Thursday, April 30, 2009

In The Home Stretch

a.k.a. The Rant You've All Been Waiting For

So I haven't posted about the house in a long time. I've thought about posting an update a few times, but I suppose as much as I wanted to share with all of you because I know you'd all be so kind, enthusiastic and supportive and none of you would be thinking, "Oh, God. There she goes again. All she does is talk about her house. blah blah blah BLAH BLAH BLAH!!" (like I'm sure some people in my life are thinking by now... Kate? Amy?), I also didn't want to come across boastful and then other times I knew I'd type a post that was upbeat and excited, but in reality I'd be sitting at the keyboard crying. That didn't sound fun to do. Or I'd start typing with a really positive attitude and my post would quickly morph into a vicious rant. That wouldn't be cool either, because I'm really so incredibly lucky to being doing this addition and renovation in the first place and should NOT be complaining. But now... five loooooong months later, I say, fuck that! I can bitch and complain and rant if I want to and still feel incredibly fortunate and thankful for it all at the same time. Seriously. I can. In fact, I do. Poor Kenda knows I can because she somehow landed the lucky spot a couple of weeks ago as the email recipient of my three day rant on workers using my brand new toilet in my brand new master bathroom, fucking leaving drops of urine all over the toilet AND the floor! Fucking assholes. 

Deep breath.

Today is April 30, 2009. Exactly five months ago, on November 30, 2008 (Thanksgiving weekend) we moved out of our construction zone home into a one bedroom apartment about a mile and a half away from our house. The original plan was for the move to be for a week or so while the heating and plumbing systems would be shut down and replaced, but WE'RE STILL HERE! Five people in a one bedroom apartment for the last five months. And counting. We're finally in the home stretch, hopefully moving back home in 2-3 weeks.

The apartment we're living in is actually a co-op condominium that my father-in-law still owns that he and my mother-in-law used to live in before she passed away, but essentially it's one of those two story brick garden apartment kind of places. We're fortunate that we had a place to go, but it has not been easy living in such cramped quarters. The apartment is nice for a single person or a couple. But, uh.... not so great for a family of five. Husband, wife, teen, tween, elderly man and four cats. My 83 year old father-in-law has been sleeping in the living room and the girls, my husband and I in the bedroom. The girls have their twin mattresses from home on the floor and my husband and I are in a bed. Thankfully it is a decent size bedroom, but still. I don't have to point out that privacy is virtually non existent. I want to go home. :(

So why are we still here? We decided it would be easier to live here in cramped quarters than live amidst the construction, and I actually still stand by that decision, but it has not been easy. The renovation was quite extensive, affecting every single room in the house. We replaced all of the windows, so at a minimum there was sheet rock repair around new windows and new ducts installed for the heating & cooling system in each room. We also learned from other people that the sheet rock phase was the dustiest part of the whole job and so we'd be better off not being there for that. Then the whole house would get painted at the end AND the hardwood floors throughout the house would get refinished, so we definitely had to have us and all of our belongings out for that. So why not do it at one time and retain some sanity? At least the apartment gives us a place to be away from the construction and we have a kitchen!

So where are we now? The house is just about finished, but not quite. The final plumbing and electrical inspections are scheduled for Monday. Building and fire inspection will have to wait another week or so until the three new porches and steps get built. A few final touches inside like the installation of the shoe moulding throughout the whole house, the shower doors, and some touch up painting and then I think that's it! The projected time frame for the project from start to finish was 6-7 months and we just passed the seven month mark about two weeks ago. So it looks like it will really be 8 months and maybe another week or two. I guess that's not so bad compared to the kinds of delays a lot of people encounter during construction, but right now, from where I'm standing, it is too long. I want to go home. I want my space, I want privacy, I want my things (clothes, books, a comfy chair, my kitchen things, my cookbooks), I want to do laundry in my own house without needing quarters or having to lug laundry to the basement in the building next door. I want privacy. I want to be able to regulate the temperature of my home. This apartment is like a sauna... continuously at 80 F and the only way to regulate it is to open windows. What a waste of money and energy. My 83 year old father-in-law has been loving it, though. He wears thermal underwear and turtle necks 24/7/365. The rest of us are sleeping in our underwear and constantly opening windows (he's going to think we moved to the Arctic when we go home and heat is set to 68 F and the AC to 72 F)! I want our high speed Internet at home, although I do thank the dude who is allowing us to borrow some of his bandwidth here at the apartment. Did I mention I want privacy? Time alone with my husband? I want to park in my driveway, not a parking lot. I want my yard, I want to garden. I don't want to drive to my house to get my mail at the end of every day. I want to be rid of noisy and nosey neighbors who share the same walls and roof with us here.  I want to move back into the lovely house that we're so fortunate to have been able to expand and improve. I want everyone in my family to have the space we need to be comfortable and happy. I need to go home. 

