When things go wrong

 I learned a lot about how to respond when things go wrong from Kelly Boyd. Kelly was the general manager of the radio stations I worked at in Fort McMurray from 1996 to 1999.  CJOK and KYX 98. If an error was made by the radio station that affected the client, the management and sales reps would go over and above to make it good. An example would be if you had a run of 10 commercials, but something was wrong with them, you would get your original 10 commercials and an extra 10 to boot. The client was King, and you treated them as such.

Heather and I take that approach with our art business. If we screw up (and we do), we go above and beyond to make it right. That equally applies if our shipping company muffs up. That said, the errors are few and far between. When they happen, we jump out of our skin and don't rest until all is well. 

I think SEED Homes has a similar philosophy. I don't think they do; I know they do. Heather described our house yesterday as a prototype. She was bang on. In many ways, our SEED home is a grand experiment, a laboratory of sorts. It is the first of what will soon be dozens, hundreds and thousands of more affordable modular homes. As such, there have been many learnings with its construction, delivery, unfolding and finishing.

We are all convinced that Mother Nature is providing extremes to test everything out. On New Year's Eve we had six hours of torrential rain. Twelve days later we are sitting at -38 with a windchill of -49. With each extreme weather event lessons are learned, adjustments made and problems solved. 

Yesterday was super frustrating as we were having significant heating issues. What was learned? As the house was placed, unfolded, finished and skirted as fall turned into winter, there was no opportunity to contour the landscaping around the base of the house. A gap of an inch or two remained which has allowed cold air into the underside of the house. This is causing all kinds of challenges as you might imagine. The SEED Homes team is all over it and doing whatever is required to make it right. They, like the radio stations up in Fort McMurray, are going above and beyond.

If you've been following this journey, you know that things have not gone perfectly. We were between homes far longer than we imagined. The finishing work has taken 4-6 weeks as opposed to the 2-3 weeks. We had a few leaks on New Year's Eve. And we woke up yesterday to a house that was four or five degrees colder than normal. 

With each bump in the road, the SEED Homes team jumps into action and fixes things. It has not been uncommon to see the leadership team roll up their sleeves, or yesterday, pull on their parkas, and make it right. 

I've said it before, this relationship feels more like a partnership than a transaction. Even though we are the client, we feel invested in what SEED Homes is doing. At times it has been frustrating being the first. At times I have had to blow off steam with the CEO. I am embarrassed to say I used the F-word with him yesterday. But there is mutual respect, trust and appreciation for what's happening here. This house, this first SEED home, is indeed a prototype. I've likened this construction, delivery, unfolding and finishing process to a Masters program in modular home building for the SEED Homes team. The house, in partnership with Mother Nature, is the professor. I can't decide whether we are the lab assistants or the specimens on the table in this metaphor.

We are grateful to Brandon for his extraordinary work to troubleshoot yesterday's heating issue. He put in a long and frosty day. We are grateful to Taylor, Kamryn, Jonathon and Dallas for their work inside the house. The finishing flourishes are nearing completion. And we are grateful to Jim and Stephen for jumping in to lend a hand at the end of their very long work day. We are equally grateful to Darren for keeping all the pieces moving in the right direction. 


  1. This all sounds normal in these extreme circumstances and it’s great to hear the Seed Team is jumping in to make everything right for you guys. Even the most solid (normally constructed) of homes can experience hiccups along the way! Being first or being in the lead..is always an interesting position to be in. But those of us behind you will be grateful for your wisdom of how you handled this victory. Keeping open and honest blogs like this are very helpful to those of us looking for alternative build/lifestyles. Great work everyone! Jill


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