Fish Out Of Water: A Mom’s Perspective On Household Renovations

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Let’s start off by saying that if these in the above title mentioned professions were female-dominated, I wouldn’t even be writing this today. But, alas, it’s not. This is one of few career areas overran with men, bitter over the lack of determinant successes of manhood in their lives. They never won the hot girl, never made it through college or got that spectacular job of their dreams, and they never made a solid name for themselves out in the world, receiving accolades and fame in return. These are the Chihuahuas of men- suffering incessantly from Big Dog Syndrome, and there’s enough testosterone flowing amongst their kind to fuel the entire NFL for the entirety of a season. If only they looked like some of those NFL players… well, if that were the case then, I probably wouldn’t be writing this either, because, duh, eyecandy. I can bet my life that I would be too busy swooning to pay heed to anything else they were doing, therefore having no material for which to write this piece.

Alas, when it does become necessary to call upon the household maintenances service industry, you’re typically in a vulnerable, stressed-to-the-max type situation. The kind where the need outweighs the likability, because affordability matters more than personality, leaving you with a 70-30 chance that you’ll end up with an arrogantly detestable jerkoff showing up to do the bidding. It’s hard to pick off the good guys from the bad guys, but it doesn’t even matter anyhow. First off, the guy who shows up to hook the contract has mastered the sales act and can pitch you into his company’s reliability and proficiency with ease, earning him the title: The Hooker. Secondly, The Hooker is rarely involved with the actual work crew sent out to do the job. The guys that do actually show up… welp, they’re not the same sickly sweet pillow talker that showed up to manipulate your perception of the company, that’s for sure. These dudes are rough and burly looking, and they all show up sporting the ever-so-popular and not-so attractive plumbers crack, regardless of which fix-it profession they are from. From the smells seeping from under the heavy layer of Old Spice body spray, it’s apparent that beer is more of a priority than properly fitting pants and a belt. The stench of last night’s after-work destressing wafts through the air, stinging nostrils and watering eyes, whenever you get within a 3 foot radius of their presence, souring your own mood quickly. The relief you felt upon seeing the caravan of company vehicles show up is deflated with your dying for fresh air lungs. Have you ever wondered why they leave so much stuff in their trucks so they’re continuously going in and out of your home? The only decency you’ll soon find out that they show is to let those beer farts rip outside. Damn whatever circumstance left me in this position! Why did I think this company would be a good choice?! Was I smoking something I didn’t know about or what!?

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"...they all show up sporting the ever-so-popular and not-so attractive plumbers crack"

Once you’ve chosen the right company based on The Hooker who falsely misrepresented the company with his opening act, the scheduling song and dance routine begins. They know you’re eager and anxious to have this work done. They know you’re having an emergency of some sort. And they definitely know you’re not thinking about your everyday obligations, taking into consideration what’s really a priority to you. Let’s face it. In this day and age, everything has been invented and designed for human convenience, and what we consider drastically emergent circumstances (not involving our health) are really only slight inconveniences of modern living. A temporary lapse of benevolent luxuries that may infringe upon the comforts we’ve become spoiled rotten by. And these companies kindly prey on that fact. They’ll never be available same or next day, unless you pay a extravagantly higher rate. They’ll give you a four hour block time frame on the day you agree upon after some lawyer-enviable skilled level of negotiations, to which your frenzied brain will latch onto as the time frame services will be completed between instead of the arrival guesstimate it is. In the end, this will come back to bite you in the butt because you’ll undoubtedly end up screwing up something in your schedule. How don’t they get that I have a life, too? I’ve got a husband and kids that I need to account for and our lives are on hold over this house issue! This is insufferable, donchya know!?!

Finally, after just several days (out of your entire lifetime) that feel comparable to like hell on earth, the day of the job arrives. Those dreadfully stanking, fresh-out-of-prison looking guys come barreling into your house, with just enough manners and social etiquette to keep you from slamming the door in their faces, running off screaming in terror, and calling the police claiming you’re being invaded by inmate escapees on the loose. They grunt incoherently, purposely using technical shorthand to explain away what they’re doing as they go, done so you can’t follow along enough to fully understand what they’re saying about the job at hand. It’s a trick just so you’ll leave them do their work in peace, since the human brain equates use of technical terms with exponential knowledge of the situation in question. Once they’ve falsely satisfied your concerns over their capabilities with the familiar bait used originality by The Hooker. You’ve been had- hook, line, and sinker and now you’re a fish out of water, left to suffer the fate of this repair expenditure with all the other tuna plated before you, hoping the outcome is reflective of the stench of the guys doing the work. Dear God, I really pray they know what they’re doing because I can’t afford another dime, not even to sue them! Please let all the recommendations hold true. Please, please, please!

At this point, these guys have also completely taken over your home, while you’re left flipping, flapping, and flopping around out of your comfort level. There’s no where to go within your personal domain to escape, because you need to be available for any navigational confusion through the course of the repair, or the twenty billion ridiculous questions they’ll ask you, because they’re not sure what your problem with the problem even is, as if you shouldn’t be bothered by whatever’s gone awry. The Hookers only pass along the very basic details of the problem to these guys, so every special circumstance regarding the structure of your home, detailed description of happenings resulting in the problem, tour of access points, and other necessary spiels, have to be gone over, yet again. Every where you turn, there’s something in your way, out of place, or unfamiliar in one familiar surroundings. You feel like a stranger in your own home, uncomfortable now where you were snuggled up with your cup of coffee in your favorite cozy spot just moments before their arrival.

