Learning When to GAF

I’ve been reading the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. I got this book from one of my best friends for Christmas, and I’ve really been enjoying it.

The premise of the book is not that we should give zero fucks about anything, but that we only have so many fucks in the life to give, and we should save them for things that really matter. In other words, someone cuts you off in traffic? Not worth giving a fuck. Someone is trying to take advantage of someone you love? Time use a fuck.

Pocahontas Zero Fucks gif

This concept really resonates with me. When every social interaction is a struggle, and I was told my whole childhood that my natural inclinations are what caused people to make fun of me, I have become hyper-aware when I can feel people start to pull away. After it happened enough times, I decided there must be something fundamentally wrong with me. Logically I always knew I shouldn’t give a fuck about what other people think, and as I’ve gotten older I have decided that I would rather have a small group of good friends who like me for me. I’m an acquired taste. I get that! Unfortunately, not every situation that warrants giving zero fucks is that easily identifiable.

Our kitchen project has been my grown-up embodiment of trying not to GAF. Obviously Tom and I want the project to be successful, and we want to make sure our money isn’t be wasted, so fucks should be given about a renovation, but not when it comes to getting upset at contractors for doing what contractors are known for doing: being shitty.

We worked hard to save up for our home and since we could only afford a fixer-upper, we knew there would be potentially stressful home projects. I just never imagined that trying to find a contractor to do the work, would feel a whole lot like the bad parts of online dating: you do research on who would be a good fit, and reach out thinking “This could be the person to change my life!” Some will never respond, and some will show interest initially, and then suddenly stop responding with no explanation. We’ve gone through two contractors now: one that showed enough interest to take a deposit, draw up a design, but then refused to give us a line item budget after their quotes sounded much too high. The second contractor told us he couldn’t start the work until we purchased our cabinets, counter-tops, appliances, etc., and when we finally sent him the cabinet design he kept asking for, he didn’t return a single phone call, email, text, or Facebook message for three months. Then, last week, all of our cabinets were delivered. This is what our house looked like:


Top Right: The corner cabinet that fit through the front door, but couldn’t fit past the front hallway, so we’ve have to squeeze past it when coming in the front door.

Top Left: View from the living room looking into the kitchen.

Bottom: The actual kitchen itself. My little island is barely visible. There is also a new stove and range hood behind the boxes, in front of the window, that you can’t see.

This whole experience was triggering for both me and Tom. Both contractors not only showed complete disrespect for us, but also for our home, and a kitchen project we have been waiting three years to start. During the whole ordeal we were asking each other questions like “Should I have been more direct in that email?” “Did we provide too many available times to meet?” “Maybe they just don’t like working on old houses?”

This line of questioning started to sound a lot like the game of 20 Questions I used to play with myself anytime I was ghosted by someone on OkCupid.

Since then, we met with 5 contractors, several of whom sent bids, and we put down a deposit with one. This past weekend we moved all of the cabinet boxes into our living room, and moved our living area up to our guest room, which we unfortunately did not finish before starting the kitchen project, like I’d hoped. More on living upstairs later.

Things are looking up! The new contractor told us he could potentially start demo at the end of this week, so now we’re packing up the kitchen, and trying to prepare ourselves for the typically stressful part of a renovation: the actual work.

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