Friday, February 27, 2009

Stinking Sinking

What does a girl have to do to get a sink that is not defective in some way? Is there some secret plumbers handshake that I don't know? Do I have to give nylons and chocolates to the barely post-pubescent Beavis look-alike at the Home Depot? What?

Shopping for a sink top looked like it was going to be easy. I went to Lowes, found a grey and white marble sink top with a bowl attached. It was in stock and ready to go. I bought that and a vanity and sent Kenny and Dave to pick it up. That shoulda been all she wrote.

When Kenny and Dave got the sink top home they opened the box to find that it was cracked clean down the middle. A perfect bisection. They loaded it back in the truck and took it back to Lowes where they found that all the other stocked versions of that model were similarly divided. True to form, I did not like any other models that they had, so I was back at square one. Later the next night I went on online to the Home Depot website (without expectation of success) and found that they had a similar top in a grey speckled granite that was really quite fetching. My mind was instantly made up and the very next day I went off to pick up my new bathroom buddy. I hit the Depot and found the aforementioned young sink jockey to tell him of my porcelain desires (sorry, for drifting into Romance novel land, I just saw Fabio on TV) . I told him that I wanted the sink top that he had on display in the 49" model, only to find that they don't stock larger than 32". Curses! Foiled again! So I dutifully order the model I needed, got the speech about "takes a week or so to come in. blah blah blah. . " and I walked away sinkless, again.
Cut to one week later and I get the call I have been anticipating from Home Depot. I go off to work and Dave arranges to go with Kenny that evening to pick up my vessel. Being the Friday bight before a big weekend project at work, I stayed a little late to make sure I had things lined up for the morning. By the time I had a moment to call home and let everyone know my whereabouts, it was ten to seven. I got my son on the phone and cut right to business - "Where's Daddy?" I asked. "He's not here." Fair enough. "Where is your sister?" to which he replied that she was home with him, along with his friend Stevo. I took a beat to digest what I had just heard. I began doing child math in my head Joey + Stevo + Sophia = cop cars waiting for me when I get home. "Is your father on crack?" I screeched. My dear 12 year old son had the good sense to reply "Apparently so" . We have NEVER left Joey and Sophia alone together, no less with a friend. They are a pair more combustible than gasoline and a match. It's one of those things that you should never do. It's like asking the cast of Star Trek to record an album. Have you heard Leonard Nimoy's version of "If I had a Hammer"? Nuff said.
I immediately called Dave on his cell phone to find out exactly when he checked out mentally, only to find that they weren't even at Home Depot yet. They had been stuck at a malfunctioning traffic light for 20 minutes and their patience was worn out. I put on my best harpie voice and began giving Dave in a piece of my mind about leaving the kids only to have my words drowned out by the sound of Kenny yelling across to the lady in the lane next to him. They were making plans to jump the light. He was saying something like "Follow me to freedom" After that it was all revving engines and "I gotta go." Whatevs. It was too late for me to do anything about it but complain. I was trying to finish up at work, so I went back to what I was doing only to have the phone ring five minutes later. It was Dave again, attempting to explain the numerous imperfections they found in the granite sink top. There were big white spots in the grain that looked like like five big toothpaste splotches that you couldn't wipe off. Hell, if I'm going to have a sink that looks like it's covered in spittle, I'd damn well better be the one doing the spittleing. They e-mailed me the picture and we agreed that it would be best if I could go over to Home Depot in the AM to inspect it. I can already tell you that I am going to want a new one. He said that people were passing by and commenting on how beautiful it was then doing a double take and going "What's that white stuff?" Not a good sign. I have to work at 7:00 am tomorrow, so I will be at Home Depot beforehand. Nothing like a 6:00 am run to Home Depot to alert the senses. Maybe orange pinny Beavis will be waiting at the door for me on his trusty steed, holding out a hot cup of coffee and a piece of toast slathered in I Can't Believe it's Not Butter.

