Door to Door Part III

A couple of years ago I wrote about some interesting situations regarding door to door salespeople. I wrote about how some are kinda stupid, I wrote about how some are kinda scary (Part I), and how some are downright psychotic (Part II).

I don’t remember if I ever wrote about the time we were almost suckered into buying $14,000 windows? If I did I can’t find that post. So the short story version is, at our previous house we had aluminum windows and we were caught in the right mood by some door to door window salesmen who wanted to sell us triple-paned windows and promised to save 60% off our heating and cooling costs the first month, or they’d pay our electricity bill for a year. They also offered us a $100 gift card for a local gas station and I figured it was worth sitting through a presentation for that alone, and besides, the deal they had sounded pretty awesome. So, we sat through the extremely pushy THREE HOUR presentation. We even got to bang on their sample windows with rocks to see for ourselves how unbreakable they were. We were so impressed we wrote them a check for $100 for ‘good faith’ and signed our life away. It wasn’t until the next day that I got an extreme case of buyer’s remorse and went into full panic mode: we just agreed to pay over 14 THOUSAND dollars … for windows. Stupid much?

I called our electric company and asked them about the windows, and if they heard of this company and if they thought new windows would really knock 60% off our bill. She laughed. It was a kind, sympathetic laugh, but still, she laughed. I felt pretty darn stupid. She explained that we don’t live in Alaska and don’t need triple-paned windows, and they can agree to pay our bill for a year because they are charging us about 11 grand over what it should cost to replace our windows. We canceled the deal and got our check back, pronto. (We got to keep the $100 gas card.)

So in a nutshell, between that experience, and others (including falling for a scam involving a “poor, broke student trying to go on a school trip so buy this magazine subscription” we never got), I’m pretty against door to door salesman. I just can’t trust them!

It’s spring. And apparently spring means the door to door salesmen come out of the woodwork. Yesterday morning this guy knocked on my door:
Eric Doyle, puppet master from Heroes

No really. It was HIM! OK, fine if it wasn’t actually Eric Doyle, the puppet master from Heroes, it was his twin brother! He was dressed in a 70’s brown suit, and holding a pamphlet that said, “JESUS LOVES YOU”. I could see all this through the blinds in the window that faces the porch. I chose not to open the door.

Do you blame me? PUPPET MASTER from Heroes? SCARY!

I just pretended no one was home and as soon as he walked away I locked our security screen.

Yesterday while I was out with Melissa, Jack said some random guy wanting to sell us steaks came by. This isn’t a new one. We’ve had these guys come by before. I just LOL because seriously? Who’s going to accept RAW MEAT from some random stranger who knocks on your door? Well, obviously some people do or the steak guys wouldn’t be around still. To those people, I just bow to your braveness.

This morning my doorbell rings (sending my three rabid Cujo dogs into a frenzy) and when I peeked through the windows, it was some guy with a clipboard. This immediately reminds me of the time an insurance guy came knocking (with a clipboard) and I told him NOT INTERESTED and shut the door in his face, only to hear him say through the door, “but ma’am? I’m not a salesperson, I need to ask you about a car break-in that happened to your neighbor”.

I was so embarrassed.

Danny Devito

So today I opened the door to the guy with the clipboard, and it’s another heavy-set bald guy, but this one looked more like Danny Devito than Eric Doyle the puppet master from Heroes. Unfortunately he wasn’t here to talk about car break-ins. He wanted to talk about my finances. LeSigh. I LOL’d at him then shut the door. I know, I’m mean. But I can’t help it. He did look like Danny Devito, though!

That really should be the end of this post. But it’s not. I wish it was, but.. it’s not. Because you’re not going to believe who rang my doorbell only 3 minutes after my beloved, adorable, and oh-so-vulnerable children got off the school bus today.

Charles "Chuckie" Crandall Finster

That’s right, Charles “Chuckie” Crandall Finster, the non-cartoon, grown-up, seemingly stoned and turned surfer-dude version rang my doorbell. (Seriously? CHUCKIE? From The Rugrats??)

