My father, I am not

Sorry, Dad, but there are some things that I will not be able to live up to. Some things that I realise I cannot do. Some things that I cannot be.
Today, I had my ego carved out of me with a dull spoon and splayed out on my poorly-installed laminate floor. Mike Holmes couldn’t have done a better job.

I’ve come to the realisation (with Alex’s careful guidance) that I cannot finish the basement solo. Nor with a level of quality that I would be happy with. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and my basement project is just one milestone along the way.
So we’ve called an expert — someone with a lot more experience and know-how. We found him through, a website that provides a list of renovators that come bonded, follow WCB rules, and so forth. Might not necessarily be Mike Holmes-approved, but it’s gotta be better than picking up some guy at the side of the road, right?
Richard is an honest guy. He pulls no punches, makes no apologies. He told me I shouldn’t have done a few things. He didn’t sugar-coat anything. I screwed up. I shouldn’t have tried to do certain things because I simply don’t know. He’s right — I rushed, and didn’t do somethings correctly. Somethings will have to be scrapped and redone.
But still — it hurt. Truth is like that. Pure truth is hard for a self-inflated ego to take. You believe you’re doing a good job. Then someone better tells you otherwise. It’s pride messing with you.
I wish now that I had found someone back last May. I wish I hadn’t embarked on this fool’s errand. I feel like I’ve let my family and myself down. And I feel like a disgrace before the memory of my father. I can hear the words of disapproval. But I’ll never have his helping hand.
Sorry Dad, I screwed up.
It’s probably going to cost almost $50,000 to do the job. Richard assures me that only a tiny portion will go to cleaning up my mess. But still, it’s a big freaking number. It’s Calgary, though — that’s what it costs here to do things right.
So now these entries will no longer be about any successes of mine. They’ll be others’. I’m okay with that … almost. It’s part of growing up.

Join the Conversation


  1. Man, can I relate to that. Last April I bought a boat knowing that the motor would need a bit of work. I figured, hey, I rebuilt my ’76 Mustang 4 cyl motor just shortly after high school(ya, that’s back when they were trying to kill the legend of the Mustang muscle car), so since I’m so much older and wiser from that experience, I can tinker with this boat motor. Oh the pain of it all. I couldn’t get the outdrive off the boat so I took it into a shop. It was seized on. They finally got it apart and took the motor out of the boat so I could work on it in my garage. After taking it apart, I realized how bad it was. I took it to another shop to have the head rebuilt, cylinders bored and crank ground. Long story short, they went to put it back together and some pieces were missing. Did I lose them? Did they lose them? We’ll never know, but if I had taken them the motor in the first place instead of just the pieces, it wouldn’t have been an issue. The motor’s now done (btw, I also didn’t realize when I bought the boat that the motor was a 1966 Volvo who’s parts are obsolete – can you say ‘ka-ching’). They got the motor back in the boat last week and now they are trying to put the outdrive back on. Guess what? More pieces missing. If I recall correctly, when I did that Mustang motor, I had parts left over, not missing. Moral of the story? Have a professional do it right from the start. Then if something goes wrong, you can blame them – and hopefully get them to fix their mistakes for free. Have I learned my lesson? Probably not. Why would I try to do something myself again instead of getting the pros to do it? You guessed it – $$$$. (Incase you’re wondering – no, I could not get the Mustang motor to run after working on it. I still had to take it to a mechanic to get it started)
    I dunno Geoff, $50,000 to finish your basement? I think I would be getting a few more quotes on that job.

  2. A lot of the places we checked around were $50-65$ per square foot. 1000 square foot basement. We’re going to look around some more, yes, but finding the “cheap, but good” work is freaking hard. (This is where I had trouble last May.)
    Anyone know of good, but relatively inexpensive renovators?

  3. Geoff, I love you so much. You’ve done so much work in the basement, and I (and Baby) think nothing less of you for letting the pros at it!! Your job is with your daughter now… she will be your toughest project yet, and you see the rewards daily. No let-downs here. She’ll come with heartbreaks, she’ll make you think you suck at your job, but mostly she’ll be pretty grateful she has you. And just wait… she’s a Daddy’s Girl in the making – I know from experience that Daddy can do no wrong!! It starts now, so just shift priorities and you will be grateful you didn’t spend all your waking hours down there.
    PS I got another name of someone who can help us out…

  4. Here! Here! Here! 3 cheers to your wife!! You’re one lucky man to have such a great woman at your side! Never forget that…

  5. I can’t forget Alex. I’d be lost without her!
    Thanks for the votes of confidence. Just a little shot to the ego that’ll need time to mend.

  6. Man, here I was going for a misery loves company approach.
    I have to agree with your wife Geoff. Focus on the family. When you’re laying on your death bed, those are the memories you want to have, not how good or bad a job you did on the basement. 🙂

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *