Better Late

I’m so far behind on getting any holiday baking done this year. I had originally planned on just making stuff in chunks so I didn’t end up with a massive pile of goodies all at once. Yeah, that didn’t work. I made one batch of nougat after the kids harassed me until I got it done. Next thing I know, I’ve got only a few days before Christmas and nothing else is made.

I spent yesterday in the kitchen trying to get at least part of my baking done. So far, I’ve made a batch of sugar cookie dough, but not the cookies. I got a batch of peanut butter cookies made and I was able to get my annual batch of pot pies made up and in the freezer ready to go to my FIL as part of his gift. There aren’t nearly as many as I usually make, but at least I got them done.

I still have something like 5 other goodies, some homemade pizzas, and baking and decorating the sugar cookies left to get done. So, if it feels like I’ve gone quiet, it’s because I’m chained to the kitchen until all of that is finished.

Night Of Lights

This is another photo from last year.

Tonight will be our annual drive to look at lights. I’m kind of shocked that my 16 year old AND my 18 year old think this is still something awesome to do and are excited to do it. I honestly thought by now that they would think it was childish or that they had much better things to do, but they have both been bugging  me about when we are going to do it this year.

So, as is tradition, I will make a big pot of hot chocolate. The kids will either get into cozy PJs or grab a blanket. We will grab some snacks and get the Christmas music going. Then head out for about 2 hours or so just driving around and looking at houses decorated for the holidays.

Even though we will most likely go and see all the same houses we always see and the decorations will all mostly be the same as previous years, we still go and look at them all. We goof around and laugh and sing along, sometimes with our own lyrics, which ALWAYS ends up in more laughing and ridiculousness. Then when the drinks and snacks are gone and we’ve heard all the same songs at least a couple of times, we will head back home.

I’m definitely going to savor it as much as possible this year because I know this tradition has an expiration as my kids get older. Next year may see an addition with MCG coming along or it may see MC finally deciding he has more important things to do with MCG here. I’m pretty sure that once MC decides he is done, then BG will follow quickly behind as it won’t be the same for her without her big brother.

Their continued excitement for this and some of our other traditions makes me infinitely grateful that my kids are who they are and that they still think time spent with their parents is something they enjoy.

Craft Room Project: Status Update

We had our meeting and walk through with the main guy today. I mostly let Hubby lead because I’m still pretty pissed about everything. It wasn’t a very satisfying meeting. The end result is that whatever issues we have are going to be taken care of, one way or another.

They shut down all work starting next Wednesday and don’t start back up again until January 4th. With the issues we have and the people they have available to work right now, we are opting to wait to pick back up on this after the new year.

I have very mixed feelings about this. Mostly because this pushes the whole project back to the point where I will be lucky to have them done and gone so I can start my part by my birthday in the middle of January. I’m really kind of ticked that this is going to take so long to finish.

The plus sides are that we get a stress free and peaceful holiday with no pounding or singing or obnoxious laughing or trash or bathroom messes. Our cats can roam free and I don’t have to stress about the difficult kitty being completely pissed and unhappy about being confined.

It also means that we get our original guy back. I have no clue how in the hell he is cleared to go back to full work so soon after a surgery like that, but apparently that is what he is being told. Having him back means I know the rest is going to be done right and he can fix any of the problems the recent guys created (and there are several.)

I don’t love the extended time frame at all, but I’m going to take the road of looking at the positives right now. I really do want to be able to enjoy the holidays without being constantly ticked.

Hell, maybe now that I’m not so tied to the house I can get out and get some new photos for a change.

 

Craft Room Project: Welcome To The Shit Show

Aaannnddd… today is an epic fail.

It started when only one guy showed up. He came in with a huge broom, which tripped my WTF mode because that would indicate they thought they were done or close to done and they weren’t. I just decided to wait and see. At that point, I had no idea if the second guy, the singer, would be there later or what.

About an hour after he got here, I started hearing a very different kind of sawing, more like a higher pitched grinding. It reminded me of my Dremel tool, which really didn’t make sense with what he most likely would have been working on. That was soon followed up with a lovely, crunching/ripping kind of sound that is more associated with destruction, not construction. I was seriously concerned by this.

About 10 minutes into that, Hubby gets out of his meeting and we decide we really need to find out what is going on and go check. The dude is cutting a rather large notch into one of our wooden support beams above the steel I-beam. The apparent thought process was to give a place for the wires that ran under those support beams a place to go so that drywall could be attached (the wires are currently in the way).

Um… NO. This was NOT the plan. The plan was to build out around that so you didn’t have to mess with the wires at all. Same goes for the other beam. I honestly haven’t a clue what the dipshit was thinking he was going to do as we have wiring that runs all along the top of that I-beam and underneath the floor beams, so he would have had to do this to EVERY single floor beam. I cannot imagine that is even remotely good for structural integrity, but that’s neither here nor there as it wasn’t the plan at all. I would have outright rejected that if someone has suggested it as a solution, but no one said a word to me about it.

