Bedlam

For all intents and purposes, this is a nail blog, but observant observers may have noticed that Finger Candy has been most bereft of actual nail art for quite some time now.  And that’s in part because I’m currently mired in a renovation hell of my own making that I’m beginning to think I may never emerge from?  What was to be a one-week job has now sprawled out into its third week, and our second full week of no plumbing.  Having (regrettably) lived with renovation-like activities for my entire life, I knew things were not going to proceed exactly as planned and to schedule, but I’m starting to feel quite twitchy about how long this has dragged out.  Maybe I’m just worn down by REPEATED eyefuls of my naked neighbours in the bathroom change room, which I visit on average about 10 times a day.  In their defence, that is what one does in a change room – get changed, which does require a temporary state of nudity.  The key word there, however, is TEMPORARY, so I really don’t get these broads that strut around with their everything out in the breeze, gabbing with their friends, washing their unmentionables in the single sink (WE HAVE LAUNDRY FACILITIES, YOU CHEAP OLD FREAKS, HERE’S A LOONIE FOR THE WASH SO YOU CAN REMOVE YOUR GUNGY OLD GIRDLE FROM THE SPOT WHERE I’M TRYING TO BRUSH MY TEETH) or maybe chatting me up in the mirror while I attempt not to look at anything with too much specificity.  I’m (Joker) smiling in this picture, but that’s just because my brain has broken and I’m two seconds from being hauled off to Arkham Asylum.

Change Room of Fear

And while I’ve already discussed the neighbours I walked in on the other evening boning in the sauna (did I mention that?  Well, they were, and I did, and I’m now horribly traumatized) I shall never speak a word about the bathroom-encompassing biohazard that greeted me at the beginning of the week, and which I think has been the deciding factor in us coming to the conclusion that when these renos are done, we’re moving.  Our neighbours are disgusting friggin’ savages, and I’ve got zippo desire to continue tying our financial futures to these animals.  I don’t even want to share a common wall with them.

Anyhow, while I was ripping out the floor, I tore off every single one of my nails on my good hand, so I’ve been living a nail art-less existence, as has this blog.  But until I return to my adventures in acetone, I thought maybe I’d lay out how this reno process has been not going for us, so if you’re contemplating any major renovations of your own, I can thoroughly dissuade you.  Please learn from my mistakes and frustrations – some good has to come of this.

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First, the major obstacle to these renovations (new bathroom and flooring throughout) has been the fact that we live in a condo apartment.  For those of you who may not be familiar with how condos work, they’re essentially buildings or communities in which you purchase a stake, said stake being your unit.  This is really no different than purchasing a home, and indeed, we own our apartment just like you own your house.  But we also have a financial responsibility to the community or the building as a whole for things like landscaping, maintenance and building management, and we pay for a portion of those items through monthly condo fees.  This is essentially what a person with a single family home would spend every month on maintaining their property.  That’s utter bullshit, of course – our condo fees are gigantic, and I highly doubt you spend nearly $900 every month on maintaining your home, because while your teenagers might be kinda gross and perhaps not the most respectful of your space, they’re not 2,000 disgusting stranger neighbours (“You haven’t met my teenage son,” you may be saying.  Fair enough!)

So owing to the quasi-communal nature of our living arrangements and the fact that financially, we’re really all in this together, there’s a lot of oversight to living in a condo.  As in the condo board will be up your ass every second of the day, as will your neighbours, who apparently don’t mind midnight sex parties in the sauna, but will rip your head off and rat you out to the board if you so much as allow the pizza delivery dude through the front door as opposed to the SERVICE ENTRANCE (yes, we have a service entrance, like we’re effin’ slave-owners over here.)

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More specifically to this renovation, we’ve had to jump through some Cirque du Soleil-level hoops to get everything from the work, to the materials, to the actual tradespeople themselves approved.  And we have jumped through their hoops, pushing the work back by about two weeks while we sought out all the necessary approvals.  But now that everyone in the building seemingly knows our business (news travels fast in a biddy-based building, let me tell you) I feel like we’re under the microscope.  Everyone’s watching us for that moment when we break the nit-picky rules and regulations (and it’s happening; the restrictions are cumbersome.)  Like, are you really giving me shit about the tilers lugging their stuff up in a non-service elevator when I can’t book the service elevator in the first place AND someone has turned the women’s room into an abattoir?  One of these things is not like the other.  So if you live in a condo and you’re contemplating renovations, first give some thought to the reasonableness of the condo board and its (your) policies.  Because while I’m in full agreement with any rules and regulations that make life easier for my neighbours, my neighbours are not extending me the same courtesy, and trying to renovate around that simply may not be worth it.

