General Ramblings comments edit

I finished Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter on the “Normal” difficulty a couple of days ago, so I’m thinking I might try it out on the “Hard” difficulty just to see. I haven’t yet jumped online with it, either, and I’m tempted to, but somehow the idea of getting into a game with a bunch of 12-year-olds yelling arbitrary profanity at me doesn’t sound too enticing. That said, maybe I’ll give it a run anyway.

Jenn’s bridal shower was on Saturday and while that was going on I headed over to Stu’s new place to put in a few units* on Oblivion. Jenn ended up getting several very nice things from folks and it sounds like she had a great time, which is good, since you don’t get a bridal shower every week.

I, of course, felt pretty good about the units put in and look forward to the next set of units.

* A “unit” is roughly defined as a “large block of time dedicated to a single task.” The original definition derives from when Stu and I were playing Soul Calibur III and had to fight the last character so many times before we finally beat him that it became a running joke.

subtext, blog comments edit

I put a little time in hacking the ol’ pMachine and I have full-text RSS enabled now instead of the partial-text feed I was running. I’ve been wanting to do that for a while, I just hadn’t had the real inclination to get it done.

I still really want to change blog software, but I haven’t yet found what I would call a “great” blog package. I started down the road to dasBlog, but from a developer extension standpoint… eh. I might consider moving to Subtext, but I haven’t really looked at it yet from a source level.

Of course, technically both of those totally beat out what I’m on right now, but if I’m going to put in the effort to move, it’s gotta be worth my while.

home comments edit

I’m pretty much done with this whole painting situation. And I don’t mean “done” as in “the job is complete and correct to my satisfaction,” I mean “done” as in “I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with the ridiculous nature of how this has gone.”

I had a meeting on Monday with the crew chief and the paint crew. I pointed out the three remaining problem areas. The support that runs above my railing on the porch outside was spotty and not uniformly covered. The trim around my front door was never prepped correctly so you could see the layers of old paint under the new paint. The soffits were painted too thick and looked “drippy.”

The crew chief acknowledged these items in turn. The support did, in fact, get re-painted, and it looks fine now. Awesome. The soffits, as it turns out, weren’t actually their fault - they showed me that if you sand down the drips, the old paint shows up underneath, so I accepted that - next time I’ll know. But my door trim…

First they argued that the job wasn’t quoted for “that sort of sanding and prep work.” Odd, since that was the whole reason I called them out there and I specifically pointed that out when I got the estimate done. Regardless, they sanded the thing down and it looks almost reasonable, but then they slapped the paint on so fast you can see ridiculous brush strokes all through it.

They didn’t tell me when they were leaving, either, they just sort of left. I haven’t heard from them since. They did leave a can of the paint behind, so the new plan is to just fix the damn trim around the door myself and call it a day. I’m tired of fighting them to get the job done right.

For all you Oregon homeowners out there - avoid WILLCO Painting and Construction. It occurs to me that what they probably do best is more industrial work - stuff like apartment complexes and so forth - where the person having the work done isn’t going to scrutinize the job.

That said, I still think I just got a bum crew. The crew chief I dealt with was cool all the way to the end, but I really got the impression the crew wanted to do as little as possible and get the hell out of there.

Ah, my first poor experience with contractors. I’m sure there are many more to come.

General Ramblings comments edit

Saturday was reasonably uneventful - we picked up our dining room set and it looks great (aside from a flaw in one of the chair cushions, which is going to get replaced). My dad helped me cart that home from the furniture warehouse and get that all set up, Jenn polished everything up, and my Tiny Cat promptly hopped up on the table and left little cat prints all over. All went well.

Sunday was pretty cool, though. At 11:00a Jenn and I met up with my parents, Stu, and Stu’s parents for lunch at Hometown Buffet. Stu’s parents were in for a couple of weeks visiting from England and it was really great to finally meet them. Unfortunately, while his sister and brother-in-law were also here visiting, they were both feeling ill so they stayed at the hotel and we didn’t get to meet them.

After a pretty decent lunch (they were still serving breakfast food until about 11:30, so we got a taste of both breakfast and lunch), my parents headed out and the rest of us went back to my place to play some Alhambra. Of course, following the unfortunate luck of Stu’s sister and brother-in-law, just as we got the game set up, they got a phone call saying they had headed in to an urgent care facility to get some assistance and Stu’s parents left to go meet them. (Everything turned out okay, it sounds like they had just gotten dehydrated or something the day before.)

