Simply put! Sometimes it just makes sense to start from the present and not look back. Yet, it would be a shame to not tell the full story of 'My Incredible Week, 2009'! And so I will start in the middle. Like an Oreo.
And just when I thought it was all simmering down, and a sense of normality would prevail, I found myself once again, looking into the face of an ensuing shit storm. The day I had somewhat dreaded for some time, had finally come to life. The day I would begin work for the client which I had been skeptical about since October. Before vacation, I had looked at a bathroom renovation for a kindly woman. Friendly, seemingly sincere... You see, I have these internal alarm bells...a sixth sense if you would. And every time I listen to them/it, I come out amazed at myself and happy. And every time I don't listen to them/it I come out disappointed and kicking myself in the ass. When I tried to explain the parameters of the job and she would constantly be all over the conversational 'board', I should have known....I knew, it was going to be a challenge. My iner self was saying don't take it on, man! And so the signs would continue to mount. Then vacation. A reprieve from life, a chance for the powers that be to intercede and save me from this job of which I was really starting to doubt. Something would happen and intercede stopping me from having to carry through with this job. But I am positive. I keep thinking, it will all be fine. Fool!
But no. No, I came back and behold, she was still full of spunk and ready to go. The next give away was that she knew the business of remodeling. She was experienced and would help to cut costs everywhere she could. Now to some you may be saying, "so what is the significance in someones ability to perform a job, to your utter failure which is looming on the horizon?" All I can say to you is, walk life in my shoes for a few years and you wouldn't ask! Remember the part I mentioned where I stated that I knew it is going downhill when I tried to set the parameters and she was doing everything but listening? Well, it was about that point that she failed to hear the part when I told her that upon returning, I had several jobs I had to take care of that were in front of hers, I would have several pottery shows that I would be working and that it is snow season, therefore snow days will always take precedence with plowing. Unless of course you are willing to pay me in a day the money I could make plowing, to do your work! Highly unlikely!! Mind you, I didn't say this to her. In leau of these two simple facts, I would be able to comfortably start the job beginning of December is what I told her. Right on cue, I started Wednesday. Remember this date as it will become an important focal point in a couple of paragraphs.
In my opinion, things were going well actually. I had given her a time set of 2 weeks from start to finish. She was acceptant of this. Yet, from the get go, I just wasn't doing good enough. "ya gotta do better, Gilbert"! And, her true knowledge of the business really started to shine. Like two black pearls on the shady side of a dark rock. Which is fine. I am patient. Until I start getting told what I should be doing. And how I should be running my plowing business. Like this is any relevance to her. Or like I asked! But because she is an expert at plowing as well... This is what I call micro managing. It is usually a deal breaker for me.
You see, it all went wrong this week when I told her on November 28th that I would start on December 1st.
At 2:00AM, December 1st, I woke (I am pretty precise with my timing) to take a whiz. As I climbed back into bed, I had this feeling that I should look outside. I argued with myself as I climbed back under the covers, but I won, and out of bed I went. When we went to bed, It was raining, and there was absolutely no forecast for snow. This is why I always say that being a weatherman is the best job in the world. You get paid for always being wrong! As the rain had turned to snow, 5 inches high and rise'n. I start to plow at 2 inches. Oh crap, I say! Jumping into my ready suit and becoming superhuman, I raced out of the house I began what would be a hard 18 hour plowing run. The snow was very wet (sierra cement) and difficult as all get go to push and manipulate. It made for a really tough day with snowfall continuing all day and I was simply floored when I finally got home that night, well knowing for sure, there would be more plowing to come on Wednesday. This would be the first major issue with my newly acquired micro-manager. I didn't show up to the bathroom renovate because I was plowing snow. According to the expert, I need to plow at night so I can work during the day. Hey Erin, no worries....I will plow your driveway around midnight tomorrow, 24 hours after the storm, after you and your family have lodged yourselves in your own driveway....a half a dozen times through the day. And hey, don't worry Erin, I don't mind losing you as a client because you found someone who could plow you out earlier in the day when you should rightfully be plowed out. And who cares if I lose those commercial clients who need their parking lots cleared before 8:00AM. And forget about rest or sleep. Who needs it! This is what happens when you don't listen to what people are telling you (sarcasm). And it all went down hill from there, man. One incident after the other.
