Tradesmen, spoiled Tradesmen!

Not so many years ago,before the housing boom in our resort area that changed the market forever, I chanced to have a conversation with a car salesman who had changed to that career after a failed one as a painter. He was bitter about the lack of work for tradespeople and told me that in his opinion Nurses were grossly overpaid for what they do and that painters are undervalued. I asked him if, when was needing emergency services he would call a painter or a Nurse. He remained non-plussed. I remember him well as the degree of annoyance in him was so strong.

Here we are 5 years later. Waterfront property here has gone from affordable to a working couple to out of reach to all but the very rich. The big boom has brought tradesman from all over, cashing in on high end clients and all the fancy things they need/want/desire. It is almost impossible these days to find a simple handyman to do light repairs. The waiting lists for small jobs are frightful as mega-projects take most of the skilled workers. It is even worse to find a painter.
How do I know?

In my ignorance, I called for a painter to come and start painting my ceilings as I was still patching and sanding most walls. This was, apparantly, a bad thing I was doing. Imagine my foolishness, saving someone else work of the grunt variety. The first painter told me he would not consider starting the job until the house was completely clean. No ceilings, no nothing. He was pretty shirty about the whole thing, causing me to loose my cool and tell him that in my work, I work within the client's parameters, and try to be as flexible as possible. Since my home was 99% empty and the downstairs was ready to go, I failed to see the wisdom of his argument.

The second painter was delighted to tell me that he was available at very short notice. He would charge me $1.50 a square foot for my ceilings, and $1.00 a square foot for each coat on the walls. Naturally, my walls required a minimum of two coats. I was willing to give it a try but wanted a better price, so I asked him to come by and see things. I sent my father to deal with him. This, was a grievous error. The two of them spent the visit horrified by the state of things. They spent alot of time in the junior members bedroom comparing horrified looks over the number of holes being patched and the basic injustice of anyone requiring a closet the size of hers. Bad bad move on my part. Once my father called me with the details of their shock and disappointment and how he had to talk the painter round to even wanting to paint..... I lost my cool once again. I am doing the patching, sanding and washing of walls. All the painter has to do is paint. Is this too much to ask? For 954 square feet of square rooms, and only the living room and dining room ceiling to do, it still would come to over $2600 for about 2.5 days work.

My father was very clear. The cleaning had to take precedence. I was even clearer. I am working night and day, spending all my off hours cleaning and sanding. Of course it's a mess with all that dust flying around. Once I finish it magically people will notice. In the meantime my hundred hours of work go unsung.

After my little hissy fit my father called me again to tell me that Joe, the very kind man who has been of great help to me over the move, would paint for me. Did I hiss moan or act up? No. I was delighted. I am very happy to pay Joe whatever he wants for painting my little condo. He at least works and does his work uncomplainingly.

My flooring installer was laughing at me when I made a face aa painters were mentioned. "Spoiled rotten tradesmen", he said, "They only want the gravy jobs, not the actual work."

Amen, brother Al. Amen.

Al, the flooring installer, not only removed the old dance floor, but cleaned and cleared and reinstalled the high end laminate in 2 and a bit days. He even cut a remnant for that massive closet and matched up my parquet in an alcove. He is not just any flooring installer. Al is the best. I am so grateful. Good people still exist. Al does the same job for me as he does on millionaires row. He is an excellent man indeed. When times are good and when times are bad, Al is steady and constant. Thank you Al.

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“Relationships of trust depend on our willingness to look not only to our own interests, but also the interests of others.”
Peter Farquharson


Details. Pesky, annoying details....

Ohhh moving is not for the faint of heart. It isn't even for the stout of heart. It is a necessary evil. Alas alas.

I am the third of three girls in my family of birth. My eldest sister shares only one trait with my second sister- a distain for silver, crystal and china. Being the third, I expected nothing at all from my mother in the way of heirlooms. Mother was always very vocal about lines of succession. It wasn't me. Naturally, I took a job at Canada's finest retailer of all things high-end and got myself possessed of the best I could afford, and even alot I could not afford of sterling silver dinnerware, teasets and fine bone china.

