Friday, January 10, 2014

I fired the painter.

You know when you watch HGTV (if I already lost you there, we need to talk) and it's the second half of Property Brothers and the couple suddenly loses their minds and starts making all sorts of ridiculous demands (like "hey, actually we were thinking we'd pop out the ceiling in here and make it vaulted with a huge skylight and solar panels to power the house")? Or, they are just plain dumbstruck when the 107 year old house they just bought has faulty wiring that they are going to have to completely replace?

I always think to myself, thank God we are not THOSE people.

And, before I get too far off the subject of HGTV (which is inevitable), they (the network, or channel, or however that works) should earn some sort of LGBT award for how much they embrace the gays. I don't think there is another channel on television - unless their are specifically gay/lesbian channels I don't know about (very likely, actually) - that features more gay people. Not to mention, we get to be seen doing everyday "normal" stuff like shopping for houses, not wearing flannel or playing softball (not that I don't wear flannel and play softball, but that's not my point). You're on my good list, HGTV, you're on my good list.

So, like I was saying, I lost my mind. Just like those crazy people.  (I know I hadn't gotten there yet, but we all knew it was coming.)

Since we bought our house in June of 2012 we knew we were going to redo the kitchen - it was the clear eyesore of the house. You can sell the "period countertops" all you want realtor lady, but the truth of the matter is that this kitchen was the same kitchen that the people who built the house in 1958 got to enjoy - stunningly retro, or perhaps antique, at its finest. The "charm" of those period countertops (if there was any), was lost in:
      a) the "wood" cabinets (which may have been plastic?)
      b) drawers that lost their bottoms when you opened them (...!)
      c) hardware from 1902
      d) a layout that made opening the refrigerator door all the way absolutely impossible

do you see those charming countertops?
However, when you buy a house, and you aren't daddy warbucks, heading straight into remodeling is just not-gonna-happen. So, a wedding, honeymoon, and 18 months later we were fortunate enough to be able to embark on the adventure of remodeling. Our good friends has just finished remodeling their kitchen and that was half the battle - finding someone we knew we could trust (and regardless of what you read below, I really do like our contractor, I promise). In early October we had him out to do an estimate and one month later we had appliances and cabinets sitting in our garage, waiting to be installed, and the fun began.

You know, I look back on that time, and I was still of sound mind and body. It was a time filled with lollipops and rainbows (lots of rainbows). Packing up everything in the kitchen and putting all of our dining room furniture on the back porch was, well, fun. Exciting, even. The day they spent demolishing our kitchen cabinets? Best day ever. Constant loud noises, eavesdropping on endless "guy talk" (which by the way, is nothing like two girls talking for eight hours straight), and seeing our entire kitchen, including the floor and even the kitchen sink, out in a dumpster on the lawn, was nothing but downright joyous.

And then? Somewhere between "fun," "exciting," and "joyous," and firing our painter, I lost my mind. I'm not sure how it happened. I think it may have had something to do with the month of November, maybe the planets were in a funny formation, or I angered my spirit animal, or something totally logical like that. All I know is that one day I woke up, walked into our half painted, two-thirds finished kitchen and boarded the crazy train. Choo choo!

In my defense, there were paint splatters everywhere - on the new countertop, on the new hardwood floors, on the new cupboards - literally everywhere. Could all that be cleaned up with soap and water? Of course. Did that matter to me at this point? No. Clearly. Contractors and sub-contractors are not OCD, they are not detailed oriented, and some of them are downright careless. They don't notice if something is a millimeter asymmetrical, if they nick your brand new cabinets or floor, or if they leave your house with millions of teeny tiny white paint splatter covering every surface. I do. I notice all that plus about 57 other things.

So, by the time I woke up and boarded the crazy train, things had been building. We had been delayed two weeks thanks to the engineer, cabinets were nicked, the granite was well over a week late, we had been washing dishes in the bathroom sink for a month, using a fridge in the garage, and eating out almost every night of the week. On top of all that, there were paint splatters everywhere. Everywhere. And don't forget the paint drips - yes, paint drips, THE biggest sin you can commit while painting in my eyes (one of those cardinal rules my mother taught me, along with don't get into bed with dirty feet).

Now, to be fair (and I like to be fair), I knew I should not have allowed someone else to try and paint my house. A meticulous and detail oriented person should never (ever) have someone else do for them that they themselves are good at. But hey, I was pregnant, so my options were rather limited (and the wifey certainly wasn't going to be authorized to do it, either, I wanted to make sure my kid grew up with two mommas).

So, naturally, I texted our patient contractor bright and early on a frigidly cold Saturday morning:
"there's a lot of paint splatters everywhere...[I proceed to list ever location that has a paint splatter on it]... can you ask Jorge to cover better/be more careful?"
"yes we will clean it it comes off easy with water sorry"
"i'm already on it, just wanted to flag it, thanks"
"you don't have to we will"
[time lapse of roughly an hour]
"hey there, can you let Jorge know that I am going to finish the painting? I'm just really not happy with the paint job so far and it will be a lot less stressful if I just do it myself. It doesn't make sense to pay for something I can be much happier with if I take care of it."
"Sorry to be difficult. [classic crazy person move, right?] Between paint drips that need to be sanded out, splatters (which I know are easy to clean, they are just everywhere), and scratches in the wood floors I'm just losing my mind a little."
So, it goes on from there. We left to go get our Christmas tree in the middle of the forest in the mountains, Jorge came to get his tools and no one was here to let him in, we gave him the key box code, he tracked sheetrock mortar all through the house, I texted the contractor some more, yadda, yadda, yadda. Oh, it was also our contractor's son's birthday (which I found out in those later texts) and I had been texting him during his son's birthday party with all his relatives over. I know. I'm a horrible person.

Don't worry, it doesn't end there. Thanks to not seeing our contractor for about two weeks, I only got crazier. I started making lists, ENDLESS lists of things for him to do, look at, or fix during these long droughts without seeing him. Yep, just like on TV. I would try and not be the crazy lady who texts and emails all the time, so instead I just made list, after list, after list. I bet he twitches when he sees that white little steno pad filled with my ball point scribbles. Oh, and I certainly
my crazy fuel
can't leave out how I put neon green post-it tabs on all of the cabinets anywhere there was a nick, indent, nail hole, etc. I'd say there was roughly twenty of those. One time I came home after a week of being out of town for work, walked in the door, and saw that he had attempted to fix some of the spots by using some touch-up paint on them and had taken off most of the post-its... don't worry, I immediately (and psychotically) went directly to my office, got a new stack of little post-it tabs, and frantically set to work re-post-it-ing the cabinets. Yes, before I even took my luggage in the front door. You can't make this shit up, people.

I even started emailing him my lists. What. The. Hell.

What's the moral of all this? Deep down inside of me - and I would wager a bet that deep down inside of most of us - there is that crazy person you see on HGTV and start yelling curse words at because they are so out of touch with reality. We can deny our inner-crazy all we want, but it will find a way out. It will. That said, I'm not going to stop judging the crazies on HGTV (or anywhere else). I am very comfortable in my own crazy and therefore have no shame in judging other people's crazy. However, I can say with a great amount of experience that if you mix thousands of dollars, less than first world living conditions, and a control freak, it's a recipe for making people off their rocker.

I also can say, there is no question that it is so worth it. While our kitchen is still not done (I'm deadly serious), and it's certainly still not painted (I know, I completely brought that on myself), it is freaking gorgeous. Sometimes I forget that it's our house, it doesn't seem possible that a) it's actually almost done or b) we could possibly own something this awesome.
before                                                                                                  after
before                                                                                                  after

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