Our original plan for this year’s “big purchase” was a privacy fence for our backyard. We had hoped to get a dog this year, and don’t want to do that without having a dedicated space where we feel comfortable letting him run free. As the year progressed, though, we ended up having lots of little trips pop up, and we decided it wasn’t a great time to introduce a dog into our lives. While the fence obviously has its own merits, we didn’t want our big purchase to be something we weren’t actually using. We decided that doing the deck this year made more sense.
We ended up using a contractor that had built at least 6 other decks in the neighborhood. Everyone told us he was a bit of a pain to deal with, but he did a nice job for a lot less money. After getting another quote, the second part was definitely true – he came in at $3k less for a bigger deck. Unfortunately, the first part was also true. He was a terrible communicator, and it took him almost a month from when he said he would start to actually start. I made Jon deal with him, and I just kept a running mantra that we were saving the entire cost of our Disney vacation later this year.