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To clarify, I haven’t sent this to my landladies… I just wish I had the balls to. Which I don’t.

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Dear K & M,

Let me start off by saying that you are both excellent landladies. We truly appreciate your leniency in regards to letting us pretty much have free reign of the house, allowing us to make changes as we see fit. I look forward to the spring, when I can start to bring up new plants from the earth, paint the garage wall, and have birds as regular visitors.

On that note, we are wondering if it would be ok for us to leave all of the trash/wood your contractor has left in our backyard out on the street for him to collect, seeing that he has mentioned that he has a “garbage guy”. We realize that it is a large amount of trash, but we feel it is only fair that he picks up his own waste. There is enough tinder stacked against the garage for a decent bonfire. I would think that he needs at least a truck with an open bed to get this stuff hauled away, rather than his convertible late 80’s-red-style car he always arrives in. The water tank he brought in when we didn’t have hot water was probably about one good bounce away from creating a highway catastrophe.

(side note – I’m pretty sure the “new” water heater he got for this house for a “great deal” is mostly calcified on the inside… we can take a 5 minute shower before the hot H2O runs out… no wonder the stairs to the dugout broke when they installed it – a 265 man on one end, a giant rock of a water heater, and a helper – let’s say 170 pounds as an average… those stair boards that were rotting from the great flood he created back in the day when he let my dogs run free so that I missed a day of work – thank God a friend was called about them – and he had to call in someone to measure the dangerous amounts of mold in the house… *cough*… this guy is spectacular)

Since he has been at our house numerous times without invitation, and has never, ever shown up on the dates or times which he has promised, we feel it is only fair that he hauls away the refuse which is a result of his nincompoopery. Also, this should be an assumed responsibility for ANY contractor, don’t you agree?

For example, we have several doors, many boards with protruding nails, and a large amount of just plain old trash which has been left behind (note – the pack of roofing shingles which adorned our roof for several months). We feel that he, in his capacity as a contractor, should have some type of waste-removal system that does NOT involve us, the tenants, hauling off his waste.

Although we are in no way discriminating against other people, we would like to NOT be the “White/Asian trash” couple on the block due to circumstances beyond our control. We have accomplished a considerable amount of improvement to the front and back yards with the intent of having the house presentable for such functions as back-yard BBQ’s and friendly get-togethers, and we are aware that there is a high volume of traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular, which passes the house regularly, especially in the warmer seasons. We would very much like to have the house look it’s best, even though we are simple renters – not necessarily expertly manicured, but definitely well-maintained. We do honestly feel that our efforts are being circumvented by the remainders of the contractor’s rubbish, and we have neither the capacity nor the will to complete his job for him.

Besides the obvious solicitation for a job which he made to me through the home-building company for which I work (which will never, ever happen), he has managed to interrupt our lives both by not showing up when promised, and also showing up unsolicited. Beyond this, he has sullied our attempts at recycling our compostable waste by adding such things as nails, insulation, and what appears to be steel fibre to our compost bin. He has also managed several times to “fix” things, after which he leaves behind a mess of scrap material for us to pick up.

My favourite parts of his recent “back door reno” when the old door warped to the point that it could not be either shut or locked include the following:

1. purchasing a door which obviously would not fit. I expressed my concern to E well before Christmas that this door was not going to work.

2. leaving said door in our back entry for well over a month and a half

3. promising several dates over a span of two months (including Christmas eve and day) to fix the door, which, of course, he didn’t show up for

4. showing up (finally) and removing the existing door and frame only to discover that… wait for it…

5. the new door does not fit (does he not have a measuring tape?) because it is 4″ taller than the last door

6. “fixing” the problem by leaving our now completely open back entry (oh yes, he did rip out the door and frame before measuring) entirely open for more than 7 hours while he tries to find the appropriate tools to fix the problem – I had to prop the bigger door over the opening because he didn’t think to do so before he left – that was a fun negotiation with me and the wood/nail ridden walk way… thank your lawyer that I have had tetanus shots in the last four years

7. “fixing” the 4″ differential problem by .. wait for it … REMOVING THE HEADER FROM THE DOOR FRAME – part of me hopes that this part of the house collapses… it would be a refreshing “I told you so” moment for me, although it will make letting the dogs out pretty much impossible. Seriously, this dude is asking for a Project Manager job as he is removing structural beams from the house I live in. I rarely succumb to internet abbreviations, but… WTF, dude?

