Friday, May 29, 2009

It's In!

Even during all of the crappy weather, my landscaping professional soldiered on. No matter the temperature, the precipitation, or anything else, he's a true professional. Here's a look at his glorious work:

I kid. He did some work, but not much. He dug up some lawn, put down some loam and laid one, count it, one strip of sod. Maybe when I get home from work today something else will be done?

Here's a view of my driveway. I wrote about what's in it yesterday. This morning, the useless wall caps have been replaced by a palate of hopefully useful retaining wall blocks. Also, the red car mentioned yesterday has been replaced by a pile of fresh dirt (which I think runs more smoothly and is safer than my wife's car). I forgot to mention the closet doors and the grill back there...

Hope to get that video up today using stolen wireless. If it doesn't work, it'll be up tomorrow when the Verizon Fios folks come invade my house for hours and hours to give me internet.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Not much to report from yesterday, other than my huge driveway is filling up fast. Last night, here's what was sitting in it:

Four palates of rolled up sod
One palate of stacked and useless retaining wall caps
One moldy/putrid old refrigerator
One non-moldy, possibly putrid old dishwasher
The city garbage can
Another garbage can filled with construction waste
A small red convertible
A bigger, but still small, black soccer mom SUV.

That's a lot of stuff for one driveway.

It was too rainy to prep the yard for sod yesterday, so hopefully it's being prepped today? I doubt it. The weather still stinks. because of this, I was stuck inside creating a corner out of joint compound in the bathroom. It's a real pain to get right. I'm on coat number three, with number four awaiting my arrival home tonight.

After that, I started editing some video, now that my computer is set up at home. I hope to have that video done and ready for your viewing pleasure tonight. I'll hopefully have it posted tomorrow.

As an aside, if anyone wants to buy me a computer with 8 gigs of RAM, I'd appreciate it. My measly 2 gigs really chugs along when editing video.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Home Depot

Yesterday, I wrote about getting 200 cement blocks delivered in order to get a retaining wall up. I ordered them on Saturday and scheduled a delivery for yesterday. I got a phone call during the day letting me know that the delivery was on its way and would be waiting in my driveway when I got home.

After work, I drove home, changed clothes, got all my tools out and got ready to dig for, lug around and install a retaining wall. Once ready, I inspected the delivery. F.

Here's what I ordered:
Here's what I got:
The good folks at the ghetto Home Depot delivered 200 rectangular chunks of cement, but the wrong 200 rectangular chunks of cement. Awesome. Instead of the wall pieces, they sent 200 wall caps. I have a palate of wall toppers sitting in my driveway. I was, and remain, nonplussed.

I called the Home Depot back and asked if I could get the things I had ordered, rather than a random product loosely related to what I had ordered. The associate chuckled, and let me know that the next delivery they can do is Thursday. Awesome. I agreed, as I didn't have much a choice, and am stuck with a problem. In order to lay the sod correctly, I need a retaining wall in the front, holding up a bunch of dirt. Here's where the wall will be going (to the right of the driveway):

If sod is laid down in the front yard without that wall, the sod will not reach where it needs to go. In order to make sure that the wall is sturdy, I have to backfill it with dirt. Because of this backfilling, there will be a few inches of new dirt in between the top of the wall and the current lawn. If the sod is laid down before the wall is up, the configuration will be new sod, new dirt, new wall. Not the best look.

I guess I'll keep a strip of sod siting in my driveway and water it daily in hopes of keeping it alive. Once the wall is up, I can lay (plant?) the sod on the new dirt? I have no idea. It definitely won't work.

The sod should be going in today, weather permitting, and the wall isn't up. Hooray.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Recent Happenings.

I spent all of last week getting the yard ready for planting things in it. Basically, Amanda and I chopped up some bushes, dug a bunch of dirt, inhaled a lot of dust and swung an ax around for a few days.

I met up with a few more landscaping fellows and here's how it went. During the third meeting, I was holding the estimate from my second meeting. It was for $2,900. After walking the guy through what he had to do (basically, lay sod everywhere), he started to tally up the estimate. He said, "well, the labor is going to be $2,500."

I stopped him right there and let him know that I appreciated his time, but it wasn't going to work out. He asked what my other estimates were, and I showed him the one in my hand. He hemmed a little, with minimal hawing, and let me know that he'd do it for $2,650. Awesome.

I shook his hand and he was on his way. He started today and should be finished up tomorrow.

