Sunday, March 28, 2010

Flooring Nightmare!

Warning:  this blog post is long and mentions Case Cleaning a lot.   I want to make it clear up front that they did not do a good job on replacing my carpet and were not easy to work with.  I do not recommend them and encourage you to spread the word to your friends who may need similar work not use them!

You learn a lot of lessons in the first year of home ownership.  I've had my fair share of lessons learned, but non have been quite so costly or time consuming than my 'floor situation'. The whole thing, quite frankly makes me sick.  Sick because I settled for imperfection, sick because I wasted money on a job half done, sick because I didn't do my homework and check other companies, sick because my floor still isn't right.

As you know the whole thing started on February 18th...because of this:
A cracked supply line from the bathroom sink...this small problem turned into flooding in two bedrooms and the hall
The floors were soaked...which is usually what happens in a flood!
So, late that night I called Case Cleaning (because the plumber recommended them...I will speak with the plumber soon about that referral!) to start the clean up process.  They were prompt and polite that night as they came in and started to remove all of the carpet padding that was damaged, removed doors and baseboards in order to get everything dry.  They brought in many large dehumidifiers and commercial dryers to start the drying process. 
I thought it questionable that it took 5 days to thoroughly dry the concrete slab, carpet, cabinets, and drywall.  But I would rather be safe than sorry.  I met with my Insurance Adjuster on February 23rd to survey the damage.  He gave me an estimate to replace all of the padding, pay for the dryers and dehumidifiers for 5 days, move all of the furniture, and lay down the same carpet.  He said since the carpet was only 6-8 months old it would dry and could be re-laid "just like new"...famous last words. 

The workers from Case Cleaning, who came in to check the drying equipment agreed that you could stretch new carpet to make it look just as good as before.  So I wasn't too worried about the end result.  The technician even showed me where he could lift up some carpet in the middle of the room showing "give" that could be used to re-stretch it later.

Since I had already missed two days of work because of this, I waited to have all of the repairs done on my Spring Break, March 15th.  This meant that I was living in a bit of a disaster for several weeks, but it was livable while not enjoyable.

My insurance adjuster sent the estimate he gave me to Case Cleaning so they automatically knew exactly how much it was for...mistake #1.   (I think if a company knows how much you are getting, then they know how much to charge you.  They are going to take as much as possible in this situation)  I called Case Cleaning to have a copy of their estimate for the work sent to me.  I gave them my email address and they said they would send it, but never did.  Poor business etiquette.  While I was on the phone with the guy he wanted to know if I would be able to pay them in full for the job on the scheduled day.  (Didn't know that was an option, but I should have thought about it!)  I was going to ask around and get a few other estimates to make sure I was getting the best quote, but I never did...mistake #2.  The week before they came to do the final work I called to confirm the time (March 15th at 8:30 a.m.) and to ask if they could send a copy of the exact estimate with their technicians in order to look through it before the work began.  Just to make sure everything was covered.  (I didn't want them to leave something out that was supposed to be covered)

On Monday morning, March 15th the workers called to say they would be late because "they didn't realize the work required all new carpet padding" and they had to wait for the store to open that sold them the materials?  Apparently 3 weeks isn't enough time to prepare for a job.  They arrived over an hour late, apologized and were very courteous.  They did not have a copy of the estimate from the company...therefore they seemed not to know what needed to be done beyond the obvious (carpet).  I took them in the bathroom and bedrooms and walked them through what the estimate included. (to re-skin toe kick under the bathroom cabinets where they drilled holes to allow it to dry thoroughly, repaint and install baseboard, move and replace all furniture, replace all padding, clean all bathroom tile, lay carpet, clean and deodorize carpet, replace metal transition strip under closet, and replace door).  They didn't have the proper supplies for these jobs and therefore had to go to the store to purchase paint and supplies for the toe kick, go back to the shop to get the cleaning supplies for the tile.  So they left and returned around noon and began moving all of the furniture out of the bedrooms.  I had already done a large amount of this (removing all of the drawers from the furniture, clearing off the bookshelves, etc.) so they only had the big items to move.  By this time they asked if they could come back the next morning to finish the job.  (Half the day was spent gathering supplies they should have already had prepared)

Tuesday morning, March 16th they returned early around 8:00 a.m. and began working.  They worked throughout the morning taking out old padding, replacing it, doing all the minor jobs, and then laying the existing carpet back down.  They began resetting the furniture around 12:00 and I noticed the carpet looked terrible.  The seams are so obvious in the hallway and doorway.  The technicians tell me they worked hard to get the seams to look the best and this is the best that can be done.  I could get a "carpet or transition strip" and place over it...because you would have a strip of something in the middle of the hallway???  I didn't know what else to do and just continued telling them where to place furniture...mistake #3  I should have called the company immediately and asked for someone else to come out and try to do it better.  I'm too nice.

