Time Thief

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Delayed Post-Chicago wrap-up

Okay, so this has absolutely nothing to do with houses of any sort, but since HouseBlogs grew out of Chicago, it's getting posted here. Besides, it's my blog and I can write what I want to. (sung to the tune of "It's My Party") It feels a bit like old news, but I had to get through the required travel illness, then catch up on work-work and house-work that fell behind during the trip and illness recovery.

I finally had a fun trip to Chicago. The Lakeview area is quite lovely. (Thanks again, Jocelyn. You have no idea how much having that little bit of information helped.) I was able to walk to and from the Metro from my hotel and felt absolutely safe. The hotel was a nice mix of aged charm and modern convenience. The weather was beautiful. Everyone I came in contact with was very pleasant, including the security people at the airport. The Metro is an awesome venue. (Alli - Tell Jason he can move there now and I will come visit.) I didn't feel too out of place with all the hipster kids and a "little boy" even attempted to hit on me. ;) Overall: Yay, Chicago!!

This time, I did observe things with more of an architecture-oriented eye and this was really the first time I've spent much time observing a Chicago "neighborhood". As an outsider, it's actually quite funny to see all the houses made of brick. I know they're all brick and I know why they're all brick, of course, but it never struck me before. Maybe I just need to get out more. ;)

Mr. Gardener's performance, though far too short, was amazing. He says he'll be back 'round in a few months with a full band, so I guess I should start saving up for another trip.

I stuck around for BRMC partially hoping that they would lure Mark back on stage to do a Ride cover, but also because, by all accounts, I should love this band. They consistently name Ride (Mr. Gardener's previous band) as one of their major influences.

I've known _of_ them since their start, but just never sought them out so I didn't know much about their sound.

I get it now...I totally do. Magnificent.

Since returning, I've bought their first and third albums and can listen to nothing else. I have a little longer before I get too old for this stuff, right?

** To avoid a lawsuit - the BRMC shots were nicked from the BRMC website posted by other show attendees.


PostScript: Program your Tivo now for Letterman on October 12th when BRMC will be performing. Okay, I'll shutup now.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Chicagoland ... I'm comin' to see ya

I haven't the time nor money to spare, but I love this man. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the ones we love.

It's just a quick trip - arrive around 4:30 Tuesday and leave 10:30-ish on Wednesday. I haven't figured out hotel, so if any of you Chicagoans can give me a tip on what would be close to the Metro, I would appreciate it. I'm leaning towards Hotel Indigo. Oh, and if you're bored on Tuesday night and want to see a fabulous show, please join me! :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

sigh of relief

As I reported earlier, floor guys started yesterday. I hired a family-owned business because not only were they the cheapest bid, but when I met with the owner for the estimate, he seemed very detail-oriented and a little high-strung, like me. :) His company is basically him and 1 - 2 guys that do the work. I was surprised when 2 guys showed up and the owner wasn't one of them. He arrived a little later, stayed to do some of the more difficult tasks, then left for another job.

I think Guy #2 was a recent hire due to increasing work volume. The way they chat, they seem to be getting to know him still. Guy #1 is probably the main helper, and I refer to him as "Frat Boy" behind his back because that's what he looks like. (Apologies to the Greek readers -- I'm biased.)

After their first pass at sanding, Frat Boy asked if I wanted to pick out a color. I explained (as I had told the owner when he did the estimate) that I want to match the work I already did in the front bedroom. This was basically impossible, according to Frat Boy. Ummmm....I know it's not impossible, because, look: I did it. Here's my leftover stain and everything. Looks just like your can. He gave me all sorts of reasons and excuses, blah, blah, blah. The fact of the matter is, it can be done, but perhaps not the way they "normally" do it. I am not a confrontational person AT ALL. I run from it. But I stood my ground and we left it as they would just finish the final sanding then in the morning, the owner would be there to discuss options.

