TGBR – Firing My Drunken Contractor and Other Exciting Adventures

So writing is supposed to be therapeutic, right?  I’m hoping so because damn, I’m super stressed out over this basement renovation.  I have learned one very big lesson – go with your gut. You remember how I wrote a few posts back that I had a bad start with our contractor and I was considering firing him?  I should have done it then and saved me and Canadian Bacon a lot of stress, because I wound up having to fire him on Friday after he showed up three hours late, drunk and raging.

This whole experience has been interesting.  Like I said before, the dude we hired was one of my mom’s dear friend’s son, who was jobless and looking for work.  I can now attest to why he’s jobless.  Throughout this entire ordeal, he never once showed up when he said he would.  If we arranged to start working at 8am, he’d show up at 8:30 or 9.  If he said he needed to “just run to the store for a few minutes,” he’d be gone two hours.  Every day he laid out what he was going to accomplish, and every day he failed to do so.  CB and I realized that he would never work between Thursday-Sunday – without fail, every Thursday he would just not show up, and would refuse to answer his cellphone.  I wouldn’t hear from him again until Sunday when he would promise to show up on Monday, and give some half-assed excuse or blatantly lie.  He only worked 7 days total for us, and the day before he would disappear he would ask for money.  A couple of times I thought I smelled liquor on him, but was unsure.

On the 8th day, he was supposed to show up to consult with the plumber because he’d told us he wanted to go ahead and do the bathroom building also.  He failed to show up at 10am when he said he would; told Meemaw at 11 that he’d be there soon, told me at noon that he was on his way, and after the plumber got there at 12:30 said he had just finished vacuuming and was now coming.  Wtf?  The plumbers left shortly before he arrived to go pick up parts, and before they came back he started raging at me and CB about how we failed to help him do anything, we were lazy, we didn’t explain the scope of the project, we were cheating him, he’d already done thousands of dollars of work and we were underpaying him, etc etc.  I fired him and told him to gather his things and leave.  He kept repeating that he had been drinking, and he knew he was being an asshole, but he couldn’t work with us anymore because we were cheating him, etc etc.  In the middle of his tirade, the plumbers showed back up, and he started talking to them like nothing had changed.  He kept repeating the same thing to the plumbers, annoying them while they were trying to work, and finally CB escorted him off the property.

Guys, I am so, so angry about all of this.  Once he started txting me harassing me for more money, Mom stepped into mediate and handle things as she had been there when we hired him and was less personally involved.  He gave us some bullshit about how we never defined the scope of the project clearly (which she knows is a lie, because she was there with me when we laid everything out and hired him!) and tried to get his mother involved, making up lies about stuff my mom supposedly told her.  This was a huge freaking mess.  Mom met him to give the rest of the sum we’d promised him for the job – we were going to give him far more once it was completed, because we felt he undervalued his work – but since it wasn’t completed we just settled on the original price.

What really enrages me is that when he had her alone, he told her all this stuff about how me and CB were lazy and never raised a finger to help. We have busted our asses down there.  Not only did we clean it out and continue to make constant dump runs throughout the week to get rid of building debris, CB single-handedly did every bit of electrical work – and there was a TON.  The whole thing had to be re-wired.  I went behind him and hung insulation.  At one point I was going behind KC and screwing in the studs as he set them.  We sanded and mudded, after I bugged him to show me how to properly do it.  We held sheets of drywall for him.  I spray-foamed the windows and doors to insulate them.  Not to mention he used my drill/driver set to do all of this because the solitary ancient drill he brought with him wouldn’t drill into the masonry.  I am super angry because throughout all of this, CB and I constantly offered to help and ask what we needed to do.  He would tell us we couldn’t help or “nothing” unless I specifically asked how to do something and then had him check my work to verify I was doing it properly, and when I did that he would act like I was slowing him down and pissing him off.

And you know what the straw that broke the camel’s back was?  The day we fired him, he’d promised the night before that we would be able to start priming and painting down there, because I want to do that before we lay the floors.  I quickly realized that the mudding and sanding wasn’t done, and I got to work sanding while waiting for him.  When he showed up he tried to leave immediately, and CB asked him when the walls would be ready for that because he had been saying they would be ready since three days prior, and my cousin KB and my bffe Llek were ready to help us paint that afternoon.  He got really pissed and took the sander from me, then started sanding the walls and yelling about how we never do anything.

