Tuesday, January 22, 2013

...With Flooring and Frustration For All

Two weeks ago, we spoke to our contractor and told him to order the flooring so it could be installed.  Our flooring is engineered bamboo from Lowe's.  It's not a big deal.  You go to Lowes.com and you order it.  Case closed.  So anyhow, two weeks ago, Abby told me the flooring would come in on Tuesday, January 22, although there was a possibility it could be earlier "because Mark says he knows somebody."  On Friday  I spoke with Mark and asked whether flooring had come in; he said no.  So today is Tuesday, January 22.  I spoke with Mark and asked whether flooring had come in; he said he hadn't ordered it yet, because he wasn't sure about whether he was ever going to get paid by the loan company.  Mind you, the only reason the loan has closed is because Mark failed for weeks (months?) to get them a timeline.  I thought nothing of his comment-- other than "jeez, this guy!"-- until I hung up and told Abby.  She went ballistic.  Apparently the flooring was not something that was just out of stock with a replenishment date of January 22.  Rather, it's a special order, and it takes two weeks to come in once it's ordered, and two weeks ago was when we had the conversation.  So now, even if we go online ourselves and buy it, it won't come in until February 5.

This means a lot.  You see, if you've never been in a house before, you may not know that FLOORS GO ON THE FLOOR.  And anything else that goes higher than the floor, WHICH IS EVERYTHING, pretty much needs to wait until the floor goes in.  Doors?  Measured by the floors.  Moulding?  Sits pretty much on the floor-- no, wait-- sits ON THE FLOOR.  You know, stuff like that.  No floors?  No other stuff.  

Meanwhile, at the beginning of the conversation I had with Mark, I had noted that, while the loan issue was getting back up and running-- which it is-- Abby and I had no problem buying materials ourselves, as long as he understood that we would be the ones getting reimbursed for them from the loan fund.  He actually said "no, it's not that we don't have money for the materials," so I dropped the offer.  The offer will not only be on the table tomorrow, but it will be a requirement.  Because FLOORS are a requirement.

Last Friday, after weeks of back and forth, Patty and the lovely schmucks over at Freedom Mortgage (aka "the bank we'll drop like a hot sack of shit the moment we move in and are able to refinance) decided that we could re-open the loan.  They gave us a drop-dead date of Friday, February 15 for all funds to be used. Inspections had to be completed by that date, and any money unallocated by that date would be "spent down," or basically subtracted from our loan.  That means we won't lose any of the money, but we won't have access to the credit line either.  It makes sense, because they thought they were only in this for a year, whereas it's been 19 1/2 months now.  However, they required that inspections actually be scheduled before they reopened the loan, and inspections don't work like that-- according to Mark.  He says when you're ready for an inspection, you go to the county's website, say you need an inspection, and they give you the next available time.  You can't just say "I want an inspection some time in February" and have them approve it.  So we have an impasse.  This morning I finally told Mark that if he wanted his money, he'd have to call them himself, because it made no sense for me to keep being the middleman.  Wouldn't you know, Patty wasn't in the office today.

In our phone call this evening-- the one where he mentioned he hadn't ordered the floor-- Mark agreed to call both Patty and Sheyy tomorrow morning and work everything out.  Patty because he needs money; Sheyy, our FHA inspector, because apparently there were some hiccups in filling out the form to get the loan reopened and money withdrawn last week and we all are getting frustrated over that too, not the least of which because we would like to be reimbursed for some of the thousands of dollars we've spent out of our bank account in addition to that sitting in the as-of-yet-un-re-opened loan.  $2400 for appliances are all that we're waiting on right now, but soon enough it'll be $14,000 for cabinetry and $10,000 for countertops.

In happier news, cabinets and countertops!  Abby put about $15,000 on our credit card last Friday at the Home Depot in Aspen Hill to finalize our kitchen.  I contacted John at Home Depot yesterday to ask him about timing, and he wrote back that the manufacturer says they were completed today.  Completed!  Did you hear that?  Something we paid for has been completed!  (Okay, so they're still in the factory, but, y'know.)  They are set for delivery by the middle of next week, and should be installable by that aforementioned February 5 date.  The moment I got that email I called Abby with the good news, then turned around and emailed the installation people-- who, if you remember, are NOT our contractors, but another company associated with Home Depot.  So basically, as soon as we get a date for deliver, installation can be scheduled and we can at least have a kitchen.  Heck, a few weeks ago it was looking like the kitchen would be the only thing in the house not ready by the new deadline; now, we may have a kitchen and nothing else.

So back to the frustration.  It's just all so frustrating, and I'm sure it's frustrating to you as the reader just to have to read the word "frustrating" so many times.  Frustrating!  But seriously, we got a contractor so he could do this all, yet we're at the point that we're going to go to our contractor tomorrow with a list of demands, one of which will be for us to go and buy everything.  We're pretty much sure he hasn't bought anything that's special order.  That means not only no flooring, but no tiling, and no bathroom vanities.  Those toilets we made decisions about pretty much a year ago?  My guess is not only have they not been bought, but they may have been discontinued by this point.  When we started this process, the contractors said they'd have days where they'd want us to go with them to stores to pick stuff out, where they'd make recommendations and we'd make decisions.  No such thing has ever happened.  In fact, the one time they did approach us with a choice was last week: Rory emailed to ask what kind of light switches we wanted.  Light switches!  I mean, if they're that far along, great!  So we chose the basic ones-- you know, the ones you can flip up with your finger when you walk in a room.  Imagine our surprise when, as we walk into the house this weekend, the special light switches that are flush with the wall and have to be tapped instead of flipped are installed.  Each one costs exactly twice as much as the ones we chose, which tip the scales at a whopping buck-and-a-quarter each.  But more importantly, YOU ASKED US WHAT WE WANTED THEN WENT WITH WHAT WE TOLD YOU WE DIDN'T WANT!  I was like "whatever, light switches are in, and I don't care."  Abby actually did care, and said she really didn't want tappable light switches.  So now, when we are fighting about flooring and tiling, do we have to go back and fight about $1.25 light switches that have already been installed?  And who pays for them to be uninstalled, repurchased, reinstalled?  I'm sure we will, even though it's not our fault.  

*Sigh.* We're living in the basement.  We're paying more than $4000 a month in mortgages.  We've just bought a kitchen that cost more than our car, and paid for it in two swipes of plastic.  But we are debating over whether we should argue for the light switches that, all together, my kids could pay for with the money they got from relatives for Xmas.  

Oh, and we need fourteen interior doors.

We have two space heaters that we bought for the winter of 2004-- our first of two with no heat in this house-- that have been sitting in the attic since the central heating went on in January 2006.  One has just come downstairs with us into the basement.  Maybe we should just move both into the Bungalow along with our stuff and call it a day.

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