PS. When Dave got home he found out that Joey had thrown a metal necklace toward his bed and it landed on a plug that was half in/half out of the wall, causing sparks to commence in a dazzling pyrotechnic display. I need to share with my dear husband the wise and haunting words of the one and only Miss Whitney Houston - "Crack is wack"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Can you hear me now? Can you hear me SCREAMING now?

There was something that I said early in this blog about pain+time equaling comedy, but I guess there must be some ratio of pain to time that makes the funny. This next story happened about a week and a half ago and I still find it difficult to laugh about it. However, in discussing this blog with Kenny and my husband last night, I was told that I left out all the "good stuff", so the next couple of entries will go back in time before going to the big reveal of the redesigned bathroom.

It had been a typically long and difficult day at work, but I managed to get out of the office before 7:00 PM. I was happy to be on my way home and I knew that lots of work had been completed on the bathroom and I was anxious to see it. I had just left the parking lot of work and was stopped at a light, so I called home to see what they wanted me to bring home for dinner. When my son answered the phone I could immediately tell by his voice that something bad had happened. I asked him where his dad was and he said 7-11. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that he had used the toilet in his bathroom and clogged it up. This was no big deal, it happened all the time. So why was he so upset? Wait for it. . . ""I clogged the toilet and it backed up into the new bathroom. There's raw sewage all over the floor." Here comes the screaming . . . (imagine, if you will, the most shrill sound that you have ever heard. Like some small, woodland rodent caught in a trap)

I immediately tried to call my husband's cell phone. No answer. Where was Kenny's number? Found Kenny's cell in my call history and called him. "Kenny," I inquired in the most composed voice I could muster "what happened in the bathroom? Joey told me that there was raw sewage all over the floor." Kenny immediately started laughing. My nerve endings were frayed to the point that I was shaking, so I was not feeling appreciative of his good humor. As it turned out, this was the day that they poured the self-leveling cement around the toilet in the new bathroom. Seems the floor is unlevel and the porcelain tile that I chose really needs a perfectly level floor. Kenny being the perfectionist that he is, used a gray cement that would match the glue and match the grout. This gray cement was thin and more black than gray when wet, and it just happened to be pooled up around and behind the toilet, so when Joey came into the bathroom after clogging the bowl in his bathroom, he was greeted by a soupy black puddle and a contractor with a wicked sense of humor.

After I got the story from Kenny I was bathed in a combination of relief and anger and I immediately burst into tears upon hanging up. Tears gave way to a weird kind of half cry/half laugh and by the time I turned into our development Kenny had let Joey off the hook and I was over it. I thought about posting the audio on the blog because as luck would have it, the entire conversation with Joey was recorded by our answering machine. Just so turns out that I "accidentally" hit the button and erased the message. Also turns out that the next batch of brownies I bake for Joey and Kenny might "accidentally" contain Exlax instead of chocolate. You know the old saying. . . Pain plus eleven hours on the toilet equals comedy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lookie Here

The tile in the shower is almost done and it is coming out gorgeous. I have completely shattered the budget for this bathroom, so I will not be getting shower doors right away. I am in the market for frameless glass doors, so that all of Kenny's beautiful work can be seen, like the decorative element that it really is. Pity to put up a tension rod and curtain in front of such beautiful work, but it's my own fault. One thing that I know for sure, when it comes time to shop for the doors, I will use the time that I have very wisely and I will carefully comparison shop. I think that I got caught up in the rush of everything and being so busy that I probably did not do things as thoughtfully as I could have. Pretty, yes. Practical. . . not so much. I don't even know how to clean oil rubbed bronze. Can I use a cleanser? Will it scratch? Dumbass. But I am a dumbass with a gorgeous shower, so I've got that going for me.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Class Act