But if you’re mental like us and you’ve decided to jump in with both feet, the best piece of advice I’ve got for you is to split up the job(s).  We quite hopefully – naively – thought that the best way to approach this was to blitz it, which means our home has been completely torn up for three weeks now.  We have the use of the sink in our kitchen, but our appliances are unplugged and sitting out in the diningroom, and our bathroom currently looks like Bosnia.  All of our possessions are sitting in boxes on our balconies and any elevated surfaces I can find, and everything is filthy all the time.  We are camping in our own home, and this campsite is a nightmare.  Please gaze upon the state of my diningroom right this very moment:

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There’s just too much planned work going on in too small a space, and we’re tripping all over ourselves.  So while it may be tempting to say, “Yes, let’s get this done as quickly and efficiently as possible,” those are two descriptors that generally don’t apply to renos, so save yourself the hassle and break it up.

But really, at the end of the day?  Maybe just, you know, DON’T.  I was visiting with a friend the other day who’s contemplating some pretty major renovations to her house, and I do believe my tales of woe scared the living crap out of her.  She really likes her house and it’s a good fit for her family, but given the extent of the proposed work, I’d recommend that they just move.  But I’m ready to move to an entirely different solar system at this point, so (frustrated) grain of salt, yeah?

So in conclusion, class, what we learned today is that if you live in a condo and you’re contemplating renovations, your best bet is to take all your money, light it on fire and then slingshot yourself into the sun.  Problem solved. 😉  See you on the other side (of my sanity), peeps.

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Naked and Afraid: Reno Anecdote of the Day

No photos to accompany this little tale, but you’ll thank me for that shortly.  So, as I’ve mentioned a time or 80, we are undertaking some fairly major renovations in our condo apartment – new bathroom, new flooring throughout, so absolutely everything is torn up right now and we have no access to proper plumbing.  We do, however, live in a building with an indoor pool and attached change rooms, so we’re able to nip on down there when the nature need strikes.  We’re really, really fortunate in that regard – bathroom renovations are such a bitch, man.

But it’s somewhat difficult to plan a biological function that generally does not wish to be planned, which means Mr. Finger Candy and I have been running down to the change rooms at all hours of the day, including last night at a quarter to midnight when I walked in on two of my neighbours having sex in the change room sauna.  Had the two trashy perverts just stayed IN the sauna, I never would have seen them.  There’s a tiny little window notched in the wooden sauna door, and by principle, I never, ever look through that window, because I know what I’m most likely going to see – one of my very elderly neighbours sprawled out on a towel, schvitzing in the altogether.

But these two panicked when they heard me coming through the outer doors and tried to bolt for the pool doors, unsuccessfully.  That’s when I come around the corner and find the male half of the couple, equipment not remotely covered by his hands, frantically jigging across the change room while his lady screams, “THAT’S JUST MY HUSBAND!!!” at me.  Just?  Yes, sweetheart, I can now confirm that that is indeed “just” your husband and “just” his rapidly departing winky all up in my legitimate bathroom business at a quarter to freaking midnight on a weeknight (weeknight, weekend, it doesn’t really matter, but I guess whenever and wherever the urge strikes, huh?)  Although as I queried a friend this morning, who decides that the very best time and place to get yer freak on is a ladies room sauna in a condominium run by a bunch of uppity 80-year-olds at a quarter to midnight on a Thursday night?  Have some standards, people!  And please to be removing your nut sack from atop that wooden bench, thanks. 😦

Reno life, friends – I don’t recommend it!  Now I’m going to return to the mind-numbing task of just sitting here “supervising” the contractors, which is actually me joshing with the plumbers in between developing an intense, dirty old lady-ish crush on this 20-year-old British scuzzbag named Yungblud who looks like walking syphilis (this video for a song called 11 Minutes, featuring Halsey and Travis Barker, is INCREDIBLE; I miss the golden age of videos, and this one delivers.)  He’s got that real ugly/handsome, Adam Driver-esque thing going on, and I’m obsessed with staring at his interestingly imperfect face.  He’s also not a bad musician.  Seriously, 22 years my junior or no, I just want to haul him down to the change room, toss his sketch ass in the shower for a good de-lousing and then bang in the sauna.

