Somewhere between hypercompetence & homeownership
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Whatever the hell that means.

Wednesday, October 31
Happy Horr-ible-ween!

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Tuesday, October 30
Gimme! Hey, gimme back my calamari! Yes, you. If you do not comply, I may be forced to extradite you to a nation that uses more inhumane methods...

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Monday, October 29
Yadda yadda yadda

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Saturday, October 27
Busy day!
Whew. Let's see... today, first, I hung the mountain bikes from the rafters of the garage. Seriously high up there. I slowly and scarily crept up the ladder carrying each bike by the front wheel and then breathed deep sighs of relief when they were hung and then quickly scrambled back down the ladder. I am very cautious about using the ladder but even a healthy dose of respect does nothing to eliminate the continous projection of little mental movies of what could go wrong and the level of injury I might incur in the process and how I wouldn't be able to get help from the people unknowingly going about their business just a few feet away. Cleaning up the garage is a seriously huge task, I need to make room for both the new minivan and the wagon, two large vehicles, which leaves little room for all the other junk I need to keep out there. Last year, we shoved things around to make just enough room for the wagon and the tiny Honda.

Then, I got busy working on Hannah's room again. It's really close to done now. I hung new miniblinds, replaced the nasty old ceiling light fixture, replaced the heating duct grill, tried to replace the cold air return grill but the absolute moron at the plumbing supply place couldn't find one that fit (see No Service blog below). We put all her furniture back in her room tonight and put the new sheets and comforter on her bed. It looks great, like something from a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. We need to get the hardware to hang her Pooh quilt on the wall, (another of Lara's great ideas), and finish her window treatments and I'd say we're done.

Along the way, I measured the central AC unit for a winter cover, planned the next part of the garage organizing, got the Subaru inspected and carpeted part of the basement with the carpet I pulled out of Hannah's room.

Oh, and we got Hannah some new winter boots from the Target and had sushi for dinner.

Pretty good for a Saturday. As Squib says, "nighty". Well deserved I think.

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Friday, October 26
Happy B-day Squib!

Truly a major milestone. I turned 40 a few weeks ago and while my body may be feeling like it's 40 at times, I am actually truly happy to be who I am at this time in my life

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Happy big 3-0 Yeller! Jeeez! You're SOOOO old!

Quitcherbitchin! You're still pickin' bits of shell off!

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Thursday, October 25
No comment. I was all set to go and add the cool comment feature to my blog. It's in the process of being revised so "no comment for you" I guess.

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Tuesday, October 23
Today we mourn the loss of quality service
Is it just us, or is the quality of service really starting to suck around here. Lara is sometime alot tougher to please than I am, but even I am getting tired of it. It seems that every service person I encounter is completely pathetic, apathetic and uniinterested in doing a good job. Seems dat jus' gettin' it dones good enough. We had the cable guys in to add some outlets last week. They sucked, did a lousy job only after we pleaded with them to do the job at all, cleaned up nothing and left lights on everywhere they went in the house. Then they neglected to note to the cable company that we paid them, so we got billed again. Yeah, right. Then we discovered that we were somehow subscribed to additional channels. Hmmmmm. These guys are on contract so the cable company can really absolve themselves of any wrongdoing. "We'll note that, sir." That's cable company-ese for "Have a nice day" which is Californian for "Fuck you very much". Then, the lameass carpet guy comes on Monday. I wasn't here for the job so I will have to take Lara's word on much of this. He does a mediocre job with the seams, tracks leaves and his nasty cigarette butts into the house, leaves the front door wide open (fortunately Micio was hiding out and did even know about it), cleans up nothing, doesn't vacuum the stray bits, doesn't offer to set aside the bigger scraps (always useful for patch jobs, etc.) and leaves a huge pile of scraps mixed with stray bits and other trash in a pile at the end of the driveway IN THE FREAKIN' RAIN! Jees, what is it with people? We have a pretty good relationship with the carpet store so we are hoping to get some satisfaction from this one and if you know Lara, that's a pretty good bet.