When we told him that this wasn’t a part of the plan and talked about the need to build out instead, he said that he wasn’t sure how to do that and he would need to talk to the main guy at the company. That and he was actually scheduled to go to another job with singer guy when he finished up, so he was just going to clean up and go and that he’d have main guy call us.

Seriously?! There are so many pieces that are wrong with all of that. First, you don’t know how to do that and yet you are here, working BY YOURSELF, and were supposed to finish?! They apparently forgot all together that the much larger beam wasn’t done and ready for drywall because it wasn’t even on their plans to do anything with it. They also apparently thought they were done with the duct work in the closet as well because all this guy was going to do today was this crazy shit with the wires (which he managed to jack up the insulation around one in the process, exposing some bare wire). Why on Earth do you have someone that doesn’t know jack shit working unsupervised?

Secondly, why in the ever loving hell did they schedule these guys to go work another job without confirming that not only are they done, but it is done right and there are no issues? I’m so sick of the people that are supposed to be working on this job not actually DOING this job.

Both Hubby and I are absolutely livid. He knows better than to have me talk to the main guy (I do not have the ability to keep a calm head right now), so he has called and left a message for him. We are now waiting to find out what the hell is going on and when we are going to get this cursed job finished.

You have no idea how tempted I am to tell them they are going to have to just frickin’ wait until after the new year to continue any work just to give us a stress free holiday, but I also want this done and this company gone. I’d even be tempted to say they can take the rest of the contract and shove it where the sun don’t shine, but after the hell of even getting a response from anyone else, I know I have zero choices right now.

I want to know how the hell a company that does business like this and has guys like this on their crews can manage to get as many high a ratings as they have and even able to win a few awards because this is all just a whole bunch of bullshit.

Craft Room Project: Snail Progress Day 3

Yesterday’s progress seems a little better than the previous days of work. At one point, I got the wild idea that they were actually working until they finished today, but that was extreme wishful thinking on my part. All because they worked later in the day than they had the other days.

I was pleased to see the outside wall of our existing storage area get built out so the pole could be enclosed when they drywall that area. After the other day, I was really concerned they would forget it. I can say that I’m REALLY glad that I’m not the poor sap that has to drywall this because there are a couple of areas that aren’t exactly flush. Not sure how they are going to overcome that, but I’m not the one that has to deal with it.

Storage Area Wall Build Out
Storage Area Wall Build Out

They also finished the walls of the closet and started wrapping the duct work so that drywall can be mounted around it. Again I’m wondering if they forgot something or if they aren’t aware that the inside of the closet is also getting drywalled or they just simply aren’t finished because the duct work inside the closet isn’t done, but the outside is.

New Closet And Duct Work Framing
New Closet And Duct Work Framing

I now also have a frame for the ceiling over the new doorway.

New Doorway Ceiling
New Doorway Ceiling

That lovely (read ugly) reddish brown beam will also need to be wrapped so it can be drywalled. There is another, much longer, beam where the opening to the rest of the basement is that also needs to be wrapped, but it also has a lot of wires along the top edge that makes wrapping that one a bit of a challenge. I’m not exactly certain how they are working that, but it may be built out a bit.

Those really are the last parts of the framing that needs to be done: finish wrapping the duct work in the closet and wrap the two beams. It would be easy to imagine it would only take another day to finish, but I just don’t see that happening with this crew.

I ended the day with a clean bathroom again (not sure anyone actually even used it) and a headache. I’ve decided that I NEVER want to be serenaded. It would likely send me into a murderous rage. I came close by the end of the day, so I know this for a fact. Hubby’s coworkers got a bit of an earful during a meeting as well because the guy was belting it out like he was trying out for a Broadway musical and he wanted to ensure the guys in the back could hear it too.

Would I be getting too nitpicky if I ranted again about the fast food cup still full of soda left in my basement (and on my new frickin’ counter top that is not exactly in the area they are working) or the lack of mask wearing when the one guy goes in an out even though he sees me sitting on the couch wearing mine? Have I said I can’t wait for this project to be done yet?

Craft Room Project: Start Of A Closet

Well, there is progress. Not a lot, but progress.

I still do not understand how it is possible for two guys to be here from 9am until about 3:30pm and all they get done is framing a doorway in an existing opening, putting up an outer wall frame (no internal studs) and the door frame/front wall of the new closet.

They did add two boards to the the large opening they worked on yesterday and that took them most of the morning. Hubby went down when they left for lunch to see what they’d done and that was the extent of it. Based on where they were working, I was expecting the wall build out on the outside of the storage area to be getting worked, but that didn’t happen today.

With as much as I’ve complained so far, this feels like I’m just being nitpicky, but it really is shocking how little they get done. At this pace, I honestly expect them to be here the rest of the week even though our last guy really expected to only have about a day or two worth of work left before he got sick.

It was also fun to have some random guy I’ve never seen before unexpectedly walk into my house and head to the basement, sans mask, with a little mumble that he was with the company. Again, no name. He was only here for about 10 minutes before he left, but it shocked the hell out of me to look up and see someone I didn’t know standing in my house.

*Sigh* At least I have a clean bathroom today and this IS progress. I can say that it is awesome to see this really taking shape.

 

Craft Room Project: Contractor Etiquette

I debated with myself over posting this because, honestly, it feels like I’m just being cranky about the whole thing. Reality is that I’m not actually just being cranky. It is about general respect and decency from the people you hire to work on property you own and the fact that this company really doesn’t have any.

I’d say I don’t know how I managed to forget to put it in yesterday’s post, but I do know how. It was because there were just SO many things that bothered me yesterday that it got lost in the mess. The first utter lack of respect and concern I experienced from the new crew was them showing up at my door without masks on or anywhere in sight after having parked a massive truck in my driveway, blocking all of our cars in, without asking. I hesitated at first to say anything, though I’m opening the door with my own mask on and Hubby standing with me, also with a mask on, so it is obvious what I felt about the issue. One guy finally asks if I want them to wear masks. After they are standing in my house. Needless to say, after only getting the text that morning, this didn’t start the day out on the right foot at all.

They also didn’t even give their names. Just that they were with the company we hired and were there to work on the project. At that point, I was stressing more about how to deal with the mask issue that I just let it slide. I never did get a name for either one of the guys that worked yesterday.

I was quite honestly concerned about what exactly they were doing yesterday hearing some of the things I did. At one point, I was really concerned they were attempting to straighten a major support pole, one of two that are both problems when it comes to framing, but were NOT supposed to be messed with. I could hear the pounding and feel the vibrations through the entire house, so it was obvious they were at the very least working in that area. I didn’t think they’d be stupid enough to attempt to straighten a pole that was concreted in to the floor, but… I was still worried. That, thankfully, didn’t end up being one of my many problems by the end of the day.

There were a couple of times throughout the day that at least one of the guys came upstairs to either get more lumber from outside or go to the bathroom and he wasn’t wearing his mask. In all honesty, I wasn’t at all comfortable with these guys. I don’t know if it was this lack of respect, the refusal to wear their masks and the rudeness from the extremely loud and obnoxious one or if it was something else, but I just was not comfortable and felt incredibly relieved that Hubby was working from home and there with me. I had not felt that way at all with our first crew.

After they left for the day, Hubby and I do our usual walk through to see what kind of progress they’d made. What they got done, did look good, so quality hadn’t suffered from the previous crew. At least as far as the construction aspect goes. The clean up? That’s a little different.

While the tools and things were mostly organized and confined, the materials weren’t as well cleaned up as the previous crew. They also had a large trash bag sitting in the middle of the room that was never there before, but really not a big deal or a huge concern for either. What annoyed the ever loving shit out of me was the empty water bottle and fast food cup that were sitting on a couple of storage bins under our stairs. This is even more annoying when you consider the large trash bag just a few feet away. I’m feeling like I’m just being horrifically petty and picky at this point and just let it go. It really isn’t a huge deal.

Even with all of these things, I was just irritated and annoyed and not truly pissed. THAT came when I went to use my bathroom, one I’d cleaned the night before, and was forced to clean it before I could use it.

Let me just say, I threatened to quit my job years ago when the company I worked for at the time suggested canceling their contract with a cleaning crew for the bathroom and having us employees clean it instead in an effort to cut costs. I do NOT clean up other people’s bathroom messes. Hell, I don’t even clean my kids’ bathrooms anymore. They do their own. Having to clean up after a stranger pissed me off.

I’m sorry, how fucking difficult is it to check after you’ve used a bathroom to make sure you didn’t leave a mess? I’m not talking a couple of drips here. I’m talking, someone obviously wasn’t feeling awesome and splatters happened. I had crap on the underside of the seat and around the rim and those expected male drips on the seat.

I’ve been a home owner for over 20 years and dealt with a lot of various different service people and contractors in and out of my house. In all that time, it was exceptionally rare that a worker would even ask to use the bathroom and NEVER have they left it a mess. I was absolutely livid.

I wanted to call the company owner up and rip him a new one. The problem? I also want my job finished and finished correctly and I truly believe that if I do that, I just might piss him off enough that that might not happen. Hubby and I spent a significant amount of time discussing it last night and both agreed to just keep quiet about it for now. If anything worse happens, we will say something. Once the job is done, though, we will be leaving a review.

Oh! And if that wasn’t enough, I was absolutely floored at how little they got done. The first picture below is what it looked like when they started their day. The one below is after.

New Wall and Start Of Arched Opening
New Wall and Start Of Arched Opening
Large Doorway Framing
Large Doorway Framing

They managed to frame in my access opening in the wall on the left and they built what looks like the framing for the large doorway opening to the rest of the basement. That’s it. For an entire day’s worth of work. Do you have any idea how long it takes for them to frame out an entire house? It really isn’t long at all. Maybe a couple weeks tops.

I’m not entirely ignorant when it comes to construction. I’ve watched my dad work on all kinds of projects for years. And yes, he actually did work construction for a while when he and my mom were first married, so he actually does know what he is doing. It should not have taken two guys all day to get that little bit done. It took a day and a half for the previous crew to do three and a half walls, one of which included a door frame and the rework of half a wall including the build out.

They still have to build out the wall by the storage area to be able to enclose that pole, frame out a new closet on the other side of that area and wrap the duct work on the ceiling so it can be dry walled in. I really don’t want these guys in my house for as long as it is going to take them to do all that. Not with the pace they are going. Hell, it looks like this whole thing my now be going on through mid-January and I was hoping to be done by Christmas.

So, yeah, I’m frustrated and pissed off. I am desperate to get this part of the job done so we can move on to the next part. I’m also hoping like mad that the electrician is better than these guys and that the people that come to do the dry wall are NOT them.

Craft Room Project: Update – I Think?

Today is one of those totally mixed, “I have no fickin’ clue how I feel” kind of days.

It started with another text, no phone call, informing me that a couple of guys would be out to finish up the framing. No time frame, just that they would be here. I asked for an ETA and was told 20- 30 minutes.

Yeah. Thanks for the heads up that I specifically asked you for. It is beyond obvious that you are not a cat person and have no clue what it means to try and get a cat somewhere they don’t want to go. Shockingly, our difficult kitty was oddly cooperative this morning, so that was a bonus as we were resigned to leaving her hiding in the basement and keeping our fingers crossed she didn’t decide to bolt up the stairs during one of the many trips up and down and out the door while it was open. We managed to get her safely closed up in her designated room before anyone showed.

On the one hand I should be grateful that there are people here and working. Mostly. I think. I cannot even begin to predict how much they will get done as the one guy has been on the phone pretty much the entire time he’s been here and the other guy was gone for an hour and a half on a supply run.

They also had to call in our other guy, who apparently hasn’t actually had his surgery yet (though I know he cannot work in his condition), to come out and walk them through exactly what needs to be done because apparently what I attempted to walk them through on wasn’t enough. Granted, I couldn’t give them door sizes that still need to be framed, but I’d thought the guys had noted that on the floor when they marked all this out. I’m not feeling that these guys are swimming in the deep end of gene pool and have a bad feeling these are the same guys our guy was complaining about messing up their previous job.

I felt horrible that they had to drag the other guy in, he looked like he was in a whole hell of a lot of pain. I am grateful that he was willing to come out and make sure they did the job right, but I still felt awful for him.

When they took off for lunch after they’d been here for a few hours, I went to check progress and honestly couldn’t see that they’d done much at all. It is a little concerning, but I’ll take slow if it means it is accurate. I just don’t have the confidence that these guys are going to do as good of a job or as accurate as the previous guys.

I am massively relieved that the part that had the most critical measurement is already done and it can’t be messed up.

Finally!

We finally got word that MC is NOT required to live on campus next semester to meet his scholarship requirements. We do still have to pay half the tuition, which I’m not a fan of, but I honestly do not care if it means he can be at home with less risk.

I never understood their absolute demand in the current environment that these students that didn’t need to still had to live in the dorms. Even though there were out of town/out of state students needing housing that couldn’t get it. I’ve never liked the idea of taking something I didn’t need when it took away from those that were in need, so this bothered me on all kinds of levels.

So, I am a happy momma today. I have to take him to the school so he can officially check out of his dorm and he is home for the rest of the school year. There are no requirements of on campus living past the first year, so he is home for the rest of his time in college.

Now, if we can just convince them that MCG doesn’t need to live on campus next year when she comes, I’ll have a major houseful as she will be bringing her fur baby with her.

When It Was Sunny And Bright

And we have a no show, no call day with the contractors!

Sure, the guy said probably and about, nothing definite, but for fucks sakes, can you NOT pick up a damn phone and give me an idea of when I’m actually going to be able to expect someone to show up?! Seriously? Am I just asking too much here?

FYI… doing any kind of a construction project around the holidays is probably NOT a good idea if you want to maintain a cheerful attitude for the season. I’m going to just go look at some pretty pictures in the hopes that it puts me in a better mood.

Bug Bitten

I’m taking advantage of what might be my last no contractor day before Christmas that isn’t a weekend and getting the last little bit of needed shopping done today. I’d rather not, but there are a few things I need to get that aren’t easy to order and that Hubby can’t get for me, so I’m making what will hopefully be a very quick run.

How sad is it that even though the head guy at the contracting company said two days when I talked to him the other day, that I can’t actually count on that? I did ask him specifically to keep me updated on the timing because of needing to contain the cats, so we will see if I actually hear anything today or not.

MC has two finals left, one tomorrow and one Saturday, and he is done with his first semester of college. We are STILL waiting to hear if he is allowed to live off campus next semester, which is beyond frustrating.

Fun fact? eSports, even though it is all computer games and doesn’t require any kind of fitness ability at all, still requires you get a physical before being able to participate. I now have to help MC navigate that process because it seems to be a little bit complicated for something that should be simple.

They also have a few interesting rules about participating as a team member. One is that you are required to spend so much time each week doing actual physical activity. I think it is a great requirement, I just think it is kind of funny, and not entirely surprising, that they have to have that rule.

I do wonder if those requirements get waived for someone that has physical limitations. I’d think the world of eSports would be ideal for those that aren’t able to participate in physical sports.

This photo reminds me of how my brain feels most days. Full of holes. I’ve joked for years that it is a swiss cheese brain because I tend to forget stuff all the time. This week, I got to learn that I can turn a white boxed cake mix into chocolate, because apparently I had one of those moments. I’d asked Hubby to pick up the white mix at the store even thought I KNEW I was using it for my chocolate cupcakes. Imagine my shock when I pull it out to make them and realize what I’d done. At least I learned a nifty new trick!

I’m having way too many of those swiss cheese moments lately.

When There Were Leaves

I haven’t been outside with my camera in weeks so I’m having to pull from photos I took a while ago. It seems like once the leaves fell and the flowers were done, the weather just hasn’t given me much to work with. This has been a very odd end of fall/start of winter this year.

I would have gone out yesterday morning as we were given a gorgeous fog, but I couldn’t leave the house until I knew what was going on with the contractors. By the time I was forced to call, the fog had already cleared out.

It has been so ridiculously dry. We haven’t even really gotten any rain. It is all so unusual. It felt more like winter and Christmas when we had the snow back before Halloween.

I’d be tempted to take this break in construction to go for a walk, but I don’t think my cough will cooperate. I don’t want to have to stop every few steps because I’m having a coughing fit.

I guess for now I’m going to have to stick with random ornament photos or photos I took earlier in the year but didn’t get around to posting for whatever reason.

Craft Room Project: Officially In Limbo

It appears that our head guy working on the framing for the craft room did require emergency surgery at some point over the weekend and isn’t able to work at the moment. I wish him an easy and full recovery.

How did I learn this do you ask?

It certainly wasn’t because someone picked up the phone at any point over the weekend or even this morning to inform me that no one would be here to work. It was because I had to call to find out what was going on. After we’d locked the cats up and gotten up at ass crack of dawn again and waited for well over an hour past his normal start time with no one showing up.

This is not the guy’s fault that he ended up in the hospital. I feel horrible for him. I’m pissed that the company didn’t have the basic understanding of customer service to make a simple phone call and let us know.

I get it. They are now scrambling to rework their schedules and crews because our guy is absolutely going to be down for the count for quite some time. It is going to take some time to work those issues out. They still should have informed us that we wouldn’t have someone coming even if they didn’t have any kind of idea as to when they would have someone available again. You cannot tell me they didn’t know their guy wasn’t going to be able to work today until after he was supposed to be here today.

I’ve got to say, I’ve been extremely unhappy with the communication aspect from this company and their lack of respect for their customer’s time. Yes, I’m having them build a craft room. No, they aren’t even doing the full thing, stopping when they get the drywall done. Yes, that may seem frivolous and unimportant in comparison to a bathroom or kitchen remodel that will make their portfolio all pretty, but it is still a job that I’m paying to get done and deserves the same kind of priority consideration as any other job. I’m really not happy that this isn’t being treated as such.

When I spoke with the guy about where we are in the project, I suggested that enough of the framing had been done that the wiring could be run as it is apparently done by another guy, but he was insistent that every last bit of framing was done before they even considered starting that portion. I do know enough about framing and wiring to know that this is a preference thing and not a requirement, so I was not very happy with this response because it means there will be zero progress until someone can finish the framing.

It also means that we are officially sitting in limbo. I was told that they would know more soon about when they can get back to this and I should get a call either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

One of the things we were hoping to get out of this outside of this project was a potential contractor for what we know will be a rework of our bathroom at a much later date. If I had to make that decision right now, based on how this has gone so far, I’d be hard pressed to give the job to this company.

 

It’s A Cranky Pants Day

I think that most people have certain expectations when they hire someone to do a job.

For a contracting job like this craft room, it can be expected that your life is going to be at least somewhat interrupted and inconvenient for the duration. That people will be going in and out and making noise. That there will be messes. That the people involved provide some basic courtesy and respect for you and your property. That the company treat your job seriously and give it priority when it is being worked on. That plans are followed and what you asked for and got a bid for is what you receive.

Over my years of being a home owner I’ve had a range of projects where contractors were needed.  These expectations are all pretty standard and, for the most part, every company I’ve ever worked with did a decent enough job to mostly meet those expectations. I’m not being overly picky or unreasonable about most of them anyway.

So far, this crew has done a pretty great job in almost all of those areas. The one that has been a problem, and is the fault of the company, not the crew, is the giving our job priority. For the second day in a row, our crew has gotten pulled to go do something on another project.

Now, I’m flexible and understanding. Yesterday was about going back to a previous job and fixing something, so no big deal. I do understand and wasn’t too bothered by it. When they showed up this morning and told me they were getting pulled again, I joked with the guy about going to the same problem job (he is chatty so I got to hear about some of the issues and how bad they were), but no. This time it was a different job and I was really NOT happy.

There are multiple issues that I have with this and it really kind of ticked me off. One is minor, but annoying, and that is the fact that I was up, yet again, at the ass crack of dawn so they could get started. They showed up ready to work when they get the call to go to the other job. If they had been told yesterday before they left here (and I think it was a possibility), they could have just let me know they’d start later like they did the day before and I could have stayed the hell in bed. But no. They didn’t get notified until they were about ready to walk in the house and I was already up.

Another issue is the fact that this company seems to make it clear that our job isn’t a priority for them. I don’t think I’ve worked with a company before that didn’t have the policy of “once we are there, we stay there until the job is completely done” kind of thing. I’d never really understood why they all stressed this until this project. Now I know why that is so important and I value that even more now than ever. It is extremely frustrating to feel like your project is the bottom of the priority ladder. Now I’m wondering how long this project is going to drag out because other people get to butt in on the time the guys need to finish.

Either that or, and this is becoming a concern, that the work they are doing is problematic enough to require regular call backs to previous jobs to fix the problems they created. It definitely doesn’t reflect all that well on the company with either option.

The other, and this one really pisses me off, is the exponential exposure risk these guys are bringing with them. I have been so extremely careful since spring to protect my family and myself that it bothers me to no end that someone else’s lack of concern, after I emphatically let them know that I am at high risk, may negate all that hard work. The back and forth and in and out here and at multiple other job sites, pushes my comfort level a bit too far.

I understood I was taking a risk having people in my house working. I’ve done everything I can to reduce that risk as much as possible. I wear a mask the entire time they are working and I stay upstairs unless they need something. I was okay with that when I thought they were going to be here for the duration of this project, but I really don’t like this 2 out of the 3 work days they’ve had so far being pulled to different locations.

Another piece added to this exposure risk issue is the fact that apparently the electrician lives part time in Florida and has been there for the last week or so. This is something I was not made aware of before this whole project got started. I do not like the fact that I wasn’t given all the information I needed to be able to make an informed decision.

To add to the cluster this day has apparently become, my guys showed back up as I was writing this only to inform me that the head guy was headed to the hospital because he thought he had an appendicitis. The other guy that has been working with him is brand spanking new and can’t do the work, so we are on complete hold.

I feel absolutely horrible for the guy because those are miserable. I hate it that he feels so crappy. I absolutely want the guy to go and get it taken care of. You cannot be expected to do a job under those circumstances.

As sympathetic and understanding as I am, I also expect the company to make contact with me outside of the guy coming and talking to me himself to give me an idea of plans moving forward. At this point, I don’t even know if they have anyone outside of the guy that has been doing the work that is capable of finishing this project. For all I know, I’m in permanent limbo.

There are so many different possible outcomes going on here. If the guy does in fact have an appendicitis and gets surgery, then he is out of commission for a while. Is our project on hold until he can work again? Or, he doesn’t and it is something else that they send him home with meds of some sort and he is back to work on Monday. After having spent a significant amount of time in a hospital. Amping up my already huge concerns about exposure risk.

The day started with me in an awkward and unhappy position and is now in limbo mode. This company has already make it clear that they aren’t overly concerned with exposure risks, either to their people or their clients (though the guys do wear masks unless they are working alone in the basement with the door shut), so I have no doubt they fully intend to send our guy back the second he is able to work and is most likely their plan. I would hope they’d actually call me and tell me that. Or anything at this point would be nice.

Craft Room Project: Construction Day 1

I’m calling yesterday day 1 of construction because they didn’t start actually building anything until yesterday. The day before was doing a lot of measuring and laying out of walls, but no visible progress.

Yesterday was a whole lot of visible.

