It often feels like we are requesting a certain, very specific thing, but the person listening seems to hear something different, or maybe has their own idea already in their head.
We had an issue with the trim/woodwork package we requested. Way back in April or May, our project manager put up sample pieces of wood to simulate the trim sizes we had suggested. These were squared off pieces of wood, just like I wanted and to the size I requested. The thickness, was yet to be determined.
So, notes were taken, we got a vague invoice for a deposit on the "trim package as requested by" our project manager. We paid it. Then the trim was dropped off. A giant pile of milled wood, primed and ready for installation.
They installed the trim around and window and with a little back and forth I got it the way I wanted it, but I wasn't excited about it for some reason. That evening, Dan went by to look at it. He came home and said "I don't like the rollover."
I felt like hitting my forehead. That was what was bothering me! They had put on a 1/8" rollover on every corner of the wood. I wanted actual corners, like the sample I had approved, like my custom-ordered windows, doors, and cabinetry. What we had, looked like painted basic lumber next to the square window sticking.
I felt sick. There was a pile of wood ready to go sitting in our new garage. What could I do about it now?
I didn't sleep well that night.
I called my contractor and met everyone the next morning. They had finished installing the garage window trim. Everyone was weirdly nice, but they did try to convince me to keep it, as this is how they do it 90% of time. I gently reminded my contractor that I rarely do anything standard and it would have been nice to approve a piece before they milled it all.
Since I never approved anything but the sample mock-up way back when and everything I had selected up to this point had square corners, We had a point about the roll over. Dan and I said they could leave the garage windows as installed, but the we wanted the pile re-milled. They loaded it up and took it back the shop. I stopped by the shop later and saw a piece that had been through the sander 3 times. It looked better and I wanted to compromise, so I agreed to it.
I started driving home but still felt bad about it. I called Dan and decided to go back and get a sample for him to look at. Talking again to the four guys there, I admitted I felt like I was compromising and finally said, I just want square edges that could be knocked down with sand paper.
Paul, the mill owner said he could take 1/8" of the total thickness to get me what I wanted.
I left feeling much better.
What is amazing still, is the level of detail that is needed for all of this. I thought it was clear. There was a physical example of what I wanted, but I should have put it in writing myself.
I am thankful that we have a contractor who wants to work as a team with us, wants us to be happy with the finished house and hires people who take real pride in their workmanship.
I am still refining my verbal communication skills. There is something about being the only woman in a room that makes me hesitant sometimes, but I am so glad I am finding the confidence to speak up when things don't meet my expectations. If I didn't, I would have to look at it forever and always feel a little regret for not asking for what I really wanted.
I really should have built a practice house.