Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Things are coming along!

Even though I didn't actually complete any projects today, I suddenly feel like I jumped ahead a few steps in the renovation. First, and this is a little silly, but I came to the realization, though of course we all already knew this, that I'm a general contractor. A project manager! The queen of my domain! People come to my house when I tell them to and do what I want them to do to create what I dream of in my homeowner's imagination! (cackle!)

I had two more contractors over today. One is my gate guy, who told me my window sills are rotten because the idiot who used to own my house used non-pressure treated wood for them. So, there's a few more hundred bucks. But, I will have gates on my doors on Friday! I'll have access to my backyard!

Then my second guy came over and told me I couldn't tear the back chimney down (the masonry is in terrible shape on the roof, and the rest of the chimney just takes up space down through the house), because it seems to be physically intertwined with my neighbors, so I risk messing up the nice relationship I have with her so far (she raked my leaves last week, how nice!). So I had to do some fast thinking on my feet about where my fridge was going to go, then realized I tore down part of closet for no reason, and told my contractors to take a chainsaw to my crappy kitchen counter instead. They'll also be rerouting some venting to the roof, something that my loan is actually paying for.

They'll be back later this month to put some insulation in the attic crawl space. If anyone has any knowledge of how much something like that costs, let me know.

Then Brian told me his friend owns a dump truck and that in DC, city license holders can dump for free, so he's going to join me Saturday for some good ol' fashion junk haulin' fun. To save me $250.

After my contractors left, Nick dropped by the house (aren't student friends available during the day great?) and drove me to Silver Spring to the one place on the face of the earth that fixes windows. Thank god.

So things are moving along. Even though none of the projects are really done yet, it seems like things are moving along swiftly. I can almost taste the renovation results!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Today in: Ultimate Stressout!

I did that thing today that everyone wants to do but never gets around to because the mere thought makes most people's chests tighten with anxiety: I called my credit cards to negotiate my rates down.

As I mentioned before, I paid off one of my cards, so I'm in a good position to move things around, cancel cards if I have to, etc. You know, leverage.

Oh ho ho! The naivete! Leverage! Leverage doesn't exist when you're a meaningless 16 digit number easily replaced by 10 college kids looking for a way to go to Cancun over Christmas break. I called 2 of my 3 cards. Both conversations went exactly like this:

Me: "Hi, I'm a long-time customer. I'd like my rates lowered or I'll take my business elsewhere."
Customer Service Cockblocker Rep: "We review all our accounts periodically to see if you're eligible for any of our offers and...let's see...our system says you don't have any offers at the moment."
Me: "Well I have some better offers on the table, how about we talk about lowering it to [a lower rate]?"
CCR: "You don't have any offers."
Me: "Okay then, I guess I'm canceling my card..."
CCR: "Okay. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

WTF is that? They wouldn't even PRETEND to negotiate with me, and gave not one little tiny shit about whether I stayed on as a customer. Actually, both conversations didn't go exactly like that. The first one went on this babbling, condescending tirade about how "other offers" aren't always what they seem to be. She went on for so long, with me trying to get a word in edgewise, oh, perhaps about how she could at least try to assume I'm a somewhat educated person and not in need of credit counseling from The Man trying to "explain" how credit cards sucker you, but she kept going on for SO LONG without a breath I finally had to yell into the phone. She acted surprised and I told her I just wanted to SPEAK for a minute. So I did, and when I was finished, there was silence on the other end. And more silence, until I said, "Hello?" And she said, like the petulant bitch she was quickly turning out to be, "You said you wanted to talk, so I let you talk."

Believe me, if it were possible to wring someone's bitch-ass neck through a phone line, it would have happened right then. Let me talk. Whore!

So, eff that noise. I found a good deal on a credit card today and am looking forward to sending those other creditors the middle finger, xeroxed and included with my "transfer of all funds" notice.

Just to cap that fun off, I called Washington Gas to inquire why my house still wasn't hooked up even though I submitted their online "Begin Service" application two weeks ago. The lady over the phone informed me, "I'm sorry we have no record of that." "But I got an email confirmation." "I'm sorry. But I can sign you up now." I think it's safe to note here that this woman was very smart in being overly kind to me, because at that point I was going to start ripping beating hearts out of things.

If that's not enough, between the credit cards and the gas people I'd also called the water service, two window people who don't fix windows, and a junk removal service that's going to charge me $250 for my seller's mistake....so, let's add that up.

It was actually a perfect night to come home and do all the ironing I avoided over the weekend. A little no-brainer activity. Tomorrow I meet with more contractors, wee!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Another from the Thanksgiving Dinner conversation bag.

We had the television on some football games before and after the meal, and at one point I commented about Payton Manning now starring in every single commercial on tv these days. Donna's boyfriend and Matt the Chef, the same two who were appalled by my post-Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, burst into song about poor, poor football players who suffer with low wages because of NFL salary caps (and thus do endorsements for the real cash).

But the passion with which they were up in arms about their pay was a bit much. I get that their careers are often awfully short, but I argued that they know that in advance, and should not get sucked in by the lavish Superstar lifestyle, and allot their financies accordingly, or alternatively, not bitch about it when they blow their knee at 25 and have an $8000 monthly mortgage to pay.

The boys were very adamant that, compared to other sports, football players get screwed. CRY ME A RIVER. Sure, they're not making millions like Kobe, but I still don't get the part where I'm supposed to pity the dude making $200,000 a year because he'll only make it for five years.

Then today I found this. Ha.

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