Monday, March 31, 2008

Intropective.

Some days I'm thankful I wasn't born with an annoying laugh.

What are you thankful for not being born with?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My brain thinks it's funny to screw with me.

This past summer, one of my neighbors had some exotic hardwood floor installed in their house. When she told me that it cost them 10,000 dollars to have it installed - I remember thinking to myself "boy - you got screwed"!

Now, I'm not so sure. This floor in the crapshack has to be one of the hardest projects we've ever done. And that's saying a lot. We put in a floor on the diagonal once.

Today we were installing the hallway that leads to the kitchen, entry way, living room, and dining room. I certainly did not appreciate what a pain in the ass this space would be. You have basically four rooms that are in direct sight of the others. With walls that are not straight.

We'd gotten about 5 rows in by this afternoon and I became convinced we'd strayed about an inch from where we needed to be. It was completely like a Zollner illusion. Which also put me on tilt. I was becoming more and more convinced I'd have to rip those rows out. After measuring. Then remeasuring. And finally just having to put down the remaining 6 rows without nailing them down - Mr S. was able to convince me that we were still on track. But, that sucked up a ton of time. And its super annoying. We've only gotten about 10 out of 30 boxes installed. I so hate that floor.

10,000 bucks? That sounds just about right.

I would have taken pictures today, but I still had my IR lens on. Yesterday when I tried to take pictures, my batteries were dead. I'm having a bad camera time.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Exercise the demons.

I've been resisting posting pictures of the crapshack. I'm trying to hold for the final reveal. But, I might not be able to do it. You see - we've been putting in new bamboo floors.

I didn't really want to use bamboo in the crapshack because we'd already used it in our house a few years ago. At the time - it was an "unusual" product. Before it became the popular "green" trendy product it is now. I normally start to dislike things when they become too trendy. Plus, I just like to do different stuff all the time. Doing the same thing bores me. But, since I was pretty much tapped out - I relented to using it. It was a known product. Meaning - we knew what to expect when installing it. When you're constantly running into things you didn't expect, its nice to know what your dealing with.

Anyway, we've finally gotten almost a room installed, and it took my breath away. It made the place so bright. Shockingly so. I really didn't expect it.

The funny thing is - I almost didn't buy that house because it was so dark. I dislike dark houses. I also think dark houses are harder to sell. I figured we'd be able to make the crapshack brighter. But nowhere near the extent it looks right now.

Just to give you an idea of how dark the house was. When I had the roof replaced - I wanted my roofer to install those tube skylights to provide more light into the house. He wasn't able to do it because of some duct work. And now I'm glad - because I think that would have made the place look too bright.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Your Saturday morning reading.

I'm guessing most of you will not read this until Saturday. And again - I'm trying to build a weekend following. While most of the blogs are dead. I might have something interesting to read. Hey! Might. Don't get all excited yet.

The last couple of days have been a blur. So I will try to give you the rundown.

Today (Friday) I had to take Jane Doe into the vet. Not because there was something wrong, but because they won't give me any more medication for her eye. She hasn't been in for a year. Which is really good. Considering. But, this always makes me completely stressed out. While her eye has been stable for a really long time - the day will come when they tell me all my efforts aren't working anymore. And they'll need to take the eye. The choice has always been a struggle. Take the eye or medicate. But, her comfort level doesn't seem to have changed. Nor has the pressure in her eye. So for now - she keeps it.

Yesterday (Thursday) we found granite slabs for the crapshack at what I think is a really reasonable price.

Also yesterday my machine started to act up. So I'm using Mr S.'s machine for a stop gap. Which brings on a whole frustration about how backups are still such a complicated task. I'm not sure doing backups are something that most people care about until their drive fails. And by then it is too late. I however constantly think about backups. I loose a lot of drives. I'll admit, I'm really hard on them.

These days, all your pictures reside on your disk drive, and not film.

The problem is - most backup solutions suck. They do the backing up fine - but when you need to get that data, you realise how fucked up the program really is.

So, a big debate has been stirred in my house again. What to do about backups. Shadow drives? Backup software? And don't say CD backup. Drives are much too big now to do that. It once took me over 24 hours constantly swapping disks to back up my system. And I think that was before I started taking raw photos. Needless to say, I'm pretty frustrated. Plus - I always manage to have a drive problem right when I'm most overloaded. Which is now. Yippe!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bridge.



In the infrared spectrum.

Today's fear of tiling moment.

Yeah - I know you guys are missing me. You can admit it.

My floor has been kicking my ass and serving me up some bitch hand. It also wants to prove to me that I'm not a teenager anymore. I know! It was a shock to me too.

So, today in an effort to recover, I went looking for better prices on granite. In which I ran across some crazy ass tile. You know (at least I think you do) how much I love unusual tile. To mock. And, commiserate with the poor contractor who has to install it.

Sadly my tile nerve is so dead right now. I couldn't even get excited about this stuff. But I took pictures anyway.



I hope this stuff comes on a sheets. Otherwise I can only imagine tiny Cambodian children spending hours enslaved in McMansions installing this stuff.

The rest of this stuff is just generic mood ring-y semi precious stone type tile. Or not. Maybe I dont know what semi precious stones are. And I'm too tired to look it up. Yeah - I know google is just sitting right there. I'm not going to do it.





Except for this head cheese tile.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What is it?

A squirrel saying "I'm not worthy - I'm not worthy".



I'm hanging out today in celebration of Lord Frith. So you might get a bunch of stupid pictures.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Saturday afternoon poll question.

Yeah - I'm trying to build a weekend following. So, tomorrow while all you guys are spiked on Peeps and hard boiled eggs - I'm hoping you can help me with the following question.

If you like granite - do you like it because it looks pretty. Or do you like it because "oooh- it's granite. That's faaancy"?

This is the reason I ask. Granite kinda bothers me. It looks like a whole bunch of lunch-meaty weirdness. Like olive load. Or head cheese. I'm more of a slate kind of girl.

Anyway - I personally don't think most people can tell million dollar granite from two dollar granite. I think most people walk into a house and get the vapors just having granite in it.

I also think there is a bunch of bullshittery involved in the whole granite business. And - let me tell you why.

When trying to figure out the answer this question on my own. I ran across a company in my town who sold granite slabs. At first I was somewhat intrigued because the site said they were female owned.

It is pretty unusual - but I'm not going to go all "girl power". One - because I hate that phrase. But two, I don't give business based on that criteria. I just want good work. I don't care who/what you are. I was still willing to go check out the showroom though. I didn't know there was a place so local to buy slabs. So, why not?

Until - I read on their website that she'd been flown to Washington DC and received the Businesswoman of the Year" Award. Met President Bush, and the congressional committee. Which I guess is great. But - it makes me think they are really going to inflate the price of their product. How would I know? Even I can't tell the difference between billion dollar granite and two dollar granite.

All I want is counter tops! I don't care if she met Nelson Mandela.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another reason I don't understand religion.

I really can't keep up with all the rules for the different religions. Then there are the rules that I think some people make up. Like fasting twice a week. I know some religions do that - but I thought they were all Middle Eastern religions.

Take for example the conversation I had with Alpha contractor today. I'd been searching all day for nails for my stupid new nail gun. Which apparently are unattainable.

Alpha contractor - why don't you call the manufacturer.

Me - I did - but, they are closed today.

Him - Why?

Me - What? Are you kidding me? It's good Friday.

Him - Wow, they must be really Christian.

Me - Oh.. the.. irony.

How am I suppose to be supportive of other peoples religions, when I can't even figure out the rules of the game?

He is Methodist apparently.

Later in the day - he did manage to pray over me. Gospel style. I'm pretty sure it was a joke. Mostly.

Like watching paint dry.

It looks like my day might be screwed. Mr S. in hunting down nails for the nail gun - and I'm stuck waiting for UPS to deliver our repaired coffee maker.

Yeah - that's right. There are some seriously important things in life. And one of them is waiting on UPS to deliver the gift of nectar.

Today though - I started to become a little giddy about the crapshack wrapping up. Not because I can rest - although, that is really appealing. Now, I can get back to the things I love most. Maker Faire. Robot shows. And all that those other geeky events that happen from here to summer.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hipitus Hopitus - Easter's on its way.

Oh yes. I did steal that from South Park.

If you are short - you are screwed.

Companies have all sorts of perverse incentives.

Now that I think about it - the very foundation of this blog is created from perverse incentives. Most companies don't care all that much what makes a customer happy. Yet they want to keep getting money from them. When customers finally go away, it seems companies are clueless at to why it happened.

The reason I am writing about this today - is because yesterday I learned something new about the Real Estate sector. Right now there are two real estate markets. What does that mean you ask?

