New House Blues

blog imageBeing new home owners and having an infant has been nothing short of an adventure. Sure, there are lots of things you need to buy to make yourself ready for baby to come home from the hospital, and yes, when you move there are usually things you need to get for the place, especially if, like us, you have gone from an apartment to a house. Combining the two adventures together has been nothing short of hard on the pocketbook, but more importantly, on our precious little free time.

May/June is always a socially busy time with the army, and this year even more so as the commanding officer of MiniSir’s regiment is changing, MiniSir himself is heading out of the regiment and into a post with the brigade, and the CO of both the brigade and the base proper are also heading off to bigger things. When you’re one of the highest ranked officers at your level in the brigade, it’s a big deal that you attend all the various going away suppers and parties. Therefore, there have been many weeknights where my husband is off being fabulous somewhere and I’m left at home on my own with the little one for a lot longer than I have been accustomed to. Not that I’m complaining – he’s a pretty fantastic, easy-going little baby.

The problem I’m encountering (and truthfully, my husband because he’s home less than me and is still dealing with all this) is the new home owner side of things. We had a hole cut into our driveway over the winter so there could be access to the main water line. That was fine, but it’s been 6 weeks since the condo company said they would finally fill it for us. In the meantime, the rain has washed away so much of the dirt in it that the hole is now 5 times bigger than the original cut and is in the process of hollowing out underneath our entire driveway slab. Someone actually put a metal plate over it two weeks ago because there had become a very real chance of putting a tire in it and getting the whole car stuck. They painted the porch without letting us know they were doing it, and you cannot see the front door from the living room. So my hubby went to leave and stepped in the wet paint. Now we have footprints on the porch they need to come touch up because they didn’t bother to knock on the door and say, “don’t come out this way”. There’s a step down to the basement where the tread is split and I swear I’m going to step on it one day carrying the baby and send the two of us tumbling to our deaths. They said they would fix it. Still not fixed. I’ve had to get the tire repaired on my car (and I’m pretty sure I have another puncture) because of all the nails in the roads surrounding our still-under-construction neighbourhood. You get the picture.

And then there’s the alarm system. The condo board installed all the hardware for their own system and said the first year was free for us.  Which seemed like a great deal until they told us that it didn’t operate with cell phones and we needed to get a land line. So we went with another company, one that we can control our alarms with a mobile app, remotely lock and unlock doors, and set the thermostat to correspond to different users and times of day. Ingenious. There’s just one problem. It hasn’t worked since they put it in. Thank god it isn’t the middle of winter because we called on Friday for a service tech to fix it, and now it’s Wednesday and he MAY be here at 3pm. If it was November I would have frozen to death by now because the thermostat that they so nicely hooked into the system isn’t working. The furnace can’t be communicated with at all. I would rather have to deal with a sweaty baby than a frozen one, but the whole point is that it’s taken 6 days! 6! We get a two-week trial period with the system. We’ve spent the last week trying to get it fixed. So far the trial is going really well. Sigh.

When we decided to get a new home instead of an older one, we thought it was the smart thing to do. But at least with an older one, it would have been up to us to fix the things that needed fixing so there wouldn’t be any sort of expectation that it get done by someone else. And that’s exactly what is happening here – people not living up to expectation. I can’t just give my baby back if I don’t feel like living up to the expectation of being a mother, so why are these contractors and providers not following through with their own responsibilities? Why do we have to harass them day after day to get the things that were promised us actually done? Customer service is just that: service, of which we are certainly not getting the quality I would have anticipated. I’m teaching my infant that if he can hear my voice, he is safe. I wish just one of these companies would do the same with me.


One comment

  1. So sorry to hear about your new house blues. I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I believe that your experience is (unfortunately) very typical. I have long operated on the premise that 1) nobody knows what they’re doing and 2) nobody is going to admit that they don’t know what they’re doing, because 3) nobody cares about quality any more. When you find the exception—and of course there are exceptions—rejoice, take that person to your heart, and make sure you tell others 🙂


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