Patience! The lesson I am being taught is patience. After years of owning workback schedules and driving results, I have had to lower my expectations to match the rest of the world. Wow! My ‘new normal’ must include patience and acceptance that 90% of the world will miss deadlines and commitments. So sad!
When we bought this house in January, the big item on the inspection report that we chose to tackle this year was storm window replacement.
We bought a 20 year old home that had minimal modifications to the box the builder put up at build time. These storm windows were all builder grade and their effectiveness had dropped significantly with age. We knew they would need to be replaced as soon as possible.
I should have remembered that fact when we were negotiating because rather than ‘being nice’ and going up in my original offer, I would have lowered it. I remember being pissed when the twenty-something real estate girl tried to strong arm me with, ‘Well, if you don’t take this offer, they will just take the house off the market and re-list it next spring.’ **20-20 Hindsight: I should have let them! I could have SAVED $$$ and/or bought a ‘better’ house for less money!
We have spent a lot of money on this house in less than a year. I recognize that a couple of the knee-jerk changes we made are sunk costs as when I get around to doing what I really want to do to this house those changes will go away, but the windows were going to be the first foundational change to the house.
I am a pretty good task estimator and scheduler, but I evidently have no concept of lead and lag times for custom windows and/or window coverings. Guess it is because I have never done this before. I thought I was starting early when I ordered my custom replacement windows in JUNE. We just signed-off on window installation acceptance November 21st.
It is holiday time and we are actively decorating our house. The biggest argument we have had in a long, long time was about tree placement. We MUST leave room for the shutter installation that is promised mid-December. So instead of putting the tree up where my husband really wanted to, our tree is hanging out in the middle of the room. Sigh!!!
Never in my wildest imagination did I consider the little project I started while planning my grandson’s birthday party would be ongoing while planning my granddaughter’s birthday party. This is ridiculous!
I have referenced in previous posts how much lyrics, bands, music influences my mind’s ticking. I resisted titling this post ‘What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been’ as that one song title is so overused it has become cliche, but that is exactly what is going through my head.
Fear not! I have my favorite blue tooth headphones on and am dialing up some alternative sounds. Stay tuned, I will update upon finalizing my decision. I think it is safe to say my taste is eclectic!
Today’s observation into the ‘strange trip’ part: OMG it is tough to replace windows and/or consider remodeling anything!
At some deep, limbic level I knew. I knew that doing anything to any house could be expensive and annoying. I used to be really, really handy, but now I am old, so I try not to do too much myself. I think my goal in life has always been somewhat, ‘make enough money to be able to pay the experts’. But damn! I didn’t realize how expensive(and annoying)it was to call the experts for every, teeny, tiny thing!
And scheduling! This is worse than trying to fit a ‘1:1’ into a VP’s calendar when that VP has just sworn he is seeing NO ONE! I declare, handymen specialists are the worst!
I need estimates so I can finally finish the blasted ‘Window Replacement’ project! It is not my fault the workers dropped things when they were doing all of the installs. They did a great job doing what they do, but they really weren’t the safest, neatest, most efficient craftspersons I have ever met. So far, I have been pleased with the produce delivered and the vendor is working with me to make me ‘whole’.
The monkey is on my back! I have been working for a whole week trying to schedule appointments for estimates with local specialists. So far only 1 of the 4 I scheduled has shown up for the agreed-upon appointment. I guess the rest of these folks want to remain losers and are absolutely not interested in my business. So sad. I am so frustrated that I am calling the contractor who installed the windows to see if we can negotiate another approach to closing this transaction.
Music I settled on? Right now, I am listening to OneRepublic ‘Native’ AND changed from my headphones to my little blue tooth speaker on the counter! I found a couple of tasks to complete so next time my options are greater, but that is a post for another day!
For starters, I feel like I have been moving forever! In reality, it hasn’t been more than 18 months, but that is long enough. It all started when I was laid off from my long-term contract. Bitter disappointment followed.
In the midst of coming to terms with my situation, my husband’s company notified him he would be out of work at the end of 2017 as they were moving to Colorado and he hadn’t been with them long enough for consideration. Great! Just what I needed to hear!
I am really proud of us! We didn’t let any of this news actually get us down. We became incredibly pragmatic. We had a date that our whole world would change, now what could we do to be ready when the calendar counted down? We created a list of things we needed to get in order and started working down that list.
I found a new job! It took me a couple of months, but I found one. Turned out to be the best job I have ever had! The drive blew, but at least it was a reverse commute! This was quite a relief and gave us an alternative for when my husband’s job would end. We were blessed!
We had a lot to do before the end of the year.
My eldest child was getting married in New Mexico. Check! I am mother of the bride there is no way I would miss that!
We started packing up our belongings in preparation to put our house, my beautiful house that I planned to die in, on the market. An analysis of our financial situation identified we could downsize without much effort and get out from under the only debt we had – the mortgage.
We are good homeowners. We have a set of basic maintenance tasks that we do every year, which helps to keep the house nicer and definitely increases resale value when you can produce the records. Not knowing exactly what was happening next, we went about taking care of our ‘annual fall maintenance’ tasks, scheduling them around my daughter’s wedding.
Upon returning home from my daughter’s wedding, my husband was asked if he would be interested in keeping his job, the caveat being we would have to move to Colorado.
After that everything went F-A-S-T!
Stuff moved out of the house.
Deep cleaning ensued.
I quit my job.
Find an apartment in Colorado.
All of those annoying things you have to do to move into a new place.
My mother passes.
My best friend rides with me as I drive from Bellevue, WA to Denver, CO. It took a couple of days, but I needed to get home. 25% of why I wanted to be in Colorado has just left this earth and I needed to be there for my father!
As I sit here, I realize this all happened a year ago and I am still trying to settle into my new normal.
The window installation was finished, supposedly on time, but in my book late. If you are supposed to start a 2 day job on Monday and don’t bother to start until Tuesday, it is impossible for you to finish on time.
Add to it we were supposed to have a Project Manager who would be our ‘go to’ for everything. We were told he would be here everyday the workers were and that he would be responsive to any of our questions. LIES! All lies!
To begin with, he never came to the house prior to the job start to see what the job really was all about. Bad practice dude! The first time we heard from him was a half an hour after they were supposed to be here for the job when he was calling to tell us they wouldn’t be showing up because of the inclement weather. Ironic is the fact it wasn’t inclement at our house. The weather was bad at their office which is almost 50 miles south of our house. I was upset. I called his boss, I logged a yelp review and provided them with a google review letting the world know how lousy this experience was becoming.
Fine, that is water under the bridge. The crew showed up on Tuesday morning. If I were in charge, they would have been here earlier to show a good faith effort to please the customer. They showed up, but it was after 9:00 am! To add to my frustration, this fictitious PM wasn’t with them. Really? That is not how you provide good customer service. The PM finally showed his face around 1:00 PM, but not until the lead called telling him he needed him to make an appearance.
This PM was here a total of 30 minutes. Okay, I will bump that to 31 so that I can say he was here for 1 minute per window we were having installed. This PM should be FIRED!!!
Day 2, the crew shows up around 9:00 am. Again it caught my attention that they really don’t start very early, even if they knocked off mid-day the day before. Not impressed with the work ethic exhibited here. To be honest, the slippage and the lackadaisical approach to the schedule screwed them out of a tip, which I had budgeted to give them if I were impressed. As frequently happens when you have a set of tasks that must be accomplished before a job is done, they ended up working into the night to complete all of the windows. They got it done, but it was definitely cold and dark before they were finished with the install.
Now comes the time for us to sign off on the work. Well, first, it is dark outside, we cannot possibly see. We refused. We liked the crew and the lead was a reasonable guy, so we negotiated to sign off enough that they could go home. If we had insisted on waiting for the PM, they would have wound up staying overnight for a lot of nights because as of this writing I still haven’t seen the assigned PM again since the day we started. Again, this PM should be FIRED!!!
As happens, eventually the office is going to want to be paid. It took about a week, but the office realized that we had not signed off on the install and were still waiting on the PM to get his lazy ass butt to our house to do a walk through. These guys did a decent job of installing the product, but I had noticed a couple of things that weren’t right and I expect them to be fixed before we sign off and pay. I have left my house torn up so I can show someone who cares the things that need to be fixed. I have forged ahead with ordering new window coverings as I knew there would be a lead time before delivery and I would really like to have all of this done before Christmas. Crazy talk to have a project that I started in June done by December!
I have other things to do in my life than wait around for a non-responsive PM to schedule to walk-through. Wednesday morning I went for a pedicure. Trust me when I tell you I needed on. No way could I wear winter boots without getting this done. I guess since a week had passed we triggered something in their system as lo and behold, all of a sudden the elusive PM started calling both my landline and my cell phone every 10 minutes. So glad I was having a pedicure and I always, always, turn my ringer off for my personal appointments. Saved this jackass a ton of grief as if I had picked up the phone, he would have gotten a piece of my mind and some serious instructions on how to do his job better.
Later Wednesday afternoon, I was at home working on things for a party I have wound up doing this weekend and here comes a knock at my front door. It was Ben from the company who we hired to do all of these windows. (For the record, I really like Ben! Ben has the kind of customer service skills that I appreciate.) I was thrilled to see him. For the first time in a week I felt like we might actually get something done!