When people get into trouble with their houses, typically instead of walking away - they try to invoke a short sale. This means you get someone to buy your house for less than you paid for it. There has been a large segment of the market that has revolved around short sales for at least a few years.

Anyway. Yesterday I learned that buyer agents (at least in my area) are refusing to bring any clients by a house that is listed as short sale. And very soon the seller agent will stop listing these houses as well.

This is the reason. The seller agent would list these houses at a price in which they felt they could move it. But the company who holds the mortgage hasn't agreed to take a lower price for the house. And they won't agree to taking less money until they have a signed contract from a potential buyer.

A few years ago, when the industry wasn't so chaotic it probably wasn't as big of a deal. But now, (I'm told) it takes months and months and months to get someone at the mortgage company to agree. This leaves a potential buyer twisting in the wind. And at the end - the mortgage company might not even agree to the short sale. So the client may not even wind up with a house.

The seller agent is equally affected, because they may never get a commission. So, all the agents are abandoning these houses.

While Mr S. and I were having a discussion about subject this last night - he made me realise that the guy who handles short sales, has a perverse incentive to drag his feet, or refuse short sales altogether. He looks good if his numbers are low. Even though the company will take a more severe loss on the house once it does go into foreclosure.

Lets face it.. most of the short sale houses will go into foreclosure now. These people were already on the razor's edge, and without agents to represent them. They are basically screwed.

So, I have to give a resounding kudos to the department who didn't want their short sale numbers to be high. You got your wish. Now you can lay that guy off. He won't have very much work.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It was the end of days.

I'm not sure how on earth I managed to conjure up the strength to do what I needed to to today. At 10:00 I was convinced I wasn't going to get anything done. It was cold. And the sky was putting on a pretty good show that it was going to rain. Plus - I was oh so sore. The weeks grouting efforts and all the other stuff had caught up with me. Last night I couldn't even open a water bottle. I might as well have had stumps for hands. I've been popping Amino 3000 pills like candy. They are suppose to help get the lactic acid out of your muscles when you've had a tough workout.

Anyway - about 10:30 I realised Alpha contractor was going to put baseboards in today, and I might as well get my ass over there and do some touch up painting. Which basically consisted of another coat of paint. It seems every wall had some scuff or inconsistency. Well - that was my initial plan anyway.

When I get to the house, Alpha contractor is working on the fireplace. Some dumbass decided it was a great idea to put the gas shutoff valve inside the firebox. Which is a total safety hazard. And, I don't who would even be brave enough to put their hand into a hot fireplace to shut it off anyway.

After I arrive I find out Alpha contractor needs me to go to OSH to get a part. He hands me these two parts and tells me he wants a reducer. So I go and get a reducer. Only to find out Alpha contractor had given me the wrong parts. My second attempt ended miserably when I realised I had forgotten my credit cards. Which is really unusual. By the time I get back at the third attempt and the correct part - I tell Alpha contractor I'm at my maximum irritation level.

Have I mentioned how much I hate shopping? I do. I'm good for about two stores. Then I get progressively surly.

Anyway - skip forward a few hours. I'm painting. Alpha contractor comes into talk, and remarks how there isn't anyone on earth I would go to the store for - 3 times. Not even my first husband. (I'll talk about this comment later)
I laugh and tell him - he's right. I would go three times for my first husband, but he knows how to handle my shopping moodiness. Inside I think - "oh thank God, he finally understands I'm not happy shopping". All those subtle hints I've been making - like "I hate shopping" have been getting through.

So - a little later in the day I had asked him to look at one of the new faucets which was leaking. When he got it open he found one of the O rings had been nicked. It was then he tried to get me to go to the store a fourth time. This was close to three o'clock. And there is no more dangerous situation than it being three o'clock - which is normally when my blood sugar drops out. And I'm in a store. If I haven't eaten all day. It takes a precipitous drive off a cliff. Stick a shopping effort into that. Well... you might be taking your life into your hands.

Anyway - he went to install a toilet. He didn't have the parts. Install doors. No shims. And he's still trying to get me to go the store. Shims however I had at my place. So I run off to the house to get them. When I remember I have a goody bag of O rings.

Get back to the crapshack. Proudly proclaim - "one of these O rings is going to fix that faucet". Alpha contractor tells me about 30 times how I'm wrong. They are put on so they are a certain tightness. These are never going to fix it. I force him into placating me. And it fixed it! I then bragged about it for two hours.

