Renovations suck!

I’ll start by saying that I discovered that there is a #maddoginthecity hashtag tonight.

#maddoginthecity

How fun is that.

So what the fuck has been going on with me?

The house is getting there.  We still have a very, very, very long way to go.  And I have to admit it’s getting a little frustrating that it’s taken so long.  We aren’t even doing massive, huge remodeling projects and I’m already over it.  I read and see stories of people living with the mess and chaos for months and years and I have to wonder how the hell they do it.  Seriously.

The kitchen is still a work in progress.  We have appliances, which was a headache in and of itself.  We bought them from Sears.  We bought the least expensive we could get and it was still almost 4,000.  If we’d bought what we really wanted it would have been upwards of 7,500.  When Sears delivered them the delivery guys brought them in and dumped them in the middle of our kitchen.  They didn’t install them, level them or anything.  They told Adam we didn’t have the right connector to hook up the fridge to the water supply.  (Turns out it took us about three minutes to do it ourselves, but why the hell do they promise to do it if they aren’t going to do it.)  They didn’t level the stove and when it came time to finally use it, turns out the legs that level it were missing.  We called the store and it took 10 days to get new ones.  We ordered a microwave from them and was told it would be available for pick up at the store in about three days.  Two weeks later it still hadn’t arrived.  Adam called and was told there was a problem and to cancel the order and start over.  So he cancelled the order and  bought a new microwave at Best Buy.  Only that was almost a month ago and we are still waiting for him to get refunded the money. He’s called three or four times and each times he’s been told that it will be reversed in three to five days.  On Monday he called the bank and reported the charge as false and ask to get it refunded back to his account.  We are still waiting.  If anyone in the Sears company is following Google alerts and sees when Sears, Sears, Sears, Sears is mentioned online I have to say that if we had it to do over again we’d pay more and get our appliances elsewhere.  Your customer service, follow through and quality lack tremendously.

Now lets talk about the cabinets.  We bought cabinets from Ikea.  Ikea is in Boston about two hours away.  We drove down in March and purchased them while they were doing a spend so much get 20% off sale.  We spent that much by a long shot.  We paid 250 dollars to have the cabinets delivered in April.  (They only deliver to our area twice a month).  The only catch.  They were missing about 15 things we needed to actually complete our purchase.  We were told we’d have to make additional trips to purchase said things.  After four trips and countless online purchases we finally got the last of our items last week.  It’s June.  I can’t complain though, my friend DeeDee bought her cabinets during the sale however they actually don’t have two of the cabinets she needs, so she hasn’t even started her renovation and that was two months ago.  So April 21 comes and they deliver our cabinets.  Yay.  About 50 flat packed packages.  So we start putting them together.  And the day is fast approaching when we are going to have a handy man come and install them for us.  And Adam makes a discovery.  1,500 dollars worth of product had been left off the delivery.  A vent hood and an tall upright cabinet.  Unfortunately, we can’t do the install without either.  So we hop in the car and have to drive 2 hours to get the cabinet and vent.  Why did we pay 250 dollars again?  THEN.  Adam is continuing to put cabinets together and what do you know one of the cabinets is white when our cabinets are supposed to be brown!  FUCK.  FUCK.  FUCK!  I leave work early and drive two hours to Boston to trade my white cabinet for a brown cabinet.  While I’m there I find the store manager and demand that they refund us our delivery charge.  He does so, but he’s not happy about it.  We also bought our countertops from Ikea because with the 20% discount it was cheaper than buying them in Maine.  So by this time we have the cabinets installed and the appointment is made to make the template for the the counter tops.  So they come and do it and tell Adam that we are exactly 54 dollars short on our charge because it’s going to take one square foot more than we paid for.  SO.  He’s told to call Ikea and pay for the additional square foot.  Once it’s paid for they’ll cut the counters and bring them to us.  Have you ever called Ikea?  I suspect calling the White House and speaking to Barack Obama would be easier than calling Ikea and actually speaking to a real live human being.  He called for more than a week.  A fucking week.  A WHOLE FUCKING WEEK.  And no one ever called him back.  So.  We got back in our car and drove to Boston and literally about three miles before we got to the store the lady called.  He paid the amount and we were done.  Finally we could get counter tops.  So if anyone from Ikea gets Google alerts when Ikea, Ikea, Ikea, Ikea, Ikea is mentioned online, I’m pretty sure if we had it to do over again we’d have paid more for a better solution to our cabinet needs.  And we’ll definitely NEVER suggest them to anyone.

