Friday, March 15, 2019

Beware of restoration companies

It's been about a year and a half since a tiny hole in the plumbing in the concrete slab of our house caused about $45,000-worth of damage to the hand-scraped wood flooring and we spent two and a half months in a hotel.

Greg and I have been looking back and we have some thoughts and advice for anyone who might be going through a similar experience with a restoration company and insurance company.

I don't know if this will actually help anyone, but after a lot of back-and-forth we think it's worth putting this info out into the universe.

  1. Verify EVERYTHING the restoration company tells you with your insurance company.
    EVERYTHING. Do not take anything the restoration company tells you, *especially* not right after they first arrive. For example, the restoration company may tell you that if you have an "actual cash value" policy that you will get money back. That's actually insurance fraud and is very much against the law. You will NOT come out ahead with money left over. Even if the restoration company says you will.
  2. Verify the way your insurance company will pay for the repairs. Our insurance company would have paid any contractor directly instead of sending us a check and having us pay the restoration company. Had we known this, we would have done things very differently. ASK your insurance company how they want to handle the repairs. In our case, we found out about three-quarters of the way through the repair process that if we had used one of their approved flooring companies they would have paid them directly and we suspect the quality would have been higher. This avoids any favoritism/collusion between a restoration company and their brother-in-law/good friend, etc.
  3. You may be panicking when you realize that your house is going to be unlivable for the next month (or more) because you will have no kitchen or water until substantial repairs are made. They will tell you that they will take care of everything. They are NOT your saviors--they are there to make money and may or may not have your best interests at heart. You are in an emotionally vulnerable position and I strongly encourage you to let the restoration company handle the dry-out/mitigation, and then STOP.
  4. If you do choose to let the restoration company handle the repairs, make sure you know who they are subcontracting. I still think that a lot of the things we have problems with would have been fixed with some direct communication, rather than information being filtered--and filtered incorrectly--through the restoration company.
  5. ASK QUESTIONS. Breathe. Ask more questions. Assume nothing. Don't assume that you're both speaking the same language and ask for definitions of everything. (See "actual cash value" in item #1.)
  6. Give yourself some grace. As I said above, when something like this happens, your entire life is going to get more stressful. You may not be as rational as you would be at less stressful times in life, and your decision-making process may not be as solid.
  7. Any time someone tells you they're not liars or fraudsters, you can be assured they almost certainly are. That old line of Hamlet's, "the lady doth protest too much, methinks" remains relevant. 
Are we happy with the work that was done on our house? 

Eh, not really. Maybe 70% happy. Has it made us fall out of love with our house? Yeah, more than a little.

We're finally to the point that looking at the base of the staircase doesn't make us want to scream, which I'm calling progress. I still occasionally curse the restoration company for hiring the flooring company they did, and the flooring company for making assumptions that were 100% wrong and could have been eliminated if the restoration company hadn't lied to me about talking to the flooring company, and the flooring company had bothered to verify *anything* with me. (I have photographic evidence that it was NOT like that originally, and you messed up a big feature that I loved about the staircase.) 

Honestly, if we didn't like the neighbors to either side of us as much as we do, and if we were five years further along in our mortgage, we probably would have put the house on the market after this experience because it has left such a bad taste in our mouths. 

Hopefully you can benefit from our experience and avoid some of the pitfalls we got caught in.

If you have any question I'll do my best to answer them, but I'm not an attorney, I do not play one on TV, and all opinions are my own.

If you've read this far, thank you. If you're curious about the companies we're not happy with, the restoration company has bright green vehicles and the name starts with S, and I'm still not 100% sure who the flooring company was because the restoration company was less than forthright about it.

The service that I am 100% happy with, and would highly recommend if I knew who they were, is the group of guys that packed up our possessions on the ground floor, moved them to the storage pod in the driveway, and moved us back in. They did not break a single thing, treated our stuff with care, and were respectful. 

I wish I could say the same thing about the rest of the experience.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Is this blog dead? Hmmm

I've not blogged much in the last few years. Facebook has made it incredibly easy to pop off about various things, but blogs haven't quite yet gone the way of the dinosaur.

I think I'll start posting here again, if only because it's easier to find things here than on Facebook once some time has passed. I'm going to keep it mostly to fiber crafts, although an occasional post about other things might pop up.

Things that have changed since I posted the last time:

  1. new house! We moved about a mile away from the old house, and after two years I'm still totally in love with this house and most of the neighbors. While the neighbors have dogs, they don't let them bark incessantly, they take care of their houses and yards, and some of them are even nice to socialize with! We've really lucked out with the ones to either side.
  2. new job! I'm now the assistant manager at one of the regional branches. I love it!
  3. new school situation! Last year I started on an MLIS, Masters of Library and Information Science. I hope to graduate in December of 2018. 
I'm still knitting, crocheting, spinning, etc. and enjoying it.
I entered three things in the fair and got a sweepstakes+first on some handspun yarn, a second place on my small shawl from handspun yarn (fiber from my sister), and nothing on my crocheted cowl (I wasn't expecting it to--it was nothing special, but I wanted to enter *something* in that category.)

So, not bad!

Now the challenge is going to be to continue to post here. Now that they've improved the method for adding photos, it's more likely to happen.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Closing Pieceful Stitches

After a lot of soul searching and evaluation, I've decided to stop quilting for other people.

I got a fantastic new job in February that grew into a full-time job, and I just can't juggle full-time work, family, AND quilting, so something had to go.

I've still got some customer quilts to finish up, but it's taking me a looong time since my free time has become somewhat more rare.

I'll try to keep up more with this poor neglected blog, but we'll see--it may soon become filled with library and bookmobile posts instead of crafting posts!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


This is going to be a picture-less post, but I just have to rave about the cleaning solution I used the other day.
(No, I'm NOT trying to sell you anything, I just have to pass on this cheap and easy thing that's going to make my life slightly easier.)

I'd been reading on Pinterest—an amazing time suck and fantastic inspiration, all wrapped up in one—about a cleaner for showers/tubs using just an equal portion of Dawn dish washing soap and hot vinegar. I'd seen enough people rave about it that I figured it would be worth a try, and I wouldn't be out anything since I already had that stuff on hand.

IT'S AMAZING. My shower hasn't been that clean for a long time, and I didn't have to expend anywhere near as much energy as I usually do.

I put 1 cup of vinegar in a spray bottle and microwaved it until it was hot (one minute in my microwave--I was kind of worried about melting the bottle but it was fine). Then I added one cup of blue Dawn dish washing soap and shook it. Then I sprayed it all over my shower and let it sit for a while. The smell of the vinegar kind of made me cough a bit, but it wasn't any worse than Scrubbing Bubbles or similar things.

After letting it sit, I scrubbed it with a scrub brush, but not as much as I normally do with other things like Soft Scrub. I let it sit for a little longer, then hosed it down with the shower head (YAY for removable shower heads!) and gave it one more pass with a scrub brush.

I'm so impressed with how shiny everything is!

I also used it on the sink faucet and it looks like new.

I think I'll be doing this every few weeks to keep things sparkly and clean. Cleaning the shower won't be an hour-plus project any more. Yay!

Heat one part vinegar until just under boiling.
Pour into a spray bottle.
Add one part Dawn dish soap and shake.
Spray on surfaces to be cleaned and let them sit for a while (an hour is good).
Scrub, then rinse. Enjoy the shiny!

I used one cup of each and it was enough to do both the tub in the kids' bathroom and the shower stall in the master bath, plus the sinks/faucets in both bathrooms. Next time I might just do half a cup of each.