I always have a special sort of pleasure getting something to work - when people so are emphatic that I'm not going to get it fixed.

Back to the husband comment. About a month ago was around the time I'd made a joke about Alpha contractor being like my second husband. Since then, he has really taken a liking to it. Which now that I think about it - I don't really get. On the husband scale he doesn't get a very good deal. He has to fix all my shit, and he doesn't even get any sex. From what I know about husbands - both of those things should make him unhappy. But - he seems to like the phrase.. so.. whatever.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why I'm not right in the head.

Should I feel weird that getting a new nail gun makes me almost as excited as buying electronics? By the end of these projects, even I start to question my sexuality. And no - I'm not into flannel. Or chicks.

I wouldn't at all consider myself into tools. But certain ones are kinda fun. For instance today - I turned into a tard because I found a magnetic level in the crapshack garage. I love magnets. Screw the level. Tools with lasers are really high on the fun list. And, now I realise I have a new affinity to pneumatic tools. We actually bought our air compressor from Alpha contractor a couple of years ago. Yeah - he's been in our circle a while.

Anyway - I used to be so afraid of that thing. The air compressor. But, now I love it. Although I haven't used it on this project yet.

It makes pounding in nails with a hammer a suckers game.

Anyway - for certain reasons I am much too tired to go into, we wound up buying a nail gun to install some tongue and groove floors. For days I've been excited in anticipation. Now I'm a little afraid of the thing. They still don't really make tools that fit chicks very well, and this thing is a monster. I've already decided I'm ditching the mallet that comes with it in favor of my girl mallet - which is infinitely lighter.

I wish the tool companies would realise that chicks don't need tools that are pink and have flowers on them. We need tools that are weighted for our crappy womanly upper body strength.

Anyway - this is my new toy.



After this weekend - things should get infinitely better for me. If this nail gun doesn't kill me first.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why not having a national language is hurting you all.

Normally I don't talk about conversations I have with my friends or Mr S.'s friends. But in this case I will make an exception. Because, I found it so interesting.

You see - Mr S.'s friend works in a hospital ER. This was her chosen field. She didn't just wind up there. She went to school specifically for that.

So, when we asked how she was liking her job. (She's only been doing it for a couple of years now) I was a little taken back by her reply.

Some of her complaints were typical e.g. "People who had money enough to buy designer handbags, clothes, shoes, and iPods, but wouldn't pay 3 bucks for medication for their child."

But you want to know her biggest complaint? The lack of a single national language. This is what she said - her hospital was spending a fortune on translators.

She is also a curious person by nature - so, she often asks many of the people who need translators how long they had lived in America. The answer was often a decade or more. The only English they had learned was how to ask for a translator. It is their right under law after all to have one. If a translator isn't available at the hospital. One needs to be called in. And they have to stay with the patient the whole time they are in hospital. In some cases they are able to video conference a translator in. But this is also very costly. Do you know how many languages are spoken in America?

How great is it that you can move to a country and not have to learn the common language? You can live your whole life - and make a decent living! The government bends to your whims, even to great financial detriment.

So - if you were wondering why your health care costs are "sky rocketing". You can thank the immigrants who refuse to learn a national language.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Just because I'm curious.

Why do guys feel so comfortable picking their noses in their cars?

Full on pinky up the blow hole picking.

I actually see it quite frequently. Just today - another pinky blow-hole case. Why?

You can't take pictures here.

Last night Mr S. and I went up to the city to visit some of his childhood friends. I don't think either one of us felt like it. I was bone tired from the crapshack. He'd had an especially busy day at work. But, these friends only fly in a few times a year. So we said "Sure... I'd love to drive up to the city on a Friday night - entertain you, and take you to the airport." Although - we didn't really know we were taking them to the airport until they were putting their luggage into our trunk.

Anyway - after having some beers at Gordon Bierge. We decided to get some coffee from Starbucks, and walk around the Pier to kill some time before their flight. Apparently, the Starbucks in that area close at 6:00. WTF?

There were a million tourists on the street. The restaurants were packed - but you couldn't any any coffee from Starbucks. So we figured we'd just wander further down and run into some place that sold coffee. We saw a sign for Peets coffee and went into this building.

I think it is the old ferry building. And inside it is really architecturally amazing.



