Friday, January 13, 2012

The trouble with floors and water is...

My son and my new daughter wanted some help on a flooring project in their condo in Pasadena, CA, so I went down to lend a hand. Our first step was to move the furniture out and pull up the carpet and take it to the dump.  The first hiccup came when we arrived at the dump.  The recent record-breaking windstorm that hit Southern California meant there was a very long line of cars and trucks trying to rid themselves of the branches that had littered their yards.

On Sunday, we wanted to move out the last of the furniture and appliances and then paint. Being an early riser I am, I wanted to get a head start.  Hiccup number two arose as I walked through the house.  I noticed a puddle on the floor that stretched across the dining area, kitchen and entry hall. It stretched so far, it was impossible to tell where it came from. I mopped the water up and waited to see if any new water came in. I couldn’t figure out what generated the mess or if it will delay the floor installation the next day.

After the water clean-up, I began to move out the appliances. When I tried to turn off the water valve for the dishwasher, the valve handle and stem broke off in my hands. Hiccup number three. Before I could take out the dishwasher, I had to fix the valve, which meant letting the other residents know that the water would be turned off the water for half the building (not to mention make our fourth unexpected trip to the hardware store).

By the end of the afternoon, the water mystery was solved (a water line had burst in the unit above us but was quickly fixed), and the happy news was that the floor installation wouldn’t be delayed. A few hours later the water valve was fixed and the dishwasher removed. After debating between fourteen paint samples, my daughter-in-law finally chose the paint color, and we painted the kitchen.

Monday morning. The floor was dry. The appliances moved. The walls painted.  The floor guys were due at 8:00 a.m.  Of course, Eight, Nine o'clock rolled around with no sign of the contractors.  The guys finally showed up at 10:00 a.m.  A few hours into work the floor installers asked me where the base trim was for the kitchen. I told them that the supplier did not send any. There were baseboards for the living room and dining room, but no trim for the kitchen.  Finally, they figured out that it wasn’t ordered, and my son left work early to pick it up. Hiccup number 4. After my son returned with the base, the floor guy said that was  not enough for the living and dining rooms. Thus, another trip to the hardware store.  By the end of Monday evening, the floor and trim was completed and looked great.  Job accomplished.

My advice to anyone taking on a “small” home improvement project is: be flexible.  There will always be hiccups along the way. But isn't life like that too?

-Neil Fisher

(*picture above taken from HERE)

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