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Thursday, December 29, 2005
Letter #2 to the Handyman Company
Before you read my second letter, keep in mind that I used a national company that is insured and bonded. This is not a fly-by-night, small time operation.


John Doe #2 came over this morning to resolve some of the issues I detailed in the email I sent on 12/27/05, and although he was very nice and willing to help, the work just isn't what we were expecting from a professional.

He anchored the vanities to the wall, and he did some custom baseboard cutting around the vanities which looks nice, but most of the baseboard corners are still poorly done. Instead of two pieces of wood coming together at a 45 degree angle, there is about a fourth of an inch gap full of caulk. Multiple times we have been told that if we just paint it, you won't be able to tell. The point is, I want it done correctly. I don't want to cover up the problem with paint. Also, no one offered to fix the vanity shelf that was poorly cut. It was suggested to my husband that he sand it and fill in the marks with a wood marker. Again, John Doe #1 created the problem, therefore we shouldn't have to fix it. I have attached photos of the baseboard corners and the vanity shelf.

I do not want anyone else from the Handyman Company to try and fix these issues, but I do want my money back for the amount it cost to install the baseboards. If this is a problem, I will be forced to take more serious action such as filing a complaint with the BBB and your national offices.

Your craftsmen are very nice and polite, but the work is amateur at best.

I would prefer communicating through email, so that there is a written account of what has transpired.

Thank you,

Here are some photos of their stellar work. Do not judge me for any pet hair that might show up in the photos. My blogger profile indicates I can't keep my house clean:

Here are the baseboard corners:

Here is vanity shelf that they had to cut to accommodate the plumbing. Notice all the splintering and deep cuts in the front.

This is the level of work that my husband and I could have done ourselves. Keep in mind the baseboards have been "fixed" in those photos. They were way worse before.

Last MIL Post Until 2006
I thought I'd take a break from my bathroom remodeling woes to share a nice little holiday nugget regarding my MIL. I mean, who doesn't love a good MIL story?

This year, she decided that she was going to have Christmas lunch at 2. GREAT! That means that we would have Christmas morning/breakfast at my parents' house with plenty of time to get to the MIL's house by 2! Yippee! Things are working out for once.....

Silly, silly me!! What was I thinking??

I got an email from the MIL a week before Christmas asking if we could get to her house by 10 am. Wait. Are you confused? I sure was. I wrote her back and said that, no, we couldn't get there at 10 because we'd be opening gifts at my parents house.

She writes back, "Well, we're having lunch at 2, and all the non-family guests (i.e. her best friend and her sons) are arriving at 1, so I though it would be nice if we could open all the gifts before they arrived." Yes, MIL, that is a fabulous idea. But when you tell me lunch at 2, I don't immediately think to myself, "Self, we better get over there about 10 in the morning."

We ended up getting to my parents house about 9:30, and after breakfast and gift opening, we left about 12:30.

Holy crap. We were seriously late. I knew we were in for it.

We called to let the MIL know we were on our way, and were told "You sure aren't leaving us much time to open gifts???." Whatever.

It ended up being fine. We did speed gift opening and we got some really generous gift cards which will help around the house.

But, really, what Christmas would be complete without some comments about my husband from his mom?

THREE TIMES, yes, THREE TIMES my MIL told me how it annoys her that my husband doesn't bring his own alcohol to her house. How it makes her feel uncomfortable when he drinks other people's wine....Okay, crazy bitch, I think YOU'RE the one drinking everyone's wine. He wasn't drinking that day, and he never drinks other people's wine?? In fact, my husband rarely drinks at all, and when he does, it's one beer. If I buy wine, sometimes he'll have a glass, but that's about once every 2 months. It was such a strange thing for her to be harping on? And it was especially weird since SHE WAS OFFERING ME OTHER PEOPLE'S WINE. I finally said, "Well, I don't think he was planning on drinking, so he didn't bring anything."

Her response?

"Yeah right."

Now I need a glass of wine.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Letter to the Handyman Company

John and Jane Doe came over today to install 2 vanities/faucets and baseboards. After inspecting the bathrooms more thoroughly, we feel as though they did a rather shoddy job for $600. Here are just some of the issues:

-Neither vanity is secured to the wall, and one moves rather freely. The vanity tops are also not secured to the vanity bottoms.