So - I go to whip out my camera, and as soon as I get a shot lined up. I'm confronted by a security guard. He was nice - but he told me I couldn't take pictures with my camera. The whole time Mr S.'s friends are taking a million shots with their point and click camera.

Whenever I'm shut down from taking pictures, I always politely ask why. The guard told me it was a security thing. Which I can honestly accept. But, when he told me that I can take all the pictures I want with a small camera - just not the kind of camera I had. I had to tell him that it was a rediculous rule. Someone who is a security threat wasn't going to go out and buy a high end camera. They were going to case the joint with a point and click.

I'm not sure what San Fransisco has up their ass about this kind of thing. I've read several blogs where people get confronted by security guards and shut down in San Fransisco for taking pictures of buildings. The reasons all seem very odd and random. Like - being able to use a small camera instead of a Nikon. Which seems ridiculous. If you don't want people taking photos. Post it somewhere and make the same rule for everyone.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A shot in the dark.

Photo Update.

I know you all thought it sucked. It just needed a light. Who in their right minds would put in a black floor?



A funny (now) side note on that floor. When I had my last set of painters in. I think I've been through 4 sets now. I told them I would go crazy if they messed up my black floor.

So, the obvious choice for them was to not cover the floor when they smoothed out the texture. When they wanted to get paid, I told them I was with holding a hundred dollars until the floor was cleaned up. They bitched and moaned that all it would take was soap and water. I said if they cleaned it - I would pay them the hundred bucks. I'd made a special point after all to tell them I would freak out. They covered the other floor which was tan and wouldn't show every speck of dust. They completely turned me down. For a hundred bucks! Which would have taken them maybe 15 minutes.



A shot of the floor I laid and the back of Alpha contractor. Mr S. Cut all the tiles - but I placed every one of those 18x18 inch tiles. My new favorite toy is a suction cup. You can get them at OSH for a few bucks. I loves me some suction cups.

Now I have overachievers syndrome though - because my tile guy who did the showers is crazy amazing. If tile lines bother you - he is the man for the job. So now I compare all my work to his. Which will never be good enough now. Tile contractor is also my contractor of the year. He is low maintenance. You show him a computer generated photo of what you want. You come back in two days. It looks exactly like that.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What part of I don't care - don't you understand?

Just a quick update - as I find myself in the city tomorrow. San Fransisco - if you were wondering. I'm not crazy about it. I'm super exhausted. I laid two tile floors this week, and grouted one today. I'm tired. Tired - I tell you.

I have a lot of shopping for the crapshack this weekend. So there should be a bunch of bitchin and moaning.

In other news - Murder Mecca called me up again. You can read about last time in my new Jury Duty tag. I'm still getting called in my maiden name. Which means I shall be expecting a summons in my married name soon. I don't understand why I can't get them to stop summonsing me twice.

Well, honestly I don't get why they won't stop summonsing me at all. Probably just to fuck with me. I don't know the death count for Murder Mecca right now - but I'm betting it is a lot.

In crapshack news. My soul is up for debate again. Supposedly I'm to be judged by seven flavors of BBQ sauce. Or something. Just when I think Alpha contractor and I have an understanding about me not giving a shit about where my soul winds up - he feels the need to give me the good old religious guilt.

I think he is profoundly confused as to why I'm not affected by it. It is really frustrating - and to tell you the truth, if he wasn't such a kick ass craftsman, I'd stop being inclined to put up with it.

Personally I don't understand why he can't grasp the concept that I'd rather concentrate on making the best of this life. If I'm wrong. I'm not concerned with where I'm going. I'm hoping I'll try to make the best of where ever I wind up.

At any rate -I'm not sure how much longer I can use the crapshack name. Things are wrapping up rapidly. I think within two weeks I'll be done.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Story time.

Instead of telling you about whats going on at the crapshack - today I will recount to you something that happened last week. Because I'm sure you are all bored with how much my guys are driving me crazy. Me too. But that should be coming to an end very soon.

Anyway. Last week Mr S. comes home to tell me that one of the guys in his group went to the China office and brought everyone in the group back presents. Some were t-shirts. And who doesn't love hard to get company tee's? I know I do. But, he also said the co-worker brought him this really nice carved jade pencil holder. I didn't think much about it at the time. Other than "wow - that was really nice of the guy". Now what am I going to have to do to reciprocate the kindness. Cookies? Presents? What?

Mr S. wanted to leave it at work to show the guy his appreciation for him being so considerate. But finally Mr S. brought the pencil holder home.

When Mr S. had described the item to me I wasn't sure if he meant jade in color or what. But when he took the pencil holder out of the box he was sort of gushing about it. It was very pretty after all. As soon as I held it though, I turned to Mr S. and said "you know this is plastic. Right"?



Mr S. looks at me with a tilted head and taps the item. Mr S. proclaims "no - its jade"

I said "baby - if this was really jade, that would cost about a hundred thousand dollars. No one is that nice.".

He looks at the pencil holder again and starts examining it. He finally says "well - I thought it was a super nice gift, so I asked him about it. Co-worker said it was Chinese jade. And that it was much softer and easier to carve than other jade".

Me - "Baby - I can see the injection mold lines. Is that what they are calling plastic in China now? Chinese Jade"? It is still very nice of the guy to think about the people in your group - and I think co-worker thinks it is jade, but that is plastic".

Anyway - I think cookies will do the trick to repay the guys kindness.

Friday, March 07, 2008

New

The kitchen is still under construction - but these are the doors my contractor and I fought about. He adores them now. He gushes. He acts like he was fine with them the whole time. He wasn't. But he is now.. and that is all that matters.



The dining room. I might have the old shot of this somewhere.



And the dining room looking into the kitchen now. You couldn't even see the other door in the old pictures. The single door obstructed much of the kitchen.

Old

Everyone begged us to not rip out the cabinets in this house. They were real old style wood. We could have saved a lot of money if we'd kept them, but they just really reminded me of the wood that was on old water beds.





This was the view from the dining room looking into the kitchen. It had a single door which made it so you couldn't really see much of the kitchen until you stepped right up to it.



My thoughts for today - with pictures!

One -

I know for sure I'm being punished for being a depressed teenage girl. For the past three days alpha contractor has been playing the exact same song. For three days people! Over and over and over. And it has only one verse. I'm not shitting you. Something about letting go and praying. It reminds me a lot of how Pictures of You from The Cure sounds. But with much less music and much more of a Robert Smith sounding guy. It's just making me crazy. Would someone who is intolerant as I'm suppose to be put up with this? No - I think not. Yet.. for three days I have. I suck.

Two -

One of my contractors went to find work in Tex-ass. Yes.. that's right. I'm not being illiterate. I call it Tex-ass.

Anyway - he flew in today and came right to my job site. I don't know if that just means he needs money or what. Double anyway. He's been working his ass off in Tex-ass prepping houses. He said the builders over there hire three teams. One to build the houses. One to prep. And one for repairs. For all the shit the other teams screw up.

Good information to know while I'm working myself to death to try and get guys to fix things they screw up.

-----Ready for some pictures?-----

The sea of beige.



I guess I didn't take many pictures of the way the old bathroom looked. There wasn't anything remarkably wrong with it. Except for the yellow tub.



Thursday, March 06, 2008

What I've learned about men.

First I will start out with a question. Do you think I can discriminate based on the stability of a contractors marriage? Because honestly - I want to ask each new contractor I hire this question. And if they say anything that makes me think "rocky" - they are out.

For example "how long do you think this will take? Are you going to camp out at my house for weeks? How stable is the relationship with your wife?"

This is the thing. Two of my contractors had ginormous break ups in the middle of my project. And it really affected the project hugely. This are two of my most solid workers. Things had been going smoothly until one caught his wife cheating, and the other wife told him she was going to slit his throat. I know.. I told you these guys personal lives were a wreck.

At any rate. This created so much extra static for me. For one thing - since I'm a woman, I immediately turn into the enemy. For another, you could tell these guys were going to take the wives back. Which they did. But it probably created more than a solid month of friction between the contractors and I.

It wasn't that they were crying about their relationships. Men don't do that. It was like they'd been turned into flat tires. Knocked off their axes. Walking pieces of shrapnel.

Which I admit sort of confuses me. As a general rule I often think most men don't want to be married. Its all the subtle things men say. Take this fine quote from alpha contractor as an example. "My first wife was a nag - this one just holds everything in until she goes nuclear".

Me - well which would you rather have? The nag or this wife?

Him - the nag I think.

To me... this doesn't sound like a man who wants to be married at all. A lot of men make similar comments. So, I just generally feel like most men feel roped into marriage.

