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.

 

The Triumph of Trash Day

I came home Friday after a long day at The Young Human Factory and saw something beautiful – an empty garbage can on my neighbor’s lawn. Oh, happy day! All but one garbage bag and various loose debris have been cleared.

I haven’t blogged about him because, frankly, it’s a depressing situation. The family next door let their house let the bank foreclose. The bank removed the wood stove and put on a new roof, then sold it fast and cheap. ( So fast that when my parents called the bank, it was already a done deal.)

For the past two years, the “new” neighbor has been letting it fall apart. Continue reading

February already?!?

Please consider this my State of La Casa Address.

For the past several weeks months, I have thought of post-worthy topics. Then I’d become enthralled by whatever calamity struck, whether it was at work or en casa, or regarding…. politics.

Hoo boy! Whenever I speak or write of the presidential election, I shall refer to it as The Meltdown of ’16. Jill Stein’s recall attempt was bad, but I had no idea how many of my friends and family are lunatics.  I felt terribly stressed not by the election itself (I slept through the tallying), but by the subsequent denouncing, crying, gloating, and apocalyptic fantasizing.*

As luck would have it, I was distracted by work-related concerns. The latest is that the Young Human Factory is approaching a critical moment. After regular work hours, we front-line employees sat down to discuss our very limited options. Older co-workers can consider early retirement. Me? I’m less concerned with an exit-strategy than a re-enter-the-workforce strategy. I hear that there’s a program to train drone pilots for delivery services…

But on happier news, today I delivered my latest sculpture to its unsuspecting recipient. She exclaimed, “I’ve never gotten anything so beautiful from anyone!” (And to answer the question my readers will be thinking: No, I can’t sell my sculpture. I tried. Even at a gallery, interested parties balked at paying $75 – a price just covered my cost in materials and studio time.)

Meanwhile in La Casa de Tontería, I had a falling out with my Internet provider. I don’t want to name names, but its initials are A, T, and T. When I called about a loss in service (possibly due to an ice storm), the representative immediately declared my modem was bad and I could now rent a newer one for $7 plus tax per month.

Ha ha! Try pulling the other one! I called my pal the Attorney General (well, his office) and found out that the FCC doesn’t regulate providers. Drat.

When the technician came, he reinforced my belief that there’s a strange philosophy at work in that company. Customer service reps are paid evil-doers, while their co-workers work for the good of their customers. Thus is the balance maintained and the Universe doesn’t implode.

Anyway, the tech informed me that my modem was fine (although a refurbished model – what?!?) and he moved my connection to a closer box down the street (rather than in the neighboring town – WHAT?!?)  He also let me know that I still had DSL, not high-speed. I told him what I was paying, and he told me that newer customers had better rates. He suggested I cancel my service for two weeks and then offer to return for a better price.

Unfortunately, I can’t be without service that long. In the summer, I’m going to do it! In the meantime, I talked the price down $35. And that’s not even the deal that the neighbors get.


*Honestly, I laughed  at those who viewed Canada as a sort of bunker to outlive the new administration. First, Canadian immigration guidelines are much stricter regarding marketable skills and sponsorship. Second, there are less than 35 million Canadians, the minority population tends to be Asian immigrants, and pretty much no one speaks Spanish. The last time I took a long trip in Canada, the joke was “We brought our own diversity.”

Book Review: The First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke

Gerke, Jeff. The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers and Set Up Your Novel for Success. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest, 2011. Print.

Summary: A guide to writing a novel beginning that hooks readers.

Jeff Gerke writes fiction under the pseudonym Jefferson Scott but teaches at writers conferences and writes advice under his own name. I bought a few of his guidebooks on the recommendation of honest-to-published authors. This is the first I’m reviewing for my ongoing Book Project. Continue reading