Saturday, May 20, 2017

High as Well, You Know

Friday morn I went out early to start weeding and mulching the front flower garden before moving to the vegetable garden and my mini orchard. I figured I'd make more progress in the cool of the day before it hit the miserable mid-90s again. It's no wonder I have a sinus/ear infection thing that just refuses to go even with meds.

Trying to clean my big hedge clippers before getting started with the flower garden I somehow managed to cut one of my fingers rather deeply with the rusty clippers. And I cannot remember when the last time I had a tetanus shot was. Around 2000, I think.

So it was change out of my ratty gardening clothes into something sleeveless and comfortable, while trying to avoid bleeding my stupid blood everywhere at the same time. Why is it that even tiny papercuts on your fingers bleed so profusely that your bathroom can end up looking like a scene in a slasher-movie?

Down to urgent care, where I lucked out and got a doctor that would sometimes and help out with the patient load at my old General Practice doctors office and the clinic I worked at. He's a good doctor but due to some of the constraints our state and the new health care laws placed on single providers, like electronica medical records he went to work for the big company that owns the chain of Doc In The Box urgent care clinics around here. Better deal for him. Less paperwork to deal with, perks and extras with someone else dealing with the regulator crap and a much less stressful work schedule.

I was happy to see him because going to urgent care is kind of a crap-shoot, you're really rolling the dice. Do you get the nice Mennonite young man who is a Physician's Assistant that can prescribe what you need and has awesome diagnostic skills, or do you get the doctor who seems like something of a dullard doing a job that a monkey with a bottle of Tylenol and a box of bandaids would be just as, if not better than.

Got there and started complaining that my sinus infection was returning after a mere three days of finishing up my antibiotics. I was explaining about the damn close to migraine headaches I'd been having with the sinus infection and Dr. Friendly told me he'd heard about my international move and he thought I was having tension or stress headaches if he had to guess not sinus headaches.

I know the difference. I really do. I get the very rare true migraine every two or three or four years where I see wavy lines, smell weird orders, get suddenly very intolerant of light and sounds, know I have to take the damn imitrex and go sleep it off in a cold dark silent room.

So while I'm 99.99% certain that this is my annual hard to kill spring sinus infection hell involving high pollen levels, fluctuating temps and copious rain I also ended up with a big old bottle of Xanax and the orders to take it easy for a few days while swallowing a few Xanaxes.

I came on home, took one and ended up giggling and sitting on a piece of lawn furniture in the living room in front of the television binge-watching season 3 of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt' while itching to crochet. I did nothing... and I was glorious. I feel completely unlaxed today without taking one of those Mother's Helpers, or what they at my old church would likely term 'The Devil's Pills'

Have to admit I've never done a move without them before. Before the Opiod-noids ruined it for everyone if I was going through the huge overwhelming thing like moving I'd get a few xanax or ativan to get through it, not many, a week or two's worth. This it going to make the last few things to do to finish the house easier to do and it's given me a  lovely reprieve to my lack of sleeping in the past month.

Today I spent with my two youngest kids and sig-os touring apartment buildings in Falls Church. The guys are tired of a one hour commute from Centreville and my daughter can use Metro to do the reverse commute from Falls Church. We looked, the places were lovely and an improvement on their townhouse. But it did one thing for me, made me realize I was correct to bring in an interior designer for advice on painting and carpeting the house. The apartments were all in off white and I was reminded again why artists and beige do not get along.

See my current abode? I'm living in the dining room with a cot and lawn furniture and discovering as long a I kept my possessions to a minimum I could probably love living in a tiny home considering the long dining room/kitchen/downstairs bath are about the size of a tiny home. So happy with the shade of blue gray we used in the house and think I could live with it, unlike beige. Beige is good for some folks, but I love love love color. Didn't know this color would be the closest to neutral I could live with.

Not sure I'm liking the carpeting quite so much but I'll be replacing it with more wood flooring when we move back, that's if we ever move back.

My xanax is kicking in again and there's a crochet hook calling my name. I've realized I need to do something with my hands when I watch television to relax, but there's really a limit to the number of awful and crazy things you can make from string and a hook.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Funerals and Mulch

This morning I started on the front flower beds, weeding and mulching. But the temps climbed to an unseasonably high degrees for mid-May in the Piedmont, the mid-ninties, so by the time I'd pulled up weeds and schlepped and spread ten bags of mulch on the right half of the front of the house I was just done, done with the heat and hauling.