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Heaven forbid you have any young children in the home during any type of renovation or major repair. They’re magnetically drawn to the disruptive happenings, immensely curious over the chaos unfolding in their world. Toolboxes, carelessly strewn up and down the hallway, become treasure chests that must be opened and contents discovered. The workers must be personally greeted and acknowledge in return by the true CEO’s running the show here, or else… Or else those same little people in charge also expect to park their behinds right in the middle of work site, to carefully monitor the business they have no business being involved with. They can’t even wipe their own butts clean, let alone express themselves verbally without using 50 shades of Whinnese, yet they think they belong hands-on involved with repairing the structural aspects of your home. Hell to the NO! Get outta here with that craziness. It’s NOT gonna happen. I’m telling you if you even think about going over there and bothering those workers, you’ll be real sorry! And now that you’ve fired the free child labor, you’re going to pay the price, not them. For now, you’re all entitled to a free concert of The Song Of My People performed by none other than your newly unemployed uterus reject.

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" . Toolboxes, carelessly strewn up and down the hallway, become treasure chests"

As you find your way through all the parts, tools, and supplies dumped along the pathway leading from the entry of your home to the epicenter of the chaos, the irritation over this glitch in modern conveniences entitlement begins to boil over. How dare this house break and cause us to be put out, even only momentarily? I shouldn’t have to suffer like this, dammit! It’s absurd to think humans used to live any other way. How did they survive? No wonder kids died so often, I’d be killing mine off, too if I had to live without electricity and the internet. And my washing machine and sewer system, too, since my toddler just took a dump in her pants while fascinated watching these plumber cracks bang some tools around. From this point forward, the barbarians start to feel like the invaders you almost thought they were, and you just want to call the whole deal off and send them packing. You absolutely don’t want to go another minute without the luxuries of living in the twenty-first century, though, either. Pacing around, keeping an eye on the progress being made while keeping back the miniature forces of destruction wanting to help, your nerves are so overly-heightened that you feel like your head is actually about to explode with rage. It’s a fight for control to maintain a reasonable air of nice home owner when the crew announces that they have to get more supplies of some sort to finish the job. Or even worse yet- announce that the job is much bigger than originally estimated and will require a second repair to complete the first. Why must it be so complicated? I just want my territory back! I’m suffocating within the walls of my home, just like a fish out of water. Life sucks so bad! I can’t take anymore of this!

That’s exactly the moment when it will dawn on you, the lightbulb above your head going on and all. You were supposed to pick up prescriptions for your husband before the pharmacy closed that he really needs for his allergies to prevent him from turning into a giant tomato since you have 3 cats. Cats he’s kind of allergic to and can’t tolerate without his magic pill. You were also supposed to bake cookies for the middle-kid’s classroom pizza party tomorrow. Now your car’s blocked in by trucks and vans galore, and even if it wasn’t, you’re obligated to be in your home with these workers until they finish. Of course, you can’t bake those cookies either. If your kitchen isn’t the target of the fixing, your water-gas-electric-fuses are still shut off, preventing any kind of normal household activities from going on because us humans are way to dependent on the combination of these things to live happily and comfortably. You’re seriously blowing your lid inside, mad at the situation, and not yourself because we’re never to blame, for not thinking through the entirety of the situation and planning ahead better. Slamming cabinet doors and kicking laundry baskets is extremely therapeutic at this point. It also is a forewarning to the repair dudes to quickly finish up the job without getting under your feet again. This is also when your young vocal prodigies decide they no longer can contain their boredom and start getting under the worker’s feet again, who have no patience for anyone else’s kids and get snippy with them about backing off. Now I know exactly where the cartoonist’s who came up with Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry got all of those steam-blowing through orifices and blood boiling until they explode into the air like a deflated balloon ideas from! Imagine that, because it’s. about. to. go. down! Ahhhhhh! Give me my normalcy back, right this instant!

For the remainder of the job, you consider tying up your kids in a closet somewhere while drinking a pint of your hardest liquor straight while crying in the bathroom. Every hammering sound reverberates through your bones like a chisel carving away your emergency stores of patience and composure. You start making hit lists for everyone involved in any negative situation of your lifetime, because taking revenge against everything that played the most minuscule part in landing you in this hell would feel so good. Bribery in every possible form is crucial for clinging onto what teeny bit of sanity remains. All of the popsicles, cookies, and candy you can find are thrown to those monsters of shared DNA to keep the damage control at a minimum. Just before implosion is about to begin count down, the worker’s inform you that they’re ready to clean up and get out. The sigh that results can be felt like a low-rumble for hundreds of miles, like the aftershock of an earthquake. It’ll only be short-lived as you come to realize that true to their male counterpart- your husband, they have a totally different concept of what cleanup means than you do. All the while, your hoodlums are running off with the stay tools, trying to prevent their fascinating new source of entertainment and torture against mom, from leaving. They’d sell you out through a trade in a heartbeat, with no regrets over the switch in parents until someone needed a cuddle or booboo kissed. By the time your door is closed, the caravan is gone, and your house is once again yours, you’ll be so exhausted, you won’t even care about your renewed comforts of convenience and go about the rest of the night without using them. You’ll order in dinner and head everyone straight off to bed, without a bath for the third night in the row. You’ll skip the movie before bed even, because sleep is just too tempting after such a tough day.

And it’s all right. No one’s going to die without home-cooked meals, a hot shower, charging their gizmos and gadgets, or having tv and computer time for just one more night. Tomorrow, waking up, life will be waiting to go on, like this glitch never even happened… a fish happily swimming back in it’s bowl again. Thank you, sweet baby jeebus!

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