When they were set to leave, I asked if he had talked to the owner yet and reminded him that if they were willing to comp me on the price, I would stain it myself overnight. Frat Boy just responded with "[the owner] will talk to you in the morning. We'll be here around 10." He was clearly pissed about having to deal with a bitchy customer. He had the same look and mumbled speech pattern I became accustomed to using back in my days of retail.

Later I realized that he had spoken to the owner about it because I had a message on my answering machine to call him. Gave him a call and he gave me some of the same excuses and reasons, but also offered up some options. When I hung up, I was pretty confident that we'd be able to work something out, but I still fretted about it all night long. Since I'm soooo non-confrontational, I have to psyche myself up for the moments that I may need to be. I would've been ready if it came down to it, but I also had to endure all that fretting.

When the doorbell rang this morning, it was the owner and Guy #2. I guess Frat Boy got a reprieve from the difficult customer. Well, staining has now started, and I think it's a pretty good match. Here's where the sigh of relief comes in. ......ahhhhh......

He made a pretty big deviation from his normal processes to get what I want and I think it's going to look pretty good. I will wait until I see the finished product to sing his praises, but when pushed, he made the extra effort. (It probably doesn't hurt that he knows I found him via Angie's List.)

I guess the real lesson here is that even if you're hiring work out, it really pays to be educated about what's going on and what your options are. Had I not done all the research, etc. involved with finishing one room myself, I would've accepted their excuses at face value. After all "they're the experts". Trust what you know and educate yourself enough to know that your beliefs are on solid ground.

Now that the stain is going on, they're blowing through it, and I'm starting to feel a little...uh...elevated. :)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

lather, rinse, repeat

Sand, fill, prime, fill, sand, paint, fill, paint, paint, paint again, fill, paint. Been working on trim, etc., mainly in the living room. Tedious and slow.

Floor guys started today, so I guess that means I get a few days off since I won't be able to walk in my work area. Post-sanding, they found three boards that were termite-damaged enough to warrant replacement. (sigh)

I feel bad for the poor sap who's strapped to the edge sander. I hate those things. In addition to all the edges, he's got two tiny closets and the odd-shaped "hallway" to do. I think he's an apprentice, so he's paying his dues. Let's hope he knows how to not cause swirl marks.

One cat is MIA. She's good at hiding, though, so I'm not too worried yet. If she doesn't magically appear as soon as the noisy strangers go away, I'll start the outside search.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

N.O. updates from the field

I just found this link, courtesy of Brickman House, that's providing ongoing updates of the state of things in New Orleans. Thought I'd share in case others here are interested. I've stopped watching the news, but I can't remove myself completely from what's going on down there.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

SpamFighters (no relation to Foo)

I've enabled word verification on comments to stop the spammers. Please forgive the inconvenience and I urge other blogspotters to do the same.

Friday, September 02, 2005

For the house history fans...

I have now enacted a moratorium on news coverage in my home. I have been watching way too much CNN. There is only so much you can take before you need to get on with things or you risk paralyzing your own life. There's a nice discussion going on here about how dwelling on all the tragedies of the world will simply make a person ineffectual. I've done what I can from here. Carrying on....

The "heart" of the burb I live in is essentially made up of post-war houses. There are the "cape-cod-style" tract homes like mine that were constructed by a big developer in the Kansas City area. There are also a bunch of what I've heard described as "California-style contemporary" that were probably constructed in the mid-50's. Interestingly, when I did a search for listings online, I had trouble finding an example of exactly what I'm talking about. The style must be more popular than I realized. The listings located here, here, and here are in the same genre.

I never understood where this style came from. It seemed out of place. Today I may have found a clue. Read about the interesting history of a neighborhood house here. What's even more interesting to me is the house's nemesis developer may very likely have been the man responsible for my house (and, one could argue, responsible for suburban sprawl)!

During my search for contemporaries, I found this pricey little number that is available and looks like it could be a Goff or Goff-knockoff. None of these places are my style, but as a fellow house voyeur, I still find them interesting.