Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Venter and the Optimist

I just need to vent out these first world problems and I'm hoping I'll feel a little better.


First of all, we have to save up money to do big projects on the house so when we can actually do a big project, to us, it's a big deal.  A really big deal.

So we were very fortunate to check off two projects recently in the midst of everything else that's going on.  1) We replace the decaying, rotting old plywood flooring on the front porch with old fashioned tongue and groove wood panels.  2) We had the exterior of the house painted.

1) The porch.  When we bought the house the porch flooring was that plastic green lawn stuff people sometimes use outside.  When we ripped that up there was plywood.  It wasn't that big of a deal, they were large sheets of plywood except the closer you got to the steps, the pieces got small and it looked a little ghetto.  Still, paint it all glossy black and be done with it, so that's what we did.  And it was fine.  Then it started getting soft in all the smaller plywood areas.  And the paint started to fade and it was like a gray with peeling streaks.  And I could see in the front under the plywood was the old tongue and groove so I thought about it almost every time I saw the front of the house.  I could have had it ripped up and put in decking and it would have not cost much at all.  But, this is downtown and it's historic and what's the point of being here and having a little bungalow in the hood if you aren't going to try to reach for "charming" whenever you can.  So I just left it as long as I could.  Finally it was time, we were going to get the porch done.

And it looked amazing.  Amazing.  Then I asked the handyman to move the giant office armoire for me and bring it to Brian's office.  And right away just like that, there it was a huge scratch in the brand new floor right where you walk in the house.  And then it rained and all the water stayed on the porch.  The handyman forgot to grade it so water runs off.  So now every time it rains we have to sweep the porch.  Right over that scratch.

2) We had the house painted when we bought it.  I picked a historic blue with slight green undertones.  I thought it was really pretty, blended with the yellow house and blended with the neighbor's beige house.  It started peeling off a couple years ago.  The house wasn't properly prepped, more on that later, and so the paint lasted as long as it could (about 3 years) and then it started flaking off.  A little at first but about a year later the house was a mess.  It was so bad our home owners insurer said they would not renew us this June if we didn't have the house painted.  I didn't even know that was a thing.   We were dry from having the porch done so we were hoping to get it done in the Spring.  Then we decided to use some credit we had laying around so Brian started calling for paint quotes.  I got everything from complete refusals to super high quotes with hazmat suits to there's no way your going to paint the house the way it needs to be painted with that kind of quote.  We took that quote.  It was the only one we could afford.  And again, we stressed how the house needed to be prepped but it didn't take long for us to just kiss that dream goodbye.  We were now just going to be happy with a fresh coat of paint.  I think we imagined hours and hours of scraping and sanding - for that to be the main focus and then a quick painting (the house is tiny after all) and be done with it.  There was scraping, don't get me wrong but nothing like what we wanted and it was clear, you know... you get what you pay for.

But no bother.  It's STILL going to be a huge improvement.  Also, I was plain tired of this blue color.  What once seemed almost faintly aqua was now just steel blue gray and dirty.  I just didn't like it anymore.  I was pinning photos of houses that were painted aqua and that's what I wanted.  I live in a beach town, in a historic neighborhood, if there's ever going to be a time to go aqua, this was it.  So I went for it.  I didn't even try to go subtle.  I painted huge swatches on the back porch but you just can't get a sense of a color until you see it on one complete side.  And when the day came when they painted the first full side, I went into full on panic mode.  What have I done.  And Brian's like, I like it, but change it if you want to.  The painter said I could change the color for $350 more.  That's not a lot of money.  Except, it is.  It's a car seat and a changing table, two things I still really need for fostering.  I did what any girl would do in this circumstance, I called my mom and she came over.  She said she liked it.  Well, okay, maybe it's just me then.  I guess we'll go for it.

After two more days of painting my mom wavered just slightly, she probably doesn't even know she did it, but I spent the night venting to Brian about it, how it's too late now, I could have changed it but now I can't and I FUCKING KNEW IT WAS TOO BRIGHT!

Brian did what he does best which is calm me down with logical thoughts and then I was fine again.  I don't know how he does it, I really don't.  I wish I could do that to myself.  I guess that's what marriage is for. 