Stu stayed behind and we put in some units on Oblivion as it’d been a couple of weeks since we last did so. We finished a few quests and after probably four or five hours we called it a night so Stu could go see everyone one last time that evening. Their flight was scheduled to leave this morning; I think they’re on it right now.

Anyway, it was really cool to finally put faces to the stories we hear about Stu’s childhood and next time they visit (or if we end up over there) it’d be great to spend more time with them. Maybe we’ll also get to meet his sister and brother-in-law as well!

In other news, I have a meeting with the painters today at 4:00p to discuss what needs to be done to rectify the trim painting situation. I’m going to do my best to keep my cool about it because I just want it dealt with, but I think it’s crap that they just can’t do their own QA on this stuff. It’s paint, people, not rocket science.

home comments edit

The minor issues with the painting we had done have gone from “no problem, it’ll be fixed” status to “mediocre fiasco.”

I’m hesitant to say it’s the company, as the crew chief that I always talk to is nice and realizes things need to get done. I think I got a bad crew.

What I expect when I delegate a task to someone (be it at work, someone I contract to do a job, etc.), is that I can describe the task well enough that certain minor detail points can be inferred by a worker’s intuition.

For example, with the paint thing… When the guy came out to give me the estimate, I pointed out the trim around my front door as being a particular trouble spot. It was flaking and looked kind of shabby. That was one of the primary reasons I wanted the paint redone. They came and pressure washed to get the flaking paint off. Then the paint crew showed up and… just painted right over the top without sanding or anything, so now you can see the outline of where the old paint was and where it flaked off. It’s not smooth or anything.

I pointed out that there were some issues on the trim and a couple of spots in particular. Those particular issues were fixed, but all of the other issues weren’t even touched. Like it wasn’t about doing the job right so much as getting done quickly and getting out of there. “Oh, he just said this tiny patch was a problem - maybe he won’t see the rest of the patches surrounding it never got fixed!”

Maybe it comes down to a work ethic issue. When I do something, I do my best to get it complete and correct the first time. If a review of the work needs to happen, I don’t want people to find glaring issues. I take pride in what I do. That doesn’t seem to be the case for a lot of people nowadays. A minimum amount of effort goes in - just enough to call the task “done” - and then off to the next task. If someone reviews it, only the exact, specific points that got noticed will be fixed - no further review on the part of the worker to see if there are any other issues will be done.

This absolutely, positively never happened with the sprinkler system. Those guys had things totally under control. It was a premium price for a premium job and I consider it money well spent. I’m having a problem saying the same about the paint right now.

I think what irritates me the most is the coordination of things. Having to call and follow up on everything, make notes, take pictures, leave voicemails, send emails, and pursue the job until it’s done.

This actually extends beyond the painting. I’m tired of coordinating wedding stuff. Try to get two groomsmen - just two! - to a tux rental place for a 10 minute fitting at the same time. Try it! I love these guys, but the back and forth of “I have a doctor’s appointment” and “I can’t make it Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday because I have to be at this other place” and “Maybe next Wednesday if we go between 4:52p and 5:17p” crap was beyond frustrating. (In the end, everyone gets to go get fitted on their own time. I’m not coordinating it.)

I told Jenn today that I’m done coordinating things. Done. Between now and the end of the year, I’m not coordinating anything. No more wedding stuff, no holiday stuff, no family gatherings - I’m done. I’m all coordinated out. I get enough cat-herding in at work and I don’t need to be dealing with the sixteen different places all the different families feel we need to be on Christmas Day to have breakfast or lunch or open gifts or stop by and visit or whatever. I’m tired of trying to figure out where we’re all getting together to eat Thanksgiving dinner at and how we can make it around to see everyone on that one single day. (As though our families don’t all live locally and get seen almost weekly anyway.) Parents and grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles and cats and rats and elephants - I’m done.

Anyway, I’m meeting with the crew chief and the crew on Monday. The crew chief will call me that morning to figure out a time. Then I can physically walk them around and point at all of these things that I figure professional painters should see anyway, but maybe I have bionic vision or something. Regardless, I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel.