Sorry I haven't written here lately, but you can catch up on all the kitchen news on my regular blog. I'll try to fill this blog in at a later time. Lots has been going on. Finally I can use the kitchen again, but I'm having more problems with Home Depot.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
in the kitchen again. The plumber was here today. Four valves need to be replaced, however. One is leaking slightly. So the plumber has to come back. Meanwhile he put a towel and a bowl under the drip, so the new cabinet won't get damaged. Needless to say, the city inspection scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled.
A cabinet guy is coming back first thing in the morning to cut a hole into the inside of the cabinet by one of the valves, so the plumber can do what he has to do. Right now the valve is practically scraping the side of the cabinet, and it would be impossible to affix a handle to it. (And they don't make special handles for that situation. I asked.)
I'm also getting ice again. The plumber re-connected the water line to the fridge. He also connected the water lines to the dishwasher, but I won't be able to use it till the electrician comes back and finishes his work (after the inspection). The plumber also installed the new disposer, but I won't be able to use that either till the electrical work is finished.
Before the plumber got here, someone from his office called to ask whether the elevators here are on the inside or outside of the building. She said the plumber is afraid of heights. I told her I was too, and that the elevators are on the inside. And if the elevators had been on the outside?
The new faucet, by the way, works like a "fine precision instrument." There's also a built-in soap dispenser on the other side, which I filled tonight, and used.
So I can now do my dishes in the kitchen--rather than the bathroom (mostly glasses and silverware these days). (When I eat here, I use paper plates.) Looking forward to being able to use the stove and dishwasher, too. Maybe by Thanksgiving.
I'd not had any running water in the kitchen since July 2.
Monday, November 3, 2008
The faucet is not connected yet. It has a pull-down sprayer spout. At the right is a built-in detergent dispenser (not fully installed yet). The sink is large and deep.
This is a little dark, but I'm trying to show the pattern of the Silestone ("Yukon Blanco"). Click to enlarge a bit. It's off-white with random, white dappling or mottling throughout it. There are also little dark specks in it. It's subtle but interesting. Very beautiful. Certainly beats the ceramic tile and laminates that were here before. Also, Silestone is virtually indestructible as far as counter tops go.
The counters go perfectly with the bright white cabinets. I can't wait to put up the colorful iridescent glass tile backsplash.
(Yes, it's been that long since anything's been done in the kitchen.)
Counter installers here today.
Now the electrical has to be inspected and finished, and the plumbing hooked up.
Here (and at top) you can see the brackets I bought and prepped.
This counter has a nice bowed shape. All have bullnose edge.
Before the counter guys got here, the cabinet guys were here to add the overlay to the spice rack (top right) and adjust a shelf for me. The cabinets then passed their final inspection.
The drywall guys came next and repaired all the drywall. Remember how bad it was on this wall? (See here.)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Didn't hear back from Home Depot today (after my calls on Friday), so at around 3:00 I called the counter company to find out something. They still hadn't heard from the kitchen expediter at Home Depot about the "verification," the "final P.O." I immediately called the Home Depot lady in Atlanta and explained the situation. (I'd already explained most of it in two messages I left her last Friday--today she acknowledged receiving them but said she'd been out of the office and apologized.)
She said she'd call the kitchen expediter herself. (She had somehow been under the impression that there was an installation scheduling problem, and I told her that it appeared to be a fabrication problem.) Sure enough, the counters have not even been fabricated yet.
Not long after I talked to the lady in Atlanta, the counter people called back, asking me the name of the color of the counters I'd ordered (way back when) (I'd actually forgotten the name of it and, at the time the measurements were taken for the counters, asked them to call Home Depot, apparently to no avail). (But I since ascertained the name of the color and told them today.)
Anyway, apparently Home Depot called the counter company back this afternoon, after my call to Atlanta. The counter person (same person I talked with on Friday) was obviously very concerned about getting the order in right away to the fabricators. Now it will take 10 to 14 days for the counters to be fabricated. So the kitchen expediter at my local Home Depot has set this project back another week at least, due to her failure to respond to the counter company. (I'm glad I sicced the lady in Atlanta on her and mentioned her by name--again.) Such glaring incompetence.
Then the counters will have to be installed, along with the sink, faucet and new disposer, and the water line to the refrigerator reconnected; then the drywall people have to come in and repair the drywall; then the electrical work has to be reinspected and then finished (including installing the outlet for the stove, etc. and installing the ceiling fan), at which point I can use this kitchen. Also, I'm still waiting on the overlay for the spice rack cabinet. I've put off the cabinet inspection until this has been installed.
After all that, I'll put up on some cool tile the backsplashes. And the kitchen will be done. A friend of mine said it would be done by Thanksgiving. I think that sounds a little ambitious at this point.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
On Friday, I called up the counter people to see how hunky-dory everything was with my counters. The lady I spoke with said she's still waiting on a fax from Home Depot--Home Depot's "verification" and "final P.O." for this project--and that it had been a week already since the lady first requested this from Home Depot. She said she would call Home Depot after we got off the phone (it was a little past 4:00). I told her to call the District Services Manager and gave her his phone number.
I immediately called up the Home Depot lady in Atlanta and left her a message about this.
I then called the counter people back (to get the name of the person I spoke with before). I was connected to the same person (got her name). She said she had called Home Depot and left a message (with the kitchen expediter, who appears to be my nemesis), and said she would call the District Services Manager if she didn't hear back from the kitchen expediter within 10 minutes.
I then called the lady in Atlanta back and relayed this information (again, by voice message). I never heard anything back from anybody that day. We'll see what unfolds tomorrow.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This morning I called the Home Depot lady in Atlanta and explained the latest wrinkle. I was pretty distraught. She was very nice as always and said she'd look into the situation and get back with me.
A little after 3:00, I got a call from the contractor who will be doing the drywall. They wanted to come in next Tuesday. I told her I'd talked to the kitchen designer over the weekend about putting a strip of molding beneath the bar counter where it sits on the half wall. (The designer recommended it.) To back up a minute, two weeks ago when the drywall guy came here after the cabinets were installed, he asked whether I would need such a molding. I told him at the time that I didn't know. So the drywall guy does the moldings, too. Anyway, I told the contractor today that perhaps they should hold off doing the drywall and molding work until the counters are installed, since the bar counter will have to be in place before they can add the molding. She said she'd talk to the drywall person and call me back. Sure enough, they'll come in and do this work after the counters are installed. I'll let them know when that's done.
An hour or so later, the District Services Manager called about the counters. Notwithstanding what I'd heard yesterday from the counter people (and I mentioned I'd got "riled up" over it), he assured me that the counters are coming along fine. Maybe they're coming along fine as of today when someone took some action, but that's OK, too. Along as things are moving along, I'm fine.
P.S. At the beginning of the week, I primed and painted the wooden brackets that will support the bar counter top, so I'm all ready to go here. (Photo shows brackets sitting on the half wall, atop which an arc-shaped counter will be installed.)
More problems with Home Depot. The counter installation is now at a complete standstill. Apparently somebody at Home Depot dropped the ball again. The counters should have been in at the end of this week (like tomorrow) (or the very beginning of next, at the latest). I did my own follow-up with the counter company today, since I hadn't heard anything from Home Depot.
It turns out that the counters haven't even been fabricated yet. The counter people contacted Home Depot last week with questions on certain details of the project and haven't heard back from them (as of shortly past noon Wednesday). I told the woman I spoke with that I would call Home Depot myself; she said I shouldn't have to do that. She said she'd call them after lunch if she didn't hear anything from them by the time she returned from her lunch break.
I immediately called the District Services Manager at Home Depot and left a message, telling him what the counter company said. I didn't hear back from him (or from the counter company). Tomorrow, if I don't hear back from the District Services Manager by 2:00 p.m., I'll call the lady at Home Depot in Atlanta who's been handling my case.
I can't believe this. I haven't had a kitchen here since July 2. The cabinets are in now, but I still can't use the kitchen. There's no sink, no water, no usable stove or dishwasher, etc.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Today I was back at Home Depot to get the support brackets for the bar counter top--heavy-duty wooden ones. Tonight I primed them and will spray-paint them tomorrow. I'm not sure when the counters will be ready, but I want to make sure the brackets are ready before the counter installers come.
Last Sunday, in addition to buying the sink, I bought some plastic tubing for the water line that runs approx. 10 feet from the water supply beneath the sink to the refrigerator's ice maker/water dispenser. This will run beneath the counter along the tops of the cabinets, so the line has to be in place before the counters are installed. (I've been buying ice by the bag for months.) I also bought a new Insinkerator compact garbage disposer, stainless steel stopper, and power cord kit. I'm ready, folks!
My old garbage disposer was noisy and rattled everything near it when switched on. If there was any silverware or other utensils sitting in the sink, they would quickly start gravitating toward the open drain. (Fortunately, nothing ever fell in and got mangled.) I trust the new disposer will be less of a beast than the old one. (I'll let you know.) (Anything would be an improvement.)
Last Thursday, after the cabinets were installed, the drywall guy asked me whether I'd like some molding to go along the seam where the bar counter rests on the half wall. I told him I didn't know. (I didn't have molding before, since the seam wasn't visible unless you bent over and looked underneath the bar top.) Today I discussed this with the kitchen designer, and she suggested a small molding.
Tomorrow I'll call the District Services Manager and explain this. (I don't think I mentioned it before.) If the drywall guy is going to do this molding, then he has to come in and do his work after the counters are installed.Last week I paid $374+ in advance for the drywall work.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Lots of progress last Thursday (Oct. 2), exactly three months after the kitchen had been demolished. I took the day off from work. People were working here all day long. First the electrician came in to rewire the recessed lights. Next came the cabinet installers. It took the electrician over three hours to do what he had to do (apparently it wasn't easy). (That cost an extra $200.) The cabinet installers were here for around seven hours. Before they left, someone came in to assess the drywall repairs.
The cabinets look fantastic, and the installers did a great job. (As far as I know, so did the electrician.)
The spice rack cabinet was missing an overlay. That's been ordered and will be installed when it gets in.
The recessed lights will be reinstalled after the electrical inspector examines the new wiring. The inspector had said to leave the light fixtures hanging from the ceiling.
To the left of the fridge is the new pull-out pantry, which my new cat, Lucky (seen below), used to sleep on top of when it was standing in its box in the living room.
Early this morning someone came to measure for the quartz counter tops. They should be ready for installation in about two weeks. Yesterday I picked up the new sink at Home Depot (I'd paid for it already) which came with a template. The measuring guy took that with him to use in fabricating the counter tops. He said I'd need to buy two brackets to support the counter that will sit on the half wall. I have plenty of time to get those.
After the installation was done, I moved the card table back into the kitchen since I need some kind of surface there. (Won't it be great to have counters again.)
While I was at work today, the District Services Manager called to ask about the installation. I told him everything looks great and we discussed the next steps.
The spice rack cabinet (last one at right) is getting an overlay.
The new cabinets had been sitting for over three months in front of this half wall, which will be topped with a new counter. I was so relieved to get my space back. Lucky was confused, however. He joined the household in mid-July and was accustomed to the cabinets sitting in the living room. He used to play (and sleep) on them. Now he's getting accustomed to the cabinets being in the kitchen. I'm sure he'll love the new counters to race around on.
The new cabinets had been sitting for over three months in front of this half wall, which will be topped with a new counter. I was so relieved to get my space back. Lucky was confused, however. He joined the household in mid-July and was accustomed to the cabinets sitting in the living room. He used to play (and sleep) on them. Now he's getting accustomed to the cabinets being in the kitchen. I'm sure he'll love the new counters to race around on.
Since the recessed lights aren't functional now, I rigged up something temporary (top left). I also used an old belt to tie two of the recessed lights together so that I could access the new pantry without damaging it (top right). Once the lights are reinstalled, I'll have full access to the upper cabinets. I'm slowly restocking the cabinets. I'll wait until the counters and sink are in before putting everything back. Meanwhile I can figure out where everything will go, since I have more space to fill than I had before.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
[Updated below.] Wednesday afternoon I got a call from the Home Depot District Services Manager saying the electrical inspector would be coming to my home today between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. I also got a call from the electrical contractor saying the electrician would be here between 8 and 10. I called the City of North Miami and tried to get a more specific time of arrival, but they couldn't give me one. So I took today off from work as a vacation day.
The electrician got here at 9:00 (not the same one who was here last Friday) and we waited till almost 2:00 for the inspector. The inspector approved the latest work but then started probing around the recessed lights in the soffit, which were installed over a year ago when I had the ceiling redone. He said recessed lights can no longer be wired with "romex" (a heavy-duty plastic-coated wire, pictured)--and sure enough, these had been.
So, the next step is to schedule a time for the electrician to come back in and rewire the recessed lights, which will entail further damaging the ceiling where the lights are located (i.e., the soffit). As you know, I had spent so much time and energy awhile back correcting the handyman's sloppy details, spackling and sanding and then priming and painting the area with the correct paint.
The inspector will come back when the recessed lights are rewired and the drywall on the walls around the electrical boxes is repaired/replaced. Also, the recessed lights have to be left dangling so the inspector can see that they've been rewired properly--with flexible metal conduit. Meanwhile, I may loosen the recessed light housings from the soffit myself in an effort (maybe futile) to minimize the damage. We'll see. They're stuck to the drywall with paint.
P.S. Last night I (almost) painted the rest of the kitchen ceiling. (I ran out of paint.) It's ready for the fan to be installed, however.
Friday update: I've decided to score the drywall around the rims of the light housings with a razor blade or X-acto knife, cutting through the layers of paint and primer. Thus the electrician should be able to pull the housing out without taking my new paint job with it.
I didn't hear anything from anybody today about coming back in and doing more electrical work, etc.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Last night while I was out at the store, I received a voice message from the lady at Home Depot in Atlanta. I returned the call and left a message.
I talked to her today. She said she would let me know what's going on with the electrical inspection, etc when she hears more from the District Services Manager.
Tonight I sanded around the electrical box for the ceiling fan and then primed the area. It looks pretty smooth now and will look even better when it's painted over. I don't think anyone would notice the repair job. Moreover, it will be obscured by the fan itself.
Next I'll begin repainting the square recessed area, starting with the edging. Then I'll use the roller. I want to have the ceiling totally finished before they install the new fan. I don't want to even attempt to paint it with the big, brand-new fan hanging there.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
This is the fan that was in the kitchen. The electrician took it down on Friday. Today I sprayed it white before it gets installed in the second bedroom. (I used Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch. Good stuff. No runs or spatters.)
I also removed the ring of caulk that had been applied around the base of the fan and which had stuck to the drywall. In the process, I damaged the drywall--the paper tore away in places. So I bought some contact cement at Target to glue the paper back to the ceiling. Then I spackled that area and will sand it tomorrow with the electric sander (more dust). Then the whole, square recessed area where the fan goes has to be painted with kitchen ceiling paint. (The handyman who created the ceiling used regular ceiling paint, which absorbs grease.)
Friday, September 19, 2008
The electrician arrived shortly before 10:00 (i.e., right on time) and left at 5:23. He worked all day long without lunch or even a glass of water (unless he had some water down in his truck). Very nice guy.
There was some confusion over where to install the outlet for the microwave, which is going above the stove. The general contractor had made rough, pencil drawings in two places on the drywall (a few inches apart) and (roughly) crossed one of them out. That's where the electrician put the box (X marks the spot, right?). He said he'd move it if necessary. I wish he'd asked me about it, but it doesn't seem to be a big deal to him. So I'm not going to fret about it. Maybe it'll be fine where it is.
This was just the "rough" installation. I didn't know anything about that. The wiring is done but the new receptacles (the guts) and switch for the disposer have yet to be inserted into the boxes. The wiring has to be inspected first. Then he comes back in and finishes everything. Then it's inspected again.
He also took down the ceiling fan (see below), which they're going to re-install in the 2nd bedroom, and will replace it with another one for the kitchen (see early post). I'll spray the bedroom fan white so it will recede into the white ceiling (right now it's brushed aluminum--nice but too much of a statement in that room). The new one for the kitchen is also brushed aluminum and will match the finish on the cabinet handles, sink and faucet.
Since the cabinet above the fridge will block one of the recessed lights, he removed the light fixture and wired the two adjacent lights to each other. I'll have to do some repainting around those two fixtures when I finish off the rest of the ceiling, which will be easy to do now that the ceiling fan has been removed.
He said I'll also need to get a new plug for the stove, since the 220 outlets have changed since I bought the stove (a year and a half ago(?)).
I didn't have to fork out any money today.
P.S. The stove is now inoperable, so there will be no more cooking chili for a while.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I got three calls from Home Depot today about the kitchen renovation. The first was from Home Depot's electrical contractor, saying they were ready to come in and start their work (they'll be here Friday morning between 8 and 10).
The second was a voice message at work from my "case worker" in Home Depot's Atlanta office, saying she'd heard from the District Services Manager down here that they were still waiting on approval of the general contractor's permit from the City of North Miami. She was very apologetic about how long this process has taken.
The third was a voice message on my home phone from the District Services Manager, saying pretty much what the Atlanta person said, adding that they're waiting on the "fire approval" and that that should happen very soon (any day now). He also said that he had the contractors on "stand-by" to come in and do the work they need to do.
I called the lady from Atlanta back after I listened to her message and told her that I'd heard from the electrical contractor an hour or so earlier, and that they would be coming here on Friday. She didn't have anything to say to that. I assume the electrical contractor is perhaps jumping the gun a bit, but that's OK with me. They want to do their work and get paid, and I want that work done so the general contractor can come and install the cabinets, which have been sitting out in my living room for well over two months. (Afterwards, the counter people come in and make a template and then fabricate and come back and install the counters. Then I can have a sink and dishwasher again--along with ice in my freezer--and counter tops! Then I can really cook.)
Anyway, I notified work that I'll be taking all or part of Friday off (work knows about this project, of course, and it was already discussed that in lieu of vacation I'd taking time off for the kitchen remodeling).
