Thursday, February 25, 2010

Second Post of the Day... This Can't Be A Good Sign

Previously, on "Blogging To A Better Bonnie"... we left our leading lady steaming as she discovered yet another problem behind the walls and with her contractor.

So I just put it out there. If I'm going to talk the honesty talk, I've got to walk it too.
"A, can I talk to you for a second? Are you cheating on me with another project that you go missing each morning?"
"No, of course not. I've been buying materials and getting second opinions on the problems."
"OK. Just checking."
Well, he was clearly shaken by my question and spoke with my husband later.
"Your wife is tough."
"She is, but what makes you say that?"
"She thinks I'm "cheating" on her by working another project."
"I'm not, I'm just getting supplies and stuff."
When my husband retold the story, I asked him if A seems nervous or annoyed. He said, a little of both. So should I apologize? Don't I have the right to ask? Some contractors have several projects going at once but he said he doesn't do that, but given that his other guy has been MIA all week, one can only assume it was another job. Why do I feel so bad for asking the question?

Well, apparently, he's also upset with the fact that I've asked them to be out at 5pm. Today, I said stay as long as you need. He left around 6:30pm after cleaning up, plus fixing a few minor household things like the slow draining tub and the loose banister. I think we both feel a little bad about today.

When he left, I said "So what time should I expect you tomorrow?" trying to gauge if I should push him about being late.
"Between 8am and 8:30am."
Jokingly I said, "Does that mean 9am, 9:30am?"
"No, no, 8am, 8:30am."
I don't know if he took it as a gentle dig or a bitchy slap... we'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.

Tomorrow, I'm going to call our homeowners insurance and see if we can't get some money back for the shower leaking. And tomorrow, I'm going to tread lightly. I don't want to offend anyone who has power tools. Certainly, not until he finishes the kitchen.

I Can't Breathe

OK. I know I said I had 3 blog posts in the works on various subjects but I've got to get a few things off my chest and out of my mind with regards to the construction going on in my house.

I can't breathe! Forget that the dust is everywhere and I've given up caring about it... yes, that's right, I'm not freaking out about the dust. I am however, having trouble breathing the dust-filled, toxic smell of burnt linoleum (apparently the method of choice for getting old flooring glue to give is to blow-torch it) and have developed a cough. Don't even get me started on the goop inside my nose.

Let's add to that the fact that my contractor, who seemed "the one" for a number of reasons, one of them being that he does all the work and doesn't farm it out to anyone else, is never here!! "A" drops off "S", his worker, and then he disappears. When he is here, he's either on the phone or staring up into the plumbing in the ceiling (explanation to follow) seemingly thinking of ways to correct unforeseen problems but he could just be napping with his eyes open.

I've heard of contractors and all their flaws. I said, "Not mine. He's gonna be great!" I may eat those words.

My favorite though is the time management. I have said over and over again that time is important to me. If you say 7am, I don't understand that to mean 7am to 7:30am, I am expecting 7am! Here's been the rundown this week:
Monday - Should have been here at 1:30pm; showed at 4:30pm
(Called at 12:30pm to say truck was stuck in the mud and he will be there at 2:30pm.
No other calls.)
Tuesday - Should have been here 7am; showed at 7:30am
Wednesday - Should have been here at 7:45am; showed at 8:20am
Thursday - Should have been here at 8:30am; showed at 9:15am
Not only late everyday, but by these patterns should be upping his lateness to a full hour tomorrow. I'm not happy.

So far, the work seems to be moving, but as I'm looking at people standing around with nothing to do, I have to assume the work could be tenfold by now. The rooms have all been demoed with the exception of the floor in the kitchen which had more to it. Seems the last two owners like to change things up, but not the right way. There were three floors under each others... all of them ugly! There was also two different wallpapers, both eyesores, plus two different wall colors including my own. The bulkhead, which was removed to accommodate my new 40" cabinets instead of the 30" that were there, was hiding plumbing (and problem plumbing at that) so we had to opt for a mini bulkhead and a 36" cabinet - thank God we had that option.

It's 4:00pm now. I've told them to stay as long as they'd like even though initially I said you've got to be out each day by 5pm (I don't need them around when I'm trying to spend time with my family and get dinner together, etc.). But here I am, trying to find ways for them to be here a full day. Oops, I'm being called. Apparently, there is a problem with the shower upstairs above the kitchen.

