Thursday, July 1, 2010

One More Before I Go

I don’t know if anybody has noticed, but I haven’t been here for a while. I’m not in blog land as much as most people anyway, but this has been longer than usual even for me. Well, here’s the thing. I’ve been busy. Busy doing all kinds of things.

One whole afternoon I was busy looking at this.  The water is so high that it is gushing over the Pathfinder Dam spillway for the first time since 1984.  It's become a popular thing for the locals to do on a summer afternoon.  People pack up their kids, throw a picnic lunch in the car and go check out the spillway.  Okay, I was there as part of a field trip during work hours so I wouldn't have been able to blog then anyway (at least not if the boss was anywhere nearby), but the sun, the fresh air, the spray of the water and just the thrill of being a field trip threw the thought of blogging right out of my head.

Removing the bathroom countertops at home has taken a lot of time that I could have been blogging. Alright, I didn’t really do any of the actual removing, but I am an awesome GSG (Go-fer Supporter Girl). I have perfected the technique of holding a flashlight while offering commiserating comments. "Ohh… I’ll bet that hurt. Can I get you a pillow for you head?

Sure you don’t want a pillow? How’s it going?

Is the top coming off? What if we can’t get it off?” Intermixed with sweet offers of “can I do anything? Do you need anything? Need me to get a tool? Want me to try?” I did spend a lot of minutes with a vacuum and broom once the counters were removed and I’ve had to spend time comforting Lily who sits on the floor by the bathroom cabinet, sadly meowing as she stares up at an empty hole, wondering how long it’ll be until she can get a nice cool drink from the faucet again.

Then of course somebody had to meet the countertop guys and hang out at home while they installed them.  I didn't do that, but I was in charge of meeting the plumber so he could (NOT---see update) install the sinks and faucets.  And I did coordinate all that counter guys/plumber scheduling, which can consume a fair number of minutes.

Speaking of coordinating I would like to rant a bit here. Wouldn’t you think when your profession is installing granite countertops that you would do the best you could do? Wouldn’t you think when your profession was to install granite countertops you would do a better job than Mr. Homeowner could? Wouldn’t you think you could cut circles that were evenly spaced both left to right

and top to bottom.  Isn't that what a template drawing is for? My six year old granddaughter could have drawn better spaced holes for cutting.

Dean had to spend hours gluing in extra support boards because the original countertop was a crap job (apparently not installed by a professional). He made sure the surface was perfectly level. I vacuumed and wiped down the whole area so the professional granite installer would have a clean work area. Yet when the professional granite countertop installer cut the holes for the sinks and faucets on-site (only the granite God on-high knows

why that wasn’t done in the shop), he didn’t feel the need to lay down a tarp on very nice maple floors. Honestly. That meant I had to mop floors before it was really necessary.  There wasn't even enough dog hair on the floors to knit a sweater yet.

I was worried the faucets wouldn't fit onto the unevenly spaced holes or if they did, they would look as unevenly spaced as the holes did.  Dean told me that the faucets are made to be adjustable over holes. “They don’t have to sit in the center of the hole. The plumber will figure it out. That’s why we’re paying a professional to install the sinks and faucets. It’ll be okay.” Wouldn’t you think if you were a professional granite counter installer you would strive for perfection? Maybe even have some pride in your work? Wouldn’t you think a professional granite countertop installer wouldn’t think “okay” was good enough? Don’t you think if I am paying big bucks for granite countertops to be installed by a professional, I should be able to expect better than just okay? I would even be happy with near-perfection. But just okay? From a professional granite installer? Was it too much to expect more than that?  .........    Boy, that went on longer than I expected, but I feel better now. And I did warn you.

*** Countertop Update.  Beware.  If you thought the last rant was bad, wait'll you read this:  Turns out I do have a good crap sensor because when the plumber came Tuesday morning to install the sinks and faucets, he discovered the faucet holes were too large for the faucets.  The faucets that were In.  My.  House.  When.  The.  Holes.  Were.  Drilled.  So I got to spend my lunch hour plus an hour at Home Depot, on the phone, and e-mailing photos to the contractor.  Then more phone time with woman who schedules the contractors who told me "most plumbers just go buy a larger washer so the faucets will fit," to which I replied, using my sister's tried and true response:  "I am sorry.  That is not acceptable."  And then I reiterated how poorly drilled the holes were and how they were off center and how they'd chipped off a piece of granite, and how it doesn't matter if other plumbers just buy a larger washer.  Those washers were what came with the faucets.  The faucets that Were.  At.  My.  House.  When.  The.  Holes.  Were.  Drilled.  Then she told me she'd take my photos, go talk to her boss and "they will take care of things."  Let's hope so.  Let's hope they bring me new countertops and find somebody who knows how to drill holes in granite.  Because I WILL either get new counters or money back.  And right now I feel like drilling a hole in the hole-driller's head. 

Another update  (That's what I get by trying to work on this over a series of days)...  I met with granite guy at 5:00 p.m..  It's hard to want to drill a hole in a granite guy's head when he's standing in front of you, admitting his job wasn't perfect but willing to do whatever it takes to make you happy.  I was hell-bent to have them rip out those counters and bring new ones but he wanted the chance to "make it right" for me.  So as I type he is "fixing" the holes with epoxy and installing the faucets and sinks.  If the job doesn't look good, isn't secure, or we are not happy, I have the right to have them ripped out and replaced.  He's a local business guy with a bathroom/kitchen business and my gut said "he's basically a good guy, he isn't trying to screw you, he wants to make you happy and he wants to fix this so give him a chance.  Either this works and you will have sinks and faucets or it won't and you'll rip it all out."  Leslie came over to advocate for me in case I backed down and even she felt he really wanted to make things right and look good.  So once he's finished, Dean and I will make the determination as to how happy we are.  And have his card and phone number with no hesitation to call if I have any issues down the line.  Cross your fingers. 

