The 2-Week Rule

Not to belittle the importance of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on the region, but I think we’ve all been watching coverage and no one needs my take on how it affected people here. The devastation in other parts of the region is far more blog worthy by others. I am very fortunate to live in a community that was not as hard hit as others. So, I decided today to share with you the 2-Week Rule that seems to govern services in the Poconos.

I must preface this by saying that the work done on my home is miraculously completed and of good quality. I say miraculous because the inside of the house is beautiful and suits all my needs in spite of the fact that it was done from a distance — when I was still in Tallahassee. The exterior, however, is another story. I decided to have the house painted barn red instead of the dreary brown that was the standard in this community when the homes were built in the late 1960s. The process started in July and, in spite of the 2-week rule, was finally finished last week (end of October!). I heard, “It will be done by the end of July,” then “It will be done by the end of August,” then “It will be done before it snows!” In the contractor’s defense, there was a great deal of rain but even so painting the entire house with little brushes really didn’t work all that well for efficiency. Much of the painting time is taken up with talking, complaining, teasing, and smoking. I understand the need for socializing in the workplace, but when work starts at 9:30 (on a good day) and ends at about 3:30 (if the painters aren’t called to another job), factor in time for breaks (even though they ate lunch standing on ladders), painting an entire house takes a lot longer than one would think.

The last thing to be painted was the deck leading to the upstairs door. Oh, happy day — except for the black bootprints that track from the gate up and down the stairs and from one end of the deck to the other. “Oh, that will have to wait until spring,” said my friend Diane on Wednesday. The contractor assures me it will be done “as soon as it’s dry.” I cannot share with you how many times I’ve heard that phrase. In fact, Diane’s husband Pierce takes care of the landscaping (I use that term loosely since it’s really all leaves, moss and rocks), and promised to put down some gravel “in 2 weeks.” He explained to me this is everyone’s way of giving themselves wiggle room. Totally understandable! Of course, the gravel was put down 4 weeks later! All’s well that ends well I guess and everything is almost done (yes, there’s more). I would do it all again and trust the contractor and his crew. I am, they told me, single-handedly keeping the local economy going. The house is happy!