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Behold the awesome power of this completely operational...
drain opener.

Some projects are scheduled, some schedule themselves. For the most part, I finished Hannah's room in time for the lameass carpet guy to do his thing, I was looking forward to a few days of relative inactivity (the next two tasks are already looming on the horizon) when the drain on the wash sink in the basement stopped cold. I'd noticed that it was getting slower and slower as I was washing up from painting each day but I figured I had to some time. Nope. I opened the little secret cap on the bottom of the trap and figured I could clear it out real easily and that would be the end of it. Nope. It actually made it worse. How can that be???? I dunno. Anyway, today while I was at work, planning to get some Dranoâ„¢ after work, Nona goes and does laundry and manages to fill up both sinks with wash water. No drain action at all. Not good. So, a quick trip to the Chase-Pitkin (I hate the Chase-Pitkin) for liquid AND crystal drain opener. 2 hours and the entire bottle of liquid drain opener and little to no improvement. Not good. Couple rounds of the crystal and only slight improvement. I figured I'd give the plunger (the plumbers little helper) another go. The double drain setup makes using the plunger almost worthless but I guess the crystals loosened things up enough to make it slide. Yay! Partly because I did it myself and partly because I am cheap and simply hate the idea of calling a plumber (sorry Mike) for something as lame as a slow drain.

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Monday, October 22
Done, just in time...

I thought I had plenty of time, but I was wrong.

We made plans to paint Hannah's room and arranged plenty of time prior to carpet delivery. I busted a** all weekend to finish, the carpet guy's cominfg today. I was pulling the last of the carpet padding staples last night at about midnight.

Arguably, I could have gotten done alot sooner, but I took my time and did a really nice and thorough job. The windows were in bad shape and I did alot of prep work so hopefully I won't be painting them again for a long long time.

It's astounding when you breakdown a job like this into it's component parts. Lots and lots of details, and almost as many after the painting as before. New window treatments and shades, reassembling the doors, etc. etc. And of course, rearranging the room and replacing some hardware. We are considering a new ceiling fixture and potentially new door handles (to replace the hard-for-kids-to-use knobs) Like I said, it goes on and on.

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Wednesday, October 17
That was . . . AWESOME!
Did anyone else see that amazing rainbow yesterday (the 16th) at about 6 in the evening. It was amazing, the most intense rainbow I have ever seen.

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Monday, October 15
The Dreaded Fall
Y'know, the autumn is really lovely. The street we used to live on was lined with oak trees and on the peak days, the intensity of color was dazzling, it was like a postcard. Our lawn wasn't big and I really slacked on the raking as much as I could. I'd rake the leaves in the back into piles in the corners and let them compost on their own.

Our new house has 5 or 6 absolutely huge trees in the front yard. They're really beautiful and they shade the house and give the whole site a nice established look. I just wish they weren't deciduous trees. The day we moved in, I said "I ain't raking all that" and went and bought a gas powered leaf blower. It was just before Halloween and the leaves were already completely covering the lawn. I have gotten better each year at the technique of using the blower. If you do it right, it's easy. If you don't, it's a futile effort and really aggravating as the leaves blow all over the place despite your best effort to control their direction. This year, I am particularly busy with other projects inside the house but I know the chore is inevitable.

I am stalling as long as I can.

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Friday, October 12
Click here to find out what robot you really areUse the farce, Luke! Yay! I'd have been p.o.ed if I was Data. I can't say that I think I'm like R2, I'm more like 3PO except I don't think I answered the question about helping people correctly.
R2 is much cuter anyway.

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Tuesday, October 9
Bachelor pad must-have!
While shopping at the Lowes for the now infamous toilet, I noticed that they sell urinals! Not much selection however. Just one, and only in industrial white, no designer colors or anything. Not cheap either. about $80 for the porcelain and another $70 for the chrome plated works.

Can you imagine having this in your powderroom?

