Thursday, March 31, 2005

Damn those catchy female ditties

You know what I hate? Well, maybe hate is too strong a word, but still...

I hate those catchy little songs that are all about girls and how great it is to be one; not that I would want to be a girl, but you just can't help singing the little songs to yourself: the infectious tunes and kicky lyrics are like a bad virus you just can't get rid of. To wit:

When I have a brand new hairdo/With my eyelashes all in curl/I float as the clouds on air do/I enjoy being a girl!

And of course, when you have a visual of Sarah Jessica Parker skipping around and singing it, it's just too catchy...and resist. I think Jess hates the commercial because it's Sarah Jessica...but I just love it. Gap is so clever.

I'm sure you no doubt are familiar with the car commercial where five guys are sitting in the car squirming because one of them is singing to the song on the radio Man, I Feel Like a Woman, which is an equally infectious little female ditty with a plucky video of Shania Twain to go with it.

What I hate is that these little tunes get into my head and I am practically skipping around at work singing them. Now, I am out at work and admittedly, you would not find my picture anywhere near "butch" in the dictionary, but this is ridiculous.

And just to leave the tune with you, now...
The best thing about bein' a the prerogative to have a little fun/Oh, oh, oh, go totally crazy-forget I'm a lady/
Men's shirts-short skirts/Oh, oh, oh, really go wild-yeah, doin' it in style/Oh, oh, oh, get in the action-feel the attraction/
Color my hair-do what I dare/Oh, oh, oh, I wanna be free-yeah, to feel the way I feel/Man! I feel like a woman!

I know. I'm such a bitch. Maybe I am a girl after all.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Contractors suck!

Tonight, we went over to the new house to test the showers since we have not yet had the opportunity to do that. And once again, we got the contractor shaft - and the contractors weren't even there.

Downstairs, we fired up the shower, which seemed to work fine. But Jess mentioned to me that he noticed that the underside of the shower seat didn't appear to be grouted and caulked. That's because it wasn't. Idiot, the fuckup contractor, had never caulked after the seat was installed. So we have water running down the seat and up under into the area where there was no caulk! I was steaming.

So we went to check the upstairs seat. It had been caulked, so it appeared to be ready to go. We started up the water, but it wouldn't get hot. Gee, wonder why? The temperature dial would hardly move at all, and when we tried setting it to 110, it wouldn't get above 70. So this was the fault of the plumber. Do these idiots check anything on their installations before they pronounce them done? This is really, REALLY infuriating. At the prices we have paid, there should be no stupid mistakes! Apparently, stupidity knows no price.

Loooong weekend

It started Friday night. I started dinner (roast beef with carrots, potatoes, and onions in gravy) and Jess went to go pick up Jeff at the train station. Jeff came out to help us pack, throw away, and move stuff all weekend. It's good that we had him to rely on: we worked all day Saturday and most of Sunday and we aren't even close to moving yet. But with his help, we managed to throw out 12 contractor bags of trash and get a lot of items shuttled over to the new house. Dinner was fantastic (if I do say so myself) and cooked in the new oven, finished in about an hour, where it would normally take over two-and-a-half hours. That I just love.

Most of the day Saturday, we worked on throwing stuff out at the old house. It's a pain in the ass to move, but one needs to go through one's stuff about every five years to inventory. For us, it's been more than six years. The last time we moved, we swore we wouldn't do it again for as long as we could possibly avoid it. Well, it's time, and it doesn't seem that long ago that we did this before.

