Under Construction

September 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Under (un’der): Being beneath or below something; less than;
subordinate to; subject to; during rule of.

Under construction”. Ever wonder why they use that term? After building an entire house, then years later having to tear down and re-construct a number of walls and ceilings due to major water damage from ice dams, and currently being in the process of remodeling two bathrooms (under duress because of grout failures leading to water seepage), I think I get it. I definitely feel “subordinate to, subject to, and less than” the process of managing any construction project. It’s not that it’s over (or under) my head, it’s that nothing goes smoothly and everything is a problem. “On time and under budget” might as well be a foreign language when it comes to construction projects.

So, that said, here is my list of hypotheses (get to use that good old algebra again) for any type of building or remodeling project:

If new tile/paint/trim/flooring = needs to match existing tile/paint/trim/flooring, then: you can just simply forget it. Even if you have saved samples and every last bit of ordering information, the new pieces will never exactly match the old pieces. The factory will have gone out of business, changed their color palette (who knew there were so many variations on the color “biscuit”?), or been sold to some conglomerate in China that will take 14 weeks to get it to you and then it will arrive with dings and scratches. Or the company will have been passed down to an errant grandchild who disagrees with Grandpappy’s definition of a quality product and you’ll think you’re working with cardboard rather than pre-laminated flooring.

If contractor mistake = framing issue, then it will be a big one. A window will be in completely the wrong place or the wrong size (no, we don’t want a picture window in the downstairs bathroom looking out onto the front porch); what was supposed to be a cathedral ceiling will be a regular old flat one (and you won’t have time to check the project until the inset lights are installed and the drywall’s going up – just try changing it now!); the cement tubes holding up your second-floor deck will be poured just slightly off so that you are forever looking at posts that jut over the edges and wondering if, perhaps, it takes just one more person to make that deck come crashing down.

If your move-in date = September 1 or you will be living in a tent in the muck that will someday be your lawn, then: it will definitely rain the entire months of July and August, except on the weekends when everyone knows no contractor ever works (also, good luck with that grass).

If your site = comes with pre-site-work done, then: it will be done wrong and/or extremely confusing and have to be re-done or have experts brought in from out-of-state to review, recommend and reconsider. For example, our lot at the end of a private dirt road had the pre-built driveway in completely the wrong place to fit into our wet-lands-bordered building envelope, and our pre-installed septic system had pipes running the length of a football field across one neighbor’s property to a shared leach field on another neighbor’s property. This scared off more than one builder.

If your site = a lovely rural area that used to be field and forest, then: neighbors will hate you for disturbing their privacy, peace and quiet and will re-survey the land right after you pay surveyors to mark off your lot. Of course the neighbor’s survey ribbons will be on the exact same trees and posts that your surveyors’ ribbons are on, which will piss them off even further. You’ll be lucky if they don’t steal your copper plumbing pipes during construction. Actually, I can totally relate to this one and will do the same if anyone ever dares build on undeveloped land near us.

If your house = a custom build, then: you will agonize over every last paint color, light fixture, wall trim, built-in, and floor board, including the huge and now infamous “doorknob fight” which took place between my husband and I, nearly resulting in a divorce and complete bankrupting of the entire project.

Aaaaahhhhh, construction. Wish us luck as we try to get these two bathrooms back in working order. We do live in the woods, but it’s getting a little cold for outdoor showers and peeing on trees.




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  1. Oh Spaghetti, I so feel your pain! We are nearly complete with our kitchen remodel. You can get a 20% discount on wine at Kroger (Like Hannaford) if you buy it in bulk. That’s come in handy lately…

    • I love wine therapy! Thanks for the tip! And good luck on your kitchen – not fun, ugh.

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