Today I concentrated all my efforts after lunch on patching walls, sanding and painting many of the places Cletus and Bubbe botched last week. Tomorrow I'm going to continue with that and try to get outside first thing in the morning to get the flower bed on the left half of the house done because it turns nasty hot again.

Jim and I are still slightly knocking heads. He's worriedly contacted our pastor to explain I'm falling apart from the situation with the first painters and getting the garden done, asking for help for me.

As if! These Methodists at this church seem to be all about mission trips to third world countries, gabbling and babbling about their own personal righteousness with a copious amount of Bible studies/potluck dinners thrown in without giving a rat's ass what happens to the church members.

This is one of those few things I really miss about Possum Creek. Moving? People would volunteer to help, or just show up without even being asked. I cannot tell you the times I was hospitalized where church members showed up here at our house with casseroles clutched firmly to hand over to my family so I wouldn't have to get out of the bed and cook. The members took care of the other members quite well, sometime so much so that you'd feel just a little bit overwhelmed at times. That is something that Possum Creek did well that the Methodical ones haven't a clue about.

Jim contacted the Methodists 2 days ago and I've heard nothing yet. I'm just marching on. Talked to a pile of licensed and insured painters today to start getting someone in here to paint my bedroom and repair a few of the more boneheaded mistakes of the dynamic painting duo.

This evening brought a sad chore. I went with Laura to a funeral of a lady she once worked with at the credit union she worked at during high school and the first few years of college. I think it really drove home to her that she'd made the right decision in leaving our small podunk Southern town to continue her education and work towards her masters in business degree. I admit, I still am annoyed by the branch manager attempting to get Laura to drop out of college to work full time at the credit union, telling her that a career didn't matter. Tonight after the funeral the same bunch started asking her why she wasn't married yet. We got a good laugh out of that. While she's changed and matured I don't think many of the ladies there have changed at all.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dust, Carpets and Weeding

The last few days I've had to scrub my house, get rid of the piles of sanding dust from the lackidasical haphazard wall repair and general disorganization wreaked by Cletus and Bubba. Two days to get the house clean and dust free, trek out all the bags of trash and organize.

Before they'd arrived I'd stacked the shipping boxes from each room neatly in the center of each room. By the time they were done the boxes were tossed this way and that. Part of that cleaning was clearing a central space to put the boxes and corralling them all together for the shipper to pick up soon.

Toting boxes, dusting, scrubbed the paint spilled and tracked over the floors took the better part of two days. I also set up to live in the dining room because today the new carpeting went in and I started weeding my massive garden.

I am so tired right now, but pleased with the carpeting.

One thing I have noticed is that if I'm dealing with a construction company using a large Hispanic staff that the job is done quickly and right with minimum fuss. I don't want to hear any more Trumplestillskins complaining about Hispanics taking all the good jobs when they work to a higher standard I've not seen amount the locals.

If there's a fly in the ointment of this move it' my husband getting online to nag me relentlessly each day to hurry up and get everything done, either unable or unwilling to understand I'm not superhuman and I cannot control others. It's so frustrating that I usually end up dissolving into fits of weeping every time we talk on Skype. He's just adding more stress to a frustrating situation. I'm tempted right now not to go to Costa Rica at all. It's just too much.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Continuing Adventures of Cletus and Bubba - Or Rednecks Ruined My House!

This last week has been so awful and so bat-shit crazy at the same time I hardly know where to start. Let's back up to the arrival of Cletus and Bubba, the local painters with a local bend who keep saying that they will do this or that but never do.

It gradually went sideways, just like my inner voice was warning all along.

They showed up bright and early on Monday morning and hopped right to it, with Bubba painting the ceilings and Cletus smearing the uneven bits on the walls with plaster and sanding. Everything seemed to be going well, they acted normal, well as normal as they ever get.

Except they look a very long lunch break, worked another hour and packed it in at 3 pm, telling me one of them had an emergency dental appointment and the other one had to get home to mow his grass.

This after all the verklempting and complaining that they were going to have to work 16 hour days to finish on time?

The only real bit of weirdness was that every time I left the house they cranked the radio up to 11. That very first day I came home from running errands to the police at my home warning the duo that my neighbor was complaining about the volume. After years of loving classic rock before the week was over I came to hate it.

