Friday, October 21, 2016

There's no place like home...by Sophia Sasson

Back in April, my kids got into this amazing Spanish immersion program that the county public school system does through a lottery. So few kids get into this program that we had to accept. Except the program was an hour and a half bus ride from our house. My twins are in kindergarten—five year olds commuting three hours a day?! We did what was best for our children--we sold our home.

After months of house hunting, we found a house close to the kids school that we could afford but the house needed some work. Okay, a lot of work. Frankly, I thought about bull dozing it and upgrading to a mobile home on the lot. Reason won out and we hired a contractor to gut two floors of the split level house. We had grand plans to DIY the rest. I mean, they make it look so easy on TV.
Image result for split level
A split level is a house with staggered levels. I think of it as two small colonials smashed together. 
Despite doing our research and hiring someone who is licensed, bonded, insured, etc we ended up with a nightmare contractor. It started with workers demo-ing the wrong bathroom. We had one bathroom in the entire house that was not moldy. Yep, that’s the one they had to demo. Then the contractor didn’t pay the guys who did the erroneous demo and the guys called to threaten us. It has actually gone downhill from there. I’ll spare you the ugly details.

As it turns out, Maryland law protects the contractor so if we fire him, we still owe him the full price of the contract unless we go through an arduous several month long process after which we may not have to pay him more money but we don’t get any of ours back either. Note to self—pay more attention to state and county elections. 

So here I am, living with my children in a small apartment with my sister who I is sick of us, calculating whether I can use cabinets with no doors, an oven with no electric hooked up, or a bathroom with no toilet. My conclusion is I need to hire a new contractor.

But how will I ever trust anyone again? They all look so good on paper. And their references are always glowing. Apparently you can buy badges and pay to have your bad reviews scrubbed from certain well known home improvement sites. And no, I don’t know a single person who has been happy with their contractor.

So that got me thinking about my heroines. The ones who have dark pasts and bad experiences, How do they learn to trust and find love?

My heroine Kat Driscoll for example-- she’s been betrayed and abused by a past boyfriend. So how can she learn to trust an intense alpha male like Alex Santiago? It’s not Alex that convinces her, but her own journey of healing that allows her to love him. Here’s a fun book trailer for The Senators Daughter. Like how I'm sneaking this into a home improvement blog? 


As for me, I don’t think I’m going to be ready to trust another contractor until the gaping hole in the ceiling, that mocks me every day, is patched. Or the ironically advertised dumpster that’s been overflowing in my yard, waiting a pick up for three weeks, is gone.

I never realized just how important it was for me to have a place to call home. I’ve lived in everything from a roach infested studio apartment to a palatial five bedroom house and they all have a place in my heart.

One last sneak in--my book First Comes Marriage, which also deals with issues of heart and home is  bargain priced at $1.99 as part of Harlequin's big sale. And several of the heartwarming authors are doing this amazing thanksgiving giveaway.

So tell me, have you made a choice; whether it’s an item purchase, a service you hired, or a life decision that left you wondering whether you’d ever trust again?

23 comments:

  1. We've had the "oh, no, what have I done" experience with contractors more than once. I hope it all gets done soon and well!

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  2. Sophia, I am so sorry to hear about the challenges you have experienced with your contractors. I hope it all works our for you.

    On the plus side, how wonderful for your kids to be in the Spanish immersion program . . . and congrats and best wishes with your new release!

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  3. Hi Sophia, I trust this whole experience will show up in one of your novels chuckle. That is what I do. Very therapeutic. LOL

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    1. Once I'm over the trauma, I'm sure it will :)

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  4. Sophia, I'm so sorry for your nightmare situation, and the fact you don't seem to have any recourse. I've read that in our area there are contractors who demo, take the money and never show up again, leaving homeowner in a shell of a house. I hope you are able to get it resolved in the not-too-distant future. Looking forward to your next book.

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  5. That just makes me feel sick for you, Sophia. We had a contractor fail to pay his subcontractors and they would show up at our door at all hours of the day. Such a mess! If you lived on this coast, I'd load up Mr. Curtis to help you, because he's good at salvaging house messes. Hope you get things straightened out soon!

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    1. A www. Thank you. It amazes me they can get away with this.

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  6. I'm so sorry to hear about your troubles, Sophia!! There's nothing worse than being without HOME especially for the kids. Hope it gets resolved and you guys find some normalcy soon :)

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  7. Sophia, my heart hurts for you. What a colossal pain in the rear. I wish you lived closer. I also have a very handy, builder husband who could help you out. In the meantime, your book sounds wonderful. And so timely considering the political climate in our country right now. Looking forward to reading it!

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    1. Thanks For the offer Carol. And yes the book was timed to free something heartwarming during election season.

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  8. OY, this is so my ultimate nightmare. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this!! Here's to finding the perfect contractor and lots of book sales.

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  9. How sad I feel for you over this contractor debacle. As if moving isn't tough enough. I've heard of other contractor horror stories. Fortunately we have a good friend who's a home builder, and whenever we need things done we go to him for a recommendation. So far everyone he's referred has done excellent work. My daughter is a construction project manager and she tells me how she has to continually make the subcontractors correct substandard work they do. It frustrates her.
    Things will eventually come together for you.
    I really like the book trailer, and I'm so glad to have a copy of The Senator's Daughter. I saw the great review by Harlequin Junkie. Congrats, and all the best with everything.

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  10. I'm so sorry to hear of your contractor woes, Sophia. It's so difficult to find reputable workers these days. Word of mouth is typically a safe avenue. On a happier note, I loved your book trailer! My best friends children were enrolled in the Spanish immersion program in Northern Virginia, both are now fluent.

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  11. Sophia! What a miserable situation. Has never happened to us because we could never afford to pay anyone to do that kind of work. We've spruced up ourselves, but never really remodeled. Can you contact a TV news show? Hope the move eventually works out well for the children, and for you. And that you can find a quiet zone for writing. Pulling for you.

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    1. Thanks Muriel. I am working on that quiet space.

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  12. What an awful situation. We lucked out on an addition. I was looking at windows at Home Depot and the guy there recommended a contractor, who wasn't a great communicator but was an excellent contractor. How you find someone trustworthy soon. And good luck on the book. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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  13. Oh Sophia! How awful for you! There are good contractors out there. I managed to find one through a referral from the man we hired to cut down a massive tree in our backyard. Don't give up...the right person is out there somewhere. All you have to do is find him! And I'm so looking forward to reading your book!

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