Do you ever have one of those days that you just know you’ll be talking about for years to come? One of those days where a film crew should be following you around, documenting what’s happening for some reality TV show or something, because you just know that people would never believe what was happening if they weren’t seeing it with their own eyes? Yeah, one of those days?
I had one of those days yesterday.
Let me set the scene:
Location: Our new house.
Date: Wednesday, December 2. The Homes Show is December 3. Our house is one of 5 houses out of over 200 that are on the tour. We moved in to the upstairs of the house on November 11. The downstairs is still not finished with the remodel and expansion. But is that stopping us? Oh, no. Our goal is to finish the downstairs by 2:00 pm Wednesday - because that's when it will be inspected by the city. For residency. Cross your fingers. Will we get it done????
So – 24 hours before show time.
First on the scene is Lorenzo, the painter – he arrives at 8:00 am, and his job is to go around the basement and touch up – nicks, scratches, quarter round, doors, walls – if something’s not moving – splotch it with paint – and make the place picture perfect. I go over all of this with Lorenzo – who speaks limited English – and I speak limited Spanish - before moving on.
Next to arrive is Sandy, Ivan & Becky – painting crew #2. Their job is to take the existing downstairs bar area – which consists of several drawers, shelves & cabinets – and turn it from “pickled” wood to an old, antique barn-looking wood. It will require numerous coats and glazes and distressing. We set up fans to blow on everything to make it dry faster between coats. This makes it noisy. Very noisy. Oh, and Ivan is touching up the upstairs of the house, as well, just like Lorenzo is touching up the downstairs. Touch anything not moving with paint. It will look good. Trust me. Again, I have a brief meeting with Crew #2 to go over assignments. They’re good to go.
Trey, the electrician, arrives at 9:00 am. He has put in 8 hours of work the day before, installing lights and ceiling fans and switches downstairs – and he is still not done. He will put in another 8 hours before the day is over. Trey doesn’t need any direction from me. Thank goodness. I wouldn’t have a clue as to tell an electrician what to do.
Then Rick, our general contractor, arrives. He will be installing quarter round over the new carpet, as well as hanging doors for all of the new rooms (we’ve added 7 new rooms to the basement) and putting in doorknobs and locks.
At some point, Travis & Aaron arrive – they are also electricians, but they’re checking on some issues upstairs in the house. We’re trying to get electrical outlets in our new kitchen island – and we have some other minor issues since moving that need to be addressed. I have to spend at least an hour with these two to go over the issues we have – circuits being overloaded, switch plates not fitting – all of that really, really fun stuff. Not.
Rose, our decorator, is running in and out of the house – she’s the “go-fer”, running to the hardware store for light switches, Velcro, paint – whatever is needed.
Tom then arrives on the scene. He had installed a door to our upstairs laundry room last week and used silver-colored screws on a bronze-colored plate. Oh, the horrors! He’s here to switch out the screws. I had not noticed the silver screws – so this was a surprise visit.
Around lunch time, a stranger appears at the front door. He says he’s there to deliver a “good” door and pick up a “bad” door. I look at him like he’s speaking Greek. I have no idea what he’s talking about. Rick, the contractor, is at lunch. I tell the stranger he must come back or call Rick before he’s taking anything. Hey – I’m just trying to be safe here. For all I know, he’s a pervert with a door fetish and will steal all of my doors. (I’m kidding. Eventually, stranger guy does come back and switches out the doors. He's cool.)
At 1:00 pm, a delivery truck pulls into the driveway and inform me they have a new pub table and four chairs – where do I want them? Oh yeah – I forgot that Rose ordered these...and were being delivered today….where they are SUPPOSED to go is near the bar area – which has 3 painters, doors, cabinets and floor fans spread all over the floor. Ummmmm – shove the new table and chairs over there until we can make room for them. The accommodate me. Then they scurry out as fast as they can - I'm sure they felt they were in the looney bin.
At 2:00 pm – the city inspector arrives. He’s here to do the final walk-through of the basement and issue the final permit – this is it, folks. If we don’t get this permit, we’re in deep doo-doo. Joe walks around for a few minutes, takes in the beehive of activity going on, and immediately issues the approval. I think he was worried I’d put him to work if he stuck around any longer. And it's his birthday. Seriously. The last thing he wants to be doing on his birthday is inspecting the Drama Queen's house.
By now, hubby is home from work – bless him, he’s taken off of work early to come and assist in the work. And he’s needed. Because the minute the inspector walked out of the house, we went into warp speed.
Rose, hubby and myself immediately began moving furniture and unpacking boxes in our new areas. We couldn’t do this before the inspection – it was driving me crazy to not be able to move anything until after 2:00 pm. Meanwhile, I’m also vacuuming like crazy because those electricians were making a lot of dirt – darn it. We’re setting up the office furniture, putting books in the bookcases, setting up our son’s bed, making the bed, moving the new furniture - hundreds and hundreds of little things that needed to get done.
At 2:30 pm, Tim & Aaron arrive - they're the granite guys. They're there to reinstall some major appliances in the bar area, as well as put a piece of granite on in the wine cellar area. So, more questions for me - where's the dishwasher hook-up? Where is the wiring? All those fun questions that I really, really don't have time for but must be answered.
At 3:00 pm, my 16-year old son gets home from school. His eyeballs pop open in his head when he sees the party going on the house - and then his jaw hits the ground when I tell him to "get to work." "Work" is a foreign concept to him - but he gamely jumps in and begins helping.
If you’ve ever seen a design show – where the designers have only a few hours before the family comes home before the big “reveal” – this is what it looked like at my house. Have you counted? This is about 18 people now in my house. Well, 17 - the city inspector got the heck out of there. Who can blame him? I'd have gone with him to celebrate his birthday if I thought I could get away with it. Heck, no one would probably have noticed that I'd disappeared.
By now, the workers have all finished what they were working on – and some of them stuck around to help stage the house with hubby and I. It was insane – it was crazy – it was extreme. It was awesome.
And it worked. We got it done.
The house looks like we’ve lived here forever. Furniture & accessories are in place. Christmas decorations are up in every room. Today, at approximately noon, hordes of women will be descending on my house to see the transformation.
Little will they know the “behind the scenes” story.
But you do. ☺