I'm not enjoying myself.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No Access

I've been sealed out (or at least I will be). I will have no access to my computer during the day while A is here for at least a week until he's finished with the first area of the project.
I will have to vent in the late PM. UGH! UGH!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 1

Today is the first day of my kitchen renovations.

We have lived in this house for nearly 10 years and it was always our intention to gut and redo the entire kitchen. We'd save up money and then have to use it for something else continuing to live with an ugly, albeit working, kitchen. Today, our wait is over.

And while I am so excited it's happening and can't wait to see the end result, there is a pain in the pit of my stomach and I'm having trouble breathing.

Back in October, we removed a wall and added a huge window. Again, it was a project we had wanted to do for year and the finished product was even better than I had imagined it. But for two days (yes, just two days, not a month and a half for a kitchen) I was in serious meltdown. I reposted the blog I wrote during the "festivities" in my home. Please see below to get a taste of what my life will be like in the coming weeks.

OCD requires order; chaos is not my friend. And while I can "suck it up" from time to time (a week at most), it is a daunting task to get myself in the right "head". This project is going to require a great deal of strength on my part and in the meantime, I may become nasty and short-tempered, whiny and weepy, and generally, not myself. I apologize now, as I have and will continue to apologize to my family.


Dust To Dust... To OCD Ridden Meltdown

Small particles freak me out!

I don't bake anything that requires me to flour a surface. Baby powder puts a kink in my neck. And the idea of snorting cocaine is so unsettling. Dusty particles that get EVERYWHERE put me into a mental state so strenuous, I have knots in my shoulders for days after.

As I type, there are construction workers in my home wreaking havoc with my psyche. I'm having a wall replaced with windows in my family room. It's a project I've been wanting to do since we moved into the house 9 years ago and it's going to be beautiful when it's done. In the meantime, I'm losing my mind!

Yesterday was phase one. The brick wall on the outside of the house had to be removed and rebuilt in the configuration of the windows. In order to do this, the mason sawed and chipped and chiseled and hammered, and with every blow, blew fine gray grout and fine red brick dust through every nook and cranny. At one point, I had to squint through the haze INSIDE my house. I would have started hyperventilating but that would have been completely counter productive. Instead, I ran upstairs to the farthest room in the house and shoved my face in a pillow. When the smoke cleared, literally, there was a fine powder over EVERYTHING. I stopped breathing altogether and just left the house. Of course, with picking up the dog from the kennel (we were away for the weekend) and taking my daughter to ballet, I didn't get home until after my husband - my husband, who doesn't care and certainly doesn't notice dust, so there he was sitting in it, eating on it, living with it.... I ran upstairs again, this time to shower off the day.

Today the job should be completed, but I'm already getting the "we've run into a snag" speech so I'm preparing myself mentally for more days of torture (which is just my way of saying, I'm researching nearby psych wards). Today, they are cutting out the inside wall which will mean drywall dust. They've draped the area so less dust will fill the house but let's be honest, dust doesn't discriminate. It spreads itself equally and freely.

I'm having chest pains.

Tomorrow is Maritza's day to clean. I think I'll ask her to start in the family room. She usually starts in the master bath, but I'm going to be in there, showering away the real - and psychological - dust of the last two days.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


So you all remember the Mommy that called me to tell me how I should host the Valentine's Day Party. Just thought I'd add this little morsel that took place today.

The Mid-Atlantic was hammered last week with snowstorm after snowstorm and school was cancelled for the entire week which meant, no Valentine's party. I spoke with the teacher about a reschedule and the only time the principal will allow it, is during lunch/recess this Friday. Well, that's when I work so I have to put out an email to the mothers who volunteered to help cover me for at least the first half hour.

Well, let me first say that last week during the snow days, I sent an email to the same group of moms to keep them updated on what was going in my conversations with the teacher. One mom had a question about games and I directed her to "the Mommy" who said, "I don't think we need games. We have enough." Sure, it's enough when I put you in charge of it but there was a mile long list of things to do if it was all on me. Cute!

So getting back to today. I saw "the Mommy" at pick-up and she literally turned her back on me as I passed her. Are you kidding me? You're snubbing me?! I came home to the following email...

"I am available for some of the time during the party, but not all. But since I want to make sure that the kids all have fun, I'll be ready to jump in and do whatever."

Does anyone else read... "I can't count on you to show my kid a good time so I have to make time to come in and check." Maybe it's just my migraine talking (two days now, BTW) but I think this woman is a Royal Bitch.

