Morningside Renovation

Our Journey Through The Renovation Process Of Our Future "Forever Home" In Morningside (Atlanta,GA)

Hail Mary

With the air beginning to feel slightly more crisp in the morning it only means one thing – Football Season is Back!!   One of my most favorite times of the year.  Besides the peak of spring, the beginning of football season is simply magical.

I love college football and can literally watch any game with absolutely no preference as to who’s victorious. While college football is my staple, I’m somehow becoming even more of a fanatic of my beloved New Orleans Saints which I have followed since before they were known as the Aint’s.

Now living in Atlanta, home to our most despised archrival – the Falcons, I receive my fair share of derogatory comments when either myself or my boys are wearing some sort of Saints attire.  It’s generally all in good fun and frankly it’s the cornerstone of what keeps this rivalry so active.

So yesterday I was watching the Saints/Redskins game and even though we played well below our ability and Brees was having trouble hitting his receivers, we somehow found ourselves in a position to actually send the game into overtime.  With only 2 seconds left on the clock and 40+ yards to the end zone our only prayer was the always exciting Hail Mary pass.

The Hail Mary, a  desperate attempt for victory.  A play that has snatch victory away from many teams but one with a very low percentage of success.  This basic fact makes it is a favored highlight of ESPN, this last-ditch effort and attempt.

As I watched the play unfold and even after it was over I thought about the similarities of our situations.  One last desperate attempt to fulfil your original objective, one final heave. 

I’m going to continue to do all that I can to make sure our outcome has a different ending, the ref might have the whistle in his mouth but he hasn’t blown it yet.


This Isn’t Me

After trying to reach our contractor since last Thursday to find out when framing would begin, we finally received an email from him yesterday (Wednesday) stating that on the previous day Julie and I had refused the framing package at the house. 1) Why would we do that? We’ve been begging for him to begin reframing before I can remember. 2) We don’t even live at the house, plus we both work all day – how would we have refused an order?  This really doesn’t make sense and to add to it, we’ve been trying to reach him ever since receiving that email and he has yet to respond to voice mails or emails.  Seriously, is this really the way to conduct business?  What is he trying to pull?

Tip:  Make sure that you hire a GC that will return your calls as well as emails

To top it off, I received a huge bill today from the Structural Engineer.  She’s doing a fantastic job, no complaints on that, however this extra, unanticipated expense is killing me because the vast majority of her expense (98%+) is due to her fixing the screwups and incompetencies of our GC and somewhat the architect’s. 

I’m not sure that I can continue with this project.  I’ve never quit anything, I don’t quit.  An obstacle that’s too high or too tough to climb? I take it one step at a time, little bits while focusing on the end goal.  However I just don’t know how much more of this I can take and that crushes me that I would ever consider quitting.  This was going to be Julie’s forever house and before all of the screwups it was a place where she could actually find some happiness over the last year (see About page). I just don’t know, it’s wearing me out emotionally, mentally and has been a huge financial stress. I’m hopeful that things will turn around but it seems as if it is only getting worse.  I don’t know, I just don’t like what I’m feeling – the excitement is gone.  Maybe that’s the answer, maybe we give up and quit fighting our GC about his “work” and just be done with it?  I don’t know?


The rest of the basement slab was poured however for whatever reason our GC decided not to pour the carport slab.  Almost funny that even the guys laying the concrete, laborers, were telling us that it wasn’t smart not pouring it all at one time and that it was going to cost us more money.  Maybe they should manage the financials for our GC.  Speaking of, he still won’t return calls or email from us or our Structural Engineer.  It would be great if he was a little more responsive but this has always been the case.

It rained a fair amount this week and we have discovered that the ceiling is collapsing in the kitchen and the ceiling and floor in one of our boy’s bedroom has been damaged beyond repair due to him continuing not to properly install a tarp even though we have told him about this issue numerous times.  GC still hasn’t been in our house, ridiculous. 

Also, our Structural Engineer informed us that as a result of the new foundation slab having to be cut to dig and pour footers (since the grade beams which were on the plans weren’t properly installed) she noticed that the slab is actually 2 1/2″ – 3 1/2″ thick in places instead of 4″ as the plans required.  She also discovered that the guys pouring the concrete didn’t lift the wire mesh resulting in it being on the bottom of the slab. Thankfully she insisted on the footings to carry the weight of the structure or we would have one hell of a mess in a few years since basically the main floor would collapse into the basement area. 

Last she also noticed that another grade beam, which was noted on the plans, was also not poured.  This means another area will need to be sawn out, excavated and poured properly.  I guess we won’t be able to go with a finished concrete floor since our slab is going to look like a checker board – a look we were leaning towards.

Good news is that our GC said that the framing material will be arriving on Monday and framing will begin on Tuesday. Yes!!!  Let’s go forward  – finally!!!

