Monthly Archives: June 2010

Parenting Meltdown

Parenting Meltdown

So I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday… the contractor woes and delays just weren’t getting better, and I was finding myself completely preoccupied with house stuff while at work. I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t get shit done… I just couldn’t get firm answers from Jerry. Then the delays pissed my realtor off even more, and she practically started building a case to blacklist him everywhere. Finally, I decided I could not keep doing this– babysitting the contractor and his crew– seeing when they would arrive, when they would be at the home next. I can multi-task, but I do NOT like to nag and harp. I want people to have pride in their work and to feel their own sense of accountability. Sure, I understand the construction biz is a challenging one. You either don’t have any gigs, or you have too many commitments and I get that when you open up walls, sometimes you never know what’s behind them so slippage is common. But what I couldn’t handle was the flakiness and lack of communication. Last Friday, I had left maybe 4 messages on his cell and I never heard back until the following Tuesday. So while I liked the guy and felt his work quality was good and he was honest in explaining the construction tasks, he was extremely lacking in communicating scheduling expectations and delays.

Yesterday, after being on the phone for hours debating these issues and why they were unacceptable, I finally just told him, finish to XYZ tonight, and then let’s just call it done. I simply could not continue at this level of involvement and frustration.

When I got home, the floors looked fantastic. I talked with Jerry, and as “penance”, he offered himself and the crew for the entire day on Tuesday where they would install the base cabinets, finish the drywall, and lay the kitchen flooring. All of it done on Tuesday for $400. I told him I’d think about it, and let him know.

Then I set up appointments for today (Friday) with another contractor (getting Plan B in line) and an interior designer. I needed progress fast.

By evening, as I was researching new jobs to deal with my newfound disgruntlement at work. I couldn’t find shit. And then I felt trapped. And then John called, and I broke down in tears. It was just too much. All of it. The house projects, the emotional strain of befriending then firing my contractor, the starting over trying to recruit new contractors, the job situation (today is Take Your Dog to Work Day)… I just couldn’t take it anymore.

By late evening, I started itching around my waist. The bumps were coming back… three years ago, I got the shingles and the same itchiness and discomfort was returning. I had a complete meltdown.

So here we are today: Friday afternoon. I didn’t go to work. I was too unstable. This morning, I met with a new contractor and the interior designer. I have a new plan now. Carpets will install Monday. Kitchen will be mostly done by Tuesday. Then, I’m working with the designer who will propose a solution in one week. I’m taking a 2-week break afterwards from construction. Then, we’ll start on the master bath.

I often think about my resiliency and tolerance. Why did I have this meltdown? Why was my body reacting with a possible second bout of shingles? I have been feeling stressed and overwhelmed, but shouldn’t I be able to handle this and MORE? I’m disappointed. Part of my breakdown had to do with disappointment and self doubt. How was I not able to manage this contractor? How did this level of slippage occur? What more should I have done? And yet, this is just what happened. I tried to reel him in. I tried to communicate my expectations. I tried to get things in writing… I just don’t know what happened.

And now my body has shut down. So today I’m trying to take it easy. But still kind of trying to formulate a plan for moving forward– I know, people say I need to pace myself. Yet I see other people doing more. What’s their secret? How do I get there? I know, I’m a ball of contradictions: rest but don’t rest, do more. I can’t help it. I really want superpowers. Is that so much to ask?

Say Goodbye to an Old Friend

Say Goodbye to an Old Friend

Well, we did it! Somehow, even with a sick Bubbey, we managed to pack up all our shit, move with the help of 3 guys + truck, transfer all the refrigerated goods, load another 3 car-fulls of shit, and clear on our of Armada. Boy, what an ordeal.

Today, we both headed to Armada after work to pile up the last junk– fragiles, paintings, odds and ends. We had planned to hit the pool and hot tub on our final visit, but John forgot he already turned in the pool key and I had packed up my swimsuit. But luck was with us: John found my swimsuit– turns out he only found the top half (he thought it was a one-piece). Sure, the bottoms were missing but whatev. I threw on some soccer shorts and it was good enough. Also, we managed to tailgate another neighbor in. Haha, got my final soak. Oh how I will miss the water. :*(

I took some pictures, because I couldn’t believe how great we left the place– after 3.5 years. And it’s amazing how spacious a place can feel without all our crap. See for yourself.

But on to bigger and better. Before driving home, we had dinner at our favorite hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese bun place. The new adventures of Goodbers begin again!

I’m a New Parent!

I’m a New Parent!

Never say never, right? John and I said we didn’t believe in the institution of marriage; six and a half years in, we tied the knot. We said we weren’t ready to buy a home; two days later, we were under contract. We said we disliked children… now, in our mid-30’s, we’re essentially new parents. And the child’s name is Laura (you’ll see when you come visit). And what a huge fucking time sink she is!! Every fucking day, there’s something that has to be handled with Laura. During the day, I’m making calls, going to her “games”, and meeting with her “teachers”. At night, I’m researching what options are best for her, getting her the supplies she needs to have a productive, happy life.

At this point, I’m telling my boss, “Yeah, Laura’s got a game tonight. I’m heading over. Tomorrow there’s a PTA conference. The day after, it’s piano lessons.” Ok, if you haven’t figured it out by now, Laura is our new house. But I’m thinking this must be what parenting is like… only worse. At least Laura is deaf/mute.

So what’s on tap for this weekend? Early moving, confirming bathroom materials, putting on a lockbox for the contractors. We still haven’t decided on the damn kitchen cabinets: we’re down to one final competing product; otherwise, Ikea, here we come! My contractor is a great guy, very thorough but goddamn, he doesn’t return calls or reply to emails. I’m trying to decide whether that’s a deal breaker.

In other news, the Reston home is finally under new management. God people, whatever you do, avoid McGrath at all costs. My contract with them terminated May 31, and guess what? My tenant received an email June 1 asking to schedule an inspection in late June. That’s what I’m talking about: they are perpetually disorganized. The head doesn’t talk to any of the limbs/organs. A complete fucking mess. I hope the new property management company is more competent, because seriously, at that point, I might as well have just managed the property myself from Cali and that STILL would have been 10 times better. Ugh. Anyway…

Today the landlord of our current place is coming over for an inspection. Not really sure how she’s going to inspect given that most everything is in boxes all over the frickin’ place, but whatever. Then, we’re taking the pups to their new pad. Can’t wait to see them frolic in the yard. They’re going to love all the sunshine too.

Ok, well time to start the day.