Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Waiting with bated breath...

... for the State of the Union speech! I get these Yahoo Breaking News things and this one came through today -- (photo from '03)

Yahoo! Alerts
Yahoo! News - My Alerts - Edit Alert
Tuesday, January 31, 2006, 1:52 PM PST
WASHINGTON (AP) President Bush, in his State of the Union, will say that "America is addicted to oil," and that the nation must use technology to break its dependence.

Oh, boy! Nobody mentioned that this was going to be a stand-up comic routine! Pulleease! Like experts have been trying to get this point across for how long now!!! Are we to pretend he means it?

Well, anyway -- I'll spare you my tyrade on the current administration and my opinion of the real state of the union.

I did not go get the materials for my booth today but I did draw it off somewhat to scale the best I could and made what I hope is a close to accurate list of what I'll need. I spent the rest of the day working. I might not worry about the Tuesday discount. I'm thinking it won't be more than maybe $10 or $15. But we'll see how the rest of the week goes. My curtains should be in in maybe a day or two, and I still have the other ratan chair and end table to paint, which I have to go buy the paint. So, it's not like I'll get bored in the meantime - not to mention blessed work!

I found out some interesting and sort of shocking news today, that just the other day Konica-Minolta is getting out of the camera business. Here's a news release about it. It seems that Sony will be taking over some of their technology. Minolta has been around forever. The other day I saw the cheapest price on the Dimage Z6 on the web was around $320 and today I found it for $298 at ClickforDigital, where I bought the Z2, which is still selling for over $300 some places; so it's curious. My insurance check hasn't come in yet, at least as of yesterday, since I never did go out and get my mail today - so, I'm happy about the reduced price. I'm just wondering if I stall a little longer it will continue to come down. Once I do get it, provided I do, I should try to sell the Dimage Z2. It's still in the box from being fixed, and the extended warranty is still in effect on it. I've never been very successful at selling things. So, it's just something else to think about.

Well, Olbermann is on -- so, I'm going to go see what he has to say, get my supper and get ready for the big show.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Spray painting...

It looks easy, and it is easy enough, except I thought I was finished and now I see it needs a second coat. I sprayed one ratan chair and end table and used almost all of the three cans I bought. But the green color was a perfect choice; so I'll for sure do the other chair and table, too. I was going to post a picture of one painted and one not, but it was too dark and the flash really messed it up. So, you can see them when they're all done. This is almost making me ready for springtime and flowers, but a green thumb I sure don't have. Still, I need to get a few little plants to set out.

This morning I did some housework, laundry, stalling to start the paperwork, but I finally made myself pull up the ol' Quicken account and drag out the papers. It's still not completely finished, but I did make a good dent in it. Saved by the bell, the girl I work for called saying she was ready to trade out, so I put the papers away and left to go get them. So, now there's three more to do. Yea!

I'm debating with myself to wait till maybe next week to get the materials for the booth. It's going to take total concentration once I get started since I'll be learning as I go and having to be ever so careful and for now, it's probably more prudent to put work first and try to recoup some of this downtime - at least stay current for now. Besides, the materials calculations isn't complete. On the other hand, I did figure enough that would get me started, and if it's here, maybe that will be some incentive to make a stab at it. There's one thing about my birth sign, a Libra, the scales, that is soooo appropriate to my personality, and that is weighing out these huge decisions, pros, cons, should I, shouldn't I -- till it drives me crazy. Guess it will all depend on the mood I wake up in tomorrow! So, I'll leave you with that cliffhanger and say g'nite for now.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I know, it's Sunday...

...but I had to get the job done. So I pushed - and pushed. Finally finished it and emailed it and called the girl I work for to tell her it's in her email and she's not there. I had called her yesterday to tell her the other part was finished, and she wasn't there. Dang it, she said it's a big rush, "Gotta get it out!" Well, I've done my part. Now my in-box is empty again. I think she took a job either Thursday or Friday - since I got my days mixed up, I'm not sure -- Thursday -anyway, I need to get it from her. I can't afford to just sit around so much anymore.

One thing that's been quite an annoyance, irritation, is my Hotmail has been either bouncing or delayed to AOL recipients. I contacted AOL and they said it's Hotmail. So, I wrote Hotmail and this is in short what I got back:

Please check if the bounce message you received from postmaster@mail.hotmail.com includes the following lines:
Action: failed/delayed Status: 4.4.7

If it contains those lines, it indicates the changes AOL made to their e-mail system to reduce unsolicited e-mail (SPAM) sent to their customers. However, this update had the unintended consequence of keeping certain legitimate e-mail messages from entering their systems.

So, sure enough, it's AOL! Of course, I complained to the Live Help and they wanted me to call somebody and I said, no, I've reported it to you and to Hotmail and back to you. And I shouldn't have to report it anymore. Besides, this is happening to other Hotmail users who can't get their mail to AOL accounts. He said he would make the report for me! Well, thanks! These people are trying to protect us so darn much, we can't even get our own mail! Hotmail has a whole list of file types that they'll block now as attachments, one of which is a url. I had complained about that too because somebody tried to send me a url - you know, "Send link to" and it attaches to an email and you send. Well, Hotmail had deleted the attachment! How dare they!! So, they said to get around that problem, if anybody wants to send one of these file types (there's a whole list of them she sent me), they should zip it first, then send it! Right! Let's complicate our lives even more. I know not open an attachment if I don't know who sent it. This "protection" is getting out of hand!

On a happier note, Doug Gore called me tonight -- bless his heart -- to see how the patio roof held up during the rain we had yesterday! He's the young man who did all my outside work. How nice was that! I told him all seemed to be just fine, that I didn't see any leaks and didn't even hear all the aluminum banging around in the wind. I thought it was very thoughtful of him to follow-up.

Tomorrow, if I don't get my job in, I think I'll try spray painting one of the ratan pieces -- maybe not one I use on my porch in case it doesn't turn out right. I have a chair on the patio that will be a good candidate for a practice run, then go from there if I like it. And, too, since we're right at the end of the month - again, it's time I have to make myself sit down and do that dreaded paperwork tomorrow. It's piled up on me again. What is it about this chore that I hate doing so bad! Then, if my courage holds out, Tuesday I'll buy the materials for my booth. Sutherland's has a 10% senior discount on Tuesdays, so I might as well take advantage of it. Guess that's at least one perk to all this gray hair.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Wow, Post No. 100

Now I feel like an old-timer blogger! I think the only day I missed was New Year's. So, this is some kind of mile marker, I suppose. Too bad there's not anything real earth shattering to write about -- well, wait there is -- sort of!

It rained hard today. Not huge news, but we haven't been getting much rain. And this is the first time we had a really nice rain and I didn't have any leaks or rain coming in anywhere in the house! The patio cover didn't appear to leak. I didn't have to have a blue tarp hanging over my back door to keep rain from coming in under it. I didn't hear the aluminum banging in the breeze! So, that's a very major accomplishment!

My yard man came today and mowed. The yard really didn't need it, and at first I was a bit annoyed that he would come in January to mow, but there were a few ragged edges around and it did make things look freshly cared for. So, I didn't fuss. He needs to have work during the wintertime, too, and he's very diligent to keep it up without me having to keep calling him.

Other than that, I finished up the big part of the big job. which is in two part, and will do the rest tomorrow. Then I worked on my plan for my booth, started calculating materials I'll need. When I was younger I could do these 3D scale drafting drawings; in fact, I even drew blueprints for a house we built a long time ago; but I can't remember how to do it now. Somehow I'm working around it. Beyond that, it's been relax time! I've been watching Lifetime movies all evening - no blockbusters, for sure, but good enough to keep my interest. A complete couch potato tonight!

I did get a notification from Domestications that they were mailing my new curtains; so they should be here in a few days, and by then maybe the throws that are back-ordered will be sent. Hopefully the colors will be as I'm imagining them. The bedroom spread and curtains I ordered from Penney's were actually better than the catalog and website pictures - richer colors. But you never know.

I have to tell on myself a senior moment I had today. When the yard man wished me a good weekend, I, of course, thought he meant beginning tomorrow and the next day. Then while working on my job I had the TV on the news channels and noticed where Headliners & Legends was coming on MSNBC and Carol Lin was doing the news on CNN. That seemed odd to me to be a Friday. Those are usually weekend programming. Finally I decided to check the computer clock and lo, today is Saturday! So, all day I was sure today was Friday, and here Saturday was just about half gone by the time I realized it. Gosh I really hate it when that happens. It's so hard to get my inner schedule back in synch.

Well, now I know, tomorrow is Sunday -- gosh, wasn't it just Sunday a few days ago? Whew, time sure goes by fast!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Good news...

The lady from AllState called this morning, actually woke me up - but she had finished my claim on contents and was more than fair on my values - not exhorbitant, but very fair and it will be more than enough to get the camera with. Of course, now I'm wondering if there is wisdom in that choice, but I'll think about it some more until the check gets here. Nevertheless, it was good and unexpected news!

The rest of the day was occupied with working on the deposition. I have to say that I seem to feel better doing manual work than sitting here at the computer all day. It's been long enough that I've been away from it, I guess I'd forgot how tired it makes you. It's hard to stay focused, but it's how I've been making a living for 20 years; so I don't want to complain. Somehow I've got to make myself do some kind of activity. Drag out the Richard Simmons tape? lol

I've just about got a final plan for my booth envisioned that I'm going to tackle myself as soon as the work is done and I muster the courage to rise to the challenge. I just wish there would be somebody to ask questions if and when I get into a snag.

Things have certainly slowed down; so there's not too much to blog about tonight. There was a movie on a while ago with Marina Sertis and I believe it was Linda Park in it. Now, the only reason that's of any interest is because they were each in different Star Trek shows, Sertis in The Next Generation, and Linda Park was in Enterprise. The movie was pretty much a B ghost movie, but it was interesting to see them playing together in the same movie in different roles. Gosh, I miss Star Trek. Maybe someday they'll come up with a new series again. It was on the air for way too long to not be around anymore. It was good, clean entertainment, always seemed to have some sort of moral to the story, pretty much clear-cut good guys and bad guys. It was just good TV.

So, as per my routine, now I will fix my coffee pot, put it on the timer so it will be brewed in the morning when I wake up, and go curl up under my cozy electric blanket and watch something on TV till it lulls me to sleep.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tying up loose ends...

Apparently Allstate wasn't quite finished yet. John called me last night and said an Allstate adjuster left a message on his answering machine for me to call her. This was about my contents, which the adjuster to damages to my house didn't want to deal with. She had sort of acted like I didn't have enough to fool with and wasn't interested in putting inside stuff in her calculations. So, I was surprised to hear about this. Of course I called this new lady today and she has been trying to reach me to work up my contents claim. So, I discussed with her what I had - not really much, but a couple of expensive reference books were ruined, my tables that were in my office, my World Atlas that I had paid about $80 for from either Readers Digest or National Geographic, and my remounting of my Indian picture that I paid about $60-something for.

She asked if I had pictures -- (she didn't know who she was talking to! (smile!) So, I went back and found the pertinent pictures and also the receipt for my remounting and emailed them to her. I sure hope I'll get a little bit back for all that. I don't have replacement insurance because you can't get that clause in a mobile home, but I know my Technical Terms Reference book was about $100 and my Chemical Dictionary was about that much, too, along with some other reference books. So, we'll see!

If I get enough back from it, I think I'll use the money to buy a new digital camera I have my eye on. I have the Konica-Minolta Z2, which broke right when I came back from the evacuation. Thankfully I had the extended warranty on it and got it fixed, but it's still sitting on my desk in the box. I've been using my HP Photosmart, which is fully automatic. But the one I want is the Z6, which is 6 megapixel instead of 4 and has a 12x zoom as opposed to the 10x on the Z2 and it has anti-shake, which will be really nice! It's not that I have so much use for it since there's not exactly a lot of gorgeous scenery around here, but I like to play around with photography and try to learn about the settings and so forth, take macros of bugs and flowers and things and try to get birds in trees with the zoom. My photography websites are listed in Photo Collections, listed on the right. Anyway, if this unexpected little bit of money comes my way, that's what I'll do with it.

Speaking of unexpected money - I got an email from a psychic type reading newsletter and she told me on February 9 that my birthday (September 28, 1946) and February 9 adds up to 4, and 4 is a major lucky number and that I should be extremely lucky in games of chance on that day. So, as it happens, my mom's birthday is February 9, so I told her today we need to go to Kinder for her birthday and see if my good luck will be a reality! I'm not much into this stuff, but hey, what if it's right!

Today I had to do a Walmart run, and bought a couple of little outside door mats for my porch and bought the hunter green spray paint for the ratan chair and table. Who knows when I'll get around to that project, but at least I have the paint for it now.

Last night I was looking around on the Domestications website and found some curtains I liked for my living room and throws for my couch and loveseat. They were on sale, so I ordered them to brighten up the living room. The curtains should be here in a few days, but the throws -- actually they're quilts -- were on back order and it will be Feb 2nd, before they're available. I won't show pictures of what I picked out yet. When it's all done, I'll post them since I'm not positive the colors will go together. It looked like it on the computer screen, but they weren't in a set, so they might not work with each other. We'll see.

Well, guess I better work tonight. I did got some done this morning before I had to leave; so it looks like I'm doing a split shift today. At least that's an advantage of working at home -- you can keep crazy hours.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

All Done...

-- guess maybe just a touch up here and there, but they're paid up, packed up and gone. They did the final things that were left to be done, and the only things I see that needs a little attention is a small 1x2 about 8 inches long where they forgot a part of the eave and will need some paint and maybe a touch-up of a spot here and there on the porch. They're not a big deal. Even Doug said he wasn't real happy with the hot water heater door, but it's better than it was, at least functional-wise.
I supposed I should be all excited and hyper that it's all done now, but it feels sort of anti-climatic. It's been so hard and frustrating, that all I can say now is, "Thank God that's done." The house certainly isn't perfect, but it certainly wasn't perfect before September 24 either. There's things that are better, things that are not as good, but I survived.

Now it's crunch time to get to work. The lack of work coming in has been sort of been an advantage in that it allowed me time to get all this tended to. Gosh, how are people dealing with all this who are stuck in offices or wherever their jobs are during all daylight hours! My sympathies to them.

For the next few days I'll be concentrating on this job and giving myself some time to recuperate from all this before I start my kitchen project. Till then I suppose I'll just blog about whatever is on my mind that I want to share since my life will be quickly resorting back to its uneventful and dull existence, which sounds almost comforting at the moment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Almost finished...

There are only a few things left to do in the morning, and they're done. Today wasn't without a few glitches, though.

First inkling that things weren't going smooth was my kitchen window cracked. He looked at how it's put in and didn't know how to change it. I let him off the hook and told him I'd just tape it with clear tape so it wouldn't shatter. My front window had been that way for a long time. But I'm not going to be calling San Jacinto Glass out and spend $60 on it now. I know I could have held his feet to the fire to get it fixed, but it was from jarring or something that made it crack, and they were trying so hard, I just didn't think it would be right to hassle him over it. He didn't do it on purpose.

Next problem was Doug tried to put hinges on the existing hot water heater door, even bought a set, they were wrong, and had to go buy another set; but it still didn't work right, and it wound up cracking the white piece that trimmed it out. He wanted to just credit me with that part of it and forget about it since he had lost a lot of time fighting it; but I asked how hard it would be to make a new door, since the existing one was warped and bowed out at the top, which was the real reason to get it fixed rather than the hinges. He agreed, and did that. It's not gorgeous, but as long as it won't let rain in, it will be okay. I'm so ready to get finished. At least the horizontal board across the top wasn't any trouble. That's fixed.

Since trouble comes in threes, today was no exception. The eaves: They needed the piece for the outside edge to fit into, and I didn't have it. So there was nothing to attach them to. Again, my suggestion was to use a 1-by as the edging. It wound up being a bit thicker than what would look good, but once it was up, it was too late to complain.

By the time he got that side of the eaves done and started down the back, he ran out, right at the hole that had rotted through. So, first thought was to take down what was up and put it across the back and paint the side under the awning, but we decided to just replace the back eave with plywood and paint it. He also promised to make me some type of shelter for the a/c unit, which
he just didn't get to today.

The patio looks fine! It's really nice to have it all covered again, and not have to put the plastic tarp over the back door. All that's left to do there is take down the one of gutter that's left. The gutters didn't serve the purpose they were there for anyway, so, I'm not putting them back up. Once my kitchen is done, I think I'll try to create an inviting patio for myself. It's big enough!

The north end of the house was fixed, as well, boards replaced with cedar and only needs a second coat of paint. Before Hurricane Rita, the only painting I had to do was the porch and steps, but now there's a little bit more. But so be it. This is the side that I finished putting back the skirting on the other day.
The guy he brought to do the painting on the porch was diligent and did a nice job. He will come back out with Doug in the morning and touch up any places that might need a second coat. Poor Tommy is upset that he's had to be in all day and tonight. Once I get some new mats and put some plants on the porch, it will look really nice. I think I'll spray paint my ratan chair and table leaf green.

Tomorrow, they will be here about 10:00 he said, and should finish in a couple of hours. I went ahead and paid him $800 of the $1000 I had left owning. But they worked so hard and I know some of these things were more than he bargained for, so I told him tomorrow I would give him $300, which is $100 over our agreed $2,000 and told him he could give out my name and number for references. Things aren't perfect, but he's really dedicated to try and is punctual and repairing is a whole lot different from new construction. You have to just do the best you can with what you've got to work with. So, even with the little imperfections, I'm happy with the job they did.

