Lackadaisical

Although I enjoy writing this blog, perhaps because nowadays it’s the only writing I do, I somehow end up procrastinating when I open the computer instead of getting right to work. Today’s procrastination activities centered around a search for a cheap but sturdy outdoor dining set for my gazebo. Not that the gazebo is finished — it’s not. It’s still the same bare-wood, roofless crib that has been taunting me for the past year.

When I talked to the contractor a few weeks ago, going over all the work that still needs to be done, he mentioned he’d be coming to finish the gazebo himself rather than sending one of his employees as he has been doing. I’m sure he will eventually do the work, since eventually most things do get finished, and though I have no real expectations of the gazebo being done this summer, suddenly today I decided I needed an outdoor dining set of some sort for when the thing is finished. I found one I like, but it only comes with two chairs, which shouldn’t be a problem considering how seldom I have company, but I have it in my mind that I need four. So far, I haven’t found a four-chair set that I like, but then, I don’t have a finished gazebo either.

It’s kind of funny, but when my new neighbor moved in and saw how seldom the workers came, he thought they were taking advantage of me. I suppose they are, in a way, but mostly, I don’t care because the longer they draw out the work, the longer I’ll have the excitement of work being done. And then, with my car taking forever to get fixed (one weird mechanical malfunction after another that entails weeks of waiting for the parts to come in), he thought the mechanic was taking advantage of me, too, which is possible, but I don’t really need to go anywhere, so it doesn’t really matter. None of that is what’s funny; what I find amusing is that now he has the same issues with people promising to do things and then not showing up. And a vehicle of his has been in the shop for months now, and no sign of it ever being finished.

We’re not the only ones — a woman has been waiting for several months to get a window replaced, a friend can’t find a contractor to do some needed work on her house, and another neighbor has someone sporadically working on his house when the worker feels like it.

We’ve come to the conclusion it’s the area that somehow fosters a lackadaisical attitude. His dog, a rescue animal, was hyper when they first got here, always wanting to be on the go and running away when she didn’t get enough walks in a day. Now she’s so laid back that she sleeps most of the time.

I doubt the dog has become lazy — I’m sure her somnolence has to do with the heat. And when it comes to contractors and mechanics, I’m sure that’s not laziness, either. In fact, so often the problem is these people have too much to do, not enough time to do it, and too few employees who are willing to work, but they do seem to be able to ignore their broken promises and to make changes in their schedule they don’t bother mentioning.

Still, today, I had to go searching for a patio dining set for a gazebo that might not be finished until next year. Or the year after.

I didn’t buy anything, of course. It would have taken too much effort to overcome my own lackadaisical attitude.

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Accomplishments

I was out pulling weeds, battling grasshoppers, and feeding mosquitoes (albeit unwillingly), when a when a white pickup pulled up to the house. The driver got out and started questioning me about my garage. He looked familiar, so I wasn’t unduly concerned, then it dawned on me — this was the building inspector.

He’d been checking on the garage occasionally, even after all the structural elements were in, which is where I thought his authority stopped, but apparently not. So I showed him the garage. To be honest, even if he was a stranger, I might have shown him the garage anyway — I do like that little building! In fact, I was talking to a friend the other day and when she asked about the garage, I said, “I love my garage.” She laughed and responded, “I bet twenty-five years ago you’d never have been able to imagine yourself saying that.” I had to admit she was right. Even as little as two years ago — or even one — I couldn’t have imagined saying those words let alone meaning them.

Well, that’s not true. I mean, it is true about my fondness for the garage, but I doubt I’d have let a stranger in to see it. Too many felonious fellows around here.

I was amused by the way the inspector studied my fake window. I’m not sure what he thought — that the builders had changed the plans after his last inspection? I told him it was just a decoration, a bit of artwork. He didn’t seem impressed, but he did say that a fake window was one sure way of keeping out thieves. (So see, I’m not the only one who is aware of the way things — tools especially — go missing around here.) He questioned about the electricity since he hadn’t inspected it before the walls went up, but the state had inspected it, and state supersedes county. I didn’t have a printout of the inspection report, but I offered to send him one, but he said he didn’t need to see it.

He also studied the framework of my gazebo. There was a fairly new concrete pad in front of the old garage, and after the garage was torn down, there the pad sat, screaming out for a roof. So I’m obliging. The lumberyard had overestimated the amount of materials for the lumber pack we’d ordered to build the garage so basically, the gazebo is free. Well, except for the labor.

The inspector questioned me about my plans for the gazebo, so I asked if we needed a permit since my understanding was that we didn’t. “Not really,” he said. Whatever that means. Maybe that if he decided we needed a permit we did? He seemed satisfied when I told him the railings were all the walls there would be, and that it just needs a roof. (Apparently, it’s the enclosing of a space that makes it a building rather than simply something that is built.)

He might be back to inspect the gazebo when it’s done, but I don’t see a problem. I’m sure the contractor will make the roof windproof, using the hurricane connectors as he did with the garage. Because, yes, winds up to 90 miles an hour have been clocked around here, and yes, people do lose their roofs. (Rooves? As in hoof/hooves?)

Oh, I almost forgot — he said he was signing off on the garage and would be sending me the signed report.

There are still a few things that need to be finished, such as the gutters fixed, gravel poured in front of the garage to bridge the gap between the alley and the apron, and hangers need to be hung on inside walls for my tools, but apparently, for all practical and official purposes, the garage is done.

P.S. As I was writing this, one of the workers stopped by to move the counters I rambled on about yesterday. They really are too heavy for one person, even a strong person, otherwise he would have already moved them, but my knees are healed enough that I was able to help get them inside the garage. Yay! One more thing accomplished.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator