Thursday, 5 February 2009

Final Contract Termination and Other Stories

Current mood:  happy

I'm almost there now...I must keep up the nightly catch up blogging!

January 25th 2009

Went to Woodberry, but Mum got in yet another bad mood and wouldn't look at colours again.  So it wasn't long before we returned to Grottsville.

Then David sulked and went to sleep in the bathroom for hours meaning we got no bananas from the shop.  So I had a bowl of Shreddies and out of date milk for breakfast the next morning - we "can't afford" Weetaflakes or a new pint of milk, while he continues to buy two newspapers in one day as mentioned in my last blog.

In the morning, he had been to Woodberry alone to see a different painter, but he quoted a price that was almost as high as the price Sickton had told us, and didn't seem to want the job anyway.  He did say that he thought it was strange that the builders had ruined all of our brand new toilets though, as his painters have a policy of trying not to use ANY of the client's toilets while on site, let alone messing up three brand new lavatories!  Oh, and he agreed with us that the house is not yet ready for decorating.

January 26th 2009

Ah, finally we reach the day I've been dying to tell you all about!  We were supposed to meet Sickton at the house at 9am.  I had intended on staying behind (well, originally Mum had said she was too), but I was woken up and told not only was she going but I was to come as well, to make recordings of whatever was said.  And I'm so glad I did, even if it's just for your entertainment!

We arrived at 8.58am, and passed Sickton who was just walking up the road on our way to park the car.  I swear he saw us, but he didn't look friendly.  Just as we were parking the car, Sickton rang to say we were late.  Um...   He was quite obviously in a bad mood, and probably had some kind of trick up his sleeve, I thought.  And I was right.

We arrived to see one painter on site, rubbing down the front door.  He told us that Sickton had "gone back to his house to get something", and tried to warn us that the architect was not in a good mood...but he didn't get very far because just then Sickton returned, with the "thing" he had gone to get - his wife (the one he isn't really married to), Carolyn.  She's the colourist, who hasn't even been involved in the job apart from that one meeting where she told us to paint the whole house white.  Once we saw her, we knew trouble was brewing.

The meeting lasted a grand total of one minute and twenty seconds.  Yes, you read that correctly - and I have everything on WAV file to prove it!  It is a little fuzzy, so I've written out a transcript below.  Also, may I just take this opportunity to warn you all in advance that the second recording contains a bit of bad language towards the end, which actually came out of my mouth...  Oops.

Audio files are currently unavailable.  I will update the links as soon as I find another host.  Until then, the transcript will have to do.  Sorry for any inconvenience caused.
And here's the transcript, for those who can't figure out what's going on.

