Monday, May 24, 2010

Patio Debacle

So we decided to have the backyard fixed up for summertime and get a nice patio, seating wall, and built-in barbecue. We had several estimates and decided on a referral from a friend who had an addition built by this "contractor". We gave him a drawing of what we wanted and lots of photos of examples of the stone, wall caps, and concrete we wanted. He started right away preparing the area and was building the seating wall by day 2. I thought this was strange, but what do I know? I would have thought the wall would go on top of the patio with footings into the concrete, but heck this guy has done this before right? First major problem was when Mr. Patio shows up with a load of dark charcoal bricks. What are those for, I ask? "The top of the wall, and I can't take them back"....I don't think so, Mr Patio. First those are the ugliest things I have ever seen, second you don't just show up with a load of materials without getting approval, third, that looks nothing like the long stone caps we showed you we wanted. Uh oh, I think we may be in trouble here. Ok, so next problem the stone veneer that we requested, is "not available" so he brings one stone of a few other types and tells us to pick. Stone veneer is comprised of many different shapes, sizes and colors, so picking one stone as a sample is a guess at what the batch would look like. A photo or a sample section glues to a board (which we found out later from visiting a stone store) is a much better way to see what the stones will look like together. Anyway Mr. Patio starts attaching the stones on parts of the seating wall and the first night a few have already fallen off! I don't think the three bubblegum sized pieces of cement are enough to hold the stone on. Ugh, now I am getting really worried.
Time to start the barbecue. The what? Oh Mr. Patio is running out of money because he had to pay his rent and now that will be extra $. I'm about loosing my mind at this point, and we have already given him more money than work he has done, so we are stuck. He continues on, making a giant mess of the backyard leaving trash everywhere and making it look a lot worse than before instead of better.

BBQ is still unfinished with no counter top and no door installed.

And the stairs...yup, you guessed it that will also be extra. So basically, he underbid the job to get it, and then decided to charge us more once he got started. Super!

What a nightmare. Things continued to get worse. He backed into the side of the garage, broke the back gate (by another misjudgment in his driving), raised the price $3,000, and we had to go out and buy our own wall caps (+$700)and still pay for the ugly ones he bought without approval. Really??? Yup it gets worse....

So I come home from work the day the concrete is poured and instead of the picture I gave him of beautiful stamped concrete that looks like flagstone, it has a few hand drawn lines across the middle and its the wrong color. I completely break down at this point. I cannot believe this is happening. This guy is not listening to a word I am saying, and if he is he is not understanding. Everyday I have a huge argument with him telling him what I want and he is telling me what he did is what I want???? I think I know what I want and this is not it!

This is what we got...

This is the picture we gave him of what we wanted....

Although he assured us he knew what stamped concrete was, he apparently did not! Hand drawn lines are not stamped concrete.

So now we have a patio, that is completely not what I wanted, but I'm stuck with it unless I want to pay someone else to redo it. We paid way more than his original estimate. And he hasn't finished the barbecue (no top). Plus the closer we look the more things we find wrong. Things start getting ugly, I demand his contractors license which he promised me he had and come to find out...surprise! no license. He wants the remaining $1000 because he needs to send his friend back to the islands (like that's my problem). Chad is out of town and I am left to deal with Mr. Patio, so I call for backup...a few firefighter friends who come and disperse the situation. Mr. Patio is told to hit the road because the job is in no way complete, the yard is a disaster, the patio is completely not what we asked for and he is not getting the remaining $1000. Now he is threatening to put a lien on our house for the $1000. Are you serious? I think operating without a license is frowned upon heavily in the state of CA, so chances are he will get in more trouble for that if he tries to take legal action on us. PLUS he hasn't finished the job!!!!

This is the end of the concrete, where there is supposed to be a step. He just left the wood there because it was stuck from the rebar he stuck in the concrete to keep it in place, which is oozing out from underneath. The concrete is also supposed to go out farther than the wall, and have a lip. And below is the picture we gave him of what we wanted....

Completely different! Ugh!

We wedged the wood off and now this is what the edge looks like - ugly and uneven!

So we are trying to find a legitimate contractor to finish the barbecue. Four appointments for estimates and all four were no shows. I thought the economy wasn't so good and people were looking for work? Apparently not in my area. Finally we did get one guy out for an estimate and the estimate was $6,100 for the counter top. Do we have sucker written across our foreheads? There is no way I am paying $6,100 for a barbecue counter top. The search continues....

Mazzy Update

Saturday was a huge milestone for Mazzy and me. I did four leadchanges and jumped a few crossrails. First time for both (with me) and she was perfect! Unfortunately no photos or video of the momentus event. The lead changes were pretty easy, which I was glad because I have seen horses that have sticky lead changes and that is just something else to have to worry about when trying to navigate a course. I'm lucky with Kylie, I don't think I even ask for changes, she just does them automatically, unless I need to get one in a bending line, then I have to ask. There are too many other things to have to think about aside from whether you are going to get a clean change in the corner.

Sunday we had a schooling horse show at the barn. I did the two Jr/Am flat classes with Mazzy and she was good. The competition was a bit out of our league, including horses that have won at indoors, A/O hunter champion, etc. and I am sure all the horses had at least 3 or more years on us, but it was great experience. They were all my barnmates, so I warned them ahead of time that if I cut them off I apologize, but my stearing sometimes out of whack. Luckily, I picked up the correct lead in both directions, and I didn't pass anyone or have to circle. Funny the things you take for grated on a trained horse! I need to work on keeping her head in a better frame at the canter, but sometimes this makes her break into the trot, so I figured it was better to keep her cantering with her head higher than I would like, instead of chancing a break into the trot. Good progress, but so much to work on.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mazzy making progress

We have a long, long road ahead of us, but Mazzy is making great progress. She jumped a few little jumps last week...well kind of just stepped over them. Her balance and strength are getting better, and I think the small crossrails and polls here and there are definetly helping with that. She is also starting to carry herself more instead of relying on her rider to hold her up. She is so easy going and such a pleasure to work with. I took her for a nice bareback ride this weekend. I figured she deserved a break after working so hard all week. I video taped my trainer on her Friday, and put together some clips...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Its Monday already?

You cannot train a horse with shouts and expect it to obey a whisper.- Dagobert D. Runes

Riding Mazzy on one of our evening rides

Floating Social Media