So what do we have left to do?  This list is for my own reference as well as yours, because CB and I are going to try to single-handedly finish the work in the main area.  And by single-handedly, I mean Llek’s husband Robert is definitely going to come help us install the floors because we’ve never done that, but the rest of it is going to be on me and CB.  We don’t want to bring in another contractor when there’s just basically finishing work to do, and we think we now know how to finish things on our own.

  • Finish hanging the drywall ceiling in the back half.  KC hung the bedroom, we need to hang the study area and at the foot of the stairs.
  • Complete the HVAC bulkhead.  The one in the bedroom is done; me and CB need to do the one in the study area.  My awesome bonus grandparents have let us borrow their beast of a compound miter saw so that we can cut the lumber to do this.
  • Drywall said bulkhead.
  • Sand all the walls down once more.  They’ve been mudded and sanded once and I mudded them again yesterday before we decided to take a break.
  • Mud the ceiling joints and the ceiling and the study area bulkhead 2x and sand them all 2x.
  • Trim out the windows.  I think I have figured out how to do this.  This is the part I am the iffiest on.
  • PRIME AND PAINT, FINALLY.  Supposedly I was going to be able to start doing this on the 27th, lol!
  • Lay the laminate flooring.
  • Hang bathroom door and bifold closet doors, install door hardware.
  • Cut and install baseboards.
  • Build bookshelves and our gaming desk.
  • Install closet hardware (double rods and shoe rack).
  • Move in!

We have decided that even though we think we can probably do the stuff in the bathroom, we want to just get a separate contractor to come in and frame/drywall that for us, maybe even lay the tile.  I was planning on doing the tiling myself but man, I am just so tired at this point.  CB and I work 10 hr days over there, and then a couple of times a week I have to stay the night, and I don’t sleep well upstairs.  I’m so ready for this to be done.  We were hoping we’d be moved in by today so I wouldn’t have to pay another month of storage fees, but I guess shit happens.  We are still planning on moving in as soon as the main living area is done, and hopefully the bathroom won’t take much longer.  Oh, and one other thing I keep forgetting – the drop ceiling in the living room / gaming room space – I contacted a company about coming in and giving us an estimate.  CB and I aren’t sure if we want to tackle that part ourselves.  We’ll see how reasonable the price for an install in only 15x25ish ft of space is.

And I know, you’ve been waiting around for pictures.  I have a ton to share – the basement looks almost finished – but I need to edit them before posting them.  It’s taken me so long to write anything because I’ve just been so drained and then so angry, I had to rest and compose myself first.  Me and CB are about to head out to pick up Meemaw to go have Easter dinner at a restaurant for the first time ever in the history of my family (she doesn’t want to cook when Sugarbandit is in rehab, and I don’t blame her), but maybe I’ll be able to get another post scheduled before raid tonight!  Until then, you can check out my pinterest board for paint color choices, fixtures, and other basement decor decisions.

My friend Eli from Murray posted a saying on facebook the other day and I saw it right after firing KC, and it really resonated with me when I was in despair.  It was “Life never gets easier.  You just get stronger.”  I am going to try to focus on that as we move into what I hope to be the last stages of The Great Basement Renovation.

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6 responses

    • sounds like the handy man wasn’t 2 handy. this is typical behavior of and alcoholic/addict.they are perfect when it comes to blaming others.Do you have a home depot? if so go visit and find out all the classes they present on saturdays. before Tommy put my tile down we went to class at home depot.so check out them as a resource for help.

      • Thanks Aunt Evelyn, I looked at the list of Home Depot classes online and there are a few that Darren and I might go to. I never thought to check out their classes!

    • Thanks Lizzy!!! It’s been a huge stress but it’s also been really fun seeing it progress! I LOVE those hgtv shows too, and home improvement blogs also, so that aspect has been really fun for me :D

  1. It’s too bad you live so far away, bc we are great a renon’s. You both seen our camp, lower basement is now a rec. room, bedroom & a new bathroom. Kitchen is beautifully done, will send some pictures soon.
    great work you & DHY is doing, keep it up, & don’t let anyone put u done.
    Luv ya both Mom & Dad

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