Building HEROES in a Socially Isolated World – Part II

It’s been four weeks since I closed on the property.  It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a month.  I’ve been socially isolating for about two weeks.  This isn’t how I imagined building my dream, but nonetheless, I keep moving forward.


My week is interrupted with a raging tooth ache.  I spend most of Saturday calling dentists to no avail.  They’re all closed.  I know that my tooth won’t wait for COVID-19 to slow down; I need to do something.  I try a virtual doctor.  I try Teledoc, but I need to call them because it won’t let me get past registration without dental insurance.  The wait time is long; virtual doctors are popular these days.  Ms. Voit finds CallOnDoc.  They don’t take insurance, and it’s affordable. They even provide a money-back guarantee.  I fill out a form, and I pay the fee.  Within a few hours, a prescription for antibiotics is waiting at the pharmacy.  I might not be able to solve my dental woes, but I can at least do something for it.


I continue calling dentists.  I know that antibiotics aren’t a long-term solution, and it may be even more difficult to see a dentist in a couple of weeks.  Dentists are only seeing emergency patients.  Most of them are only seeing emergency patients if you are a current patient.  I’m not a current patient.  The last thing I want to do is go to the dentist, especially now.  The dentist isn’t exactly a socially isolated activity, but I must go.


On Monday, I go to the dentist.  I have my tooth extracted.  It’s just easier.  A root canal takes several visits, and I have no idea if I’ll be able to go back to the dentist soon.  No one knows.  My engineer calls me while I’m at the dentist.  My dentist tells me I need to rest.  No working. No phone calls. No engineers for at least 24 hours.  He’d prefer I rest for 2 to 3 days.  I nod.  I acknowledge him, but I don’t make any promises.


After the dentist, I pick up the plans from the engineer.  I need signed and sealed plans so that we can apply for permits.  The plans are ready he says.  I try to negotiate a no-contact pick-up.  “I’m not worried about this thing,” he says.  But, I am.  I’m stuck.  I need the plans.  Reluctantly, I go to his office. There are four people inside this tiny office.  He’s on the phone.  The plans aren’t ready. He called to say they were ready. That was two hours ago.  We’ve spoken three times since then.  His secretary says that he’ll be on the phone for another 30 minutes or so.  Do you want to wait? No.  I don’t want to wait in this tiny office with four other people.  I’m socially distancing. 


I go home, and I check my e-mail while I wait.  The contractor sent me a contract.  I must laugh or I might go a little crazy.  This bait and switch isn’t going to work on me.  He’s added over $100,000 to the contract.  That’s not what we agreed on.  I managed to get signed and sealed plans from the architect during this COVID-19 crisis, and my engineer calls me to tell me the plans are ready as I read this absurd contract.  I have my signed and sealed plans. I feel like I’ve moved mountains to get this done quickly, and I don’t have a contractor.  It’s not even worth negotiating.  I don’t trust him.  The contract doesn’t contain anything we’d discussed over the phone. 


I start calling the other contractors that have sent me proposals.  Time to start negotiating.  I leave messages.  Everyone’s offices are closed, so I wait for people to call me back. 


I spend Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursday waiting for contractors.  I’m getting nervous.  Despite being home all day, I’m sleep deprived.  I can’t sleep.  I need a contractor.  I need to start construction. I need to write lessons and design activities for my students.  I need to find a way to teach these students virtually.  I need to find a way to make sure everyone is happy – or at least satisfied.


The week drags on.  I can barely remember what day it is.  Every day feels like the last.  I don’t leave the house.  I don’t go to the store. I don’t see my students.  This doesn’t feel real. 

I spent most of Friday thinking that it’s Thursday.  I suppose it doesn’t matter what day it is.  Either way, it’s a good day.  I wake up, and I go to meet a contractor at my site.  The drive is eerie.  The highway is rather empty.  It’s not completely desolate; those stores which we’ve deemed essential remain open.  Everything else seems frozen in time.  I’m anxious as I drive.  I’ve been home for so long.  It’s weird to be out. The highway is filled with signs that caution drivers against non-essential driving.  I silently wonder, “If I’m pulled over, will they consider this drive essential?”  To me, it is. 

Shortly after I arrive, a county utility vehicle pulls up.  Are they coming to take my dear dead deer friends away?  Yes, yes they are!  What a coincidence!  I haven’t been here in over a week.  I point out the second deer in the ditch.  He takes them both away.  I’m left with a pile of fur, but I’m sure it’ll blow away and degrade over time.  My dear dead deer friends are gone. 

Al Sodano, from Sodano Construction, meets me at the school.  He gives me a proposal, and it’s perfect.  He leaves, and I spend some time carefully reviewing the contract.  It’s perfect.  It’s detailed, it includes everything it should, and he guarantees that he’ll finish construction within 12 weeks of starting the project.  He’ll put the permit applications in right away.  It doesn’t take me long to decide.  This contract is everything I needed it to be, and I’ve been referred to him by at least 6 different people.  He hasn’t been gone long.  I write a check, and I head to his office.  I drop off a check, a signed contract, and signed and sealed plans.  I have a contractor! 


It’s been a crazy week, but I’m glad it’s ended on a positive note.  I have a contractor.  My permit application has been submitted. The town is still inspecting vacant commercial properties.  My dear dead deer friends are gone. All things considered; I’m doing pretty good. 


If you’d like to help me build my dream, please consider donating to my GoFundMe.

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