outside3

This is normally a comic-book related site.  Not right now, though.

I decided to build a house.  That doesn’t mean I’m shopping around for real estate.  I’m going to design, contract, and build a house all on my own.  This means I have to study building codes and learn about permits and do a lot of research on furnace efficiency and r-value and carpet fiber and refrigerators and wind direction and toilet height and backsplashes… I simply won’t have time for Tiny Life any time soon.

So, probably through 2015, the majority of these posts will be about building a house.  And possibly about living with the In-Laws while the house is built.

DC is Bad at Copying Marvel

My friends were raving about the Suicide Squad commercial (I refuse REFUSE to call them trailers).  As usual, I disagree.

I started to explain that I never understood the premise of Suicide Squad.  From a writer’s perspective, how does one convince the audience these obviously psychotic people somehow can work together, form a plan, and accomplish a mission (it’s the same reason I won’t read The Hunger Games; the government chooses children to have a Running Man-like contest for 75 years in order to remind the populace that they shouldn’t revolt)?  I mean, I get it from the fan’s perspective.  You get all your favorite villains in one place and watch them bounce off each other…

And then I thought, “These ‘favorite’ villains – the best DC has to offer – are just stupid.

  • Joker: He has to be her.  He’s the only good villain in the bunch
  • Enchantress: She’s possessed by a powerful demon (ok, that’s interesting)
  • Killer Croc: He’s a crocodile/man.
  • Harley Quinn: She’s simply crazy.
  • Deadshot: he’s the world’s best assassin
  • Amanda Waller: she’s the world’s best assassin
  • Slipknot: He’s good with rope.
  • Captain Boomerang: He’s considered as unstable as the Joker.  He’s Australian and throws boomerangs.
  • El Diablo: He’s pyrokinetic, which is a neat power, but he’s morally ambiguous.  Also, he’s a latino ex-gang member.
  • Rick Flag: A Captain America-type without the powers, shield, flashy costume, or interesting 1940’s idealism.  He’s a white dude with a flat-top.
  • Modern Tokyo, according to DC

    Katana: She was betrothed to one brother, but the other brother was jealous.  So – just like it is in 21st-century Japan – there was a big sword fight with lots of ninjas and throwing stars where her chashitsu burned down, presumably because one of the whale-oil lanterns got knocked over.  She now wears a kabuki mask and lets her ninjitsu do the talking.

Come to think of it, not only is DC awful at creating villains, they’re also pretty racist.

I’m Done with Retail

Since I’ve start building this house, I’ve seen a TON of mistakes made by people who are supposed to be professionals.  The whole deal with Consumer’s has left a bad taste in my mouth for customer service.  This last exchange I had at the Home Depot has broken me.  I will no longer stay silent and smile as I watch another person screw up their job, and therefore, my job.

Before I get started, let me first say that Home Depot is the worst.  Nothing is where it’s supposed to be (the floor registers are right next to the toilets) and there is never anyone around to help me figure out where things are.  So normally when I’m forced to go there I end up wandering around for 45 minutes when I just went in to get staples (“by the staple guns” you say?  Oh no, it’s by carpets).

The Wife is painting the play room all sorts of little girlie colors.  On the bottom of one wall, she wants a chalk board.  She bought a quart at Home Depot thinking that there would be directions on how to properly apply it.  There isn’t.  The closest is “Use the lowest pile roller offered and roll in one direction.”  I’m not sure what this meant so I drove to the place where she got it and asked the guy at the paint counter.  The following is that conversation verbatim:

Me: Hi.  The Wife bought some chalkboard paint and I was wondering what type of roller I should…

Him: (quickly, without letting me finish) Foam roller

Me: Really?  I tried a foam roller and it was very… bubbly.  It was worse than the three-eighths nap.

Him: (in a sing-songy condescending tone) Was is a high-density roller?

Me: (in an equally sing-songy condescending tone) Do I need a high-density roller?

Him: Yes.

Me.  Ok.  The next time someone comes in and asks for which roller to use for chalkboard paint, please tell them “a high density roller”.  I would’ve bought a regular foam roller, took it home, realized it didn’t work, and then I would’ve come back here angry.

Him: (obviously ignoring what I said) Definitely high-density.  There’s no nap.

Me: Where are those at?

Him: Right here.  These are specialized for that chalkboard paint.

Me: Great.  But I don’t have one of these specialized rollers.  Do they make this in just the small three-inch rolls?

Him: You mean the three-inch standardized rolls?

Me: Yeah.

Him: We don’t carry the standardized rolls.

Me: (emphasizing the ridiculousness of his statement) You don’t carry the standardized rolls?

Him: (not understanding the ridiculousness of his statement) Uh-uh.

Me: (laughing to myself) And we’re done.

I know he makes like $9.00 an hour, and I know this isn’t going to be his career, but I’m tired of dealing with people who deliberately try to mess with me.  So from now on, I’m going to call out everyone I’m not related to on their bullshit.

(an addendum I just thought of: I will NOT do this if there’s a line. I believe we have to start arguing back, but not if there are people waiting).

Paint!

Most of the painting is done.

kITCHEN

Just about done with the kitchen.  Just have to put in the drawers and doors. 