I paid the guys the remaining ($2500+ 500 from the first visit) and they were on their way.  Later that night mom came over to help me get things arranged.  We noticed the foot board of my bed did not look right.  I noticed it when the guys were here but it just didn't register...what was wrong.  They had put the foot board on my bed upside down.  It was so obvious after I had a minute to think about it, but when they were in the house we were busy putting things back in place.  So, mom and I had to take the bed apart and repair it.  We moved into the guest bedroom and I notice the bed is very wobbly and unstable.  We take the mattresses off and notice they had not tightened the screws that were holding the bed together and had put some in the wrong places.  Again, we had to take the bed apart and redo it.  Mistake #4...I had not gone in there to check that bed when the technicians were here.  It was up and I just never thought to check for stability.  It had never been that way before. 

So, now after we have realized the two beds were put together wrong I started to really question the ability of these two young technicians.  They were nice and polite guys, but let's face it...they were late, unprepared, and young.  They could not have been too experienced.  I called the company and asked to speak with a manager or someone in charge.  They connected me with a man who I believe was named Eric.  I told him I was not pleased with the work done on my house and asked if someone else could come take a look at it to see if it was in fact done properly.  He said he had to talk with his technicians and get back with me and he did.  He said, "I spoke with the two technicians who did the work on your floors and they gave a different story"....uuuhhhh really?  That is funny because there is only one story to share....this should be interesting. 

He continued, "They said you "admitted" that your carpet was in fact two years old.  With carpet that old it cannot be stretched back out properly".   Ok, by this point I'm completely appalled and furious that he has changed the whole point of the conversation aaaannnddddd has accused me of lying!!  This immediately shows me what kind of person he is, what kind of company Case Cleaning is, and what kind of work they do.  It's really besides the point that I NEVER had a conversation with the young men about the age of my carpet, and they never seemed to think it was a problem before. 

What I had called to discuss was the fact that my carpet seams look terrible and the two men assembled my beds incorrectly which could have broken them and/or been dangerous.  He said since I was in the rooms with them when the beds were up I should have said something then.  I agreed that I was in the rooms at that point but I just didn't realize what was wrong.  

I will "admit" (to use his guilt ridden word) that the carpet in my home is cheap, builder grade carpet; however it is only 6-8 months old.  (It was installed at some point before my closing date in do the math)  Everyone (insurance adjuster and all the technicians I worked with through this company) was so assured that it would be back to normal after the work was done.  That they in fact had several inches of carpet to work with, even!  But to say that I lied about a conversation just absolutely rips me to the core.  This is a sign not only of a weak man with no character, but a terrible company.  What happened to customer satisfactions?  What happened to customer service? 

What I was simply asking was for someone with more experience than the two workers I had in my home to come and look at things again.  After that point, if they had said it was unrepairable I would have been more prone to believing what they said.  But to be so rude and disrespectful as to as to question my character and who I am as a person was down right despicable!  The man on the phone refused to have anybody else come and check the work and said it was done.

The bottom line is Case Cleaning did a horrible job and has horrible customer service.  They were only in it to get the $3,000 they knew I had from the insurance claim.  Once they had the money, there is no way they were going to put forth any effort into making the situation right.  The technicians who worked in my home on all occasions were nice, polite, and courteous.  However, especially the last two, were young and obviously inexperienced carpet layers.

What I wish I had done...I wish I had asked around, got more estimates, and only used experienced carpet installers to do the carpet repair.  Maybe they are the experts in drying wet things but they are no experts in installing carpet or any of the other small home improvement projects that typically come with this type of situation.

  Cleaning and Restoration...funny, how my home still isn't restored properly!
Do not use this company!!!

Here is exactly how the carpet looked when they's not even fully tucked in under the doorway.  I let the guys leave knowing I was going to call the company to complain.  I thought they would send in more experienced people to look at it if that is what I requested.  (high hopes)
See those tack strips...yeah they hurt when you step on them!  Do you think that is childproof?
Carpet Seam #1
  My bedroom doorway
Carpet Seam #2 
Nursery Doorway
 Carpet Seam #3
The worst one of all is right in the middle of the hallway
So tacky!