And he had a clipboard.

DAMN THE CLIPBOARDS.

He muttered, “aw, hi ma’am. Ah am in the NAY–ber-hood… and like… we are having this totally tubular (he really said ‘awesome’) deal on new windows… and uh, like, I was just wondering… ”

I don’t know what he said after that. Cause I LOL’d again and exclaimed “NOT INTERESTED” and shut the door IN HIS FACE.

Then I threw up my hands and demanded to know why FOUR! FOUR solicitors have been at my house in two days?!

It’s definitely time to get that “NO SOLICITORS” sign–dripping with blood for added effect–hung up on our house with a picture of my three rabid cujo dogs.

And clipboards be damned: I’m not falling for it anymore.

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The one with the flood

Tuesday night last week Cody came running up to me around 3 PM to inform me something “really bad is going on upstairs” and to come quick. I get upstairs and the bathroom is flooding … from the overflowing toilet Lil Miss decided to NOT tell me about. Lots of screaming for towels from anyone who could move ensued. Unfortunately that included a friend Melissa had over for the first time ever. Yes, I made her run and grab towels too. She also got to hear some choice words come out of my mouth. It was definitely a proud moment in my life. (That’s sarcasm in case you’re wondering). I had to take her home early and apologize to her parents. Fortunately they were understanding.

It was a gross, disgusting, stinky mess. To say the least.

The worst part was after getting all the water sopped up, the floor squished like a sponge UNDER the hardwood floor. I knew right away the day to finally get around to redecorating the “seizure room” had come, whether I wanted it to or not.

I call it the seizure room because the colors in that bathroom were seizure-inducing. The previous owners painted it dark pea soup green. Ceiling and all. It wouldn’t be so bad but the bathroom is on the small side and I thought everyone knew you don’t paint small rooms dark colors, especially the ceiling too! So it basically had a walls-are-closing-in-on-you effect. To make it worse, the vanity was bright turquoise. Bright turquoise and dark pea soup green do NOT mix! Especially in a small bathroom. What were they thinking??

So I’ve always wanted to paint it. And since we had to rip out the floor, and the toilet, and remove the vanity temporarily, now was the time.

Upstairs Bathroom

Here you can kinda see what I’m talking about. The floor was hardwood. The tiles you see in the above picture is what was underneath the hardwood (you can see one section of hardwood left). At least the old flooring made the vanity make sense… they matched. But why are the walls dark pea soup green? WHY?? (The toilet in the bathtub makes me giggle. We are replacing the toilet by the way since it’s part of the problem…)

Jack came home and he and Cody promptly set about tearing up the floor.

bathroom floor being ripped up

The damage went all the way to the base floor. Fortunately it was OK but the subflooring, the layer of old vinyl, and the hardwood had to go. It was a stinky mess. On top of that, whoever built this house didn’t seal anything at all. There was NOTHING to stop any sort of water damage. As such, the flooding caused water damage to the ceiling in our office and lord knows where else in the void. 😦

Friday night Jack’s brother and father came over and helped him put the new flooring in. They were at it till after midnight! Instead of cheap press board subfloor like what was there originally, Jack went with a thicker, stronger plywood. And fake “hardwood” over that. One large piece of vinyl that looks like hardwood but will be much more water resistant. Surprisingly, it’s very realistic looking. And everything is sealed properly against future water damage. It’s the kid’s bathroom so you know there’s going to be water on the floor!

new bathroom floor

The white area there is what’s behind the vanity… and yes there’s water damage there too from when Kevin flooded the sink.. At least that was just water. But it dripped down into the office then too. Our poor office!!!

Since we had the vanity and the toilet out and the new floor in, we (mostly I) set out to painting but only after a full day of applying primer. LOTS and LOTS of primer. I chose a light green to compliment the vanity since we can’t really afford to replace it and there’s nothing technically wrong with the vanity. It’s just got a turquoise counter-top. The bathroom will have an ocean theme. I have fishy wall hangings and Finding Nemo wall stickers (it IS the kids bathroom after all).

