Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Tales from the Renovation Track: One Woman’s Experiences of Being a Renovator: Part 6

Tales from the Renovation Track: One Woman’s Experiences of Being a Renovator by Janice BellCollage: construction, plumbing, women
Credits: MS Office ClipArt - j0301238.wmf

Part 6 - Messy Is Costly
The elderly lady ushered me into her enclosed porch and explained that she wished to hire me for, amongst other duties, to replace the moulding between the top of the walls and the ceiling. I looked in horror at the numerous shelves lining the porch walls, as my gaze rode across at least a thousand ceramic knick-knacks, sneering at me from their resting places, their dusty little heads and flowerettes just daring me to break them.

In another instance, a customer had hired me to replace the hanging plaster in the bedroom closet, and an electrician was hired to install a light fixture in there. On our way into the bedroom, the electrician and I could not help but notice that were clothes left higglety-pigglety on the floor. Amongst the piles was a sample packet of some strange reddish colored fluid. I was just about to announce its presence to the electrician in front of me, but much too late, his foot came down on one end of the packet and shot its contents out all over the the brand new white carpet.

Another customer had retained my services to renovate her spacious bathroom. I proceeded to move one of three hutches in there away from the wall to paint, when all of a sudden, the hutch lurched downward on one of its front corners and catapulted its top contents into the air. All I remember was a medley of perfume bottles and other assorted breakables peppering the air in front of me, and like a circus performer I quickly snatched and cradled most of these in my arms while my hip saved the hutch from toppling over.

Except for one. In the slowest of motions, the corner of my eye viewed a flying ceramic Holstein cow, catapulting in a trajectory path just out of my reach. It met the floor with a crash and the body of the cow went in one direction, and its severed leg flew in another.

Which brings me to the point, I am trying to make. I have often listened as customers gripe about the mess left by past renovators. I always give the choice about the final cleanup to the customer. Unless they are ill, elderly, disabled or blind if they can sweep or vacuum up afterwards they can save themselves money. Some contractors do not explain this but assume the final cleanup will be done by the customer.

But in all fairness, I must admit, that the customer can save themselves even more money and grief by preparing the site of the renovations beforehand, removing all the items that can hinder the renovator, or are precious, or breakable or personal in nature. I have heard numerous plumbers gripe about having to repair a leaky kitchen sink, only to have to wade through a plethora of cleaning products underneath first.

The hutch in the bathroom that did a nose dive on me was just balanced on an unattached leg at the front, which fell over when I tried to move it. The customer was well aware of the precarious leg of the hutch, but did not inform me, and I had no way of knowing the booby trap that awaited me. As it turns out, the damaged Holstein cow mimicked the hutch, and had been perched precariously on its previously amputated leg.

The ugly red stain on the new white bedroom carpet washed out okay and the elderly lady with the porch full of ceramics decided that other items on her honey-do list were more important so decided against replacing the molding.

So now, every time I go to a new jobsite the final cleaning and removing of items is discussed so that everyone is happy. I can now go back to renovating without nightmares of three legged Holsteins.

Happy Renovating!

Janice Bell
Bell Renovating
2009 © Janice Bell

Tales from the Renovation Track: One Woman’s Experiences of Being a Renovator
Part 1: All in All
Part 2: Weld on Fire
Part 3: They Were Nailed
Part 4: It Pays to Be Honest
Part 5: Rural Renos
Part 6: Messy Is Costly
Part 7: Door Hell
Part 8: Just Where Do I Stop?
Part 9: Dressing for the Trades

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