Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Honesty is the best policy?

I'm pretty honest. It may be more accurate to call me incisive and unable to keep my mouth shut.

For example in my apartment complex you're only supposed to have 2 of the special Fort Knox type front door keys and if you lose one you have to fill out a bunch of papers and apologize publicly to the entire community and pay a bunch of money. I wanted a couple of extra keys and I was willing to pay and fake apologize and fill out as many papers as they could bring. I was also willing to make up a story about why I needed them - mother, dog walker and cleaning lady (HA!). So I run it by the guy who answers the phone who immediately shunts me up 2 levels to the Mean Guy. Mean Guy tells me no, listens, tells me no and why he has to say no, listens and finally says that if I give 3 pints of blood, fax the photocopied ass cheeks of each person getting a key and pay the money that he'll "give" me the keys. The ass cheeks and the money were easy enough but the blood was an issue (Mad Cow problems, don't ask) so it took me a couple of months to get everything together. I do and I call and ask how he'd like it all presented and he says I can't have the keys. I explain that he told me I could have them given the restrictions and that I've met the restrictions. Silence. Kind of a ton of silence. So I snapped.

"Mean Guy, I know that you told me I could have the keys if I did my impression of Jason & the Golden Fleece because you thought I wouldn't do it so you could get out of giving me the keys but I've done it so can I have the keys now, please?"

Funny thing is, I had to say it twice before he managed to even get breath past his vocal cords again. Bastard.

Lately I've been fond of saying another honest thing that might be best unsaid.

"Construction takes twice as long as they say it will. Every. Time."

Queen Bee, Chili and ChemE are all having major construction projects done in their homes.

From least to largest:

ChemE - redoing master bathroom
Queen Bee - gutting and redoing kitchen
Chili - an addition on her house that will double the square footage of the dwelling

Now for history:

ChemE - Timed her drive to high school. I don't mean, "Oh, it takes me about 10 minutes to get to school." I mean, "It takes me 8 minutes to get to school from the time I put the key in the ignition."

Queen Bee - When I sleep at her house I sleep on the living room sofa. In December the Christmas Tree (artificial to limit mess and fire hazard in one fell swoop) resides at one arm of the couch. On December 26th 2004 at 7:30am I heard a rustling and pried one eye open to see Queen Bee setting down a stack of rubbermaid containers. She said, "Shh, it's OK, go back to sleep." and proceeded to dismantle the Christmas tree, put each decoration in its properly labeled slot and possibly even put away the snowy Christmas Village in the bow window behind the couch. The room was back to basic winter decoration (including the replacement of the stone-topped end table) before 9am. No one else ever woke up.

Chili - Has all the dry goods contain...OK, first of all she has dry goods containers in her kitchen and each of them is labeled. She does a family Christmas photo every year, and it's the same one in the same place so people can see the progress the kids make. When she visits me she packs her own pillow and her own Ovaltine. She balanced my checkbook. 'Nuff said.

These are smart women, organized women, focused and driven women. And I have been making fun of them.

"It's CON! STRUC! TION! It ALWAYS takes longer than it's supposed to. There's SUPPOSED to be a footprint on your counter! What are you bitching about? Didn't you expect this?"

In my defense it's construction, it ALWAYS takes longer than it's supposed to. There are many logical reasons for this but the extension of building time isn't always about logic.

ChemE has actually been lucky in that her foray into construction and the hemmorhaging (sp?) of money (which gives her husband actual hives and shortness of breath) has been justified. When they took out the windows to replace them they found that they were fortunate not to have started demolition by accidentally leaning on the window sill one day. So, they saved the structure of their house. They also found that the medicine cabinet was ordered the wrong size, the vanity was the wrong color and the toilet arrived broken. Like with the bowl in 2 pieces.

Queen Bee has battled high humidity which makes tiling take longer, a long shipping time for cabinets and having to choose countertop twice. The second time it was so late that it meant that most of the project would be finished and she'd still be resting her coffee mug on plywood. On the up side, though, she also discovered that the wall separating her kitchen from the outside world has no insulation in it. Which might explain why it's fairly cold up there in the New England winter.

Chili is currently trapped in some kind of evil construction loop. Mini-project, inspection, next project, inspection, re-do of project, inspection, repeat, repeat, repeat. Her reward? Lots of extra outlets. Someone put cabinetry over outlets! Oh yeah, and she'll have a house that's twice as big!

The thing about construction is that there are a lot of people involved and a lot of teeny tiny steps to take in very specific order to get stuff done. It's a recipe for disaster to have a a lot of moving parts and a lot of people in charge of those parts. There's always going to be a breakdown (or two, or three or, well you get the point) in a system like that. It's not as cut and dried as these ladies would like the world to be.

I love these Type A's. They take care of me 'cause I'm like a type C, maybe D, somewhere along the lines of a K on a bad day. They have all been freaking out over the dust, the mud, the smell, the disorder (Oh, the disorder! They should check out my foyer after the groceries get delivered. Sometimes I just use the produce out of the box and never even put it away. Please don't tell them, it'll keep them awake at night.) I have heard the following:

"They were supposed to put up the drywall today. Why didn't they put it up today? Why?!"

"OK, so we're almost there, tiling today and tomorrow then the sink then the stove then the cabinets, (insert long list of each teeny tiny step and the day it should be done.)" Then repeat this with a re-ordered list every day as things change while increasing volume and hysterical pitch.

"I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!! IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE OVER!!!!!" (Make note that this last was said after just 1.5 weeks of construction. She's even an overachiever in the panic department.

Today, however, I was reminded to cut them some slack.

In the office where I work we use a key to get into a bathroom in the hallway. There is one other company on our floor so if you're really unlucky you'll run into a lady from the other company as you head in. Today was one of those days. The woman is one I tend to meet by accident. She's in her late 60s probably and she's a big gossip and she loves to chit chat while I pee. I hate that. But I still think the fact that she sneaks into the bathroom to call her friend and gossip about her co-workers is cute. There office just went through a big renovation. It's in the touch up stage now.

Today she lets me in and proceeds to talk to me. "Oh, I can't believe it, I got paint on me. Paint! White paint!" At this point I'm scouring her outfit to see a swathe of white on her black pants. "Oh I hope it comes off, what will I do if it doesn't come off?" She points out the paint so I can see it.

It's on her pinky.

Her PINKY people!

If it doesn't come off you take some nail polish remover at home to it and you clean it that way. Or, if you're feeling particularly racy, you could just wait until it wears off. I know it'd be wild and crazy but you might find it refreshing. You could keep a diary of how many people notice the paint on your pinky. A very short diary.

(I know you're dying to know. It came off with soap and water.)

So, ladies, good luck with your projects, I'm sorry that construction always takes longer than they say it will but I promise you're going to be so happy with the result when it's over. Just hang in there.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:39 PM

    These Type A women sound like psychos. I am also having construction done and this Queen Bee sound alot like my wife. This women vacuums, dusts, and mops after every day of construction even though I constantly remind her that it will get as dirty the next day--but what do husbands know? To these Type A's husbands are just a Friday frolic and someone to console the construction workers who have had to listen all week to thier, can I be honest, (unwanted) advice. I hope that everyones construction goes well and everybody survives the awful conditions that these situation create. It is a pretty sure bet that the three ladies are already creating a clean-up plan, a list of accessories needed to go in the re-done room, and their next to do list. Looking to the future for a minute I would like to say that I will do my absolute best to keep Queen Bee in bed until at least 8:00 AM on December 26th this year--your welcome in advance.