Saturday, September 13, 2008
After leaving his message on Monday, the Home Depot District Services Manager was supposed to call me back last week to confirm what he told me in the message (that something would be scheduled for next week, when they had the permit in hand). (That would be electrical work.) I didn't get a call back or a message.
Monday, September 8, 2008
I got a call at work this afternoon from the lady at Home Depot in Georgia who had called me last week about my installation. She said that she had spoken with the district services manager (DSM) and that the DSM had called me and left a message today (he left a message on the home phone).
I'll cut to the chase. The DSM said that the general contractor's permit had to be re-sent to the City last Thursday, as it had been kicked back to the GC due to "fire approval." (I'll find out what that means when he calls me back in a day or two.) He said it looks like they would be able to begin the electrical work with permit in hand next Wednesday or Thursday, but maybe sooner (he mentioned end of this week).
Saturday, September 6, 2008
So, when I got home from work, I called her and left a message. Then I called Customer Care and talked with someone (Customer Care is open till 8:00 p.m.). The latest news is that the permits are now awaiting approval by Miami-Dade County, which should happen next week. (I didn't mention the hurricane.) We had a nice talk. Of course (as I've said), the permits should have been obtained before Home Depot demolished the kitchen. Anyway, she was very sympathetic.
When I suggested that for all my trouble they might consider giving me some kind of "freebie," she said it was noted in my file that I was seeking "compensation" (the letter I wrote them over a month ago suggested I get an "allowance"). She implied that that issue would be addressed once the kitchen was done to my satisfaction. Hallelujah.
This is a major screw-up on their part, and they obviously know it.
News Flash: I just got a call from Home Depot about getting a refund for $425.01 (the cost of the general contractor's permit). I called them back and the transaction supposedly went through--I just had to give them my account number, for some reason (as if they didn't have it).
Thursday, September 4, 2008
This afternoon I called the Home Depot lady in Atlanta to see if she had any news about the kitchen. She told me she had called (or emailed) the district services manager here about the status of the project and was expecting a reply today or tomorrow and would then call me with the latest. She didn't call today, so I'm expecting a call sometime tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Last Friday I talked to the general contractor about what to do with the permission letter from my condominium association. I ended up FedEx'ing it to them for delivery first thing this morning. Today the permit application package was supposed to be delivered to the City of North Miami. I didn't call them today, nor did they call me, so I assume there were no problems.
When I got home from work, I got a call from Home Depot in Georgia. It was a woman saying she knew about my situation and would be personally handling my case. She apologized for my inconvenience and said she would try to get the kitchen finished as soon as possible. I told her about the last-minute snags last week with the permits and the letter and told her the applications were going to the city today. I also mentioned that I've been living without a kitchen since July 2, with the cabinets sitting in the living room, etc. and how just now they're getting the permits after tearing out the kitchen. I told her I'd been in touch with the district services manager and planned on calling him tomorrow to find out the latest. She said she would also be in touch with him and would call me back in two days. She gave me her 800 number and extension and said to feel free to call her in the meantime. I feel pretty good about that.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
This morning I called the general contractor to find out whether the condo manager ("Janet") had called them to have their license and insurance info faxed to her. I'd been afraid Janet wouldn't write the permission letter without seeing these documents first, and yesterday afternoon I faxed Janet the GC's phone number and the name of the contact person ("Valerie," if I haven't named her already) so Janet could call Valerie herself and request she fax the documents to her if necessary.
Valerie said Janet hadn't called. I then asked her to fax the documents anyway, saying Janet would most likely request them (as she had for the electrical contractor) and that I wouldn't call Janet about the status of the permission letter until she had received and had time to review the documents. I also asked Valerie to please call me after she faxed the documents. Valerie said she would but asked me to give her a few minutes.
After waiting quite a while and not hearing back from Valerie, I called and asked her whether she'd faxed the documents. She said she hadn't, that she'd been "busy." (Yeah? She's supposed to be busy making sure this kitchen gets done.) I asked Valerie again whether this letter was holding up the work. She again said no.
Toward the end of the day, Valerie called me back and said she'd faxed the documents to Janet. I immediately called Janet and told her the documents had just been faxed to her office, in case she needed to review them before writing her letter. She made a liar out of me and told me she'd already prepared the letter and had it waiting for me at the security desk. (I guess she trusts me now. Yesterday we had a talk about this project.) Sure enough, I got the letter and it contained all the information the GC requested.
First thing tomorrow I'll call Valerie up to tell her I have the letter. (I'll also fax it to her.) If she sends a courier to my office to pick it up, we'll know that it was holding up the work. (I certainly hope it's not.) But as you can see, I don't trust these people to tell it to me straight.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
And the rest of the place doesn't look much better, with the new cabinets stacked up in the living room, furniture displaced, and kitchen contents stacked all about in bags, etc. It's nasty. And I've been living this way since July 2. I'm really fed up with the whole situation.
I got a call from the general contractor at 11:48 this morning at work. It turns out that the plumbing permit application they faxed me yesterday to fill out and have notarized was the wrong one. (And after having sent a courier down from Broward County last night to pick it up here at home.) So, in mid-afternoon they had a guy bring the correct application to my office for me to sign. (My signature had already been notarized--I guess you could say they know me by now.)
Then a while later, the general contractor called back again to say I would need a letter from the condominium association to the City of North Miami, giving the GC permission to do the work. I'd already supplied a letter from the condominium association on July 28, giving permission to do the work but specifically mentioning the electrical work and the electrical contractor. The GC now needs an original letter mentioning the name of the GC. (I asked whether this would hold up approval of the permit and was told it wasn't.) Again, this is something that you would think should have been taken care of a while back, not at the last minute.
I think if anyone in particular were to blame for the way this remodel has stalled due to problems with permits, obtaining letters, etc., it would be the kitchen expediter at the Home Depot store. This paperwork could have been started on at the beginning of May, when I hired Home Depot to handle the remodel. If I did my own job the way the kitchen expediter has done hers, I'd be fired. There's no excuse for all these last-minute snafus and my going without a kitchen for almost two months now. This job could have been done in a week or two.