Also, over the weekend, I ordered 200 retaining wall blocks. Hopefully, they'll show up today and I'll dig a bunch of crap up and install them.

Yesterday, Mr. and Mrs. Paul and Judith Topham showed up to help out with the gardening. The day previous, Amanda and I spent more money on plants/mulch than I expected to spend total in my whole life a year ago. Paul and Judy came down from their quaint New Hampshire life to join the fast paced world of house flipping. Either that, or Judy loves to garden and was more than happy to help us out in the yard.

After four or so hours, we had planted and watered everything we bought, ate some steak tips, and called it a weekend.

This week, I'm going to try to pry some more money out of the loan fellow, get the yard squared away, build a retaining wall and do some other super fun stuff in and around the house.

Sorry for the lack of updates, but I'm busy at work and at home, as one could imagine. I'll have, and I mean it this time, pictures and video for you this week. I promise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bones and Insects.

After work yesterday, I kept doing yard work, trying to get it ready to plant some things. While lugging the free patio stone from beside the garage to the driveway (next to where it will ultimately end up), Amanda and I noticed some things.

First, we noticed that there were a lot of big black spiders. I have no idea what kind, but I do know that there are a lot of them. We saw probably 20 or so crawling around. It was unnerving. Here's one of them that crawled up the side of the garage. I have a Canon brand lens cap that I use for scale, not for monetizing this blog with ad revenue:

Secondly, when getting down to the bottom of the rock pile, I uncovered a few bones. Larger than chicken, but smaller than midget human:

I found a few more bones, pretty much identical to the ones pictured. They look like leg bones of some sort.

Also underneath the bottom rocks is a white, chalk like substance. I have no idea what it is, but I can only assume it was spread around with a specific purpose.

Amanda and I have two theories about the above findings:

1. The family that lived here buried a dog or something, but didn't dig very deeply. Instead of doing a little bit of hard labor (which the craftsmanship throughout the house proves they had an aversion to), they just piled a bunch of flagstone on top of the critter.

That makes sense, but what about the white substance? It is sidewalk chalk that the dumb kids who lived there tried to color the dirt with, before the dog was crushed under the flagstone. Duh.

2. The creepy and annoying next door neighbors have their basement lights on most nights. It's kind of scary. We can only postulate that the loudmouth and handshaking neighbors use their significant people skills to lure kids into their lit basement in the evening to skin them. Amanda and I believe that the bones in the yard are from an earlier, possibly failed skinning attempt. Unhappy with the results of the filleting, they dumped some of the kid in their neighbors' yards, using my current yard as the grounds for the child's legs. The white substance we can only assume was used to hide the stench of decaying child.

It's quite obvious that number two is the choice.

As for work at the house, I'm still getting estimates on the sod and door work in the house. No commitments yet.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Weekend in NJ.

Updates are coming slower. I stink. Also, the work at the house isn't all that interesting.

On Friday, I went home after work and got cracking with the yard work. It was the first nice day in a few weeks, so I figured it might be my last chance to rake something. Four hours and 11 paper yard waste bags later, and I had three quarters of the back yard raked. Slow going.

The rest of the weekend I spent driving to and from New Jersey for Amanda's sister's college graduation. We drove back to RI on Sunday and went to bed. See? Uninteresting.

Yesterday, I met with a landscaper to get a quote for laying sod in the yards. She was one of the uglier women I've ever seen. Really very ugly. I mentioned to Amanda that I think I'd rather make out with my mother for 45 seconds than this kiss woman/troll. Looks aside, I hope she gives me a good quote for lawn and garden needs.

During the measuring of the yard, I heard my crazy neighbor yelling my name from inside of her house. Posture sagging, I turned and said hello.

Crazy Neighbor - "Let me tell you something about that yard. Let me tell you a story. I've got a story for you about that back yard."

Ryan - "Ok."

CN - "There used to be a pool back there. And let me tell you something about that pool."

R - "Ok."

CN - "In that yard there, there used to be a pool. Right in the back there. One year, way back, one of the neighbors was driving into their garage, smashed through their garage and do you know where their car landed?"

R - "I can tak..."

CN - "Right in that swimming pool!"

R - "...e a guess..."

CN - *horrid witch cackle* "So that's a story about the back yard!" *cackle*

Here's a photo of the back yard (from last year some time) to give you an idea of how a car can fill a swimming pool. The big blue building is the neighbors garage/stunt track:

After that, she retreated into the depths of her old home (which never has the blinds up, thankfully) and I was left to deal with the landscapers.