Unless you really hate fish and/or the ocean, it shouldn’t induce seizures anymore. I’ll post pictures when it’s done.

P.S. The title idea is from Friends.

"I got hot!"

Remember that old TV commercial for AM-PM where the guy is sitting on the sidewalk in a T-shirt and shorts, gnawing on a hot dog with a big drink in his other hand, and his girlfriend walks up to him, crosses her arms and says, “I thought you went jogging?”. The guy replies, “I got HOT!” She rolls her eyes and says, “In THREE blocks?”

Jack and I are prone to repeating catchy phrases from movies and commercials. Like the one from Disney’s Tarzan, “Mom! Is this water sanitary? It looks questionable to me!” The AM-PM commercial is not an exception. We’ve been mimicking it since the first time we saw it whenever it’s hot.

“I got HOT!”

It’s all I could think about last night as I was attempting to sleep in the oven we call our bedroom.

"I got hot!"

I swear Jack was thrashing about trying to get cooled off, and he swears it was me throwing sheets around and flip flopping all over the place. I’m pretty sure it was him, though. I dozed a few times and dreamed he was wrestling a llama at the zoo that was trying to escape… I’m just sayin’…

At 2 AM I came downstairs where it was nice and cool and guzzled 68 gallons of water. The wall of heat hit me half way back up the stairs and I knew there was no way I was going to sleep. So I grabbed Jack and we slept on the couch where it was nice and cool.

We’re in the middle of a rare heat wave and it’s just not pretty. I went to go get Kevin today at his girlfriend’s and it was so hot in the car that it physically hurt my skin to be in it and there was no way I could wait for the A/C to cool it down. I had to get out and let it cool off without me. It’s pretty bad when you step out of a hot car and into 100°F degrees outside and feel BETTER! It also didn’t help that when I started the car, the little temperature readout said 110°. Once the A/C kicked in and cooled off the car, the temperature guage fluctuated between 103° and 104°. It supposedly measures the temperature outside so I’m not sure why it read 110°.

Right now the official temperature is 101.2 °F. Triple digits are just too damn hot. We decided today since the whole family is going to camp out downstairs where there is a window A/C unit, we’d buy one more for the living room and office area. The big A/C unit we have in the kitchen/nook/family room is going a great job, but it only keeps the office/living room area (where I work from) bearable.

I called Home Depot first. As always I got a friendly sales person on the phone within seconds of choosing the appliance department who answered all my questions, even when I asked how big the unit I wanted was (it’s going into a small window). She happily went and found a unit and read the measurements off the box for me. She added that we should buy it today as they were flying off the shelf.

I also called Lowe’s after that but true to form, they couldn’t get anyone to answer the call in that department. The call got routed back to the main desk three times… where the lady answering sounded annoyed at ME that no one was answering my call and she’d have to page someone. I sat on hold for ten minutes before hanging up. They lost yet another sale to their competitor because their customer service sucks so damn much. (Normally we’d drive to both to compare ourselves but we’re trying to limit driving time during this heat..)

While at Home Depot, they had a big heat pump model near the air conditioners and a salesmen posted behind it. He tried to convince me to buy one. He claimed it’d save me hundreds of dollars a year.

I don’t buy it. (pun intended)

First of all, why would I pay THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on a heat pump that would provide me A/C for less than 2 months out of the year that it’s actually needed here, to cool off my entire house when the entire family spends the majority of the time downstairs? Sure it’d be nice to have the upstairs cooled all the time for the one, maybe two, trips a day I take up there. Or maybe if the kids wanted to play up there, but they rarely do. They’d rather be with the rest of us or outside in the summer. So it’s a complete waste otherwise. I have a perfectly good working natural gas furnace that has never cost more than $100 in a month during the dead of winter to heat this house.

Second, at night it always cools off here. Who needs A/C then when you can just open the windows, get your ceiling fans going, and things cool off quickly? Rarely does it stay hot at night around here.

Well this week it will be hot even at night. So we’ll sleep downstairs and save ourselves thousands of dollars on a luxury we only NEED once or twice a year… if that.

P.S. Lowe’s sucks.

Owning a home is fun – most of the time

Over a year ago we replaced the awful vertical blinds that came with this house with a nice patio curtain. We chose a decorative rod to hang the curtain on. Unfortunately it didn’t work out so well. We had to hang the rod too high and since the area is so high traffic, the curtain kept falling off the hooks or the hooks would jump off the rod. It was annoying!

On top of that the owners before us painted around the rod that was was used for the vertical blinds so when we removed that rod, there was white paint squares under it. It was fugly! We knew there was a lot of paint in the garage left by the previous owners so we figured we’d get around to painting over it.

Fast forward to this year, not only had we not gotten around to painting over the ugly white spots, the middle support in the rod had broken. So last weekend we decided to replace the decorative rod with a standard traverse rod… and in the process finally get around to painting. Jack got the rod down then brought me some paint from the garage he swore matched the wall.

What was supposed to be a quick curtain rod switch and a little touch-up painted turned into a huge ordeal.

I did a quick test spot and thought it looked darker. Jack insisted that was normal and it’d blend in when it dried. I took his word for it and not only painted over the white spots (after he applied spackle) but I touched up areas that needed it. Biggest bonehead move by the two of us EVER. Look what happened:

008

Jack kept assuring me it’d blend it and to give it a few hours. After it was mostly dry he installed the traverse rod… despite my being skeptical and fretting about it. For the rest of the day I obsessed on it telling him I didn’t think it was going to blend. He kept telling me to stop worrying. Sunday morning I woke up and ran downstairs hoping to find that it did magically dry the right color and would be blended in. No luck.

Then I took a good hard look at the wall, and the bay window wall and to my horror realized they were two different colors.

003

Call us the two most unobservant people in world. We had never noticed our nook/bay window area and family room is not one, not two, but THREE different shades of green. THREE. In the picture above is looks glaringly obvious, but trust me, it’s not. Not unless you really take a look. Here’s another shade:

004

The sage/green colors obviously blend nicely and look fine, but was it necessary for the previous owners to use that many shades in one room? We went through every paint in the garage and not a single one matched the wall the patio door was on. We had to cut out a piece out of the paint and take it to Home Depot to have it matched. To be safe I painted the whole damn wall instead of just patching. Two coats even.

The bright side: That wall has never looked better.

011

Now to find just the right valance to cover up the ugly traverse rod. Anyone have any ideas? I was thinking about going with a wood, or faux wood one painted black.

That same day, Jack’s dad, brother, sister-in-law, and our nephews came as well and helped us (Jack actually – I was busy painting) fix our leaky outdoor faucet on the front of the house. THAT was another ordeal. The had to break our house to get to the darn faucet due to poor design. But it’s fixed with a way better one and you can’t even tell where they had to tear stuff off the house to get to it.

I love our home but sometimes being a homeowner can be a royal pain. Especially if you’re the two most unobservant people on the planet… 😉

The Arsenal

There’s been some questions about how much I really did exaggerate in my post yesterday, War has been declared. I offer you some evidence in the form of photos. After viewing the evidence, you can judge for yourself just how much truth bending occurred yesterday.

Here’s your first photo evidence. This is only part of their arsenal. See the books? I’d like to think my kids are super interested in their education, but those big heavy books make great anchors for their blanket/clothing forts. Also, if you look closely, you’ll catch a glimpse of our youngest soldier.

Nerf Dart Gun Arsenal, that includes the Machine Gun (aka The Vulcan)

Nerf Dart Gun Arsenal, that includes the "Machine Gun" (aka The Vulcan)

While not pictured, Kayla was the target.

Shooting Kayla as she arrived

Shooting Kayla as she arrived

This machine gun is almost as big as Cody.

