New Year Resolutions…….

……. are meant to be broken but it doesn’t hurt to keep them going as long as possible.

Weight loss is the number one resolution which to tell the truth is dead in the water right after Valentine’s Day.  If someone is lucky enough to get a box of Godiva or Neuchatel chocolates for that holiday occasion, what are the chances the box won’t be empty within a week, maybe less?   I hear chocolates have been heralded by nutritionists as good for your health. Especially the dark variety.  So it stands to reason chocolates not only sooth a sweet tooth they are a healthy food so dive into the box.  But everything in moderation ….that is if you have good self control!

Next resolution on the list is staying on budget.  To tell the truth that is a hard one to keep especially with all the wonderful after-Christmas-sales taking place at every store.   Electronics, fashion accessories, apparel, furniture, automobiles, the list is endless and so are the discounts.  I have tried to figure out how retailers can make a profit when initially a sweater on special promotion was 25% off and that same sweater after Christmas gets another 75% off to the original 25%?  Doesn’t that make the sweater free?  I’m no mathematician but even I can add this up in my head and come up with 100% off the original price. Shopping will be hard to resist at these prices!

My favorite is getting in touch with friends I haven’t heard from in a long time.  If you haven’t noticed, this decade has buried the telephone RIP.  Everyone communicates via email, facebook, twitter, instagram,  texting.  I don’t know ….call me old fashioned but I want to have a conversation with a voice.  There’s nothing like hearing a familiar voice on the other end especially when catching up with news about friends and family.  I would rather pick up the phone than let my fingers do the walking across a key board.  Gives the fingers exercise but how unsocial!

Speaking of exercise, for all the procrastinators who have vowed they will join a gym or work out with a trainer, this one should be a no brainer for a New Year’s resolution.  Newspapers, magazines, and on-line editorials all acknowledge that any exercise no matter how low key leads to better health.  So reason dictates that we should take time out to walk, run, lift weights, jump rope, bike, ski, hike…. not at the same time but you get the idea. Remember, summer is not that far off and the beach will be beckoning soon enough.

All bets are off that any resolutions made in the New Year will be honored past the first month.  So enjoy the chocolates, go out on that buying spree, get those fingers nimble enough to send out messages, and did you know bike handles are great hangers for clothes?

Happy 2014!

Home Improvement

One of the most disruptive experiences in life has got to be renovating one’s living space.  Not only is it unsettling, it can, and almost always is, frustrating.  The cause for this frustration?  Contractors!

Anyone who has experienced renovation of any sort can attest to this exasperating service. Contractors will provide a suggested completion date and cost estimate for work and then go over the time frame and the proposed price. Count on it!  What is even more frustrating is that it’s an accepted practice.  The reason being once the job is started it cannot be stopped midstream; therefore you are up the creek without a paddle.

Contractors are in the service business.  It seems odd to me that this particular line of work is not held to the standards of other services.  I had my own business for close to 40 years.  I was expected to honor a contract once I identified the work and the cost for it.  It meant I had to get the work done in the time frame outlined and at the agreed price.  So how does this not apply to building contractors?

More times than not, and depending on the size of job, completion will be at best a month or so past promised and in more cases than not, it feels like a never ending process. The worker bees never finish the job.  Actually they are at the site off and on for weeks and more accurately, they are there for months.  Some days they show up; most days they don’t; and the rooms under construction are left uninhabitable.

Then there’s the matter of cost.  Within budget is not a recognized term.  Price agreed to is blown out of the water because upon installation of cabinets, plumbing or electrical work, that which was estimated is no longer valid.  It’s always over but never under the estimate. Curious!

I thought I was clever when I decided to redo my kitchen and a bathroom.  Rather than having the contractor purchase the cabinets, tiles, fixtures, etc. I would do it myself to save time. Everything would be arranged for delivery when the contractor would give me the date when work could commence.  Installation could take place without having to interrupt the work flow by waiting for parts and pieces.

And how did this work out for me? It was an exercise in futility.  I basically wasted my time.  Work can only be started when the contractor has the help he needs for the job and if he’s working on another (unfortunately contractors always have other work in progress) one has to wait until that other job is finished. And because that other job didn’t start on time …well you get the picture.

After what was to be at most a two- month in duration job is now in its fourth month and still no end in sight.  It’s like gum on my shoe.  Just when I think it’s coming to completion something else pulls it back.

The next time I want to update any room in my home I will first have my head examined.  It will be quicker and cheaper.