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

Tired of living like this

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.

More snags

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

Major update

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


I don't have to write these very often, since nothing happens. And there are no pictures to put up.

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

Latest from Home Depot

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

Nothing happening here

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

Not a good week

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.

Granite becoming passé?

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.