Once they finish up in the morning, then as far as I'm concerned, I'm finished with all the Rita damages outside! I can't believe it! Inside the only thing left is the hall floor and the hall bath; but I'm in no hurry on those things. There's a little bit to do in my now "hobby room" but I'm in no hurry on that either. Kitchen is next, I hope.

And, thank God!! -- a job came in - a nice big job with a not so nice time crunch! So, tomorrow I'll be having to stay glued to the computer and try to get back in gear!

Monday, January 23, 2006

They came!

They were a little later than they had estimated, but not by much. He even called me and said he was running late and had one more stop to make.

This is Doug (right) and Dustin. There was one more young man with them today. They never introduced him, but he was a hard worker, too!

This is Doug (right) and Dustin. There was one more young man with them today. They never introduced him, but he was a hard worker, too!

This was covered with siding. I knew it was bad behind it and had even seen a termite swarm one time. About five or six years ago I hired somebody to fix this and paint my porch. I got ripped off! Not this time!

You can see evidence of old steps and new steps! YES! My steps were awful, unequal, too high, hard to climb. Well, granted, my legs have gotten worse over the years, but still, other people complained they were difficult to use, too.

They're done for today. Check out those new steps! They're wonderful!! I love 'em! They're level, too. The front of the porch had also sunk. That's why the two posts were swinging, because the porch had dropped and the posts broke free from the brackets. He jacked it up and blocked it. The railing hadn't been straight before. It is now! See the little piece of wall, the end of the half wall, they put siding there to trim it out, used the siding that came off the inside of the wall where the termites had a field day. It couldn't be reused because it had been cut in the shape of the three steps and no longer fit. So, they improvised with it! Tomorrow they will paint it and finish all the other work around the rest of the house. He said he expects to be here before 8:00 and be finished by about noon tomorrow.

And get this! He told me that when he checked out getting his materials, the corregated panels turned out to be less than he had calculated because he gets a discount, so he bought me three more sheets with the difference! Now how cool is that!!

While they worked, I finished up the flooring in my middle room. This was John's bedroom when he was home, and of course, he took his bedroom suite, which even he has long since done away with and bought his own. I never did buy another traditional type suite for this room, just sort of put it together with odd pieces. But I have my sewing machine set up now, and it will be easy enough to use if I ever feel so inclined.

According to some report I heard on CNN, today, January 23rd, is supposed to be the worst day of the year. Well, not for me!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunday - day of rest?

Not really! But it hasn't been too hectic. I finished up my job, which didn't take very long. There were a few pieces of skirting that had to be shortened some to put back on my north end, and I finally got around to doing that and put them up. So, now the skirting job is complete. The insurance had paid me for new ones and labor, but I salvanged all mine and put them back up myself. So, I'm patting myself on the back for that achievement.

It was pretty late in the day when I started trying to get those last boards on my laminated flooring project. They are tricky cuts, and I guess I was too tired when I started because I've been having a hard time getting them right. I'm so close to finishing, but I'm going to stop before I bugger up something more than I want to deal with.

Other than that, I looked on the Internet for a booth design that I can use for my kitchen. The cabinet guy had told me that it would be very expensive to have one built. So, I wanted to see if I couldn't find one that would be simple enough I might can do it myself. I really want to at least try, and I've decided the worst that can happen is I lose some money by messing up some materials. I found this design ---

and I studied it out, thinking about measurements, and sort of a pattern of how to construct it. Instead of plywood, though, believe it or not, I'm going to use a laminated floor. When I was in Sutherland's I saw one that they didn't have before. It's dark mahogony and had an extremely high gloss to it, smooth as glass, almost like a very dark mirror. It's gorgeous! There's no way any amount of polyeurathane would ever get that finish! So, that's ideal for the surface of my booth benches. I will have to make a few minor alterations to this picture, mainly to make it simple enough that I can do it; but the color of the back of in the picture is very close to what I saw.

I've decided not to put a full wall and door between the kitchen and the living room, but will still tear out the bar and put a half wall there with maybe something like several spindles to still give it a divided look. I know - well, feel pretty confident - I can do that much myself. This way even if I'm later getting somebody to install my cabinets, this corner won't affect anything and I can get started pretty soon. Of course, I'll finish up this flooring project first and get that bedroom back in habitable condition and wait till the boys get through with all my outside work. So, at least it's a plan.

We just had a little shower a few minutes ago. Gosh, as bad as we need rain, I sure hope it will be good enough weather for them to work tomorrow! And I hope they show up! I'll admit, I'm a little nervous about it. But after so many unpleasant experiences with these contractors, maybe I'm entitled to be a little gun shy.

Tommy has been in and out all day today! I swear that cat needs a revolving door. But he's in now. So, at least I don't have to go crawling around under houses to find him tonight.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Giant step forward...

At least I sure hope so! I handed over 1/2 payment for all my outside work to a young man today who has agreed to do everything I have outside Monday and Tuesday!

It all started when my aunt told my mom - who then told me - about a young man who had been in her neighborhood. She had been working in her yard and he asked her if she needed any work done, and she told him she didn't but her niece might (me). So, I called him, left a message with his wife, and later he called me back. "Sure! When do you want me to come out to see what you have?"

"Now is fine with me!"

"It will take an hour and half, and I'll be there."

And he was, along with his cousin. He's a very nice young man, younger than my youngest son. He even sort of reminded me of Robert a little bit. He said he has been exposed to this work through his brother who does this work and is now venturing out on his own. His name is Doug Gore. They brought snapshots of work they have done, showed me a couple of patios and covers they have done. So, we discussed the patio and eaves job. He had carefully written down every item he would need to purchase as we talked, then took his list out to his truck, made phone calls to get some prices, and then came back in and gave me his bid of $1400 -- 900 in materials, which will be covering about 30 by 16 feet of patio and what's necessary for the soffett, as well, and $500 labor. This is not using as high grade corrigated aluminum as I had, but rather the economy grade, but that was my choice because, #1, what I have isn't even available anymore, and #2, higher gauge would be too heavy for the framework I have, and #3, it's a good chance another hurricane could blow it away again. Besides, I'm trying to save for my kitchen. When he said he would be able to do this work Monday and Tuesday, that made it even more agreeable.
With that settled, I said, "Let me show you another job I want done." And took them to the front, explained how the extension wall was rotten behind the siding, the rail needed replacing, the two posts, and I wanted new steps made that would have about 6 inch rise instead of the 8 inch that they are now. My steps are too steep and very hard for me to climb up now. So, it will be adding one step to the set. What I have is dangerous! I fell while packing for evacuation and went through the whole experience with a sprained ankle. He also noticed that the reason the posts are swinging is because a corner of the porch has sunk and he will jack it back up. That takes care of the porch.

Then I showed him the place on the north end between the two windows where the siding had blown away. We agreed to put cedar 1 x 6's there. On the south end he will rebuild my hot water heater door, will replace that rotten horizontal board and put the siding piece back up, and caulk all pertinent places around the house. He said he would do everything I had to be done for $2,000 and still believes he can get it all done in two days, bringing some help. He guarantees his work, felt confident everything I had to do was simple enough but if he hit a snag or problem, he could call on his brother if he had to. So, I gave him a check $1,000. I told him I wanted his address in case I had to come after him for my money if he didn't show up! So he even gave me his driver's license to copy down the info, and made sure I had is new address in Kountze. I feel quite comfortable that all is on the up and up. Finally I asked if he would paint the porch, and he said no, but he had a cousin who would paint all day long for $50. I said, "Sure I'll pay $50 to get it painted so I don't have to do it! So, get him lined up!" Wow! I will be sooo glad to get this done! I feel so good about this! Geez, I hope I'm not headed for a let-down, but I don't think so.

If I'm worried about anything, it's a little about how the patio will look since there the new won't match what I have, but I'm sure it will be fine for as much as I use it or even go out there. The whole cover is something like 42 feet, I think. It's way too big!

After they left I went to Sutherland's to get the white paint, and while I was there got the one board I need to finish my bedroom closet floor and the baseboards. Maybe I can get that done tomorrow. I couldn't tell what shade brown to get for the deck part, so I brought back some of the color samples and will get that tomorrow. I need to call the man who was out here yesterday, Larry, and tell him I found somebody to do my work. After that I decided to splurge on some Chinese food and bring it home, turned on the TV and watched I guess four hours of a movie on Lifetime about Elizabeth Broderick with Meredith Baxter. Gosh, she needed an award for her acting in that movie!

In the meantime, during a commercial I went to let Tommy in for the night and he wasn't around. So, I started calling him. No Tommy. That's highly unusual! So, I waited for another commercial, and went back and called again. Still no Tommy. There's another little cat in the neighborhood that decided to follow me and help me. But that would only intimate Tommy. If one cat is around, he won't come. This went on and on. I walked up one street calling, "Tommmmyy! Tommmmyy!" Then up the other street, "Tommmyy." Dang it! The neighbors must think I'm such a weird cat lady!

Finally I went out again and caught a glimpse of him under my big holly bush. It's quite dark and I was lucky I detected his silhouette. But he wouldn't come. So, I had to try to scoot behind the bush to try to reach him, but it was too close to the house and too many branches that I couldn't get him. He ran over under the neighbor's house. Now I know he is really wanting to get in the house, but that other cat has him probably a little jealous or something. He's acting all timid and silly. So, I go back in the house and get a piece of lunchmeat that he loves, and go back to coax him. Danged if I didn't have get down on the wet ground and crawl almost under that guy's house to get Tommy and pull him out and carry him in the house!!! I really hope no neighbors were watching! My legs had just about totally given out on me by this time; so I was happy for more than one reason that this little episode was over. But he's now curled up on my desk, laying on his pillow, sleeping like a log. If I hadn't found him, I would have been a total basket case by now, for sure. So, all in all, it's been a very good day!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday's report...

Certainly nothing very earth shattering happened today unless you consider two contractors actually showed up like they said they would. Larry was the first to come out, and he was very nice, seemed to have tons of work going on. He took his time, even visited some about his own remodeling and looked over all my outside work. Hopefully his bid will be within reason and he'll be able to get to it within a time frame before summer. He offered some ideas and even saw some problem areas in my siding that needed a little attention. So, he made a good impression. He did take time to look at my kitchen plan was wasn't interested in doing that. That's okay.

Next to show up was Mike. He had his work crew foreman with him, and it was quite soon that they said they would have to decline on my work. He wanted to rip what patio cover I have left off and rebuild a full patio cover and deal with the insurance company. Since I'm maxed out with the insurance on my attachments, I think that was his big turn-off. But at least he didn't beat around the bush. I do appreciate that.

Roland called with the custom cabinet bid - over $4700, not counting tops and staining. Of course that's not tear out either or moving the gas connection or water line to the dish washer. So, I thanked him and was complimenting how nice his work was, and he had already hung up! Well, okay! Let's don't waste any more time on this one! So, I'm sure I'll have to use the unfinished pre-mades. They added up to about $1700. Of course that's not installing them, but I doubt installing them would be $3,000. Just who to get!

I paged Tommy again -- he still didn't call me back. Guess that's that for Tommy. I know he's busy, but he could at least return the call.

The girl I work for came by and we traded out jobs, the one I had done for one she took yesterday. Another little job! She's getting nervous, too, about how slow things are. Things are bound to pick up soon! Guess I better get the kitchen done while I still have a little insurance money left. If I have to go bankrupt, I want to at least have my kitchen! lol

I have a neighbor, Jimmy - he's a preacher in Silsbee - and he also did my yard for several years. He knows I know a little bit about computers since I've helped him with his in the past. And he stopped me in the yard to chat and ask me about some printer ink. So, in the course of the conversation, he said he is now the manager of this park I live in, that Parigi has hired him to monitor things going on out here! Great! So, I commented about how the empty space beside me needs cleaning up. And he said he was fixing to make lots of people mad by requiring that they get skirting on their houses. That's the rules, it's in the contract, but it's not enforced. He said Parigi is wanting to get things looking nice again, and that he is going to put a privacy fence all the way around us! WOO-HOO! I need one so bad because of a commercial site right behind me that is really an eye sore. It's even gotten worse than it was because they've moved two big ol' dumpsters in and they're right up next to the fence. When I moved here in '90 there was a wood fence there, but Parigi tore it down and they've let me know they will not put it back. But of course, just to keep me from totally enjoying this news, he said they would be starting at the front and going counterclockwise around the park. That means I'll be last to get mine!! That part really sucks! Jimmy also said that some of the rent trailers that are in such bad shape, Parigi is going to get somebody to tear down and haul them off. So, all in all, he had good news. Of course, none of this will be immediately. Still too much hurricane repair work, but as soon as things settle down some, then that's the plan. He said he has a church friend who built him a really nice deck and he would get in touch with him to see if he would be interested in helping me with some of my work, my patio and stuff. So, I hope Brother Edwards will be calling soon.

Besides all that, about all I really accomplished was I got the other half of the bedroom flooring done. What's left is the ends next to the walls that will have to be cut lengthwise, and then putting up the baseboards. I didn't feel like doing that detailed measuring tonight, so I'll do it maybe tomorrow. I have exactly I mean EXACTLY the right number of boards to finish the room. If I mess up one piece, then I'll have to go buy some more. Actually there's a little bit left on the ends in the closet that I'm short; so I'm not sure how I'll finish that out. Maybe I can buy one board! lol

Guess that's the extent of this day. It's time now for dinner and a movie!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Back to the hunt...

Hunt for a contractor, of course. Not being one to let things whip me down to utter defeat, I pulled up Southeasttexas.com and started looking in their classifieds. I posted one inquiry with a cabinet person and have not yet received any reply. There were a couple other names for general work, like the patio and stuff, who, fortunately put their phone numbers. I called one, Larry in Lumberton, and he said it might be a month. So, I told him to call me when he might be ready, in the meantime I'd keep scouting.

Then I called another number, also Lumberton, name of Mike. He said he will come out Friday and will call me tomorrow. Almost sounded like he didn't realize Friday was tomorrow . Not even being completely in tune at the time myself that Friday is tomorrow, I said that would be fine. Dang, this week has flown by!!! Anyway, he said he wants to see what the insurance allowed for these repairs and will probably charge accordingly, but that if more is needed, then I can file with the insurance and they'll supplement. After I hung up I remembered that this is all considered in the attachment section of my policy and I was maxed out. So, there won't be any more. I did explain that I'm trying to save in other areas so I can get some cabinets for my kitchen, and he does that kind of work, as well! So, oh, boy!!!

Tonight, the first man, Larry, called and we chatted about what I need. It didn't dawn on me until after I hung up that he was the one who had said a month, but I'm making written notes of all these phone calls and so forth so I can keep straight when I call who and what they say. There's still a few I called the other day and had left my number. Anyway, he said he would be here about 8:30 in the morning and look over the situation. So, hope is beginning to spring up again.

With the anticipation of getting Mike to give me a good bid on my kitchen, I made a few minor adjustments to my floorplan and tried to calculate exactly what sizes pre-made cabinets I would need and how many. I had done this before, but it wasn't real exact, more of an estimate. So, this time I tried to be more methodical. I'm just about convinced for this to be within my reach of making it a reality, I'll have to use the unfinished cabinets. But that's okay. They'll be much better than what I have, for sure. So, I have my drawings prepared and am extremely anxious to get a real bid.

I really have a strong desire to try doing some of this job by myself just because I think I would enjoy the challenge. But I'm afraid if I got into trouble, I wouldn't have anybody to call on. That sucks! How do you learn when you're scared to dig in and try it - justified as the fear is.

Last night I had an awful case of insomnia. I had started a movie with Jane Seymour on PLEX channel that came on late and so, I decided to go to bed to finish it. As soon as it was over, the next movie coming on was called "Children of the Bride" with Rue Mc Clanahan. I like her for some reason. It was really late, but I knew sleep was not going to happen for a long time. So, get comfortable and watch it too.

Quincy, my youngest kitty, always tucks me in at night and cuddles till he gets sleepy then moves to the foot of the bed to curl up for the night. It must have been close to 1:00 a.m., and I decided I wanted a snack. So, I got up. And when I did, he sleepily raised his little head, looked at me, gave a little vocal response, as if to say, "What's wrong? Why are you getting up?" So, I told him I wanted some milk, and he yawned, got up for me to carry him on my shoulder to go to the kitchen and then back. Of course, back in bed, he had to do his "tucking in, cuddling" again, and then move back to his spot to go back to sleep. About an hour later - around 2:00 a.m., I needed to get some Tums (my digestive system didn't enjoy my midnight snack I guess! - lol) so I got up again. Again, he work up, questioned me as if to say, "Is everything all right?" and again, arose for me to carry him on my shoulder to go back to the kitchen. He's so dedicated to watch after me! I know I'm not telling the incident to do it justice, but it was just really sweet. He's sure my little buddy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Status Quo

Sometimes I wonder what's the point. Today has been less than productive, doing about half my job, did minimal housework, and managed to get the garbage out for in the morning. Speaking of which, whoever took the carpet yesterday brought most of it back. Apparently they kept maybe one small roll for whatever they wanted a piece of carpet for. It didn't look like they had untaped what they brought back. Shoot, I should put a surveillance camera on my garbage spot. It gets more activity than my front door does!

Anyway, I called Tommy's beeper again. He's the one who is supposed to bid for my patio and eaves, porch, and what little siding work I have He didn't call me back. I called the cabinet shop I had stopped at the other day, Ray's. Roland said, no, he hasn't worked up a bid. He simply hasn't had time. I called Mrs. Jones and asked her if her husband was not interested in working on my kitchen, was it too out of the ordinary of a job or something. She said she was sure that wasn't the case, that he has been very busy, and she would ask him and either he would call me or she would call me back. No phone calls from either of them.

So, why should I care. I have a roof over my head now that doesn't leak. I can hang plastic over my back door to keep rain out. Nobody can even see the back anyway unless you deliberately go back there -- which nobody does. Hopefully I'll get a surge of new enthusiasm, but tonight it's non-existent. I'll finish my middle room floor in a day or two. No hurry on that either. There's only a little bit left from the repairs that I have the ability to do without needing help - like putting up the rest of the skirting. That's about it. I'll have to have somebody do the bathtub kit, unless I get brave and think I can do it - which I have no idea how to do faucets. I almost think I could set the cabinets in my kitchen, but I'd need help with the wall units, and I don't know how to put the countertops on, or what to do where I'd need spacers. I just need help and can't find any! So, as I said, what's the point. It really doesn't matter in the big scheme of things.

As far as my job goes, it's not like there's a ton of work waiting for me to do once this is done. So, the lack of output today wasn't detrimental to anything other than my mood.

Tomorrow is a new day, thank goodness.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Back to my projects...

After a pretty lazy day of watching some political speeches yesterday and doing virtually nothing, I decided to start the flooring project in my middle bedroom. Since I had already pretty well cleaned out all the clutter, there wasn't that much furniture left in there, so I shoved it all to the back half of the room, ripped up the front half of carpet and padding, rolled it and put tape around it and hauled it out to the street. It was a pretty rainy day and I debated about putting the carpet out in the rain, but what the heck. It wasn't that big of pieces that it would be so heavy, even wet. Then I pulled up the tacking strips. When that carpet was put down, they must have glued the strips, as well as nailing them. Geez! But eventually I got them up - at least in that half of the room and the closet.

With that done, I decided to go ahead and start laying the flooring, though this time I used my work room to make the cuts instead of bringing my saw into the room. It's made the job much neater by not getting sawdust all over everything, but it required walking back and forth. Oh, well, I need the exercise. My legs seem so weak it's scaring me. By 9:00 I was exhausted and too stiff to do any more. So, I quit, watched a little movie on TV (Jersey Girl - kinda cute), and then went to bed, though I didn't sleep well and woke up at 5:30! Argh! How I hate it when I do that!

Today was running errands, groceries, etc. When I got back home I noticed somebody had taken the carpet - left the padding, but the carpet was gone. Um - okay. About all I've accomplished since I got back was pull the carpet and padding up on the back half and get it outside. I left that piece intact in case whoever wants it will have a bigger piece. Oh, and I took a nap. I had a very nice and glorious nap! Tonight I'll get my job set up and ready to do it justice tomorrow. Also, I need to do some calling these contractors again and see if I can't get a fire lit under at least one of them.

Speaking of which, yesterday Bob's wife, Diane, called and left a message wanting to know if I had decided what I was going to do about my kitchen. Bob was the one I mentioned the other day who I met in Lowe's who is a contractor and who moved here from Waco. He and his wife came out to see about my cabinets and he offered a blanket bid of over $3,000 to do my kitchen and patio right off the top of his head. I guess I should call them and tell them I'm waiting for more bids. That kind of bidding just makes me very nervous. And besides, I have no idea what kind of workmanship he does, and they haven't offered any references. So, even though he's the only one who's actually acted like he would maybe do something, I'm too reluctant to use him. As if I'm not synical enough by nature, it seems like this experience is making me even more so.

My heart sure goes out to the folks who are having real destruction to deal with! Every time I go down any given street, it's a reminder of how minor my problems are in comparison - not that mine aren't big enough for me, but it does help keep things in perspective.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Time out from repairs for some serious Patriotism...

(photo taken from DrudgeReport.com)

If you didn't see Al Gore giving his speech at Constitution Hall today on C-Span at 11:00 central time, then please, for your own self-interest and edification, read the transcript. I'm not a big Drudge Report fan, for sure, but that's the only place I know of where the transcript is posted at the present time. C-Span has not yet committed itself to a rerun as far as I know, and it's highly doubtful that the media will give his speech any mention and, if so, it will be so in passing such that it will be virtually nonexistent.

Regardless of what you think of Al Gore, he is one of only precious few voices who is bold and brave enough to speak the truth about what is happening in this Administration. Unfortunately Main Stream Media will not give those voices any air time to wake up the half of the public and even some of our elected officials, Democrats included, who are living in some kind of fog. Far be from me to even begin to recap all or even part of what he said, but there are some of us out here who saw the handwriting on the wall in 2000 and shudder to see that our worst fears weren't even close to what is happening right before our eyes. This is so very important! Please, please, take some time and read this. When and if it is published on the web as a video - and if I can find it - I'll edit this space and place a link here.

Regardless of which side of politics you are on, please read it!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Buyer Beware

Okay. Maybe my title is a bit melodramatic for the events that unfolded today, but nevertheless, it came to mind; so I used it.

Being a Sunday, a beautiful day, and having an extreme case of cabin fever, I picked up Mom to just get out for a while, even though, really, there's not much to do but go eat and/or go shop. I even looked at movies playing, and nothing sounded worth going to see. Since we both wanted to buy new frames for Sarah's picture and we hadn't yet been to the new Kohl's store, that was good as anything else to do. Mom wanted a few other things while we were there. I bought two frames, on sale 50% - they have beautiful frames and nice household items - and Momma bought her frame, too, a nightgown, two bath towels and four hand towels, all of which were on sale. This itemization is necessary to tell this story. But to stay in sequence, I won't jump ahead.

It was around 1:30 when we left Kohl's, and every restaurant parking lot was full -- I don't think anybody in Beaumont cooks Sunday lunch; so we thought we'd get a plate lunch from Luby's drive thru and take it back to her house. We were in line I swear an hour. I would pull up one car, and even kill the engine because it took so long. We could have gone in, ordered, eaten, paid and left by the time the five cars ahead of us finally were serviced with their orders. Why each car took so long I can't imagine. Finally we get to the window. Well, the delay wasn't because they had to go dish up the food because ours had been dished up and probably sitting there for at least 45 minutes. I held my tongue, and took our food and we went home. We ordered chicken fried steak with cream gravy (#9 I think it was on the drive thru menu - lol). There was maybe a tablespoon of gravy in a small container. The meat had apparently been microwaved several times already, and once more by me because it was cold. It was awful. What a waste of time and money and even calories! If I'm going to eat indulgent food, I'd at least like it to be pleasing to the pallet!

Well, tummies full, but completely disappointed in our meal, she begins to take out her items and look at the ticket. It appeared she was charged for four bath towels rather than the two, and she did not get the 40% sale price on the nightgown. Competely disgusted at getting ripped off, I said, "We're going back!" I called the store, and the young man told us to come to customer service. So, we did, drove back to Kohl's, clear across town.

It turned out the items on the ticket that we thought were for two "extra" bath towels were actually correctly rang up for two hand towels she did have that apparently weren't on sale. They were on the same table with the hand towels that were on sale, and looked very similar. So, it was very easy to pick them up, white and yellow, thinking they were all the same price. Must be a merchandising trick! Of course, when we checked out, her total did seem a bit high, but we let it go thinking things just add up. I know you should check your ticket when you check out, but we just assumed it was right. Yes, our mistake. How stupid! You can't and shouldn't trust anything.

The boy was nice enough and credited her back for the two non sale hand towels and checked the price of the nightgown in the computer. It still showed regular price. But the rack it was on was clearly marked reduced. All the gowns were the same, so it wasn't a case of it being mishung on the wrong rack. So, in his mind, as a good-will gesture, he gave her credit for the sale price. But my thinking is they should make sure the computers are programmed with what's on sale. They can't expect the cashiers to know every price and sale item. When it's scanned, the sale price should come up.

Well, we got it all worked out, but it was a completely unnecessary hassle and waste of time that could have been better spent relaxing with a nice cup of coffee after what should have been an enjoyable lunch.

When you check out there, they give you, along with your receipt, a ticket to take a survey when you get back home at www.kohls.com/survey, with a store number and access code. What a pain. The survey didn't ask anything specifically related to our experience, but things like did a salesperson help you? No, there were no sales people. Did the cashier know how to use a cash register? Well, yeah! I found the whole thing completely annoying to have to spend time grading their performance. It certainly did not make for an enjoyable shopping experience.