-One faucet leaks and doesn't drain properly.

-The shelf under one vanity had to be cut to make room for the plumbing. It was cut very haphazardly.

-The baseboards were cut crookedly, some were obviously cut too short, and all the corners are filled up with caulk. There are nails sticking out of them, as well.

We would like another handyman, NOT John and Jane to come inspect their work, and let us know if this is the kind of work that your company generally offers. We feel as though we could have done this level of work ourselves, so we hired professionals to do it better. If this is the level of work that is normally provided, then we would like our money back. Please correspond with us through email, not on the phone.


Needless to say, I am pissed. At first glance it looked okay, but on further inspection it's just unacceptable. Good thing this place has a guarantee on labor in case anything is installed incorrectly. I just wanted a working bathroom by this evening, and now who knows how long it will take. The Rockstar thought he smelled last night's alcohol on homie's breath, too! ARGH.

Vanities Going In.
I hope all of you had a fabulous Christmas or whatever it is that you celebrate! We had a very busy, stressful day but it was nice and we got to see both of our families which is the beauty of everyone living in the same city. I know it's late, but here's the tree:

Here's one of the vanities going in today, and they're about to get started on the baseboards:

I can't wait to catch up on how everyone is doing! Anyone have big plans for New Year's Eve? The Rockstar was sick last year so we watched Top 100 One Hit Wonders and played the Friends board game. We are CRAZY!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Don't....Just Don't
I was just watching an episode of one of those "clean your obscenely dirty, messy, piggy house that was probably staged for ratings but it's so grossly fascinating that I can't bear to tear my eyes away from the screen, not for one second, because I might miss the mother of all messes" shows that I LOVE to watch because it makes me feel like I'm the neatest, cleanest, most organized woman alive.

I'm glad I didn't look away because the husband (aka Messy Man) had about 30, yes 30 stuffed animals sitting on the master bed headboard.

Yucky. Gross. Blech.

I'm sorry, but adults are not supposed to keep stuffed animals on or near the bed. That's just not right.

When the Organization Nazi asked Messy Man if he was willing to give them up, he said something to the effect of, "These little guys have been with me a long time." Then he grimaced.

The Organization Nazi said, "Yes, but isn't it time to grow up?"

Then Messy Man said it.
He just HAD to go there.
He said,"But I'm a kid at heart?"

I don't know what it is about men saying they're "kids at heart", but it BUGS THE EVERLIVING SHIT outta me. I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that I don't want to have relations with or be married to a kid? Or someone who thinks of themself as a kid? Especially a kid that owns 30 assorted stuffed animals that hover over me all night. Be a man, a big rugged man who doesn't cuddle with Tweety Bird or Beany Babies or the Tazmanian Devil.

I mean, come on, who wants that?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Streusel Apple Coffeecake Recipe
This is one of the best recipes ever. I found it on allrecipes.com. I've made it twice, and it was delish both times. FYI, I follow most baking recipes by the book, so if you don't, I can't be responsible for the outcome. Oh, and I sub pecans for the walnuts. Not a big walnut fan.

Streusel Apple Coffeecake
Submitted by: Kris

Original recipe yield: 1 - 9 or 10 inch Bundt cake.

Prep Time:
30 Minutes

Cook Time:
1 Hour
Ready In:

1 Hour 30 Minutes

16 (change)

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 ounces plain low-fat yogurt
2 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and finely diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan.
To make streusel: In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar, 3/4 cup flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a fork until crumbly. Stir in walnuts.

In a medium bowl, stir together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Then stir in the vanilla and yogurt. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until blended.

Pour 3 cups of the batter into the Bundt pan, sprinkle with 1/4 of the streusel, and layer with apples. Sprinkle with 1/2 the remaining streusel. Pour in the remaining batter, and top with the remaining 1/4 streusel. Lightly pat the top layer of streusel so it sticks to the cake batter.
Bake 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Place cookie sheet over pan and carefully invert both. Remove Bundt pan, and let the cake cool completely.

How Could I Forget?
In my last post I forgot to say a huge THANK YOU to my sister for letting me come over to use her bathroom while ours were out of commission. Sorry lady :( I'll make an entire Apple Cake just for you if you want one?

Monday, December 19, 2005
Toilet Tips
-When reinstalling a toilet, wear gloves to scrape the old wax ring and gunk off the underside of the bowl. They are really gross. Seriously gross. Dark sludge gross. Like, "what am I touching" gross.

-When remodeling bathrooms, make sure you have at least one toilet available. Let's just say we had some creative places to, um, relieve ourselves this weekend. That is all I will say.

-Make sure your floor is level when you put in a toilet. We now have a slow trickle. Crap. I was up until midnight listening to the drip, drip, drip of a slow leak into the bowl. Apparently, the old toilet had a shim underneath to keep it level. Double crap. The new one has already been bolted down.

-When you have a large gaping hole in the floor the leads directly to the sewer, stuff the hole with a rag. Otherwise, you might wake up to a dog whining at SQUEAKY NOISES COMING FROM THE HOLE, and think to yourself while you're half asleep that you SWEAR sewer rats are coming up the pipes to eat said dog.

-Bottom line (bottom! ha!), be very, very grateful to the wonderful person who invented indoor plumbing. Especially during winter. Also, thank you for privacy fences. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Edited 12/20 - The leak into the bowl has apparently fixed itself and we have a perfectly functioning toilet. Nice. Things will be back to normal once we install the second toilet. Too bad Home Depot can't keep matching toilet bowls and tanks in stock.

Saturday, December 17, 2005
I Promise I Didn't Get Abducted...
Nate thinks that I have been abducted by the "spirits of the season"....good guess, but no cigar. I have pretty much felt like dooky all week, and was out sick from work on Thursday and Friday. The doctor said it was a viral infection (isn't that fancy talk for a cold?) and possibly an ear infection. I'm feeling much better now. Maybe it's because the tile was installed this morning, and we're going to have our bathrooms back by the end of the weekend? Or maybe it's because I slept almost 13 hours 2 nights in a row? Anyhoo, I really want to read everyone's blogs, and I miss reading them, but I just haven't felt up to doing much of anything. I'll hopefully be back to commenting really soon. I think the lesson is this: Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. I wished for a nap, and I got LOTS of sleep from being sick.

Edited at 6:10 with photos of the tile:

Front bathroom (yes that's the potty hole in the floor). The new vanity will go under the mirror you can barely see on the right side of the photo.

This is looking from the back bathroom into the "shower room". Yes, those are our toilets in the shower. Unfortunately, I don't have "before" photos on this computer, but trust me, it's a huge difference.

Saturday, December 10, 2005
My Babies, Yet Again
Here are the darlings sunning themselves this afternoon:

Here are two of the cats (I think they feel left out because I never talk about them). Sasha (on the right) is Sonja's (on the left) mom. They are making biscuits on each other's stomachs. It is so sweet when you see it happening:

This is Diabla (Blabs for short). She was given to me by my sister. Diabla terrorized my sister's other cat, so I took her. I LOVE this cat. She has fur like a soft bunny:

Last but not least, here is a little Texas critter I found in the garage this evening whilst doing laundry. My stomach always lurches when I see these:

Dude, I'm Weird
I know some of you have tagged me in the past month and I didn't play along. I apologize, but I have been rather busy. TKW tagged me today, and I actually have some free time, so here it goes.....five of my neurotic habits.

1. I HAVE to completely dry my feet off before stepping onto the bathmat. I'm not sure if this is weird because I don't see anyone else stepping out of the shower except my husband, but he thinks I'm weird. I have converted him, though, because I hate sopping wet bathmats.

2. I will not pick up anything wet off of a countertop. I have to dry it off before that wetness touches my hand. If I can't tell that something is wet and I pick it up? BLEH. GROSS. YUCK. Bonus yuck points if any kind of hair is involved.

3. I am constantly worrying about my house going up in flames. I have since I was a child. I think I have a touch of OCD because I will check the flat iron, the coffee maker, the hot rollers, etc. multiple times before I leave in the morning. I also won't run the clothes dryer when I'm gone.

4. I have a phone phobia. I hate answering the phone. I don't understand people who don't use email. I would rather email or talk to you in person. Something about hearing someone's voice without seeing their face bugs me. I'm a very visual person.

5. I do not answer my front door if I don't know who you are. I can wait you out through knocking and multiple doorbell rings. I don't feel like I have to open the door or acknowledge your presence if I don't know you. You showed up at my house unannounced, so why do I have to open the door? Oh yeah, I don't :)

I don't usually tag people, but I love to hear about other people's weird habits, so please play if you want to!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005
New Car....Check!
So I did it. I bought the nicest car I have ever owned. A 2006 Honda Civic Coupe EX....5 speed of course! Here are some photos from the website:

Exterior (that's the same color I got):

Interior (I did not get the navigation system. After almost 30 years here, I think I know where I'm going):

I have to say, it is so fun to drive, and the sound system kicks butt! I'm still feeling queasy about the loan, but I'm weird about money. It makes me crazy.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005
So Busy...
I just can't seem to find the time to blog! If you'll notice, I don't post blogs during working hours for fear of being fired. I only add new posts when I'm clocked out/at home.

Well, here's the deal. My husband got into a pretty serious accident months ago which totaled his 2003 Frontier truck, the other love of his life. Thank god he and the woman he hit were not hurt at all.

Here's the second deal. He had let his insurance laspe. Don't get me started on this one. Seriously. I don't think he's ever seen me as mad as when I got home from work that day. After making sure he wasn't hurt, I ripped him a new one. Anyway, this meant that we had to pay off the totaled truck before we could get the title to sell the truck for parts. Luckily, everything we do financially is SEPARATE, so my name is not tied to that truck or the insurance. The truck is now paid off (making payments on a totaled car sucks, BTW), and in the meantime, we paid cash for a total piece of shit just so he'd have SOMETHING to get him from point A to point B.

Here's the third deal. Said piece of shit has died. Completely. So on my day off tomorrow, I'm buying a new car. I'm going to the bank to get pre-approved, and whatever they tell me I can spend, I'm going to spend (within reason). It will most likely be a Civic Coupe or an X-Terra. The rockstar will then get to drive my current Civic. Sigh, I suppose I'll let him have her since he IS going to be helping with the new car payments.

So in addition to that, the tile is being installed on Saturday and Sunday and did I mention we need a new water heater? Ours is 33 YEARS OLD! When we bought the house almost 2 years ago, the inspector said they're really not supposed to last longer than 15 and certainly not over 20. It's still working, but it has become noisy and I'd rather replace it before it explodes or catches the house on fire.

Throw in the fact that I did ALL my x-mas shopping on Friday and Saturday (yes, I am done) and put up the tree?

Again, I need a nap.

Friday, December 02, 2005
Kristine from Random and Odd wants us to post the following:

Your Weapons
Your Victim
Your Crime Scene
Bonus Points: motive

My weapons consist of dog nail clippers and a flexible muzzle:

My victim, Doc. Oh my poor victim. He looks so innocent! Little does he know what awaits him. It almost looks like he's expecting a second dinner. Oh no, my friend, that is not the case.

Doc HATES getting his nails clipped. HATES. IT. He will bite and growl and writhe about. Hence the muzzle. I can just hear his doggy inside voice cursing me and vowing to eat me in my sleep:

My crime scene is actually very clean as it is hard to get any clipping done even with the help of a muzzle. This is all I had to show for my effort (it still takes two of us to clip his nails, even with the muzzle):

Bonus Points? We're getting new flooring and I DON'T want it getting all scratched up with Doc's uber nails.



Doc's nails are made from a secret spaceage polymer. They can't be filed down by walking on sidewalks or with nice manicure files (yes, I've tried that too). If he's gonna have to wear a muzzle no matter who trims his nails, I prefer that it be in the comfort of his own home AND I don't wany him biting a goomer or a vet tech before the muzzle goes on :) No lawsuits here!

Thursday, December 01, 2005
Wood or Concrete......or Remodeled Bathrooms?
You might remember my recent post regarding a most serious dilemma of whether to get wood or stained concrete floors in my living room (yes, that was sarcasm). Well, I scrapped the idea of updating the living room floor and decided to redo our bathrooms instead! We're going to tile the floors, install new sinks and vanities and possibly repaint the walls a blue spa color. I have already pulled off the baseboards and some of the terrible linoleum. Rest assured photos are coming soon......
Editor's note:
Although I said "we're" going to tile, install and paint, what I should have said was we're going to HIRE someone to tile, install and paint while we sit on the couch with cups of coffee! We are certainly not doing the work ourselves as that could result in loss of life or limb.