home comments edit

I was all set for this contractor to show up and give me a bid on fixing the bathroom mess that’s started. I had it scheduled for 6:00p tonight, ready to get the bad news and just get the stupid thing fixed.

It’s quarter after seven and the guy isn’t here.

I understand that rush hour traffic sucks. I understand that I may live on the opposite end of town from you. I do have an expectation, though, that if you’re going to commit to show up somewhere, you should show or at least have the common courtesy to call me up and say, “Sorry, buddy, you live in BFE - there’s no way I’m driving out there during rush hour for a free estimate.”

I called the business back and got the answering machine. (Anyone else think it’s weird that the contracting people don’t actually identify their business name on the answering machine? I think it’s probably one of those home-based businesses where the number is both the home and work number, but that’s starting to ring dicey to me.) I left a message asking where he was… but I dunno. I think I’m going to call someone else tomorrow morning. Bah.

And here I was, all ready to get this whole thing fixed. Guess it’s going to continue to be un-fixed, which is 100% less fixed than I’m comfortable with.

Why do I let stuff like this bug me? I mean, it really bothers me that the bathroom is in this ragged state of limbo, unfinished but unable to be completed. My blood pressure gets up about it and I can’t relax. I know it shouldn’t bug me - I should just call someone else and move on with life - but when people commit to me, I set plans based on that commitment and I expect them to follow through with it. That, coupled with my extreme need for closure, makes it really difficult in situations like this. I want the job done. Having it open is like having this huge problem just hanging out there, dangling in the wind. Loose ends. That stuff doesn’t sit well with me.

I need to lower my expectations. I know it. I need to just accept the fact that people in general are unreliable and that long term projects like fixing the bathroom paint job do not have to cause my entire system to be in an inconsistent state. It’s just hard, you know? Baby steps. Baby steps.

home comments edit

I mentioned in an earlier post how I’m painting my downstairs half-bathroom. Already it’s gone poorly, and I remember exactly why I hate home improvement projects in general and painting specifically - it always turns into a ridiculous menagerie of events-gone-horribly-wrong.

The previous owners of the house put this stupid decal border thing along the top of the wall. It’s ugly and totally not us, so while painting, we figured we’d need to remove the decal.

The decal doesn’t come off.

We tried all sorts of chemical removers, we tried rubbing it, scrubbing it, picking and poking at it… it’s on there, man. The best I could do was put on rubber gloves and run my hands over it; that picked up the high spots and made it less prominent.

We figured we’d just primer over the top of it and call it good. (You people who paint probably know what’s coming, here. I’m no Bob Vila, so I sure as hell didn’t.)

Primer doesn’t cover the motherfucker. It just gets darker, like a stain.

A stain… hmmm…

They make stain-blocking primer, don’t they?

I picked up some Kilz 2 stain-blocking primer.

Five or six coats into it (I only did a test spot; I at least wised up about that) I realized the Kilz was not doing the trick.

It was time to talk to the professionals.

I trekked over to the local Home Depot, where they have never done me wrong, and consulted the paint guy. It went down a little like this:

Trav: What’s your best stain-blocking primer? Paint Guy Bob: What are you trying to do? T: We’re painting the bathroom. The last owners left this… uh… decal… and… it’s been painted over… and I just want to block it out. PGB: I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings… T: [Seeing what’s coming] …no… PGB: …but you’re going to have to sand it off and retexture the wall. T: Retexture? PGB: Retexture. T: Seriously, you have to be shitting me. There is no way I’m retexturing my bathroom. PGB: You can paint over it to your heart’s content, but you’ll never get rid of it unless you sand it off and retexture. T: Shit… [sigh] Where’s the texturing spray? PGB: Right around the corner, over there.

Un-fucking-believable. I sort of want to hunt down the prior owners of the house and ask them what the hell they were thinking. Next time I get a house, I’m going to require that shit gets removed before I move in.

Went home, texture in hand, and went out in the backyard with some cardboard to adjust the texture spray to at least be something close to what we’ve got in the bathroom. I’m thinking since we’re doing the whole top of the wall, you might see that the texture changes from the bottom of the bathroom to the top, but at least it’ll be a uniform change, right?

So I’m out in the backyard, shaking the bottle of texture, and I go in for the first spray. It comes out a little smaller than I had hoped, so I adjust the nozzle to make the texture bigger and the fucker breaks off. Typical.

Went back to Home Depot, where this is apparently typical because the guy didn’t even look at the receipt, and got a new bottle of texture. Took it home, got it adjusted, then got out the sanding gear.

Now, I don’t have really any “grubby clothes” to do work in, and I figured I was only going to be doing a little sanding, so I stripped down to my underwear, put on my eye goggles and dust mask, and set to work.

Turns out I don’t have the right kind of goddamn sandpaper. The only stuff I have is fine finishing paper, and that doesn’t fucking work.

That left me standing in the middle of a half-painted half-bath, in my underwear, in eye goggles and dust mask, holding this finishing sander and ready to kill. I could feel my blood pressure rising. At that point, Jenn was all, “Look, go take a shower and make yourself a stiff drink before you have a heart attack. Seriously. I’ll vacuum this up and we’ll have some pizza.”

So I did. But, of course, that means I still have some work to do this weekend.

I hate home improvement. There’s a reason we have professional painters who get paid to do this shit.

Some people might say that when you start to feel a little lightheaded and hyped from your caffeine intake that you’ve probably had quite enough. I think that’s more of an indicator that you’re almost in the zone. More is better.

We get free carbonated beverages here at work. There are fountains on every floor, and they alternate Pepsi/Coke/Pepsi so you can get whatever you want, pretty much. I’m a Pepsi product drinker, but I sit on a Coke floor. Not great, but I can’t really complain.

I went down one floor just now to refill my Mountain Dew IV and they’re out of carbonated water down there, so it’s all syrup. Ugh.

Went up two floors to the next Pepsi dispenser and they’re out of syrup, so it’s all carbonated water. Someone needs to get these floors together so I can get a damn drink.

Argh! I ended up with Dr. Pepper and called it good. Why does the world hate me?

media, movies comments edit

Just got back from seeing Spider-Man 2.

Loved it.

Before I get too carried away, the one-sentence plot: Doctor Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), a brilliant physicist, goes mad in an attempt to create a self-sustaining fusion reaction and Spider-Man has to stop him.

Okay, so that’s really distilled down, but I don’t want to give too much away. Just trust me - it was great.

Really, I couldn’t have asked for much more. We get the same great rendering of the comic book on film that we saw in the first one, but so much more. We get [another] great villain. We get the love story between Peter (Tobey Maguire) and Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst). We get all the action we paid our money to see, the [really cool] special effects we crave, and we still get the attention to the characters that makes us actually care what happens.

The movie involves you enough that we had people in the theater clapping and cheering for the heroic parts. At the end of the movie, you just want more.

And, of course, there will be more. They left it totally open for the sequel, which I now can’t wait for. It reminds me of when I saw the first one and couldn’t wait to see this. It’s been worth the wait. I’m going to have to go home and watch the first one again now.

(Oh, and for the astute viewer, you’ll notice all of the little Sam Raimi-isms you’ve come to know and love in Sam’s films. You just can’t beat that.)

home comments edit

In an effort to liven the place up and get a little color in the house, Jenn and I decided to paint the downstairs half-bathroom red.

On Sunday we bought the primer, bought the paint, got rollers and stir sticks and all the stuff needed to get it underway. Last night we put down the drop cloth, got everything out, and Jenn poured the primer into the pan. It was time to begin.

Jenn worked on chipping in the details, getting close to (but not touching) the baseboards, behind the sink, etc. I got the roller and covered the big stuff. Halfway through, I’m noticing that the primer seemed a little thin and wasn’t covering these stupid wall decal things that the previous homeowner had put up. I figured it was just going to take a little extra effort, but no biggie.

I got to the last wall and it was time to refill the roller pan for the second time. It looked pretty good, but was really uneven. That’s why you buy primer, though, right? So you can smooth it all out and get a nice even topcoat. I told Jenn to pour some more into the roller pan and she told me to do it myself. Fair enough.

I got down from the ladder, grabbed the screwdriver and the pour spout, and then grabbed the primer.

It seemed a little heavy to me, but I sort of figured it wasn’t covering very well, so maybe we were spreading it on a little thin. Popped the top, and…

“Hey, Jenn… I’m looking at this primer…”


“How come we haven’t used any?”

“Sure we have.”

“Um, no, the primer can is entirely full.”


“This can - see - says ‘Interior Primer Sealer.’ It’s totally full. This other can… yeah, see, it says ‘Interior Eggshell.’ It’s half gone. We’re priming with our paint, honey.

“No, no,” said Jenn. “That can says ‘tinting base.’ That’s the primer.”

“Jenn, they both say ‘tinting base.’ That means it’s white and they can add tint to it. The key here is that this one says ‘primer.’


So there went like two hours’ worth of work and half a gallon of Ralph Lauren red paint. We started over with the primer and, lo and behold, it created a much more uniform look and actually covered the stupid decals a little better. We’ll still need a couple three coats on there, but it’s much better looking now.

We didn’t actually complete a full single coat on that bathroom. After all of that, I got all the roller work done, but Jenn didn’t finish the cutting in on the detail. I’ll have to finish that tonight while she’s at a meeting.

I could’ve killed her… but I have to laugh. I mean, the two of us, jammed into a tiny half-bathroom with ladders and everything, totally in each other’s way, and two of the three hours we spent in there were basically for nothing. We could never go on The Amazing Race, we’d kill each other the first day.