Granted, we should have been more diligent to notice the price on the hand towels and not accept as gospel the final checkout price, but in my thinking, when you shop, you shouldn't have to have your guard up that a supposedly reputable store is trying to get more dollars out of you than you are consciously agreeing to spend in some underhanded way. It's just not right. And you shouldn't have to stay at the drive thru window, open your sack and open your food containers and check to see if you have what you ordered or that your food is fresh. It's bad enough the fast-food people can't tell the difference in onion rings and french fries. But this was Luby's! Not hamburger joint! The older I get, the more I absolutely hate shopping.

So, now that I'm back home, putting all the unhappiness behind me and still in one piece, it's time to hopefully find a good movie to watch. Last night I started watching a DVD that I hadn't seen yet, Gosford Park. It was so dreadful, I turned it off in about 30 minutes, and started channel surfing. A movie was starting -- "Rudy" which I had never seen. It was obviously going to be about football, which I'm not big on sports. But in utter despiration, I gave it a try. What a beautiful movie it was! Evidently a true story of a young man with a strong will, self control and sheer determination to overcome obstacles and obtain his dream to attend Notre Dame and play on the football team. It was definitely two hours well spent.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I don't believe it! I'm finally level!

Time to cheer!

They got here about 12:30 and finished up about 2:00. Unfortunately I had to pay another $185, but I kinda figured I would have to pay something. A level job is $350 now; and I have to date paid $930 ($750 to Layfield, not to Vidor Mobile Homes) - but I did get some new blocks, too, if that's any consoliation for me. Under the circumstances, I can see their viewpoint. So, I didn't complain. I just had to tell the happy ending first! It's level! Weeee!

But to go back to sequence, I called Frank this morning and told him they never showed up and hated to be a pest. He said they told him they came by yesterday and I wasn't home. NO WAY! I watched every second! So, he said he would go get him up and make him come back out here.

A little while later, the man called (didn't get his name), but said he was from Vidor Mobile Homes (Wright's) and said he had a delivery to do first and then would be here about 12:30, and was true to his word! They worked pretty hard, said they had to raise me up almost 4 inches. While they were jacking on the house and hammering in shims and whatever they were doing, there were times I got a bit worried from the sensations and popping on the inside of the house. But everything was fine. They assured me the roof joint wasn't affected, which I was worried about, and there wasn't any twisting or undo stress on my frame like Bob had tried to scare me to death with. My house was never in any danger. They said the dirt will probably settle again and more than likely lose the level, but that's just the nature of the soil in this area. I snapped a few pictures to prove to myself that they really did come! This has been an ongoing fight since October. Oh, how I pray it holds longer than a few days!

The guy in the last pic on the left is Frank. He came out to check on things and also I suppose to tell the man to give me a bill for the $185 since it was more of a job than they thought. I didn't go out because I thought it was just somebody the guy knew. When he collected the money, he told me Frank had come by.

After they left, I drove out to PetSmart to get some kitty food and litter. I was moving over to the left lane on the freeway and heard somebody laying on their horn. I quickly got back to my lane and realized there had been a little white car in my blind spot. I had looked, but just didn't see him. Thank GOD! Thankfully, I made it to PetSmart without further incident. I just cringed to think what a huge problem a wreck would have been. Thank God! Thank God! it didn't happen.

I vow I will not go to PetSmart again on a Saturday. Saturday is adoption day. People had their dogs and cats in little cages and pens and I felt so sorry for them. One little dog - looked like a fox terrier, I think - reminded me of a little dog I used to have (mid '80s), Kojak, who was soooo funny! He was a real comedian! I only had him a year and he got ran over. I cried for two weeks! Anyway, this little dog barked and barked. There were a couple of puppies, not too young, and some grown dogs that you knew were wondering what in the world was going to happen to them. The little cats were all in smaller cages, grown cats, really pretty, but I just could imagine how traumatic it would be for my four if they were in similar circumstances. It just broke my heart! I wish I had tons of space and money so I could have a rescue farm for all of these needy little four-legged sweethearts. But no, I didn't pet any or bring any home. Still, they sure tugged at my heart strings. I hope they can all get good and loving homes. Sad thing is, a lot of these people have dozens of animals and they bring only the most lovely to these adoption days. So, it makes me even sadder for ones left. But most of these people are kind-hearted and will try to keep the animals till they find a home for them.

The rest of the day I have done nothing. The bedroom floor can wait. Getting the house level and that huge stress and worry removed from my brain has left me feeling completely wasted. If it doesn't hold this time, then that's it. I will buy myself a pair shoes with a stacked heel and wear only one. That way at least I'll be level even if the house isn't! Now that I know my house isn't about to be ripped down the middle or twisted like a pretzel, I'm estatic! Thank you, Frank!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Promises! HA!

(edited: postscript added at end)

Okay. Today is Friday the 13th. But as far as I can tell, it must have been April Fool! Usually Friday 13th is, for some strange reason, a good day for me. I guess it's because I always look a little harder for something good to happen. So, with all the promises of yesterday, I was hopeful. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. I'm plenty disgusted, frustrated, and all at the same time, not surprised one bit.

I pushed to finished my job last night and got up early to be dressed in case Frank's crew came early. He had said this morning. I piddled on the net, redid the wall arrangement in my hallway, hung another picture in my bedroom. Waiting! I called Frank about 10:45. "Don't let them forget me!" "Oh, no. They'll be there today. I told them this morning. I don't know what time, but they'll be there." Liar!

I couldn't leave. I didn't even want to go outside because I might miss a phone call or not see them come to my front door. So, I decided to start emptying out my middle room so I can put down the flooring in that room. I had bought enough for this room, as well, when I did my bedroom. So, it's been sitting there stacked on the floor waiting on me. That is the room I had all the extra computer equipment in and slowly it has filled up with things not put in their proper places. There was a desk, as well, that I didn't want in there anymore, so I managed to slide it out of that room and through the house to the back room and down the steps(two steps, not a flight of stairs). It will be more functional in my work room. There was some stuff under the bed that I found new places for and stuff in the closet floor that I also had to move. I didn't work at full speed, just took my time, thinking somebody would show up or call. Nobody! Not James who I've now left two messages. Not Tommy who promised to call today. Not George who promised to be here between 3:00 and 4:00 and would absolutely call if he couldn't make it. Not Mr. Jones to see about what changes I had in my cabinet plan. Not Roland who was supposed to give me an estimate bid. Not Jason who never showed up at his promised time to give me a cabinet bid. Not anybody from Southeast Texas Construction who the lady said somebody would call me last night or this morning.

Well, that's that. I'm hungry. I'm tired. I'm ticked off and disappointed and mad at myself for believing all these morons. I looked at the TV schedule and there's nothing worth watching. I've heard all the news today. And most of it also added to my irritability. So, I'll go rummage through my movies and find something. I guess with this being a weekend, I can forget about anything happening now till next week. So, at least maybe my middle bedroom will get full attention now and I can add another room to my "finished" list. Woopie.

PS -- at 11:34 p.m.
I chose a movie I had recorded on VHS - Pandora's Clock, with Richard Dean Anderson. It was a four-hour mini series aired in November, 1996. Since I don't remember movies very well, it was just familiar enough to know I had seen it before, but I didn't remember enough about it to spoil the ending! An advantage to a lousy memory -- can enjoy a movie the second time! :) It was pretty good. I enjoyed it, and it got my mind off repairs for a while.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tomorrow's promises...

Ever seen this picture? It circled through the email world awhile back, Sidewalk Drawings! Anyway, this one seemed to fit my mood today, which was a total down day, working pretty much lackadaisacally on my job, playing more than a few games of Free Cell to clear my head, feeling tired, sleepy, and to be honest, a bit more than a little depressed. I made some phone calls. Here's my list:
1. Called James Callas - left message on home phone to email me since his email is no longer working and/or send me back my $30.
2. Called Tommy Monta- something. I can't ever remember his last name. He has a company and lives in Lumberton, was in Robert's class I think - who came out last week to bid on patio and back room eaves, etc. He had forgot about me. Said he's had 3 patios delivered that were wrong and that his driver had been put in jail and his load confiscated! Said his dad had called about his own bid, too, that he had also forgottten. Will get with me tomorrow.
3. Called a phone number out of the newspaper, A&W Enterprises - said he was in Jasper and will call me tomorrow or Saturday.
4. Called another number out of the newspaper - R&G Remodeling - message "I'm out of my truck. Leave a number." So I did - and lo and behold he (George) called me back this evening. He does all repairs, even leveling and cabinets! Will be out tomorrow after 3:00 or 4:00 and will call if he can't come. That's thoughtful!
5. Called a third number out of newspaper -- Southeast Texas Construction - lady answered phone, more business-like, "Someone will call this evening or in the morning." They haven't called yet.
6. Called Frank from Wright's Mobile Home who promised to get my house leveled this week, knew I had been rooked! And again, lo and behold, he says he will have his crew here -- are you ready -- Tomorrow!! REALLY? What time? In the morning! Oh, you made me sooo happy!! They have a couple other jobs in my area. He won't be coming, but his crew. PRAY THIS HAPPENS!

