Slow but Sure. Mostly Slow.

Well, again, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the boat, but I’m looking at this as a mental cathartic, so please bear with me.

With the majority of the laundry room complete, I’ve turned my attention to finishing the guest bath and getting the family room completed.

The first part is pretty much within my control, and the second part seems to be like trying to nail Jello to the wall.

I got the cabinets in the bathroom, and the granite counter top was delivered and installed a couple days ago. The sink will go in next, along with the faucet, and the plumbing will be complete. I’m installing the new 6-panel door and new door casing and baseboard today, and when all that’s complete, all that will remain in the bathroom is to select and install towel rods, etc.

The family room however, is becoming the never-ending story.

(Quick aside… as I sat here on the patio, watching the cats as they enjoy their morning constitutional, I heard a loud rumbling off to the south. Looked at the Cape Kennedy website, and sure enough, I was hearing an Atlas rocket launch. Too overcast this morning to see it, but the noise was impressive, even from 25 miles away.)

Anywho, we’ve been doing the contractor dance for several months now, trying to get the new doors and windows installed. Many of the contractors we spoke to came out, took some measurements, nodded sagely as I described what I wanted done, and then apparently were sucked into a black hole, never to be heard from again.

This despite the fact that I assured each and every one of them that I had genuine U.S. Gummint money that I dearly wanted to give to them.

We finally connected with the folks at Home Depot, and found that they would install the doors and windows that they sell. Great! Problem solved, right?

Well, not exactly.

We arranged to have a crack team of Home Depot door and window experts come to the house so I could go through my now-memorized spiel, and have them give me a quote for the work.

Two guys showed up on time, and even took a moment after exiting their car to don their official orange Home Depot vests before coming to the door. I felt much better, knowing they had vests.

I led them into the family room-to-be and began…”This window gets replaced, this door gets replaced, here’s where the new window goes…”

They both stopped scribbling on their official Home Depot door and window expert clipboards and looked at me as if I’d just asked them to paint over the Mona Lisa with pink exterior enamel.

“New window?” they asked in unison. “We can’t do new windows, just replacements.”

Seems they don’t have the required credentials to cut a hole in a wall to install a new window. All their credentials allow them to do is take a window or door out of an existing hole, and put a new window or door back in.

But, all was not lost, they assured me, because “We know this guy…”

Turns out “this guy” is a fully certified general contractor who works for Home Depot. He assured me that he’s constructed bazillion dollar homes, and he and his minions are well equipped to perform the menial work I’m requesting.

“So all I have to do” I said naively, “is sit back and let you do your thing, right?”

Well, not exactly.

Turns out we have to go BACK to Home Depot, and speak to the door and window “specialist” who will order our windows and doors. Once they arrive, the contractor will make all the holes needed to install them. He’ll also deal with the county to get all the necessary permits.

Uh oh.

Now remember, most of my working career was spent in the employ of local governments, so I am well-schooled in the governmental mindset when it comes to helping homeowners make improvements to their homes.

The accepted practice for governmental employees, when it comes to helping homeowners make improvements to their homes, is “Don’t help”.

In fact, an unwritten rule seems to be “Find every possible reason to encumber and delay the process, in order to generate the largest degree possible, of homeowner agitation.”

I think if a permittee gets so frustrated with the rigamarole that he ends up with a coronary, the permitting agency gets a gold star.

Well, the contractor submitted the plans, after they were drawn up by a really and truly architect, and the county building department took the plans, marked them “Review ASAP” and put them under someone’s desk in a whole different department.

They finally surfaced, and the plans examiner had to look at them, so he did, and after much rumination, he was finally able to come up with a single question. That was enough though, because that allowed him to apply the holy “REJECTED-RESUBMIT” stamp. They surely do love that stamp.

The contractor says the architect answered the question, (I saw the question… my cat could have answered the question) and the plan will be resubmitted today.

This of course means the county has another opportunity to play hide and seek, and nobody knows for sure when the plan might once again see the light of day.

So, work that was supposed to start a couple weeks ago is still in the permitting phase, the windows and doors we paid for have been delivered and are sitting in the local Home Depot, and I’m fairly sure that by the time a permit is issued, the local Home Depot will have sent the windows and doors back to the warehouse as unclaimed.


Well, I’m going to take the critters back inside, and get back to work on the baseboards and such. I’ll post some pictures of the new bathroom soon, and you’ll probably hear my cries of delight when the contractor finally shows up with saw in hand to start on the family room work.

I’m such an optimist.


About TwoCaptains

The TwoCaptains are Jim and Janet, both US Coast Guard licensed boat captains home-ported in Daytona Beach. We recently sold our 1990 Ocean Yachts 56' CPMY "Magic Carpet", and now we're in the hunt for a replacement.
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