Okay, I think that's the end of my rant. 

Thank you to the handful of you who have already been subjected to my construction woes, sometimes on numerous occasions, whether by phone, email, or IM, and yet you still keep asking me how it's going. I appreciate your support very much. :) 


  1. Oh, that is just so gross...Urine tinkles! I get so pissed off when I have to clean those up after my own family. There is no way in hell I would not be furious if I had to clean up some other strange man's. That is just one of those things that I will lose my cool over. Piss in the toilet or sit down!! Devin is getting better but neither one of them will clean up after themselves.

    It's been five months since you moved out? Wow! I'm sure it doesn't feel like it went by very fast for you, living in a small space like you have. It'll be so wonderful when you are all moved back in.

    And you know you can rant as much as you like :).

    Hugs, Christine!

  2. Christine;

    I am happy you have ranted. I've wished and wanted your rant.

    You need to rant, especially when the rant is cathartic!

    My husband is a contractor (please don't throw rotten tomatoes), so I know the frustrations and angst associated with projects such as the one you and your husband have undertaken to renovate your home!

    You and your family deserve medals of valour for getting through this.

    As for the workman using your brand new bathroom - well there is always the threat of castration.... As in signage on bathroom door!!! Assholes - no pun intended..

    ((((GIANT HUGS)))) Christine..

    You are a trooper! A rant - I welcome it. :)


  3. I want to go home. :( That actually made me tear up. I want you to go home too!

  4. ((((Christine))))

    I have been wondering why you hadn't ranted. Yes, you can be happy and excited about all the cool stuff and the remodel and new space, AND be pissed at the delays, the lack of privacy, the lack of comfort and other irritants, all at the same time.

    Frankly, you wouldn't be human if you weren't!

    What Lisabea said--and I second Lea; put a big sign on the bathroom door and another directly over the toilet, spelling out the consequences of not hitting their target squarely.

    And if you can have a word with the person in charge, I would so hand over a bucket with cleaning supplies! "Here, I'm sure your workers know how to use these--since they are making a mess out of the bathrooms here, they can clean up after themselves too, right?"

  5. I wondered why we hadn't heard more about the house. And I was afraid it was something like this. How frustrating for you all!

    I can only hope that once you're home the bad memories will quickly fade as you enjoy all the new space. I'll keep my fingers crossed that the inspections go well so that the end comes on time.

    Meanwhile, lots of hugs!

  6. Congratulations on being in the home stretch!! Rant on whenever you want--you have every right!

    But wow, you are going to feel like you're in a giant palace after this. Hope you're not missing too much of gardening season!!

  7. Oh, babe...rant away. Seriously. I'd be ripping my hair out and dumping a ten-gallon jug of crazy on anyone in my path if I had to live with four other people in a one-bedroom apartment. And coin operated laundromat? Nuh-uh. Nope. Couldn't do it and maintain my sanity.

    I can't wait for you get to see the finished product though. How exciting! But yeah, the wait has gotta be frustrating. *hugs*

  8. Thanks guys. I knew you'd all be so sympathetic and supportive. :)

    I did tell my contractor about the urine mess and he apologized and said they know better. He also said they'd clean it up but it's still there. Not to mention I know the first floor bathroom is being used by whomever is working there at the time. I'm afraid if I become a bitch about it, they'll retaliate and do something more disgusting like pee in my kitchen sink or something. I thought about leaving a container of lysol wipes by the toilets with a note to clean up after yourself, but that's like inviting them to use the toilets and they're not supposed to! Plus they may flush them and clog my new pipes! So frustrating. At this point, I'm just going to insist that my contractor have the bathrooms cleaned when the interior is finished.