On the Ron Costa front, I've been playing phone tag with someone that will supposedly help me file a complaint against him. No progress there, and still no check (gasp!).

This week I plan on getting the yard ready for some plantings so they can be a little grown in when it's time to sell (in 18 months or so). Looking forward to the long weekend.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Not much going on that's newsworthy, and thus, no post yesterday.

On the Ron the Electrician front, not much there either. No check yet. No call back yet.

I did contact someone at the RI Department of Labor and Training and he'll help me file a formal and legal complaint against good old Ron. Should prove to be a boring and drawn out process.

When I was looking around for info on Ron and his license number and whatnot, I cam across a fantastic site. It's Ron's profile on jobvana. Here it is:

It's fantastic. His profile picture is of two, apparently identical dogs, with what appear to be bows on their heads.

If you take a look at his profile, it's full of awesomeness. Various misspellings, an awesome about section, random capitalization, etc. I'm sure you can look through and find your favorite unintentional comedy (a misspelling right before his "Intelligent" strength), but here is my favorite:

Weaknesses: Big Heart.

Yes. That's his weakness. He cares too much.

He's tops.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesdays With Celtics

I learned two things yesterday, unrelated to my current home:

1. If I (or Amanda) am in attendance, it's game number 5 in an NBA playoff series, the series is tied at two games apiece, it's Tuesday, it's in Boston, I have eaten two hot dogs before the start of the game, and I am wearing sneakers, then the Celtics will win a game in a ridiculously exciting manner and I will be a bundle of nerves for the majority of the fourth quarter.

Another Tuesday, another bananas Celtics Game 5.

2. From my seats, very very close (1st row) to the Magic (how do you make that plural-possessive? Magics'?) bench I concluded that humans did not actually evolve from apes. We instead, and Hedo Turkoglu is my proof, were preceded by slack eyed half-retards. Not quite animal, but not entirely human either. Case in point:

This next point is also unrelated to my house, so I apologize, but how can a team owner name a team something that isn't plural? It makes it very awkward to say in many situations. What is a player called on the Orlando Magic? A Magic? Amanda, and this sounds the best, suggested "Magician". Is that really what we should be calling them? Dwight Howard, Magician? No one wants to drag out their sentence by saying "a Magic player" repeatedly. This is inexcusable.

Other offenders? The Oklahoma City Thunder. The Miami Heat. (Really guys? Weather phenomena?) The Minnesota Wild. (What?) As someone who has had language nuance drilled (thanks Paul) into him from a very young age, these naming transgressions bother me. Greatly.

On the house front, nothing was done yesterday, as I went to a game. The one remaining basement window was installed this morning (I hope) and I have an electrician coming this afternoon for a quote on the Ron Cleanup Project.

Also, still no check from Ron. He's the best. I'm going to start the calling campaign again, work my way up as the week goes on.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Almost Forgot...

Boring stuff last night. I painted a bunch of ceilings (which is terrible work) and Amanda painted cabinets. Ho hum.

I did, however, remember a story I should have told awhile ago. I'm sure I was a little preoccupied with Ron Costa, but today, the story gets the full blowout treatment.

I've written about the Wagner Paint Eater a few different times so far and how awesome it is. Sadly, the purchase experience was anything but awesome. Horrifying is more apt.

I headed to the Home Depot near work with the intent of purchasing the Paint Eater. I wandered around a little bit in an out of aisles, and finally meandered over to the paint department's little customer service desk. A small man with the Home Depot apron on had his back to me, so I waited for him to turn around. Finally noticing me, he turned, and as he did, I noticed his ear. Uh-oh.

Now, if you don't know me, here's a little more about me: I have trouble masking my initial reaction when I see something, good or bad. For instance, if I see an old woman fall down, I immediately laugh at her. When I see a super fat and/or ugly woman, I make a face like I smelled something foul. Etc. The point is, I rarely, if ever, have the facial reaction filter that most other people employ. I don't know when it started, or why, but it's probably too late to change now. What does this have to do with buying a glorified sander from the local Home Depot? Lots.

When I noticed this small man's ear, it was basically missing. There was a little bit of tissue left, so it wasn't completely gone, but it was definitely weird looking. Seeing as I don't have any sort of facial expression censor, and I was looking at something that was fairly grotesque/surprising, my eyes widened. Big mistake. When the man finished turning around, my eyes were wide open, and probably stretching even wider, because he was a super mega extra uber burn victim. Like, extra burn.

