The Box of Damocles

The Box of Damocles

When your house is small and the skilled tradesmen don’t want to trip over a box, they put it on the partition wall with its end dangling overhead.

Today tremendous progress was made and the Box is gone. Phew!

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More Dastardly Deeds by My Nemesis…!

…the builder of La Casa de Tontería, aka Jerkface MacGuyver, whose greatest work was hiding his laziness and cheapness.

I knew that he didn’t put a subfloor under the bathroom tile. There is a slight step-down from the threshold. However, I had no idea that the whole bathroom had been laid out directly on the floor. That means bathtub splashes, condensation on the toilet, and any leaks went straight to the wood.

Imagine my reaction when I came home Tuesday to this:

Rotten Flooring

The jagged hole was surrounded by brittle, flaking water-damaged wood.

As an added bonus, the tub wasn’t secured to anything. After the demo crew took off the existing tile, they just pulled the tub away from the wall and picked it up.  No wonder I keep having to patch cracked grout around the edge of the tub – it was moving!

Happily I saw the damaged wood was thoroughly dry, and when the crew checked the crawl space the next day, they found no wetness under the house.  One of them even told me, “Yours is the nicest crawl space I’ve seen – not that crawl spaces are nice.”

The floor was repaired with about $55 worth of plywood, so no great overage on the project estimate.  However, I continue to be appalled by the horrible things Mr. MacGuyver did to La Casa de Tontería.

Home Improvement 2017

The kitchen backsplash was replaced yesterday, so there’s no gap between the countertop and the tile. Long-time readers may recall that the original backsplash was discolored wallpaper.

Now the tiles will match the counter and cupboards, although I lost my hand painted fruit tiles.

The project wasn’t without glitches. Because there are no bullnose tiles, the tiler attempted to finish the edges near the window with some fancy cutting. It would have looked great if the window were centered and outlets didn’t force him to cut away at odd angles.

Instead, the tile looked uniformly wonderful at both ends and turned into a jigsaw puzzle in the middle. I contacted the business owner and she agreed that running the tiles to the edge will look better. I’ll have to paint the edges when I repaint the windowsill and recess.

The master bath is in progress.  The broken tile, chipped sink, and rusty bathtub were eyesores.  (Not to mention baths became impossible when the switch to stop up the bath got stuck last year.) So it was an exciting project.

On Tuesday it became even more exciting because La Casa de Tontería (aka The House of Nonsense) was built by the infamous Jerkface MacGuyver.

I’ll keep you posted. (Literally.)

Jerkface MacGuyver defeated again

As long-time readers may recall, La Casa de Tontería (aka The House of Nonsense) suffers from the evil machinations of a builder known only as Jerkface MacGuyver. He’s the mastermind behind an unlicensed electrical line to the shed of doom, collapsible shelves, and other adventures in homeownership.

The toilet in the powder room wasn’t holding its alcohol water, so I bought a new toilet flapper valve for the powder room. Unfortunately, the overflow tube looked nothing like a normal tube. In fact, it had a long pointy plastic “tower” rising through the center. (For a normal view, see here and click on the image to the right.)

I returned the flapper and bought a complete replacement kit.

Baby Bro was planning a visit and our father (aka The Old Man) insisted I get his help moving the tank.   He quickly took over the project when it became clear that MacGuyver had struck again.  How? The tank had an extra hole plugged with caulk which Baby Bro easily removed.

Baby Bro took photos and sent them to The Old Man. The consultation was lengthy only because they were amazed by MacGuyver’s handiwork. (And not in an admiring way.) Honestly, is there any other licensed builder who consistently finds factory rejects and second-hand parts and says, “Oh, this will do nicely”?!?

Even the handle needed replacing because the flush lever had no holes for the pull-chain.

Happily I can reveal that the toilet flushes and fills properly. Now I am one step closer to a functioning home.

 

Writing: Your Mileage May Vary

According to experienced writers of my acquaintance, writing a free-form draft of a short story takes an hour and a half, on average.

I wrote for five hours. I took a tea break and a false-alarm break. The latter found me nervously checking for a wild animal just outside the screen door. (No, thank God! I couldn’t see it, but there was a raccoon growling at something. Raccoons have a distinctive sound.)

Anyway, I guess the time estimate fell short because the advisors are experienced both with writing drafts and meeting deadlines (several are published). So as with any writing advice, your mileage may vary.

I typed 2,435 words. However, that number includes asides like “Look up climate of coast.”

I woke up this morning with the realization that a character mentioned in passing is more important than the supporting character who was so enjoyable to write. So revisions will ensue.

 

DIY Writer’s Retreat 2017

This summer has been exceptionally bogged down in minutiae like tearing out an overgrown patch garden and preparing for a very different work environment at The Young Human Factory. I despaired of having a block of undisturbed time to be alone and writing. Plus, I decided to go rewrite the first draft of my novel – and made it worse.

However, I have found the time to do a three-day, self-directed Writer’s Retreat. It started this morning. Continue reading

Yes, Emily, There Is Hypocrisy

One of my faithful readers (and oldest friends) knows that I dislike when children misuse the word “hypocrisy”. For example, a young man who was falling deeper into drugs informed me that his father couldn’t say anything to him “because he used to smoke pot”.

I eventually convinced him that someone who quit drugs was not a hypocrite. The key to enlightenment was the Beastie Boys’ Fight For Your Right with its key phrase “That hypocrite smokes two packs a day.”

But this op-ed was by a grown woman at the New Republic, of all media. Emily Atkin wrote Al Gore’s Carbon Footprint Doesn’t Matter

The key phrase is “climate change advocates who don’t live a carbon-neutral lifestyle aren’t hypocrites because, FOR THE MOST PART, they’re not asking you to live a carbon-neutral lifestyle. They’re asking governments, utilities, energy companies, and large corporations to increase their use of renewable energy so that you can continue to live your life as you please, without contributing to global warming.”
Continue reading