With all these hopes of getting something done, I feel revitalized. So, I need to "beat-feet" as they say and finish up my job so I won't have to worry about it and can concentrate when all these people come out here like they say they will! Gullible, ain't I?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Miscellaneous kinda day.

First thing I had to do this morning was go to my mom's as a meeting place to trade out jobs. She lives about halfway between myself and the girl I work for and it makes it easier sometimes. Then Mom and I took the pictures Robert sent of Sarah to Walgreen's to get printed. But before I left, I put them through Photoshop and increased the resolution to 200 pixels per inch to get a better color saturation and did a little red-eye repair on one or two of them, then put them on a CD. When we were dropping them off, we found out that you can email them to their website, but I haven't gone to the site to check that out yet. Evidently you just email them in and I guess designate what store to pick them up at. I'm a little new at this but it's facinating. Anyway, the pictures turned out fabulous! We had 9 pictures, and did one for each of us (18 prints) and two 5 by 7s - and the bill was only $7.64. Probably that would have used up a whole ink cartridge and the colors were perfect!

They had some little fleece throw blankets for $4 a piece, leopard print and black -- whoa, that would look good on my orange bedspread. So, I'm going to cover the pillows I have, two of each - when I get time, that is. Also, as a spur-of-the-moment purchase, they had in the front aisle a huge leather duffle bag, very nice, for $20. I don't have an immediate need for it, but the quality and size and price, I thought it was foolish not to get it. They can always come in handy. It turned out it was on sale for $14.99. Not often I get a bargain.

But to continue my story of "good fortune" on sales, we then went over to the White House and they had these fleece like shirt/jacket, zipper up the front for $14.99 marked down from $36. I love fleece. I just wish it would be colder here! So I got the orange one (my favorite color) and a baby blue one.

We tried to eat at Jason's but it was too busy, long line, so we opted to get something and take it back to her house. I routed down Corley to Avenue A and was stunned at all the damage to homes and roofs that was still not fixed. So many blue roofs that are wearing out, getting ripped and stringy. Homes knocked off their foundations, huge holes in roofs from trees. It's quite sobering! As much as I complain and worry about what I have to get fixed, oh, my goodness, some people have some really serious problems! My heart goes out to them and I ask God bless them all.

Anyway, coming back home I had remembered a custom cabinet shop on 11th Street -- Ray's Cabinets -- so I routed myself that way and stopped, introduced myself, and chatted with Roland, (Ray's son) who is running the place. They had the front door locked with a sign to go to the side, which puts you in their shop. And they had amazing looking cabinets in there. They know what they're doing. Anyway, I sketched out a rough plan of what I wanted and left it with Roland, along with my phone number. He doesn't do any tearing out or any of that, just build and install the cabinets. When he asked about if I wanted paint grade or stain grade, I said let's figure on paint grade. If I'm excited by a really low price, then maybe I'll ease back up into stain grade. So, we shall see.

He said a couple of his employees had all left after Hurricane Rita and were now working as adjusters in Florida making lots of money! He's extremely short-handed, has been running ads for help and nobody is answering his ads. Maybe I should have said I would work there for half pay if he would train me! Then I could make my own! ha - ha! I did tell him I can stain cabinets, but he said because of regulations he has had to stop staining in his shop and can only do it on-site now. Complinace was totally out of his ballpark of reasonable overhead.

So, that's pretty much it. Before I ever left this morning, I called Frank, the guy who said he will level my house, and put a message on his cell that I would be gone a couple hours, that I wasn't trying to rush him, I just didn't want to miss him. Another joke. No calls from anybody today. I guess I won't try to call James back or even Mr. Jones. If they're not interested, then to heck with it. I'm happy to have a depo to do; so I'll work on that tonight and forget about the house for the time-being.

Oh, and by the way, somebody did take those rugs. They were gone when I looked out this morning. I'm glad somebody can get some use out of them. They were pretty nice rugs. I have a feeling it was my next door neighbor, but whoever took them is more than welcome to them. I bet they felt like they had a real find and it gave them a good day! So, that's good.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Nobody showed up...

(note: just in case you don't want to read all this, at least scroll to the bottom for my big treat I got today! :)

So, what else is new! The guys didn't show up to level my house - Frank said "this week," so I have to allow some margin there. Jason, Frank's cousin who makes cabinets was due at 3:00. No phone call, nothing. I tried to send James, my roofer who drove me crazy, an email and see if he is about ready to work again and finish my patio and back room eaves -- guess what -- his mail was returned as no such address! So, I called, left a message on his squirrelly answering machine, and -- no, he didn't call back. I called Mrs. Jones and asked how her husband was coming on my bid for my kitchen. She didn't know but he was due home for lunch and would call me -- ah-hem -- no, he didn't call! I'm so sick of people!

The only one who did call was Bob and he said he would do everything I needed for $4100. I said I wanted something itemized. He said $3100 for the kitchen - guess he thinks that itemizing. All I had to supply would be the cabinets, he would supply the countertops and all pertinent lumber. Well, still, I don't like doing business that way. These blanket numbers make me nervous. I just told him I thought I would be getting my leveling done and would get back with him. Maybe I'll be the one who doesn't call back!

So, I cleaned house while I was waiting in vain. My middle bedroom has been a catch all for when I redid my bedroom and also my office. I had lots of old replaced computer equipment in there, like four monitors and three printers and an extra scanner and even another CPU that needs a power supply. Man, I could open a store if all this worked! That room is the one I decided to put the laminated flooring down instead of the hallway. So, I thought it was a good idea to start putting things away.

I brought the monitors into my office one by one, (heavy son-of-a-guns that they are!!) and hooked each one up to see if it worked. One did not, one was not very good (that was 19" and extremely heavy!) and the other two were fine. So, I decided to put the two good ones on the top shelf of back room closet since it's plenty wide and plenty sturdy. But it's high. Believe it or not, I got those suckers up there! An angel must have helped me get them up there by myself!

The other two I carried out to the garbage spot. I have no idea what the policy is at this park on picking up that sort of trash. I hope it doesn't sit there from now till kingdom come. I almost didn't think I would make it with the 19". I was certainly at my strength capacity on that one for that distance to carry it!

There were lamps and all sorts of stuff that I wanted to move out to the shed. But the shed is in such disarray that you can't hardly walk inside it. So, first I had to get some room in there to put the new stuff (sigh) I started pulling out basically junk, empty boxes with the stryofoam packing, virtually garbage, except for three decent sized rugs that I carried to my pile. They're not in bad condition, need a good cleaning for sure, but I just don't want them anymore. They take up space, and I know I'll never use them again, especially with my feline roommates. Maybe somebody will see them on the pile and take them. I don't care. The trip from the back to the front where my newly created junk pile is is quite some distance. So, believe me, it was taxing on my poor ol' legs and I had to rest, but it's not likely anybody will come and do it for me! There's lots more stuff I want to put out there, big things, like tables and bar stools and matresses -- but I better not, I guess.

Once I did all that I could stand of that project, I looked around at the room to see what else I could do and settled on a bookcase that's in that room that would have to be moved out to put the flooring down. Years ago I had that bookcase side by side with my other one in the hallway; so, I decided to put it back there and leave it, not as a temporary move. The bookcase that is in the hallway now is not as deep as this one, so for it to look right, I had to move the one there now over and put this one in the corner. Of course, books have to be unloaded, drag the cabinet out of the room and pull off enough books that I can shove the other one over, then put the first one in place and reload them both. Those bookshelves have been moved so many times! It's too bad they're not on rollers because I'm forever deciding I want them in a different room or something. By the way, the hall is wide on that end, not the standard hall width. So, they fit perfectly and don't hamper passing through the hallway at all. It's a perfect spot for them, but I just wish I had some better lighting than the standard overhead hall light.

The middle bedroom is still a huge mess, but I think that's enough accomplishment for one day. If I can't get out of bed in the morning, I hope I'll remember why and not worry that it's just from getting old!

One other call today and that was to my girl I work for. She had just come in from taking an all-day job! Wow! Finally! So, she'll bring it over in the morning, and I can do some real work! I told her I had begun to think maybe she met a millionaire and had gotten married and retired! Boy, did she get a big kick out of that one!

Saving the absolute best for last, when I came in here to check my mail, there was something from Robert in Virginia -- he finally got some pictures uploaded of Sarah and sent them out to all of who love her and don't live in Virginia! Mind you, this is the only Christmas picture of her first Christmas that I -- or any of us, I guess -- got! That boy has got to do better about sending pictures! But here's my precious grandbaby. She was 8 months old on the 3rd of this month.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Maybe I bit off more than I can chew...

This is extremely more complicated than I ever dreamed. I made a slight adjustment to my plan, an alternate, not a definite, of putting the dishwasher to the left of the sink instead of right at a 90 degree angle. As it is, it's impossible to have it open and stand at the sink.