As you may have read in my February 7th entry, there was a mix-up at the tile store that resulted in the wrong tile border being ordered. I called them and explained the issue and they realized that they had their tile mislabeled. They offered to airship the correct border from England as there was no tile available in the USA. However, it would take a week to get to me.
For numerous reasons, I could not add that week to the bathroom timeline, so I asked them if they would consider a small refund in the amount of the offered air shipment charges. The salesperson told me that she would discuss it with her manager and get back to me. Honestly, I never expected to get a call back, but two days later there was a message on my machine asking me to call them back. When I did, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they would be refunding me what amounted to about 27% of what I paid for the tile. I was so pleasantly surprised that I actually received good, rational, fair customer service that I almost fell off my chair. Considering that I could barely get sales help to recognize that I was even in the store at other tile places, to get actual service and satisfaction was a welcome change of pace.

The success of a business should not be judged on how much they sell, but on how they handle tricky customer service issues. This situation was handled in a fair and timely manner and I am completely pleased with my entire experience with this company. I strongly recommend Old Country Tile (in Westbury and Port Jefferson) for a great tile shopping experience.

Friday, February 13, 2009

With Kenny You Get Eggroll

I need to start watching the cycles of the moon because something was very weird in our house last week. Dave was in Philadelphia at his home office on business, so it was just me and the kids that day. The fact that he was not here was not weird as he travels on and off throughout the year. What was weird was the phone call that I received at work that morning at 9:15. When I saw the 215 area code coming in I knew it was him, but he NEVER calls from the office, so I was concerned. I picked up the phone to find him giggling on the other end (Now it's getting weird. He's no giggler.) He begins with a question - "Which one was it?" What did that mean? I pressed him to clarify. "OK, I guess you don't know anything about this. I think it's him." OK, I'll bite. " Tell me what it is, and I'll tell you who did it." The story went something like this:

Dave got to the office in Philly and got settled in. He started up his laptop and immediately upon signing in, a flood of instant messages from his coworkers started ringing in. They were oddly vague and they all seemed to be referring to the same thing, though he had no idea what. They said things like -

"Whoa I'd pay to see that!" and "Do you have that on video?" and "Why not just use wax?"

Needless to say, he was more than a little confused and somewhat concerned. So he replied to his friend Yuriy, who shared with Dave that his AIM status message said the following -

"I can't answer your message now, I'm busy shaving my toes."

After I stopped laughing and caught my breath, I informed Dave that it was clearly our nine year old daughter's handywork. Not only was this completely aligned with her offbeat sense of humor, it was a trick that she had been pulling on her brother recently, leaving away messages that embarrassed him to no end. The most recent one was " I'm in the bathroom taking a big poop." The embarrassment threshold of a teenager being what it is, suffice to say that this did not go over well. But wait. . .there's more.

Later that day I got back to my desk from a meeting at 3:45 and the red voicemail light on my phone was not lit. This meant that my son broke a cardinal rule of our house and did not check in when he got off the bus. Livid, I started dialing our house and then his cell phone, only to have it go to voicemail. Anger gave way to fear and my mind started racing around where he could be and why he did not call. At around 4:15 I got a call - "Oh, hey mom, I got your message. I'm at Jack's." "What are you doing at Jack's?" I inquired as he is not to leave the house after school without the express permission of Dave or I. Before I could utter a response, he told me that Kenny took him to Jacks and that I'd need to give Kenny 10 dollars as he borrowed it from Kenny to get Chinese food delivered. What?!

Apparently, Kenny had tried to call me but I was not at my desk, so he got Dave on his cell and got Joey permission to go to Jack's, then he drove him over. I instructed my son that Kenny was at our house to build a bathroom, not be his personal chef and escort service. He swore that he did not ask for the ride, Kenny offered. OK, but what about the Chinese food? Oh, yeah, that was "his bad" he admitted.

