Remember the chimney?
Back in May I got a few quotes for lining the whole thing and rebuilding the chimney from the roof line up. One of those quotes, from Empire Masonry & Chimney cost $200 to obtain (to be subtracted from the work if we went with them), and they were able to match their quote to the range of the others. Even though I didn’t love them, I went with them* to save that $200 and agreed to call later in the summer to schedule it.
I called in August and scheduled it for the first full week of October. They were pretty shady about their original quote, claiming to have lost their paperwork and insisting that the quote must have been more than what I remembered. I told them I had my copy of the paperwork, so they begrudgingly agreed to their promised price.**
October rolls around and I haven’t heard a word from these people. I call a few times, finally get through, and ask what day they are coming that following week. He tells me that they “lost my number” but he meant to call me because they are so busy they have to push it back. I was annoyed, but I understand things happen and was fine – as long as it wasn’t pushed back too far.
A little back story on exactly why I don’t have a lot of wiggle room timing-wise: without the chimney repairs, we can’t even test our boiler/furnace to see if it works, let alone turn it on to heat the house. That first week of October brought with it the first frost of the season with a low of 33 one night. Our attic stays pretty warm and lovely, but eventually it will get too cold for even that space — not to mention all my pipes (new and old) that I really don’t want to freeze.
Back to the story. I was pretty insistent that they not push me back into November, so he calls me up at my work number on a Saturday to leave a voicemail saying they aren’t going to be able to do our job, claiming they are too busy. Classy, right?***
So now, with masons being backlogged by months, my adorable family and I are without a chimney going into the winter.
A little more backstory before I continue: Brookby Farm in Dover Plains/Wingdale has been my happy place since maybe mid-Spring when we stopped in one Sunday on the way back to Brooklyn. They sell raw milk (delicious!), Dutchess Coffee Company coffee (so delicious!!!!), a complex meat stick that somehow my pickiest eater in the world loves, and are genuinely some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. We shop there more than any other place, grocery store included, and it is always such a treat.
Anyway, they always ask about the house and the progress and have consistently been my morale boosters when I’ve hit some crazy situation. We went to pick up more coffee/milk/meat sticks/etc the day after the awful human beings at Empire Chimney canceled on me. I hoped that in addition to coffee they might have some recommendations for masons/chimney people that weren’t a bunch of lying jerk-faces. And, of course, they did! (Because they are amazing!) Jaime (pictured above, far left) even offered to reach out to her favorite Mason**** with my sad*^ story and beg for speedy service.
The very next day he calls me up scheduled to come out to evaluate the situation and give a quote this Saturday.*^^ Granted, it will probably much higher than earlier-in-the-year quotes, but Brookby’s swears they are the best masons around and at this point I am kind of trapped between a brick and a cold place. So hopefully they are fair and honest, and I will be able to put it on a credit card or take out a loan. And I will chalk up the extra cost as a harsh fine for not listening to my own gut instincts.
To be continued…
* Against my better judgment. They clearly knew what they were doing (or talked a good game) but they gave me bad vibes and I NEVER should have picked them. I hate that I did and feel very stupid.
** Seriously, why did I not listen to my gut? They were clearly trying to gouge the price and if I hadn’t kept my paper they definitely would have tried to back out of their original quote right then.
*** It is obvious they canceled on me because their quote was lower than they could make on other jobs. Following the return of my $200 quote fee, I will be reporting them to the better business bureau, HomeAdvisor (first time they steered me wrong!!!), and write ALL the reviews on Google, Yelp, the moon, blimp ads, etc to warn other consumers what these crooks tried, tried, and did.
**** My favorite Mason is of course Perry. But if these folks come through for me, it might be a tight race.
*^^ “this saturday” = 10/12/2019, for anyone reading this in the future. Isn’t time funny?