Friday, January 3, 2020

Yes, I'm Tired (Why? You're On Vacation!)

I mentioned a few posts back that Operation Marble Throne Room had commenced about a month ago. Though it goes very well, it would have been quicker had we not launched the operation during the holiday season. As the guys doing the work approach completion, I reflect back over the past couple of weeks.

With the exception of three days at Christmas, and Saturday and Sunday of course, the worker bees have been at it just about every day from 0730 to 1500-ish. Their work is meticulous and very well done. Sure there have been some fits and starts. Like the fact that the wall we extended the bathroom out to be flush (heh) with is sloped somewhat. Sloped not to deflect drywall piercing ammunition but sloped as in the house was rather slapped together back in the '80s, much as the entire neighborhood was.

So there's been some settling and from what I've seen in doing the flooring and some crown molding a few years back, the '80s was a time of sloppy workmanship and an almost pathological lack of attention to detail. Makes my old sergeant blood pressure skyrocket.

The guy we hired to do the job is amazing, but still I rather wish we had scheduled this thing for some time other than my only solid opportunity to take two weeks away from work without the bosses discovering that I am not all that necessary to get things done.

My day begins at 0730 with the worker bees coming up the stairs and setting up their stuff to commence turning our upstairs bathroom into something worthy of the palace at Versailles, though with better plumbing. The jaunty sound of Portuguese music eventually filters through to my subconscious and as I open my eyes, the beta-cat (Anya) is sitting there on the bed looking at me as if to say, "Who are these people in our house? Did you authorize this? I'm not comfortable with these guys clomping up and down the stairs."

At that point I groan and arise from my bed looking (and feeling) as if I had just turned the light out to go to sleep. It's my own fault I guess, as The Missus Herself likes to point out, "If you'd gone to bed at a reasonable hour you wouldn't be so tired."

But hey, I'm on vacation, I can stay up as late as I want, right?

As long as I don't mind being awakened at the "butt crack of dawn" by some jaunty tune in Portuguese.

Pictures to follow when the operation is complete. It looks damned good so far, I'm just afraid that The Missus Herself will determine that the entire maison will need an interior face lift.

Sigh, I suppose I will retire someday, but all of these renovations aren't free. You know how it goes, if the missus ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

But for now, I sleep when I can, write checks when I have to...

That bit at the end? That's me trying to sound coherent around lunch time.

I'm almost looking forward to going back to work.



  1. You mentioned cats.
    No, not the musical and not the movie of the same name.
    Actual felines of the house variety.

    Growing up, my family had dogs, they never ever had a cat and thus my cat knowledge is almost zero.
    Because of a negative experience, my wife isn’t an animal person and the only small animal she tolerates around the house is me.
    More background.
    We have spent the last 28 New Year’s Eves with the same friends. We get to their house, socialize, consume adult beverages, try to stay up until midnight, and then we sleep on the sofa bed in their living room.
    I’d recovered from the cold enough to be non-contagious and we repeated our visit.
    One of the daughters of the friends we are visiting is home post college and before job, and that daughter has two cats. Said daughter is out for the evening and has left her two cats with Mom and Dad.
    Cat #1 is Maple, and Maple exhibits what I would guess to say is typical cat behavior and is seen only briefly, flitting through the room, or lurking in the background.
    Cat #2 is Walter, and Walter may have been raised by dogs. Walter came to the door when we arrived, greeted us with a nose bump, and wanted to be held and petted. Walter took an active interest in the evening’s festivities. Walter is cool.

    It’s sometime during the zero dark hours, we’re sleeping soundly, and both Walter and Maple decide they should join us on the sofa bed. They chose to sleep with my wife. Maple decides to jump up and down on my wife’s legs to make a comfortable spot, and Walter decides to sleep on the pillow next to my wife’s head so that he can nip her ear lobes, and then purr directly into her ear.
    I wake up to my wife saying, “Maple No! Walter No!” and then my wife repeated those two things in tones of increasing agitation.
    I didn’t burst out laughing, but I might have exhibited a few tremors of suppressed mirth.
    An instant later she moved both cats to my side.
    I spent a few seconds getting used to Maple making a sleeping nest on my legs, and I found that Walter’s surprisingly loud purring into my ear became comforting quickly and I got back to sleep.

    I’m still not going to be a cat person, well, unless I can have Walter because he was totally cool.