I went to Lowe's because I wanted them to do these calculations. The cabinets come in standard sizes and the walls don't match the standards. Russell and Jason were the only ones to do it and Russell was off and Jason was very very late. So, I started collecting prices and finally the boy said he would get me a price sheet. That helps a little bit!

He didn't have a price list for the unfinished but said they were about $4 each less than the white. I just got through adding up the white pieces from Lowe's - $4,000 - and compared it to the unfinished at Sutherland's - $1500. I will stain them myself for $3500!

I priced and wrote down numbers to countertops, sink, faucet, 30 inch gas stove, ventahood, hardware, and flooring. Countertop is hard to figure because it's in standard lengths. So, I'm afraid there will be a lot of waste. Flooring is hard because I don't know how much installation costs are yet. I think these extras, being frugal, will top $2,000. Then I went to Home Depot, but they didn't have any prefinished, and only worked by appointment. So, I left.

I tried to call Mr. Jones this weekend and also today and never reached him. Bob called back tonight and said he would do everything, patio cover, eaves, install cabinets and tops, walls for $4400. He will furnish materials to resupport the walls and all materials outside, i.e., patio cover, etc. He's going to have to break it down and itemize. I have no idea! Something happened to the phone connection, so he will call me tomorrow. I'll also have to get some references or see some of his work. This is way too big a job to do it that way. Surely he's been in business long enough to know that!

In the meantime also today I called Curtis Wright, the level people. He and his son are gone for the week. I kept calling back trying to talk to the foreman. Finally I did at 5:00 - Frank. At first Frank said they couldn't be responsible for what Larry Layfield did. We chatted. I told him Jr. - or Bubba -- had said he would discount for me to have them level me again; so I wanted to see if that offer was still good. It's now $350 regular where when I first got back after the storm, it was $400. After I finished my woeful tale of the whole leveling fiasco, he felt bad for me, knew it was wrong that they had left me hanging and took the initiative and said he would get somebody out here this week, hopefully tomorrow, and at no charge. He knew the Wrights and the Layfields had not done right by me. I think we talked about 45 minutes!

In the course of this conversation, I told him I was in the process of wanting new cabinets and needed to be level - did he know of any good carpenters? Yes, he said, his cousin's husband who had done work for him and gave me his phone number. So, I called him and he will come out tomorrow afternoon, after 3:00, and make a bid. He prefers to custom build and said it will be about the same for him to custom build than to buy them and pay labor to have them placed. I highly doubt that! But I'll listen to what he has to say just in case. At least I may pick up a pointer or two.

My gosh, if I were not having to watch dollars, I could spend $20-30,000 in a heartbeat on this project!

I found some pictures from '03. The quality is really awful but maybe it will give you an idea.

The last picture is when I tried moving the fridge to the other wall. It is now back where it's supposed to be, right beside the stove. Where it is in this picture is where I want to put the stove and wall up the kitchen from the l.r.

Somehow I'm going to achieve this if I have to do it myself!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Kitchen Design - Done!

What a fun and nifty little Kitchen Design program on the Bobvila page. It took some getting used to, and I won't claim everything is perfect, but it's good enough to show whatever carpenter I hire exactly what I want. The program is limited on some things, so just a little imagination is necessary, but not too much. I've now expanded my lay efforts to kitchen design! :)
Here are some screen shots.

This full length wall will have to be constructed; and the door will be a pocket door.

At present that wall is a bar where the table in the diagram is, then an opening of about 6 feet, and then 6 feet of wall, with the refrigerator in the corner on the front wall facing into the room, where the corner cabinet is in the diagram.

The table and chairs in the nook I'm hoping to be a dining booth whereas the half wall represents the back of the booth bench. I guess that's the only iffy thing, if I have a booth made or try to find a proper table and chairs and do it as diagrammed. It's not a lot of chair sliding room; so I might have to do the booth idea.

I'm addicted to TV being on all the time; and at first I thought about having an opening over table where I could sit there and see the big TV in the living room, maybe put shutters in the opening when I wanted it closed off. But because I really want my kitchen to feel like a "real" kitchen away from the living room, I'm pretty sure I'll have a whole wall there and find a place to put a small TV somewhere.

The stove is presently next to the sink; so it's getting moved to be against the new wall. The overhead ceiling light in the diagram will be a ceiling fan probably.

The dishwasher will stay in the same place, though mine is black where the program didn't have a black one. The little cabinet to the right of the door, which is the entry to my office, is now a narrow pantry, but for continuity, I want the top and bottom cabinets throughout. The door in front of that cabinet on the offset wall goes into my utility room and outside.

There is now a built-in china cabinet on the wall where I'm moving the refrigerator and finishing out the wall with a base and wall cabinets.

The only other thing is the program only has flat ceilings, where I have a cathedral ceiling. Whether the carpenter will leave it open above the cabinets or use molding somehow to trim it out is not yet decided.

I do have to see about leveling. So, as much as I don't want to, I guess I'll call Curtis Wright back and see if they'll still come redo my level for a nominal fee. I hope Mr. Jones will give me a good price to do all this. But I'm so excited!!

So, whaddaya think of my plan?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Kitchen - oh, boy...

Mr. Jones was here a few minutes late, but he called; so it wasn't by much. He was fully equipped with paper pad and pencil and tape measure. Asked detailed questions of how did I want this or that, things that I hadn't quite worked out the details on and had to make some quick decisions. He wasn't interested in offering any design advice, but would tell me if I was trying to put something somewhere it wouldn't fit. He didn't give the impression that he's a real big company, and even commented on how slow his life is usually as compared to now, post-Rita. But I suppose he'll be okay. He left with his paperwork and measurements in hand and said he would call me in a couple of days when he gets a bid worked out.

He left right at 11:00 and then Bob called asking for directions and was soon here. He brought his wife, Diane, with him, which was good considering how I met him - at Lowe's looking at cabinets. Now, this guy is something else. He sat there and drank coffee, had no tape measure, and listened to my ideas and commented about how this is done and so forth. He made sure I knew he was extremely good at what he does! There is absolutely no quivering in his opinion of his own abilities. Even his wife wanted to tone him down a bit. Anyway, they have moved here from Waco, planning to live here a few years, bought a building to serve as business and home up in Silsbee. Once we finished going through the long details of what I wanted, wall for wall, he threw out numbers on some paper that I furnished him, $1,000 for labor to put in the cabinets, $1480 to make the walls ready to accept the cabinets (trailers do have really cruddy studs, they're not 2x4s like a normal house), and then $680 for a doorway I thought maybe I would move out about a foot to accommodate a certain design idea. That's $3268.00 and no materials, no cabinets, no countertops or sink or floor or anything else.

He noticed about my level being off and I retorted, "Don't even talk to me about leveling!" He looked at me kind of funny and I told him the story of Layfield and Wright's Mobile Homes being totally incompetent. So, Bob said how I got ripped off, how he knows exactly how you have to do this, how my house will be pulled apart if I don't fix it. How much? $1800! Even his wife choked! I said that was crazy. In Southeast Texas you don't keep a level more than a year if you're lucky anyway. "When I do it you will!" HA! Where have I heard that before.

Then we walked out back and he said he wanted $1800 to put back my patio cover and told me what a shoddy job James did on my roof, that the overhangs were done wrong, et cetera, et cetera. Why do these guys always have to put down everything you have, make you feel like everything you have is total crap and they're the only person who can do it right and proper.

I don't think I'll use him. He might be God's gift to carpenters, but he's too cocky and didn't even bother to calculate anything, just grabbed numbers out of the air. She said she would talk to him to get prices better for me and call me back about dark. I haven't heard from her yet. I did ask her while they were here if they had references that would confirm he's as good as he says he is. Somehow the conversation got diverted and she didn't quite answer.

So, I called Mr. Jones back, left a message on the answering machine that I had altered the plan for moving that door and I wanted to discuss the leveling. Granted, the leveling really needs to be done. The little cabinets in my office are shimmed up in the back to make them level. So, it's pretty obvious that the cabinets would have to be shifted and shimmed to get them right, as well.

All afternoon I've been playing with a floor plan on BobVila.com that let's you draw in your walls and your cabinets and appliances and do very limited atering of colors and things. My kitchen is so complicated. It's not a basic square. The opposing walls don't match up, and it's a dreadful plan - correction - there is no plan. It's like it was an afterthough - "Oh, we need to stick a kitchen in here somewhere." I haven't got a good handle on manipulating the little program where it looks like it was done by an adult, but I suppose it's better than 'nuthin to try to get a visual. I think Lowe's can plug all this into a computer. So, I think I'll go back and try to get a definite quote from them.

I finally got my job to do, which I'll do it tomorrow. Last night I watch The Ring. It's a halfway decent ghost movie. I think I'd like to see The Ring Two sometime, if I ever get around to getting it.