Somehow, someway Ben had found out we hadn’t signed off on the contract and since he was in the area to do another measurement job, he thought he would stop by and see if there was something he could do to help. God bless Ben! He spent two and a half hours walking through the house with me. Taking pictures of every little nit and damage we had identified. Ben is a man of action. By the time he left, I had a date and time that the correction crew will be here to fix things. The job is not completed, but at least we have a date and Ben was smart enough to not try and push me for payment. Stay tuned.
We have entered into day 2 of our windows installation. Makes sense. We are replacing all of them – a total of 31. As life would have it, we are experiencing the coldest temperatures we have seen in 6 months. Kind of sad that we were using the air conditioner a week ago, now it is freezing and we are pulling out the huge windows in my house. My father’s voice is ringing in my head, “Close that pneumonia hole!”
Man do I miss my dad! He was always my go to when I had to do something. We were close – even closer in the last decade. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t talk to him and/or my mother. Time that I used to resent taking every day, but now I am so grateful that I did it.
I need him. His wisdom, his concern, his observations. The good. The bad. The ugly. I need it.
Here I am knee-deep in the biggest home improvement project I have ever experienced and I am winging it without much counsel. Scary! Sure am hoping it turns out well, but it will take time to find out if I did the right things right.
I get so busy, I frequently forget to update!
What can I say? Focusing on the here and now has become my action plan of late. This week isn’t looking rosy for a lot of update time, either.
We are moving. It will be happening. We don’t have the final when.
I need a job. Money is tight and that doesn’t make me happy.
I need a job. I don’t want all of my skills to get stale, plus it helps solve the above-listed item.
I am having surgery this week. That will slow down the progress on all fronts. It isn’t awful surgery and I have been here before, but it is really annoying that I have to do it.
I have to get in the wedding-mindset. I have a child getting married in a matter of months! I really need to get my head around that one.
Yep – I need to update more often.
Yesterday was stressful enough. Anytime you have to meet a new surgeon and evaluate next steps to fix something you thought was done is annoying. When you have to start over with a new set of specialists, the anxiety level sky rockets. All’s well that ends well, I guess.
Really wish that was the only stress I had to address yesterday, alas, it wasn’t. We learned that my husband’s grandmother passed while we were carrying on with the business of our daily lives yesterday. May she rest in peace.
To be honest, her passing a blessing. She hasn’t truly been herself for years. We would see her every time we were home, but I don’t think she even knew we were there the last few times we visited.
It is painful and sad to watch the vim and vigor slip slowly from a person who has always been vital and energetic. In her latter years, she was blessed to become a Great Grandmother. In many ways, the babies learning to eat paralleled what was happening with Grandma D. There was always a spark of excitement and joy when she would see the babies. In my heart of hearts, I truly believe these babies extended her life by at least a year, if not more.
We will miss Grandma D. There will be hole in the family get-togethers, but she is truly in a better place. In my eyes, Grandma D has not been cognizant for awhile now. She was there, physically, barely. Her daughter dedicated her life to ensuring Grandma D had everything she needed and was well taken care of. The next days will be the first steps of a new reality.
This will go down in history as my year of changes!
Lost my job. Laid off during a reorg. Kind of weird. The calls I keep getting are for another contract to do exactly the same job. I can’t because of the ‘wait’ time shenanigans.
Started looking for other meaningful employment around here – looking at FTE for a change. BAM – husband’s job changes. He will be relocating to a different state. Changes my job search strategy.
Need now is to focus on relocating. There is a lot to do!
We have been in our house for 11 years. That is a long time in one place!
Need to find where we will be landing.
Need to find a job for me there.
Wish me luck!
This little march down memory lane has been refreshing. I have remembered a few things I had forgotten.
- I like using song lyrics as section headers – this started with my grad school papers eons ago.
- I have been in iterative design and development for a long, long time – kind of nice to find more legacy artifacts.
- Pictures, pictures, pictures! Oh my goodness these are spread throughout my hard drive.
- A lot of things changed during my tenure at my latest gig. It is more than a little unsettling to put it all together.
- I think in dates. Give me a date and possibly an experience or question and I can tell you everything I was doing that day. This is scary!
This is one of my better skills. I listen to what is going on and figure out what the correct next question is to help get us one step closer to a solution. Tonight I figured out why I am good at this.
During our evening call tonight, my mother had me panicked about a power outage and their deep freeze going out. It was a rather eventful day for her and she was still shaken.
If I had stopped listening at her description, I would be panicked and looking to buy tickets home.
Fortunately, my father was there. Repeating the information Mom had shared back to Dad, I was able to ascertain that someone left the door open on the deep freeze which led to a mess and Dad had turned off the power so he could fix it.
It took me awhile to get from ‘the sky is falling’ to reality, but I blessed to have that opportunity.
Thanks Mom for teaching me the listening skills.
Thanks Dad for teaching me the translations.