Photo: The wall between my living room and dinning room was opened up. It’s lovely, and very incomplete. That mass of stuff in the dinning room? That’s my furniture. I can’t put it in my living room because my living room is still full of construction debris.
“Listen, I’ve been bending so far backwards on this project, Kyra, that I’m kissing my own ass.”
That’s a quote from Contractor on Friday night at about 9pm. I was in full-blown Angry Black Woman mode, you see. Husband and I had just driven for 8 hours from Maryland, we were packing the last of our stuff for the move on Saturday, and we’d stopped by the house for a quick check that afternoon. When we walked in, the house was a bloody disaster.
On Friday afternoon, we walked into a house that was not ready for our stuff. Plenty of dust and holes, plenty of wood and work stuff still leaning against walls… the electricians weren’t even there. Contractor said that they were on the way–it was 3 in the afternoon. One of the carpenters greeted us in the front yard: “Oh my God, you should have seen it earlier! I have been cleaning since 7am. The electricians made a complete mess of the place!” Not good news… I freaking hate the electricians.
So I wasn’t going to yell at Contractor in front of his men. It is simply poor form. Disrespectful. Besides, I had babies in the car who needed diaper changes and what what. So we left for the townhouse, but I was excited about making a phone call to Contractor in the evening.
Then came the text messages.
“This is really putting a wrench in things, your moving your stuff tomorrow…” Our contractor texts my husband.
“You’ve known about this date since the beginning of November, [Contractor],” my husband wrote back.
“Did the electricians show up?” I send an email. I got no reply.
“When can we call you?” We both asked him.
Finally: “We’re going to call you at 9.” Husband sent a text.
“Ok.” Is what we got back. He knew the Come-to-Jesus talk was coming.
So when he called at 8:59, I was totally jazzed.
“Hello, [Contractor]” I started easily and smoothly, “How are you this evening?”
“Oh,” he sniffled. “I’m sick.”
I was not feeling particularly sympathetic. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said insincerely. Then I got into it. “Did the electricians show up today?”
“No,” He said simply. “They were supposed to but they didn’t.”
“That’s a problem, [Contractor]. They are falling quite behind!”
“Well, not really…” He then goes into an explanation of what they’ve done, what they are supposed to do, how much longer it is supposed to take…
“And how much longer do we expect for them to be there?” I ask, wanting to get to this point.
“Well, up until the end of the project, most likely…”
“And when is that, [Contractor]?” I press. This is what I’m ready for.
“Well, I am targeting 3 weeks.”
I’m shocked. My mouth drops. “Three weeks, [Contractor]?? Three weeks?”
And that is where he caught an attitude. “Listen, I’ve been bending so far backwards on this project, Kyra, that I’m kissing my own ass.”
And that is when I lost it. He was still talking and I just lit into him. “Whoa whoa whoa, let me make myself really clear here: We’ve had a working relationship, I’ve gone out of my way to be respectful to you and your crew, I haven’t had a problem with the quality of the work that you’d done, and up until this point the tone of this conversation has been real respectful. Before you caught an attitude just now, I was going to thank you for the work you’ve done so far and tell you that I respect you so much that I didn’t curse you out in the house in front of your men today when I walked into a house that is no where close to ready to take my things. You’ve had my house for two months, sir! Two months!”
He backtracked, apologized for his tone. “I just get really passionate, you know,” he mumbles.
“That’s fine. You can get passionate. But you’ll watch your tone, sir, as everyone has been mighty respectful up until this point!”
He mumbles and goes back into excuses. There had been setbacks, the money from the bank was slow to come in, we’d made changes to the plans a few times…
“And every time we made a plan, I asked you what would happen to the timeline and you told me that everything was still on track!”
“I’m giving you a dream kitchen, Kyra,” he starts to say, “And I didn’t have to do that, you know? I didn’t have to give you that $6,000 credit and give you a kitchen! I’m being nice!”
“[Contractor], you are giving me a dream kitchen because I’m paying you for it, and that $6,000 credit was based on a mistake that you made! I’m paying you for these things, you aren’t doing me any favors!”
“Nevertheless, it takes time to do those things! There was no way…”
“So we’re talking about me and my boys staying with my mother for 3 weeks, [Contractor]? 3 weeks?”
