An Excellent Island Adage For Living, But Bad For Renovations
Ah, the pace of island life. If you haven’t heard, it’s a bit slower than most everywhere else in the world. Many see this as a bonus; it is, in fact, the reason many choose to live on an island in the first place. No rushing, less stress, no worries, mon – soon come. A popular saying here on this rock, soon come is meant to ease your mind, to remind you to lay back and relax, all will be done shortly, it will happen soon enough.
For the most part, I’ve honed my ability to go with the island flow over the years. I’ve even uttered this phrase to others with a feeling of blissful nonchalance in my I-Love-my-Island-Life moments. But this little phrase has come back to bite me in the ass from time to time, particularly when it comes to home renovations.
Soon come is all well and good until you set a time on your lunch hour to meet a contractor. You say 12 noon. He says 12 noon. You get there at 12 noon on the dot, but – surprise! – he is not there. Fifteen minutes later, he is still not there. Half hour passes, then 45 minutes, still no contractor. At ten minutes to 1 o’clock (and ten minutes left on your lunch hour), you call and ask “Did we not say 12 noon meet?” He replies, saying he’s coming, he just stopped by the store, will be there in 10 minutes. The extent of your lunch hour passes, 15 more minutes go by, and then he arrives. Today’s “soon come” equaled over an hour late. Same drill with the plumber the next day. All this before the actual job even begins.
I started writing this rant as a means to calm my irritation back in late February, a day when the workers were set to show up at 8am. Actual arrival time: after 8:30am. Soon come, they all say. They will show up, get to work, no harm done, or so their attitude is. Except WE are the ones left wasting our time waiting on them, and as always happens in renovations everywhere, the job drags on, and on, and an extra on (because we’re on an island), all the while saying, soon come we finish. And here we are, now bidding adieu to Contractor #3.
You see, back in mid-December, our bathroom tiles started changing color. They were once white, and had turned a depressing grey. After growing up on an island where he is quite familiar with tile floors, Hubby knows that ceramic tiles turn color when wet, and he deduced there was a leak. Most likely a big one, as now there were several tiles that had the same grey hue. To find the leak, many, many tiles had to be ripped up and this led to having to replace the entire floor. Something about the existing tiles not being available anywhere on island and we could not find a close match to save our lives.
Enter: Contractor #1
This guy tears the place apart to find the leak with the intention of patching it. Time comes to make decisions as to how it will be fixed and he’s out, saying he’s not up for the job. Bye, bye Contractor #1.
Enter: Contractor #2
This guy assures us he can start quickly, and yes, even though Christmas is coming, he wants to get started now. Even though we both know that nothing gets done over the holidays from Christmas, to Boxing Day, to New Years – all workers on the crew leave the island, not to return until January 4th. Soon come takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to island holidays. Yes, he wanted to tear up our bathroom the day before all the crew was leaving the island for this extended holiday. For 2 weeks, over the Christmas holiday, we were to have NOTHING in the bathroom. No shower, no toilet, no sink, no floor. Merry Fucking Christmas! Add to this preposterous idea (apparently we were the only ones that thought this preposterous…) that his idea of a quality job differed greatly from our idea of a quality job. Contractor #2 quits before he even got started.
Enter Contractor #3
We were hopeful, as this guy had a good reputation in the complex. However, we had to wait for him to start as well. By this time, Christmas was over and he was catching up on work he had not touched since before the holiday. Soon come, it’s February and we finally have our first meeting. After showing up over an hour late, he tries to ease our minds with the Soon come, and No worries, mon, h’it will be done spiel. I was ever the optimist, embracing the Soon come, I’ll be laid back as long as it gets done attitude with the hopes that things would be finally done to our satisfaction. That lasted exactly 3 days. The work started, but the mess, the dust, the slack standards of the contractor, the plumber, and the tiler being so different than ours – the job just couldn’t be done fast enough. Come April, both the contractor and us are on the same page – Worst. Job. Ever. Bye, bye, Contractor #3.
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To this day, I still have holes in the tiles bigger than the pipes that go into the wall for both the shower and the toilet, tiles that run halfway up a wall and sit a full 1/4 inch out from the wall above it, sloppily filled with grout, and a drain that sits too low for the tiles next to it. Suffice it to say, it was not an amicable ending to the job. Nearly 4 months to do a 5ft by 9ft bathroom. Soon Come was far too slow, frustrating, and painful – to say the least!
Under other circumstances, soon come is a refreshing attitude to remind us that our rushed existence is stressful and unnecessary, because in the end – yes, things do get done eventually – the weather is gorgeous and the views are beautiful. It is times like these meant for sitting back, enjoying the island vibes, and sipping a rum punch (or two or three). The national airline even offers free rum punch on all their flights to this rock to properly set the mood.
Sadly, when you have a bathroom that has no bath, no toilet, and no sink, you really don’t want to just sit back and have a rum punch. Because when soon comes after the rum punch, you will need a working bathroom. Trust me on this one.