    Construction at home.
    The last big job was adding the addition to the back, and yep, all you say is true.

    1. Some cats are like Walter, my advice to cats, "Be like Walter."

    2. Had one big grey polydactyl cat we called 'Sassy' (short for sasquatch, big, big cat, could almost grab doorknobs and open them) who would lay between my legs with his head on my belly (back when I slept on my back and I was not so pear-shaped) who, when detecting sounds of gastric distress, would massage said gastric cramps out. Miss him.

      Christopher, my first 'mine' cat, was a saucy red mackeral (vertical stripes) tabby who would follow me around the neighborhood and loved beating up dogs. He saved me from one neighborhood dog, by banzai-ing it from a fence.

      And... Stupid. Another big grey cat we inherited at Vandenberg when we moved on-base in 67. Yes, stupid. Would sit on top of a big speaker and watch the fish in the fishtank until he fell asleep sitting up, then would fall off the speaker and hit the ground, still sleeping, and then just lie there, sleeping. I learned to sleep in almost any occasion (even in armor, crouched on my knees, behind my shield, while spear battles happened over me, nice way to get a 15 minute nap in the middle of the day...)

      Cats. Love them.

      So, of course, I now have a dog.

    3. Ah, but dogs are good too. I have five granddogs, love 'em all.

    4. Sarge #1. "Be like Walter" would be good advice for some folks I know. :)

  2. Remember the goal, a NEW bathroom, gotta keep that in mind although the early wake-ups on vacation DO try that strategy. Oh look, Quds CO and a few others terminated, now they get see how many virgins down Below are male.

    1. And as it shapes up, it's all worth it. A marble palace it is!

  3. Hey AFSarge;

    A bathroom mod is planned by the spousal unit, I ain't looking forward to it. besides the disruption, there is the cost...but it is necessary. My house is 23 years old and it is dated.

    1. My view that "Hey, everything still works!" cut no mustard at all. Looks to be worth it though.

  4. It could be worse. Instead of The Beatles, it could be Lili von Shtüpp's song from Blazing Saddles ...

  5. "Yes, I'm tired...".

    Heh. I feel your fatigue. I've mentioned before about our contractor, Rex, who is an absolute jewel and does flawless work. He works alone, so there is a time element. He has done several projects for us, including both "throne rooms". So yeah, up and at 'em, coffee, and ready to roll when he arrives. It must have showed a bit one morning because he smiled at us before stepping in the front door and said "So, do y'all hate me yet?".

    Upon arrival here, one of the new things we encountered was foundation stabilization. The soil in this part of DFW is heavy clay, so it expands when wet and contracts when dry. This can play hob with the entire house. Windows and doors that stick one part of the year, work during others. Cracks in drywall and brick siding. Cracked foundations that can even break copper water lines. So that is the first job you have done before anything else.

    We knew it was a fixer-upper when we bought it. That's why we got a screamin' price, and the location is perfect. Plus, we have crossed the magic threshold of age 65, so our property taxes in this county are capped.

    Hang in there. Once it is done, it will be a bright spot to start your day.

    Our neighborhood was built in a hurry as well. Solid, but in a hurry. Lots of little signs like the old vent fans covered with drywall mud, or the paint runs in the door jambs and on the backs of the cabinet doors.

    1. Clay soil? Man, that has to be a bit of a nightmare.

      Our upstairs vent fan went right into the attic, no vent to the outside. Our guy fixed that, said it's a classic '80s "feature" in this area.

    2. We've got some sections of Gainesville where it is required to water the lawn, othewise the yard shrinks due to all the clay underground in that area.

    3. Dang, that has to be a pain.

    4. Vent fan. Do tell, same here, both bathrooms. We have a long roof line with gable vents on each end. In one bathroom, if I pulled the vent fan screen, at the right angle I could see though the fan, through the attic, to a small patch of daylight through the gable vent. Fixed now. Was concerned about possible mold in the attic, but Texas attic temps approach the aforementioned "canned daylight", so no worries there.

      Another common appliance here (which we absolutely detest) is the all-in-one stove hood/microwave oven. The "stove hood" part does not vent to the outside, but instead vents through a couple of wafer thin "carbon filters" and right back into the kitchen. Yeah, fixed that too. Also did away with that microwave oven. Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to remove hot food from an oven over a hot stove?

