Weather, and road trip... Our forecast for today had a “chance of rain” – and we won the lottery. So far today my rain gauge is showing two tenths of an inch, and there's a line of intense squalls bearing down on us – maybe ten minutes away – as I write this. The rain was enough to put the kibosh on both the driveway paving work and the barn building work. Dang!
On the other hand, another craftsman showed up today. This was in response to my reporting a problem with our shower grout on Friday. The fellow who did the tile work showed up, took one look at the problem I reported, and immediately went to work to repair it – no push back, no guff, no debate: just “Yup, that sure does need to be fixed!”
I've had enough experience with this sort of thing up here in Paradise now that I've come to expect that workers of all types will unhesitatingly take responsibility for any problem that arises. I've recently seen this with the two guys (Terry and Jerry) who did the grading work on our driveway here. The care that they took to get the slopes correctly is way beyond what I'd expect. One of them even drove out here after he saw a rain squall pass over Paradise, so he could see how the rain water drained off the road base – that's better even than their instrumentation. A few decades of experience in California led me not to expect this kind of care in contracted work, and it's taking a while to undo that.
This morning I took a trip up to Blackfoot, Idaho, to see the vendor of reclaimed wood there. These are the same folks (Trestlewood) that supplied our mantel, and we're so happy with it that we decided to get another piece of reclaimed wood from them. This piece will fit up against our kitchen's ceiling, and the lights for the island will hang from it. I went up there this morning to walk around their (enormous) yard full of wood to choose a piece. I found an oddly-shaped hand-hewn piece of wood that I just loved. The folks at Trestlewood aren't sure what the species is, but they suspect it's a species of birch, or possibly even a lighter-than-usual cherry. Whatever it is, it's a (very) hard wood, and the chunk we're getting is about 6' long, 2' wide, and 8" thick. I'm guessing it weighs about 140 pounds, but it's wet at the moment; it will lighten up a bit after it's dried and finished. The ax and adze marks left on it are quite pronounced; this piece was used as a timber and was never finished in any way. As with our mantle, the folks at Trestlewood are going to do the finishing for us. I can hardly wait to see the result!
California has an incredible number of laws and regulating agencies related to contractors and yet my experience with contractors has still been routinely terrible. I've found that they will ask for half the money up-front, not just materials costs. I've found that they routinely start a job quickly and then taper off the work on yours as they are juggling as many jobs as possible. This hooks you in. The quality of work is hit or miss and local TV stations are often running "stings" and catching contractors ripping people off. Interestingly, my experience is that if I can catch a plumber, electrician etc. doing side work I get much better service and quality. I once had to replace a leaking hot water heater. Not a complicated job but I don't know how to the soldering on the copper properly and so I had to find someone to do it. The local home depot and lowes indicated that they also had to charge and extra permit fee in CA when installing a new water heater. I believe the fee in my city was about $100. On top of a $300 water heater plus installation. And what does the fee cover? beats me. No one from the city or state was going to come and inspect the work. No one from the city or state was guaranteeing anything. so basically just another rip off. So I just "found a guy" who did work on the side and I saved money by skipping the permit, using a off-hours plumber and by helping him put it in, I learned something about the process.ReplyDelete