So why have I gone through the agony to write this whole ordeal up?  Well, first of all I wanted it documented accurately for my records.  Second of all I wanted to put as much negative publicity on my blog and facebook about this company as possible, because I think they are just the worst!  And, lastly I'm still working with my insurance adjuster to get the problems fixed!  If you are still reading this, God Bless You!  And, you know of any good and TRUSTWORTHY carpet installers in Middle Tennessee?
To be continued....

Outside 'Tune Ups'

What else have I been up to?  I'm glad you asked.  I've been doing a lot outside as well.  I know when I come back home from China with Ms. Molly I will not have the time or energy to work out in my yard.  So I'm trying to get it all together now so it will be beautiful for spring and summer.  There is so much  to do!

I started the outside "renovations" by adding all weather proof lattice work to my patio area.  This area was already partially "roofed" and framed when I bought the house last summer.  The old lattice work was rotting so I took it all off last fall.  It was time to install some new...
It looks so pretty.  As you can see my flower beds are only half done.  Last fall I did plant over 100 tulip bulbs in this bed hoping they would appear this spring.  I was so happy to see them peeking out earlier this season.  I still need to add dirt and pine straw to make it look better.  I also have some empty spaces to plant some bigger things.  I want to plant some large hydrangea bushes in front of this lattice work.  I love the large blooms of a hydrangea!

My tulip poplar tree is about to burst in blooms!
The first sign of spring!
This doesn't look like a big project and it isn't pretty for sure, but this was a major project!  I had a thick, overgrown section of monkey grass that had not been trimmed out in many years.  I wanted it to be just grass only to look neater so I mowed it all down and then dug it all up to plant grass seed.  I then split all of the monkey grass and replanted it all around the house inside the existing flower beds.

Bathroom Redo

Molly's Bathroom Re-do 2010

As we all know, once you start a home renovation project...whatever the size, it is not always as easy as it appears!  This project went well over all. Surprisingly there were no problems at all.  The only flaw is that painting is long, tedious work.  I got tired of it quickly! I am happy with the end result though.

I wanted a cozy, cottage-esqe bathroom to go with the rest of my home.   

 I started with removing the drawers and doors of the old vanity.  All of the cabinets in my home are this maple or oak stain from the late 80's.  The bathrooms both had gold fixtures and these large framed gold mirrors with molding around them.  I wasn't so sure how that mirror would come off...that was the scariest part.
 To my surprise the mirror and molding came off easily and left minor wall damage. 
 The counter tops in  both bathrooms are this creamy marble (?) material.  I didn't have the money to replace it, so for now I'm keeping it.  It is neutral enough to work for now and it's in good shape!
 Painting Central...the table turns into a work area and the refrigerator turns into paint storage!  No food...just paint!  (Did you know this trick?  If you need to wait for a coat to dry or have to stop work in the middle of a job you can wrap your brush, roller, or paint tray with saran wrap and put it in the fridge.  This will keep enough moisture in it so it won't dry out. Try it!)
 Almost finished...                       The final product
I added paintable beadboard  wallpaper to the bottom half of the walls.  I've never hung wallpaper before and this was relatively easy.  If you look closely there are many flaws, but overall you can't see them.  When the chair rail was installed it looked just like real beadboard.  The beadboard and trim are painted white and the top half of the bathroom are painted "Cozy Cottage" from here.  I think bright colors look really good with white beadboard but in this small space with no natural light I thought the neutral colors looked best.  My house is a very creamy/white cottage home with bursts of color coming through fabrics and furniture.
 I love white cabinets, but they were really hard to paint.  It took many coats of paint.  Because they were old and dry they soaked the paint in and I thought I'd never get them to look right.  I added cute hardware to dress them up a bit.
 The tile around my tub goes higher than the standard shower curtain would "hide" so I needed an extra long length for the shower curtain.  Since I had painted everything very neutral I needed to bring in some color also.  I looked many places and could not find a shower curtain that would go from floor to ceiling.  I decided to use a regular drape/panel for a window and cover the rod with a valance.   This worked well.  It's not lined, but this bath will only be used for Molly's baths anyway.  I have a separate shower in my bathroom if it's needed.  I bought the curtains here.

