the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur

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Living in the middle

I have always considered [personal profile] atara and me to be middle-class, if perhaps living a bit below our means.I really don't have much to add on that front, other than to use it as a segue into something I saw on Reddit a few minutes ago. Somebody in /r/AskReddit asked, "What is the most middle class thing you can think of?" I have a feel for how the hive-mind works, but sometimes it surprises me. In this case it was the second highest response in the thread. "I'm really confused, some people are likening middle class to being poor, while others are comparing it to being wealthy. I guess that's why it's middle class."

I found it an interesting response, because I have heard of this before, and it is something that politicians use to pit classes against one another. People who fall below the threshold of middle-class consider themselves to be middle-class because they don't like to consider themselves as poor, and people above the threshold don't feel like they are rich enough to be considered well-off. It is also a symptom of the shrinking middle class. Wages are becoming more and more polarized, but since everyone identifies with the middle class, it's creeping up on us without a lot of notice. Politicians use it by accusing their opponents of waging war on the middle class, and since everybody considers themselves to be middle-class, they feel like the politicians are on their side.

The truth of it is that the fabulously wealthy are waging war on all of us, but they have convinced us that our problems are the fault of the poor. Everyone wants to be middle-class so that they can have somebody to look down on. Nobody wants to be part of the problem. The poor certainly aren't getting any richer, and if the middle earners are getting poorer, that kinda suggests where the money is flowing.

Speaking of middle-class things, after talking about it for years and having at least one contractor flake out on us, we finally got the back yard landscaped into something useful. It had a trashy garden that we had not used in the past three years, and a patch of weeds where a tree stood at some point before I bought this house. Now we have a stone patio, chips, and a small patch of turf in what used to be the spot that served as a patch of weeds surrounding a herb garden.

The only thing missing was a fence. We have the remains of a chain link fence that enclosed the yard when I bought the house. We replaced the front part of it with a black metallic fence, with the intention of replacing the rest of it down the road. When we booked the landscaper, we asked him if he could suggests a fence installer, and he recommended a company with whom he has worked in the past. He said they would coordinate their efforts for efficiency. Then, as one might expect, things started to fall apart.

First, the landscaper seemed to lose our number. We only knew that he had not forgotten about us because one of [personal profile] atara's co-workers knows him, and she let us know that he had run into delays on a couple jobs ahead of ours. In the meantime, the fence installer forgot the part about coordinating with the contractor, and he phoned us to let us know that he was ready to begin work about three weeks after we had first expected the landscaper to show. I let him know that the landscaper had not shown yet, that they were going to be grading the property as part of their work, and that they had specifically asked us to keep a clear path to the back alley. I reminded him that he was supposed to coordinate with the landscaper.

The next day, the landscaper called and said, "Hey guys, sorry it took so long. I'm ready to start now!" I called the fence guy back and advised him that the landscapers were starting their work the next day, and he could come in any time after they were done. He asked us to get details on any underground utilities, and that once that was done, he would let us know when he could start. We got him what he needed, and by that time the landscaping was done, so we told him he was free to start at any time. His response was, "Great! I'll start on it next week."

That was July 12. Next week came and went, then another week. [personal profile] atara contacted him to ask if everything we'd sent him was in order because we were eager to have the fence completed. He confirmed that everything was good, and he'd be starting any time. Then another week went by.

I phoned him this morning to get an ETA on when he would be getting to us, and he said that he was still waiting to hear from the contractor to let him know that he was done.


We told him that. Twice.

He was very apologetic, and promised to start work tomorrow. It should only be a one-day job - weather permitting - so with any luck we will finally have some privacy to go with our new back patio.

I can't shake the feeling that he was intentionally playing dumb to work on higher-paying job sites before he got around to ours, but I'll just be happy to have the fence done and be finished with contractors for the nonce.

Finally, in other news, I have my first appointment with the physiotherapists on Monday to attend to my foot. I asked them about the Functional Ability Forms from work, and the impression they gave was that they are in a position to fill those out for me. The other alternative is to try and get in to see my regular GP again. I'd prefer if these guys could just file them for me - I'll even pay the $25 out of pocket for it if they have trouble direct-billing my employer.
Tags: fence, landscaping
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