So.

The counter tops are delivered.  And the two guys get them installed.  And Adam realizes that they haven’t been cut correctly.  The corners are rounded instead of square.  So he has them take out the part with corners and tells them they’ll have to fix them.  They aren’t happy but they leave.  Then we start looking at the counter tops they left behind and they aren’t much better.  They over hang on the front of the cabinets is almost 1.5 inches in some places.  It’s not consistent at all and looks bad.  Adam feels bad but I tell him that in no way am I going to have paid thousands of dollars for counter tops that look like shit.  I also assure him that it’s not the first time they’ve made this mistake and won’t be the last.  He calls and talks to Letecia and tells her that he wants ALL the counters recut.  She’s not happy but says okay.  They come back to our house from Boston and remove the remaining counter tops and then RETEMPLATE the whole thing again.  The new counters arrived last Wednesday.  They are better but far from perfect.  It’s like they let the “B” team cut them and install them.  We are going to live with them.

Let’s talk about the electrician.  He’s a friend of my bosses.  He comes highly recommended.  We had him come by at the end of April to talk about what we wanted done.  We are having additional outlets placed in the kitchen.  All the recessed lighting replaced with new cans.  Install six new recessed lights in the kitchen.  Install three outdoor lights.  And a few other things.  He came to our house a few days before he left to go on vacation.  He told us he’d reach out to us when he got back from vacation and schedule a time to come by.  He returned from his trip on May 7.  It’s taken a month to get him back to our home.  Adam finally called and sternly told him that he HAD to come on Friday and install the electric for the stove, dishwasher and garbage disposal.  He did.  We still don’t know when he’s coming to do the rest.

Let’s talk about the plumber.  We need to have all the water run in our kitchen including the sink and dishwasher.  We also need our faucet installed.  We’ve been told it should take about four or five hours and would cost about 500/600 dollars.  We are putting it on a credit card which limits the people that we can use.  There is a local company that comes highly recommended but they charge by the job NOT by the hour.  When Adam called them they told him it would be around 500 dollars but they wouldn’t be able to tell him a set price until they came to our house.  The catch:  If we decide not to use them we still have to pay 80 dollars for the estimate.  So Adam schedules them and they come bright and early Monday morning.  And proceed to tell Adam that it’s going to be 1100 dollars for the work.  Double what we’d been told.  The problem is, that Adam has a wedding cake due this Saturday and is desperate for water, electric, counter tops, and appliances.  He wakes me up to ask me what he should do.  I have no idea what to say.  We can afford to put it on the credit card but if we can get it cheaper and he can afford to wait we should do that.  Finally after what seemed like hours but was probably about three minutes Adam sent him on his way.  We now have a new plumber coming tomorrow at noon.

I’ll end with this.  We have replaced the brass wall sconces in our bathroom with really nice shaded units.  They are quite pretty and Adam is happy that he found them.  They add an element of elegance to our bathroom and we like them a lot.  On Sunday we installed them.  When we installed the last one we opened the box containing the shade and it was empty.  This sums up our whole kitchen experience.  The shade box was empty.  Three sconces.  Two shades.  The problem is easily fixed by calling the company and having them ship us one.  That’s not the point.  It’s just that even the easy stuff is a pain in the ass!

That’s all for tonight.  I haven’t proofed this so please forgive any glaring mistakes!

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I’m still fucking tired!

It’s a week later.  I’m still fucking tired.  FUCKING.  TIRED.

Between the house and work I’m getting my ass kicked.

