For Christmas this year, I bought Ian a wood-burning fire pit. We have this handy cement pad, and it’s perfect for a fire pit now that Benji’s old enough not to fall into it (probably).

The first s’mores on the new fire pit!

What this highlighted, however, was that we could really use some better seating and, better yet, a roof around that area so we could use it in inclement weather.

I started talking in January with the contractor who did such a glorious job on our fireplace, to start adding seating and maybe a cover to the deck. After a brief break, we sat down in May and made a plan.

The contractor started not long after that, and made slow but steady progress to start with. Benji particularly appreciated the “highway” for his Matchbox cars.

Construction progress in June.

But since the beginning of July, we’ve barely seen the contractor at all. He’s made no real progress, and the back yard remains a big mess.

Construction progress as of July 26.
Construction progress as of July 26. It looks exactly the same today.

I waited patiently for several weeks, but this week, I started calling him. He hasn’t answered my calls, and although he texted to promise he’d come by this week, we still haven’t seen or heard from him. I called again yesterday, asking him to please get in touch; I also asked him to please either finish the project within a couple weeks, or deliver any materials and refund us whatever remains.

I haven’t heard anything yet.

In the meantime, I ordered a shade sail for part of the deck — this is our solution to the needing a cover/roof situation — and it came all the way from New Zealand. It’s been that long since we have seen the contractor.

Shade sail came from New Zealand while we waited for the contractor.

I’m feeling so many mixed feelings — frustration, disappointment, anxiety. I’m even starting to worry that we’ve been bilked, although we’ve worked with this guy before and he’s always been extremely ethical.

I’ve starting to look for alternative deck/contractor people to finish this job… and debating about whether it’s worth it to try to get back the $2,000 we had just paid him before he went silent.

If anyone has recommendations for a good decking contractor, I guess we’re in the market.

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