September 2, 2016

Summer, Interrupted

It's September 2nd, that time of year when you question 'where has summer gone?' The air is cooler, the days seem shorter, I've been occupied with getting the kids ready to go back to school. Fall is really upon us.

Did you have a good summer? And the classic question 'what did you do on your summer vacation?' Overall, summer was great. The weather was always sunny and beautiful... We had a lot of fun with the kids, balanced with downtime when the kids were in day camp. After a couple of really rough months health-wise, I returned to my mostly stable, new normal. But when I look back on the summer of 2016, I probably won't think about the amazing weather, the fun day trips or even signing a new publishing contract. I'll remember (not so fondly) our semi-disastrous backyard renovation.

It all started in the middle of June... The backyard was prepped and ready for our long-awaited renovation... All we needed was a contractor and a design... After obtaining a few different quotes and contemplating design ideas... We decided on a contractor and a plan. A new deck quickly became a new deck plus tree removal and a new fence... One month turned into two... Unexpected expenses kept arising... All of which added up to a home renovation disaster. When the project started, we were all on good terms. The contractor had a lot of amazing ideas and suggestions... We felt confident that our backyard would transform into our oasis... We provided them with beer and water, made them lunch, and baby-sat their six-year old son while they worked from approximately 10:30 to 3:30... When they decided to show up. To be fair, some of the delays were not their fault. The tree removal was a project all on its own... Completed by another contractor who had the required credentials. And set our backyard project back at least by two weeks...

This summer there were two other backyard renovations ongoing in our neighbourhood (both finished weeks before ours). One backyard reconstruction involved replacement of an old deck. Over the course of the project, we watched with curiosity, as materials were delivered, the side fence dismantled, and the old deck removed, to see what they were building. Their contractor, within three weeks, had completed their project. The old fence, with one new post, was back in place with all traces of construction cleared. The other project was removal of a huge hedge (probably eight feet tall) and construction of a new fence bordering three sides of their property. I saw two guys working on the fence in the pouring rain, digging holes and placing posts. Their project was completed in less than two weeks.

In contrast... We didn't know when our contractors were going to show up... Definitely not in the pouring rain... Or how much work would be completed in a day. They were full of excuses and promises... Both of which we were tired of hearing.

For a month, I held in my complaints... I paid the requested deposits, without ever seeing an invoice, I didn't complain about their hours or when they didn't show up, about watching their kid or the mess they left at the worksite every day (coffee cups, food packaging), just waiting for our backyard (and life) to get back to normal. Then, I exploded. Everything I'd been holding in erupted in an uncontrollable force. We decided to hold on the project. Then they promised us more items for less money and a firm completion date. The date came and went. The project was still not finished. Then we got another unexpected bill. It was the last straw. No more Mr. Nice Guy. With our fury checked, we told the contractor what we wanted completed, less than planned, and told them to finish that week. Good-bye, good riddance.

Venting is good for the soul. Holding things in, holding onto the negativity, is especially bad for me, unhealthy. I don't forget. I don't see recalling bad situations as holding a grudge. I remember. It takes me a long time, at least a year, to let bad things go. I hold on. And I don't want to anymore. I want to lift the burden of all wrongs against me, unfairness and injustice, and let them go. Get it off my chest, put it out of my mind.

I want to remember my good memories of the summer of 2016. I want to focus on the positive. And I will.

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