One of my employees is in the hospital.  She acts as my opening manager for breakfast Monday through Friday.  Since she’s not there, I’m now opening for breakfast.  Which means instead of getting to work between 9:00 and 10:00 I’m getting there between 6:30 and 7:00.  Unfortunately, I’m not good at going to bed in a timely fashion so for instance last night I got to bed at 11:45.  I read for about 20 minutes and turned the light off around midnight.  The alarm went off the first time at 5:30.  You do the math.  That’s only 5.5 hours of sleep.  Not enough for most people.  ESPECIALLY not enough for me.  I hit the wall around 5:00 today and have never really recovered.  Luckily tomorrow is Saturday and I don’t have to be at work until 2:00.  This means that I can sleep late, except that Adam has given me chores to do before I leave for work tomorrow.  UGH.

I’ll try and post more tomorrow to get you up to date on the house.

I’m Back!

We moved.

And damn am I tired.

We moved on April 27th.  It took all day.  We started around 8:00 that morning and finished around 5:00.  About five minutes later my boss showed up along with our friends Lisa and Michelle and we popped a bottle of champagne open and toasted our new house.  This was followed by dinner at the only restaurant we could find open at 9:30 on a Monday night.  We got home and fell into bed around 11:30.  I didn’t sleep a wink.  I was exhausted beyond belief but the new surroundings, the quiet, the dark was unsettling and I couldn’t fall asleep.

That was almost a month ago and now I sleep like a baby in our new home.  The dark.  The quiet.  The new surroundings.  They are all awesome.  But I’m still tired.  Every day that I’m off is spent working around the house.  Painting.  Gardening.  Installing cabinets.  It’s a non stop job.  Between that and running errands to facilitate getting more work done on the house it’s continuos.  Couple this with a still crazy work schedule and it’s no wonder I fall asleep on the couch every night waiting for Adam to come home.  It’s the reason I haven’t been blogging.  I haven’t had the energy to get up off the couch and compose two sentences.

Last night Adam told me his missed my blog posts.  That was motivation enough to start again.

So we continue to work on the house.  On Monday we’ll have been here four weeks.  We still don’t have a kitchen.  All of the cabinets have been installed.  Adam got a call today saying the countertops will be here on Wednesday.  After that we can schedule the plumber to come hook up the sink and dishwasher.  And we’ll have the electrician come and run the power for the new stove (there’s no gas in our new neighborhood).  With any luck within the next two weeks we’ll have a working kitchen again.  It won’t even be closed to finished.  But we’ll be able to cook and use it.

Keep your fingers crossed.

I’ll post pictures in the next couple of days so you can see what’s going on.

Here’s a teaser for tonight.

Kitchen

Here’s what our kitchen looked like after the demo.  Check out the amazing gingham wall paper and the linoleum floor.  The dusty rose paint was quite special as well.

On a positive note.  Adam and I paid our first mortgage payment today.  Only 359 more to go.

Birthday Celebration Con’t.

I’m 50 and 7 days.  God that’s old.  The time is passing so fast.  It feels like I never have time to stop and say wait a minute.  Hold on.

So.  For my birthday.

We had the yard sale.

Then.

I took a truck full of stuff to Goodwill.

Then.

I came home and showered.

Then.

Adam and I drove to the town where my restaurant  is so that he could do a cake tasting.  I think I’ve mentioned before he does wedding cakes.  Last year he did one for a co-worker and the wedding planner loved it.  So now she’s hooked him up with several more weddings that are all in and around the town I work in.

So.

We drove to the town and he dropped me off at a hotel that my company owns that we were staying in for the night.  I read Facebook and dozed while he was at the tasting.  He got back to the room around 3:30 and we both napped for a while.

At 5:00 we got up, got dressed and went to my restaurant.  We sat in the bar and had happy hour drinks and appetizers.

Then.

We went to a wine bar on the other side of the little town and met some co-workers of mine.  We had more snacks and fun cocktails and had a great time.  We laughed a lot.  That’s a story in and of itself.

Then.