That's the way it is with my dear son, people just offer him things and whatever isn't offered is angled ever so subtly. When he was little and I would take him to the office, he would invariably walk out with an armload of toys and candy that people felt compelled to give him. We often refer to him as the mayor or counsellor (as in lawyer) because in our craziest parental fantasies, he uses his powers of persuasion for good. In more realistic moments we realize that he would probably make a better sports agent, and one probably more like Arliss than Jerry Maguire.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Here Cubby, Cubby, Cubby

So have I mentioned lately that Kenny rocks? Whatever I dream up, he executes it flawlessly.

I wanted a set of shelves, cubbies really, kind of like what we had in elementary school to hold our lunchbox and coat. Now that the old motel 6 shower has been sealed off and opened up to the hallway as a linen closet, I needed to find a way to leverage some of that space within the bathroom. My concept was a row of cubbies. Kenny's solution, he built a boxed out unit of slide-in shelves that will run behind the left wall of the shower (See pics). What he did that was really cool was he built them with consideration for the doorknob (which I NEVER would have thought of), so when the door opens, it opens into the headspace of one of the shelves. It's great to have someone think for me. I need to figure out how I can I get that service 24X7.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dot Dot Dot Dit Dit Dit Dot Dot Dot

My tile has arrived! The clouds parted, a choir of angels lifted their voices in song and a pair of white doves descended upon my home to deliver me the most awesome of tile creations.

OK, so it wasn't quite like that. It actually went something more like this -

- I had a miserable time tile shopping

- I finally found something that I loved

- I ordered it and incurred the wrath of Dave as it was way more than he expected.

- I waited two weeks for the tile to come in and then Kenny and Dave went to pick it up.

- I came home in anxious anticipation of seeing my tile to find that they ordered the wrong border.

- I pitched a full-on diva-style hissy fit swearing that I would have someones job if I did not get an overnight shipment of the correct border as this was the one that I clearly told her that I HATED because it looked like Morse Code. Dot! Dot! Dit! Dot!

- I woke up in the morning to Dave leaving for Las Vegas and immediately had a searing case of bitchers remorse.

- I called Dave and apologized for my evil, possessed behavior (not toward him, but near him).

- Ultimately decided to keep the border and count my blessings. All in all, it's still pretty fierce (incorrect configuration or not).

PS. After my first draft of this entry had been saved, Kenny called and offered to go to the tile store and raise holy hell. I politely refused his offer and agreed to call the store myself. They owe me a call back on Monday when the "girl that enters orders" would be on site. If they can airship the tile to my house by Tuesday then I'll change it out or else I will just accept that I can use my tile to send an SOS if I fall in the shower.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Duke of Earl-rubbed bronze



. . . or maybe just plain stupid. Unfortunately for me (and those around me) I am not a very deep thinker. I go on gut, instinct, visceral reaction or whatever you want to call it. As such, some of my decisions, which I make handily, can lead to situations downstream that require more time, money or customization than intended. Such is the case with oil rubbed bronze. I'm no trend watcher, I like what I like regardless of what is in vogue. So what I have envisioned for light fixtures all along is a distressed black metal finish. As I was shopping for bath fixtures I was pleased to find that faucets, shower heads and other bath fittings also come in this type of finish.
It was immediately clear to me that it was what I should do - order all my fixtures in it. Cool looking, old fashioned, works with the subway tile. What more did I need to know?

I started by ordering the light fixtures. They arrived quickly. As soon as they were delivered Dave carted them up to the bathroom where Kenny was working. Kenny took one look at the box and he started laughing. "Oil rubbed bronze?" he asked Dave. "Do you realize that you're going to pay extra for every fixture that you order in that finish?" I was at work, but I swear that at the moment he told this to Dave, I could hear him crying. What do I know? To me it just looked pretty. It was in my minds eye when I envisioned the bathroom.

So we have established that I am impulsive and that I don't think. However, what I know is that it will look perfect. I also know that Dave will never tell me to "just go pick something out" ever again. I have to go now, Dave just ordered the shower fixtures. . . .and he needs a hankie.