Saturday, July 31, 2004

Little Lady

So I have spent this entire week entertaining quotes on the roof. I have done LOTS of research, to the point that I'm thinking about opening my own roofing company. I can talk about ridge vents, step flashing, drip edges and ice shields until your eyes glaze over. My obsession has become so bad that I now drive 10 miles under the speed limit in all residential neighborhoods to observe the roofs. No starter shingles? What were they thinking?! Dear Lord, they should have gone with closed valleys! Architectural shingles would have made a much better statement, ad nauseum. I need help. But I digress.

I have gotten about 10,000 quotes on the roof this week. OK, really only about 9 quotes. I had appointments with 15, but some didn't show up. The point of my diatribe tonight is those contractors who treated me like Barbie. Of course not in looks, was my gender that caused the problem. Here's how it goes: "Well, this is a really big decision. Don't you think you should have your husband here so that we can talk about it?"

HUH?!!?! Let's be real. C. is a busy person (doing a job that is beneath him, but he's supporting us while I'm in school). He doesn't have time to research the benefits of ridge venting, etc. He TRUSTS me to weed out the assholes. He respects my intelligence. This is why we work. So why is it that the contractors can't trust that? C. gets to pick the shingle color. He's good with that. I trust him. So to reiterate: He trusts me to take the research and weed out the bulls&#t and I trust his decorative sense. Where is the problem?

The best was Angel. He was by far the frontrunner yesterday. He was THOROUGH. He talked to me for about 20 minutes to find out what I was looking for. THEN he commented on how much I had done my homework. He spent over a half an hour actually on my roof measuring, inspecting, etc. He climbed into our attics, took pictures, etc. He did things no other contractor had done (ooooh... ahhhh). He took digital pictures of my water damage, he even printed them for me. He diagramed, he charted. I was in love with this man! He even had a sense of humor. At one point he said, " that space is so small that even this little Mexican can't fit there." He was my Dude. Until...he pulled...the "little lady" card.

Apparently his company (at least that was the song and dance he gave me) does not allow him to give a quote to the wife. The Hubby must be present. WHAT??!?! Just give me a friggin number Dude! C. had told Angel when he was here that he knew nothing about this stuff. Honestly C. doesn't care, why should he have to? SO what does Angel say when I told him C. was gone for at least 4 hours (he went to play golf with a friend, Lord help the squirrels!)? "We're in the roof business, not the divorce business." Huh? Kiss my big fat butt Angel. If you won't give me a quote, there are 9 more in front of you who fear me. Fear is good.

Just friggin give me a fair price for a 30 year architectural roof with a ridge vent, replace my existing flashing, reflash my chimneys, give me ice shield where I tell you to, close my valleys, use a drip edge on my hips, install a saddle flashing, step flash my garage roof and use a friggin starter shingle for cryin' put loud. How hard is that?


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

The Icing on the Cake

To top  this day off:  the teeny-bopper kid at the grocery store gave me a Senior Citizen's Discount at the check out.  GRRR!!!!  Little punk.  I'm 30 years too young for that.  The upside is that I saved 5%.  But still....

Singin' In The Rain

Gene Kelly ain't got nothin' on us.  This weekend it rained in the house in a whole new place.  Right in the livingroom.  Apparently it's now traveling down a beam and heading for the back of the house.  We've got enough buckets strategically placed around the room to make us look like a bad episode of  Green Acres.  I'm spending my week getting estimates for a new roof.  It's a crapshoot.  Anyway we go, it's going to be several thousand dollars.  It's just a matter of deciding who to give all of our money to.  Vacation?  What vacation?

So let's tally 2004 up just for fun.  New CV joints on the car we paid off, over 1 grand in tree work, new roof.  Oh yeah, said paid off car is now making these horrifying noises every time I put on the brakes and C.'s truck has needed brakes, shocks and who knows what else for months now.  For our next trick I am betting a sink hole opens up and tears the addition off the back of the house.  Or perhaps that weird burning smell we get occasionally in one of the closets is heralding a complete electrical rewiring job in our future.  The constant backing up of the sink upstairs is just begging for major plumbing work.  Maybe for grins and giggles the furnace will go right before the cold sets in.  And it's only the end of July.

This grown up responsibility crap really stinks.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Let the Games Begin!

I love the Olympics.  The competition, the fan fare and those great commercials.  I think my favorite thing about the games is the "athlete vignettes" - you know the ones.  The inspiring background story about the athlete's run for the gold.  Those are the best.  They've started already on commercials and even the news.   Watching the 11PM news a week or so ago, I caught one of those commercials.  Of course I got a warm fuzzy for the competitor.  Cut back to the news and what do I see?  A story about Marcus Vick, Michael's cousin.  They're big news since they're from the area. 

You're probably heard of the Vicks.  One is a famous NFL quarterback.  He was previously a famous NCAA quarterback at Tech.  So was Marcus.  The news?  He's finally been suspended for yet another arrest.  Drugs, rape...I'm not sure which one this time.  Seems old Marcus is multi-talented.  What IS it with these sports  "super stars?"  They get the world served to them on a platter and they screw it up.   O.J., Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson, ad nauseum.  Why is it that you can take the kid off the streets, but can't always make them a law abiding citizen?  It seems that they think they are untouchable, that the law doesn't apply to them somehow.    That's what makes the stories of the Olympic athletes so inspiring.  They're not common criminals in uniform - at least not now.

In related news, my cousin and his family are in town this week.  His son (the 3rd child of 8 - yes EIGHT!  Who has 8 kids on purpose?  But I digress) is on a basketball team that won the Florida state championship.  So now they're playing in the National Championship.  137 teams, 1 week (it's a select travel league, so some states have more than one team representing them).  It's too cool.  These kids have worked their butts off.  I can't BELIEVE how good the game was that I saw today.  Amazing play.  Tall kids, too.  My cousin's son is 6'2"....oh yeah, and he's TWELVE!  This is the National tournament for teams 12 and under.  Seeing all the kids over 6' was frightening.   What are we feeding kids these days?  It must be all the crap we put in our food.    And here I thought #1 son was big.  I can only hope that these "little" kids (and at 12 they really are just kids, regardless of their talent) have parents who will beat them like a gong to instill some values and a little humility in them.  Lest they turn out like our buddies Marcus, Kobe and the rest of the sorry lot.  Marcus had the world by the proverbial cohones and how did he take advantage of it?  Would you like fries with that?



Monday, July 12, 2004

Till Death Do Us Part

C. & I went to the wedding of an old friend of his on Saturday. Her second marriage actually. It was a very pretty ceremony. Very traditional, though knowing her and her husband, I expected something completely unconventional. Instead it was just very sweet. I love weddings. The betrothed couple wrote their own vows, which were really heartfelt. It made me wonder...whatever happens after the wedding?

Seriously. Isn't the divorce rate something like over 50%? I've been to several weddings where the couple was obviously head over heels for each other, and yet they get divorced before the 5 year mark. Do people not take their vows as seriously today? My parents have been married 51 years. My inlaws for 40. Is our generation more frivolous? Do we marry now just for the big drunken reception? Does a wedding only give us the opportunity to wear really overpriced clothes, and pay exorbitant prices for munchies and beer? There's a girl I know that is getting married this fall sometime. She scanned her wedding invite into her blog. I swear that it looks like there's a picture of a mushroom cloud on her invites. Turns out that it's a background picture of a garden. Bummer. The mushroom cloud would have been way cooler...and so much more appropriate for her personality.

Before I continue, let me qualify that I, myself, am actually on lucky number 3 (third time's a charm, right?). It took me this long to finally get it right with C. Of course, I'm not the brightest bulb in the pack. Honestly though, I didn't go into the other 2 frivolously. Well...the first one came about because we had dated for a long time and we thought marriage was expected of us. Wait. Bad example. I was young. And OK, the second one was probably more a matter of post partum depression...but I THOUGHT I was in love at the time. Looking back though, that butterfly feeling in my stomach was probably just gas. Who knew? Scratch all of that. We're not talking about me.

I just wonder, of all the weddings we've been to over the past few years, how do you know who's going to be part of the lucky 50%? Keep in mind "lucky" depends on your perspective - it's either the half that gets divorced or the half that stays married. Take the three closest friends that I have had over the last several wait, make that four. They've all gone insane. The first was S. We were the best of friends all through high school and beyond. I was her maid or honor, she was mine (for #1). Her marriage lasted not quite 2 years. Mine lasted a year and 12 days. That's 377 days for those who are counting. My father is one of those who counted, by the way. He loves to say that the marriage ended WAY before he paid off the bills it incurred. He likes to trot that little gem of a story out occasionally, much to my chagrin. It was 15 years ago. You would think he'd have gotten over it already. Apparently not. It WAS a nice wedding though. S. divorced A. because, if I remember correctly, he "got on her nerves."

T. and I were as close as two friends could be. We really bonded (I can thank her for my tattoo - no she didn't put it there, but she encouraged me to "go for it"). She had what seemed like a great marriage to "Big Daddy," but decided to divorce him because she got tired of directing him in bed. I guess you'd think that he would have figured out her "happy spot" without help after 7 years of marriage. You'd be wrong, though. Then there's Chrissy. She and D. are the godparents of the little one. They'd been together for years - since they were kids. She became enamored of a boy band and moved out west (yes, you read that right). Left her kid (my goddaughter) with D. and took off. Luckily he got everything, yet asked for nothing.

