Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Plate Wall will not Suck

To say I had a long day yesterday would be an understatement. I was most certainly zombie-like parts of the day to the point where if someone was talking to me, pieces of the conversation would be immediately forgotten seconds after the words were spoken. It was like every 3rd word wouldn't register as a language I understood. Luckily I was able to stay focused during meetings and conversations that were materially important to my job, but otherwise, I was inches away from being non-functional. The trouble was that I got maybe 3 hours of sleep on Tuesday night due to my idiocy and irrational desire to watch the 10pm Bachelorette "After the Final Rose" (which, by the way, turned out to be much higher on the bo-ring scale than I expected), and the fact that the husband got home sometime around 11pm, AND the fact that I had drank two Diet Pepsis after the hour of 8pm. DUMB. All resulted in me falling asleep somewhere around 1am (how much does it suck when you toss and turn for hours knowing you have to get up at some un-Godly hour?) and getting up at 4am to catch the ass-crack of dawn flight. Meanwhile Monday night I got maybe 4 hours of sleep, so 7 hours of sleep across 72 hours. Yeah. Umm, No. I got home around 9pm last night slept 8-9 hours so at least I am feeling more Human and less Creature of the Living Dead today.


The Husband, rightfully so, hijacked the camera while he was away in the boondocks of Pennsylvania so I have no photos yet to show you of the 3 plates I hung on the wall in the kitchen. I think they look cute but, not surprisingly, it's one of the first things the Husband noticed (like maybe 5 minutes after he'd walked through the door), and criticized that it's like he's in his grandma's house. Pfffheh. I wonder what he's going to think about my plan to begin a mondo-huge plate collage that will crawl up our staircase wall. I cruised around Flickr this past weekend for plate walls, and found much inspiration. So many cool ones. One in particular, caught my eye - a staircase wall that is pretty fabulous. I didn't know what to do with that area in my house and when I saw her photos, that was it.

From via Flickr

From MaiasauraMade via Flickr

From Lisa Congdon via Flickr

From Apartment Therapy via Flickr

From le petit oiseau via Flickr

I'll need somewhere between 20-40 plates - right now I have 8 or so. I picked up 4 this weekend (and 3 more Monday evening) when I hit up some thrift stores in the area. My plan is to start hunting garage sales on Friday mornings on my way into the office. I am hoping that some of the 55+ communities in the area will have some estate sales in the next few months - I figure if anyone has cool vintage plates, it'll be the older ladies in retirement communities. I just hope they are estate sales related to moving and not because they Bought the Farm. My intention is not to capitalize on elderly folks' propensity to die more frequently then their younger counterparts. Not that one can die more than once, because I just read that sentence over and it sounds like I am saying an old person dies frequently. Really, it's that a retirement community likely has higher death rates. Man, I should stop now before my toes are poking my spleen. Anyway. I just want some cool antique/vintage plates and I am hoping that older people have more of them to jettison in garage sales.

I did (suprisingly) win an eBay auction for FIVE vintage pastel-colored platters. I didn't think I would get it but I put my bid in before I left for the airport and this morning was happy to see that for less than $15 (well, $26 including shipping), I got five LuRay serving platters (made somewhere between 1938 to 1961, should be embossed on the back of the plates). Anybody ever heard of LuRay? I figure I can actually use some of them if I don't end up hanging them all in my plate collage. Hopefully they arrive in intact - that is always a risk when shipping china. I hope the seller has mad packing skillz and uses copious amounts of squishy, fluffy packing materials.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I am not a Regular Expression.. (Or am I?)

I just got finished messing around with regular expressions which is like learning a whacked out programming language that just looks like a semi-random wad of punctuation with some letters and numbers sprinkled here and there. I would love to meet someone who can just recognize a pattern of characters and immediately give me the regex expression that matches it. That would be very Rain Man. Nerd Super-Power.

So, I've been sleeping like crap lately and it's entirely my husband's fault. Indirectly. He's been away visiting his family in PA since Thursday and though my parental units came over for the weekend to keep me company, I've had two nights since Thursday where I was lucky to get 4 hours of sleep and last night was one of them. I just don't sleep well alone anymore. Unfortunately, tomorrow I get to wake up before the ass-crack of dawn (4am) to catch a flight for a one-day trip to Oakland for work (not exactly a thrilling location). Feh. Did I mention I am not BFFs with flying? It's Southwest on a 737, so hopefully the fuselage stays intact at 34,000 feet.

Onward with the disjointed, regex-like format of this post, I need a haircut. It's been over a year since my last one and I think I want to just chop off like 6 inches or so. The problem is where to go. I have a recommendation from a former coworker and I always liked the cuts she got from her stylist, however, I am in El Cheapo mode. She charges $55 for a cut (which is like $65-70 including tip). It's not exorbitant, but it ain't a bargain by any stretch. I was really hoping to stay in the $40-50 range, total. So my question to you: do I (a) risk looking like a circus-freak with an unknown to save 20-30 bucks, or (b) suck it up and pay the piper for a haircut I know won't be shitty. The downside to option (a) is that I may end up looking like a blind-woman on NoDoze cut my hair. The potential upside, though, is I could find an great stylist that saves me cashola (should I ever get out of super-frugal mode and go back to highlights/weave, I won't have to sell my ovaries on the black market to afford it). Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TV Hand

I've mentioned many a time that we watch reality TV. Maybe a little too much. We've watched several (most) seasons of the Bachlorette/Bachelor, a few episodes of that newlywed show that just finished up, and last night we decided to watch Dating in the Dark. So, we've seen our fair share of reality TV dating. And we've coined a new phrase: "TV Hand".

