All has been quiet on the condo renovation front lately. That's mostly because I spent several weeks painting all of the walls, baseboards and ridiculous ornate trim that is literally all over this place. Having wood beams running all across your ceiling with detail from top to bottom is great, until you have to paint over an old oil-based high gloss paint everywhere.
I painted after work. I painted on weekends. I blackmailed friends and family to help me paint. It wasn't pretty. Once I finally finished all that, I was ready to stop renovating for a while.
That changes today, as I'm having 15 brand new windows from Window World installed throughout my 1600-square foot condo.
New windows aren't always the sexiest part of a renovation, but the old ones were in such bad shape, that it was a necessity. Don't believe me? Well, I have pictures, so suck it.
This is it. In less than 48 hours, I will be basking in the musical stylings of the most important (to me) band to come out of Richmond, Va. in this millenium. That's right, Carbon Leaf is coming back to Birmingham.
Checking in from the press box at Jordan-Hare Stadium where Auburn is taking on Ball State. Don't worry, this isn't about the game or anything. I just have to wonder if it bothers anyone else that Auburn puts the words up on its scoreboard to the national anthem, they shorten "through" to "THRU."
This is my fourth straight week to cover the Auburn and it's bugged me every time. They have plenty of room on the long ribbon scoreboard to spell everything correctly, yet they choose to use text speak. Really?
It's considered disrespectful for me to remain seated or wear a hat while the song is playing, but it's cool for Auburn to chop the words down to whatever the kids are using nowadays instead of the actual English language?
Ordered a sweet pair of new headphones from buy.com today. Well, actually I can't tell how good they're going to be, but they were only $9.99 and I was getting tired of having to hold the wire from my old set of ear buds between my teeth at just the right angle in order to get sound out of both earpieces at my desk at work.
I should be clear that the only reason I hadn't bought new headphones long ago is that I'm cheap. I see the exorbitant prices for some of the new headphones, and I just can't do it. Purchasing these beauts for $9.99 with free shipping should have been a no-brainer. Unfortunately, when I went to check out, the default option it gave me was not free shipping. In fact, it was very expensive shipping, almost as much as the price of the headphones themselves.
Well, me, being the... err, economical shopper that I am, I moved the delivery option back to free shipping, which they say will take 7-9 business days, instead of 2-3.
Seven to nine business days??!?? That's two, maybe three weeks. Are they shipping it by horse and buggy? It's a set of headphones, not a car. It seems like they would have to go our of their way to make it take that long.
Maybe they are. Perhaps their gig is to lure people in with an offer of free shipping, then make the free option take so ridiculously long that no one in their right mind would choose it.
Well, they forgot that they're not dealing with someone in his right mind. They're dealing with me. I chose the free shipping option and now I'll wait, old headphone cord clenched between my teeth until I get that sweet, sweet set of $9.99 headphones sometime in October.
Take that, Buy.com. You'll never get that extra $7 in shipping from me! At least not until you discount your price on the Freaks and Geeks box set.
No funny stories or hidden corpses this time, but my condo now has brand new hardwoods in both bedrooms and the connecting hallway. Friday and Saturday the new wood will be sanded and finished and the vintage woods in the living and dining room will get a new top coat. It's actually happening. Soon, I may actually be able to live in the place I bought at the end of June.
When moving into a new place, you find all kinds of little surprises along the way. Some are good, some are bad, all are expensive. The good surprises are the things that cost you slightly less to fix than you had anticipated.
The bad surprises are the ones you hadn't anticipated at all that tie a noose around your budget and leave it in the desert to die.
Pre-purchase, I noticed that the toilet in the master bathroom was new and nice, but not all that firmly attached to the floor. The toilet still worked, and presumably didn't leak. It just had more swivel motion than is usually found in functional toilets.
My home inspector warned me that the swivel was the result of either a broken flange, which could cost $1500 to replace, or poor installation, which would only cost the plumber some time to bolt it down to the floor properly.
I called my home warranty company, on the off chance that anything found would be covered, and they sent out someone from an outfit called XXXXX Plumbing (name redacted for reasons you'll understand later).
Primarily, don't complain about the little things. It never ends well.
For example, when you waste a lot of time and energy complaining about a hole in your master bedroom the size of a 2-liter bottle, you inevitably rip up the carpet in the next bedroom only only to discover this:
Why yes, that is an enormous section of hardwoods that have been ripped out and replaced with plywood. Thanks for noticing.
Pop quiz, hotshot. What's the last thing you want to see when you're tearing out disgusting old carpet in your 80-year-old condo building?
Is it splotches of white paint on your vintage hardwoods, including white footprints that run the length of your hallway and master bedroom?
No. You were planning on refinishing those anyway, so while it makes you wonder what the heck happened, it's not a game-changer. Guess again.
How about the fact that whoever installed the last carpet did the job as if he were being paid by the staple, firing random bits of metal willy-nilly, like a 9-year-old with a new toy? Or perhaps the telephone lines to each bedroom that were stapled every 8 inches down the middle of the hallway?
Nope. It's annoying for you to have to pull up all those staples, but after finishing, no one will know but you. Give it another shot.
Oh, I know. It has to be the CEMENT that some careless slob threw down on top of the hardwoods to level out a low spot in the floor.
Wrong again, although that will surely cost you.
Really? What could be worse than Portland cement in the middle of your hallway? Unless...
THERE'S A GAPING HOLE IN THE FLOOR OF YOUR MASTER BEDROOM!!!
Ding ding ding! We have a winner!!! Or loser, as it were.
Carbon Leaf, my biggest musical obsession of the last six years, faced a significant challenge playing Zydeco in Birmingham on Saturday night. I'm not talking about the challenge of reaching a crowd in a town where their songs have rarely (if ever) graced the airwaves. I'm not even talking about acoustic issues with Zydeco's ridiculous 8-foot drop ceiling.
No, from my perspective, the band's biggest challenge was meeting my ridiculously-high expectations.
You see, my love affair with the Leaf all started with a live performance that I attended by a happy accident. I basically stumbled onto them like a hobo who trips over a briefcase full of cash in a dark alley.