After watching these guys go through these breakups. I realised that men really do want to be married. All that stuff they say is just bullshit. Marriage provides some sense of grounding and stability. And - men really need that. They almost can't cope without it. They become positively defective without that force in their lives. Which is a surprise to me. I always thought most men would be happier is they could just roam from female to female.

Not the case apparently. Because once these guys got back together with their wives - it was like their purpose had been restored.

Anyway - that's all I got. I was scraping a floor for a lot of the day - so I'm tired. Hopefully you can find some coherent meaning in the above.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Back at the show.

Sometimes I'm more distracted by other oddities I find at events - rather than the actual event. For instance, when I got to the orchid show this weekend - the first thing I saw was this ginormous truck. It caught my attention because there was a line of Prii next to it. Well, that and the side of the truck had a big graphic with the words "hybrid synergy". The truck was just sitting there idling. That gets my attention.

Normally it might not have struck me as odd. But lately - a lot of my contractors have been complaining about high diesel fuel prices. When I checked just now on Google - diesel is at 3.67 a gallon. So, the idling truck immediately caught my eye. This also made me want to go in and see what bullshittery green mantra they were selling.



First, I saw a truck full of slogans and signs like this one.



Of course my first question was - how much fuel does it waste having a diesel truck sit all day at an orchid show just idling. I even asked one of the guys working the truck if it ran on diesel. Which he confirmed it did. I was hoping he would give me the ethanol smack down. Or tell me the truck was using some combo of energy efficient diesel motor.



I know what your thinking. Those trucks are meant to idle. It's better to let them run than to shut them off. But.. as I went inside of the truck I soon saw why they were idling the truck. They needed to let the truck run so they could generate power to run all these monitors, kiosks, and lights. But the important thing is they had "green" slogans inside right?

With the size of the truck they could have put solar panels on top to offset some of the fuel use. Right? Unless solar isn't efficient enough to power a semi-truck full of monitors. Its just one truck. How many panels could it take?



Oh - and the best part is next. They were offering free gifts and prizes to get you in the door.

What was the free gift you ask? One of those shake up flash lights. And let me tell you - the old people almost peed their pants to get one. These people were so minimally mobile - that at one point I overheard the parking attendant say their were no more handicapped parking spots available. A bunch of them could barely walk, but they were going to use a shake up flashlight. But - it was free. Free I tell you.

Just ridiculous.

Does everyone really want to be the same?

I finally gave into the sea of beige trend. I should have some updated pictures of the crapshack within the next couple of days. But - this has spawned a whole set of questions about the color beige. It is like a cloud that follows me.

Tile guy says - "it's a good thing you chose beige for this bathroom. Everyone in this city seems to like everything really simple - and beige". In Sacramento everything is different. They like marble and very ornate over the top tile. You can't get away with that in this city. You should give people what they want. Beige."

Me - But if everything is beige - what distinguishes your house from every other house?

Realtor friend - Nothing! And they like it that way.

I asked these same questions to Mr S. who replied - everyone wants to be the same, but a little better than you. But not too much better as to stand out.

I'm finding all these comments a little hard to believe. But then I started thinking about the Weeds song. Now I'm starting to waiver.

Do you think as a society we have gotten to a stage where people just feel more comfortable just being the same? Because, I'm starting to have flashback from those really old sci-fi movies where people wore those unitards that were usually white or grey. But - since reality doesn't always mirror sci-fi - the uni's would be beige instead.

It isn't even like I'm trying to make things off the wall. Just something slightly individualistic. But I have to admit.... everyone is getting to me. Maybe I should just choose beige for everything. Which really takes the rest of the fun out of flipping a house. Anyone can just install beige tile, carpet, walls, and granite. There must be someone crying out for something that isn't the color beige. Right?

Monday, March 03, 2008

I'm -so- done.

I was going to post about other stuff today - but crapshack neighbors have me in a complete tizzy.

I got to the house this morning, and they had left me a love note. It was full of capital letters and exclamation marks. I expected dirty looks and spitting on my grave - but even so... the letter took me by surprise.

This morning I was in a "don't care - don't care" mode. This afternoon I think I went into bargaining mode. And the whole thing started to really bum be out.

This is the thing - even though I complain a lot, I really go out of my way to be nice. Given two choices. Doing the thing I want to do - which is be mean, and doing the nice thing - I will always suck it up and do the nice thing. It probably also involves a lot of cursing and saying "goddamn it- I hate being nice". I'm not a saint. You didn't think I was. Right? But, I still wind up doing the nice thing.

