone to the company that resurfaced the deck, and asked politely to speak to their "troubleshooter" guy.  He asked (and I will have to remember this for when I'm the person making this phone call) "not for the supervisor you send out when a customer complains about a job, but for the guy you send out when nobody else can figure out what's causing the leak."  Apparently, there is such a guy.  Said guy called us back that afternoon, and has an appointment to come out on Tuesday to diagnose the problem and plan a solution.


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