Getting closer to our move-in date, the delays started to matter more. They couldn’t hide behind the idea (or myth?) that delays could be evened out by extra “slop” time in the schedule. We were shooting for a mid-August move since school started for the kids near the end of August. Up until mid to late July, the forecast we got was that it would be a “push” but still doable, even with some of the minor delays like the drywall texture.
In late July, we got word that we still didn’t have a contractor booked to do the sewer and water line connections. We had the municipal sewer and water lines in the road. And we had the supply lines connected to the house and stubbed near the road. We just needed someone to cut into the road, make the connections, backfill everything, and then patch the road. But we didn’t have anyone lined up to do the work.
This was a problem, since building inspectors are kind of sticklers about having sewer and water lines. So are we, for that matter. The contractor that Shaun liked didn’t have any availability until late August at the earliest. Too late for us. So we started hunting around for other contractors. One issue was that there were a couple of major water line replacement projects going on in the area, and those were taking up the time of a lot of the contractors who could do the work. A couple of other contractors seemed interested, but then failed to return phone calls. A couple more walked the site but then never came through with firm bids. I swear, if I start looking for another profession, I’m going to start a construction company with the catch phrase “We’re the Guys Who Call You Back!”
As if the liquid utilities weren’t enough, we also didn’t yet have a permanent electrical meter, so we didn’t have ground power in the house (just an extension cord run from the temporary power pole). The word was that it was Xcel’s fault. Our neighbors had a hell of a time dealing with Xcel, and in the past I had seen some success pressuring big, terrible companies (COUGH COUGH COMCAST) with social media. I don’t have much of a social media presence, but it seems like companies who are happy to leave you to die on their phone tree can get a lot more responsive if you call them out publicly.
So I did.
I got passed up the ladder at Xcel a bit until I found someone who knew something. They reported that Xcel hadn’t gotten us a meter because they didn’t have the sign-off from the County. I got the impression that Shaun thought Xcel was going to call in the county for an inspection and Xcel thought he was going to do it. In any event, the county hadn’t done the inspection yet, and no inspection meant no meter. It got ironed out in fairly short order, but it was a little obnoxious that it required my involvement.
Gigi to the Rescue
After I mentioned the gas and water issues to my parents, my mom (“Gigi,” to my daughters) mentioned that at one point she tried to contact Xcel to see how tough it was to talk to someone about an electrical meter. Turns out: pretty tough. But I got the sense that she had some time on her hands and wanted to help. So I asked whether she wanted to try and help out with a couple of other things. Around the same time we learned that we had no set delivery date for a garage door, and it would also be months until we could get small square steel tubing for part of our deck railings. These seemed like problems that could be solved by someone with some time on their hands, like a retired grandmother.
Within a day, Gigi sourced the railing steel from some shop in Penrose, hours away. Delivery would cost us a whopping $250.
Within a couple more days, she found us a garage door. The move with the steel was impressive, but not ridiculous, since we weren’t sourcing anything particularly exotic. The garage door was more impressive since garage doors are bit, and hardly anyone keeps them in stock. They’re usually made to order. And building has been so busy lately that they were currently made to order months out. This was a problem, since we keep a lot of stuff in our garage. A busy outdoor lifestyle means lots of tents and surfboards and paddleboards and a raft and all sorts of other goodies. A door was important.
And Gigi managed to find, so far as we could tell, the only in-stock garage door in Colorado that would fit our garage. Sure, it was the wrong color and didn’t have the windows we wanted if we had our druthers. But paint is a thing and it was well-built and well-insulated and we have windows in the walls. And a garage door on our garage.
Next, we set Gigi to work trying to find excavators.