    5. Some bad design decisions there.

  6. My middle brother and his wife both worked for the Rat at one time (that would be Disney for you non-Floridians) and bought into the Disney Magic a little too much. They bought a new house at Celebrations, which was a planned 'village' using Disney design standards as an attempt to recreate a '50s style town in the late 1990's, in Florida... Disney approved colors. Disney approved plants in the yard. Fences just so. Houses just so. No work vehicles after 5pm (so you couldn't take your plumber truck home unless you could hide it in the garage...)

    House was... okay, mostly bland 90's mcmansion style, too close to each other, too controlling of an HOA. Then the summer of storms hit Florida, in 2004, where we (the state) got hit by 4 hurricanes (with two going over Gainesville and one going over Celebrations.) The Celebrations storm pushed the house partially off the foundation, shifting all walls ever so slightly, and partially shifting the 2nd floor off the first floor, ever so slightly. All this ever-so-slightly shifting rendered the house un-air tight, allowing moisture (in Florida, a big problem) in and thus black mold set in.

    I think the insurance company finally bought the house (minus the hurricane/wind/acts of God damage (5% of value of house.) Fortunately it was paid off by the pre-storm value, not the black-mold value. They moved. And then he got the joy of training his H1B Visa replacement from India (he did good programming) and he 'lost' his job.

    And, yet, they are both still children of the Rat.

    Bad houses suck.

    My house, before we sold it, had double-paned windows, marble window ledges, nice looking and such. Until the window seals between the panes of glass failed and fogged the windows, the house settled and some of the marble cracked, the bathtubs rotted out, the roof leaks finally broke through and required a new roof, and the partially dug-in garage wasn't sealed properly so that anything in the garage, if the doors were shut and no fresh air allowed to roam free in the garage, would be covered in mold in 10 days.

    In comparison, the apartment we are now in is 'trouble free.' Had to replace the toilet flapper myself, but that was an easy fix.

    1. Home ownership seems to be a never ending struggle. Something is always breaking or just doesn't look "good" anymore. (Not a call I get to make BTW.)

    2. The recent kitchen tune up started with, the faucet doesn't look "good" anymore, and then it sort of took on a life of its own.
      Aside from making new doors for the cabinets, and new drawer fronts, the job was a lot of small jobs. An awful lot of small jobs.
      It does look nice.

    3. It starts small, like an avalanche!

  7. I like Lili von Shtüpp's version. She mumbles good too. And there's schnitzengruben.

    Please tell me you went with the ASCROC upgrade on your renno.

  8. I am sure that the AAR pics of the new/updated/renovated Throne Room of Chez Sarge will be spectacular as the design and accoutrements were selected by The Missus Herself. Have been there and done that, and yes, it did look very nice. Of course it took a solid week of vacation plus 4 more weekends to complete which when you realize that it was 6 feet wide by 10 feet long is quite a bit of time...however, it did come out well. Hopefully, you do have another throne room in the house. If not, Home Depot does sell very nice buckets as well as toilet seats...ask me how I know...Also, word of NOT schedule your colonoscopy the same month as the bathroom renovation. me on that one, mkay?!!

    1. We do have another full bath in the house, praise be we can avoid buckets with toilet seats!

      No colonoscopy during bathroom renovations, a most splendid bit of advice. I have experienced that, even blogged about it once. (Will do so again in the not too distant future...)

      6 x 10 only seems small until you start working on it!

  9. I have some leave to take this summer, a couple vacations planned or expected, so I didn't take much time off over the holidays. I can't say I did much work though, because everyone else was on leave. There's not much tasking to be given or taken when the task-masters are all gone. I'm all caught up on my cyber security, ATFP, active shooter, and trafficking in persons training though so I've got that going for me. Oh yeah, I am thankfully free of any tendencies to sexually harass my co-workers now as well. It was touch and go for a while there, I was worried that I'd be another Harvey Weinstein, but I now know how to treat women as decent human beings and not playthings. Obviously a little tongue in cheek there- I find that training to be so stupid, simplistic, and a waste of time. I guess we have to all pay the price for the minutely small and remote percentage of us out there who are sexual predators.

    1. Ah yes, I have that very same training to look forward to this month.

      I suppose it keeps the lawyers happy, "Hey, we trained you not to do that!"



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