This is a post where very little happens except frustration, so be warned. We needed to buy windows and doors for the second floor and attic. I had my heart set on a Marvin French Door with integrated shades for the master bedroom. We like it dark when we sleep and we live in the city where it never gets very dark outside. For this reason the master bedroom isn’t going to have windows other than the french door. By using integrated eclipse shades we wouldn’t have light leaking in from anywhere and we wouldn’t have the space and expense of a hotel-style drape. Plus, we plan to have cats, and cats love to go in and out of drapes, covering them in fur and letting moments of light in. So, french door with integrated shades.

Sarah and I went to the local Marvin reseller and got a quote, not just for the french door, but the attic door and all the windows. I was disappointed to discover that the shades aren’t available on their all-fiberglass line, only on their most expensive wood-clad line, and that the integrated shades are just obscenely expensive. We did some research and found an after-market shade that attaches to french doors. It may not be as nice, but it’s close and costs way less, since it also meant we could step down a grade in doors. The attic door was also pricey, but the windows were comparable to what we paid for the first floor windows. Lead time is about two weeks, so we’re not in a huge hurry.

The doors were still really expensive, even without the shades, and since we didn’t need to stick with Marvin for the shades, we decided to cheap out and order the two doors from Home Depot, where lead time is four weeks. We got the basement door from Menards and it’s not fantastic, but it’s still has decent glazing, insulation, and air sealing, so we decided it’s good enough. We also decided to order the windows from Inline, the same company we ordered the first floor windows from, since the price was the same and this way they’d all match. About this time is when everything went downhill.

First, my credit card company declined the Home Depot order, apparently because it was suspicious? Like I never order things from there? I go to Home Depot and Menards so often that my phone offers drive time updates, so I’m confused on this point. I click the link the credit card emailed me saying “this was me” and they say it’s ok now. I try to call Home Depot so verify the order is now good, but after navigating the menus the computer just says my order is “pending” and there’s no way to get to a representative. I should have waited a day or two and checked again, but instead I assumed it was actually pending and didn’t follow up a second time.

Getting my order submitted with the distributor for Inline takes some back and forth and a mailed check, so my order isn’t official until August 29th. They tell me it will take 6-10 weeks. Ugh. After waiting the requisite four weeks, I check the status of my Home Depot order and discover it was cancelled after all. In the intervening time we’ve soured on the idea of the cheaper Home Depot french door, and decide since the order didn’t go through we’ll order the Marvin after all. I re-order just the attic door from Home Depot and this time the card goes through.

At this point we call the Inline distributor to see if there’s a shipping estimate. It takes a few attempts to get an answer because “it’s only been a month”. Finally they tell us it will be delivered November 17th, aka 11-and-a-half weeks from when we ordered. Better yet, that’s delivered to the distributor at which point we still need to get it delivered from them. In the mean time, our window (ha!) of good weather is disappearing.

On October 12th, Home Depot let’s me know the attic door is in, so finally something is going right. Remembering the fun of getting the basement door home on the car, I actually take the cordless reciprocating saw to the store so I can cut it free of the pallet and load it onto the roof rack. As a result, we get that home and upstairs without issue, but we couldn’t install it yet because the attic floor hasn’t been lowered yet and we needed to take off the back hip. Now it’s been a couple weeks, so I email the Marvin distributor to inquire about my french door. Apparently the rep I’ve been working with is “no longer with the company” and there’s “no record of my order”. Fortunately my credit card was not charged, so there’s no fraud or anything, but it’s one more setback. I re-place the order (this is technically the third time I’ve ordered the french door). They were good enough to apologize, but they didn’t discount or expedite.

The french door finally came in, because all of this process was still faster than getting the windows, even though we ordered them first. We got that delivered and it’s now sitting expectantly inside the house. Mike S came down a few Saturdays back to help me install it, but it wound up raining all day and so instead we strategized the back deck stairs, how to frame the attic floor, and he tried to sell me on a sunken patio under the first floor deck. He might have sold me on it, to be honest. We could put a hot tub out there and it’d be pretty nice. But I digress.

After talking to Mike, Menards has 11% rebates going on, so I order the I-Joists and LVLs for the attic floor and the polyiso foam boards I need to install the windows. We had to pick up the foam boards and bring them home on the car, but the lumber was delivered. One of the LVLs has a forklift-shaped gouge out of it, so we call Menards. That has to be re-ordered and redelivered a few days later. After all of this, we call the Inline distributor this past Monday because the 17th was Friday. Inline hasn’t shipped the windows yet. They’re now expecting delivery (to them) this Friday.

Someday, I honestly believe we’ll get these windows, but in the meantime we’re installing the new attic joists. At this point I’m thinking we should have just bought it all from Marvin back in mid-August and we probably could have had this all installed by the end of September, but hindsight is 20/20.


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