We now have the framing in place for a new doorway into the “cat room” storage space. This is the home of the litter boxes and the source for one of my biggest peeves in the basement: kitty litter dust. Not the actual litter pieces, but the dust it produces ends up on EVERYTHING. The hope is that with a door there, one with a cat door, will help to keep that problem to a minimum.

Wall Framing And New Doorway
Wall Framing And New Doorway

They also got the framing done for the entire back 2 walls. Except… I’m probably going to piss them off today because one of those sections is supposed to have been built out (not sure if they were still planning on doing that) and then had the frame work for some recessed shelves that isn’t there.

Back Corner Wall Framing
Back Corner Wall Framing

 

The section in question is from the pipe to about the corner. That whole section is supposed to be built out to sit about 11 inches from the concrete wall. I need that to be precise because I already have my counter tops. Having that measurement off will make my life extremely difficult when the guys are done if it isn’t accurate.

They have a late start today because they had to go fix something on a previous job, so the head guy is probably not going to be too thrilled when he shows up today and I have to tell him they are probably going to have to redo a whole section.

I’ll take credit for part of this as I don’t think I was very clear when we were talking about the recessed area. I didn’t actually get this piece addressed fully in walking through the layout originally because we got stopped at that point and were supposed to resume the next day, but the guys doing the work never asked again for specifics on that wall before starting. That and I think that my original plan wasn’t going to work exactly the way I’d laid it out and needs to be tweaked, though I probably would have caught on to that if we’d gotten to go over the details of that part before they started building that wall. So the miss on the recessed portion is understandable. The miss on the build out, something that got brought up several times, isn’t so much.

Overall, I’m really pleased with the guys and the work they are doing. That may change depending on how they respond to fixing that wall. The head guy seems personable enough to take it in stride, but you never know.

Fingers crossed it goes well today. I’m just giddy about seeing any kind of progress that I can’t help but be excited, even with this little bump.

Too Dark O’Clock

Being up early enough to get a sunrise shot is the pits, but it looks like I’ll get to see quite a few as long as I have contractors working. I’m going to be a zombie by the time this project is finished.

Mornings are made even more difficult when I have to herd the cats into rooms they can’t get out of so they stay out from under the feet of the guys working. Our older kitty, Cleo, is fine. She is the lovable one and has no problem getting picked up and loved on, which makes it easy to get her corralled. Our younger black cat, Midnight? She is a little bit evil and SO doesn’t like being messed with.

We had them in the same room yesterday but all I heard all day long was yowling. We are trying them in separate rooms today to see if that makes things better.

It took us nearly half an hour and all 4 of us to get Midnight into her room this morning, ending when MC picked her up after donning a nice thick sweatshirt to protect his arms. I’m going to have to seriously think about keeping her confined in that room completely until this project is done. Yesterday, we let the cats run free as soon as the guys were done for the day, but I don’t think we can do that and get her back in again tomorrow.

It might make things extremely complicated if we have to keep her confined completely for the duration.

It’s Starting!

I was up at the ass crack of dawn today.

Why?

Because my contractors are coming out today to start on my craft room!

I’ll be flat out exhausted by this afternoon, but it is well worth it. I’m not sure my kids are going to agree as we’ve realized we might run into some logistical issues. Noise is going to be a big one for pretty much everyone because Hubby, MC and BG all are doing video meetings.

Another one I’m going to need to discuss with the contractors is potential power outages. They will be adding electrical so the power will go down at some point, but I have no clue when or how long. My fingers are crossed for this week as MC has tests next week.

The photo is of the current unfinished state of the stairs going to the basement. I still haven’t decided exactly how I’m going to do any flooring on the stairs as that isn’t part of what the contractors are going to do. I might want to get on that.

Passing The Torch To The Next Generation

We have a lot of traditions around the holidays. The santa curtain is the first Christmas decoration to go up every year after Thanksgiving dinner once the dishes are done. Decorating is done the day after Thanksgiving. I get a nutcracker every year to add to my collection.

The nutcracker tradition started when I was 16 and I was given my first nutcracker by my parents for Christmas. The tradition has continued nearly every year since, with my parents and later Hubby and occasionally someone else giving me a nutcracker at Christmas. Needless to say, over 30 years later and my collection is LARGE.

A few years ago, Hubby decided that he needed to give it to me either when we were decorating for the holidays or, as happens WAY too often, as soon as it arrives, no matter when throughout the year he bought it. It is still always a surprise as I just never now when he is going to present me with that year’s nutcracker.

Hubby is also the one that morphed this tradition into a theme for the year. The nutcracker always reflects something significant from the year. Like the year he gave me a mountain climber/hiker one when we took a trip to Colorado or a Charles Dickens one the year I published my book. It is as much fun getting the nutcracker itself as it is seeing what theme he is going to pick for the year. It makes it fun when it is time to bring them all out for the season to see those themes and reflect on when I got them and why. There are stories for every one and the kids, especially BG, love to talk about them.