So anyway - after conferring with all my people. The men decidedly said I should have kept my fing mouth shut. The women all proclaimed I hit a nerve - and someone over there is a closet drinker. Whatever.

I just don't even care at this point. But apparently I am now in a full blown neighbor war. Which sucks.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I thought it was a pistil - not a peestall.

Today - we went to the Pacific Orchid Expo in San Fransisco. I'll write more about that tomorrow. But for tonight, I just had to bring you the one thing you were missing your whole lives.

Your...whole...lives..people!

A whole line of orchid urinals. That's right. You heard me.







By now - you are convinced I'm joking. Right? Here are actual people to prove to you that I'm not.





Saturday, March 01, 2008

Shut down.

Today You Tube took down my South Park clip. Which is kind of annoying. I guess Viacom has no concept of fair use. It isn't even like I'm against copyright laws. But come on - it was a 60 second clip.

Now I understand why finding any South Park clip on the net is an effort in insanity. Viacom shuts them all down. No matter how small.

I just don't understand it.

Today, I spent most of the day shopping for more tile for the crapshack. We decided we might as well pick up a vanity at the same time. I was going to tell you all what a nightmare it was to get it home. But instead my crapshack neighbors decided to give me a better story.

So - I pull into the crapshack driveway to unload the tile and the vanity. My trash cans for the house are sitting out front on my property. The cans had been in the backyard - but the painters moved them so they could paint the place. But remember - they are still on my property.

I pop out of the truck and decide to throw a small box into our green-waste can. The one you put mower trimmings and green debris into. I don't have a recycle can right now, because I dont have trash service at the house. I haven't needed it. All my contractors have trucks and bring a dump trailers with them to remove trash. Which if you've been keeping up with the crapshack progress - I've had an enormous amount of stuff removed from that house.

Anyway - I open the green can, and it is completely full of lawn clippings. So, I opened the trash can - also completely full. So full in fact, I can't even stick my small box into my own trash can.

I'm immediately pissed, because it is filled with beer bottles and fast food bags. But - the beer bottles are right on top. Some of these same ones I found on the property when we first bought it. On the side of the house that borders white trash neighbors. The crapshack had been vacant for a year - so I figure white trash neighbors were just throwing the bottles over the fence. Same brand/size (40's) and everything.

Since I'm fed up with white trash neighbors - so I ring their door bell and ask white trash wife if they have been using our trash cans. The conversation goes roughly like this:

Me - Have you guys been using our trash cans?

Her- Nooo. Why? What's in them?

Me- Beer bottles and fast food stuff.

Her - Oh no. There is no drinking here.

Let me just say - when I recounted this part to Mr S. he completely busted up laughing. When we bought the crapshack they had broken bottles on their driveway. I didn't remember if they were beer bottles or not.. but come to think of it - not many soft drinks come in bottles anymore.

Me - okay, because that is completely inappropriate.

Her - well, it might have been the guy across the street. Then asks if I was sure it wasn't my workers.

Now - there are tons of things wrong with my workers. Believe me. Some days I can barely defend them - but if they can drink that many tall boys and still do that much work on my house - they'd have to be alcoholics. There is no way I wouldn't smell that kind of drinking on those guys. And there is no way I'm not looking for that kind of thing. I can't afford the liability. If there was anyone I even had a hint of being drinking - I'd fire them immediately.

At this point I go to walk away and unload the stuff in the truck. White trash wife comes out of the house to look in the cans and starts saying she can't believe I would accuse her of such a thing.

Is she really thinking I'm taking her seriously? Their house was the second most-trash-strewn house on the block. (Mine was first). And lets say - it was my contractors. For the sake of argument and all. The lawn has never once been cut at that house. It's barely even become green in the last two weeks. Just this week - I was thinking I needed to start getting someone to cut it.

So - she's expecting me to believe that the neighbor walked across the street to put his lawn cuttings and trash into my cans. Even I would think I was being crazy or petty if I wouldn't have just blogged about this same issue two weeks ago here.

Anyway - it just pisses me off, because that costs me money to get rid of. Each time my contractors take away trash - it costs me money.

These neighbors have to be high if they think I'm paying to get rid of their trash too. The city would charge me 40 bucks for a pickup. Isn't it enough I've already vastly improved their property values?
 
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