After my Mother passed away, my father remarried in a fit of loneliness. He was taken for a ride by the biggest poser I ever had the misfortune to meet. The only person she fooled was my father, and that for a mere year. As this person slowly but surely displaced my father from his waterfront home, every single thing that reminded her of the prior resident was removed or relegated to storage. Imagine my surprize when my father showed up at my door with two huge tubs on a dolly.
In the tubs was my mothers entire set of Royal Albert China in the "Brigadoon" pattern. 16 place settings and every other service piece available. My father told me that he had indulged my mother in this purchase as it reflected her pride in her scottish heritage. He had ordered and paid for all the china, and now that his new wife was installed with her own china, he had to pass it on. "Your sisters don't care about this sort of thing" he said "And I know you will use it and enjoy it."
Damned straight Dad.

My younger brother had received our Grandmother's Royal Worchester china which was her "good set." In a moment of self-reflection he called me to say that he would never use it and wanted it to go down the family line. He then told me that he was sending it, and the oak china cabinet it was displayed in over to my place. 954 square feet with a dining room 9 by 9. Around the same time Lady Di called me to say that much as she had appreciated using my Heintzmann piano, it was time for it to return to my nest. 9 by 9 dining room - upright grand piano, and china for days.
I had a floor to ceiling china cabinet installed. It was made to match my floor to ceiling bookcases that took up the entire living room long wall. I absolutely adored my cozy condo. It looked like a million dollars to me. Alas we do not all share the same tastes.

To sell my condo, it seems it was necessary to remove all the dark wood built-ins. Cabinets went the way of the dodo. This is where Joe came in. He removed the 8 foot highh book shelves. I had no way to transport them anywhere and Joe very kindly offered to give them to his son-in-law. This was a true kindness as I had no usable wall in the new place for them, and was going to call a removal service. In return for the book shelves, his son-in-law wired in my washer/dryer in the new place, adding a fuse to the breaker panel. A good trade. Joe also found someone to transport my beautiful washer/drier combo to the new place and swap over the ones resident there. This cost $100. My father tipped the guys $40 for the inconvenience of having to navigate two steep flights of stairs. A very good deal.

Now all that I loved was gone from my olde home. Next up was the dance floor which apparantly would stop any sensible buyer from buying. No one but us dances I suppose. And my colourful halls and bathroom had to be beige-i-fied. All traces of me have been expunged. This clearly means that my condo will sell instantly.

Please God.

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“There is no man, however wise, who has not at some period of his youth said things, or lived in a way the consciousness of which is so unpleasant to him in later life that he would gladly, if he could, expunge it from his memory.”
Marcel Proust


A Shocker!

It was over my morning breakfast at ye A & W that I spied in the local paper an obituary for a fellow that I once knew rather well.

Rob Slater was in the crowd I hung with around the turn of the century. (Does that not sound like ancient times?) He was very cute and cuddly and incredibly funny. I had a bit of a crush on him and I thought he had one on me as well. Turned out he had pegged me for his father who was in his later 80s..... Rob Senior was a hell of a man as well, but 40 years too old for me. I still remember sitting in their home, polishing trophies that once belonged to Rob Sr.'s wife, and, thinking I misheard, asked him to repeat himself. No, I had not misheard. Later the same day, Rob Jr. asked me if he could call me Mom. I was not insulted, just blown away, as it was outside of my realm of probability. Rob Jr. took after his father- he was interested in 20 somethings not 30 and 40 somethings.

Aside from that awkward moment, I enjoyed alot of happy times in Rob's company. I knew he had suffered from some inner turmoils and had demons that were not yet tamed, but I believed he had conquered the main ones. Rob went into a welding program and became a very proficient tradesman, but never quite got past whatever demon lingered. Now that is all moot as he is gone from the body.

It is never a good time to hear of the death of a friend.
I wish you well in the sweet hereafter friend.
Rest in peace.

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“Anyone desperate enough for suicide...should be desperate enough to go to creative extremes to solve problems: elope at midnight, stow away on the boat to New Zealand and start over, do what they always wanted to do but were afraid to try.”
Richard Bach


Blessed am I.