The last Bachlorette was that chick with the Greek last name, I can't remember anymore, anyway, one of her bachelors was this guy, I think Jeremy (?) from somewhere in Texas, I think Houston. Poor guy, he was so straight-laced, clean cut, a lawyer, etc. The thing with him that The Husband and I immediately noticed was his kissing technique. He would take his hand to her face/neck area and his hand would be like a stiff board - all fingers in line together, like he was taking a 1-by-3 of lumber and just putting it up to her face. So awkward looking. Others were less obtuse with their hand.

From that point on, we started noticing that it's always the hand. Always when the smooching starts, the hand follows instantaneously. I mean, I know this is not necessarily a bad thing, but I mean, it's not like this is the one and only technique that must be used 100% of the time. Apparently, though, in reality TV dating, the guy must always use "the hand." Failure to deploy "TV hand" will result in bad kissing experience for everyone involved including the audience. Apparently. So if you're a dude reading this and are going on a reality TV dating show, make sure to give your lady "TV Hand".

Update on McAfee - they turned it off with just an email request which was good, but you know what? If I want to turn it back on - there's a link in my profile! Interesting, huh? I can turn it on self-serve but I can't turn it off. Total crapola.

Toilet is installed and working - it took a few days just because I wanted to make sure the highly porous saltillo and grout dried so that when we started using it I would see if we had a leak in the wax seal. Thus far, all looks well. I can't wait to replace the other water hogs! Tile floor is crawling along - this dang saltillo is taking forever. I'll be in menopause by the time this floor is done. Ok, I exaggerate, but still. Going on a month now and I've got maybe 1/3rd complete. Maybe. Still, I am ok with it, because it will save me 3K. Which can then be used to either pay someone to do other stuff I can't do, or put towards paying off my last student loan. Speaking of money, last thing, the County once again one-upped me on the estimate of my home value. I came up with like 388K or something (which close to Zillow's estimate, actually) and they responded with 360K. That would be... a 170K drop in value since April 2007. The good thing is I believe we've hit bottom. Finally. The number of active homes on the market in my neighborhood is quite meager - there are a slew of homes in pending status. Zillow has increased it's estimate on my house by nearly 20K in the last 3 or 4 months. I believe the worst of the housing crisis, here in San Diego, is over.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It's been a while...

..since I bitched about something with a while being like 12 hours or something, but anyway, I'm really peeved at the moment. If you have a PC, most likely you are running some flavor or Windows. And Windows offers about as much security as handing your money over to Bernie Madoff. It's a good idea to have virus control software (though I have gone without it for stretches of time and once been bitten). So I have McAfee on the laptop that is running both Windows and Ubuntu (linux), dual-boot (meaning, at start-up I can either choose to load Windows or Linux). I wasn't sure if I was going to renew my anti-virus this year it just because we can get by using Linux, alone. It's doable. In fact, we have the Mac Mini so, really, we are good with computer options. I get this email today from McAfee that I have been signed up for "Auto-Renew". You know, where they just automatically charge you.

I don't like that auto-renew business unless it's something like domain names where if you forget to renew the domain name, someone snatches it up. You Snooze you lose. Everything else? Don't auto-renew my subscription - I like to have control over my purchasing choices. Anyway, so I go online to TURN THAT SHIT OFF and wouldn't you know? I can't. "Oh, you want to turn auto-renew off? Contact Customer Service." Really. So I go to my profile, there is my credit card info that they stored and... can't delete it. They are fuckers. This is horseshit, if you'll excuse my French. You don't sign people up automagically and then not give them the ability to turn it off. It's enough that you make me to log in to the site to attempt to turn it off and now you are making me contact Customer Service?

I sent Customer Service an email asking them to turn it off. If they make me call, they are going to get my opinion on this business. I know we're all hurting, economically, but this is not a good route to get consumers to buy your crap. This just turns me off McAfee - makes me want to go running to Symantec, or BETTER YET not use an operating system that sucks.

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's time to scheisse, or get off ze crapper

I know you are just dying to know what happened with the crapper. Well, I tell ya, installing a toilet has a 50-50 chance of going smoothly (Chacha's Toilet Install Probability Theorem). We have picked up and put back 4 toilets thus far, with this last one being a total replacement, and only two have gone off without a hitch. The first time we had to remove the toilet was when I owned my first place, a condo near Torrance (which was technically in LA proper - in the harbor gateway which connects downtown LA to the LA harbor down near the LB). That place was built in 1973 and I replaced every stitch of flooring in the whole joint, including both bathrooms. The upstairs one had no issues, but the downstairs toilet did. We picked it up and found that the closet flange had corroded away leaving the bolts with nothing to attach. Luckily I had some awesome handy neighbors from Alabama (they were perpetual contractors for the oil refining business down in South LA) who helped us install an ABS flange to replace the 30 year old rusted up one. In the former model house in the boonies, I replaced the entire first floor's flooring, and, since everything in that house was less than 7 years old, all was well with the powder toilet and it's plumbing. So easy, your grandma could do it.