Again, could be my migraine, but I'd really rather just blame it all on her ;-)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Head Swimming... Someone Remind Me That I Like A Crazy Life

Now that the snowstorms have done their worst, it's time to get back to regular routines and previously planned projects. With that said, the kitchen is about to begin. I spoke with my contractor this morning and he will start next Tuesday which gives me exactly one week to morph my house into a picture of efficient living - packing up the nick-nacks, creating a makeshift kitchen in the mudroom, etc.

Up until the time I had the aforementioned conversation with "A" (first initial of first name) I was ready to get to work on at least 3 other blog posts. But as is so often the case with my brain, practicality perseveres over deep rooted pondering and so I must put them to the side.

My last post had me contemplating a fictional piece, in order to throw off the scent of any possible personal connection. That is not yet begun, but the words are forming in my head... catch-phrases for dialogue and the like. I also have a parental, question-for-the-universe post in the works; that draft I've already started. I'll give you a taste...

When someone says, "Don't sweat the small stuff?" aren't they just hoping you'll agree that they don't have to do their laundry. "Fun! Fun!" Why does everything have to be fun? Can't there just be work because it has to be done? (Sorry about the rhyme.)

A third post is more of a continuation from the last and, as usual, another question... people who say they are comfortable with their flaws - delusional or liers?

Oh, I feel so much better having put those down on paper instead of trying to keep them straight in my head. Thank you for bearing with me for the next few days to a week or so until I can post again. Once the kitchen starts, I'll be at the computer all the time or none of the time, depending on how bad the construction dust is. But I will be back. You all know, I've got more than enough to say ;-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm Not Cool

I'm not cool. And in a world where cool is all that matters, it's hard to like yourself. Oddly enough, I do like myself, but I hate defending myself and the choices and priorities I've made for myself. Easy enough to say "who cares what you think of me" but it hurts just the same and I can't seem to let it go. Yet another fault, I suppose.

I'm feeling a bit depressed. What makes depression so difficult to handle at this point in my life is that I don't have the luxury of crawling up in a ball with a bag of cookies and a TV remote and waiting it out. I have responsibilities to my family, most especially my daughter. I can't allow her to see me like this. So I solider on hoping to distract myself with chores and errands and projects, but lingering, always lingering, is this bit of sadness.

I'm caught between worlds, you see; the world of the cool and the world of the not. For all of my life, I've somehow found myself in the first; comfortable in most all social situations, outgoing and happy. But even now, as I look back over my teen to adult life, while the "being on" part came easy and I enjoyed it, I was always relieved when it was over and I could get "down time". What does that say about me? Am I pretending to be social and outgoing? Is it a role I play when the curtain goes up? I don't think so. But as I get older, it does take some channeling of character to "be on". And frankly, some days, I'm just not up for it.

The problem with cool is that it is relatively subjective. Any group of people with common interests and ideals will think they are superior to another group with opposing interests and ideals. That may be part of my problem as of late. I've never been one to agree with all of what one person or group was preaching. I have friends that ride both sides of the great divide. I like that; it allows me to form an opinion of my own based on all the information. I never want to believe my thoughts are the only ones that count because I've eliminated the opposition. But this isn't about politics. Let me get back on point.

This is about it being OK to be me - whether I'm on or off, up or down, thin or fat, young or old. And it's not just about me being OK with me, but the way I am should be OK with the world too. Not because I need the world to like me, but because, I have value and that should be enough. I have value (as well we all do, because I'm speaking on behalf of anyone who may be feeling this way) in this world, period. Don't devalue me because I don't look a certain way, or share the same opinions as you, or happen to live my life differently from yours. I have value, regardless. Do I always place value on others? C'mon, we've all read this blog long enough to know the answer is I don't. Do I think I'm at fault too? Absolutely.

But why now, at the age of 42 (Christ!), do I feel like the kid not knowing where to sit in the cafeteria. I would be fine sitting with any group because I could be comfortable almost anywhere, but none will have me unless I join in body and mind which I can't commit to, and frankly, after all is said and done, I'd rather sit by myself. See? I'm not cool.

Let me give you a concrete example: I don't drink alcohol. My husband is a 12 stepper, but even before I decided to support him, I was pretty well finished with my drinking days. You can't imagine the looks you get when you're not drinking in a social setting. Or the invitations that don't get extended to you because you're glass will have soda in it instead of scotch. Or the jokes that are said to your face (all in good fun, of course) or the sneers that are made behind your back... all because you have chosen, for your health and peace of mind, to not drink alcohol. This is not whether or not I am for or against abortion or the death penalty or some other high profile, temper flaring topic. This is about whether or not, my husband and I will drink. Now, you tell me that I don't have a right to feel devalued for no good reason. And then, tell me that I should just get over it. And then, tell me that I shouldn't want to just become a hermit.

Let me give you another one (since my sadness is turning to anger and a good rage always gets the words flowing): I've said it before, I'm short and I'm fat. Am I working on it? Always. Could I work harder? Of course. Will I? Well, that all depends. Am I doing it for you who apparently is too embarrassed to be seen with me or am I doing it for me. Because frankly, some days, I don't care what I look like and it makes me sick to my stomach that your looks are all you care about it. And you have to nerve to look down on me. (Whew! This is getting a bit personal. I'd better switch gears.)

I am more than what you think of me. I am to be valued, as you would expect the same for yourself. You don't have to like me, but you should appreciate my right to be who I am. And who knows, before you devalue me, you might consider appreciating me for me. You might just think I'm cool.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Crime & Punishment

When I met my husband, he was reading "Crime & Punishment" by Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky. Whenever I think of the phrase, I think of that book, a book I've never read but have a pretty good idea what it must have been about.

We all commit crimes. Some are against the law and the punishment (should we be caught and convicted) is laid out in the law. Most crimes, however, have no clear cut procedure for punishment because they are crimes against feelings or sensibilities.

"Officer, that woman is annoying me."
"I have no jurisdiction over that, ma'am."

Wouldn't it be nice if there were clear cut consequences for people who were all those things we hate: annoying, egotistical, ignorant, self-involved, moody, or just plain jerks. Oh, what a lovely world that would be. Let me lay out a true yet fictionalized account of a phone call I received today:

"Oh my God. You're working as a lunch monitor at the school. You couldn't pay me enough to do that job. But then again, you only have one child so you've got the time. Speaking of which, I have some great ideas for the decorations for the Valentine's party at school. Since you're already there, it shouldn't take long for you to put them up before the party. By the way, I saw you bought a ton of books at the book fair. I don't waste money on books when we could just go to the library. Why do you need the book after it's been read? You must have spent over $100. Wow! Guess you've got money to burn."

At this point in the conversation (if you could call my listening to her, a conversation) she had yet to bring up my daughter or my weight so I was just going to let it go; let her keep talking until I found a break to get off the phone. But she couldn't stop herself:

"So the teacher told me that my son is the only one now doing 4th grade math in 2nd grade. Your daughter was doing so well. What happened?"

Let me first clarify by saying the same teacher told me that my daughter was excelling at the 4th grade math so this mother is either misinformed or just a lier. But before I could reply, she finished her thought.

"You know, I took a yoga class today that was so great. I'm feeling energized and more flexible. Do you workout? You should."

Oh baby. The gloves are off now...

"I'm working at the school, because the principal asked me personally and I can't think of a better job for a stay-at-home mom then to get all the same time off as my kid. Speaking of time, since I'll be working up until the party, why don't you just take those ideas and run with them. They sound great. Much more than I had planned to do so by all means YOU should do it. As for the books, I did buy a lot. Some are gifts, some are to keep. Most importantly, it was a fundraiser for the school, and I try to do my part. Speaking of school, the teacher told me that my daughter is the only one in the class applying the 4th grade information to her work without having to be reminded. But I don't push; she's a 2nd grader after all."

I paused for a moment, realizing that she was only half listening since I wasn't saying anything she wanted to hear. It was then that my dog started crying to go out so I had to excuse myself and I hung up the phone. Had I had the time (and the nerve), I would have continued by saying...

"That yoga class sounds great. Let me know if it helps with that huge ass of yours. Too bad it won't do anything about that chinless jawline or that crow nose. The real shame is it won't do a thing for your personality."

Now, in a world where all crimes had punishments, what would be the consequence for this woman inflicting her opinions and insults all over me during the course of a 30 minute phone call.

"You have been convicted of egotism in the 1st degree,
not realizing that you are an ass in the 1st degree,
and continuing to throw opinions and insults even after you've sensed that the victim is unresponsive in the 1st degree.
For all these crimes, you are sentenced to...
endure the same from someone else and learn from this experience."
... and grow a big ol' wart on that thing you call a chin.

Ah, I like it. It's a good world.