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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Trying to Schedule Wayward Workmen

handymanI currently have groups of workmen at three properties that I’m keeping an eye on in my spare time. I’m very thankful that they’ve shown up because handymen and contractors are in short supply in our area. Workers are booked up and backed up until somewhere near Thanksgiving… and summer hasn’t even officially begun.

My beef is that, in order to complete a project in a timely fashion, every moment matters. And these guys show up if they can and when they can. Tons of emergencies exist ahead of us.

Which I understand. I mean, if I had a real emergency, I would want someone to hop to it and help. And so, we wait.

What does that mean to families on crazy schedules such as ours?

Recently, we had a birthday celebration for Mashenka. It was a day late, again, due to everyone’s schedule. But she enjoyed handymanpresents and a homemade cake and photos outside together as a family. We took the pic close to 8:00 p.m., and there were still workmen wandering around outside, talking loudly. I felt like inviting them to pose with us as they tested our irrigation system and geysers gushed high to the sky.

They come off and on for about three hours each day, tearing up the lawn and then disappear. The dogs bark as the men’s sensing machinery peep-peep-peeps outside doors and windows. I end up having to hold the fur-babies for hours on end. The workmen know our schedule, that we are not always in town, and that we prefer for them to come when we are absent. Instead, they are absent… until we are present.

plumberIn another location, we have a disintegrating fence being rebuilt, in addition to other tasks. These guys have known us for years and again, are happy to work with us whenever they can fit us in. Turns out that, Old World craftsmen that they are, the handymen are actually building the fence. They didn’t go out and purchase panels of pre-built fencing, no…. They are BUILDING the fence, constructing it board by board. Benedetto gets into this, fascinated by the process. I’m irritated, since again, we can’t let the dogs out without a fence, they hear nail guns for days on end, and the workmen understand that there’s half a week when we will not be there at all. They are free to come and go anytime during that time. Instead, emergencies, weather, planets or politics all conspire to have them come… exactly when it’s least convenient.

Then the kids are helping us on another property in need of assistance like no other. With very specific times that they can pitch in,th our eldest son has taken his Maymaster break to really get a lot done, working on the project long days and into the night. Again, we informed the contractor doing other jobs there, that the best time for them to be there would be when we are not. So he locates a very specific window of opportunity… which puts our worker-bee son out of commission for those dates.

In essence, we’re moving two steps forward, while being stymied elsewhere. In an ideal world, everyone could labor at their fastest possible speed and simultaneously, not hold back others. I could do landscaping, while you tile floors, while somebody else power-paints outside, while an electrician upgrades systems. But nooooo… as soon as one begins, another has to take a break.

With timelines such as these, we could be celebrating Christmas and exchanging gifts with our workers. Oh, I forgot, we’ve done that before. That was the five-week-job that morphed into the five-month-job.

tiling2Thankfully, these are all nice guys. In essence, I don’t mind them becoming part of Famiglia Bartologimignano. I just wish we could pick up the pace and become better organized.

Life is not going according to my plan. Again. Aiyygghhh….

Then again, one set of workmen just made a generous suggestion: they offered to spend two minutes and remove a toilet for us if Benedetto or I felt like tiling a bathroom. They would come back anytime and screw it back in place with a seal.

Things were beginning to look up.

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