One of the things I attempted to do (and it shouldn't have taken long) is to install some rollout shelves in the overhead cabinetry where there aren't any. I'm handy about the house for such small projects and having installed this type of thing before, I anticipated that six of them would take me not more than an hour and a half. The first took over an hour. That should have been a clue. Usually, when you're dealing with screws, it's best to drill a pilot hole so that you don't chew up the wood around the hole or worse, split the wood. The trick was getting a drill into the tight cabinetry. We didn't have a drill that was small enough, so I decided I would drive a nail into the wood for my pilot hole. The hammer was too large, the nail too long, the wood too hard (well, actually, that's a good thing) and my patience too short. It took forever to create four holes for the screws to go into. And I still had three more to go. I was not happy. So Jess had a brilliant idea...go get the Dremel from the other house; he seemed to recall it had a drill bit accessory, which it did. If only the Dremel wasn't such a plastic-y and cheap metal piece of shit, it might have worked. But in the first ten seconds of drilling (and this wasn't heavy duty drilling, mind you) an important part of the assembly broke off. So we went to another plan. There was another attachment that would work, so we tried that...and promptly broke that, too. Shit.

I spent another three hours completing the remaining three shelves. It was ridiculous, but at least I got them installed. It was one of those "I'm going to get this done if it kills me" kind of projects because it should have been so damned easy and it totally was not.

Going through the big pile of crap we have in the basement was a challenge too. That's where most of the contractor bags we threw out came from. Much of the stuff had gone down there during our move to this house, and some had gone down over the course of living here. We went through most of it, sorting out the stuff we wanted to keep and piling up the stuff we wanted to throw away. Let's just say that the throwaway pile exceeded the "keep-it" pile by about 25:1. And there is still plenty of stuff left to throw out.

Saturday night, we fired up the Trivection again for yet another meal. I stuffed and roasted a chicken in the upper oven with potatoes, french green beans, carrots, and onions, with an extra plate of stuffing cooking in the lower oven. It was pretty good, though I would have liked to have an extra hour to brine the chicken before cooking it - that would have made it really fantastic. We finished and went back into the kitchen so that I could fix dessert - Oreos crushed into ice cream, ala Cold Stone Creamery. It was delicious. For details of the dinner, click here.

I'm taking vacation Thursday and Friday to get more done and hopefully will be completing most of the move Saturday and Sunday.

If you're coming to the gay bloggers event in NYC May 6-8: on Saturday, May 7, we will be having a barbecue/housewarming at our new home. It will start around 2pm. We're on Long Island but not far from the city: it's about 35 minutes by train, and we'll pick people up at the station. If you'll be in town, RSVP here.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Our first sit-down meal in the new house

Well, we were finally able to make our first sit-down meal in the new house tonight. We used many of our new tools, including the cooktop, range hood, both ovens in the double oven (including Trivection). Even though I didn't have all my utensils available, I made do with what we had over there, and still it was a fabulous cooking experience. I was amazed at the control of the cooktop. Jess fired up the Trivection oven and went to work cooking some salmon fillets. As promised, the Trivection cooked the salmon in about one-third the time it would have taken to cook it normally, but the true question was whether or not it would be good. I mean, a microwave can cook quickly, but it's no good for real baking or broiling. But the Trivection lived up to its promise. The fish was finished perfectly, completely done but very moist - simply outstanding covered with caramelized leek cream sauce. We roasted some asparagus in the lower oven while the upper oven baked and broiled the fish. (What's Trivection? It's conventional, convection-halogen, and microwave cooking all in one.) And the neat thing is, when you start it up, you tell it how long would would have cooked the food conventionally, and it adjusts for Trivection cooking. It's pretty damned cool.

Meanwhile, I was working up the sauce on the cooktop, marvelling at the difference in heat conductivity and control over my oven in the current house. It was just too good to be true.

When it was all done, (about 15 minutes total) we sat down at the dining room table (we almost never got to eat at the dining room table in the old house) and enjoyed the first real meal in our new home. And it was a wonderful moment!

On another note, we finally got the shower glass installed. Spectacular. I'll probably post pictures this weekend when Jess gets his computer back (for some reason my computer can't read the files from his digital camera without corrupting them). Overall, the house is almost finished...a few details to wrap up, but almost ready. We'll be moving in soon. We already spent most of the past weekend moving the kitchen...and we only moved about half the kitchen (isn't that scary?!) over the two days.

