We’re in the final countdown for moving out of our rental house and despite this having been the date we gave our contractor from day one they’re acting as if it is a complete surprise. Worse, they’re using the fact that they were unable to start on our job for almost three weeks after our drawings were complete to apply pressure on me to make every remaining major decision this week. Which leads me to one of the most important things I would share with anyone considering work on their home:
1. Insist on a list. There is no magic in the way a home is remodeled or built. There are certain steps that occur in the same order every single time. Basics would be: first is demolition to remove what you don’t want. Second, while walls are gone you do any and all work (like plumbing and electrical) that occurs behind those walls. From that point, if you haven’t done a remodel before you may not know what comes next. Floors? Paint? Ordering/buying cabinets? Appliances? Doors? This is supposedly why you hire a contractor. But guess what—they may assume you know what to do when and you may assume they’ll tell you, in a TIMELY manner, what you need. Only one of you will be hurt by this and, big hint…it’s not the contractor. When you sign up with someone one of your must-haves should be a list of what you need to do when. When should you order cabinets? Flooring? When do you need to decide on paint? For every item on your remodel list there should be a time when you need to make a decision. Not a date, because those do shift. Just an order. A list. This is not an unreasonable demand but if you think a contractor will volunteer this info, you’ll end up running around exhausted and angry. Not him.
To be fair, I’m sure I’m stressing our contractor out because it’s a tough relationship no matter what. As you can tell I’m a bit frazzled and I hate the feeling. For most of my adult life I have been a natural at multi-tasking and remodeling a house is the Everest of multi-tasking—not for the faint of heart or rookies. I believed I was up to the challenge. I am so fortunate not to have an office job but I do maintain a book review blog with three reviews a week and all that entails, as well as contributing to another book related website. More importantly though, and what bothers me the most, is that none of these would be enough to slow me down but my multiple sclerosis does and that is far and away the hardest thing for me to deal with. That my body is letting me down and keeping me from doing what I need to. I hate that my brain can’t process multiple things with the speed it used to. I hate that at some point my mental fatigue will be so great I am unable to make the simplest of decisions or even verbalize my thoughts. Simply put, my poor old synapses are fried and the usual rules do not apply. It is not possible to power through and suck it up, try harder. No, there are truly black holes in my brain where a thought (a great thought, of course!) rushes in and can’t get back out. There is so much to be done and it's hard not to hate my weakness.
I also want this blog to be great but am having to accept it's falling by the wayside, which stinks. It feels like one more failure but I'm not giving up. Posts just may come a bit more slowly but, I promise to all the people who have been so supportive about wanting to see this crazy process, I WILL take you all the way through to our finished home. I PROMISE. Until then...