Looks like all that uplifting success and personal growth from last week’s New York trip didn’t really translate to Jeff’s life back in LA. As Jeff puts it, it seems like the moment he got back from the House Beautiful trip, he went right back to super-stressed. He’s still split in a dozen different directions, still trying to juggle all his clients, and now he’s even splitting his day into increasingly smaller time increments just so he can fit everyone in his schedule.
The most critical item on the agenda is the Casa Vega remodel, because Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner–Jeff is supposed to have the lobby done by then, even though he now claims he never explicitly promised that. While he’s been gone a series of complications have come up. It’s all small stuff, like Kash the contractor being unreliable and making mistakes because he doesn’t take notes; and the cast-iron door they ordered from Arte de Mexico has been delivered in damaged condition. But everything adds up to borderline failure. It doesn’t help that Christy, the manager, is constantly on sight to see all this happening, thus adding to her general anxiety.
When Cinco de Mayo arrives, the lobby is only about three-fourths done–the ceiling hasn’t been plastered, and the party guests will have to sit on those shitty plastic “outdoor” chairs instead of Casa Vega’s normal traditional-style benches. Christy’s definitely unhappy, so the next day she has Jenni and Jeff over to lunch to hash things out. Jeff tries to explain that deadlines aren’t helpful for construction projects because unpredictable problems will ALWAYS arise. Then Jenni jumps in to try to smooth things over, which pisses Jeff off because her reassurance is uninformed. He nearly snaps at her at the table, but manages to contain it until he and Jenni are in the car. And then he goes nuclear.
The other major situation of the episode actually comes from what Jeff thought would be a minor project: the Thousand Oaks remodel, home to Barb, the former dancer who is certifiably insane. The backstory is, Jeff originally was only hired to consult on this project, but then worried Barb and her husband Bob would get taken advantage of, so he took on more responsibility. But now, Barb is becoming too demanding, calling the office during the day for twenty minute rambling conversations with Jenni, and making Jeff drive all the way out to her place for very minor reasons. Jeff and Jenni figure it’s time to shunt the project off onto a contractor, Chris. Barb seems disappointed, or maybe confused, because they have to explain it a bunch of times, but eventually they reassure her and are on their way.
Those two are only the projects that get the focus in this episode, but they’re a fraction of what Jeff is dealing with. He also has to handle a washer-dryer install at the Cole salon, a consult for a project with an enticingly huge budget, various unnecessary drop-ins so clients can go over ideas with him, and probably several other items we don’t even see. At one point, Mr. Vega stops by the remodeling site to see how things are going, and when he sees the lack of progress and Jeff’s overall misery, he remarks how he’s glad he picked the restaurant business. Me too, man. Me too.