October 15th, 2012


(no subject)

Painters today. The living room ceiling now looks great, after the atrocity that was the dramatically peeling paint we lived with for the last dozen+ years. The bathroom is nearly finished, but Meghan (Best Painter In The Universe, and my new crush) will be returning tomorrow for about 2 hours to finish up.

Over the course of the day the following happened:

1. We blew a fuse due to too many fans, hairdryers, microwaves, etc., all being used at the same time. The whole house was temporarily without power, inconveniencing everyone. Especially me, because, you know, the TIVO died for several minutes, and that's a torture that just no one should be subjected to when they're trapped upstairs in the family room while waiting for painters to finish their job downstairs.

2. When removing piles of towels from the bathroom's linen closet so that Meghan could paint the inside (a task we hadn't expected, but which became suddenly necessary for reasons too boring to explain), I discovered a massive crack/hole in the back wall of the closet. We're talking major problem with the wall. Meghan couldn't just paint that area, because it was crumbling and gaping and just ... no. She said that she could fix it, no problem, if she'd known in advance that she'd need to, but she didn't have the necessary materials with her. So she temporarily patched it up with a Lean Cuisine box (!) that was lying in the nearby recycling (The wall looks so professional! You'd never guess it was patched with a frozen dinner container!), and she'll be repairing the wall properly, and then finishing painting that area, when she returns tomorrow. (She investigated outside to see what had caused this big bash-in of the wall, and apparently there was a pipe out there, not attached to anything, but it looks like someone, at some time, somehow bashed it partway through the wall of the house ... and then walked away, whistling innocently, leaving the orphaned pipe and breached wall behind. I think it might have been when the old water heater was removed and the new one installed several years ago, but who knows.)

3. When Meghan was darn close to finished with the bathroom, she came to let me know that the toilet in the relevant bathroom had mysteriously sprung a tremendous leak, pumping water out onto half of the room's floor already. She advised me to phone a plumber immediately and gave me her own guess as to what was wrong (which turned out to be pretty much accurate, because Meghan knows all), and she continued painting the room in the meantime (after turning off the water and getting the flow of leak temporarily stopped), though she had to leave some trim in the area around the toilet unpainted, so that the plumber would have some unpainted area in which to work, though he was going to have to try pretty hard to avoid touching the walls, which were all freshly painted.

4. The plumber came, figured out what was wrong, and fixed it. (For an hour or two, our house was full of Shannon, me, two painters, and a plumber, all moving and passing each other and all that, with sometimes a painter asking me a question, then getting interrupted by the plumber, then the painter again ... I think I probably have some hair left, though it's possible most of it has been torn out.) When I asked the plumber what could cause the kind of problem we'd seen today (which I can't remember sufficiently to describe at the moment, since I am utterly exhausted and moments away from bed), he said that moving the toilet carelessly, sort of jostling it about too much, could cause this. Well, our contractors had to move the toilet quite a bit only a week or two ago to install new pipe, so I can only imagine that this was $289 of their fault.

5. Meghan dealt with some shoddy workmanship from when Ting's guy installed the towel bar in our bathroom a week or two ago. Also, she and Arturo (the guy who scraped and painted the living room ceiling) fixed our living room ceiling light fixture, which had not been attached securely and so was sort of dangerously dangling. These folks totally rock! If you're in the Bay Area, hire Charmed Painting.

So ... the living room is done, and we've been able to put all the furniture back where it belongs (after moving it all into the dining room last night), and the bathroom should be done done done tomorrow afternoon, with paint fully dry by Wednesday night, and then we can avoid all home improvements for the next 20 years or so.

And, to be frank, we're hesitant to hire Ting (the contractor who installed the tub, tile, etc.) again, at least for anything involving any kind of detailed work. Not only did his crew seem to make a lot of mistakes, but Ting rarely offered solutions when problems did arise (whether they were caused by my inexperience in purchasing materials or by his own guys' carelessness). Shannon and I -- who know nothing about construction -- had to suggest ways to fix things, and I didn't like that sort of abdication of responsibility. So, sadly, I'm not feeling really Ting-friendly right now. When I get a bit more emotional distance from the bathroom project, I may feel differently, but right now I just never again want to hear another power tool ... or be shut out of some part of my own house for days or weeks on end ... or meet up with complete strangers roaming my house when I just want to get a drink out of the refrigerator ... or have to constantly revolve my schedule around someone I barely know.

Next week: no painters! no contractors! no plumbers (knock wood)! I'll go to CWC as often as I want, and maybe I can start getting myself on a schedule of gym visits, since my knee seems to be doing very well. I can do the things that keep me healthy, and not worry so much about the health of our house.

In Munchkin health news, she seemed to be doing really well today when she, Lucy, and I were locked up in the painter-free Family Room. She was walking around, hanging out in a few different places where she could see outside, interacting with me, etc. I was really happy to see her so engaged. But then this evening she's been almost entirely limp and unresponsive, just sitting with her head down, staring at the floor. It's like a really non-fun rollercoaster.