"You're such a girl"...recently commented my friend, MadDog, much to my amusement.
Boy-0-boy, that phrase has been on rewind-repeat in my head for the last 24 hours.
I purchased my 'lil house a little over a year ago. The former owner had done a general amount of maintenance and remodeling, which was a big selling point for me. Home maintenance isn't one of my strong points.
Oh, I'm a terrific homemaker and decorator, but I don't do wiring, plumbing, roofing, siding, window installation. Worse, even, is that I often can't even recognize when these things need to be done...or if they're done incorrectly.
I have a sunroom on the back of my house that consumes roughly 1/6 of my living space, so I've been working towards making it as functional as possible for the most months of the year. The windows to the sunroom, when I bought it, were disasatrous; it seemed as if each were picked up at different junkyards, none matched. Pine needles blew right into the room through the mis-aligned windows and frames. I had to seal the room off for my first winter here.
This summer I hired a BIG company to put 11 new windows in my sunroom. Windows are expensive, jack, and it was a somewhat stressful transaction for me.
There were a few red flags: When I phoned to schedule an estimate, the woman on the other line asked me, "Are you single?" The idea of her checking off a box on a form somewhere: "SINGLE", didn't sit well with me. I asked her, before getting off the phone, what difference it made. She said they require all homeowners to be at the estimate meeting. Hmph.
This particular company, a very large one, made me an offer I couldn't refuse. $2K, actually, to install 11 windows. I'd done some shopping at home depot, and the numbers seemed to make sense, so I signed up.
It was months before the work was actually done, but they were finally installed, and I thought them beautiful. I can begin the painting, carpeting. But first, I must hire someone to insulate the room, and perhaps add a heating duct to it.
I called an old friend starting a new business, Herman, to give me some ideas and estimates. He had plenty of ideas, and in the interim, he's shaking his head at the shoddy workmanship on the entire structure. Well, yes, even I can see that it was sort of a piecemeal project for whoever put this together; and I am trying to fix this now. Then, Herman said, "your windows are in some sad shape, that guy must have been a moron."
I am dumbfounded. My WINDOWS are in bad shape? I let it sink in for a few minutes before I meekly admit that my windows were just installed in August, and maybe he should show me what is wrong with them.
Herman has a fit, and drags me around to show me my window problems. The windows are not even sealed into the walls. They clearly do not fit, there is wood showing, and rain can run right into my walls. He brings me inside and stands me on a chair to show me that daylight is shining right through, around the outside of the windows. The tops and bottoms of 8 of my 11 windows look like this:
I am feeling like a little pink-haired girl in a dunce-cap; How can I not have seen this? It's very obvious; did I ever even go outside and inspect them?!! NO! I was on autopilot; I was pleased; the windows are done, I paid good money to have them done, and it didn't occur to me that Midstate Siding and Windows (heh heh hehhh) would have done anything less than a stellar job.
Herman is *thoroughly* annoyed, I have been taken for a ride. He insists, of course, that I get on the phone, and make them make this right or there will be hell to pay. I am deflated, now, and unsure of my abilities even to have that conversation. I honestly don't even know what to tell them is not right about the windows, or what I want them to do to fix them. Is there a part? a frame? is flashing something? I know only that I should be seething! Herman told me so, so I believe it!
I'm somewhat anxious; when the workmen last left here, they made me go through, I kid you not, a RECORDED exit interview: Is everything done to your satisfaction? YES, I said, happily.
While I'm not meek or stupid, I will probably call on the assistance of my knowledgeable men-friends to help me fight this battle if it become a battle. I can write a mean letter, and make phone calls, and this will be right.
I still wonder, though: Was SINGLE checked off somewhere?!! What if, on that initial phone call, I had lied, and suggested that there WAS a man of some sort in my house, a man that would be inspecting those windows, a man that would have said "I don't freakin' think so" on the exit interview, would those installers DARED to have walked away leaving sunlight and wind and water to rain to run right into my walls?