There's really not that much work involved. It isn't a major construction project--nobody's moving any walls or rerouting the plumbing. Even the electrical work is minor (the appraiser said so) and the electrical contractor is ready to roll. This whole job is basically a matter of removing one set of cabinets and counters and replacing them with another. Why should it be dragging on for so long, with me not having a kitchen for two months? It's absolutely ridiculous.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Today at work I got a call from the general contractor. When I first saw their name on the caller I.D., I thought, well, here's some good news. Something's happening. It turns out they called to tell me I now need a plumbing permit, and they wanted to fax me an application to fill out and have notarized. That really pissed me off. I asked them why they didn't tell me about this earlier--like three weeks ago when I executed the GC application (or how about in May?). She then said that I didn't tell them I needed it. I said that I know nothing about what permits I need or not (that's their job) and at more than one point throughout the various conversations read off the sentence from Home Depot's kitchen installation paperwork I read and signed on May 4: "Permits may be necessary to obtain and will be the responsibility of The Home Depot Authorized Representative."
Before hanging up with her, I told her that I already had the corporate headquarters involved in this mess. I then immediately called the district manager and left a voice message. Next I called my Home Depot and tried to reach the kitchen expediter. She wasn't available so I managed to reach the other (window?) expediter who had helped me in the past. She said she would call the GC and find out what's going on and call me back. I was beside myself. She was very apologetic. She also said it wasn't my responsibility to tell the GC I needed the plumbing permit.
(I would never have thought I would need a plumbing permit, since the plumbing isn't being changed. All they have to do is hook up the new sink and the faucet to the existing pipes. But apparently the City of North Miami requires this. The GC should have known this and had it taken care of way in advance of demolishing the kitchen, just like with the other two permits (GC's and electric).)
While I was talking to the expediter, the district manager left two voice messages on my phone, so I called him back and went through the whole story with him (this is the first time I'd talked to him). He said he would do whatever it takes to get my project completed ASAP. He also said Home Depot would pay for any permits (I wonder if he meant the other two permits, also). Anyway, I called the expediter back and left a message, then she called back.
To make a long story short, I signed and notarized the plumbing permit application at work, and someone from the GC came by and picked it up here at home less than an hour ago.
So maybe someone will be here next week doing something. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
You can imagine how upset I was when they told me they needed a plumbing permit. You would think they would have sat down a few months ago and figured out which permits they would need and start setting things in motion. It sounds like it might even have been a good idea to call the City of North Miami. Waiting till the last minute, well after the kitchen has already been demolished, to figure out what they need seems like a terrible way of doing business. And the Home Depot store that's handling this is located right in the City of North Miami (right down the street from City Hall, actually), so it shouldn't be difficult to keep on top of what's going on with the permitting here.
At any rate, on the day they demolished the kitchen (July 2), the general contractor saw what would be required in the way of electrical work and plumbing work, and should have known by then that it needed its own permit before any more work could proceed.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Today I called the Home Depot district services manager back and left two voice messages, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, saying I was returning his call of Friday and to please call me back at work. I didn't get a call back. I'll call back tomorrow.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
On Friday when I got to work, I had a message from Home Depot's general contractor on my project. The message was that there are "problems" with the City of North Miami and that the application for a permit won't be submitted till next week. I called back to find out more. The person said something to the effect that the City rejected the company and they had to go through someone else and get it notarized, etc. She was apologetic. That's good. I reminded her that I haven't had a kitchen since July 2.
This morning I had a Magic Jack message from Friday afternoon. (A little slow in coming.) It was from the District Services Manager with Home Depot. He'd received my information from the corporate office and wanted me to call him to discuss further the issues I'm having with construction of the kitchen. I'll call him first thing on Monday.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Today when I got home from work, I had a phone message from the kitchen expediter. (On Monday, she'd called me at work and talked to me.) The message, left at around 9:00 a.m., was that the general contractor's permit application would be going to the City of North Miami today. (It was supposed to go Tuesday or Wednesday.) (Actually, it should have gone at the beginning of May, two months before my kitchen was demolished, on July 2.) Nonetheless, it was good news. How long it will take the city to approve it, provided it's to their satisfaction, is unknown.
Let's hope work starts back up again soon.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
On Monday, Sally from Home Depot returned my call from Friday. She told me the same thing Cathy told me on Friday and said she'd be back in touch with me at the end of the week to give me a status report.
Going on six weeks without a functioning kitchen now.
Friday, August 8, 2008
I hadn't heard from Home Depot or the GC all week long and decided to call Home Depot today to see where things stood before the weekend started. I reached Helen at the store and she said the kitchen expediter ("Sally") was working on my project. She then transferred me to her but no one answered, so I left a voice message asking her to please call me at work. I never heard back from her.
I then called the other expediter ("Cathy"), who had helped me out last week while Sally was out on family leave. I told her I'd left a message with Sally and had not heard back. She said Sally was in and out or words to that effect and said she would call the GC herself and get back to me. She called me back very quickly and said that my application was presently in the hands of a "qualifier" ("to get all the i's dotted and all the t's crossed") and that it would be sent to the City of North Miami next Tuesday or Wednesday. (I'd never heard of a qualifier before except in grammar.) I then asked Cathy how long it would take before the permit was approved. Of course she couldn't say for sure but, based on her experience with North Miami, estimated that it would take a few days.
I guess the $425 I paid for this permit includes the cost of the qualifier. (The electrical permit cost $197.)
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Since I've been without a kitchen for over a month now, on the advice of a friend I sent a letter to Home Depot today asking for an "allowance" for living under these conditions for so long due to Home Depot's dropping the ball. We'll see what happens with that. (I don't see anything happening in the kitchen this week either.)
On May 4, I signed a document at Home Depot titled "What to Expect: Kitchen Installation." It reads, in part: "Permits may be necessary to obtain and will be the responsibility of The Home Depot Authorized Representative." Home Depot's general contractor had almost two months to obtain necessary permits before they demolished my kitchen on July 2 (the date they chose). Now the general contractor is just getting around to obtaining its permit. On Friday I signed and had notarized the application for the permit and also the necessary Notice of Commencement and FedExed them to the GC. They got the documents this morning. Now the GC has to fill them out and present them to the City. I have no idea how long it will take for the city to issue the permit. No one from Home Depot called me today.
Meanwhile the permit for the electrical work has been obtained (also just recently). But the electrical contractor can't proceed with its work until the GC has its permit in place. And the new cabinets and counters can't be installed by the GC until the electrical work is done.
What a f---ing mess.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
I'd really been hoping to see some progress here in the kitchen, but it was not to be. At the beginning of the week, I learned that another permit--in addition to the electrical--would have to be obtained from the city before the electrical work could be done, which is holding everything up. To make a long story short, that set me back another $425, and today I had the application faxed to me to sign and have notarized and send back to them.
If I hadn't called the contractor today to follow up, this wouldn't have gotten accomplished and the process would have stalled further. The person I spoke with at the contractor's office said I hadn't yet paid for the permit (I had--on Wednesday). She then looked it up on the computer and, sure enough, she saw that I had. Then she was going to mail the application to me and I asked her to fax it instead (which she did). Then she said to mail it back to her (I FedExed it so they'll get it on Monday). This project has got to get back on track ASAP.
The additional permit is for the general contractor, who had already come and ripped out the old cabinets and counters almost a month ago. Except for the electrical work, all this job entailed was replacing old cabinets and counters with new ones. I think that at the time the general contractor determined that electrical work was needed (i.e., on the day they removed the old cabinets and saw what was behind them), they should have got their own permit going. You would think they would know that, seeing electrical work would be needed, the City of North Miami would require them to get a permit. It appears somebody dropped the ball here.
Saw tonight on "My House is Worth What?" a segment in Los Angeles. The home had granite countertops in the kitchen, and the real estate appraiser said they a negative for the house. The hostess acted surprised. "But wait. These are granite," she said. The real estate expert said the latest trend is quartz.
Glad I'm getting the Silestone, especially since granite can be hazardous to your health (possibly giving off radon gas and containing uranium, giving off even more radon gas, which causes cancer). I have yet to read that quartz can be hazardous. But I'm sure it can also become passé. Maybe by the time I get the kitchen installed, it will be too.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
This morning while I was getting ready for work, the cell phone rang. It was "Beth" from the electrical contractor. She was trying to explain that they can't even begin their work until the cabinet-removing/installing contractor gets a permit to do their work. I told her I didn't know anything about it and to call Home Depot.
When I got to work, I called her back to ask her whether she'd received the letter from the condo, and she said she hadn't. She then went on again about the other permit, saying that the other contractor is trying to reach me to get money for their permit. (No, they haven't been.) I then told her again I didn't know anything about it and to call Home Depot. I also called the condo office and left a voice message asking them to please fax an original of their letter to the electrical people.
I then faxed Beth my copy of the condo letter and asked her again to contact Home Depot about the other stuff, quoting a sentence from the contract, which reads, "Permits may be necessary to obtain and will be the responsibility of The Home Depot Authorized Representative."
At the next opportunity, I called "Helen" at Home Depot and first told her about the electrical permit. "They're just getting around to that now?!" she said. (I told her they had first called me about it last Thursday on the cell, which I'd left at home.) I then told her about the other permit they were talking about, and Helen voiced some skepticism over the necessity for that. I asked her to please call the electrical contractor and talk to them and get back to me.
Several hours passed and I hadn't heard anything, so I called Helen back. She said she had left a message at the electrical contractor but that no one had returned her call. I asked her to keep me posted and then called Beth back. I told her Helen had called and left a message, but Beth said she hadn't received one. (What's that about?!) Then she said she'd tried calling Home Depot earlier (more than one, in fact, and none mine). She read one of the numbers she'd called (not the right one) and I then gave her the correct number and told her Helen was there at the moment and to please call her right away. This is not the first time the electrical people have had a problem getting these numbers right.
I never heard back from Helen (or the other contractor who needed money from me, for that matter). I called her several times and left a message at Home Depot and also a voice mail on her cell phone.
So I'm in limbo now. I was pissed and said so (to the electrical people). I could tell Helen was pissed, too (and told the electrical people), since she's the one running the show, so to speak. If the cabinet people need money from me to pull a permit, why haven't they called me? They have all my phone numbers.
It's out of my hands as I sit here with no kitchen and the days pass in a tangle of snafus and botched communications, with no progress being made.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
See this article.
SHORTLY before Lynn Sugarman of Teaneck, N.J., bought her summer home in Lake George, N.Y., two years ago, a routine inspection revealed it had elevated levels of radon, a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. So she called a radon measurement and mitigation technician to find the source.
“He went from room to room,” said Dr. Sugarman, a pediatrician. But he stopped in his tracks in the kitchen, which had richly grained cream, brown and burgundy granite countertops. His Geiger counter indicated that the granite was emitting radiation at levels 10 times higher than those he had measured elsewhere in the house.
“My first thought was, my pregnant daughter was coming for the weekend,” Dr. Sugarman said. When the technician told her to keep her daughter several feet from the countertops just to be safe, she said, “I had them ripped out that very day,” and sent to the state Department of Health for analysis. The granite, it turned out, contained high levels of uranium, which is not only radioactive but releases radon gas as it decays. “The health risk to me and my family was probably small,” Dr. Sugarman said, “but I felt it was an unnecessary risk.” . . .
Last Thursday morning the electrical contractor left a message on my cell phone, telling me I needed a letter from the condo association approving the electrical work, and that that was holding up the issuance of a permit from the City. That was the first I'd heard of such a letter.
Unfortunately, I hadn't taken my cell phone to work that day and didn't get the message until Thursday night. The electrical contractor had been calling me at work up to that point, so I don't know why the person (I'll call her Beth) didn't try to reach me at work after failing to reach me on the cell, especially since the letter was holding up their job (as Beth said).
The next day I called the contractor back and asked Beth exactly what they needed. I then called the condo association. The manager said they needed a description of the work from the electrical contractor in order to write the letter, so I called Beth back and asked her to fax the information to the condo association.