I was pleased that my asthma didn't seem to be reacting to the paint much at all because I knew I wasn't dealing with the sharpest guys and I needed to be there to make sure they did what they were supposed to do.

The next morning I got up and noticed that the ceiling bit over one of the bedrooms and adjoining bath had not been painted correctly. A year before Jim had tried to run a snake to unclog the tub drain in the master bath upstairs and broken the pipe. We had the pipe fixed immediately by our plumber friend, but never bothered to paint knowing we were leaving soon and would paint then. It left a water mark in the hall and downstairs bed and bath.

Cletus and Bubba, in all their unknown mental lack of prowess just simply painted over the stains without using Kilz or any other primer and I was looking up at a water stain coming right through the freshly painted ceilings. When the dynamic duo arrived that morning I pointed out that it needed to be sealed and repainted they reacted like we'd never pointed it out or asked for it to be painted with Kilz or sealer and said 'Oh'. All painting stopped so they could buy a can of Kilz.

We had a number of weird conversations during the week, including things like them claiming that the contract stating that they were going to paint the entire interior of the house did not mean they were to paint the insides of closets, or any built in shelving. 

Once they started with the Kilz my asthma went rogue hardcore and I found myself struggling to breath as I finished packing my suitcases and hastily decamping for my friend's home for the week. We talked about my letting them in and out of the house in the mornings and evenings.

Came back to lock up at  5pm and they had long gone. But everything looked good still. Walked around and looked at the progress they made, mostly pleased.

The next morning they had another crew member with them, a woman that looked like she'd led a hard life and she went to town scrubbing wall paper paste from the walls while the guys continued on. I pointed out some incorrectly done spots and spent most of the day outside dealing with the overgrown garden. I noticed again a two hour lunch and they knocked off around  3 pm again. While they were eating lunch on my front lawn I overheard the first of the complaints of Cletus. He was upset, claiming he'd seriously underbid the job, that my husband and I had been pressuring them to do more and more and he wasn't happy.

Remember that I'd originally asked him when he did the estimate for additional things to be done, and told him to price it out accordingly to get these small other things done, repair a few seams in our Pergo floor, take down a ceiling fan and several light fixtures. I'd passed on getting him to install the kitchen counter top and a few other things after discovering that he didn't know how to do those things, even if his truck had a long list of repair work he did and listed those things.

But at the last minute we'd decided to ask them to strip all the wall paper in our bedroom and paint it as well. Cletus went back and forth on that at least four times, saying yes, saying no and apply, rinse, repeat.

By the end of the third day I could see they were getting sloppy as hell. I went around that afternoon and wiped down a few places where the paint had been so thickly and sloppily applied it was running in rivulets down the wall. My eldest daughter had spent the day with me, both of us holing up in my bedroom doing the last of the cleaning and packing. As Cletus and friends were preparing to leave he told me that he'd changed his mind again and he was not going to take the paper off my bedroom and paint it. My daughter made me laugh because she said 'Good!' and started removing the paper in front of Cletus with abandon, leaving him open mouthed and stunned looking, like a toad that had been hit with an electric prod.

On Thursday morning the guys from the kitchen counter top company came to measure and tell me that the factory was three weeks behind on all the orders so instead of it being installed next week it was going to be first week of June.

I noticed that Cletus and Bubba were working slower than ever, getting even more sloppy, taking longer breaks and less care. When I walked into the kitchen I caught Cletus telling the measuring crew how unhappy he was that he'd under estimated the job and I was screwing him in this deal.

After an afternoon in Charlottesville picking up my new VPAP machine I stopped back around 3 pm. No Cletus, no Bubba, no rough looking female friend. Some hard work, huh?

I'm observing on my nightly walkthrus that they aren't getting much done.

I'd started leaving the key for them after Tuesday and usually wasn't there when they arrived or left. I slept in on Friday, went by to check on them around 10:30 am. They weren't there. I didn't get a chance to go back later, as I got sucked into some drama with the couple I was staying with (they are sniping at each other over money troubles while I was there) when they both turned on me and stared chewing me out over something said by Jim on Facebook over his rejecting of the only available rental house in the tiny town he's teaching English in. They kept at it all afternoon nattering at me that Jim was showing how he didn't love me by refusing to rent that house and how little I mattered to him.