Mum and I are standing in the extension, while David welcomes Piccy-Wiccy and Carolyn in his lovey dovey friendly "I'm a jolly man" way
Mum makes some kind of comment to me about Carolyn, like "What's she doing here?" but I can't quite make it out.  I shrug, as the other three step into the extension.
Chris glares at us and begins talking
"This here...this house is now fully ready for decoration."Mum glares back at him.
"Rubbish."Chris looks a little un-nerved but continues his (I imagine) pre-planned speech.
"As far as the decorator is concerned, it's READY."
He falters again...
"And I'm afraid, if you don't think it's ready, and you won't take my advice, and you won't give me the colours..."David squeaks...sorry, speaks - even he is getting annoyed now.
"But how can this be complete?"
Chris half-looks at Carolyn.  Was that in the script?  No?  Ooh, gosh, but you know I'm not good at ad-libbing!
"It will be complete..."
He starts muttering about someone being on site today (well, nobody was on site except the painter, and anyways the work was supposed to have been completed before the weekend!), but I can't figure out exactly what he said.  Carolyn looks angrier and angrier.  Then he starts on about his precious colours again, of course.
"It's ready for decoration, totally ready.  If you HAVEN'T got the colours..."
Ooh, what's the latest threat?  I lean in closer to listen.  The last one was that the painter was off on another job for a month, wasn't it?  So why is he standing there rubbing down our front door?!  But there is no threat, because he can't keep off the subject of us giving him the colours for long enough.
"Tell me that you haven't got the colours, go on!"At the same time, David says something about having the colours.
"That's all I'm asking..."Chris is out of breath and his pleading act is almost worthy of an Oscar.
David infuriates them further by uttering again.
"I've told you I've got some colours..."
Sickton's eyes light up, and he demands in a clear voice...
"GIVE THEM TO ME!"David seems startled and stammers slightly.
"I told you I haven't got all the colours."Carolyn suddenly pipes up in a satisfied tone - so THIS is where her guest role begins in the play!
"He HASN'T got the colours!  HE SAID IT!"Chris ignores this line to make it look more genuine.  I can now see where their short play is leading.
"Just...  You've got some of the colours?"
"Yes.""GIVE ME SOME OF THE COLOURS!"Mum is outraged, and actually speaks up in front of Sickton, playing right into his hands, and leading nicely into the ending of their final act.
"Why?  Why...why are you so desperate?"
Sickton and his pretend wife start yelling.
"BECAUSE YOU WANT TO MOVE HOUSE!""BECAUSE YOU WANT TO FINISH THE JOB, JACQUI!  AND IF YOU DON'T GIVE ME THE COLOURS, I CAN'T FINISH THE JOB!"I'm standing in the kitchen, leaning against our kitchen countertop now, right in front of this HUGE file Sickton has brought with him (he's never been so organised as to bring a file before, so God knows what was inside).  Suddenly he strolls towards me.
"I've had enough.  You finish the job yourselves.  I'll send you my final bill."
I don't move, so Sickton has to really struggle to get his file around me, which pleased me greatly.
"Bye."Carolyn heads towards the family history room, and goes to stroll through to the front door.  Oops, but she forgot one of her lines, didn't she?!  So she stops and adds it in before continuing on her journey, even now stumbling on her words.
"I've had enough as well."*CRASH*
Sickton stumbles, and pages from his file go everywhere, all over the kitchen floor.  He scrabbles to pick them up.
Carolyn stops in the family history room.  "Tsk."  She rolls her eyes at him for ruining the grand walk-out and leaves on her own.
Mum and I stumble to the back door in the extension, stifling giggles.
"Unbelievable."  I say, to nobody in particular, as I see Sickton picking up his advertising board from our front garden.  Interesting as it had always been well wired down before that day, so they must have planned to remove it long before the meeting actually began.
Sickton tells the painter to stay where he is, and returns to his own house with Carolyn, who is still angry at him for messing up their grand exit.
The painter seems quite amused actually - I think he'd seen it all before.  As far as I'm concerned on the Sickton case, good riddance to bad rubbish!  We started talking to the painter, and I began recording again.  Again, transcript below, and as mentioned above be warned of my bad language at the very end.
The painter is awkwardly saying that he can paint the walls now (as Sickton - the boss - ordered), although he doesn't look happy about it.
"...I'll work with him, you know.  If there's some patching up to do, I'll patch it up and I'll paint it.  It's...it's...it's not a problem..." (Well, he has to say that, doens't he?)
David puts on his most arrogant look.
"Can I say...just a minute..."Mum takes pity on the poor painter who is looking more and more awkward over what is obviously a familiar situation to him.
"It's not really fair to put this bloke on the spot."David tries to shut her up with a firm, "I know!", and continues what he's saying anyway.
"He's working hard, you know..." Mum adds in.
"I know!  I'm not putting him on the spot.  He IS working hard, I realise that."The painter still looks awkward, and takes a couple of steps back.  He smiles at Mum.
"I don't really know a lot to be honest, love.  I'm just a painter, you know?  I'm just doing my job so..."
