Friday, May 23, 2008

Deep Breathing Exercises

We've been back from our journey to Chapel Hill for a few days now. Not much changed in our absence. I made a phone call to our neighbors before I headed over there with a trailer load of stuff from Connecticut. I needed to know whether work had been done, whether our road was drivable. Yes, work had been done. What, exactly, and to what extent? Unknown. I went anyway trailering two sinks, a rototiller, a kid-sized picnic table, and four glass panels that had once been a shower enclosure at the Rockefeller place. Material had been applied to the beginning of the road, maybe the first hundred feet, but the rest was same soft sandiness. I made it down the road without too much trouble (it's slightly downhill at the worst part) and unloaded all but the rototiller which had to go to Blue Hill for repairs. But the Volvo couldn't make it back out with the weight of the trailer. So I had to unhook the trailer and maneuver it over to the neighbor's driveway. I've done this before with an empty trailer easily enough, but the weight of the rototiller made it almost impossible. Once again I was moved to call my nemesis, Lewis Tapley. He'd had over a week to do the work. As expected, I got more of the same bullshit excuses. I called my new excavator friend to close the book on Tapley, and he can't make it for a week. So Tapley gets another week. If he doesn't show, I'll send him the bill for the work he should have done properly the first time.

Today Chloe, Hazel and I spent the morning in Sedgwick, moving things around, measuring things, until it was time to go to the Bagaduce Lunch. The real purpose for our trip was to meet up with an electrician at 1pm to talk about bringing power from the pole to the house site. While we were ordering our obligatory ice cream cones, we ran into our neighbor, Chris, who was there for lunch with two guys from work. When I told them I had to go to meet this particular electrician, they said-- He just left. He was parked right behind you. (I've only spoken to the guy on the phone.) So I got the kids and their cones into the car a fast as possible and got to Sis Porter Rd in as long as it takes to drive a couple miles. Michelle, my electrician, was already there. But where was the other guy? Michelle said she saw a white truck pulling away recently, driving slowly. But. But? It wasn't even 1 o'clock. It's not like we were late. Was I supposed to be there ahead of time with a red carpet rolled out and refreshments ready? He had pulled in, saw nobody and left. I AM AN ELECTRICIAN! I WAIT FOR NO ONE! I stayed for another 45 minutes just in case he'd had to go unexpectedly and come back. This made me disproportionately angry. Polite words cannot convey how tired I am of the "I can't be bothered" attitude. Waiting a minute or two is just too much of an imposition for someone who's just got so much work.

Discussing this episode and others with Molly and Eric over dinner tonight, I was reminded that this is just the way things are. Sometimes progress sails along smoothly without a care and then, BANG!, you hit a wall. At this point, Eric advised, you just have to take a deep breath and.... I don't know. What happens after the deep breath? I reminded Eric that when I meet a wall my inclination is to take a sledge hammer and knock it down. For those who don't know this, I must come clean as a hard driving, no holds barred, slave driver. Fortunately, I am usually the slave, and I'm driving myself. My expectations are high. My time is precious and wasting it sends me in search of my sledge hammer. This part of the process that seems more or less out of my control, that puts me at the mercy of other agendas and bullshit attitudes, is really wearing me out.

1 comment:

Timothy said...

Michael,

Perhaps you should look into some tai chi or meditation? Please promise me one thing, you at least name your scare crows Lou Tapley and at the most make a Lou Tapley pinata to thrash at your house warming party HA! It's funny how collaborations in any arena are oftentimes disappointing? I wonder why that is? Can the disappointment over unmet expectations be alleviated if the terms are discussed frankly before work or meetings are begun? Scientific collaborations suffer from the same pathos as yours have and I've found that in order to have a successful collaboration, you have to find someone to work with that values your buisness as much as you value it's timely and effective execution. Unfortunately, finding someone that shares your enthusiasm for job completion is rare. Just as finding the perfect girl is not an easy task, finding the perfect contractor may require some disappointing "dates" after which you find yourself unfulfilled, unsatisfied and alone.