I know they're both broke and pretty unhappy right now. I think their misery is the thing driving their turning to me like that. I was also having to go home to shower after Cletus and Bubba left because the house I was staying at had the pump to the well break that week and water was sporadic. Their business isn't doing too well, their basement where the water pump resides is so filled with junk that the plumber cannot get back there to fix it until the man of the house sorts it out. I'm getting the typical fundigelical misdirected passive agressiveness combined with a pile of 'Come to Jesus's thrown in. Relearning again that life outside of that fundigelical bubble that does not allow you to directly talk about being frustrated or upset is much much better! I decide to move back into my house on Saturday or Sunday as the bickering is getting to me and I don't seem to be reacting to the paint any longer.

Saturday morning I arrive and the dynamic duo is working. I'm seeing more and more things very poorly done. They painted right over the wall paper glue instead of removing it. The repair of the Pergo looks like someone simply shoved dogshit into the seams. I ask them how much longer before they finish the repairs and redos and they tell me that they will be finished by some point on Sunday afternoon and I should have my checkbook ready.

Around 10:30 am that very morning, Saturday, the two of them come up into the bedroom where I am peeling wallpaper between asking emails and present me with an itemized bill. I'd told them I would pay for their third helpers time and the extra supplies they needed, but this bill was almost double what the original contract stated. They'd bid it at 3,100 and were now asking for 5,400 dollars! Told them both there was no way on God's green earth I was paying that much, that I hadn't agreed to it. I sat down with a pen and started slashing items off their bill. I refused to pay the $300 for the Pergo repair, but did offer to pay for the repair kit. They were clearly trying to gouge me for every penny they could, listing repairs we'd talked about and that they decided not to do along with inflated prices for things like extra paint and Kilz, clearly not remembering I bought the original paint and knew what it ran. Plus I deducted because they broke my expensive floor lamp and other items, including most of my person tools walking out of the house.

Feast your eyes on what the dog shit colored Pergo repair ended up looking like. Those huge blackish blotches...

...and it all went downhill from there. I refused to pay a dime until they sanded off the paint runs, repaired where they painted over the paste and neglected to mud and sand. No repairing their fuck ups, no check.

When they both started making menacing moves towards me and one of them said something about he knew I was living here by myself and it would be ashamed if something happened to me I started to get seriously scared! They backed me into a corner and instead of continuing the confrontation I offered to just go ahead and pay them, the original contract, the additional supplies and the wages for the lady. I decided it was just safer to deescalation the situation and get them the fuck out of my house.

They left. After they did I went to the police station and filed a report about them threatening me and came home to change the locks. I've moved back in now and it makes me nervous knowing they are out there still. Now I'm hiring someone else to fix their screw ups. I am never ignoring my inner voice ever again since it kept screaming at me in the week leading up to the painting that they were a bad thing.

Tomorrow the carpet is installed, even if I have some repairing of the old paint job. I'm continuing on waiting for the counter top and cleaning up after this dumbass duo.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Goat Rodeo Time!

You remember that capacious bragging I was doing about getting more done faster with Jim gone? Nope. Not happening.

First it was crazy asthma from high pollen and mold levels. Then on Monday night I tried a new body wash, a natural one with lots of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Getting out of the tub I slipped and fell ass over teakettle backwards into the tub. I got up and everything hurt but seemed to work right, so I went to bed.

Middle of the night - extreme pain. Hospital. X-rays. I refractured a few old fractures, like some ribs, chipped a few things and managed to rack up a concussion. Then the migraines started.

Next day feverish and in more pain. Off to the doctor and more tests. The sinus infection that's been coming and going I've been trying to kill off with garlic pills had decided to go insano. Migraines galore and I'm not sure if it's sinus infection or bumping my noggin like that. But at least I have prescription pain pills, my migraine meds refilled and something for the sinus infection. Today the pain of the headache finally lifted enough to ditch the migraine stuff and the narcotic pain pills.

Oddly enough once the seeing wavy lines, wanting to murder the source of every annoying noise and head in the vice pain started the ribs, knee and elbow stopped throbbing. I guess it's correct what Dr. House was saying, the worst pain turns off the brain's ability to feel other pains. One of those days I mowed the yard with our push mower having that stupid headache and hairline fractures.

I'm getting extremely annoyed with the drunken hillbillies Jim hired to paint. One of them promised Jim he'd help me by using his truck to haul furniture hither and yon, that he'd start doing the remainder of the wall paper removal asap and he'd start doing the wall prep and primer. He has done none of that.

He also is not returning many of my calls. Finally he called and said to meet him at the paint place at a certain time. A good ninety minutes later he showed up with no explanation as to why he was so late. I bought all the paint and supplies and he acted very weird, like he was nervous or guilty. He kept complaining that he was going to have to work Then he told me that he had a few side jobs to do sixteen hour days to paint our house because of his schedule, but if it rained he'd show up on those days last week and prime and prep. It rained three days, no Cletus. I called him up all of those days, no call back, no Cletus. We'd even discussed where I'd leave the house key for him if I had to go out.

Robert, my friend who's done repairs for us over many years, including lining up the roof replace, got me the contact on replacement painters if this does not pan out. Today another set of friends gave me contact information on their painter. So I've gotten some prices and we'll see what happens tomorrow.

I'll have zero qualms about firing Cletus and Bubba if they show up late or not at all. Cletus did call this evening and tell me they would be here to paint the house at eight am sharp. We will see. I'm officially disgusted by them at this moment, but Jim wants me to treat them with kid gloves and get them to do it.

It just irks me because I've been trying to get them to schedule a hard and fast painting date for six long weeks now.

He is not the only one behaving badly on the remodel front. That kitchen counter top I ordered I was promised that the counter top installers would schedule the final measurements by three days after the order. We're now a week and a half later and no word from them. I have heard from the plumbers and they are ready to go. I've called Home Depot to complain that the installers seem to be mia and nothing has happened yet. I can see I'm going to have to show up tomorrow and tell them they have to do something.

At the same time I cannot get an accurate measurement of the counter without the new stone sink ordered the same day and charged to my charge card. One day after it was supposed to arrive here, promised to me, I called Lowes, the place I ordered the sink and copper faucet from. Turns out my order had never been processed while my card was charged and I had several confirmation emails from Lowes claiming it was on it's way. They straightened it out and shipped both items. Supposed to have the sink tomorrow. When I went to pick up the faucet on Saturday customer service said they didn't have it. Turns out it was in the back unpacked from a day or two before.

I cannot say how disappointed I am by Lowes right now. Between that screw up, buying a set of light shades in glass and having the cashier pack them all together with no wrapping or double bagging so that they were all broken before I got home. But the capper of all of this was finding out that their carpet salesman put down Jim's phone number as the primary contact after we'd both said several times to him that my phone number had to be primary because he would be turned off as soon as he arrived in Costa Rica. He ignored what we said and put Jim's phone as primary, which because when I discovered it late in the week it pushes the carpet install even further back. Damn good thing I don't have a hard and firm arrival date!

Friday I took off and spent the day with my youngest daughter. She's not having the happiest of times right now and has some big decisions to make in the future. I think she's still at least a little freaked out by the idea and mom and dad will be so far from her.

Saturday she and her brother came down to help me wrangle old furniture to the dump, that thing that Cletus told my husband he would do and didn't. My son, I have to say how happy and proud of him I am. He's a hard worker, both this weekend and on his job. He was recently promoted at work. Big helper.

Sadly my baby, my youngest daughter was distracted and sad, laying my bed and texting much of the day instead of helping tote furniture. We went out to a new restaurant in town and I had the most decadent lunch ever. A cheeseburger on a doughnut. Crazy good but crazy insane sugary at the same time, followed by a deep fried twinkie. We had a favorite dish for an appetizer - poutine made properly with good brown gravy and real cheese curds. I haven't had poutine this good since my last visit to Toronto.

On the Jim front the language school in the remote mountains of Costa Rica had most of the volunteers quit this week. So now instead of the 15 hours per week he was scheduled to teach he's pulling ALL of the classes for a workload of 50 per week until they get more volunteers in. The area is isolated and remote. The photos he's posting on Facebook look like something out of a third world country, not the beautiful vacation spot I love.

He's tried to get me to agree to live in that single room they got for him right behind the town snack bar, but I had to tell him I don't care if it is free and they provide all our meals I am not staying there! It is tiny, run down and has one of those unique Central America Showers of Death by Electrocution. Our own apartment please!

He's eager to have me fly down there, but has no idea of the gargantuan task he's left me with.

Today I had to step into his old role at church and handle the counting team tasks. It was a huge clusterfuck that pushes me farther and farther away from organized religion. I'll talk about it on another day as I need to get to bed so I can be bright eyed, bushy tailed and horribly bitchy if the painters do not show up.