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So, in preparation for painting Hannah's room, I'm scraping and sanding the windows. I'm just happily humming a tune, working away, when I accidentally drop the little foam sanding block. I look down and watch it bounce off the floor and go DIRECTLY INTO THE OPEN HEATING VENT! Nothing but vent! I stood and listened as it bumped it's way to the bottom of the vent, then stood there, blinking in disbelief for a minute.

I guess it was time to stop sanding.

Got another sanding block while visiting the Lowes (as mentioned previously). Resumed sanding last night. Guess what. Dropped the g**-d*** thing again! It bounced right off the strategically placed bucket blocking the open vent. Hah!

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Monday, October 8
Speed Kills?or, "How I spent my Sunday Afternoon"
Well, soon after speed-replacing the working parts of the toilet, I discovered a little problem.
Saw that coming, did you?
Every so often, about 15 minutes or so, the toilet would suddenly "refill" a tiny bit. The water level was slowly dropping, causing the valve to open, one burst of water was enough to raise the level and the valve would close again. Not a big deal until you're in the shower just down the line from the toilet and get a brief blast of 100% hot water. Yow!! When I was replacing the works earlier, I'd noticed that the overflow pipe was pretty old and getting corroded but didn't think it mattered. I assumed that the slow leak was because the flapper wasn't seating properly (the flapper was new so it couldn't be the problem) and decided to replace the part where the flapper sits, which would conveniently mean also replacing the corroded pipe since they are all part of one piece.
Now, this part of the work involves the connection between the tank and the bowl, so replacing it meant really disassembling the toilet. No big deal, I've done this before. I drain the tank, undo the bolts and water connections and take off the tank. I start to crank off the fill valve thing and "snap!" goes the previously mentioned, corroding overflow pipe.
I then realized that the slow leak wasn't the flapper, it was the nasty corroded pipe. Oh, well, no big deal, I was replacing the whole part anyway. The only big issue at this point is that with the part snapped off, I'm already way past the point of no return.
So, I resume struggling to remove this huge bolt on the bottom of the tank. I'm starting to get frustrated because I can't make it budge without rotating the part it's attached to and I can't get a good handle on that part since the pipe snapped off. I realize that it will keep rotating until it hits the inside wall of the tank and that will stop the rotation and I can then turn the bolt. Good idea.
Yeah, right. Once the inside piece contacts the inside wall and I push harder on the wrench, the whole damn tank snaps into 5 or 6 pieces. Yikes. Oh, yeah, ceramic has a tendency to do that. I was seriously freaked, Lara was very cool about it. She actually refused to get worked up about it. She also quickly determined that I had been working around the house all day and hadn't eaten enough, so I was predisposed to overreaction.
So, twenty minutes later, we were down at the Lowes, discussing the merits of glazed passageways and elongated vs. round bowls.
Another 20 minutes later and $100 lighter, we're back at home, one American-Standard heavier.
Installation of the new one went pretty simply, a few minor struggles here and there, one small drip easily stopped with an additional crank of a wrench, etc. The only real hitch is that the little bolts that hold the bowl to the floor are too long for the little bolt covers. I need to go back and cut them off a bit, not sure what tool I need for that, a regular hacksaw's too big but I've seen little tiny hacksaws at the Lowes....

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Friday, October 5
Speed Counts
Last night was ToiletWorks, v.2. I replaced the works in another toilet in the house. I did the job in less than 30 minutes though I wasn't trying to hurry and was, in fact, taking time along the way to explain to Hannah what I was specifically doing at each stage. If I create an adult woman capable of being that much more self-sufficient, it will have been well worth the extra time and the added stress of not freely cursing while working on the job. One of the things that Lara and I are completely compatabile about, is the need for hypercompetence. The only reason I want to go to Burning Man is that incompetence can be punished by death.

As a side benefit, I get the added enjoyment of Hannah's bizarre interpretation of the various functional aspects of the tools, etc..

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HBL! Happy Business Lunch.
I can't say that I felt a part of the cause for celebration but I am always more than happy to stuff myself with raw fish. I ate far more than I would/should have but hey...

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