Ever since i realized grasshoppers were an insurmountable obstacle to gardening out here and 70 mph winds tear down any traditional greenhouse i erect i’ve had this idea that i would turn a tuff shed into a greenhouse by putting climate control insulation in it and customizing it to have windows all the way around. I figured i would water proof the inside and leave the windows open all the time. With the screens, the grasshoppers couldnt get in, and id have a space i could garden that would be protected in my absence as i worked in healthcare. I tried to add a skylight but they would only make them out of glass and we get baseball sized hail sometimes. I wanted a plastic one and they said no, so i nixed the sky light. It means less light and slower growing plants but hail proof was a must. Glass facing the sky was a dealbreaker. I dont care if it never produces vegetables, as long as it grows something green. The garden has always been stress relief for me and i am suffering without that safe haven of peace and freedom. The grocery has food. Im not hurting for that, but the inability to grow anything green…that was leaving its mark. One day my coworker asked me when i was going to make a garden and i realized i was working 12+ hours a day at that time and i just decided to pull the trigger on designing a custom tuff shed as a greenhouse and put it on a payment plan. I would have 6 months to pay it off without interest. I would need to work my butt off getting those hours in but it seemed like now was the time to do this.
I will preface this by stating that my struggle to get a refrigerator and laundry units to the homestead already gave me a crash course on what it is to have something done by a third party contractor, and by that i mean, its ****. No accountability. No reason. A fight. A third party contractor is invisible. They’re not worried about their reputation and so they conduct themselves in a less than respectable manner and they do a less than respectable job, because at the end of the day, its not their name on the work.
This crew showed up without nails, screws, two metal beams, and missing half the wood that goes beneath the roof that wasnt even coming to texas until the following day. They broke this news to me upon arrival. They introduced themselves to me. One man asked me where i wanted the shed and which direction i wanted it facing. He put a coffee cup down to mark where i wanted the back of it and just eyeballed the direction i wanted it facing. Then one of his two comrades began to back his pickup and trailer over his coffee cup, which i wasnt sure why he was doing if that was where the build would be, so the first guy moved his coffee cup. They never reconsulted me as to whether they got the placement of the tough shed right, and they hadnt. Not only had they put it too far forwards, they had it facing the wrong direction by maybe 30 or 35 degrees. Unfortunately, i noticed this after they had erected most of it. The first thing i noticed was that they were doing a lot of one sided arguing. One guy would bring up points and the other guy would ignore him. And then there was the third guy, clearly high off his ***. I will say, he could have been smoking hand rolled cigarettes, but the fact that he’d just stand there facing a random direction with a tool dangling from his limp arm and knees bending, swaying slightly until one of the other two shouted, “eh, what you doing?” …he was either high or experiencing captain jack sparrow syndrome. They didnt really let him do much. Once he tried to put a wooden beam on the porch to hold the roof up and they told him, “eh, turn it around.” He had it facing backwards. He was just there. They let him paint stuff, which he insisted upon doing without a drop cloth and got paint everywhere it shouldn’t be. The dynamic between the two main guys was what i found very unsettling. The guy that sat in the truck smoking the whole time appeared to be the boss. I say this because he didnt lift a finger to do anything physical. He sat in the truck. Every once in a while he came out and told the guy who was actually building the structure that he was doing it wrong. Then the guy building it looked right at him, nailed the thing in place exactly as he had it, and the first guy shook his head and got back in the truck. Now, this was unsettling to me because i wasnt sure who was right, the guy in the truck or the guy building the thing, but i felt they had some unfinished business between them that they were working out at my expense and for over $11,000 that i was going to have to pay off over time, i did not want the thing built bass ackwards because them two were having a marital tiff. So i did the only two things i could do. I tried to get them to talk to me. I asked what was going on. I asked what was missing, how we could acquire it, how long it would take, and where it would be coming from. The men were decidedly general. The only one who spoke to me was the one who owned the truck. He kept the conversation very minimal when it came to the build. He was down to talk about all sorts of things that had nothing to do with the build but they didnt want to share much of their plans for how to shift this sideways build back onto the tracks. Then i called tuff shed and listed and photographed everything they had done so far that i felt was iffy. I told them of the dynamic where they argued about which way to do something and then man # 2 just nailed it in place and man # 1 got wordlessly back in his truck after shaking his head. I told them of the times the guys were out there stating the roof wood was cut wrong and they didnt have enough plywood to cover the area under the roof. They kept turning it sideways like they were going to find a way to make it work and i was demanding that for the money i paid, the pieces actually be cut to fit the roof so it remained water and critter tight. I told them of the conversation in which the man was standing there saying to the other man that “you did this on the last job too. This is why it always comes out wrong because you put it on the outside and it goes from the inside and now the measurements are all messed up.” The other man said no he did it right and the man from the truck said no he did it wrong and he did it wrong on the last two jobs too. These guys did a lot of standing around and trying to figure out what had gone wrong. I was mortified. At this point, i wanted them to take the shed away and give me my money back, but it wasnt an option. The company would have to make it right or i wouldnt sign off that i was satisfied and the build was done. I was very vocal about my concerns because i understood i had a small window of time to pull this into something functional and once i signed those papers whatever was erected was my problem as is. Tuff shed finally admitted they used third party contractors, unlike in 2019 when they had sent a professional and efficient crew out to build a bigger shed in one day flat and it was perfect and had held up beautifully. They said they would send a tuff shed employee that had worked for them for 12 years to supervise the third party contractors and he would come out and address all the things on my list and make it right.
