Can someone please tell me how it’s already October?! The days are flying by, but I love this month and season. To me, fall brings fresh beginnings, much like the start of a new year. After a long (like, really long) hot summer, it’s nice to feel a drop in temperatures, refresh my wardrobe, start new seasons of my favorite shows. OH, and reminisce about our perfect, dreamy wedding this time last year! But, I’ll save that post for another day.
In the world of housebuilding, August brought us hope and September brought us rain and a lousy sales person at Pool Stop. We were excited in August because the land had been cleared and staked, the retaining wall was completed, the house pad finished. Perfect, we thought, let’s get that foundation up now.
But here we are in October with the foundation yet to be laid – although the latest delays are actually pool-related. Since we are putting in a play pool at the same time, the pool has to be excavated and the gunite must be complete before our builder can lay the foundation.
When we selected our pool company, we based our decision mainly off referrals and price. We went with Pool Stop in Rockwall because they came recommended by our builder, had the lowest cost, lifetime warranty, and technology that made the most sense to us. As far as “lowest cost” goes, it’s true: you get what you pay for. Who knew? We worked with our sales person, Roger,* to finalize the design and cost back in July. We had a meeting to show him what we wanted and then provided our house plans, measurements, deck measurements – everything he needed to accurately complete our design with Pool Stop’s “cutting edge 3D design software,” as it states on their website. (You’ll see this is not the technology I’m referring to above.) We also gave him our builder’s contact information so they could coordinate the build.
I’ll note one thing that frustrated us right from the start with Roger was that he never showed the measurements on the designs he’d send back to us. Was he even measuring everything correctly? We had to mark everything up and be very specific on where exactly we wanted to see the dimensions. After some back and forth, we finalized the design and were told he would coordinate with our builder on next steps.
Well, a couple months go by, our retaining wall goes up, and then everything hits the fan. We assumed Roger had been coordinating with our builder this whole time, but when we finally followed up, we learned they had not yet been in touch. At all. Oh, and then he goes on to tell us our pool WILL NOT FIT WITH THE SIZE OF OUR DECK because it doesn’t meet City requirements. Wait, what?! Didn’t he already check this? Don’t they have “cutting edge 3D design software” to prevent situations like this?? Maybe our friend Roger oughta stick to closing the deals and let a designer work the plans.
So back to the drawing board we go to make revisions. To make matters worse, Roger tells us things like, “welcome to world of construction” and “you’ll get used to this” as if “this” had nothing to do with mistakes on his part. As we’re making revisions, he tells us it needs to be 8 feet wide to meet City requirements. Oh, but don’t worry; “it’s a lap pool,” he says. “We do them all the time.” Hey Roger, is this your first day on the job? If we wanted a lap pool, we would have asked for a lap pool. We want a play pool. It would have been an easy fix BEFORE our retaining wall was built because we could have just pushed that back a few feet and extended our deck – but that was not the case.
We went back and forth with Roger, shared our complaints with the Owner (was equally unimpressed with him), and finally agreed to a redesign (a bit smaller) that fit. We made some door and window changes to the house plans and have started working solely with the pool engineer, Larry*, while looping in the office manager because she’s the most sensible person in there and actually understood our frustrations. But, the design is done and excavation is up next. This is the part where we say goodbye to Roger and hellllllooo Larry.
Unfortunately Larry wasn’t much better. We had a 10am meeting with him to finalize all details and materials before we begin excavation. So, on a rainy Saturday morning, we drove about 50 minutes to Rockwall and pulled into a parking spot at Pool Stop. Before we went in, Aldo got a text message from Larry asking if he’d seen his email. We didn’t. Aldo doesn’t check his email on the weekends. As it turns out, Larry canceled the meeting because it was too muddy to be at the site, (though he never actually told us the meeting was onsite) and instead of calling to make sure we knew it was canceled, he emailed 30 minutes before we were scheduled to meet! I tell ya…
My cousin Erica was in town from Toronto, so she came along for the ride. It turned out to be a fun morning anyway, as we made a Starbucks run, showed her the muddy mess that was our lot, visited with our neighbors, and finished with brunch, because mimosas!
Thanks, Roger and Larry, for teaching us a very important lesson #3: follow up on EVERYTHING and never assume ANYTHING!
I’d like to think we are hitting all the speed bumps early, and we’ll be in the fast lane from here on out. One can dream, right?