8. returning the next day to install the trim, door knob, etc., meanwhile leaving us exposed during the night with a back door which was secured from invaders and the cold with a sock shoved into the doorknob hole. Mind you, it was a black AND gray sock, so it was probably pretty intimidating to rapists and murderers.

9. again, NOT showing up when he said he would (in the morning), but rather, at 5pm, as E was headed out the door to get groceries for a dinner we were planning to make

10. running an air compressor in our home while we tried to eat delivery pizza in the -25C degree weather and watch TV, because E couldn’t get groceries, and I couldn’t cook, and the rest of the house is now completely inaccessible to us, due to the rubbage, nails, and mess he has managed to spread all over the place (also, thanks to him for having me take the dogs out to the front yard on leashes, which they took as a “walk” rather than a “hey time to poop and pee” thing… that was fun. Also, the wood splinters on my dish cloth and towels, which were used at some point for who-knows-what were wonderful.

10a. Oh yeah, he also managed to invite himself to a caramel from our candy jar, which is in a sealed glass container on a shelf above the fridge. I know this because he left the wrapper on the counter, and neither E or I have eaten a caramel since freaking Halloween. I would give him the whole jar of caramels if he could do his job properly. This guy is NOT spy material.

11. leaving our back entry full of sawdust, old, discoloured rotten wood and mold, and nails/screws for us to clean up

12. the new door is no better than the old door, and still doesn’t shut properly (a good, house-rattling slam does the trick… seriously, it’s like fitting a rectangular object into a parallelogram), and now has no deadbolt… *singsong voice* “Heyyyy Robbers!”

12a. He was kind enough to leave us with the parting words “Hey, I left some silicone in your caulking gun (*note that he had to borrow MY – a girl’s – caulking gun) and you’re going to have to paint a bit.” All E and I could say, with complete glassy and disillusioned stares, was… “K”. All we were thinking was “get the *@##$%^” OUT of our house!”

Thank you again, for responding in a timely matter to our concerns regarding home invasion. However, we strongly recommend finding a contractor who doesn’t think that any washer and dryer are “stackable” (ours certainly weren’t meant to be, which we have remedied – thankfully before the dryer fell off of the washer), that you can lay down linoleum (ugh) flooring without any adhesive – although the bubbles in the bathroom floor are kind of fun to stomp on – or that 2″ screws going through a .75″ wall built in 1910 are an opportunity to hang decorative items on the other side of the wall (whee! Free mounting opportunities!).

Also, ovens should probably not open into the same bank of cabinetry, and we should not be able to see the beautiful night stars through an opening in the ceiling.

But these are just thoughts.

As a suggestion, you would be wise to allow E and myself to purchase the materials for the dog run which was promised before we moved in (which will do wonders in preserving the back yard, which we hope to spend some time in, come spring, and will ultimately benefit your resale value because it will look nice and tended), and install it, rather than having this semi-“pro” do it for us. We would be happy to take on the labour if you will supply the materials, and we would definitely do a better job of it.

VERY sincerely,

Christa (and E, I assume)

PS. Your contractor’s idea of replacing the offset garage doors was to replace them with EXACTLY THE SAME DOORS, only newer, and not painted. Either he is a kind of genius that eludes my grasp of reality, or he is a moron. I’d bet everything I have on the latter. Or, in his words, the “ladder”. Also, those old garage doors are still sitting in the back yard.

PPS. You would be completely within your/our rights to tell him to come and collect all of this crap from all over the yard, and that it was a part of your contract(s) for the work. However, we are willing to do part of the work and amass the refuse into one mighty pile, so that he can collect it all at once, in case he “misses” anything.