Let me just list some of the sloppy rookie mistakes these men made not because they didnt know better but because they just didnt care. Tell me if you would be a bit peeved if the people building your $11,000+ investment were doing things as careless as this. They didnt line up one piece of wood flush against the other before nail gunning it in place. They wasted a shit ton of nails because the guy in the truck told them to conserve because they were running low so they put twenty nails in one board right next to each other while looking right at the guy in the truck and then ran out and had to wait for a guy in a tuff shed pickup to bring more. They were told to make sure there were not gaps between pieces of wood before nailing and to measure to make sure the two sides were symmetrical. They purposely didnt do anything the guy in the truck said to do. So i watched them nailgun boards of wood into place when i could fit my fingers in the gaps they were leaving and then they cut off the excess wood on the backside. They placed the posts crooked because they didnt use a level. The one guy had one post backwards before the guy in the truck corrected him. They got paint all over the wood porch. They walked all over the pieces in the yard. They broke a corner off one of the metal window frames. They left the rubber stoppers that keep the glass from jostling on the drive over in the small windows so you couldnt slide them open or closed easily and tried to tell me they were just cheap and lighter than the bigger windows and supposed to be like that. They cut one of the porch pieces of wood in half for some reason and then realizing they needed the whole piece, left space between every board of wood to accommodate for their mistake. They could not figure out what the door trim was for and they kept trying to make the door fit the whole area without the trim by raising and lowering the hinges as if that was somehow going to make the door bigger. I mean it was real amateur hour over here, and whatever was going on between those two men was definitely getting my shed built worse.
The guy from poteet came and supervised them while i was at work. He made them jack the shed up and roll it on logs until it was facing the right way. He made them use the right pieces and do things the right way. The two guys tried to sass the guy from poteet the way they had sassed the guy in the truck and the guy from poteet didnt take it. He gave them a stern look until they complied or he invited them verbally to try again. When i arrived the jack sparrow guy was painting and the truck guy asked him if he would like a drop cloth. He said no. The poteet supervisor came and stood so that his boot was right near his head and asked him with a stern face if he would like a drop cloth. The guy said yes and the supervisor gave it to him. The guy from poteet saved it. He made it water tight, upright, and actually looking like a shed. It was functional, but it was constructed sloppily. I had to take what i could get having already signed the contract and put down roughly $3,500 and charged another $8,000 to an interest free home depot card. It had gone from “what the **** is this” to “looks like a shed”, so, i had to decide what i could fix on my own and what i couldnt. I could finish nailing all the nails they only hammered half way in. I could finish screwing all the screws they only screwed half way in. I could plaster the spot where they broke the corner of the metal window frame off. I couldnt move the shed to face another direction, make it water tight, or render the windows functional. I needed them to do that. So when they got it half way functional i decided to call it a day, get them off my property, and run damage control.
The supervisor from poteet left before they finished the shed completely and it went right back to arguing and rejecting drop cloths as soon as he left. He kept asking them where the jack was and they said around the back of the shed somewhere but nobody volunteered to put it back in the guy’s van. So when the guy left they all shook his hand, thanked him, and waved. One guy called him a gentleman and a scholar. Then as soon as he had backed out of the driveway mr jack sparrow there threw his hands up in the air in celebration and quietly exclaimed, “we got a jack!” The other guy asked if he’d really left it and jack sparrow nodded excitedly. They did a little victory dance around the yard. They had stolen the tuff shed guy’s jack. These guys were more than a little shady. They had been trying to convince the guy to give his level to the third party contractors and report to tuff shed that he’d lost it. They told the guy tuff shed would surely buy him another. So the guy didnt let his level out of his sight the rest of the day and they nicked his jack. I stood not ten feet from them in the yard watching as they did their victory dance like i wasnt even there.
When it came time to do the walk through the guy from the pickup asked me if id be willing to give them a thumbs up if i liked the final result so they could show their boss i was happy with the job. I understood what he was asking. I wasnt happy with the job, but i was happier than i had been. He was asking me to essentially close the case. Once i thumbs upped i couldnt claim anything was wrong or needed fixed. Realistically, i didnt trust them to touch the final project and thought they were more likely to break it than fix it at this point. I didnt plan to have them back out. If i didnt find anything major wrong i would thumbs up for them and they could take a photo. I guess this answer surprised him. Im really not a raging bitch. I just wanted the shed that i paid for. I guess he figured that out in that moment because he dragged the guys out of the truck and made them fix all the things they had sabotaged because they figured i wouldnt give them a thumbs up photo at the end anyway. So, i guess always be kind because i wouldnt have known they messed with the door latch otherwise. He had them fix a bunch of stuff and then i stood for my thumbs-up photo. If you find that i have called corporate on you, you need to examine your life because im a people pleaser and i like to handle everything myself so if i had to call corporate, you were doing something wrong. I hope they examine their lives but who knows if they will. A lot of the wood used was chipped, cracked, or broken, because they were just careless. Ive had to make peace with this. It is what it is. This is a post pandemic structure. They are using third party contractors and shoddy materials. I know because i have a tuff shed from 2019 about forty feet from this one. You cant expect anything to be done well these days. Take what you can get and move forward. Im not sorry i commissioned this shed now in 2023 because it seems it will only get worse as time goes on. I dont for-see this getting any better. That was exhausting and im glad to be done with it now rather than trying to do it in five to ten years.
I reluctantly put a like on this simply because it seems wrong to like such an awful experience. I am relieved you do have a shed at the end of the day. Good luck with the greenhouse. Maybe you can put in grow lights if you don’t get enough sun.
It seems like a possibility as i have a coworker who just wired electricity to his barn and has expressed a willingness to help if i ever wanted to route electricity to the greenhouse. I will try it without, since it would mean adding to the electric bill to do so, and keep it in the back pocket as a possibility.
Hopefully, your plants will grow well without the overhead lighting.
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