Construction, Cookies, and Cannabis

Dara LevanBlog5 Comments

I’ve told and taught others that the best stories write themselves. I had planned to post something else today. As it often happens in life, I had an unexpected, comical encounter. I must tell you about it!

Roof leaks. Mold remediation. Plumbing problems. Pesky termites. Think Tom Hanks and Shelley Long in the movie “The Money Pit.” The past five years have been epic! But we still adore our home, its character, and the love we infuse into it. Our family’s connection is as solid as the concrete walls that support the structure.

So why I am listing the woes of being a homeowner? These unanticipated blips have certainly given me blog material! I have a plethora of moments to share—I swear I ought to have my general contractor’s license by now! I didn’t consider writing about all of this until last night.

We found a bit of mold on two pocket doors. After the extensive remediation last year, in which we literally didn’t sleep in our bedroom for six months and our personal belongings occupied spaces all over the house, I thought we were done. Like the “M” word would never, ever leave my lips again. Apparently I was wrong.

A few weeks ago, I heard a loud, “Honey, um, you may want to see something.” I could tell by my husband’s cautious tone I wouldn’t be hearing happy news or receiving a surprise gift. I trudged up the stairs toward his office. He pointed at the formerly white pocket door and glanced at me nervously.

I did what any sane person would do after what we’d just been through only months earlier. I took one look at the black, Jackson Pollack-esqe wood canvas and said, “SHUT. THE. F. UP. PLEASE tell me that’s NOT what I think it is.”

My husband shrugged his shoulders. He grinned with an expression on his face suggesting, “uh oh my wife is going to lose it” as he backed away from me and the door. Did I tell you how brilliant my love is? (He told me later that he might’ve noticed this a month ago but  didn’t think it was anything to worry about yet. WhAAATT????).

The next day I called the Mold Man, our modern day super hero, who I’d used last year. I reported our recent discovery. “Hi Rob. It’s Dara. Remember me?” Of course he did. We had so many areas of mold due to roof and air conditioner leaks he couldn’t possibly forget. He said, “Oh geez. Are you kiddin?” I replied, “I wish I were.”

After he tested the splattered door decor, he gave us great news. Rob said this would be easy breezy. We caught it early, and it wasn’t the toxic, dangerous type. Oh joy! I told him perhaps we could bottle the penicillium and sell it to a pharmacy to pay for this round of removal? He laughed and said, “I’m so glad you still have your sense of humor.”

Upon his referral, I called a company that was different than the one I’d used before. I spoke to a tranquil man named Collin. He came to the house and confirmed what Rob had suspected. The new (yes! NEW. You read that correctly!!) air conditioning unit was not properly insulated. In fact, there was no insulation at all in the corners nor under the actual unit. So the heat in the attic tangoed with the cold air and birthed the mold. Lovely. I exhaled and said, “When can we get rid of it!?”

Two of Collin’s coworkers showed up punctually and with such an upbeat attitude. I mean c’mon. Can you blame them? It’s a blast to scrub, cut, inhale, and repair moldy walls and doors! Note sarcasm. I was especially grateful because of the past few years of construction nightmares. And I told them so.

I met another one of their team members the following day. He was the fourth person in a week who was chill, kind, respectful, and communicative. I could no longer resist. I had to know.

“Are you all from Florida? No disrespect to my hometown that I love dearly, but y’all have such zen energy and a peaceful vibe. There’s just no way you’re natives, right?”

They laughed as we stood together in my kitchen. The shorter man (let’s call him Casey) with a reddish beard and earnest green eyes replied, “No we are not.” The taller one with mischievous, big blue eyes said, “Why do you ask?”

I told them about my crazy experiences with construction. I vented about the rude interactions, perpetual tardiness, and constant incompetence. They listened patiently. And I expressed gratitude for their positive attitudes and professionalism. And then I jokingly said, “So what’s your secret? Exercise? Yoga? Mediation? Alcohol? Weed?”

The owner looked at me with a smirk, walked into the plastic containment area, and shouted over his shoulder, “We check all the boxes!” I doubled over and was nearly wheezing. I also heard them chuckling. I’m sure they were shocked that I inquired. I love to laugh (more on that in a future blog), and I’d quipped with them all week.

Yesterday they came to dispose of the plastic, paint the wall, and remove the equipment. I again thanked them for their humor, wit, and calm communication. I told them I thought they could be therapists or comedians. And that to please know how much I appreciate their work and the entertainment.

Then Casey handed me his business card with a cookie. They were finished, and they were about to leave. I tilted my head to the side, examining this flat, oatmeal-colored treat. I looked up at his earnest eyes and growing grin. I said, “Ummmm. Thank you for the cookie. This is so thoughtful of you. Is there something special about this?”

As his smile widened, I thought to myself noooooo. No. Way. Are you kidding? So I looked at him as he said, “Yea. My girl makes these. They’ve got special oil in them. We only give them to our favorite customers, and you were so kind. I thought it would be nice to bring one to you.” He proudly proceeded to explain the process of cannabis oil extraction.

I could barely contain the giggles that were forming in my belly like a bottle of bubbly champagne. I struggled to maintain my composure. I thanked him and then broke the news.

“I know you may not believe this but I’ve never tried marijuana. No judgment–just not my thing. I’ve never even tried a cigarette!” He started cracking up and says, “Ohhhhhhhh. Then only eat like half or a quarter of it. Cause it’s hard to tell how you’ll feel and how much is actually in each cookie.”

I then said, “I’m so sorry to tell you this, and again thank you for the sweet gesture, but I haven’t eaten gluten in years.” I am not making this up! He shook my hand and wished me well before he drove away. I awoke this morning with a goofy smile on my face. And I wanted to share this hilarious, true story with you.

** The above names were changed to protect the privacy of these sweet souls and their outstanding company.

EVERY SOUL HAS A STORY. I’m grateful and humbled that so many people have gifted me with their stories. And I wanted to share this one with you! I have many more in my mind and heart. There is a section on my website called “SHARE YOUR STORY.” When you click on this link, you will be invited to complete a brief form. This comes directly and discreetly to me. These first three months of weekly blogs have been personal, and will continue to be. It’s been a journey inward and a creative, contemplative release. Your encouragement to “put myself out there,” although it’s totally out of my comfort zone, is beyond appreciated! THANK YOU! In 2018, I will also interview and tell/write others’ stories in addition to my own. For those of you who have already reached out, thank you for your faith, trust, and candor. Please check out the site and connect with me. 

With love and gratitude,


5 Comments on “Construction, Cookies, and Cannabis”

  1. Awesome woman! Well not so awesome about the mold, but love the way you handled it and the new connections you made…it’s what life’s all about!! Keep Sharing and Keep Shining!

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