Today should have been day four of our construction. Walls should have been rising from the hole, today. But, it's still just a hole that's smaller than it needs to be, not square, not level... and with huge concrete chunks in what is supposed to be my backfill.
I took the advice of a friend who is a very talented musician and actor (to preserve his privacy, I'll call him My Favorite Klingon. (No, he didn't play Worf.) I asked the Universe to place the Hillbilly where he needed to be and promised to roll with it if he was meant to be where I am.
I had to wait and calm down to make that promise and mean it. It was a tough path to cut through the overgrown jungle of frustration and anger and disappointment, but, I got to that calm center in me again. And I made the vow. Then I did as my favorite Klingon instructed and waited to see what what would happen. He said I would be surprised. And I was. Within the hour, our builder called to ask us to meet with him and when we arrived he let us know that he had secured another crew who could squeeze us in to finish the dig later this week or early next. The next morning The Hillbilly called my husband and instead of lies and excuses and blaming others, which had become so standard from him we wondered if he knew how to tell the truth or accept responsibility for anything, he apologized, he promised to refund a small amount of the money he'd charged us (still comes out to more than double his bid, but the gesture is greatly appreciated) and he offered to try to finish the job at no more extra charge but only if both Hubs and me agreed to have him try or to leave the property if we preferred.
Flashback: I had fired the Hillbilly a couple of weeks ago. I told him it looked like he was doing the dig wrong and asked him to stop to let me double check. He yelled at me - told me to deal with my builder (I had hired Hillbilly - he is not part of my contract with the builder and I own the property.) Hubby hired him back, later that evening, against my protests and better judgement because The Hillbilly promised he could finish before any of the other crews we'd spoken with would be freed up to come in behind him to finish it. Since the day he was hired back, he has destroyed thousands more dollars of property that will have to come out of our pockets to replace, he failed to finish on time - not for lack of trying but for lack of knowing he was not finished and he has delayed the start of construction on my home for the third time. This latest delay means it is almost certain I will not be moving into my home before the end of the year. We had hoped to be home in time for Christmas. This has been a rather crushing blow to all of us. On Monday, the amount of time we'd have had to wait for another crew to finish it will have passed. It will be at least Monday before the new crew can get there now. Everything transpired exactly as I said it would when I protested his rehiring. We are right back where we were that day, the wait for crews to be freed up is as long as it was that day and more damage has been done to structures on the property that had not been damaged in the fire and should not need to be replaced, but do.
For the same reasons I had protested his re-hiring before, I did not give my consent for Hillbilly to continue. I know it will mean more damage and that we will be back in this same position looking at a wait for another crew because they are all booked up. The Hillbilly does not know what is wrong with the hole he dug. I can see it at a glance. My builder can see it at a glance. The footing crew could see it at a glance. Hillbilly spent several hours at my hole the other night, he had been told by the footing crew what was wrong and my builder went to the site and showed him what was wrong. And he remained several hours after that and still could not see it. He did seem to see, at long last, something else I have seen -- that this job requires more knowledge and skill than just the title to a high-hoe and that he does not have that skill or knowledge. He needs to be freed up from this job... to move on to something else or to find a way to learn the trade he wishes to ply. It is up to him whether to take with him the valuable lesson this experience presented or to shrug it off and leave it behind. That is his journey. I have my own. Our paths have separated.
(Thank you, Universe! And thank you for the good advice Favorite Klingon!)
In a related note... I did the boneheaded thing I have been worried all along that I would do. I accidentally entered the same item twice in different batches on our content list. It was a weird item we don't intend to replace and I was worrying whether I'd done it right when it dawned on me that my clearly remembering doing it both ways wasn't due to stress, it was because I had done it both ways. I sent off a note to our adjuster as soon as I realized. I hope I caught it in time for him to fix it. I had trouble sleeping last night and have had a sick knot in my stomach since I realized... and I'll be like this until it is put right. What's sad is that it wasn't written on my pricing list when I priced it that second time, but because of where I was and that it was the first I'd been there since the fire, I saw it missing from my list and thought I had forgotten to write it down.. and I put it back on the list. Ugh!!!
I would say that in my defense I was stressed over the state of the hole. But, everyone who has to do one of these lists is at their breaking point with stress, so that's no defense. I need to be more vigilant. Period. I wish I could pay a hypnotist to do some hypno-magic that would give me a photographic memory until I finish this list. (Not just so I don't do this again, but to make it easier to remember what we had, where we got it or who gifted it to us and exactly when.) I have a great deal of performance anxiety regarding the list. Hubs keeps telling me to relax and if I mess up, they'll tell me and let me know how to do it right. I want to do it right the first time and I feel about as well equipped for this task as the Hillbilly was for our dig.
Unless something changes later in the day and crews arrive in the afternoon, we have reached the end of the first week without a step taken toward home. The hole is unchanged from Tuesday morning -- and I'm still anxiously pawing at the ground and pressing hard against the starting gate, eager for it to break away so I can hit the track at a full run and not stop running until I'm home. Here's hoping I'm kicking up some dust behind me and rounding the first curve by this time next week. (I'm trying very hard to sound upbeat and positive, but behind the privacy of my monitor, I'm anxious, I feel my third panic attack of the morning coming on, I'm sick to my stomach, exhausted and under-slept, I'm so overwhelmingly homesick it defies description and I look ten years older than I did the day before my fire... I even have a few strands of grey hair that showed up just in the last week or so. But, if I try to sound upbeat, maybe it'll take root and I'll start to feel it, too. That's the plan, anyway. :) )
(No pictures this time -- I was going to snap some for the blog, this morning, but I discovered I had forgotten my phone when I left the house and I'm low on gas, so I didn't want to drive clear across town and back just to snap one or two pictures of the hole.)