My sister Tia, who was staying with us earlier this week, asked if I was settling into a routine in the new house. By yesterday morning, I realized that the answer is no, because so much of my life is still in boxes and dependent on the actions of others, none of whom are feeling my urgency.
If I were a better person, I imagine I would just roll with the punches and make myself at home in temporary situations, but we should have all figured out by now that I am not this better person who can just roll. Like Lynn.
Lynn is mostly unpacked and has pictures on walls. She probably has a routine, although she would dearly love to have both an exhaust fan and a light over her stove, both of which require a microwave to be installed. She actually is at the point where she feels she would rather just continue using our $50 Walmart microwave on her baking counter and buy a futuristic vent hood with glass, but when I told True Value I wanted to cancel our order, they assured me — not for the first time — that our microwave would arrive that Wednesday.
For once, though, they meant what they said, and the microwave arrived that Wednesday. They opened it and inspected it; when I went to pick it up, they opened it again and had me inspect it. No obvious dents, but I’m waiting for this one to not work once it gets installed and plugged in.
This was, I think, two Wednesdays ago. I waited a week and a half before notifying Dusty because True Value also told me, also not for the first time, that my bathroom vanity would arrive last week. This time, as usual, the store did not mean what it said.
You know, they are nice enough folks at True Value, but I can’t in good conscience recommend them for big ticket household items like appliances. It’s not really the local store’s fault that the microwave showed up dented not once but twice, and late both times, but there are ways to try to mitigate that — suggesting a different model, perhaps, or putting some effort into getting some assistance from your distributor, or even a “sorry it’s taken so long; here’s a $5 gift card for your trouble.”
The bathroom vanity is a whole other bucket of worms. I suppose we can blame me for this one, but all I really wanted was a vanity that looked and functioned like I wanted. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request, especially when the plan is for this to be the last house we’ll ever own.
I didn’t like anything the cabinet store had on offer, particularly, and at the time it seemed like it was going to take too long to get something in (ha! in hindsight). Plus, I was going to pay $250 for shipping alone. So when True Value offered a vanity at half the price with no shipping, supposedly with four drawers like I wanted, that seemed like a no-brainer.
But it turned out the four drawers only come in the higher-height vanity, which we found out when that’s what arrived. And my “natural maple” color was distinctly orange. So then I waited, weeks beyond their promised arrival, for sample doors to see actual colors, and now I am waiting at least one if not two weeks beyond the promised arrival for the vanity itself.
I have a placeholder vanity, and I could have and should have put all my belongings into it in the meantime (that rolling-with-it thing), but everything is still in boxes on the bathroom floor, taking up a ton of real estate. The stupid soft-close feature and the notion that the doors all need to touch make this vanity next to impossible to open, and while I bought drawer pulls, Dusty wasn’t inclined to install them, telling me to use folded-over tape instead. Which I did, for the drawer that now holds the drawer pulls, but I still didn’t want to load the vanity up only to unload it right away. Except that “right away” is now about three months after I started this process.
When the vanity didn’t show up, I sent an e-mail to Dusty last Sunday, listing the projects we have left, the repairs we would like made, and a few questions. On Tuesday we got a reply that was pretty much: I’ve never received so many e-mails, including yours, I’m too busy, and I’ve moved on. I’ll get to you when I get to you.
All right that’s a touch unfair, although when you distill it down, this is what he’s saying, only more politely. Already aware that we are nowhere near the top of his priority list, I had thought we were helping by compiling all our concerns at once, so that they could perhaps all be addressed in one visit, but it turns out Dusty’s preference is to piecemeal it — without giving us any indication of just when this might start. (Ending date: not even in sight.)
So now it’s Thursday; the microwave is still in a box in the garage along with many other boxes. That’s because my shed project is foundering on the shoals of the homeowners’ association.
This whole shed thing is a chicken-egg project. I can’t move forward without approval from the HOA; they don’t want to give it until they know all the specs of the shed. The HOA had already said it didn’t foresee a problem with a building as small as the 10 x 12 I had proposed to them, but now is dragging its feet on an 8 x 8 shed Kara found used. Initially they had made it sound like any neutral color would be all right; now that I found one that I described as cream (but which yesterday looked more beige), they are telling me I must paint it gray when it is set in place, which with any luck all — but probably not — will be sometime next week, when temperatures are scheduled to top out at 40.
[The people at the paint counter at Ace had absolutely nothing good to say about any HOA anywhere when I went in yesterday.]
Looking at the shed’s current location, behind a street lamp on one side and a ditch on the other, my best option seems to be to put casters on it and roll it onto some unknown trailer. I have learned all kinds of things from the internet in this process: a pressure-treated (I may be making an assumption) 2×4 that is eight feet long weighs 17 pounds, so I’m putting the shed’s weight at somewhere between 800 and 1,200 pounds. The internet also seems to think that six inches of clearance is all that’s required for one to screw or bolt casters into place. Maybe that’s true for someone who is actually competent; I don’t see that being nearly enough clearance for me. So then I’m back to needing assistance.
But before I go buying expensive 850-pound weight-bearing casters and buying or borrowing car jacks, I would like the HOA to tell me it’s okay. And I still have to find someone to help me move it. One of the many questions Dusty ignored was whether he had the means to move a shed, so I’d better mark him off my list and move on.
So no, I don’t feel settled, and I don’t feel like I can do a whole lot about it until True Value, Dusty, the HOA and an unknown shed mover all do their parts. Thoreau, who rarely practiced it himself, may have been right about that whole self-reliance thing.