April 17, 2007

This week our remodel was supposed to officially get underway, starting with the demolition work in the carport. JB prepared by tearing apart our fence and building a temporary area for Dog, before getting a call from the general contractor that they were walking away from the project. The company that’s worked with us over the last several weeks to get bids in place and draw up plans for the new kitchen and living area just up and dumped us, for no reason we can figure other than JB had tried to negotiate on pricing. They told him they always want their customers to be happy, and they weren’t sure they could make us happy, so they’d rather just sever the relationship.

Is that weird, or what? I guess they must be drowning in work, because I can’t fathom why else a contractor would bail on such an expensive project, especially over something as commonplace as pricing negotiations.

JB has been pretty spun up about it, having essentially planned a complicated wedding only to have the bride run off in a childish snit. He’s getting new bids, but now that we have to start over and not only find the right people but get on their schedules, I imagine it will be a while before anything happens.

In the meantime, I’m trying to view those paint sample squares in the kitchen as modern art. When people come over, I’ll tell them I’ve been in a Cubist Period, experimenting with representing Benjamin Moore’s yellow-beige oeuvre in a two-dimensional space. Then I’ll adjust my beret and moodily smoke a Gauloise.

Lucky for JB’s blood pressure, he’s been a trooper about doing yoga with me in the evenings lately. He’s about as bendy as a two-by-four, but he gamely cranks himself into Upward Dogs and Chair Poses and only minimally bitches about the annoying Inhale music and the balding dorkiness of Steve Ross.

I’m really grateful for his participation, because it’s highly unlikely I would be sticking with the night-time yoga if I were the only one repeatedly heaving my butt into the air like a startled skunk while listening to “Mustang Sally”. Yoga feels amazing but it looks downright hilarious, no matter how sinewy your muscles or how flattering your pants. It’s definitely not a spectator sport.

On a related note, I’ve decided that people who can do the splits are alien life forms. Can you do the splits? If so I fear both your inhuman flexibility and your no-doubt powerful anal probe.

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Chiara
15 years ago

When I was doing three or four hours of bellydance a week I could almost do the splits for almost two seconds if I cried a whole lot to distract me from the pain while I was trying to do them. Now? No way, no how, man. Undulate, yes. Splits, no.

brid
brid
15 years ago

i almost said “i excel at split ends” but then realized with the combination of “splits” and “powerful anal probe” in your final sentence…yeah…so instead i’m just going to stare at the lovely yellow cubist square painting on your wall and whistle and hope no one looks my way.

Sarah
15 years ago

Dude, suck about the remodel!! Your experience further underscores my mistrust of anyone who charges me to wield a Sawz-All. Also, it’s super-cute that JB indulges you with the yoga; it’s more than I can say for *my* Jon…

p.s. I had a really fun time the other day!

angela
angela
15 years ago

My sister has been known to do the splits in random bars while drunk. I don’t understand.

Melanie
15 years ago

No splits here! Yoga, when done well, looks pretty amazing and actually gorgeous – you have to just sort of get into the whole semi-cheesy “namaste” spirit of it to feel like that, I think. My husband thinks it’s gay beyond all belief and insists that it’s NOT exercise. I need to figure out how to rook him into trying it with me.

Christine
15 years ago

God, so sorry about the contractors. We were dumped by our mortgage boyfriend 10 days before closing on our house last year. Thankfully, we found another right quick. May your search be just as fruitful.

And lord, hell no on the splits. Not since I was fifteen anyway, when I thought I was fat, but really was quite the piece of ass. Damn me for wasting it.

Lisa B
Lisa B
15 years ago

Crapola on the contractors. Good on JB, tho. And entertain both yourselves with YogaBeans http://www.yogabeans.com/ (tho the latest is not so funny, the others are hilarious).

Janssen
15 years ago

I sure cannot do the splits. I couldn’t even do the splits after two years of gymnastics as a tiny ten year old. I agree – splits are for freaks.

Carolyn J.
15 years ago

There is a construction boom up here, and contractors have been dumping projects because they get offered jobs with a better profit margin after they sign on with you. It’s a really shitty thing for them to do, and it will hurt their reputation in the long run. I’d report them to the BBB, even if it wouldn’t do any good to your current project.

Rae
Rae
15 years ago

I can’t do the splits, my calves are too tight. But I can put my feet almost behind my head. Sometimes I think I’m an alien too.

Mrs. Breedorf
15 years ago

Did you find those guys on Angie’s List? Are you going to leave a negative review about them? If so, can you post what you write so we can read it and gloat?

Pete
Pete
15 years ago

At least they left at the start. The contractors my wife hired to do our upstairs bathrooms left without finishing their work and after they broke a water pipe and ruined my oak floors downstairs (which I had just finished two weeks before). We ended up taking them to court and my wifes lawyer made out pretty well. Now I am left to tear out what they did (both showers leak) and redo it. That was $80k down the crapper. (can you tell I’m still angry? ;-) ). At least when I redo it I can do it right. I have found the contractors really don’t like it when the owners seem to know what they are doing and can inspect their work. Still sucks.

Jennifer
Jennifer
15 years ago

Wow, Pete’s story sounds scary. I agree, if those contractors were feeling uncomfortable with you, better for them to bail before they get started and do a half-assed job. But, as Carolyn said, if you already signed a contract with them, you probably have some grounds to file a complaint if you so choose… you could think of it as extending a warning to others.

I’m impressed by your calm over this whole thing… well, the calm you portray in this entry. I’d be chewing nails if this had happened to me and screwed up my plans. Sounds like yoga really is giving you inner tranquility!

Lesley
Lesley
15 years ago

I’m guessing you haven’t heard of “naked yoga”. Most funny is Wikipedia’s description: “the practice of yoga without clothes.” (Google if you dare, but I suggest not at work.)

anna
anna
15 years ago

Um, yeah, so I can do the splits…..

But it’s because I have been dancing for a long time. So I guess that makes me extra flexi and all, and in some peop’s opinion a ‘freak’ but hey, I gotta say that it does look a bit better than doing some of those yoga moves.

Anyways, so if you want to eventually be able to do the splits you can, you just have to practise because really, everyone has the ability to do the splits no matter what age. It just comes down to practise. All you have to do is stick a bunch of cushions on the floor in a kind of ‘pile formation’ and pop your legs either side and rest your nether regions on the pile. When you have done say ‘5 cushions high’ for say, 1-2wks or however long it takes to feel no strain anymore you take a cushion away and so on…..till your fanny is on the floor and your leggies are too!

( Btw, I assume you meant the length-ways splits and not the extra flexi front ways splits cos geez, I can’t don’t them too well either)

thejunebug
15 years ago

Sorry about the contractor lameness. :(

And re: the yoga- HAHAHAHA! Jay does yoga, and he’s very… bendy, which I find entertaining as hell. I decided to try it myself, so I have a DVD called “just my size yoga”, which is yoga for fat people. I’m sure it would be very helpful except I can’t get through the first five minutes of “ohhhhmmmms” without spraining a rib muscle laughing. I’ve never actually seen the rest of the DVD; Jay usually comes in and turns it off when he hears me hooting & howling with laughter upstairs.

stan
stan
15 years ago

What can I say? So annoying that the contractors have walked out! Hope you get it sorted out soon with the minimum of hassle.

Splits? No chance! Not even when I was younger and fitter! It’s all I can do these days to touch my toes, so I’ll not let them stray too far apart in case I can’t find them again.

Gentry
15 years ago

I’m so close to being able to do the splits. It’s actually the standard by which I measure my self-worth these days. I started taking ballet again (after…gulp…an 18 year break). I think I’ll be there, sitting comfortably in a month. Although last night I was tempted to sever those crotchal region tendons to speed the process along. But I think I’ll stick with gradual stretching.

Laura H
15 years ago

At one point, I could do the splits… I am not sure if I would want to verify that I can still do them. Something tells me that wouldn’t be prudent. Sorry to hear about your contractors. On the optimistic side, you just saved a ton of money! For at least a little while.

I say,paint the squares all around the kitchen. That will be a sure ice breaker at your next get together!

Tammy
Tammy
15 years ago

Contractors seem to be a law unto themselves. My friend decided to have a two story addition added. This involved a complete teardown of her kitchen, with a new much larger kitchen added as well as an upstairs bathroom and bedroom. They took $20k (deposit), tore down the kitchen…then ran off. It took 4 months, lawyers, masses of red tape and a very kind contractor willing to do the work for free (although he did supply loser contractor with the permit, so technically his ass was on the line too) before she finally ended up with a SEMI finished kitchen. They did find the contractor and have filed criminal charges but geesh..it’s enough to scare the ever loving pee out of a person…I guess you could be glad he bailed BEFORE he started and let’s face it, if he’s that unreliable, perhaps it was a blessing.
As for the splits, I’m lucky I can bend over and tie my shoes..

Swistle
15 years ago

That sucks about the contractors. I’ll bet they were Bad Workers and they got the feeling that JB would be able to tell that their work was shoddy, so they took off.

When I was eight I committed to a 6-month gymnastics class ONLY because I wanted to be able to do a split. Could I, even at a lithe and flexible age 8, after 6 months of regular practice? No I could not.

Zoot
Zoot
15 years ago

My husband used to be able to do full side splits (martial arts). He no longer can, but he comes closer than any grown man I’ve ever known.

Jennifer
15 years ago

Sorry about the run-away contractors. Jerks.

Splits….eh, not anymore. I used to be able to do them, way before it would have actually impressed anyone. If I could do them now, at almost 36 weeks pregnant…now THAT would be impressive.

Josie
15 years ago

I grew up dancing so I can do the splits. I make sure to do them a couple times a year so I don’t lose the ability, because I haven’t been dancing regularly for a lot of years. I think when your muscles are formed doing things it makes them a lot easier.
I laughed at your description of JB being as “bendy as a two by four,” my husband is the same way. He’s probably a foot away from being able to touch his toes. He’s done yoga with me a few times, but he needs about three blocks to do most of the poses =)

Cavu
15 years ago

It sounds like you dodged a bullet with the contractors. Hello, unprofessional. Doesn’t sound like they have their shit together.

Splits: Yes. In gymnastics, our coach used to make us hold each split (left, right, middle) for 2 minutes each at every practice, the idea being that you could go down a little bit farther each time. So, yeah, about a decade ago I used to be able to, like, sit and watch tv in the split position as though it was a normal way to lounge around. Now, I can still do the lefty one if I want to engage in excruciating pain.

Lawyerish
15 years ago

Um. WTF? Contractors amaze me, because theirs is apparently the only industry in which it is wholly acceptable to not show up, not return calls, flake out altogether and, in your case, outright DUMP customers. Do they not NEED money? Seriously — the hell? I am so outraged on your behalf. SO! Outraged! Because, as you know, our renos are starting today and I would have collapsed in a heap of bile and fury if they’d crapped out on us after we packed up all our kitcheny goods and started eating dinners of pita chips and hummus.

I haven’t tried to do a split lately, but I could do one at least up until a couple of years ago, as I was still taking ballet classes regularly. I am not naturally flexible, but years and years of coaxing my hamstrings and sartorius muscles finally paid off by junior high or so, and I practically lived in the splits. I also used to be able to put my foot up in the top corner of a door frame while standing on the other leg (if that makes any sense) — my leg would crack off if I tried that now.

Grace
Grace
15 years ago

Second the Angie’s list suggestion. I found my remodel contractors there, they had good reviews in my area of town, and they were/are great. Well worth the $45 joining fee.

Ang
Ang
15 years ago

I can do the splits. Only one way tho — with my left leg out front. It’s much harder to do now that I”m old and fat than when I was a cheerleading Jr.Higher, but….I can do them nonetheless.

jen
jen
15 years ago

must stop putting off buying yoga & pilates dvds. i can’t seem to find good ones. im using amazing so my choice will be based on reviews. it kind of makes me anxious. haha.

those contractors sound like suckbags. cant make you happy? haha who doesnt negotiate on remodels? crazy!

Jamie
Jamie
15 years ago

A lifetime of dancing has left with the splits ability – including the jump splits (think Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in a kickline – jump up, hit the split position, then land on the ground), which I love with a sick passion. They are so much fun to do, seriously! Whether that makes me a freak or not is up for debate. :)

Sometimes I’ll be stretching out in the fitness room in my building, and really feel the need to split it out – it sounds strange, but it’s a really relaxing position once you’re comfortably into it. I’ve gotten some weird looks from my neighbors, but I don’t care.

Aunt Linda
Aunt Linda
15 years ago

I hired a contractor only once. He wouldn’t leave, sort of like Eldin the painter in the old Murphy Brown show. He spent hours and hours in the guest bathroom, escaping what was apparently a truly awful family life. One day when Toni arrived for work, she found him sitting on the curb outside our house, crying. When he finally left, he would not take his last payment. I’m the only person I know whose contractor was actually under budget. Good luck. AL

Operation Pink Herring
15 years ago

I can almost do the split on one side. My right side is so tight from the running injury that sent me to yoga in the first place that I don’t think I’ll ever get it on that side.

This is probably a sign that I’m not getting into the “spirit” of yoga, but if I see the teacher do an awesome pose (like side crow or half moon) I get obsessed with it and practice all the time at home until I can do it. It becomes a battle between me and The Yoga.

breckgirl
breckgirl
15 years ago

I feel for JB. I am a most un-bendy person and no, I definitely cannot and never could do the splits. In fact, when I was very young I wanted to be Nadia Comanechi or Olga Korbut and so my mom signed me up for gymnastics. After many months of patient attempts to bend my back into a “bridge,” the instructor told my mom (off to the side of course) that I was just not cut out to do the gymnastics thing. It didn’t necessarily phase me – hell, I went on to become a baton-twirling goddess. But even in baton, I could never do the walkovers or aerials that truly MADE you a full on champion. I never got the “dance twirl” routine or the strut routine. I had to settle for two baton trophies, which are nice but just not quite the “best.” It was like being a flag girl when what you really wanted was to be a pom-pon girl. (Don’t get me started on pom-pon – it really is spelled like that). Anyway – lack of flexibility held me back in my childhood dreams of fame and fortune but shit, it isn’t a problem now. I don’t see myself needing to perform any splits or aerials in the near future unless my husband suddenly gets kinky on me in the bedroom and demands acrobatics of some kind. AND I found that doing regular Pilates or yoga really increases your flexibility the longer you do it. So keep going JB – it will get better.

Screw those contractors. It wasn’t meant to be and if they are childish enough the dump the project just because JB tried to negotiate, they would NOT have been any good to deal with later on down the line. Who needs more stress when your house is torn apart? Good riddance.

H
H
15 years ago

I was in gymnastics in high school and came close to the sideways splits but never could do the splits with either my right or left leg in front, no matter what I did. A freaky thing happened to me, though, during that time. I was dreaming that I could do the splits with my right leg in front. It was one of those dreams that is extremely realistic, with sensation and all. That’s the first time I realized that if one could do the splits that direction, one would feel the cool floor on the back of one’s thigh, because it felt that way in my dream! The mind is a funny thing.

Amy M.
Amy M.
15 years ago

Sorry about the contractors – what a nightmare! I did receptionist work for a homebuilder in college & some contractors were so flaky. One guy disappeared from a job. After a week we found him – he was leaving his wife & didn’t want her to know where he was! Idiot!

I can still do the splits – but only 1 way, like a couple other posters. I can only do them with my left leg forward. Don’t understand why. A good exercise I used to do for flexibility was lay on your back with your butt against a wall & let gravity help your legs fall to the sides. But don’t stay there too long, or you’ll pull something. Trust me!

Leah
15 years ago

I could do the splits until about three years ago when I stopped stretching regularly. I could do them spread-eagle and then lay forward flat on the floor, and I could also do them sideways and finagle my back leg into a bent position so I could touch my foot to my head. I was a ballerina and the girl everyone hated to have in her aerobics class.

alina
15 years ago

Splits, yes…the forward/back ones with my left leg out front. I suppose this makes me a freak, but I find comfort in the knowledge that I have a brother who is an even bigger freak. He can do all sorts of bendy things. He’s a trained diver/gymnast. Freak. Not me. Him. Me, I’m perfectly normal.

pseudostoops
15 years ago

I’ve been meaning to email and thank you for turning us on to the dorkiness of Inhale, because it’s the only yoga I’ve ever been able to convince John to do with me- but I have to say, when he does that lunge thing where you’re supposed to reach around your back and grab your hand by reaching through your leg underneath? I want to cry every time they all do it so easily. It’s very sad. And if I hear that “do you want a revolution” song one more time I will scream.

monkey boxer
15 years ago

I can do the splits but only on the right side. Twenty years of fencing…

coffee stained
15 years ago

um, yeah, splits… like when I was 8 and taking gymnastics 3x a week. now, not so much.

sorry to hear about your contractor’s crappiness. I hope you find someone good who will build you your dream addition!

Josh
Josh
15 years ago

I can do the splits. The BA-NA-NA SPLITS!!!! Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

And by do, I mean eat. Just to clarify.

Sorry about your contractors, that’s a heinous bitch of a news flash. Right after tax time too. I’m asuming you did your taxes on the last evening possible and drove them speedily to the post office to beat the stroke of midnight by a hairs breadth. That’s how normal people do taxes, and you are clearly a normal person. Right?

On a completely unrelated topic, has JB ever been attempting to contort into a yoga death-pose and severely and suddenly broken all kinds of wind? Cause I did that once, and it was not only funny as hell, but also got me excused from further yoga torture. I especially liked how the instructor lady on TV kept reminding everyone to breathe. That was the comedic cherry on top of my flatulent banana split.

And hark! We have come full circle with this especially classy comment. I bid you adieu.

Jem
Jem
15 years ago

No splits. I used to be obsessed with them though…when I was little, being flexible was my greatest dream, as I had a friend who could do them.

Joslyn
Joslyn
15 years ago

I’m new, and this topic intrigues me, so I’ll comment for the first time. Sorry about the contracters, that’s just no fun at all. About the splits… I can do them all 4 way (right leg in front, left leg in front, middle splits sitting up, and middle splits with my stomach on the ground). In my defense, I have been dancing for 18ish years now. I was the only 7 year old in my class not to be able to do them, so I stretched at home every day until I could do them. Once you have them, it doesn’t hurt anymore, so long as you keep doing them. :)

jonniker
15 years ago

Dude, that Inhale guy plays ‘Mustang Sally’ ALL THE BLOODY TIME. And he always sings along, “Riiide, Sally, RIDE!” while bopping his head and checking people’s poses.

I’m so sorry about the contractors. The whole business is so frustrating, and it happens to everyone down here, honestly. If a contractor shows up on the right day and even marginally on time, people start making out with them on the spot.

Also, you should know that this is the third day in a row I’ve had the Shrink Yer Butt salad. I went out yesterday just to get the ingredients for it for two more days because I was dying, just DYING for it, it’s that good.

Lesley
Lesley
15 years ago

My Pilates instructor – who has years of dance training – told me she never could master the splits and that you either have the structure to be able to do them or you don’t. I find I’m getting more flexible but I will probably never be able to do the splits or that lovely forward bend where your legs are spread out to the side and you lie forward flat on your stomach. I would looooooooove to be able to do that because it looks so relaxing.

ang
ang
15 years ago

You are scaring the shit out of me with the contractor nightmares. I’m in the process of some remodelling and so far it’s been sleepless nights and measuring crap fifty kajillion times. Quick! Say something positive!!!!

Kristin
Kristin
15 years ago

Ha the splits! That totally reminds me of when I was taking salsa lessons and talked myself into joining a “performance class” where you learn a routine and perform it at area night clubs.

Right before our first performance, at the last minute my teacher wanted to throw in a fancy splits move at the end of the number. Several of my classmates were all into it so I felt pressured to say, “yeah I can do that”. So we go through the number in front of 100 spectators and at the end, the splits move happened and I just went for it. I succeeded in doing a full splits…but then had to have my partner pick me up off the floor and I waddled off like I’d been riding a horse for 8 hours. I was sore for the next month because of it. Definitely not something you can force let me tell you!

HollowSquirrel
15 years ago

What? You got dumped by your contractors? That sucks. I’m so sorry!! What a bunch of asshats. Did they at least recommend other contractors to use? I’m not sure what they mean by their comments. UGH.

deanna
deanna
15 years ago

[1] contractor—hello LAME. just be glad you found out that they were jerks before they backed out on you half-way through the project leaving you without a functioing kitchen for way longer than you desired…. gluck with finding some new guys to help ya out…

[2] as for the yoga–keep at it. i have a 15 year dance background and i still feel like a total blowhole doing some yoga poses. HOWEVER, stay with it. i hated it at first, but the more i do it the more i find it helps my flexibility and breathing and posture and general mindset. im not so much into the whole “take this ball of energy and move it around the room” sorta thing, but it does help relax me for sure. as for the splits, i used to be able to do them regularly [a must as a dancer], however an overuse injury to my hip, as the result of teaching 10 spinning classes a week, caused me to lose some flexibility so i cant do them regularly anymore. ill get em back, god willing. but the stretching in yoga is SO GOOD FOR YOU, especially in the long run. the more you start laying and KEEPING the foundations of an active and healthy lifestyle now, the better off youll be when youre 60 or 70 or 80 or 100(!) and your children with get inito healthy living habits from the start.