    There have been a bunch of things here and there that have annoyed and frustrated me, but the toilet thing has angered me out the most. I made it easy for the work to get done by moving out... if I were living there, no one would have dared used the bathrooms with the homeowner around, you know? You give them an inch and they take a mile with no hesitation. :(

    The laundry thing is a pain, that's for sure. But the good thing is that after going through well over $100 in quarters by now... my state quarter collection is complete! :D

  9. I think this might have been the first time I ever made a post on my blog without pictures or graphics! O_o

    I can't wait to show you guys photos of my kitchen. I really love the way it looks. *sigh* I'm so inspired I may just start a cooking column on my blog.

    And my master bathroom shower.... *dreamy sigh*

  10. I'm going to echo what all the others already have said but I think it needs repeating.

    You have every right to rant. You can be happy about the new house and at the same time rant about all the bad that comes with it. I can't imagine anybody thinking you ungrateful for it, especially after going through all that for five months. Seriously.

    "I want to go home." - Hugs

  11. I honestly don't know how you've done it without killing someone. Everyone in my family would be dead by now. So my hat's off to you.

    Hang in there. You're almost done! Just try to think about how great you're going to feel in a couple weeks when you can kiss the one bedroom buh-bye and walk into your "brand-new" house.

    Rant away till then. And, I'd be making the construction guys get on their hands and knees to clean up the toilet and floor. Just sayin'.

  12. The issue with the workers utilizing your facilities without care is....I would be livid! I definitely think you should insist that the contractor has both bathrooms (maybe even the whole house) cleaned professionally before you move back in.

    I'm glad that you are almost on the home stretch! Fingers crossed you can be in and settled before the end of this month. And then you can go mad in the garden :)

    (((Christine))) And I will echo everyone else and say feel free to rant!

  13. Christine, this entire renovation thing is enough to drive ANYONE batty. Hold on for a little longer - you'll a brand new lovely home soon. :) I'm already looking forward to the photos. :)

  14. Awww Christine!!! I'm glad you could get your rant out. Only another few weeks and your dream home is yours!!! How exciting is that!

    You guys have been wonderful and have lasted a lot longer than most families would have in that situation.

  15. Thanks again for all of your comments since my last comment. It really does help to vent--I should have done it here a while ago. I think I've already tapped out everyone from my daily "real" life already.

    I have another construction rant story... but will maybe post it tomorrow. Today's post is something special and I don't want to taint the mood. ;)

  16. Some construction workers are so rude! I'm sorry you're having to deal with that.

    I admire you for your patience through this entire ordeal! I know that there is now a light at the end of the construction tunnel. And when you look back some day you'll laugh, right? Ok, well maybe you'll laugh. But in the end you'll have a beautiful house and life will resume! :)

    You can rant all you want sweetie - you're entitled!

  17. Well, took me damn long enough to get back over here! Girlfriend, I'm glad you got your rant on lol! Felt good to just shout it out, loud and honest, right?

    Just be glad that all these things are being done by someone other than the husband, even with some urine sprinkles (Gag! Gag me!!!!! Assholes is right.). My poor guy is our only source to do anything remotely like this and lately the weather is against him. He's tacked down a flyaway roof several time snow, last weekend included. A very windy storm came through less than 24 hour later and yep - those same damn fucking shingles are blown off AGAIN. Hubbster was understandable depressed - over roof shingles! So sad when they actually try and this kind of stuff keeps happening, nevermind the stuff that gets nagged about by bitchy me.

    But YES!!1 You ranted! I love it! Tell it, shout it, and now start some kind of countdown that let's you celebrate somehow, some way, the home stretch you're in to getting into that house.

    Home stretch, home stretch, home stretch!


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