The one that really threw me for a loop is L. She and S. were our first "couple friends." You know. Not MY friends, not HIS friends....OUR friends. We met at church. They seemed to have a strong bond. They were spiritual and they were two of the most fantastic people I had ever met. Sure there were rough spots, but they always seemed to work them out. The most amazing thing was that through it all, they truly seemed to love each other. If I had to put my money on any of the couples I have known to make it to the land of shared denture cream, it was L. and S. They moved overseas, she turned into a lesbian and left him (yes, you read that right, too).

So what is up with that? How do you know who's going to make it? And what is "making it" anyway? Is it 15 years or 50 plus years? We're a society of instant gratification, I suppose. He gets "on your nerves"? He can't get your rocks off? He's not the lead singer of a boy band? He's not a woman? Just divorce him.

C. and I are only coming up to our 4th anniversary, but I can honestly say that there is no one I'd rather have eat crackers in my bed. He still makes me laugh. And that, my friends, is what I think keeps a marriage alive. Sometimes you laugh to keep from crying. I think they should put that in the vows - "I promise to make you laugh, through richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, 'til death us do part." To our newest betrothed friends, I pray that the laughter never ends.


PS - In reference to the recent storms: If one more tree limb comes down in my yard or on my house, I'm burning the whole damned yard.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

And We Were Swangin'

I'm about 3 days late on this post. Ah they say, better late than never. We spent Saturday afternoon at my in-laws' open house. They held it in celebration of their 40th wedding anniversary, catered and everything. I personally think the caterer was mediocre and since she was a church friend of my MIL, I can only hope they got a huge discount. The afternoon was spent with lots of their church friends (most of whom I think are as fake as the cutout of Elvira hawking brewskies at Halloween) and their older neighbors. C. spent much of his day sequestered in his Dad's office attempting to "fix his computer" leaving me to smile and make idle chit chat with these people. Thanks Hon. Needless to say, we were ready to get out of there. We made plans to go out with my brother-in-law and his girlie to play pool. Innocent enough right?

Off we go to the local pool hall....which had moved...then apparently burned to the ground. One might wonder how we figured this out. It was probably the lack of roof, charred walls and yellow crime scene tape still encircling the building. We ARE all college graduates after all. On to plan B. We headed to the closest club with pool tables. My BIL had been in there before when this club hosted "Goth night" and "techno night," so he knew the place had pool tables. We get there and there's a table open. Score! We were a bit early, but people eventually started showing up.

We thought it was really great seeing all these couples. Have you been to a bar/dance club recently? They're total meat markets full of single people desperate to hook up. OK, let's face it, bars have always been this way, but it didn't seem to bother me as much 15 years ago. Now, I'm not so into that scene. This was refreshing. These people were so friendly. Lots of them came right up and talked to us. It was cool. C. even ran into a woman he works with who was there with her Hubby. C. stopped at their table to talk to them on the way back from the restroom. Later, she was so nice, she even came over to our table to introduce herself to me. How sweet.

It wasn't until later in the evening (after MANY beers and a couple of shots of Jagermeister) that BIL's girlfriend confirmed it with a waitress. You guessed was SWINGERS night!!! ACK! How friggin funny is that? Sometimes I think that only C. and I could stumble into such a situation totally clueless. And I'm not even blonde.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Mutiny on the Bounty

I don't think Operation Clean Up is going so well. Yesterday was a case in point. #1 son actually did unload the dishwasher and take out the trash without a speech. Of course he was only sucking up so that he could go to the movies with his girlfriend (and her friends) to celebrate her birthday. 4 girls, 2 boys and her parents. It wasn't until after he was gone that I got a good look at his room. There was a floor there...once. It's OK, though. Turns out they ended up seeing a tween chick flick. Revenge is sweet.

The little one's accomplishment of the day was to open a store in her room. Her whole purpose was to rent things to her brother. She has blown through her report card money (thanks PaPa) and is searching for more. That kid can't keep money to save her life. You can see the scorch marks on her pockets where the dollars burn through. Why do chores around the house for guaranteed funds? Much more fun to spend the morning putting price tags on everything she owns then trying to badger her brother into "renting" her stuff. You'd think #1 son would be smarter than that, but hey - he did rent a CD from her 3 months ago for $1. Maybe he has the right idea. A buck's not bad for a CD, especially when she forgets that he has it. It's always been that way. #1 son was the kid who gave her a quarter (she called it "big monies" back then) to clean his trashed room when she was too little to know better. I guess he knows what he's doing. I put the store out of business though. We needed to focus.

Later the little one assured me she was cleaning her room. She then proceeded to come down to tell me she wants to be an Oompa Loompa. Obviously she spent the rest of her afternoon watching Willie Wonka.

Today was a wash, too. #1 son had an orthodontist appointment - there goes my cruise. Who am I kidding? There goes my next 3 cruises. Of course that meant the little one went to NaNa and PaPa's to eat crap and watch Sponge Bob or whatever she does while she's there.

Tomorrow we get serious.

Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

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