Friday, May 25, 2012


And I wish by thin, I meant "physically thin"...but that would be far from the truth.

No, I mean "stretched thin".  I feel thin, energetically and emotionally.  It's due to the convergence of...of...of The Great EVERYTHING.

There's just a whole lotta crap going on.  It's the last week and a half for school for MyFavoriteKid, which is always a bit of a thing. The knitting kids at the high school are having an end of year party, for which I have a several things I need to tend to for them.  My dad has 3 more weeks of radiation treatments.  TheMostImportantGuy has a birthday, my mom has a birthday, and MyFK is having an early birthday party. We have activity happening within the dance troupe including some extra rehearsals for me.  There's some drama going on at the convalescent hospital, drama enough that the therapist I started seeing a couple of months ago (out of complete necessity) says that what I really need to do is quit. 
And oh.  We're managing the kitchen remodel.

It is the remodel that is completely driving me over the edge right now.  It is exactly why I hired a general contractor in the first place.  A project manager. Someone who could get all the ducks in a row. 
We. No. Haz. Dat.
And it's tweaking me out.

People, I have no problem managing a job.  I am capable of managing a job that involves lots of people, lots of variables, and lots of chaos. I was a professional caterer.  If this were a wedding and I had to deal with "sub-contractors" like a flower guy, a cake gal, the tent, table/chairs and linen rental people, an officiant, pestering guests, and a bride of all things....I'd be FINE.

But there are two differences (for me) between a wedding and a kitchen renovation:
1) I know all about cakes and flowers and chairs and brides. I don't know crap about sinks and outlets and inspections and cabinet doors. This is a very steep learning curve, and it is stressful.
2) Sub-contractors like florists and bakers are a whoooole different beast than sub-contractors like plumbers and tile guys.  It would appear that sub-contractors that build things do not give one single crap about timelines.

Exhibit A: 
Wedding sub-contractors:  The wedding. It's today. The venue is available at 12 noon. The bride and groom say "I do" at 3pm. And those chairs and linens better be in place with flowers on the table, and the food had better be hot but not wilted at 4pm. PERIOD. And if the bride needs to take 10 minutes to wipe the drippy mascara off her face before the formal photos or Aunt Marge is holding up the food line, you, as the wedding general contractor, had better be willing to be on your customer's timeline.

Kitchen sub-contractors:  Have no freakin' idea what date or time they are going to start their portion of the job until it's like, ohhhhh....right before it starts. They can only estimate their start date. Why??  Because they do not know for sure what day they will finish up the day job before the next one. I'm not sure if they can't do it because they are incompetent at time management, or if they just are just being cocky about being told when to work or not work.  Maybe I am just stupid and this is the way it goes in the world of building things...but I doubt it.  If this really was "just how it goes", then how on earth does an actual this-is-what-I-do-for-a-living general contractor schedule the sub-contractors comings and goings?  How does a general contractor manage their subs when every single one of them doesn't know what date they can come in because they want to leave room for errors on the current job??  But the subs also do not want to build in a day for errors because it might just leave then with a dry day with no work.

Honestly, I do not know how a GeneralContactor does it, but you know what??  I CAN'T STAND IT.
I have a strong hunch that a GC does it by also being cocky, and I am pretty sure they do it by telling their subs that if they cannot show up when they are needed, the GC will find someone else.

We do not have that power.

Right now I have 4 subs not knowing exactly what date they can start. They have each given two or three day windows of what days they think they can start, but nothing firm. We have spread each of the sub-contractors and their jobs out far enough apart so that they wont run into each other if they start or end a day or two late, but guess who's kitchen is taking twice as long to build due to all the dry days?? Answer: Mine.  (And would a GC run project this way? Answer: No.)  And guess who cannot make a single plan for the rest of her life and make arrangements to tend to the other things in life she is responsible for??  Answer: Me.   I have to meet with these guys every time a new one starts to let them in, or give them a key, and to discuss job details.  Each one of these cocky mo' fo's has me holding two start dates open them. Wide open. No date, no time.

And they are all converging the week that everything else is happening that I mentioned in the first big paragraph. 
I might need to refill a prescription for happy pills.


Janice in GA said...

I've always felt like I knew what Bilbo meant in the Lord of the Rings when he said he felt "like butter that has been scraped over too much bread." Sounds like that's where you're at now. :(

I've always thought that a contractor/repair service that would give REAL dates/times for service would make a freakin' mint. My little experience has been the same as yours. You're lucky if they even let you know that they won't be around when they told you they would be. :(

Jen Anderson said...

Just think of the bad karma they're accumulating by causing you such unnecessary stress. They'll get theirs.

Also be glad that you're not adding on a room. My parents had that done, and the contractors built walls and a roof (and floor, for that matter), but didn't connect the walls the and roof. Instead, they left a gap large enough for birds to fly in through.

When I mentioned this to a co-worker of mine who was married to a contractor (They had a weekend business together building and renovating homes), she said "oh, she thought they were going to do that?" in a tone that implied that no one in their right mind would expect such a thing. Sigh.

The moral of the story? These people are insane.

The Bon said...

Unfortunately, that is the way the construction business goes. It just is. I think part of it is that there are just so many unknowns in construction, so while a baker can say with reasonable certainty that x cake is going to take them y time to bake, that a contractor who says it's going to take them x time to lay this floor may show up and learn that the subfloor is rotten, the joists have been cut through and need replacing and they wouldn't have been able to tell either of those things until they peeled off the floor to put the new one in.

I totally understand why it frustrates you though!!

M-H said...

When we did a major reno we used a builder who also worked as the project manager. We were both working full-time (and I was also studying) so we just simply couldn't have done what you're doing. So I guess the story is you have to look on the work, and the frustration of it, as saving money that we had to spend. Hope it all gets straightened out soon for you.