***Three and half hours later, the faucets and sinks are set and the worst of the hole cutting (first photo above) now looks like this.  Whaddya think?

As countertop guy was leaving, there was a fair amount of "I appreciate you being open and letting me try to fix ... I'm sorry if I was snippy but ... you're right, I made a mistake and ... I'm not usually this bitchy but ... I'm a consumer too, I understand ... thank you for staying and ... I value your business ... I spent alot of money and ... thank you for letting me come back and ... tact is not my strong suit ... I understand why ..."   .................kind of like makeup sex but without the sex.
And now, I promise, no more ranting.  I'm too busy self-medicating with a G&T now to rant anyway. ***

We spent a couple of afternoons downtown listening to music, eating food, drinking beer and hanging out which got in the way of blogging.  One of those afternoons we brought the grandkids.   Leslie hadn't had time to give them lunch before we picked them up but we told her not to worry.  We would feed them.  And we did ... cotton candy, smoothies, lemonade, fudge, funnel cake, and ice cream.  In between all the eating

Pierce almost fought a knight,

Dean tried his best to control the kids,

after he'd gotten them all worked up,

and then we took them home.

But what’s really been keeping me from blogging is all my obsessing, stressing, preparing and shopping for my trip to Ecuador so I can take Abby’s wedding dress to her. Any trip preparation normally involves at least a little bit of shopping. But when you’re visiting a country whose daily low temperature averages higher than your daily high temperature, it involves A LOT of shopping. You’d think this would make me happy but I was not born with the shopping gene. I hate shopping. I hate every aspect of shopping. I hate looking through racks. I hate trying things on. I hate trying to find a deal. I hate wondering if I look good in this or that. I hate wearing something new for the first time. I walk around with an armful of things to try on, but before I make it to the dressing room, I talk myself out of them and begin putting them back on the racks, one by one. And more often than not, if I actually do try something on, somehow manage to make myself buy it and bring it home, I talk myself out of it and return it. I'm even more amazed than you may be, because what I hate most about shopping is how much time it takes. Gosh, shopping for hours at the mall yesterday was so much fun; I think I’ll waste even more time today by driving back to the store, waiting in line to return this article of clothing that I haven’t even taken out of the bag. Yeah, that makes no sense…even to me.

The spooky thing is, now that I’ve been forced to do so much of shopping, I’ve begun to feel a magnetic pull toward sale signs. I’m not kidding. I find myself hovering around clothing racks with 60% off signs on top and I don’t remember how I got there. Minutes turn into hours. Dean has called me twice during my “quick” trips wondering if I was ever coming home. I can’t remember the last time I came home from the mall without a bag in my hand. And I never return anything anymore. I don’t know exactly when or how it happened but I think I’ve become one ….....…. a shopper!

All those clothing purchases added to my already mounting ironing. I’d gotten a bit behind because I was spending so much time shopping. Getting though this mountain of ironing took a long, long time.  Time I could have been blogging.

Packing for my trip has taken alot of time too. There’s an art to packing.

Especially when you’re trying to fit in things like insect nets, butterfly spreaders, entomology books, and kitty and puppy toys. And then there’s the issue of one small item……….the purpose of this whole trip ………. the WEDDING DRESS.  I’ve been imagining horror stories about getting this dress to Ecuador.

Stewardess: I’m sorry, that carryon suitcase is too large for the overhead bins. We will need to gate check it.

Me: No. No.  You can not take this bag from me. It’s my daughter’s wedding dress. You can not take it. 

Stewardess: I’m sorry, but you need to give it to me. It will not fit in the carryon area.

Me:  Just try to pry it out of my hands.  Go ahead.  Try.

Stewardess:  I'm sorry.  I really must gate check it.  

Me:  No. If you take the bag, you take me with it.

Stewardess: Did you bring a coat? The baggage hold is cold.

Fortunately I made a new best friend---the space bag.
Yes, not only can you shrink stacks of newly purchased clothing into the size of a cereal box, but you can shrink a heavy wedding dress into a carryon bag.  But I think I'll bring a jacket with me, just in case.

So you see why I’ve been too busy to blog. I’ve been so busy that for the last two weeks I haven’t even put in my 30 minutes per day of Espanol.  I do feel a bit guilty about that, but here’s the deal. Two weeks ago when I watched Buzz Lightyear switched to Buzz Spanish and I only caught about three words of his whole conversation, I felt my Spanish-speaking confidence deflate like one of my space bags when it was accidentally poked by a pin in a piece of clothing I’d missed removing. "Is five more hours of spouting Spanish to a computer really going to make a difference?" I said to myself? "No. Hablo español ahora? Un poco, y no muy bien. Tranquilo.  No se preocupe" I told myself. "Voy a estudiar en el plano." And anyway, I can use those five hours for some last minute shopping!

Hasta luego!


Abby said...

I can't wait to see what kind of "shopping" items you turned up with. By the way, airplane in Spanish is "avion", at least in Ecuador.

Art Elser said...

Cathy, I hate to wish poor workmanship on you, but it makes for such great reading in your blogs. When stuff like this happens, do Dean and the animals just hide in another room?

Hope your trip to Ecuador went well. I think you left either today or yesterday.

Was it cold in the baggage hold? :-)

Amber said...

I love your comment about knitting a sweater with all the hair Shadow sheds on the floor. Our house can definitely relate to that! Yesterday I had to pick up two fur balls which accumulated over the past week (or weeks...I can't remember the last time I made myself sweep). My dogs have short hair! How does this happen???

Trinity Chappelear said...

I am so proud of you! You used the line!