Monday, March 31, 2008

Another day, another quote, another woman on the edge.

Tonight I met with a remodeler and his sidekick, and we discussed all of my remodeling needs: bedroom walls, molding replacement, floors.

Then we got to electrical. I got the impression that these guys were much more on the ball than the other electrician I spoke with. That's good, but where the first guy was all "this is how these old houses are, we can just run new wire through the pipes," these guys actually looked at the pipes and saw that there was no room to run more wire (I saw; there wasn't).

Thus ensued the inspection of the exterior walls and the discussion of drilling a hole through the brick exterior wall so that new conduit pipe could be run. They pointed out that several tenants had apparently already done this. I saw the new pipes up the side of the building.

Then there's the matter of running the new wire to its destination within the walls. In Boston, they just ran the wire; where it crossed studs they'd notch the studs and nail a metal plate over the wire.

Chicago, ever paranoid ad absurdam of fires, requires that all wire be run through metal pipe. And not flexible metal pipe: hard, unbending metal pipe. How do they get the pipe in? They do what's called "trenching" the walls, which is exactly what it sounds like: they literally dig a trench where the wire and pipe will go. every time I heard the word, my stomach tensed.

"So we could run the pipe up to there, then we run it into the kitchen, trenching the ceiling..."

In Boston I dealt with notches; here I'm faced with the notion of an apartment that looks like a giant ant farm. They assured me they would patch everything to make it look like new.

I'd just say forget it, but a girl needs more than 30 amps. She just does. When I showed them the fuse box, they agreed. So I'll make sure I'm sitting down when I get the emailed quote.

My job has become so stressful and exasperating that I left an hour early today, feigning illness, because I thought I'd have a meltdown. Another worker, who knows we share the same stress response, on hearing that she and I both have sick stomachs and chest pains the moment we head to work, asked, "Why aren't we normal?"

"That thing is, we ARE normal," I replied. "We'd be abnormal if we DIDN'T have this response to such a hell hole."

I had to leave an excruciatingly frustrating meeting where for 90 minutes every single sentence I uttered was cut off or talked over. Every one, and that is par for the course given my fellow attendees. Fearing that at any moment I would scream, "LET ME FINISH A SINGLE FUCKING SENTENCE" I excused myself to go to the ladies' room, where an unsuspecting coworker got to hear me rant that if I wasn't put of that place in 60 days I was going to cut my own throat.

I'm taking Wednesday off to relax and work on the resume.

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