O.B. has started hanging the kitchen cabinets. Suddenly I believe I really will live to see the completion of this project.
You will notice that the sheetrock is finished. I haven’t mentioned its progress because paying too much attention to the sheetrocking progress (or lack of it) only led to frustration. Back in early September I was told the crew would come in for a blitz and hang it, tape it, and prime it, all in four days. In the end it probably was four days but nobody mentioned it would be four days over five weeks. As virtually nothing else could be done until they were finished, the work site was deserted day after day. I just bit my lip and tried not to obsess about winter moving in and the lost opportunities. I heard later that the crew got an unexpected big job from a wealthy owner that bumped me off the priority list.
But now it is done and the cabinets are going in. The cabinets, too, have been a journey. I chose and signed for them in August, providing my credit card, and was told the order would be placed on September 9, when a sale started. I arranged my finances accordingly. On September 20 I had a call from the salesman. I thought perhaps the cabinets had arrived. Actually, no, he’d forgotten to order them, and needed my credit card information again. I was exasperated but given the long delay in the sheetrocking, I thought it might work out in the end.
However, I’ve been juggling crazily to finance this project. I informed the salesman that at this point I would need a couple of days to move things around again so I could put the hefty cabinet sum on my credit card, and that I’d call him. Two days later, I telephoned and said, “OK, now you can put the order through. Here’s my card number.”
On the morning of October 4 I was in a hotel bedroom in New Hampshire, stepping into my dress for the funeral of my father-in-law. It was a fraught and emotionally exhausting time. My cell phone rang.
“Hi there! Your cabinets are on the truck and we can deliver them tomorrow. I just need your credit card information to pay for them.”
“Oh, I never put the charge through.” A chuckle. “Did you a little favor there.”
A blinding rage swept over me. I had told this salesman that I was watching every penny, plotting the timing of every expense against income like a military campaign, and could cope with no surprises. Surprise!
I rarely lose my temper, but when I do my verbal ability turns into a surgical blade. I knew I was about to de-bone this man at the top of my lungs. I managed to say in a tight voice that I would call him back.
When I was calmer I called back to tell him that with the death of my father-in-law I now had sudden new financial responsibilities and I could not pay for the cabinets that day and probably not for weeks.
He protested. The cabinets were on the truck!
I bit back my adolescent rejoinder: Tough! You snooze, you lose! and said merely, “I’m sorry. If you’d put the charge through either of the last two times I gave you my credit card information, this would not be an issue.”
He subsided. When we got home to New York after the funeral I called the lumber yard manager and explained there would be a delay. And life went on. Weeks passed, with fleeting, rare sightings of the sheetrocking crew.
This Monday I called the salesman and gave him my credit card information for a third time. “Charge it through this morning.”
“Oh, I definitely will.” He sounded chastened. “Sorry for the mix-up before.”
I told O.B. that the cabinets had been paid for and should soon be on their way. O.B. has less faith in mankind. That afternoon he called the salesman.
“Put that charge through yet?”
“What? Oh, no, not yet.”
O.B. is always pleasant but his voice was steely. “Do it now and call me back when it’s done. It should take five minutes. If I don’t hear from you in under an hour, I’m going to… be … very … upset.”
The charge went through five minutes later. On Wednesday the cabinets were delivered. Now they are going up.
It’s starting to look like a real apartment!