Wednesday, September 24, 2008

9/24/08 Fire in the hole

The bad news is that there was a fire on our jobsite today.

The good news is that no one was hurt, it was minor, put out quickly, and no real damage done. Our contractor called the fire department to check it out, and the house got a clean bill of health. It was started by a plumber with a blowtorch that caught some paper backing on insulation. Still, "fire" and "jobsite" are not two words one likes to see anywhere near each other.

That's not the worst thing that happened with remodeling though. We got a notice from PG&E today: moving the gas line will cost us over $5000. We'd expected more like a few hundred dollars, as this is a straightforward move. I'd really like to know how they can charge $2300 for engineering and administration.

I should be used to these unexpected major expenses. I've lost track of how many $5000-$10,000 surprises we've had. But there's no budgeting, no conserving, no spending strikes, no cutting back. Few of the extra expenditures have been luxuries or options. When you have to spend thousands of dollars on an unexpected concrete removal and dirt excavation, saving $500 on cheaper tile just isn't satisfying.

I really really wish the economy, sagging housing prices, and stock market would get off the front pages already. I don't need the insecurity, what with our house torn up and all. Add to that renewed doubts about living here at all, thoughts I normally push away until a friend astutely describes similar thoughts. Then again, living in the Bay Area, talking and dreaming about moving away are common pasttimes.

Plus the serious grass-is-greener affliction. When I was a full-time mom, my impression was that working moms were on the whole happier, still in touch with their basic selves, despite the challenging balancing act. Now that I'm working, it's quite clear that full-time moms are far happier and less stressed and have much better lives, despite their challenges. It occurred to me today while driving (and I have lots of thoughts while driving since I do it about 2 hours a day) that a big part of the sense of rat-race is spending all of my driving time in rush hour traffic. As a full-time Mom, I almost entirely avoided crowded driving. Maybe I'm just feeling pissy about my car time because it's Pledge Week on NPR.

Gabriel made a cookie at the CDC today, plastered with gooey orange frosting and drowned in jimmies and sprinkles. Cookies are so much better when you make them yourself!

The best thing happened today was that I called my father for the first time in weeks, and he happily remembered me.


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