This "machine gun" is almost as big as Cody.

Note the man on the floor, the dart sticking out of his forehead, the ottoman on its side, the blanket over the couch and ottoman, and the pile of blankets and pillows on the floor.

Note the man on the floor, the dart sticking out of his forehead, the ottoman on its side, the blanket over the couch and ottoman, and the pile of blankets and pillows on the floor.

I rest my case.

Things never work out like you expect

Stupid JCPenney. So we got the curtain. And it’s freakin’ YELLOW. Those who know me know how that’s going over right now. I freakin’ HATE HATE HATE yellow.

Ugly Yellow Curtain I ordered this from a picture online and in their catalog. It’s off-white on my screen. Not LEMON yellow. The description said “creamy vanilla”. And while some vanilla is yellow, I think of off-white, not yellow when I think of vanilla. They also had a ‘gold’ version and when comparing the swatches (online and in the catalog) the creamy vanilla one definitely did NOT look yellow.

We aren’t even going to try to make it work. We held it up to the window and as the sun shown through it and it turned a ghastly lemon yellow I might have thrown up a bit in my mouth. (Not really, and I actually hate that phrase, lol). But now I get it. The yellow just doesn’t come through in pictures. This is a picture I took of it and it doesn’t look anywhere near as yellow as it really is.

We did get a PlayStation3 and Rock Band. I was overruled. All these boys… they won the battle. We also finally got the Bose home theater sound system I’ve been wanting for 900 years. (Well, the one I really want is true surround sound… and only costs $1999.99…) The one we got is pretty kick-ass though.

New TV Stand and PS3 We got a new TV stand that allows us to mount the TV up a bit. We then moved furniture around yesterday, putting our entertainment center back together in the living room. We then decided to watch a movie with our new sound system (Casino Royal in Blu-ray that our Friend Derrick brought over… it was just OK) and finally hit the hay at 4:30 AM this morning. I don’t DO 4:30 AM anymore. I’m feeling it now: hung over. Which is odd since I didn’t drink anything but water last night. I know I slept good and didn’t move a muscle as if I was sleeping on a memory foam mattress… but the kids woke us up at 9AM.

Overall I’m pleased with our new stuff and it’s just the curtain I hate. Not enough sleep = cranky parents, though. Jack and I are trying to not be bitchy at each other as we put our house back together and deal with missing pieces of our entertainment center and curtains that are puke-yellow. Hopefully we’ll make it through the day without kicking each other.

Yay for sunny days!

Today
Partly sunny. Highs 65 to 70. East wind 5 to 10 mph shifting to the southeast in the afternoon.

That’s the forecast today. After the rain, hail, and even snow we’ve had for the past two weeks, I’m definitely ready for a nice day. We can get the lawn mowed, do some yard work and just enjoy being outside.

Last weekend we went shopping at JCPenney and almost took Jeff’s advise of running through the store with chocolate ice cream as pay back for them leaving an ink-filled control tag on one of the items we purchased.

Should we run through JCPenney with Ice Cream? But we were good. We ate the ice cream outside the store. And Jack managed to get the tag off on his own anyway without ruining the pants. (I couldn’t find the receipt before we went to JCP but did find it later that night. Go figure.)

The patio curtain we ordered has arrived so we’ll be picking that up and installing it today. It better work out! I am not confident the old lady working the drapery department understood exactly what we needed. She insisted this would work. So we’ll see.

Since we got a refund from the IRS this year we’re going to look into finalizing our home theater ideas. We have the wide screen TV. And while at JCP last weekend we picked up a beautiful painting to go above our couch in the family room. Now we just need the sound system, maybe some home theater sconces to go with the painting, and a High Def DVD player. Jack and the kids also want a new gaming console… either an XBox360 or a PlayStation3. I don’t want either but Jack says getting one of those kills two birds with one stone as either of them will play DVDs in high definition (or blueray or whatever is popular this week). I can’t believe they want yet another gaming console. Boys and their toys…