 I replaced the square mirror with this one that has pretty detail around it.  It was an old gold/dark wood mirror that mom gave me.  I took it apart and painted it white.  I added the combo magazine rack/toilet paper dispenser to the end of the cabinet so it would be out of the way.  I also left the door off of the old medicine cabinet on the wall so I could use it to display things.  I also bought an antique white vanity light here to replace the old 80's fixture.  You can't see it very well,but it's so cute!
 I love my new faucet!  No more gold!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Political Platform

(I got this in email form today and just love it!  You may have read something similar before, but why does congress and EVERY other politician make things so much more difficult than it has to be?  I guess b/c it's not "PC"  UGGGHH! But since it's just between us, here you go!   My favorite ideas are in red font...what is your favorite?)



(1). Any use of the phrase: 'Press 1 for English' is immediately banned. English is the official language; speak it or wait outside of our borders until you can.

(2). We will immediately go into a two year isolationist attitude in order to straighten out the greedy big business posture in this country. America will allow NO imports, and we'll do no exports. We will use the 'Wal-Mart 's policy, 'If we ain't got it, you don't need it.' We'll make it here and sell it here!

(3). When imports are allowed, there will be a 100% import tax on it coming in here.

(4). All retired military personnel will be required to man one of the many observation towers located on the southern border of the United States (six month tour). They will be under strict orders not to fire on SOUTHBOUND aliens.

(5). Social Security will immediately return to its original state. If you didn't put nuttin in, you ain't gettin nuttin out. Neither the President nor any other politician will be able to touch it.

(6). Welfare. -- Checks will be handed out on Fridays, at the end of the 40 hour school week, the successful completion of a urinalysis test for drugs, and passing grades.

(7). Professional Athletes -- Steroids? The FIRST time you check positive you're banned from sports ... for life.

(8). Crime -- We will adopt the Turkish method, i.e.., the first time you steal, you lose your right hand. There is no more 'life sentences'.. If convicted of murder, you will be put to death by the same method you chose for the victim you killed: gun, knife, strangulation, etc.

(9). One export of ours will be allowed: wheat; because the world needs to eat. However, a bushel of wheat will be the exact price of a barrel of oil.

(10). All foreign aid, using American taxpayer money, will immediately cease and the saved money will help to pay off the national debt and, ultimately, lower taxes. When disasters occur around the world, we'll ask The American People if they want to donate to a disaster fund, and each citizen can make the decision as to whether, or not, it's a worthy cause.

(11). The Pledge of Allegiance will be said every day at school and every day in Congress.

(12). The National Anthem will be played at all appropriate ceremonies, sporting events, outings, etc.

My apology is offered if I've stepped on anyone's toes .... nevertheless....


Monday, March 22, 2010

Doctor, Doctor give me the news...

Today I spent three hours with some wonderful doctors at the Vanderbilt International Adoption Clinic to review Molly's medical records from China and discuss her health and possible things to look for in China in regards to her health and attachment.  First I spoke with a medical doctor who specializes in International Adoption.  She was a wealth of information.  She had already spoken to a hand surgeon at Vanderbilt to confirm that Molly's hand and foot deformity was caused by Amniotic Band Syndrome.  This is what I had originally thought so it was good to have it confirmed by a specialist.  It is a rare congenital birth defect that has no known cause and is not a sign of any other underlying health problems.  I will contact and meet with the hand and foot surgeon this summer to get a full evaluation of her hands and feet after she has adjusted to home a bit.  The doctor also talked about a broad range of things to be aware of such as anemia, scabies, psychosocial behaviors, iodine deficiencies, etc.  She will talk to me again by phone before we travel to China and prescribe a few prescriptions for Molly just in case she needs them while in China.

The second person I met with was an Occupational Therapist who was very nice to talk to.  She didn't suspect any problems with Molly's hands and feet, but will observe her at least once to just make sure.  There is a possibility she may need therapy after surgery, but we'll just have to wait and see. 

The third person was Psychologist specializing in the needs of adoptive children.  She also gave me a wealth of information and spoke a lot about what life may be like for her in the orphanage and what a dramatic shock it will be like when we finally get her....speaking of shock I'm already in shock quite frankly! ha!

I was really glad to have these lengthy meetings with some professional in person and feel really confident that with the resources available to me we will be able to adjust just fine and get Molly the treatment she will need in order to be her best. 

I'm still waiting for TA (travel approval) to come and after that I will have exact travel dates! 

When I got home from my hectic day of schedules and meetings I was so overjoyed to have received my first official baby shower gift from a very sweet friend who I've actually never met (thanks Suzy!!!)  She is so thoughtful and always does the nicest things for me... like sends me gift cards at the beginning of school for school supplies for the class!  She's been a faithful blog reader through the years and is just genuinely a good person I think.