Now I really want to get in there!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

A crappy day at the new house

One of the things that really pisses me off is rank stupidity, which we witnessed yesterday over and over at the new house. The contractor, whose general bumbling and lack of communication with other contractors has caused a lot of grief on this job, has me about to the melting point.

Warning: this story has some seriousWayne moments; those of you who know Wayne's bathroom stories and are grossed out by them should not continue reading. Wayne and others, you may continue reading. (Sorry, unlike the ultracool blog that Jase pens, I don't know the html or JavaScript or whatever it is he uses to roll up/roll down his stories.)

Yesterday's "fun" started when Jess went over to the house and gave me a progress call. Seems the contractor had been hard at work cutting down all the doors so that they would clear the carpet. But Mr. Dumbass didn't bother to read the PUNCH LIST, which would have told Mr. Idiot that he couldn't cut the bottom of the door more than 1/2". And you might think that with a $1,200 pair of leaded glass doors that Mr. F*ckwad might be just the teeniest bit careful but no, he would up cutting more off the bottom of the doors than the door construction permits. Fortunately for Mr. Sh!t-for-Brains, it didn't ruin the door, but there will have to be some patch up.

Oh, but that's not the best part. Mr. Dumbf*ck struck again in the basement, on a much bigger scale. You see, when Moosebrain did the demolition in the basement four months ago, he tore out a set of cabinetry with a sink. Now he knew this was a working sink when he did this demolition; keep that in mind. Once the demolition was finished, the plumbers came in to do work, and one of the things they did was to cut the wastepipe for the sink down to floor level.

Now, in the house construction process, the plumbers and the contractor did a lot of work, but somehow, no one seemed to ever address the wastepipe that was sitting there, cut to floor level at the back of the laundry room.

So about three weeks ago, the contractor was finishing up the last of the big jobs and one of those was putting tile down in the laundry room. He decided to stay late that night to finish it, so his chief priority was just getting the floor put down. He hadn't wanted to lay the floor in the first place, it hadn't been part of the original contract; we had added it on as we felt it necessary to do tile or linoleum in that area, and the carpet place's price to install the linoleum had been out of reason. He just wanted to get it out of his hair. In the process, he simply covered the pipe with tile and kept going,

Fast-forward back to last night: Jess starts up the washing machine to test it out, and much to his horror, at the first drain-out, raw sewage began creeping out from under the machine. Not surprisingly, the tile had popped off and the sewage was bubbling out of the pipe. The contractor quickly placed the blame on the plumber, who he said the plumber had told him that he didn't think the pipe went anywhere. Uh-huh. Asshole demolished the sink and cabinetry and KNEW where it went, so that was a load of crap (no pun intended). And the jackass ran upstairs, complaining that the smell was going to make him sick - uh huh. As usual, nothing is his fault. Just like the damage to the first floor tile floor wasn't his fault; the dent in the oven door wasn't his fault; the fact that the plumber placed the baseboard heat in the upstairs bathroom in a spot that made it impossible for one of the vanity drawers wasn't his fault (even though the vanity was purchased and he knew the measurements but had not bothered to tell the plumber the floor plan; I could go on and on. But the scary part is that other people we have talked to about all this have told us that, by usual standards, we have gotten off lucky. Funny, I don't consider our having to pay for contractor f*ck-ups getting off lucky.

Anyway, Jess picked up the chunks (gross!) and I mopped up, and the plumber came and roto-rootered the line and then capped the pipe. Of course, the plumber had to tell us horror stories of other clients; I suppose that he thought that would assuage our irritation. Not exactly. I wasn't planning on christening the house with a sewer shower.

It's all cleaned up now, but it just gives me the willies to think that raw sewage has been on my basement floor. Yes, we disinfected, we mopped, did all that...but I'm obssesive when it comes to this kind of stuff. I'm not gonna feel right about that floor for at least three or four more disinfecting mop-ups.