Yonked.com: Diary of a New Home Rotating Header Image

March, 2006:

Drip… Drip…. Drip…………….Drip…Drip…Drip………

Yesterday was a bit of a difficult day.

Aaron (our carpenter/foreman/go-to guy) wasn’t able to show up today (or yesterday either) due to an emergency out at the mansion/school that he is a caretaker for.

Santana (our plumber) wasn’t able to come in because he had too much going on at the three other jobs he’s now doing (when he started with us, we were his only job)

Stephanie (the other person in this facacta crazy situation) left the house at 8:30 am, and didn’t come back until 10:30 pm.

I took my car into the Honda service, and it turned out that my appointment was only for me to drop off the car– they’d take a look at it after lunch sometime. (And it turned out the loud noise I was hearing were my wheel bearings, which apparently need replacing to the tune of $600 smackeroos. And they don’t have the parts in stock!

So not only was I alone in the house, I didn’t have a car, had an absent girlfriend, have a dwindling bank account, and a lot of stuff to do that I don’t know how to do.

When it rains it pours!

Speaking of which, around 8:30 pm I was watching the TIVO (yes, we have only one room painted in the house, but both our wireless internet and our TIVO are fully functioning. Can you say priorities? By the way the movie I was watching was Sideways, which was a great film that has been on the TIVO for ages. I am sad to report that Paul Giamati’s character was far too familiar).

So while watching Sideways, I heard a strange noise upstairs. Sounded like the wind, but it was a little too regular for the wind. I looked upstairs, and it turned out that one of our newly installed pipes was leaking.

I found buckets, I called the plumber (got his cell phone answering machine), and then tried to figure out how to shut off the water. I thought there were shutoffs upstairs, but apparently the leak was below that, because I had to go downstairs to shut off the water. Which meant that we had no water for the house for the evening.

Today is a whole new day!
Santana called me this morning to say he’s coming at 9 am, Aaron is coming at 11:30 am, my car should hopefully be fixed (although sadly, I’ll be out 600 balloons) and I turned on the water so that we can take showers. A little water won’t hurt us (will it?)

Room A L’Orange

Our first room is painted! And it’s bright orange! (Here are three images for you to savor and be amazed at. The unsavory chap in the second photograph is me)

I saw this color (Sherwin Williams Laughing Orange) in a magazine, and showed it to Stephanie, saying that I thought it looked great. We’d been having this debate/discussion/frank exchange of differing opinions about the color of the house– as I think Stephanie said previously, I have a fear that at the end the house will be very tastefully decorated and really really boring. Anyway, to make a long story short– I badgered Stephanie until she agreed that I could paint the office whatever color I wanted. And I wanted Laughing Orange.

Or so I thought! When the first test paint came in, it seemed MUCH brighter than in the magazine. And I had another fear– one that said that perhaps I’d just squandered some serious bargaining chips on a color I wasn’t going to like. Perhaps there was such a thing as “too bright”

Fortunately, that is not the case. The room is bright and orange, but it really is quite nice and cheerful. I’m very happy with it, and I think Stephanie is too– at least more than she expected to be. Score one for the clown.

In the bad news department, this is the last room that will be painted by these guys. We are now searching for more painters. Want to know why? Here’s the inside scoop.

We live in an old house, with really nice molding– molding that has been mistreated over the years– painted, repainted, gouged out, painted again,etc. It’s a fair amount of work and care and time to sand the moldings back to try to get them to an even state. We explained this to all of the painters, including the one we selected. And he seemed to completely get what was going on, and knew that we weren’t expecting perfection, but we wanted him to take the time to get the moldings reasonably close.

However, it’s one thing to say “Yes I understand and can do that kind of work” and quite another to actually do that work. From the moment they came in to start prepping, they were complaining, and unhappy, and trying to backpedal. We hit a few snags, attitude wise, and that is never good in a worker/work situation. Fortunately, Stephanie, with her years of management experience, stepped in, and with a remarkable dexterity, got him to agree to quit, but finish the work they’d done up to that point (the office)

So we’re a little bit back to the drawing board. We’re looking for a painter that has the skills to prep old molding relatively efficiently, and that we can afford. Stephanie started in on the bedroom and it’s hard work to do But she can’t do it all, and I think after trying her hand at it, really doesn’t want to (I don’t have the eye, the coordination, the patience, or really the interest in doing it) So if you know of a good painter who’s willing to work cheap…


On Friday afternoon, just as Sears arrived with all of the appliances, I quietly slipped out of the house into a waiting Town Car and was whisked off to the airport. Escape!

In order to get a few minutes to breathe (to breathe non-dusty air, anyway), I had to go away. Far away. So my colleague Jamie’s wedding was the perfect excuse – and it was in Idaho! Coeur D’Alene, which is a beautiful place. The wedding was fun, the hotel room was lovely (view of the lake), clean and quiet, and it was really nice to be away from the chaos for a couple of days. Unfortunately, I’m now in Canton, MI, having stopped in Detroit for a day for a meeting on my way back from the West Coast, and honestly, I’d much rather be in my dusty, crazy house with no kitchen than in this Fairfield Inn on the highway. Oh well. I’ll always have Idaho….

Apparently my family has been reading the blog and some have expressed disappointment that I haven’t been posting. The bottom line is, I’m just too tired. Every week night is something – shopping for shower fixtures, synagogue meetings, picking out paint colors. And weekends are all house, all the time (when I’m not decamped to Idaho, that is). I have to say, though, that I think things are going really well. The electricians are out, the plumbers probably have only a few more days, and the painter starts Monday.