This house is 22 years old which is just old enough to be an unexpected pain in the ass. The pipe is ABS plastic and as we all know, plastic can crack. And whoever had installed the toilet last (likely after the tile we down that we removed) did the normal thing of cutting down the too long bolts but must have used a crappy reciprocating saw or soemthing because one of the bolts was not cut cleanly. The nut would not re-thread straight. We realized this after wrenching it on wrong which loosened the bolt attached to the flange. The Husband hacksawed teh bolt to get a clean cut, it threads, but then one attempt to check the seat for wobbly-ness and the flange up and cracks with the toilet coming right out, bolts still attached to the base.

Toilet installs either go so smoothly you wonder why anyone makes any fuss about it, OR they drive you to the brink of insanity. It's either a 20 minute deal or you're snapping at your spouse, and vice versa, about how the toilet sucks and is a piece of shit.

At this point, I have been told by The Husband that he went to Home Depot to consult one of their people and they told him to use a "ringer" (basically, a metal ring that looks like the top of the closet flange) and screw it down into the existing ABS closet flange (supposedly drywall nails are fine). He has installed the basin but needs my help to finish it off (nothing like capping off a Monday workday with more toilet fun). Hopefully before the Bachlorette starts this evening, our poop-deposit box will be in working order. I am excited to have a toilet that is as miserly as me - it only uses 1.28 gallons per flush! Good for my pocket but more importantly good for our environment. we're on water rationing here for lawns - we can only water Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday - first time I've seen this in the 9 years I've been in Southern California - we all gotta do our part to conserve!

In case you are wondering, the title is a line from Beerfest [other silly Beerfest quotes].

Saturday, July 11, 2009


RIP, 1987 Shitter

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Throne

So, a few months back the Husband replaced the "shitter-seat" (his words, not mine - though, I kinda wish I came up with that name myself - though everytime I hear the word "shitter" I immediately think of the Griswald Family Christmas). Soon, though, it wil be time to replace the entire "shitter" with an Earth-friendly model. Currently, our toilets are circa-1987, water guzzling mo-fos that take 18 million years to fill up after you have flushed. I am rather excited to be replacing it - yay, for a new toilet!

Why now? Well, I had two tiling route choices: march down the hallway to the kitchen leaving the bathroom in its sorry state, or take a two-day detour into the downstairs bathroom, replace the toilet and finally have a floor in the bathroom rather than this botched-looking mess of halfway removed tile behind and underneath the existing toilet. The kitchen can wait, I think. It'll be like Dave's Ramsey's debt snowball, with my bad debt being unfinished flooring. Smallest debts first and luckily the bathroom is quite small and should be quick. Won't say painless though. I've never replaced a toilet in its entirety before - I've always just temporarily removed the existing toilet and put it right back wtih a new wax ring. I have no idea what's going to go down (ha!) when we install the innards of the tank. Hopefully the Husband will have some toilet flusher-contraption assembly and installation skills.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ok with the Prodding

Girly Stuff is a prodder, I think. Three comments on the last post - I think she wants me to come out of my blog hole and write something.

What can I say - I have had a strange year. Two new jobs in 3 months. Each time I start a new job, it seems to suck up all my mental energy for a little while as I acclimate. I seem to pick up stuff fast on the job, but it does drain me to the point where when I come home, the most I can manage is physical labor or watch mindless TV like The Bachelorette (which, by the way, I will shamelessly admit to enjoying each week). I tried to keep up with reading the 20+ blogs in my Google Reader and I can't even do that well. I am behind, though I am sure at some point I will catch up again, like I usually do.

In case you were on the edge of your seat about my other half, he is still unemployed with no leads. The job market sucks like a Hoover. Unemployment is finally coming in regularly which is good - at least we can save most of that. When that runs out, he'll have to find something even if the pay is crappy and the job is not great because as it stands we can't get ahead on my salary alone and I am not someone that likes to live paycheck to paycheck. It's not viable, long-term.

Anyway, physical labor. I've been tiling and I forgot how easy it is, and well, fun. The saltillo has been a bit tedious, though - before I can lay them, the Husband hoses them down. I wait a day or two for them to mostly dry out, then I apply 3 coats of sealer (1-2 more days). After that, I finally get to laying them. So, you can imagine, I am not that far along. I started sometime last week - I've done about 60 square feet, and about 50 of it is grouted. I decided to grout right away to help the stability of the tile. Saltillo is not known for great durability, the grout adds to its strength and I didn't want to be walking around on ungrouted saltillo for several weeks (months?) - didn't seem like a good idea.

In case you are chomping at the bit (if I'm being linguistically correct, "champing at the bit", which just sounds weird to me, but apparently, is "proper") to see them, I flickr-ified my photos.

Saltillo Tile Set