Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Apartment That Ate My Time

I had big plans to participate in the Vintage Bazaar which is happening this coming Sunday, 8/22 from 12-7pm at Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee. But, unfortunately, I’ve had to cancel at the last minute.

This crazy apartment re-model and impending move just has us totally overwhelmed. We are splitting the cost with our landlord and therefore we are very much involved in the process.

You’d think that having someone else paint and refinish the floors would actually relieve some of the pressure. But that has not been the case entirely. Sure, we didn’t have to actually paint, but we definitely had the pain. Finding the workmen, getting the estimates and overseeing the jobs takes up time. Mostly in piddly little bits which eat big holes out of your day. And worry. Worry takes up a lot of psychic energy which interferes with ongoing daily life, and I am a big worrier without a doubt. Can’t change that at my age, though.

The floor people were great, and in the end all I had to do after they were done was some minor clean-up. And the new floors are worth the money. I can recommend Peters Wood Refinishing here in Chicago.
Floor refinish LR facing east

The painter was another story. While he did an OK job in the end, he was a complainer all the way. Every time he was asked to fix something he slopped up, no matter how nicely I approached him, I got constant talk back and a million bizarre reasons why nothing was his fault.

The thing is, he underestimated the time and the cost of the job, so he got resentful half way through and he really wanted to give it all a lick and a promise and just skip out. I do understand that some people are desperate for work these days, what with the downturn in the building trades right now. But no matter how desperate you are, do not underestimate what you are really willing to accept for a job. And if you do, just do the damned job and learn from your mistake, already. Don’t take it out on me, please. I could never recommend him for other work as a result of this bad experience. And, I really resent the loss of time and energy that dealing with him took from me.
dining room

There are a lot of other details to see to as well. Again, all piddly little stuff, but time consuming in bits and pieces and always requiring yet another trip to hardware store because something was forgotten. We got new blinds, some new switch plates, cleaned all the cieling fans and lights, windows, floor grates, etc. We fixed the door knobs, found and installed new cabinet locks. I'll try to put up a little how to soon on cleaning brass grates and on making new cabinet knobs look old.

We had to find bathroom vanity and sink we could afford and have it installed.(Man, those things are expensive! As are plumbers.) We removed and replaced baseboards. We still have to seal grout in the bathroom, replace the mirror and put all the fixtures back in place.Like I said...piddly, diddly stuff.

The big DIY moment for us will be finding and installing some sort of cheap but decent looking tile or linoleum solution for the back porch floor, and then installing wainscotting on the porch, but not until we determine if some partial drywall needs to be replaced due to a previous problem.
Porch w beadboard waiting for install

Then there is The Kitchen. We started from scratch in the kitchen. So I’ve had to learn to be a kitchen designer, layout artist and contractor. After exploring kitchen options at both Home Depot and at IKEA, I decided IKEA was the best option for us, cost-wise.

Designing a new kitchen in the most efficient and cost effective way for that small space, and figuring out how it would all fit took the most time of all. I had to do it in InDesign because the IKEA software was not compatible with my Mac. Now, I understand IKEA has a new web based system which should be better for future users. The kitchen install will be soon, but not before the plumber and the electrician get done. If you move the placement of sinks and stoves, you inevitably will have to move some of the utilities around. That is being done this week.

Of course, this all messes mightily with our getting our business done, so that is suffering as well. We squeeze it in whenever we can. Not a good thing when you are bleeding money.

Oh, and did I mention that in the midst of all of this we actually have to pack and move? Even if it is just downstairs we can’t avoid packing up everything, although we have been trying really hard to avoid it.

So these are all my excuses as to why we will not be exhibiting at the Vintage Bazaar this time. But please do go and support Katherine and Libby’s efforts. They did a great job with the Spring show at the Dank Haus, and I am sure this one will be even better. We hope to find a little time to drop in just to shop if we can.

No comments: