Friday, January 1, 2010

2010...the year of the Tiger

I’d like to say the New Year came in with a bang but it was more like a slow burning ember. I tried. I had the best intentions but I’ve never been one to party into the wee hours on New Years Eve. For one thing I’m a morning person and my energy is typically catapulted in that direction and two, I always find it a time to reflect on yet another year that I will never see again. There are years, I’m sure, that people would like to see quickly evaporate but good or bad I always contemplate on how I’ll never see it again. It makes me consider how lucky I am to have my family, my friends, my job and a roof over my head.
…..and speaking of the roof over my head, that’s why I’m sitting here at my computer.

A few things have happened since I was here last. First of all my youngest daughter, who is yet to leave the nest, went on a prolonged trip for 2 1/2 months to Thailand. Now it's just me and my two cats in the house ( ewww, just realized how pathetic that sounds) Also, the procrastinator who macheted, (is that a real word) my tree to the ground, finally phoned me to collect payment. I told him I thought he was giving it to me as a Christmas gift. Insert nervous laughter here. I also had two draft persons come to my home to give me a quote to draw up my renovation plans. One of which was a friend of my oldest daughter of who owes her a few favors, which I’m sure will favor me.
I also had another contractor come by. This is the fellow that the window replacement guy couldn’t say enough good things about. I am a tad skeptical however. In the world of contractors I’m always suspicious. It may be because I am a single woman or it could be watching too many horror stories on T.V. depicting poor unsuspecting homeowners being duped by their contractors. In this case however it’s most likely about common courtesy. Now, I know nobody’s perfect but one thing that does irritate me, is waiting around for someone to come for an appointment. I know… things happen. You forget. You get busy or stuck in a situation you can’t get out of. These things happen but typically you can call your next appointment and let them know you’ll be a little late in or around the time you were supposed to be there. In this case he was originally supposed to come by my home on the 23rd of December. First call he said he was stuck at a job site waiting for his subs and would be a little late but would be there soon. That was at 9am. The appointment was for 10am, so that was fine but I waited and waited…and friggen waited. I finally went out about 1pm. I had things to do. Christmas was in a few days. I finally received a message on my phone at 3:30 in the afternoon from him to re-book. Needless to say I didn’t call him back. He called me again a few days ago. In my infinite wisdom I decided to give him another chance. We booked a day he was in the area and a time for between 11 and 11:30am. I specifically told him to give me a call if he couldn’t make it. 11 came and went. 11:30 came and went. No call. Finally at noon I decided I wasn’t going to wait for him again and went out. I received a call on my cell at around 12:30pm from him telling me he was at my door. I told him he didn’t call or show up when he said he would and so I assumed he was not coming. I told him if he wanted to wait around I would be home in an hour. I almost told him I wasn’t interested in seeing him at all but held my tongue. Secretly I was hoping his was pissed and wouldn't bother showing up.
Long story short he came by promptly after I arrived home. We went through the house. I asked a lot of questions. Got lots of referrals and I even straight out told him I almost asked him not to bother coming by because he didn’t call me in sufficient time to let me know he wouldn’t be at our appointment on time...twice! I told him it’s a reflection of his dependability. He apologized.
I’m still skeptical but there are things I liked about this contractor. The biggest was how he was willing to let me do some of the work of a laborer. He said he would show me what to do and give me homework if that's what I wanted. This would save me money and we all know how I like to save money. Not only that, it would be a way to learn more things and make me feel in more control of the reno. Even if I don’t hire this guy as a contractor I could call on him for specific jobs in the house. I did find out that his dry-waller charges $3.00 a square, which is .50 less a square than the last guy I met. Cheaper is not always better, I’m aware, but it’s something to consider. He also looked over the house drawings I did and was quite impressed. He said the city would most likely accept them the way they are, so now I don’t know whether I actually need a draftsperson. More confusion. I think I’ll stop by the city planners and ask next week. He took the house plans with him and told me he would return them early next week. He needs them to do the quote.
On another note my book on how to be your own contractor arrived. I’ve read some of it and it is quite helpful, although most of it is geared towards building your home from scratch. It will however be informative and help me understand the process a bit better.

I was feeling a little compulsive, took the plunge and decided to paint some of the slatted wood walls in my house. First off the darkness of the house was getting to me and secondly I wondered if I really could salvage some of what I already have and keep more of the originality of the house. I already had the white paint so what was there to loose? I started in the entrance way and down the hall. Wow! What a difference. It looks so clean and bright and new. I liked it. I liked it so much that yesterday I spent another day painting the dining room walls. I will do the touch ups today. In any event it will help me live with the house the way it is until I decide on the contractor and it makes me feel pro-active. I'm not one to sit around and do nothing.

Well, that's all I have to report...I'm now raising my cup of java to 2010, which I’m sure will be full of surprises, twists and turns and lots of learning curves. Who knows, I may just have a New Years Eve party in my newly renovated home a year from now. Happy New Year everyone! May it be your best year ever!

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