We drove back to the hotel and had dinner at the fine dining French restaurant that is in the hotel we were staying in.  They were running behind on reservations so we actually sat at the bar and had another drink and they sent us out some snack.  We were almost full by the time we were actually sat for dinner.

Dinner was amazing.  I ordered things outside my comfort zone and enjoyed all of it.  Because we were sat so late we were the last table in the restaurant.  I felt bad about that but it wasn’t our fault.

We finished dessert and took our wine and after dinner drink up to our room.

We showered and settled in to watch Saturday Night Live.  We watched the intro and both promptly passed out.  We woke up a couple of hours later and the TV was on but the show was off.

We turned off the light and went to sleep.

My Birthday Weekend

My birthday has come and gone!

It was great.  It was also my 50th.  It’s hard to believe that I actually lived to see 50.  Not because of anything I did, or do, but because it just seemed impossible that I’d ever be this old.  DAMN!

So.

My birthday weekend:

Saturday morning Adam and I got up at the butt crack of dawn to hold a yard sale.  We had a fair amount of stuff left over from our last yard sale and we didn’t really want to move any of it.  So we got up at 7:00 and started taking things downstairs.  When we opened the door there were already two men waiting for the sale to start.  We’d advertised that it started at 8:00.  I know they are called early birds but come on, lets be serious.

They started asking us to bring down certain things first.  We pretty much ignored them.  We just kept making trips and continued to ignore them.  By this time another guy had arrived making three people on our side walk annoying us.

And then it got real interesting.  Two of the guys started arguing with each other about who was first and who got to look through the DVD’s first.  Then they were up in each other’s faces.  This continued for the next 45 minutes as we continued to get set up.  At one point I told them if they didn’t chill out I was going to call the cops.  To be stubborn we brought down the movies last.

They continued to argue even while they were going through the movies.  And then one guy made his purchases and left.  The other guy stayed another hour just “talking” to anyone who would listen about how the other guy had been rude to him.  He would NOT shut up.  Finally he left.

UGH.

We ended up making about 300 dollars.  I was pretty much giving things away which was very different than the first time we did a yard sale.  I drove a hard bargain then and wouldn’t budge on the prices.  This time everything was pretty much a dollar or two.

The day started out warmish buy by 10:00 the wind had picked up and it had become cold.  So we actually wrapped things up around 11:30 which was 90 minutes ahead of schedule.  We still had a full truck load of things we took to Goodwill when we were done.

By 12:00 I was back home, in the shower and about to really start my birthday weekend.

Hmmmm.

So our landlord scheduled an open house to show our apartment tonight.  Which is nerve wracking in the best of scenarios.  Strangers tromping through you house, going through your stuff.  It’s an invasion.  As I said last night it will be nice to not have a landlord.

This particular scenario is made worse by the fact that our landlord is the ex-husband of the dining room manager who just quit at my restaurant.  Yes.  For two years my employee has been related to our landlord.  At least she used to be.  EXCEPT, just before she quit they got back together. And it’s actually her who is showing our apartment.

Which makes me especially nervous.  She is kind of crazy.  Let me rephrase that she is VERY KRAZY!  It would not surprise me at all to learn that she went through out things today while we were out.  Of that she snooped on our computers.  Or poisoned our kitties.  She really is certifiably crazy.

And there is not one fucking thing we can do about it.  She’s his ex-wife.  They are back together.  She’s handling renting the apartment for him.  So we just have to deal with.

And we don’t like it.

NOT.

ONE.

FUCKING.

BIT!

Answers Revealed!

Answers to comments from yesterday’s post:

1.  Moving day is April 27th.  We’d thought we’d be well on our way to being finished with our kitchen remodel but it turns out the person currently living in the house isn’t moving out till April 20th.  That only gives us about five days to get things done, so the moral of that story is that we are going to be without a kitchen for a while when we move in.  I guess we’ll really have to buy a microwave and wash the dishes in the bathtub.  Thank god there’s going to be an extra fridge because the appliances won’t be delivered until after the cabinets are in.  Ugh.