He seems to regain a bit of his confidence and starts defending the boss again.
"But it is...it is ready to paint.  I could paint this whole house for you...if the need be."He goes back to rubbing down the door.  The three of us look at each other, and David shrugs.
"Well, we'll go home then."Mum stares at him in horror.
"And then you get on with the argument about the broken fireplace or anything else!"
"Well, I don't know..." David stammers.
Anger is still building inside me at him calling Grottsville home.  Sorry, but I do not call it home, never have done, and will not have it called as such, even if I am recording, and I hate my voice.  And David's hesitance to get into arguments and progress angers me further.  So I add in...
"And don't call it home."Mum looks at me, confused by what I'm saying, because the conversation has gone on from the mention of Grottsville.  "Eh?"I repeat, "Don't call that slum a home."  And start angrily pacing what SHOULD now be our living room.  I begin thinking over the shortest meeting in the world.  The whole appearance of Carolyn was quite hilarious.
I thought aloud, "I don't know why she trailed along..."Mum must have been thinking the same thing, and immediately knew what I was talking about this time.  "Oh, she trails along because she's got a big mouth.  I mean, you never bl**dy see her unless he needs a little bit of back up."  Mum laughs.
I finish her line for her under my breath.  "...To throw his book on the floor!"  I would have laughed myself, but just then I see a familiar shape moving hastily up the path.  The big mouthed back up woman must have heard her name mentioned.  CAROLYN HAS RETURNED!!!
She towers in the doorway, and tries to scare us with another well rehearsed speech.  Listen to the way she pronounces each word.  Don't tell me this wasn't pre-planned!  I especially love her affected posh accent, and how at the end of each line you hear a hint of her ordinary common Ealing dialect.  Why don't you get into acting rather than interior design, Wig Woman?!  It would appear your more suited to a life on stage than trying to colour everybody's houses in white, white and more white!
"I have never seen Chris behave that way before.  He has been pushed and pushed and pushed by you!"  (Pushing him?  We should have been living at Woodberry four months ago!)
David's little squeaky voice pipes up, "I haven't been pushing him." (Actually pretty true, as most of the messages have come from Mum, but please, let's stand as a united front, father!)
Carolyn starts to continue her speech, but adds an extra line in response to David's comment.  "YES YOU HAVE!"
"I haven't." David says again.
"We've been trying to get those colours from you, we've been trying to finish the job for the last..." (Dramatic pause) "...goodness knows how long!"
David tries to say something but she shouts him down, so I can't even make out what he said.
"It is perfectly..."  Her speech cuts out, and she starts to make a few mistakes like a normal human as she answers whatever David just said.  "We've had other builders in here to look it over, they've all agreed it's ready for finishing."
Next, Mum tries to shout her down - and actually succeeds!!!
"Well, we had one in here yesterday, and he said it wasn't."
Carolyn's voice wavers, but she continues shouting.  "Well, I don't CARE what your person says, WE'RE the architects, WE'VE done enough jobs...  Chris has been in the business for long enough to know when a job is ready to be worked on and painted up.  YOU have been holding it all up.  It's up to YOU now.  Thank you, buh-bye."
And she turned on her heels and left.
Mum laughs.  David looks stunned.  A simple "Bye." is all he can find to say.
Every time I listen to that recording, it makes me crack up with laughter, but at the time I was too angry to laugh.  I began pacing the living room again.  "Goodbye, you f***ing b*tch."  I say, to myself more than anything.  Stunned by my own words, and realising I just ruined the whole recording, I quickly switch off the camera.  But that was too hilarious not to share, so I'm so sorry that my cursing has been recorded for posterity.   I'll never carry off the prim and proper toffee-nosed tea-drinking English lady stereotype, will I?!
We spent a long time trying to figure out what to do.  Eventually the painter rang Rob, the Welsh builder (you may remember him from right back when work first began, and a few appearances he's made in my blog since then), for us and arranged a meeting between the builder and David for the afternoon.  Mum decided not to go (and so did I - I didn't want any more slip-ups as far as my bad tempered cursing goes!), because she thinks Rob doesn't like her following a fit she had in front of him regarding the fireplace, where she actually referred to the architect as P*ss Sickton!
David was him usual non-communicative self when he returned from the meeting (via the internet cafe where he ordered some more Mills & Boon to cheer himself up, despite us not being able to afford dinner again!).  BUT he did tell us that Rob says Picton never passed on any of our messages - surprise, surprise.  Wonderful project manager to be "sending us his final bill", eh?
January 27th 2009
Went to Woodberry, and found people were actually working in there!  Even I was stunned, despite saying all along that Picton was the one not getting on and doing anything.  If only we had been allowed to communicate with Rob directly in the first place, perhaps we wouldn't still be here right now.  BUT Sickton still had control, as he was refusing to hand over any paperwork meaning it would actually be illegal for the builders to take instructions from us.
