Not the Saturday I had in mind.


The day up, agreed upon in advance, was a hell of a lot of home-owning-errandy-work stuff. Not a thrilling time, but the sort of stuff that gives one a sense of accomplishment afterwards. We’d get that done and then enjoy the evening.

First it was the ceiling fan. This entailed dealing with the light fixture, an ugly and cheap thing whose removal from the ceiling also caused the paint to come up in two spots. The existing electrical box was poorly installed and nothing at all like what we saw in the diagrams in the instruction booklet or in any number of sites on line that purport to help (I’m not linking to any of them, they don’t deserve it).

After admitting defeat on the fan, we called the Large Open Warehouse of Essential homeowner Stuff and arranged for an installation. Or, rather, we started the process only to be told we’d have to come in to sign the paperwork. Fine. Now we assembled the bed. The previous bed did not survive the move well and was prone to rocking, creaking, and cracking.

The bed was not difficult, nor was it irritating. It just took a long time. About three hours in total. The old bed (and our mattress) spent the afternoon in the garden, enjoying the sun and lovely breeze. We moved the mattress back in, vacuumed it, wrangled it back into its cover, and enjoyed a bed that did not threaten to split or collapse. The old frame was moved to the curb with a sign that said FREE NEEDS WORK.

Now tired and sore, we needed food. A congratulatory burger? Excellent! But first we must deal with the Large Open Warehouse of Essential homeowner Stuff. Here I’ll offer a simple summary: it took 45 minutes to sign and pay for installation of a fan. I don’t know why.

Now for that burger! We saw a parking spot right by the door, pulled in, and immediately witnessed a suburban dad shove a homeless guy in the alley in front of us. The homeless man stumbled a few steps before the dad threw him to the ground, right in front of our car. I called 911 to report what was going on, and got out of the car to get suburban dad’s vehicle information (since he heroically jumped in his pickup truck and sped away). Yongi was talking to the homeless man and then told me to get in the car. Apparently the guy had threatened to kill him, and informed him that “some shit was goin’ down.” I was still on the phone with 911, giving them a play by play of the action even as it made less and less sense.

OK, burger attempt #2. There’s a decent place down the street and around the corner. We park and see there’s live music tonight. At this point I could weep. A police officer calls me back and asks for more details on the rampaging homeless man. Immediately after he hangs up, the homeless man starts ambling across the parking lot. I try to call the police back but get the main number, am shunted to the non-emergency line and then shunted back to 911. I can’t just give an update, they want the whole miserable thing retold.

We leave, seeking food as far from this area as we can manage. I order something entirely not a burger.

Did I mention that we originally had plans for the evening? Wonderful plans? Totally crushed and abandoned plans? No, it really didn’t matter at that point anyway.

post script: On Sunday we get a call regarding the fan installation. The installer is on vacation and won’t call until Friday at the earliest. There’s no one else who can do it, and we should call if this is a problem. Yongi tells me to take a deep breath and not call just that minute. On the plus side, the gaping hole and wires sprouting from the bedroom ceiling sort of look like a stingray.

  1. #1 by flygrrl on October 15, 2007 - 3:09 pm

    That sucks. Rule of thumb is that homeowner-type projects will ALWAYS take 3x as long as you had planned on. Now you understand why contractors are never finished when they say they will be. Not that I have much sympathy, because they of all people should know. The homeless guy thing sounds fairly terrifying. You’ll probably never hear what happened though…

  2. #2 by yongi on October 15, 2007 - 4:00 pm

    And on the double-plus side, the hole in the ceiling replete w/ protruding wires should cure us of that nostalgia we were feeling about our former, rented, abode. What? You weren’t feeling nostalgic? I was :)

  3. #3 by Lono on October 15, 2007 - 4:32 pm

    Yikes!!! Sounds like Austin allright!

    (now who’s being nostalgic ;-)

    Cripes! – that 3x estimate sounds about right – that’s why I’ve saved a whole ton of time simply skipping the home improvement projects… :-p

    Cue house collapsing in 4…3…2…

  4. #4 by patita on October 15, 2007 - 4:40 pm

    I can understand things taking longer, and I’m 100% OK with the bed. It’s the damn fan that gets me. Or rather, that hiring someone else took more time that potentially doing it ourselves.

    Yongi, if you make a hole in the bathroom to match the gaping void from the old house I am going to start living in the attic. If I’m living in the attic, I’ll put the fan in by myself!

  5. #5 by yongi on October 26, 2007 - 1:59 pm

    No holes in the bathroom wall, I promise. Just backed up main sewer lines. But that, of course, is a subject for a new Patita post! :)

  6. #6 by dxlifer on October 29, 2007 - 11:52 am

    Hmmm, you should have let me know. Mr. here is a handyman and has redone light fixtures and fans all over in here. The ceiling electrical boxes are old wiring and not the same as new fixtures but they are easily melded by knowing which wire. Or maybe you have one of those fancy go up and around and all from one switch. That would get complicated. Watch out for the installer as I had one put in by an elictrician and he left me for months before I found out he’s left some constant trickle to the back light on the blind side of the house.
    You did watch that movie “The Money Pit” didn’t you?
    /returns to ripping up broadloom.

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