2.  I probably haven’t mentioned that I play the piano.  It’s a sad sorted story.

When I was ten my father was given a piano to bring home with him.  He told my mother there was no way in hell he was going to cart a piano home.  I was heart broken, I’d always wanted to play more than anything in the world.  I would sneak off to my aunt’s house and try to pick out songs on her piano.  The moral of the story was…no piano for Maddog.  When I was 16 I found a free piano in the want ads of the local paper and convinced a relative to help me move it  home for me.  I then started taking lessons my senior year of high school in “class piano.”  I was successful at learning to play Fur Elise.  I also took lessons my first two years of college.  Unfortunately my teacher and I were never really compatible because he hadn’t taught “beginner” students in years.  His wife taught private lessons to the beginners and when they graduated to being “good” he took over.  He had a hard time teaching me the basics and after a year and half he told me to go away.  He wasn’t really that rude but it was the gist of things.  I’ve never taken since.   The summer I moved back to Kentucky after living in Atlanta I moved in with a fellow who was “holding” his friends piano.  We made room for it and I played a lot.  A month after I moved in our apartment was “robbed.”  And by robbed I mean my roommate made it look like people broke in but they only took my things.  Two bikes:  They took mine.  Two stereos:  They took mine.  Two things of cassette tapes:  they took mine.  I moved out the next day.  I kept the piano.  I didn’t even ask if I could have it, when my parents came with the moving truck I just loaded it in and drove away.  It was never spoken of again.  I kept the piano and played it often.  It went with me to Cincinnati twice.  Alabama.  And all over Lexington.  What it couldn’t do was go with me to NYC.  So in 1998 when I moved to NYC I gave the piano to a teacher I taught with and that was that.  I haven’t had a piano since, except for three short months right after we moved to Maine when we rented a keyboard.  I’m very excited to dig into my sheet music and start playing again.  I’ll be very rusty but it will be fun.  Banging on the piano has always been a great stress release for me.

3.  I’m not really bothered by turning 50.  I don’t feel 50.  Everyone tells me I don’t look 50.  And as I always say “It’s better than the alternative.”  BUT THEN, my friend Chuck told me we don’t know that for sure.  No one has ever come back from the beyond to tell us whether is better or worse here.  But as they say the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know so I’m going to stick with it’s better to be alive than dead.

My landlord is showing our apartment tomorrow at on open house.  We are nervous for the kitties.  We are nervous about people breaking things and stealing things.  We are nervous.  It will be nice to no longer have a landlord!

Look what I got!

Look what Adam bought me on Monday!

Piano

Yes.  Adam bought me a piano.  I’d told him he could have a new kitchen with new counter tops, with new appliances if I could have a piano.  I didn’t care what it looked like, I didn’t care how big or small, just so long as I could have one.  I did secretly hope that it could be a baby grand because I thought it would look swell in our new house.  I didn’t think I’d actually get one.

On Sunday I was perusing Craigslist looking for a trunk for my bar manager at the restaurant.  He’d mentioned that he wanted one for a coffee table.  (I found one for him and he picked it up yesterday) and while I was looking I typed in piano.  The usual list popped up:  antique, very heavy, old upright pianos.  There are a million of them.  Adam had already told me he did not want one like that.  So I scrolled down and what would you know there was a baby grand piano for sale for (DRUM ROLL PLEASE!)  100 dollars.  Yes.  One.  Hundred.  Dollars.  Sure there must me a mistake.  So I emailed the guy.  Sure enough.  It was only 100 dollars.  It had some damage to the cabinet but it played great.  At least this is what the guy wrote back.  I wrote him back and asked if I could come see it the next day.  He said sure.  I immediately emailed Adam and told him we were driving to Turner, Maine the next day to look at a piano.  He was not amused, had his doubts about the piano but grudgingly agreed to go.

So.

The next afternoon I left work early, came home, picked up Adam and we drove an hour+ to look at the piano.  It was in the middle of nowhere.  In fact the building it was in looked a little sketchy.  When I got out of the car Adam told me to be careful.  I walked up to the door of the building and was surprised to see a room full of pianos through the window.  I knocked.  The door was answered by a little old man who couldn’t be a day under 75.  He welcomed us into the room and began to tell us what he knew about the piano, how he came to have it, and what his own story was.

