Monday, September 15, 2008

Training Day

I can't believe it's been over 2 weeks since I've written here.

You know what else I can't believe? That we STILL haven't finished that house in OKC's Heritage Hills neighborhood. (see pic in previous entry)

Everything's been going nice and smooth until this project. I know stressing won't help, so I'm not exactly flipping out about it, but I will be extremely disappointed if we don't complete it soon and to everyone's satisfaction.

Of course, seeing as how the homeowner is 3 weeks away from delivering a baby and her house is a WRECK because none of the subcontractors is finished yet, it's hard to console her at this point and her "satisfaction" may be an unattainable goal.

We saw her yesterday after Expert/Mentor/Boyfriend and I spent the day working on another project. We woke up at 6:15 Sunday morning and headed out. I watched crew members who had to seal a floor AND put two coats of finish on it. They were able to do all three coats in one day because they used waterbased sealer and finish.

Waterbased products dry quickly enabling you to put on another coat anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours later, depending on humidity. The trade off, (Isn't there always a trade off?) water based finishes aren't as durable as oil based, but that doesn't mean the water base isn't good. It is and I guess unless you're going to have kids and dogs and hedgehogs running through the house night and day you'll be fine with a waterbased finish.

Okay...back to me.

It's one thing to listen to people who know the handiwork talk about it. It's another to see it done and to be able to question everything going on. Why did you do that? Is that mark on the floor fixable with finish? How? Why? Oh I'm sure I was the bane of one crew member's existence on Sunday. LOL, but I need to learn so I know what I'm talking about to customers!

I was on my hands and knees feeling the floor at every stage so I'd know the effects of different coats and buffings. You coat...let it dry...buff, sweep and then do a light mopping with barely damp rags to get as much debris as possible off the floor before you apply the next coat of finish.

It's impossible to keep all debris out, but you certainly do your best and these guys seemed quite meticulous to me. I was impressed, but again, I'm sure they weren't thrilled having me over their shoulder all day.

We wrapped up that gig around 3pm. Then we headed south to the lingering 14th street project I mentioned earlier.

I had wanted to get all the floors done at 14th street the previous weekend, but due to circumstances beyond my control...we couldn't do it. In fact, a lead crew member was fired over it. I must tell you that this entire episode with the crew member makes me extremely sad. He completely disappointed me. I was his biggest champion and he totally let me down and in so doing left me with a bit of egg on my face. I didn't deliver what I said I'd deliver because of this crew member's disregard.

Last week an office administrator for the contracting company that hired us to do the floors at 14th street called me and had the homeowner (very pregnant and unhappy) on the line. They wanted to discuss concerns about the work we had done thus far. We HAD managed to finish coating the second floor, but they said the floor was too rough.

"We want to be able to slide on it in our socks." I heard her say.

I asked Expert/Mentor/Boyfriend to go check it out as my day job was hectic all week and I couldn't get away and even if I could...I don't know as much as him because...well, "Expert" IS in his name. So he did a site check and said he thought the floors looked fine. Knowing how consciencious he is, I was immediately put at ease and called the office administrator with the good news.

Alas, the office administrator concurred with the homeowner that the floors were too rough.

Okay, listen up people. If you want new finished floors, please, by all means install them. We'll be happy to help you. You'll be able to slide on them for at least 50 years! (If you go with solid wood) But if you buy a house built 100 years ago with it's original floors and ask a flooring company to restore what thin, little splinters remain please realize that the finish isn't going to be like new or even like....well, 50 years old.

What you see to the right is pretty good for a one hundred year old floor, but if you try to slide on it you might get a splinter because that wood is thin. Talk about Risky Business!!!

Since we were already in work mode on Sunday decided to go look at the floors in 14th street together and we hoped to find the home owners there so we could hear their concerns face to face.

They were very nice, but clearly upset. Besides floors rougher than they had anticipated upstairs, they showed us where one of our workers had gotten stain on their newly painted wall and ...*heavy sigh*....where someone with stain on their hand had left hand prints on their newly installed front room window.

*shoot me now*

Well, it turned out that Expert/Mentor/Boyfriend knew these people. (I shouldn't have been surprised. He knows everybody) Turns out he pegged the husband as the son of one of our neighbors and he told them about our connection immediately.

We will do our absolute best to make the most of those floors. Expert/Mentor/Boyfriend agreed to put an extra coat of finish upstairs to try and make the floor smoother. Honestly, only the upstairs hallway was rough. I thought all the bedrooms looked GREAT! They were shiney and glossy and a rich mahogony color, but if we do the hall, Mr. Expert says we also have to do the bedrooms.

Painters are coming to touch up other boo boos to the walls made by a plumber and a dry waller, so they're going to cover up ours as well. (We weren't the only ones to make a mess on the very pretty walls) And we will take care of removing the hand print stain from the new front window.

We are supposed to get into the house with full crews running Thursday and Friday. I feel like taking those days off of my day job so I can be there, but I have an all day shoot on Friday, so maybe I'll just take off Thursday morning. I want to be on site when the crews get started so I can point out all of these problems.

I'm sure they'll be thrilled to see me.