My oh my what a difference a week makes.
Somewhat overwhelmed by the minutae of the endstages of moving, I found myself hoping for easier work on the regular job. To my sorrow, I got my wish. Sorrow, because it has come at the price of many farewells from people I was not yet ready to let go.

My dear Danish lady is on the waitlist in the supersonic fast lane. It is not her desire, but in truth she has met all criteria for extended care placement for over 2 years. Keeping her independant in her own home has been difficult for her children. They are tired, she is tired, and it is time for a change. I know that she will not thrive in the facility atmosphere and likely will sicken and die within the year. Still, what other option is there?

Two more of my regular clients have been sent to extended care on a permanent placement and a third is being re-assessed this coming week. -sigh- My hours will filled in with newer long-term clients and one or two palliative care clients. One gentleman in particular bears special mention as he most definitly allowed me in his home on sufferance. Grace, grace, I am always striving for grace.

How wonderful it was to have one of my clients tell me that her feedback from the residents of the building where I do my second job are happy with my appearance on the scene. "They love you" she said. As long as they tolerate me with a modicum of decorum I am happy. I get to dress up and wear jewellry, and make-up. I get to assume the title of Manageress. I get to zip around with the teenage servers inhaling their energy and enjoying their company.

I am truly blessed by all these things.
It is a good life.

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.”
Mahatma Gandhi


Almost done.... almost almost

It seems to me that I have said this before: "I am almost done."
Who knew that once stripped of it's furniture, my cozy condo would look so darned drab and dowdy. Not only do I have to repaint the whole thing, which I had counted on, but I also have to replace the floors downstairs. yes, REPLACE.

When someone in the household was a career dancer it made sense to have a sprung living room floor. Perhaps it was not installed to perfection, but it was serviceable. Well, it has to go before we can resell.


Otherwise - my library shelves, the custom made floor to ceiling, room long ones, were yesterday's casualty. Gone gone gone.

-- sigh
---------- *

“How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within if only we would listen to it, that tells us certainly when to go forth into the unknown.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Almost done.

Almost done is like almost pregnant.



Not about work ---

This last week I was completely honest with someone I love.
It was misinterpreted and brought pain. Sadly, as it turns out, I was better at hiding my thoughts and emotions back then than I ever would have believed.

My life has been charmed. I have had alot of loss and more than my share of humbling circumstance, but it all served to make me strong. I know my limitations and work within them - no exceptions. When I was a young woman I would eat nails before I would admit defeat. I flailed and raged against life with the usual result.
In my case, only time could help me. I learned, eventually, and it was age bringing wisdom, nothing else.

My life is a happy one. I am very content. I have all that I desire and more. The sole chink in my armour is romance. It has not been my forte. I have loved and been loved in return, enjoyed happy relationships and had a child, the source of my endless joy, but a life partner has eluded me.

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The heart is the place where we live our passions. It is frail and easily broken, but wonderfully resilient. There is no point in trying to deceive the heart. It depends upon our honesty for its survival.

~ by Leo Buscaglia (Born For Love) ~

There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.
~ by George Sand ~

Love is an act of endless forgiveness
A tender look which becomes a habit.

~ by Peter Ustinov ~

Once long ago, I met the man who was my soul mate. At the time, my latest romance had ground to a weird chaotic halt when my boyfriend was arrested in another province. The nature of the crime was drugs, and the number and seriousness of the charges were staggering. This was mind-boggling to such as me, who never successfully did drugs, nor knew that my boyfriend did. To find out he was not merely a user, which was shocking enough, but a dealer, was such a blow to my system, my mind literally shut down. I found I could not process this event. I too was halted.

During this time, my soul mate was available. He was there and willing, and I, I was at an utter loss over where I was going and what I was doing. I was stuck. I told him to go out and date and get dating out of his system. He met a woman who was in the market for a man and they were living together within months. I gave up on him.

It went on in this dysfunctional manner culminating in my pregnancy. I never admitted to anything but sheer joy where that was concerned. In truth, I cried for 2 weeks on the shoulder of a wiser woman. I put down my guitar, and took up motherhood. I did it well. It is one of the two things of true importance that I have done in my life.

As to romance:
Carnage everywhere.
I completely stink at romance.

-and- Even Better!

Here we are in week 2 of my new job.

Better and better, as it unfolds. I have all the names down, and I am getting better at the portion sizes and the "specials." Last night was hard as I was focused on what I had to do today. Really stupid, I know, but there it is. Tonight was overbooked, and I had 43 people to serve. The servers are high school students who are twice as fast and ten times as knowlegable as I am, but that ratio will change as I improve. Tonight I bargained away their vacuuming for extra help serving. I think I got the better end of the stick as it flowed beautifully. Without them, I would sink like the Titanic - break in two and descend to the inky depths. It is integral during a learning period that your staff move and flow strengthening you. I am strong. They are strong. All is well.

The other part of my life, the move part is almost at an end. Come hell or high water my cozy condo must go on the market this Friday. This week will be one of cleaning and painting. I can do it.



Even Better - - -

OH happy day!
Tonight went yet more smoothly and easily on job 2.
I absolutely love it.

Job 1 is wonderful and job 2 is so different, complementing each other perfectly.

I have almost all the names done now and most of the substitutions.


I've Got to Admit I'm Getting Better...

Today marked shift #2 on the new job. It was decidedly better than shift #1.
This would be mostly due to my trainer who is most excellent at leading by example.
This most excellent woman has been kind and correct and even "taught me how to google". I was mildly amused but t'was meant in the best of ways.

It is a source of minor irritation to me that I was unable to perform at maximum capacity. In my mind and the moment, I was rather hot and somewhat slower than necessary. In actual fact it was hellaciously hot in the dining room and everyone on staff felt it, including the teenage servers.

The thing that slows me down is the substitution list and the list of people who take various portion sizes. It is not rocket science but the delay in my brain recognition of a new pattern is substantial. Humbling how we learn, but deeply appreciable. I loved the moment when I realized I had almost got one of the big huge things down.

A woman like me who can tend the dying, brave wind and weather on behalf of my clients, meet pyschosis eye to eye and come out alive, hold hands with those meeting eternity and share both the calm and the exciting, daunted by a dining room. Kind of silly, huh.

But damned fun. I love this new job.


Happy First Shift

Today dawned rather too early for me as I had worked until 11pm and had to get up at 7am. It was a good kind of tired. My very first shift at my new second job is in the past now. It was really great. (superlative superlative superlative)!

The first indication that things were going to be wonderful was upon meeting the woman who was training me. She was a little dynamo with a great spirit that shone out from her like a beacon. When working with the elderly this is a huge asset, and this lady had it in spades. She is from MY tribe.

Somewhat less exhuberant was the brain misfire I endured in the middle of serving dinner. I was moving and groovin and right on the money until --=*wham*=-- I lost my momentum and fizzled to a halt. It was not catastrophic as my trainer was there and two servers were buzy zipping about, but it was very humbling. I just have to learn the names to associate with the faces of the 35 residents who come down for dinner. Once I have that down it will be much easier.

The other perk is that I get to have dinner at my job when I work the evening shift!
Last night was salmon with dill sauce, rice and veggies and a parfait for dessert. It was delish! (yum)

Life is wonderful when things lock into place. Click click click.

My piano moves on Friday morning and I clean out my home completely on Monday.
Look out resort town, I am officially there in 5 days.


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Men with secrets tend to be drawn to each other, not becausethey wanttosharewhatthey know but because they need the company of the like-minded, the fellow- afflicted.
—DeLillo, Don



What you think about, you bring about. I have always believed this to be true. My life seems evidence of same. Currently I have what I wished for and am wondering where my brain was when my thoughts were made manifest.

Currently, house 1 is in a shambles - not painted nor packed, but in a complete state of disorder. House 2 is empty-ish except for the very few things I have moved over. The lovely card from the realtor, a few kitchen items, some clothes belonging to the younger version- a towel or three and some soap, that is about it. Now I must plot the ---really--- big move. In the words of the Bubbles Julian & Ricky: Its a shitstorm boys.

Tomorrow I start orientation on job #2. This looks to be pretty much perfect. I love the idea of working in the Village. Excellent!!

Me boyo Nigel was in town again this weekend, hopefully without a certain other person, and I missed him again. Crossed stars.

And now, to pack.

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“Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.”
Dave Mustaine