The Pre-Christmas Holidays Were Busier Than Expected

Here’s where the two stories I’m telling start to come together.

The renovation of the apartment was moving along, but a lot slower than planned/promised. Mountain time is not city time, not by a long shot, and we were getting curve balls thrown at us to keep us plenty busy, like missing floor installers not showing up on time and then the contractor realizing he’d not ordered enough wood for the floors, how’d we’d like to choose something else?

There was a bit of pressure to get this all done because we’d planned on staying there over the holidays and pretty much had no alternative options if this didn’t work out. The hotel rooms and rentals on the mountain are limited, so anyone who hadn’t booked by August wasn’t going to find something now.

In late November we’d gone up to check the place ourselves and found that not only was everything way behind schedule, the one group that had done their job – the guys installing the bathroom fixtures and tiles – had done it all wrong. The tiles for the floor were the wrong color (which could be an easy fix) but the half wall in the middle of the room where the sink was supposed to go was too short for the sink. Apparently, the measurements of the sink were known, and the desired width of the wall had been determined buuuut… the guy making the wall had decided, what the hell, he’d eyeball it.

His initial solution to the problem was to suggest that he layer on stacks of extra tiles at the edge to extend the wall. (??) Um, no, we declined that inspired idea, he was going to have to fix it for real. So out went the wall and the tiles that had been installed and everything had to be re-done.

Except… Now the tile guys weren’t sure that they had enough tiles.

Ok, so you get the picture. This is of course typical drama you get with any renovation or build, especially if you can’t be onsite to watch everyone like a hawk. But as each new thing arose and was somehow grudgingly solved by the workers who would have preferred the easier, cheaper solution they always offered first, the more nervous we got that we were going to be sleeping in an apartment with no flooring, washing ourselves in an un-tiled room and peeing in a bucket.

I couldn’t help but think that this just hadn’t been our year and I was really looking forward to the end of 2010.

We decided one of us had to be there, so I took some extra vacation and when my parents arrived, I packed them up four days earlier than planned and headed to Austria without Oliver so that I could hover and nag the workers myself. Our reasoning: no matter the language barriers, workers were always reluctant to do battle with the pissed-off wife.

I went ready to play the role and get my way.

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