 

 

You’ll notice that I occasionally blog a couple of times a day. This is because sometimes I will write something and lose interest. So here is an unpublished piece from a while ago:

Did you ever notice that in older books the word “should” has a different connotation?

“I should have regretted that, had I given in”

“I should have been no worse for the wear, if James had done so…”

“Should you like a tour of the house?”

“I would have thought to marry him, but I was too naive”

“The doctor thought I should die”

etc.

Turns out it is based on vocabulary from the 18-19th century (that’s right, we all lived in the 19th century).

If you look it up, there’s a joke about it:

An Irishman, drowning in a river after the bridge has collapsed under his horse, cries “I will drown and no one shall save me!” An English man on the shore hears him, and takes it as a statement of suicide, because an Irish man should have said “I shall drown because no one will save me!”

Oh, nerdery.

This has been a draft since October!

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Today is my mom’s birthday. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read this blog, but I’ll write for her today whether she likes it or not! 😉 And then, I’ll call her.

When I was a kid, I thought that a person’s favourite colour was pretty indicative of who they were. It didn’t make much difference to me what the shade or tint was, I just categorized them into red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and carefully (my parents being very educational types, and me being ultra receptive in this area)  white and black. (whicharenotreallycoloursIknowbutjustshhhhhhhbecausetheystillcountinaboxofcrayolas)

I went to great pains to decide what my favourite colour was going to be. I abhorred pink, a girly colour that told me all I needed to know about someone who’s favourite colour was a shade of cotton candy. Red was also dismissed for being too masculine, too fire-truck-ish, too Calgary Flames. Yellow was the colour of sick people. Green … well … meh, it was pretty much everyone’s favourite colour, and how awful would it be to be like everyone else? Blue… kinda the same feelings towards it as green…

Now hold it. Purple. Even the name sounds strange. Puuuuuuuurrrrple. THAT’s a colour. Purple. Purple people are weird. They are separate from conventional people… they are royalty, they are twisted, they are ARTISTS.  Purple, I deem thee “Favourite”.

And so my magnificent mother allowed me to sponge-paint my room with purple, rectangular sea-sponge marks over a pink (yeah, I know, but it matched, so shut your face) background. The house was not a favourite of any of our family (who moved pretty frequently), but it was a house that my mum allowed me to let loose in. I painted almost-accurate (but kind of warped) Looney Tunes characters in the room that held our TV.  Maybe it was because she didn’t plan to stay there, or because she didn’t really, ultimately care what was on the walls, or maybe it was because she saw me eying the walls like blank canvasses.. But at the same time, Mum was busily painting the kitchen, the bathroom, the fireplace, and the whole house.

Mum as always been the biggest proponent of colour, and colour change. Every year or so, we’d see mom up on ladders, taping off edges, and freezing rollers full of paint for the second coat. Walls would go from light yellow to black, and then back to a tan. When she couldn’t invest in her home as a solid point on the grid, she made the choice to personalize it with colour. My mum enveloped us with a rainbow.

So, you’ll notice I didn’t mention orange… well, heck… orange is my mum’s favourite colour, so that was immediately a Don’t Pass Go. Like polka dots, which I used to HATE because Mum loved them. Like my hands and feet, which are exactly like Mum’s, and she liked, so I immediately hated… orange was black-barred. Instantly. Unequivocally. Completely. … NO.

My mum likes orange. For her, it is a signal of season – wide swatches of orange cover the mountains in the fall, various shades of orange leaves arch over streets and walkways, drift down and make crunchy carpets. It’s vibrant enough to be alive and grabs attention. When I close my eyes and think of Mum, orange is on the back side of my eyelids.

I still believe in colour as a register of people, but in different degrees;  some people chose to make their homes up of cool whites, a calm, clean environment, and some people like firey reds, bright corals, a dynamic environment. My mother has a thousand different, vibrant, and beautiful personalities splashed across my memory in the form of paint. But mostly, she is orange.