“Yeah, I’d give your mom a heads-up…I’m targetting–”
“I don’t want a target, I want a hard date! Give me a hard date as to when you are getting out of my house, [Contractor].”
He sputters. “What? No. I’m not going to give you a hard date…”
“You’ll give me a hard date, sir, in writing. I want a new contract with a hard date. I want it on Wednesday!”
He continues to sputter. “No, Kyra! No way! I’m not going to give you a date and sign my name to it! I can’t control third-party and fourth-party problems–”
“A DATE, [Contractor]! You’ll get me one! You aren’t going to be in my house for another 2-3 months just so that–”
“No, I’m telling you, it isn’t going to be that long, I’m targeting three weeks to four weeks–”
“So then give me a hard date! Give me a hard date!”
“I’m not going to give you a hard date for 3 weeks from now. I’ll give you a hard date for 6 weeks from now, but not 3…” He starts.
“Great. That’s fine. Then do it. Write me a new contract with a hard date for 6 weeks from now. I’ll take it. I just want that hard date!”
He sputtered and wouldn’t commit. My husband, who had been listening in, told me to back down. After an hour of this kind of back and forth, he apologized for his tone and gave me his task-list for the week.
Yesterday, he texted us to say that he and some of his crew were sick.
Today, as I write this at 11am, none of his crew have show up to my home to work.
New Years Day is Wednesday, there is a major snow storm coming for Thursday and Friday. That means that today and tomorrow are the only days that men are probably going to work this week. My husband is at our home, alone, with the bare minimum and boxes full of stuff that we can’t unpack.
And I’m at my mother’s house with my boys. Thank God my mother lives in the state–I don’t know what we would have done without this back-up plan. As accommodating and understanding as my mother and stepfather have been, this is not the most comfortable of circumstances and I don’t know if I can do it for three weeks.
And when I told Contractor that I needed him to get the house ready enough for me to have babies in the house by the weekend, his reply was “That’s just stupid. This is a worksite. That’s just stupid.”
I’m at my wit’s end. Seriously. So friends and family keep saying “You’ve waited this long, you can wait a little longer” and I think that is bullshit. At one point, I told him, as he was talking about all the cool ways he’s been able to make the work look nice and all of the details of our cute little old house, I said “This isn’t a dollhouse, [Contractor], it’s a real house that a real family is supposed to move into! At some point you are going to have to stop playing with it and get out!”
So I’m here in purgatory again. A very low level of purgatory because a) I’m without my husband right now, so I’m doing all baby stuff all the time… not to mention sleeping in the same room with them (I’m running on about 4 hours of continuous sleep), and b) I don’t know when I am going to be able to move into my home. I stayed one night in my new home–long enough to make the bed and clean the bathroom, and then I came to mom’s. I’m sitting on the couch wondering about how I’m going to keep these boys entertained for three weeks. How am I going to get Ursa Major to preschool? He can’t miss three weeks of preschool! I’m going to have one hell of a time trying to make that happen (but I’m determined to do it).
I would love to know when this odyssey is going to end and I’ll be able to just be in my home. That’s all I want. That’s all I ever wanted.
Do any of you wonderful readers know anything about contract law? Maybe ya’ll know a dude who knows a dude who knows someone at HGTV or DIY Network? I just don’t know what to do… I’m feeling more and more desperate. I’ve used all of my tools, exhausted all of my energy. I have plenty of time to sit here and micromanage this guy (I was just on the phone with him telling him how to spend his time this week), but I cannot physically control the guy. It’s also not my style to micromanage like that. It’s frustrating for everyone involved. Long-time readers have been through this insanity from start to (non)finish. I’m asking for help, if there is anything out there. Because I just know that this guy isn’t going to meet his “target” of 3 weeks. I just know it.
I will try to write something positive on Wednesday. It’s New Year’s, for goodness sake. I’ll probably write resolutions or something. The first will be:
1) Don’t kill your in-laws, especially your sister-in-law, who purposefully brought sick babies to Christmas, getting your babies sick. (Listening to Ursa Major struggle to breathe last night was heartbreaking and infuriating.)
Pictures of my house to bring it home: