At 8am the morning after Eric's notorious annual Halloween party, at after he'd been sleeping for about 3 hours, Terra met Jerry out front of our new house to sign the contract and give him the down payment. I also posted the "demo of interior space up to 5,000sf" permit we bought online for $33 - who knew that was so easy? We still don't have the official permits!
We had agreed beforehand to select Jerry and get started today. However, Eric's head hurt too much to get up and move his tools out just yet. We thought Jerry was going to just cap off the utilities but it turns out that he immediately went to town demo'ing the interior of the house. Eric's tools were buried in the rubble, as was the little glass bottle found in the basement crawl space from an old pharmacy on R St. NW. We became a little concerned about Jerry's communication but overall still happy to finally be making some progress (by the due date of our 3rd mortgage payment).
As it turned out, the water damage was extensive and many of our joists were rotten out (one of the few things we hadn't anticipated having to replace in the house). Jerry willingly began replacing the joists for no additional cost. However, we immediately noticed that the joists were not being pocketed far enough into the brick walls (3" is code) so many had to be redone. Jerry also cut an off-center hole for our eventual juliet balcony on the 2nd floor, began reframing the stairs not to code or plans (they need to be 36" wide from the finished wall, not 33"), and demanded another payment before the contract pre-requisites had been met. AAAHHHHHH, we're in over our heads!
We stuck to our guns and demanded correction of these issues before payment. I also hung up on Jerry one day for being mean to me and told Eric we had to fire him.
But, things have been going better since then. During our contract negotiations, Jerry stated once, "I already know this contract is going to be under a microscope and I'm ok with that." We've really put that statement to the test, and we're maybe 1/2 way through now. Jerry is not used to working for an architect who knows code, and Eric expects a commercial-quality contractor of a residential one, when they are not nearly as sophisticated, despite the fact that their profit margins are also about double!