Adventures in Newlywed Land

June 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

On Saturday, June 13, my husband loving leaned over me, bending close to my ear as I slumbered peacefully, and whispered, “Baby…we have a problem.” As I surfaced from my dream and his face came into focus, I realized this particular problem was serious. Immediately, I had visions of one of the animals puking all over creation, or bleeding, or having gotten into terrible fights with the other animals. I sat up on my elbows and urged him to explain what was wrong. My brain was so focused on the potential problem with the animals that I couldn’t understand him when he said, “It’s raining in the guest room.” It’s raining in the guest room? Even on a good day, that could be confusing, never mind having just awoken from dreams and momentarily panicking over a potential vet visit.

He wasn’t wrong, though. In fact, it was raining in the guest room. The A/C unit had been clogging up for years, and finally on June 13, the drip pan overflowed into the attic and ceiling.

Robert called his parents (our landlords) who had done business with a local refrigeration company, and we got the repair process underway. The A/C guy came out within about an hour of calling him (surprising for a small town on a Saturday morning) and unclogged the unit as well as vacuumed out the water from the attic. It helped a little, but the ceiling was still stained, and there was still some water pooling in part of the ceiling.

Next step: call the ceiling repairman to come and replace the ceiling.

On Monday, June 15, the repairman arrived to get started on the ceiling. Unfortunately, all he could do at the time was offer a consultation. Even more unfortunately, I was the only one at the duplex at the time because my husband had to work (my semester hasn’t begun yet, so I’ve been doing the housewife thing lately). Living where we do, there is a pervasive sense of deferential treatment and good ol’ boy mentality that fails to impress the educated, liberated, self-respecting woman. Call me proud, call me a bitch, but I simply cannot tolerate being treated as “the little wife.” This is how I’ve been treated by most of the painters and repairmen we’ve had recent business dealings with, and it simply fuels my desire to leave. Fortunately, my husband is as fed up with it as I am, so I feel justified and validated in my emotions.

For one reason or another, the repairman was unable to come fix the ceiling until Monday, June 22. We thought. So, rather than work on packing up my old apartment to continue the move, I was stranded at the duplex waiting on the ceiling repairman to come. He never did. He finally did call Monday afternoon (he called Robert) and explained that he had gotten stuck at a job that took longer than anticipated. When he finally arrived on Tuesday morning, he came with two men who spoke little English. That didn’t bother me so much as the moment when he left the duplex with one of the men to go pick up the sheet rock…that…they didn’t bring with them…? He left one of the men in the duplex with me, and this man was the one who only spoke one or two words of English. I felt completely out of the loop and uninformed because our repairman insisted on only speaking with Robert about the plans for the room.

By the end of the day, this was the room’s state:
Before he could spray on the popcorn ceiling, the sheet rock had to dry for a few hours. A few hours became the rest of the day, and they never returned. Once again, I was kept out of the loop and was stranded because I thought they were coming back.

They had planned to return on Wednesday morning, but another job took priority, so we received an apologetic phone call in the afternoon explaining that they weren’t coming out. Fine. At least I was free to run errands and accomplish my own chores. Until I was informed that a plumber was coming out “sometime today” to replace the toilets in the duplex. So…I was stuck again. By the time the plumber left, it was time to go to the grocery store and grab a few more ingredients for a dish I was making for my friends that evening.

This morning, Robert and I were up by 7:30, waiting for the ceiling repairman to come back. He finally arrived around 10, and, as he was preparing to spray the popcorn on the ceiling, realized there was a hole in the hose that was hindering the process. He came out to talk to me (surprise of surprises) and said, “Well…I don’t have something to plug up the hole on my truck, so….” So…? “…so…I’m gonna go check some of these local stores and see if they have something” (local stores = Home Depot, Lowes, Ace…I’m pretty sure they’d have something) “but otherwise I’d have to go back to B—, which would mean I’d get back later today to finish this up. Unless you want me to come back tomorrow.”

I raised one eyebrow at him, smiled, and said, “Oh, no no. That’s fine. Are you telling me you can finish this entire job today?” He said, “Yes ma’am. Or tomorrow.” I shook my head, “Today will be fine.” He shrugged and said, “Oh, well, I don’t want to strand you here all day.” Too late, buck-o. You didn’t seem concerned about that over the past week. I replied, “Don’t worry. I have plenty to keep me busy here today.” Like updating my blog.

The reason I can’t wait until tomorrow is because I really don’t want this job to continue to drag on. My semester begins on Monday for an abbreviated term which is stressful in itself, and I will not be okay with repairs dictating whether or not I can stay in my office for a full day while I grade papers.

Back to the adventure. The repairman went out to the stores to find something to plug up the hole. About an hour later, he returned and was able to spray the ceiling. By that time Robert returned home for lunch, and the repairman seemed relieved because now the man of the house was home and could speak business matters with him. Thank goodness.

Here’s the popcorn ceiling finished. The picture is a little small and it’s difficult to tell that the walls need repainting (notice where the wall meets the ceiling).

Once the popcorn was finished, the repairman came out and asked Robert about payment plans (the in-laws/landlords are taking care of that, thank goodness), and then he said something that hit both mine and Robert’s ears funny.

Repairman: Yeah, so, I guess we’ll be finishing up today. (Left to do: allow the popcorn to dry, and then repaint the walls, closet doors, and trim where there has been damage.)
Robert: That would be great. We really need this to be finished today.
Repairman: Yeah, she said it needed to be finished today, but it could be finished tomorrow.
I just sort of smiled…in a way that Robert can translate to understand that I wasn’t actually smiling.
Robert: Well, I’m working all day for the rest of the week, and she goes back to work on Monday, so we really need you to finish today.
Repairman: Okay, then.

I mean, really. Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but the conversation struck me as so strange. Why emphasize that I requested he finish today? What was he expecting? Did he expect Robert would say, “Oh, she’s just the wife. You can finish tomorrow”?

My final annoyance: when Robert started to leave after his lunch break, the repairman followed after him, turning to me and saying, “Hang on…I have a quick question to ask….” I figured “hang on” was indicative of a promise to return and inform the person staying at the home to wait. I apparently figured incorrectly. He had a conversation with Robert and then left. I had no idea he was gone until, ten minutes later, I looked out the door and saw his truck was gone. I texted my husband to get the details, which he was happy to give me yet surprised I didn’t already know.

Now I am still waiting for the popcorn ceiling to dry so that the repairman can return to repaint the room. We truly hope it will be finished today rather than tomorrow. We have a great deal of work left to do in my old apartment, and I hate to waste the day away just waiting on repairmen who give me very little detailed information on their plans.
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