It all funneled into the event of Friday night. The smack down. The pouting, the scowls, the bad mouthing.....it all came down to a head in the kitchen as I was leaving that night after plowing all morning and putting in an afternoon of labor in the bathroom. She began questioning the hours, less than 3 days into the project, with everything on schedule, and the budget at 100%. Mind you....she was there the entire time i was working all 3 days! That is another deal breaker, and I must admit that I never saw that coming as she understood and agreed to the bid price. Only twice in 18 years have I ever had someone start to nit pick the hours. Both ended in near tragedy. This being the second time. Mind you, I was nowhere near going over budget and nowhere near any kind of short fall on time. Did I mention that she seemed a little scattered in the head which had me wondering earlier on? Anybody who knows me knows that I am a diplomatic and reasoning person. Quit like Bro 'O', you just cant reason diplomatically with a self absorbed idiot! Am I being hard on another living human.....no. Am I being inconsiderate to a persons shortfalls....not really. I am just telling it like it is, and in the end I really do feel sorry for her, because I know for a fact....now...that I am not the first and wont be the last and life in her shoes must be difficult I am sure. But in my defense I did try and did give it a fair chance. After a 10 minute debate which went nowhere and proved not a thing, I offered her her full deposit back and I would walk off the job. This wasn't good enough, because she told me it was in my court. Hey, I love a good challenge and some heartburn from over stress.....why wouldn't I be back to work on Monday!? HA...hells no!! My mom always told me to walk away and sleep on things, And so I did, well knowing that there was no way I would be back.
When I woke Wednesday morning from a long day of plowing on Tuesday, I began my first day of work for my pain in the butt. But not without having to plow on as the calls still were coming in for clean up from the storm the day before. But I did accomplish quit a bit there at the ol bathroom. Walking away mid afternoon, with it gutted and ready to begin putting it back together, I began plowing again. The same deal went true for Thursday. Got all the units and materials on site, and managed to continue to plow as yes, the calls just kept coming. When I got back out north, I picked up M and she went with me to do some plowing way out at the end of Taurianen Trail...the far reaches of Nikiski....where I swear, if you listen carefully you can hear banjos.... We were gone actually for several hours, a little longer than I expected to be, and upon coming back into town, I offered that we grab a late dinner at the Italian restaurant. We finally got home around 8:30PM and M continued to make the casserole she had began hours earlier, thinking we would have dinner already done for Friday night. Good plan...however.... Neither one of us stopped to think, as we were both very tired and worn out from 3 busy days, that we really should have thrown out the chicken. As it had sat,out on the counter, cooked, for over several hours. This would be a really big mistake.
We would realize our demise as first Maryann woke at around 11:30 PM Friday night blowing chunks, with me soon to follow. And it all just went to hell in a hand basket from there. By Saturday morning we were both barely hanging on to life. Lifeless, almost motionless and staring to became dehydrated from a night of Olympic Hurling, I called Jennifer and thank God she came to our rescue with soup, ginger ale, apple juice, and all of the necessities for someone who is dieing, minus the clapboard box. I have to say, when you are sick as we were, you usually have the other to care for you. Unless the other had the same meal as you. I have to say that the highlight for me was when she stumbled out of the guest bathroom and sat down on the dining room chair, starring at me as I mumbled my story to her, moaning in agony. She wasn't hearing me. The lights seemed on but nobody was home. With no warning, her eyes roll back into her head and she faints into the wall, and starts to do the 'fish', slumped over almost upside down against the wall. I freak, jump to life which to this day is amazing to me because I was near death. Adrenaline does wonders! I grabbed her and pulled her up yelling at her to wake up and shaking her. I realize she is gaging on her vomit and wont open her mouth. Her fricken jaws are locked shut, I mean tight as a drum and I cant pry them open. I tell you, my world began to spiral, and finally she came to and allowed me to force open her mouth, thus relieving the issue at hand. After which the poor woman layed down on the carpet and didn't move for a couple of hours. In fact, we would both find ourselves not moving for hours, many times through that long, painful and unbelievable day. And amongst it all.....the village idiot calls. I am relieved from the job! Now she cant afford to finish it...so she claims, but what do I care. She just saved me from having to back out! Sick, weak, and wanting to just end it all....I am elated. For a brief fleeting moment, I feel full of life....relieved.
This was Saturday morning. Tonight is Monday night. We are finally eating normal and feeling close to 100% better. It was nasty. It was a very nasty, and frustrating event, but we pulled through. Since Saturday, during my brief fleeting moment of elation of being relieved from the hell job, I have received a total of 8 phone calls from this kook, mind you I am sick sick sick each call, and I ignore them all. Then finally, I return the 9th call this morning. She starts in on me again. I had had it. I was really at the end of my rope with her. You layed me off I remind her. To make it precisely clear, with no room for misunderstandings, I told her I would refund her the deposit for my labor (1/4 of the total labor cost), and that our business relationship would be done. Forever I said. You see, I lost my ass on this whole thing literally. I put in a full day and a half of labor (spread over the 3 days) and lost it all. But what I really did was I bought my freedom. You see, I paid her to get out of my life forever. It is so worth it to have this psychotic loon out of my life! Now she has absolutely no reason to ever call me again, and I no reason to return any calls or answer should she feel compelled. It is a worthy investment if you ask me. So I have healed in two ways tonight. Relief! Because the difference to me between hugging a toilet amongst 'see food' and working for a bag of nuts....well, it really isn't much of a difference really! Stay tuned. Oh, there is more to come.