I’d decided a while ago when I saw how much BG loved this tradition, that I’d start her on her own tradition of nutcrackers when she turned 16. I’ve been thinking about it for the last couple of years and finally got to start it this year.

As often happens when we are decorating and putting out all the nutcrackers, Hubby slides downstairs and slips the box in next to one of the bins I was unpacking. The kids know he does this and MC saw this and waited for my reaction not knowing that this one wasn’t mine. BG was oblivious.

When I called her over and handed her the box, she was bit confused and asked me if Hubby had gotten me another new one (I already got mine this year). When I said no, this was hers so she could start her own collection… her face!! The utter shock was just over the top. It is hard to really surprise her and she had no idea I was planning this.

Then she absolutely lost it and started bawling her eyes out. I really didn’t expect that. I had expected her to be a little surprised, even excited to get her own nutcracker, but she was just so emotional about it I was floored. I had no idea just how much doing this would mean to her which made this all the more special.

We were both a bit of a blubbery mess for a few minutes. Then I lost my helper as she took off upstairs to make a space in her room to set him up in a place of honor.

Following tradition, hers is somewhat themed in that it matches this year’s pointe costume almost perfectly with the pinks and golds. The fact that it also has a ballerina with it is kind of icing on the perfect cake.

The photo is of her very first nutcracker (on the left) next to my first ever nutcracker (right). While I will still be getting my nutcrackers, I’ve passed the tradition down to my girl this year. I never could have anticipated how much this means to her, so I’m overjoyed that I get to share this with her.

It is moments like this that I love the most. These little points that make up our stories and the pieces that stick with us for a lifetime. Now she is going to have her own physical story reminders she will get to unpack for years to come.

Cooking Marathon

This is just a little of what I spent my day doing yesterday. Let me tell you, it was a hell of a struggle to get it all done when I had zero energy. Again.

In all, I made 4 batches of pie crust, a huge batch of my dumpling style egg noodles, a batch of rolls, and 3 mini pumpkin pies.

It has been interesting to try and figure out how to split all of this up to make two full Thanksgiving meals in a way that was easy to transfer since one of those is going to my FIL. The pies were a big one as it isn’t exactly easy to just cut an entire pie in half and transport it. Some are easier than others, but I also want everything to still look appetizing when it gets there.

I found some 6 inch pie pans that I thought would work to split my recipe into two (since it normally calls for a 9 inch) or something close. I’d planned on doing only 2 small pumpkin pies and using the 3rd for the chocolate, but when I went to pour the filling, I had more than enough to do all 3 shells. They worked wonderfully, though.

The other biggie was doing the turkey. I’d hoped to find 2 small ones so I could just send off the whole thing, but that SO didn’t happen. I’m now cooking a huge bird today so I can include it with everything else, but that means we get it as leftovers tomorrow. I wanted to limit what I had to do that with, so most everything else I’m doing in two separate batches.

Today I’m working on cooking that turkey and then doing a full on meal prep of one batch of everything else and we will be taking it and dropping it all off this afternoon.

So far, I feel better today than I have the last couple of days, so hopefully I won’t be wiped out tonight when I finally get to sit down again.

The fun part? I get to do it ALL again tomorrow except the turkey.

Little Touch Of Last Year

It dawned on me the other day that this is the first year in at least a few that we have no leaves on our front maple tree when it was time to put up our holiday decorations. The last couple of years, we still had a lot of this going on making it incredibly hard to put any lights in that tree. This year, it is absolutely bare.

Yesterday, my motivation way outstripped my energy levels. I had fully intended to get the outside done completely, but I only managed about a quarter before my body wasn’t having it.

It is one of those odd things with my bronchitis that hits every once in a while. I’ll be feeling pretty much normal other than the occasional coughing fit and then out of nowhere, I feel week and have zero energy. I’m talking doing even the slightest thing feels hard and exhausting and I feel weak as a newborn kitten.

That feeling hit right about the time Hubby got all my bins upstairs and I’d started organizing stuff to put out. I pushed through enough to get my garland up and that was all I could do. My poor nutcrackers didn’t even make it upstairs yesterday.

Now I have to try and work on getting the rest out throughout this week in between working on all the stuff I’m making for Thanksgiving, which is interesting this year as I’m having to do two rounds. One for my FIL that we are taking out and dropping off with him on Wednesday. And one for us on the day of. Working out the logistics of splitting that meal up has been fun (NOT).

I’m hoping the low energy thing was just yesterday because I’d had a couple of nights of not sleeping well. I’d run low on my cough meds and couldn’t get it refilled right away so had to ration it out which left me coughing more than normal. Now that I’m back on schedule with my meds, I’m hoping the sleep gets back to normal along with my energy.

I have way too much I need and want to do this week for my energy to decide to take a vacation.