Also, having charged us over £260 for light switches and electrical sockets, we found Picton hadn't got half of what he'd made out to have, so the electrician still couldn't do much.  So we had to go to two branches of Homebase and buy a load of stuff that Sickton has already charged us for - out of my own purse.  Sweet.  Now we know why Sickton threw that tantrum and wouldn't give us a breakdown of his bills, or the till receipt from Homebase.
It was actually that day that we found out Gabriella had to have this exploratory eye operation (which I believe I already mentioned back when the doctor first saw that there was something wrong with her eyes?).  They think it's so urgent that they actually referred her to both Great Ormond Street and Moorfields and told Emma to go to whichever hospital came through with an appointment first.  I don't know what can be wrong with her, but I'm really stressed about that too now.
January 28th 2009
Went to West Ealing and walked around the charity shops while David went to the bank to try to get some money out of the loan (which is supposed to pay for the house work) for us to live on for now.  We're really broke now, but I don't know what I can do to help while I'm stuck in this area where I can't even leave the house, let alone get a job.   I feel awful for being yet another person in the household to feed when I'm not bringing in any money whatsoever.  I'm wondering if maybe if I could improve on my pony artwork, I could take commissions on the Arena, just in the short term.  I know it's not good, but even if I could get a couple of quid here and there, at least I'd be making an effort.
Anyways, there were a couple of MLP videos in the charity shops, but I left them there, because I don't think I could have sold them on.  I actually already have a couple of copies of each up for sale and nobody seems to be interested.  Oh, and a fakie and McDonalds Sweetberry at the Salvation Army.  Are you still looking for McDonalds ponies, Grace?  I didn't know if I should have picked her up for you, as she was only 20p, which even I could spare for a friend.   Just let me know, as I'm pretty sure she'll still be there next time I go to West Ealing.
Then we went to two more branches of Homebase and Screwfix to look for the last few electric sockets.  I just figured out that even the ones that Sickton did buy were the wrong ones, so now we have the "Georgian" design instead of "Regency" in the hobby room.  Basically, black switches instead of gold, which Mum and I personally hate, but of course David is still sticking up for Picton, saying it's "an easy mistake to make".  Yeah, but then to charge us much more than they actually cost as well?!  For God's sake, it's part of his job.  He can't just make mistakes left, right and centre, and expect us to pay!!!
Somebody uploaded a Flutter Pony commercial to Youtube.  It's so cute!  I love how there are two prototypes of Rosedust in different poses on there, and how Forget-Me-Not is also in the wrong pose!  They look so much better in opposite poses in my opinion.
I have been making audio recordings of all the MLP songs and commercials before now, so I'm pretty upset that I can't keep it up.  I swear someone is trying to stop me from even practising my voice acting ~ my disk drive has totally packed up, the only tape recorder that made clear recordings will no longer open to insert or eject tapes (I had to actually force the last tape out of there, so I'm not going to try it again), and now Audacity/my microphone (not sure which) is making horrible popping noises.  *Sighs*  So that's why all my recordings are now having to be made on my camera (which still has a smashed screen where I shut it in the car door last year, of course).  I swear the DVD/CD player part of our combi TV is packing up too, as it takes longer and longer to read disks these days.  And it takes HOURS to load even one song online.  (For instance, I spent so long loading "I Can Hear The Bells" from Hairspray just before I started writing this blog, that I've had to listen to it probably twelve times or so to make it worthwhile!  You can get sick of a song after listening to it that long, believe me!)  Oh, and finally, David trod on my headphones, which had been left on the floor where I have to sit all the time.  He didn't break them, but he picked them up having been eating a piece of bread, and got greasy Olivio all over the foam ear pieces, which I can't clean off!  So now I'm having to use the ones I'd rejected as useless before (lucky I keep all my old rubbish, eh?), and actually tape them/permanently hold and push them into the computer headphones socket. Why does all my recording/music playing equipment have to go wrong right when I can't afford any replacements?!  I can't live without music and practising my voice acting.  Music and VA'ing is my life!
Oh well, quite enough of my moaning.  I guess that just about concludes the story of another four days of my life.  I'm so sorry to everyone that I haven't had written to; Mum had the computer most of the day, and I don't think my parents will be too happy if I start writing more messages at 1am.  I will write to you all tomorrow, I promise!  Thanks for being so patient with me.
Lots of love to you all,
Desirée Skylark  xxx

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