We actually bought almost all of our paint last week – some 15-16 gallons to start. Paint color is something that Adam stressed about early on in the process, as he thought that the house would end up looking muted and all “Martha Stewart” if I had my way with color. However, when it came time to actually make decisions, we’ve managed to agree on most of the colors and each of us has compromised some on certain rooms. Like I agreed to Adam’s desire for the bright orange color for the office….though I have the feeling that when it’s up on the wall Adam might not be quite as enamored of it as when he saw it on a wall in a magazine. (And, in the end, we did buy most of the paint from the Kmart Martha Stewart line, upon my sister-in-law’s recommendation – which even Adam admits isn’t all that bad for Martha Stewart.)

Painting will start on the 2nd floor, and with any luck we’ll be in the master bedroom by the end of the week or the weekend. But I’m not sure what we’ll do about Joey, because even if we can move from the 3rd floor, he can’t – it’s just to messy and dusty in the house still, and I don’t trust him not to run out the door with all the people coming in and out. I hate to leave him on the 3rd floor by himself. But I might want to have a bed off the floor and a bathroom on the same floor more than I’d hate to leave Joey alone upstairs. Poor cat. Just a few more weeks, I hope I hope.


This is the way I’m feeling lately.

(I found this license plate the other day at the National Wholesale Liquidator the other day when I was on my way trying to get stuff for the house.)

Of course I was freakin’ out, and it hit my mood perfectly.

Why freaking? Well, it’s just that lately, everything seems to be in a rush. We’ve owned the house for 5 months, but somehow we didn’t plan very well. Considering that we knew what half the rooms were basically going to look like, I think it would have been better (in always right hindsight) to you know, have made the plans, and done the research ahead of time. (What the shower would look like, what kind of shower heads are available, what the outside light will look like, which recessed lights to get, the tin ceiling style etc, how motion detectors work, the paint samples, etc, etc, etc)

Somehow, we squandered all of that time, and now I’m rushing around like mad going to stupid stores to see if they have something, anything, so that the electrician can finish his project, the plumber can finish their project, etc, etc, etc. And when I’m not doing that during the day, I’m driving Stephanie around at night so that WE can do that together again!

I suppose if I was a guy who liked shopping, this wouldn’t be a problem, but an opportunity. But I don’t really like shopping. And whether or not we have 4 inch baffle trim recessed lights, or 6 inch open trim recessed lights– I could mostly care less. But it falls on me to make the decisions, (because I’m the one who is on site managing the project) and if I make a decision that Stephanie doesn’t like (or thinks she might not like) then we have to have a bone-wrenching discussion about it and the various options.

The good news is that we ordered the tin ceiling, which includes a very special color tin for the powder room (in bright bright blue!) The powder room is going to be circus themed

I’m trying to be LESS Freakin’– but it’s hard because I don’t like not being in control of the process. And since I can’t do everything myself (in fact, I can do VERY little of it) I feel like a carnivore at a vegetarian feast– out of place, out of control, and a bit self-doubting. Ie… Freakin!

Things are proceeding though, and I’m sure part of it is I’m just being hard on myself for not being an expert. Being an idiot about stuff is no fun at all.

Will the merry go round ever stop?

The last few days have been pretty crazy– We’ve had a lot of people here in the house today. Although things are getting done– it’s slow and frustrating, and a little bizarre. Here’s a little preview–


We started off by moving everything we own into the other third floor bedroom so that the electricians could work on the one we’ve been staying in. That involved getting up at 7 AM to make sure we didn’t miss anything, and to get Stephanie off to work on time. But in the meantime, the door of the room we were going to keep the cat in needed to be planed, so we had to stick the cat (and his litter box) into our room. Much fun.

Aaron was here all day– building up stuff, redoing stuff, fixing doors that were stuck, and reminding me that today was Extra Loopy Friday.

Electric guys were here all day, doing the electric work– they seem to be going very slowly. Complaining about the job a little, but mysteriously not speaking English when we ask them what’s wrong! Things are moving along– our office has power! They’re mostly very good natured, and delight in my clowning around with Spanish and with funny looks, etc. They are Dominican, I think, and there’s a Dominican way of saying “I’m thinking.” They showed it to me (it involves wetting your finger, and then touching the lobe of your ear) When I do that they are VERY HAPPY. They also like it when I mangle Spanish for them, and say things like “Changes!” What can I say, they’re weird!

ADT alarm guys came to install (after not being able to install two days before, and inexplicably not showing up the next day) They have now spent close to 9 hours here, and they are not yet done (they are busy cursing in the next room) Not sure if they are incompetent or what, but they seem to have spent a LOT of time trying to get their drill out of the wall where it somehow got stuck as they were trying to drill a hole for a wired smoke detector.

DirectTV guy came and showed up (without gloves!) on a very cold and blustery day. He showed up later than expected. Got the dish up and installed, but it turns out that the dish isn’t getting a signal. So he has to come back tomorrow!

Oil guy came twice– for the same problem. Second guy told me that we had to wait until all of the work was done– and then we should get the motor rebuilt (due to sawdust)

Stephanie– is off at the synagogue, adn then has loads of work to do for the big shindig tomorrow that we both helped organize.

Other things– noticed a strange dampness next to the old water-heater and the even older toilet (no longer functioning in the basement) It’s possible that it’s just snowmelt that has backed up from the drain– or it could be a more foreboding problem. ONly time and a plumber (if we ever find one) will tell.

TOMORROW the whole craziness starts up again:

Electric guys
Blow-in insulation
DirectTv guy to finish the job he started.

And POSSIBLY THE ADT guys, if they don’t finish here by midnight.

Amazingly, Aaron will take a day off!