Turns out he and his wife run a business renting and tuning pianos all across the state of Maine.  The rent them to all the recital halls, the colleges, and performance centers.  Seems they’ve done this for 40 years.  The piano ended up in their warehouse, which was filled with HIGH end pianos because someone needed to get rid of it.  Our piano looked great. Adam immediately fell in love with it.  It has some damage to the lid, where clearly it had gotten wet but the gentleman told us he’d checked it out thoroughly and the sound board, keys (they are ivory) and the strings are all in great shape.  It holds a tune and sounds amazing.  Except for some missing veneer on a couple of the legs and the damage to the lid it was awesome.  We said:  WE’LL TAKE IT!

We then negotiated his delivering the piano for us.  He told us he and his equally old wife would load it into the truck and bring it to us on April 27.  They’ll set it up for us, tune it and make sure it’s ready to go all for 200 dollars.

So.

Just in case you are bad at math.  For 300 dollars I’m getting a baby grand piano delivered to my house.  And I love it!  I can’t wait to start playing again.  I haven’t played since 1998 when I gave my piano away when I moved to NYC.  I have boxes and boxes of sheet music.  Now I just have to limber up my fingers and get them to remember where the keys are.

It’s the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten.

Did I mention I turn 50 on Sunday!

My night!

Work has been crazy lately.  I’ve been putting in ridiculous hours and working almost every day.  When I am home it seems like I’m either with Adam trying to get things ready for the move, or I’m on the couch napping.  Tonight has been a mixture of the two.  I spent the early part of the evening going through my room.  My room consists of the guest bedroom, but it’s where I keep my clothes, my desk and computer, and all my “stuff.”  I didn’t do a very good job of downsizing but I did make a dent.  My closet only has clothes in it now.  Everything else is either for the yard sale we are having Saturday or it’s been packed in a box.  I still have some more work to do but it’s there.

This afternoon I also spent what seems like hours on the phone doing all the stuff one does when you are moving.  We now have home owners insurance which will take effect on April 20.  I made all the calls to have the electric, water, cable and sewer put in our name.  I called our current gas company to schedule them to disconnect the service.  I had to spell my name a lot.  I had to spell the name of our new street a lot.  By 5:00 though, it was all done.  Now all we have to do it move!

I spent the last part of the night napping on the couch.  I probably shouldn’t sleep but I turned the TV on and the next thing I knew the show I was watching was over and I’d been asleep for about 30 minutes.  I made myself get up and come blog.  I didn’t want to but I also know I haven’t done it in a while and it’s important for me to keep it up.

I’ll spend the rest of the evening waiting for Adam to come home.  We have to be up early in the morning to deliver our new toilet to our new house.  We paid for the toilet, they are paying for the installation.

That is all!  See everyone tomorrow!

To dump or not to dump?

This is a post I made on Facebook yesterday.

A question for the general population: Adam and I have been sorting through our attic this week so what does one do with 49.9999 years (I’m not 50 yet dammit) worth of letters, journals, books, papers, report cards, Christmas Cards, scripts, show posters, programs for plays you designed, souvenirs from grad school etc that have been kept in boxes and haven’t been looked at in 47.9999 years? Do you throw them away? Keep them for your cats to go through when you die? Pretend that you’ll eventually get around to writing that great American novel and you need them for research? Seriously. What do you do with them? PS. It’s been condensed to about five or six boxes from about 15 or so ten years ago. Advice please!

I was looking for advice on how to “downsize” my memories.  I got a ton of responses, most of which said to dump the stuff.  I’m still not sure what I’ll do with it.  One thing I’ve thought about doing is trascribing my journal entries on to my blog.  They are from years ago and I really don’t think there’s anything in them I’d be ashamed to have read, or embarrassed is probably a better word.  The rest of the stuff is mostly from grad school, old letters, and some junk from high school and college.  It’s probably only two boxes to be truthful.

Do you guys have any advice?