So the color isn't even the issue anymore.  I still think it's too bright but I chose too bright, I knew what I was doing, and once the bright white trim went up it looked downright cute.  This is the issue.  The painter guy, who is not our handyman (he didn't want to paint the house because he knew about the scraping and he's way smarter than all of us), took like 6 weeks to paint the house.  All together maybe 32 hours of actual work.  He used every excuse in the book and then it's like one day he decided he was finishing this house.  (Brian of course says he got to a point where he needed money).  Yesterday he knocked on the door at 1:30 and was all, "I'm going to be done today at 4, so can I get my check from you at that time?"  And I'm like thinking dude, you have at least 2 days of work here and by your time, you have like a couple more weeks.  But I'll text Brian.  And Brian came home and we walked around the house and he was so sure he was going to finish and there was a lot left to be done.  But Brian got the check ready for him to pick up at his office.

It was 4:56 when he knocked on the door and asked me if I would call Brian and have him run to the bank.


I tell him, it's 4:56 and the bank closes in 4 minutes. 

He says, (I swear to god) "Isn't the bank just a block from his office?"

I say, "No, it's like 2 blocks and the bank closes in 4 minutes."

Then he starts arguing with me over what time the bank closes, then says, "Fine, I'll just take it to my bank," and gruffs away.

After that exchange I look up on my phone and the bank closes at 5.  And my husband can't run errands for you he's an attorney.

It was like 60 degrees and sunny yesterday but the temperature began falling around that time and would end up raining and like 20 degrees last night.  It was getting dark because it was starting to drizzle after gruffy-pants gets mad at me.  I hear them slamming around the porch swing on the porch hanging it back up collecting all their stuff.   Finally he leaves and I go out on the porch and turn around and come back inside to get my stepstool and spend the next 20 minutes trying to rehang my porch swing properly, it was cocked to the side like 4 inches higher on one side. 

But the biggest problem is the drips.  All over the front porch, all over the back deck.  It's a mess, it's a crazy mess.  Brian had to calm me down again when he got home last night.  I tried going out to scrub it today but it's crazy cold and all my cold weather clothes are my good clothes, not clean dried latex paint with hot water and bleach clothes.  I put on a ridiculous ensemble to try to clean the back porch and I had a little luck but I got cold and a huge splinter.  I got half way across and it was the less drippy half.

I'm just so tired of having some work done on the house that costs a lot of money and means such a big deal and something ruins it.  I can't enjoy my new porch because of the GIANT scratch in the floor.  Now I can't enjoy my newly painted house because of paint drips all over the same brand new porch and the back deck (and the air conditioner).  I also found areas where he didn't finish painting because he was rushing and not giving himself enough time.  I'm just so upset.  I want it fixed.  If I have to fix it fine but I can't fix it when it's 30 degrees outside.  I'm just so mad about it.  Who uses drop cloths and spills paint everywhere?  I drip paint all the time when I paint because I don't use drop cloths.  But I fix my shit.  I fix my shit.

Brian's like, "I think the house looks good.  This is not a big deal."  Ever the optimist.


  1. Call the painter and ask him to come out to fix the things that are not right - at the very least he needs to finish the areas that are unpainted. If no response, write a snail mail letter. Then go to the BBB if he doesn't comply plus post your experience on Yelp and Angie's List (or whatever equivalent you might have locally). Not acceptable and no one else should have to suffer the same fate. He said he would paint your house for whatever quote he gave you and he didn't finish the job: this is not OK.

    And whatever happened to taking pride in your work and craftsmanship? Even if you're the discount painter guy, take some pride in what you do, man!

    1. I'm always surprised by the lack of pride craftsmen take in their work. They are artist's with purpose, and I often envy their skills. This guy isn't exactly in the BBB. He's a guy in the neighborhood with an obvious drinking problem. We knew what we were getting into, he did some work in Brian's conference room last year. He told me he would come back if he could find some black paint or if I could get him some but he's paid now and it's very cold, so I'm sure his memory will escape him. I think Brian's going to call him after this cold snap. He needs floor paint though, I'm afraid he'll use the wrong paint.