Sorry for the TMI (did you really need to know that I want to jump some jailbait who looks like a chihuahua with its face smashed in?) but I also may be round-the-clock high on off-gassing flooring materials.  So you might be getting Extra Truthful Blogging Action Figure Sandra today.  Hmm, best scamper on out of here before I start pontificating on politics or something else that will get me in trouble.  Happy weekend, friends – may your change rooms be free of naked neighbours and your YouTube playlists filled with sketchy British musicians. 🙂

Dispatches From the Reno Zone

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This little anecdote pretty well sums up our experience here in our condo while we’ve been gutting and renovating our bathroom: The water has been fully shut off for about two days now, but we’ve been lucky enough to have access to a full change room bathroom down by the indoor pool.  Can’t say I love padding down to a humid public change room at midnight in my jammies to tend to those pesky human nature needs, but I really am beyond grateful for access to on-site indoor plumbing; we are far luckier than others in our position (thinking of friends of mine with five-year-old twins and one bathroom who are contemplating extensive renovations to their home.  Feel free to come over here, guys, when the time comes – there are showers and a sauna!)

Reno Collage 1

But perhaps my friends won’t wish to take me up on my oh-so kind offer once they read about this morning’s adventure, which found me down in the bathroom about 6 am washing my face and brushing my teeth while my 83-year-old neighbour stood beside me stark bucking naked and talked into the mirror at me for five solid minutes about the plight of our city’s migratory birds (the weather’s been total winter crap, and the early birds can’t find food.  I think I would have been much more interested and engaged had my neighbour not delivered this sad news to me in the softly jiggling altogether.)  I do not even know this woman’s name, and I really didn’t take the time to enquire.

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Anyhow!  Piles of dust and a sledged-out toilet and starkers neighbours, oh my.

I do not recommend extensive renovations, friends, if you live in a condo.  Or possibly ever.  More updates to follow – just hopefully none having to do with my naked neighbours. 😉

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Insanity Sandra and the Case of Too Many Renovations

Reno Collage

Right, so jumping straight into it, my life, as of late, has been a seemingly endless cycle of renovation-induced insanity.  We are installing new ceramic tile and carpeting throughout, and to cut down on the labour costs, I have undertaken the monumental task of ripping up all of our existing hardwood floors and ceramic tile myself.  It has been a dirty and difficult job, made all the worse by the fact that we are also having our bathroom redone, so, you know, no plumbing.  Compounding all of the above, I’ve also been dealing with tradespeople who can’t respect an appointment, tradespeople who won’t return my calls, period, and a very involved condo board.

So I’ve been busy doing non-nail art things, as the state of those poor nails is, well, abysmal.  But I suppose that’s what’s happens when you spend three days yanking splintered boards of wood off the ground with a two-foot-long crowbar.

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And so that is where I have been, once again with my apologies for flaking off on you kind readers and interested onlookers.  Years ago I stopped reading a blog by a woman I otherwise really liked and admired because she began every post with an apology for who-knows-what, usually a nominal absence of just one or two days.  It grew so irksome, I stopped following her blog altogether.  Now I find myself in that same position, and I’m apologizing for that, too!  Good lord, the only way I could get more Canadian right now is if I had a beaver tucked up under one arm (heh.)  Please don’t leave me, who will I talk to about Disney and twenty one pilots?

But I swear I’ve been up to more than just manning the phones, brute-forcing out an entire apartment’s worth of flooring and apologizing for things.  I’ve been reading A LOT (I’m nearly up to eight books for the year!) and planning all sorts of manicures for my Literary Inspiration series.

I’ve been trying to mind my diet and exercise and failing badly.  I don’t operate very well under stress, and food is a comfort when everything else is a half-finished mess.  I wish – oh, how I wish – I could get that drive back that I once had not so very long ago to do better, be better, but potato chips are so very tempting and my willpower has been non-existent.  Why can’t I get together?

I’ve been watching a lot of new (or new-to-me) movies and television shows.  This is remarkable only in that I’m a real “Well, why not Beetlejuice for the 137th time?” kind of person, but I’ve found all sorts of new favourites, including Crazy Rich Asians (oh my word, THAT WEDDING) and a super cute show on Netflix called Derry Girls about a group of teenagers living in Northern Ireland in the early ’90s.

Maybe it’s the chaos of the renovations.  Maybe it’s my lingering sadness at losing our beloved cat late last year.  Or maybe it’s just the way one inevitably feels when the six-month-long winter of our discontent is finally drawing to a close and you just don’t know what to do with yourself when you’re not living in a snow globe.  But I feel curiously flat and affectless, and I’d like it to stop.

Anyhow, please do bask in the half-finished state of our apartment and marvel, ye gods!, at the bare expanses of floor, for I am the Renovation Queen!  Hold the (Bathroom) Door, Plumbing is Coming, etc. 😉