Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 29

The Time Mookie and Megan Hired Home Town Restyling
(And It Was A Nightmare) Part I

Disclaimer:  The following story is 100% true.  I must say this because I don’t need someone coming out of the woodwork and suing me for defamation, slander, or libel.  Everything stated here is matter of fact, and indisputable.

Let me start by introducing the characters in my story:

Me:  Yours truly, Mookie.
"Megan(*)":  My hot wife.
Home Town Restyling (HTR):  The company we hired for various home improvements.
HTR Sales Guy:  The guy that sold us the job we hired HTR to do.
Foreman Guy:  The guy responsible for the workers who did the job.
Two Dudes:  The guys who did the window/trim job on our house.
Tim:  The guy who put in windows one day when the “Two  Dudes” were on another job.

Back in 2007, the wife thought we needed to look into getting new windows for our house.  Our home was built in 1920, and still had the original windows.  The frames and sills around them were definitely showing their age, and when the wind would kick up you could watch the curtains move - with the windows shut.  Needless to say that while our worries about radon poisoning were minimal, our heating bills certainly reflected how unsealed our home was.

Megan called Home Town Restyling in Hiawatha, Iowa to see if they could give us an estimate, and perhaps show us what they have.  One Saturday morning, “HTR Sales Guy” showed up and gave us a little demonstration with a display window, and touted the various benefits of using the “HTR” business for our updates.  The biggest “plus” of his entire pitch was that the cost of the job was “all inclusive.”  The cost included all parts and labor, and any extra work that needed to be done to complete the job.  If they found that termites had eaten away all the window sills, they would rebuild them.  If something was structurally bad, they would fix it.  While the cost was probably higher due to this contingency pricing, we had a feeling we’d get our money’s worth given our own personal experiences while doing home improvements.  Our house is pushing 100 years old, and has had several owners who have had their own ideas about “home improvement."  Because of this, we have uncovered more than one “surprise” over the years.  "HTR Sales Guy" also told us explicitly that when the workers left each and every day, they would clean up their mess and it would look like no one was there that day.    Upon review of the estimate he gave us and approval from the bank to help fund this project, we signed them up to do the job. 

The task was:
Install/replace the 25 windows on our house  (3 of which were large plate glass)
Remove/Replace all of the blue aluminum trim around said windows
Remove/Replace all of the blue trim around front porch windows (these windows were not being replaced).

The “timeframe” we were told it would take:  3-4 days.

The “Two Dudes” they assigned to do the job showed up on the designated day, and that was about all they did right.  They were lazy, and their attention to detail was worse than mine (that’s bad).  They were incompetent from the get-go, and because of this we made sure that at least one of us was home at all times while they were here.  Most days they would roll in after 9AM, and be gone by 2PM.  However this was only on the days where they actually showed up.  I guess you could say that when "HTR Sales Guy" told us that it would look like "no one was there" at the end of each day, he was right.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that is not what he meant though.

When it came to cleaning up their mess like they were supposed to do, the "Two Dudes" registered a big fail on that task as well.  We often had to clean up their mess after they would leave each day, picking up scraps and vacuuming behind them.

If there was a hint of rain on a given day, you can bet your ass they tried to get out working.  One day Megan was like “Nuh uh.  It’s sprinkling, and you are working from inside the house.  You can do it.”  I must add that Megan was pushing 9 month pregnant with our 2nd child, and was in no mood for their shenanigans.  There were times we would notice that they  hadn't put any insulation around the frames of the windows.  Megan would ask "Um, did you insulate that window?"  The "Two Dudes" would say yes, or they would say they were going to do it.  These guys were zeros.

After a good five days of this, and being nowhere near done, Megan called “Foreman Guy,” the boss of the “Two Dudes” and let him know his workers suck.  To add insult to injury, they had to leave our job one day to go and finish their previous jobs.  In hindsight, I wonder if they had to go back and “fix” whatever they did somewhere else, because that is what they eventually had to do on our house. 

To try to smooth over the matter a bit, HTR sent up another guy by himself, “Tim,” to put in a few windows in the meantime.  This guy put in 3 or 4 windows (and trim) in the time it took the “Two Dudes” to do one window - and his craftsmanship was better!  Just sad.  Sadly he only came the one day.  When the "Two Dudes” showed up the next day, they seemed amazed at how much work the one guy had done by himself in an afternoon.

So after what was over 3 weeks, they decided that they were “done.”  Megan and I never had contracted anything of this magnitude out to someone else, so we were unsure what we should be feeling.  The work in simple terms was shoddy looking - Poorly cut/installed aluminum, and badly insulated/installed windows.  Some of the windows didn’t slide properly, and appeared to be installed crooked.  It was just terrible.  AND we paid a shitload for this.  So we call “HTR Sales Guy” and say we aren’t sure how we should feel about the work that was done.  He told Megan that we should be “100% satisfied.“  Megan said:  “Yeah.  Ok.  We’re not. At all.

So “Foreman Guy” gets involved, and he comes up and sees the monkey work the “Two Dudes” did.  We show him the numerous sections of bowed aluminum trim, poorly cut edges, horrible caulking jobs, and unnecessary nail usage.  In looking at these defects, we found even more.  He agrees that the work is not satisfactory, and tells us that they (the “Two Dudes”) will be back to fix it.  Seriously?  We asked if we could get anyone more "competent" to do it, but they said these guys would have to fix it.  In the meantime, he sent up another HTR flunkie to fix some screens that were damaged, insulate some of the windows that were totally missed (or not done at all), and readjust the windows themselves so they would slide.

A few weeks later, the "Two Dudes" showed up to fix the exterior issues with all of the aluminum trim around the windows.  Thankfully “Foreman Guy” is with them to provide on-site supervision and help to make sure the work was completed “satisfactorily.”  We still were not 100% happy, but we were afraid to have them do anything else in fear of them messing it up.  Other than the work “Tim” did the one day, the only other bright point in the job was when a guy came up and had to re-plaster a section underneath our bedroom window, and another guy had to re-do the trim around the window.  That part was great and actually went as it was “supposed to.”

So, did we get our money’s worth?  I dunno.  While they eventually finished the work they set out to do, we were understandably frustrated by having workers doing a half-assed job and taking three times as long to do it.

Did it stop us from using Home Town Restyling?  Unfortunately no.  Our home suffered some substantial damage during a storm in July 2011, and due to various reasons we again gave them a call to help with our home repair needs.

What happened?

Check back soon for Part II of The Time Mookie and Megan Hired Home Town Restyling (And It Was A Nightmare)

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