I do have two baby showers coming up soon and I am really excited about that!  To be single and childless at 35 years old and never "registered" for anything should be a crime!  When I went to Target to register and got the "gun" to scan the items... I did feel a bit strangely empowered by the whole experience!  ha!  Seriously, it was fun to walk through the aisles and think about what Molly will need when she gets home and I look forward to celebrating with my friends, family, and coworkers in the coming weeks!

Adoption, what a journey!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

spring break?

Somehow I missed the "break" in my spring break this week.  I cannot believe I am facing a full work week tomorrow!  I did get a lot accomplished this week at home, but there is so much more to do in order to prepare for a toddler moving in and for travel to China!  This week I accomplished:
*  painting and cleaning out the garage
* getting the new carpet pad installed (this was actually a disaster and was not installed properly...more work will be done soon!)
*  finishing Molly's bathroom...everything is done it's just waiting for one final cleaning.  I just couldn't muster the energy to clean it today and post pictures.  But it does look really good.
*  I have mowed down the overgrown monkey grass in my front yard and have  divided it to place around the house.  I planted grass seed in places that need to be seeded. 
*  I have weeded 3/4 of my flower beds!  I was being overtaken by weeds and I'm so happy that they are a bit more undercontrol.
*  I have purchased gifts for the Chinese officials for the trip.
* I have registered for my 2 upcoming baby showers (one at school and one at church)
*  I completed all of our travel documents and sent in our requests for travel VISAS!

I will post some pictures soon of my home improvements.  This week I am really excited to consult with three doctors (medical dr., adoption psychologist, and occupational therapist) who work at the Vanderbilt International Adoption Clinic to review Molly's information and put together a tentative plan for treatment for her to begin this summer.  I'm sure I will gain a lot of useful information with them.

I hope you are enjoying the first signs of spring wherever you are! 

Friday, March 19, 2010

you've got mail!

I thought little Ms. Molly looked like she needed some mail from her momma, so I sent her this little package last week and I hope she is enjoying the pictures!

I sent a little photo album for her to carry with pictures of me, me and "Uncle Eddie" (so she may recognize him since he's traveling with me), me and "Mama Maze", the whole family together at Thanksgiving, Madison and Eddie, and our house.  I wonder if she'll recognize any of us?  I also sent a camera so the nannies could take a picture of her with her friends there and I send a letter to her and to the nannies.  I used Ann at Red Thread China to put this together for me and deliver it. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

what's up with me...

I've been so behind on blogging lately.  You can imagine why!  I've been consumed with trying to get my  home in order for Molly's arrival (you know since the flood of 2010 and the bathroom remodel on a whim!)that I just haven't taken the time to sit down and update here.  Things are progressing nicely and I hope to post some great before and after pictures by the end of the week! 

We are on Spring Break this week, my saving grace!!  In the midst of my bathroom projects and flooring repairs; I've also added painting and organizing the garage, getting the nursery ready, and doing some spring landscaping to my list.  It's a lot to do in one week!  But I actually think I'll be close to finished by the end of the week. 

In the midst of getting LOA/RA I forgot to give props to my wonderful friend, Danielle who designed my new blog with Molly's picture in the header.  I just love it!  She always knows exactly what to do for me.  So if you need a blog makeover or other design needs you should give her a holla! She's the best!  Thank you, Danielle!!

Ok, finally last, but not least I have some updated pictures for you to enjoy!  About a week after my referral I got updated information on Molly with these 3 pictures.  I think they are so funny!
Look at the hair, the facial expressions, and the cheeks!  Oh my goodness, I can tell that I am going to have my hands full with this one!  I've got much more to share, but I'll save it all for another post.  I'm still waiting for TA (travel approval) and shortly after that I will know my exact travel dates.  My tentative dates are April 15-30, but they are not official yet. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday, Madison

With all of the Referral excitement and home re-do's going on I almost failed to post about sweet Madison's 4th birthday!!!  First, let's take a look  back...
Her 1st Birthday, 2007
Her 2nd Birthday, 2008
Her 3rd Birthday, 2009
And this year, her 4th birthday, 2010
She would not let me take a picture of her :(
She had a strawberry shortcake jumphouse party.  This was the closest I could get for a picture!  Better luck next year!

Strawberry Shortcake Jumphouse

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