this whole process began back in july, when i started shopping for painters. and when cleber finally started painting at the end of last month, i had to search for new contractors when his contractor friend turned out to be too expensive. i don't know why i've become the manager for this project. steve really hasn't done anything. in fact, come to think of it, i'm always the guy securing people to clean our gutters, or finding contractors to do little repair jobs (like the soffit fix last year, which turned out to be crap). he's good at bringing things up, but i do all the legwork. ever since i've moved in 7 years ago, he's talked about painting the house, but it wasn't until i started putting the wheels in motion did it actually happen this year.
managing contractors isn't as easy as it sounds, especially in my case when i'm still not very confident about the contractor we hired. we were just in a bind, since cleber was already painting, and we needed the repairs done as soon as possible. had we planned this better, we could've had the fixes finished mid-summer before the arrival of the painter. that way, we could've shopped around for a better contractor. once they're hired, i also have to supervise, making sure they're doing things correctly, and politely telling them otherwise when they're not. i also have no privacy, since they're always outside and i let them use my bathroom. there's also communicating with neighbors and soothing the tension when the work gets too noisy or dirty. if there's one good thing, that would have to be cleber. he's the dream contractor that doesn't need supervision, comes to work early, leaves late, works on the weekends, cleans up after himself, and his painting skills are excellent. and even though we hired him to just paint, he's also been doing some little repair work whenever he can.
gerry finally finished around 2:00. he tallied up the total and mysteriously added $240 for additional supplies, which was news to me. i was so happy to see him leave though, i didn't bother to ask for receipts. after he left, i talked with cleber to figure out his schedule. he won't be here tomorrow because rain is forecasted, but he'll be back on wednesday to hopefully finish painting the house.
i went to belmont to do some gardening. with temperatures dropping, it was time to dig out some of the more tender perennials and over-winter them in a safe place indoors.
i started with the caladiums. half of the tubers growing by the bamboos were already rotting at the base and some even had tiny white grubs feeding on it. not sure what was the cause, maybe some cold damage, made overwatering. caladiums here get more sun but grow smaller for some reason. what's more, i have "white queen" varieties growing in two locations, and the ones that get more sun exposure have red veins and are smaller while the ones in the shadier spot are completely white and bigger. after sorting through the different varieties, i put them into milk crates and moved them down to the warm basement.
next came the potatoes and other edible underground tubers. we had potatoes growing in a large 10 gallon plastic pot. no digging required, we just dumped everything and out came the potatoes like eggs. they weren't very big, but we still had enough to make at least a meal of it. the sweet potatoes didn't fare as well. the biggest one was only about the size of a vienna sausage. if they were left in the ground for another one or two, they'd be bigger, but the new england frost will kill them once it arrives. my father also grew some ginger but they only gained a little bit in size.
finally, i dug out the peonies from the shady eastern side of the garden and relocated them to the sunny western side. they used to flower profusely in the springtime, but in recent years they haven't been doing anything. hopefully the brighter location will bring these flowering perennials back to life. it took a while to prepare the soil, made more difficult by the fact that a tree used to grow there so there were still a lot of underground roots that had to be chopped up and dug out.
i still have some gladiolas to dig out, which i will do over the weekend, as well as planting the new bulbs i received last week.
we had some korean barbecued short ribs for dinner. we also had some corn that was so sweet we ate them raw. hailey kept on whining but we didn't feed her until after we were done eating. my father and sister are trying to train her to go down to the basement and put her food bowl on the first step. she ran around the house in a panic, but eventually figured out how to get half her body down to the first step so she could eat.