I waited several hours and called the condo association to inquire about the status of the letter. The manager said she had never received the information from the electrical contractor, so I called Beth back. It turns out, Beth had faxed it to the wrong number. I then called the condo manager back, and she said the letter would have to wait till Monday, since the secretary had left for the day (this was late in the afternoon already).
So I call the condo manager first thing in the morning and then call Beth back. If I'd known about this letter beforehand, the City would have it already. I would certainly do everything in my power to get the ball rolling here and get out of the mess I'm living in now. (If I could shave even one day off of living under these conditions, I would.)
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Called Vozzcom today to check on the status of the permit. They said they're still waiting to hear from the City of North Miami. I asked them how long it might be, and they said it could take up to three weeks. Ugh. A friend had warned me it might take that long. Called Helen at Home Depot to relay the news (left a message).
Sounds like a reputable outfit, though, judging by the website. I just found it today.
Got that today. It seems to be a tad too dark. I guess I'll buy this tile at a local tile store and not risk getting the wrong stuff over the Internet and then having problems returning it (and spending a lot on shipping). Surely I can find something suitable around here.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The August issue of Consumer Reports just happens to feature kitchen make-overs. Below are the ratings for countertops. I'm getting Silestone countertops, which are quartz (good choice, eh?).
Cabinets aren't rated in this issue; the emphasis is on refurbishing existing ones. (If I'd had decent cabinets, I would have considered refurbishing them.)
I have yet to hear any word from the electrician about the permit. This project is now on hold.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Yesterday the supervising electrician came to my office for me to sign and have notarized the application for the permit from North Miami to do the electrical work. Duly signed and notarized. Now I wait to hear from them.
Today I treated the mold problem with a product called Zep, whose active ingredient, as listed on the bottle, is bleach (sodium hypochlorite). It probably cost more than bleach you can buy cheaply in the grocery store, so I would recommend using regular bleach in a spray bottle for this job. See here.
The area affected by the mold will be covered by the cabinets, so there's no need to prime it with, for example, Kilz. But I may spray the wall with some left-over white paint just to make it look better for the cabinet installers, since they seemed wary of the mold. (It's bare drywall.)
Monday, July 14, 2008
Not perfect but a lot better than it was before, and with the right paint ("Sateen Lustre Enamel" vs. "Interior Flat"). Ready for the cabinets to go in. I can always go back and touch up the areas I'm not happy with, and not even get out the sander. The glossy paint is showing up more imperfections I hadn't noticed before (but the most glaring ones have been corrected). Such a simple boxy structure has to be totally smooth and sharp-edged, IMHO.
This can all be easily fixed. No need to obsess over it (I tell myself).
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Today I finished painting the light soffit with kitchen paint. (The handyman who re-did the ceiling had used regular ceiling paint, which was absorbing grease spatters.) Masking tape didn't do a good job in places (the most immediately noticeable ones, at that) and I'll have some touching up to do.
Now I just have to prime and repaint the recessed area in which the fan hangs, but that can be done anytime. Tomorrow I'll reinstall the light housings and screw the bulbs back in.
Next, all I have to do is remove the mold on the wall (bought stuff for that) and do some sweeping and dusting. That shouldn't take any time.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I thought Helen would be at Home Depot when I got there after 5:00 but she had left. I was going to buy the sink, disposer and possibly the microwave oven for above the stove, and I want to consult with her before I buy those items. Meanwhile I bought more paint and primer, disposable paint tray liners, and a new brush. Maybe I'll do some more work on the ceiling tomorrow, but I don't see any urgency at this point.
I set up a card table in the kitchen just to give me a surface to use besides the glass stove top. The cat feeding station, meanwhile, has been temporarily relocated from the kitchen to the 2nd bedroom (where I sit and watch TV and use the computer), along with a lot of other stuff I now have sitting on a card table set up here. Bootsy's eating over by the chair (black smudge with tail).
Friday, July 11, 2008
Toward the end of the day at work, I finally heard back from the electrical company who did the estimate on Wednesday. (I had the impression they would be getting back to me sooner.) They said they needed me to sign something and have it notarized to get the permit to go ahead with the work. I said what about tomorrow. The guy would be in Miramar (in Broward County). What about Sunday? He doesn't work on Sunday. So she said Monday, and I said I had to work, so the guy will be coming to my office on Monday around mid-day. I said I worked in a law office and that there were plenty of notaries.
A bit later I called her back and told her I wouldn't be having them install all new outlets (I can do that myself). She said to tell the project supervisor when he comes so that he can adjust the estimate. Eliminating this $374 cost will put the project below $2,000. (And I really can do it myself--I've installed outlets before.)
Getting the electrical work done in the kitchen walls is the only thing holding back the project at this point. I expect that it can be done in one day next week, for which I'll have to take the day off. Then the drywall will have to be repaired. Meanwhile, I'll finish priming and painting the ceiling and cleaning the area up.
Meanwhile, today I received the handles for the cabinets. At first I thought they were too large, but once I got them home I saw that they were the correct size.
I also went online to look at iridescent tiles for the backsplash. On my first hit, I found what I want. See here. They cost $26 for a 13 x 13" square. I won't need a lot of it (but I won't know how much till the cabinets and counters are installed). (I see that the box size is 10 sheets, so I'll be getting at least that much--maybe I can find it locally.) This project I can also do myself.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Came to over $2,300, but a big chunk of that is for reinstalling the kitchen ceiling fan here in the second bedroom, where I spend most of my time (while not sleeping or working), and installing a new fan in the kitchen (which I bought awhile back). This room has no ceiling fan and has to be wired for it, and the ceiling is solid concrete, so there will be some work involved.
The recessed light above the refrigerator will be hidden by a cabinet. To re-route the wiring around this outlet will cost $49.
The guy suggested all new outlets for the new kitchen, so I said go for it ($374.85).
Just pulling a permit costs $197. The guy said the Code requires outlets to be spaced every four feet, so I'll need to get a couple more outlets, and other outlets have to be moved or fixed. The outlet for the new microwave above the stove has to be on its own circuit and will have to be wired to the breaker box. That was the single most expensive item on the estimate ($488). Meanwhile I put $500 down for the work.
Later I called Helen at Home Depot to discuss the estimate. She said it sounded about right.