 

Ikea Spare Part Kitchen

This much of the kitchen has been put up:

IMG_0742

Two more cabinets need to be put up, but I don’t have enough cover panels (for those of you who don’t know, cover panels are pieces of trim that cover up the ugly ends of cabinetry. Most cabinets are made of particle board or some other glued-together leftover wood pieces that don’t look very good.  Most kitchens, however, only have a couple of cabinets with edges that people actually see.  These edges usually have cover panels).  Since I bought these cabinets at Ikea like a year ago, I had to rush down there and pick up two cover panels before the installer went home.

So I drove an hour to Canton, walked directly to the kitchen area and talked to one of the salesman there.  Within 10 minutes I had my pieces ordered.  He even expedited things for me.  He printed a piece of paper and said “go give this to a cashier.  Then just go get the cover panels at “furniture pickup”.

I walked directly to the cashier, paid for the items, walked directly to “furniture pickup” and got them.  I think I was in the store for a total of a half hour.  As I was leaving I thought, “I should probably see if these are dented or anything, since I’m here.”  I looked.  One was.  So I carted it back to the guy I picked it up from and said “Hey.  This one has a dent in it, can I get a new one?”

“You’ll have to take take it over to ‘returns’.”

“But I just got this like 12 seconds ago.”

“You have to take it over to returns because only they can add that to the damaged items list and tell us to give you another one.”

So I walked to returns.  I took a number.  I picked number 911. They were on number 902.  When it was finally my turn (I want to say about 45 minutes later), I walked up to the counter with my couple pieces and the lady argued with me about how to present it to her.  Once that was done, I said, “I JUST got this over at ‘furniture pickup’.  There’s a dent and I’d like a new one.”

We then had a two-minute conversation about only wanting to return the one item and that it’s very rare and frustrating for her to only process one of the items on the cart.

She then gave me a gift card and a printout remarkably like the one I received from the kitchen salesman about an hour earlier.  She said, “Just take this over to the cashier and she’ll get you a new one.”

I said, “So – just to clarify – After waiting in the kitchen salesman line, then waiting in the cashier line, then waiting in the furniture pickup line, then waiting in this line, I now have to go wait again in the cashier line and then one more time at furniture pickup?”

Her reply: “The cashier is the only one that can tell “furniture pickup” that you need a new item.”

As a side note, my brother put together the kids’ bathroom vanity and broke one of the parts.  Since I was in the customer service line, I asked if they had another one of these parts laying around that I could have.  The conversation:

Do you have any spare parts?

What part do you need?

It’s that – I don’t even know the name of it – it’s that part that goes around one of those pegs and then it tightens up the piece…

What piece of furniture are you talking about?

It’s in every peice you sell.

I’m not sure I can help you sir.  When did you buy it?

A while ago.

Let me look you up.

It’s a little cylinder that goes around a peg that you screw into an end-piece.

I can’t seem to find you in the system sir.  Can I see the credit card you may have purchased this item with?

Sure.

At this point I looked up “ikea instructions on my phone and showed her this picture:

Billy bookcase instructions

She then wrote down the number beside and literally turned around and search through a bin of spare parts.  On the plus side, I got it for free.

So I waited in line for the cashier.  Then I waited in line at “furniture pickup”.  All-in-all, I was at Ikea for about three hours.

Luckily, I got the pieces in time:

IMG_0745

Holy Crap! Electricity!

Consumers-Energy-logo

You may remember my rant from six weeks ago (which, by the way, was six weeks in the making) about the ridiculousness of Consumer’s Energy.  Here’s how everything went down:

  1. I called to schedule electrical hookup.  They said they’d charge me about $300 and get it done right away.
  2. They needed a survey in order to complete the order.  I gave it to them.
  3. They sent a letter saying it would be $6500 to complete my order.
  4. I received a letter saying that I had to sign a release and that it had to be notarized before they scheduled anything.
  5. I received an email saying that another household got the same letter and nothing would be scheduled until they signed the release and it had been notarized.

Today I got a phone call saying that the work is now being scheduled.  It’s a multi-phase, multi-department effort:

Next week (because there’s simply no way they could get to this with only three month’s notice) one department is coming out to figure out where any current utilities are so that they can bury the electrical wire around these utilities.  A few days later another department is coming out to stake where the lines are going to go.  After that, a third team will be sent out to set the transformer and pad in place.  Then, sometime later, a different set of guys will come out to bore a hold under the road in the pre-staked spot.  Once’s that’s done, a different team from a different department will come out and make small trenches so that the lines can be buried (I asked.  The digging-under-the-road team and the digging-beside-the-road department are two different departments).  Finally, they’ll send out an electrician to hook up the wire to my meter.

All in all, something that I asked to be done in early April will be done by late August., early September at the latest.

Democracy works.

Wainscoting

IMG_0739The Wife called around four o’clock yesterday to tell me that she thought it would be a good idea to put wainscoting in the tiny bathroom (like the rest of her family, she rarely says what she wants.  She offers suggestions and then gets upset if I don’t interpret that suggestion as a desire.  For instance, if she wants me to clean the bathroom more often, instead of saying, “please clean the bathroom more often,” she’ll clean it and then mention a half-dozen times that she’s cleaned it and she likes it clean).  Since the trim guy has already finished the bathroom and is working on hanging those cabinets I put together, and since the paint crew is coming in on Monday to start finishing the walls, I had to get all of the wainscoting done today.

So I got the boards, primed them, cut them, glued them, and nailed them before 10:00 (all without electricity).

IMG_0738

Considering I draw black-and-white stick-figure comic books, I thought this was pretty impressive.  For some reason, no one else does.

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