My constant question to myself – should we keep it or not?  This is driving Julie and I crazy and we’re questioning what we could have done differently. We thought we did our due diligence on the GC but he has continued to not only drop the ball but create further issues.  A lot is his lack of supervision and I believe knowledge of general construction along with not wanting to properly right a wrong, but I guess the question we keep asking is “are we just snakebit”? We’re going to talk to a few experts to see if we’re able to financially afford to keep going and honestly if it makes sense – I’m already scared about their answer.  Julie’s “forever home” has turned into a nightmare and I just don’t know if now we’ll ever be able to make it right as well as remove the tarnish.I feel crushed and basically beaten down.

We Need You to Speed it up a Little GC

Due to both slabs being poured incorrectly we have had to get our Structural Engineer to design a new framing as well as roofing plan, versus “figuring it out in the field (extra cost to us).  It looks good but it’s going to require the GC to cut, excavate and pour new footings.  We have asked and are trying to get our GC to have this accomplished before the end of the week since our Structural Engineer is going out-of-town for several days.

Why Oh Why am I Not Surprised? Seriously Though?

Well, they drilled the foundation slab today to check for grade beams and guess what?  Yep, no grade beams!!  It mustn’t matter that they were in the construction plans and highly important, they just didn’t pour them.  Okay, now we’re getting past serious, he’s basically building a structure that could put my family and/or our friends in danger.  Forget for a moment the fact that 5-10 years down the road we would have all sorts of issues with a foundation that’s crumbling and walls collapsing, this mistake could seriously put my family at risk of injury or worse.  These were designed to support the family room above the kids play room, family room with a FIREPLACE.  Apologies for ranting but how do you miss these?  And you want more?  He wants to charge us for it – said that for him to change anything it would be considered a “change order“.  All of this is because he wouldn’t remove his original mistake. QUESTION, is there a word for someone who is beyond incompetent?

It only gets worse, the carport foundation (supposed to be retaining) wall which has already been poured twice isn’t deep enough, meaning that we will need to adjust the slab in the carport as well as the framing plan for the deck and outdoor room.  We asked the GC if he would remove it and pour a new one at the correct depth and as a retaining wall and of course he said no. 

And, we also found out on our own today that we will need a new water-line as well as sewer line due to roots. 

Our Structural Engineer is still trying to reach our GC to discuss the framing options but once again he said that he would have time to meet with her and every time she brings it up when they’re meeting about other items he always says that he has to go.  She’s basically doing this by herself, I guess he meant it the other day when responding to one of his subs he said ” I don’t know, she’s the one in charge”, referring to our Structural Engineer. 

And of course our GC and architect didn’t respond to my email asking for them to work with our Structural Engineer to design a framing plan to utilize all of the mis-ordered lumber that is sitting on our property  and basically going to waste.  I would just hate for all of this to be taken to a landfill.  As for our architect, I was a huge fan but that is starting to fade, I’m not sure what’s going on but from what I’ve been gathering there is absolutely no coordination or communication between him and our GC. 

Absolute last statement, it has always bugged me why our GC would work 2-3 days on our project and then move to another.  After talking with a few people in the industry it was their opinion that he is basically banking one job on another.  Working on a job and collecting a check once a certain phase is completed and then using that money to pay for the next job – similar to kiting a check.  Not sure if this is the case but it sure would make sense.

Enough for today, I’m done, worn out mentally and emotionally.

Let’s Keep It Going

Our Structural Engineer has been trying to reach our GC for 5 days to find out when they will pour the remainder of the form walls, core the drainage holes, drill (check) the slab for grade beams – still hasn’t been done, and pour the remainder of the slab.  A simple returned call, email or text would be appreciated.

(I did receive my Realtime Landscaping Plus 2012 software today and can’t wait to install it!!  Ok, a little premature in the process but I’m looking forward to trying to design the play area in the back for the boys as well as exploring the possibilities for the front yard.)

Another Delay, Trying to Have Patience

Our GC informed our Structural Engineer that it will be Monday before they start back on the project – nothing like letting 2 great days of weather pass by without taking advantage of them.  They’re suppose to do the rest of the underpinning on Monday, then move the incorrectly placed plumbing.  He did say that they will be in touch about drilling for the grade beams on Monday – curious as to what they will find. Does anyone want to place a bet?

The Punches Keep Coming

After inspecting our new slab the Structural Engineer we hired feels pretty confident that the slab doesn’t have the necessary grade beams which were in the plans.  How is this missed? My opinion, lack of supervision and possibly cutting corners.  Question, what is to support the fireplace on the above floor?  I think I know the answer, nothing.  Glad that I caught it now instead of 5-10 years from now.  And… the recently RE-POURED walls for the carport, well they’re actually foundation walls and not retaining walls.  Meaning that our Structural Engineer will need to redesign our carport/deck plan – thanks Mr. Architect, great job.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, the walls aren’t deep enough which means that we will need to redesign the plan since our GC has stated that he won’t dig it up.  Totally doesn’t make sense with his stance, he screwed up so wouldn’t one think that he should replace it.  Please make this stop, please!!!