This work is the priciest item in this whole project, but at least I'll have some peace of mind in knowing that the wiring will be done correctly. And I really wanted to have the fans done. When the electricians come back, I'll have them remove the kitchen ceiling fan so I can paint it white (it's now brushed aluminum) before they come back and re-install it in this room.
After they complete the electrical work in the kitchen, the drywall will have to be repaired. (The electrical guy said today that the wiring for the microwave circuit will probably cause more damage to the drywall.) Then the cabinets can finally be installed. Hooray!
Last night, I finished off sanding the soffit and primed most of it (ran out of primer). The finish is nice and smooth now--no more dings. (The important parts are primed, however.) Tomorrow I'll stop off at Home Depot after work and get more primer and kitchen ceiling paint (since I know I'm going to run out of that, too.) Right now I just want to get those areas of the ceiling prepared where the soffit abuts the cabinets. The rest can be finished later. The job will be a breeze once they take down the ceiling fan before installing the new one.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
The ceiling is almost prepared for priming. Today I created a lot of dust, even though the sander has a cloth bag to collect it. (Bootsy had a sneezing attack in the bedroom.)
I removed the grime from those areas of the floor that were covered up by the fridge, stove, and the old cabinets. A couple of days ago I sprayed the areas with Fantastik, then today used sudsy ammonia, a scrub brush, and a razor blade. P.U.
I have primer and white ceiling paint here (enough to do the job, I hope), plus rollers and brushes. Fortunately, Home Depot is only a five-minute drive from here.
Now, where's the phone charger? I don't think I'd have packed it.
UPDATE: I found the phone charger. No, I hadn't packed it.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Today I bought the faucet, a Price Pfister "Ashfield" model. It's clean and modern but has a pretty, curved handle (like an old pump handle, as the Price Pfister website notes). The spout is a pull-out sprayer with an adjustable flow ("Spray Volume Control"). (The other, little spout belongs to the built-in soap dispenser.)
I wanted to buy those curvy handles, too. Last night I saw them on Home Depot's website and printed out an image (along with a couple of others). My kitchen designer at the North Miami Home Depot (I'll call her "Helen") said they had them in the store. She found ONE. She then went on her computer and discovered they had been discontinued (other local Home Depots had some, but I needed 25). She said to try ordering them online. (Thomasville had them but they were an inch and a half longer--i.e., too long.)
It turns out that they're an "online only" item now on the Home Depot website. I had no trouble ordering them until I tried to pay with my new Home Improvement Loan card. The website wouldn't accept it, so I called Customer Service and placed the order through them without a problem (I had just used the card in the store to buy the faucet, etc.) She made note that the website wasn't accepting the card, and also I filled out an online customer survey and noted the same thing. It's no big deal as long as I can at least order over the phone.
The stainless steel football knobs were on the old kitchen cabinets. (I'd bought and installed them a few years back.) I took one of the little drawers in to show Helen, along with one of the knobs, and the images I'd printed out. She thought the football knob looked great on the drawer. I also showed her a print-out of the Ball Hugger fan, which has a similar shape and the same brushed-type finish [see previous post]. I want everything to be cohesive. (The handles also have the same finish.)
I wanted to go with the curvy handles to contrast with the straight lines of the cabinets. Helen agreed. She gave me the last handle in the store, and here I've taped it to one of the cabinets to see how it's going to look. I think it looks fantastic! The perfect accessory for this "Plain Jane" cabinet. ($5.99 apiece, plus tax. Ouch. The faucet was $238 plus tax. I thought it was worth it.)
I also did a little sanding and more spackling today. The soffit is going to look great when I'm finished. This is very minor work, but apparently the handyman didn't have an eye for details. I'm not going to worry about the wiring of the recessed lights. The bulbs are around a year old already and aren't the long-life kind.
UPDATE: I'm thinking now maybe the tall faucet won't fit in the space. (But Helen would have caught that, I think.) Oh well, I can always return it and get a lower-profile faucet.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The east wall, where the sink, dishwasher and stove are located, needs the most work.
The cabinet guy said the outlet for the disposer (top pic) has to be mounted into the wall, not left dangling outside.
In the next pic, the outlet will have to be moved to the left (otherwise the stove will cover it in the new layout) and the wall repaired. The metal tube contains the wiring for the old hood above the stove. An outlet for the new microwave (to be mounted above the stove and which will contain an exhaust fan and light) will have to be mounted farther up the wall. The old backsplash material covered this mess.
In the bottom pic, the 220 V. outlet for the stove will have to be relocated from the corner on the south wall to a few inches in on the east wall, to accommodate the 6" cabinet with the four little drawers.
The electrician will be coming first thing Wednesday morning to give me an estimate on this work. (It will also include the other items I mentioned earlier.) I think I'll also get an estimate on relocating the current kitchen ceiling fan to the second bedroom, where I sit at the computer and watch TV (as I am doing now). I have another, more curvaceous fan to put up in the kitchen. (It's pictured on the Kitchen Ceiling Re-Do blog, post from "Day One" [in my links].)
I rarely use the kitchen ceiling fan but have a fan going constantly in the second bedroom. The fan that's in the kitchen now would be put to better use here, since it's actually more heavy-duty than the prettier fan I'm going to replace it with in the kitchen. The "propeller" fan will look fine in here. They're both very good fans and are made by the Modern Fan Company.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The talkative demo guy thought the cabinets were great. He said Kraft Maid cabinets are better than Thomasville and install more smoothly. (He sounded like he was looking forward to installing them.) The cabinets are all-wood construction except for one 6"-wide "filler" cabinet that only comes in MDF (the guy pointed that out today). He said that it would bow if it were made of wood. That I didn't quite understand but I'm still thinking on it.
That cabinet goes to the right of the stove (with a pull-out spice rack above it). I think I'll use it for utensils. There are four (deep) little drawers in it. The tallest cabinet contains the pull-out pantry. That goes to the left of the fridge.
Meanwhile, I am sinkless and dishwasher-less. Doing my dishes in the bathroom sink or the bathtub. (I don't do a lot of cooking anyway these days--not since B. left.)