My words may not adequately describe him, but I'll do my best. Imagine a sheepish, mousy thirteen year old boy, skinny, and unsure of himself. Now take that thirteen year old's nose and shear it off so there's only about a quarter of an inch of tissue left protruding from his face. When you're done with that, take about three square inches or less of pale skin and stretch it over the entirety of his face, back to his ears. Cut a few holes through the taught skin for eyes, a mouth and nostrils and you'll be approaching the general look of this man's face. It was just terrifying.

Noticing the look of this small man, I realized that my eyes were wide open. He didn't see me widen them initially, as he was mid-turn, so I said to myself, "Great. My eyes are wide open and I now can't close them, because he'll obviously know that I widened them because of how terrible and scary he looks. I guess I just have to carry out the rest of this transaction with wide open eyes. Awesome."

I asked him about the Paint Eater and he led me down the aisle to where they are stacked up. Still wide eyed, I watched him point.

Oh no. He was missing his hands. Holy crap.

He had a nub where the base of his fingers used to be, and a little thumb nub, maybe up to the knuckle. Seeing this, I was glad that my eyes were already wide open, because boy would they have widened in plain sight if they weren't.

Seeing the condition of where his hand used to be, I started to thank him and reach for the box, which had a convenient handle on the top of it. I stopped short, because, ahem, HE STUFFED HIS NUB IN BETWEEN THE BOX AND THE HANDLE.

Sorry for yelling. He actually jammed his former hand/current stump into the handle to give me the product. I was mortified. He handed (dangled?) me the box, which was hanging from his rounded off scar tissue. I thanked him for his help, scurried to the registers, and finally returned my eyes to their normal width.

Please. Home Depot of South Attleboro. Do not. Put a man. With a surgically manufactured pale stretchy mask face. And scar tissue arm caps. Anywhere. Where he has to help me. Please.

I know I should probably be more sensitive to his plight, but just like pudgy ugly women/men aren't cut out for modeling (you hear that Dove brand?), this man should not be the face of the Home Depot Paint Department. Yikes.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Ron Costa is awesome. You know this already. I just feel like it needs to be said again. He's the best.

The work done over the weekend wasn't all that notable, but some things were done. The Portuguese Plaster Specialist finished up mudding the joints on the second floor on Saturday morning, so I need to apply another coat, sand and paint.

Amanda finished up the windows in the living room, so everything but the ceiling in there now has paint on it. Exciting.

We fought with the stove for a little while to put it into place, but we now have a working stove. The only problem is, our counter tops are disgusting and neither of us really want to use them for anything but drying rollers/paint brushes. Since that's the case, getting back to regular cooking/eating might have to wait until the new counters are installed. Lame-o.

I had an electrician come and check out what is left to be done on the first floor. I took him through the house, outlining what is needed in each room, he went on his way and told me that he'd call me back. I checked my voicemail when we were finished up buying a bunch of crap from Home Depot, and he said it would cost $1000 to do the rest of the work. I laughed. I called him back and let him know that Ron Costa was paid 2 grand to do that work, plus switch the house to 200 amps. I also let him know that he wouldn't be getting the job. I have another electrician coming early this week.

As an aside, the electrician who came on Sunday has a super leaky eye. He was just constantly pouring water out of his left eye. It was very strange and a little gross.

I'll try to get some photos up of the progress this week. I'm sure everyone is interested in seeing the depressing squalor we live in.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The end?

Last night, I continued the painting. Finished up the entry way, finished up the woodwork in the living room, started the kitchen.

Also, a plumber came by and fixed the drain situation, so hopefully that's the end of basement floods.

In other news, Electrician Ron related, here's how it went:

Despite Ron's terrifying text message threat, I called him a few more times during my lunch break yesterday. After I left my second consecutive message, my phone rang. I picked it up and saw who was calling. "Electrician". The Electrician? Hooray!

Trying my best to contain my excitement, I picked answered the phone. Below is a rough transcription of the conversation:

Ryan - *ultra sarcastically enthusiastic* "Hey Ron!"

Electrician Ron - *deadpan* "Ryan. I won't be coming to your house anymore."

Ryan's Inner Monologue - "Ryan, please contain yourself. There are at least 75 different sarcastic things you could say here because of the utter insanity of what he just said. Of course he's not coming to the house anymore. If he had any intention of doing so, he would have called, or maybe even visited the house to do some actual work. He's insane and apparently unaware that he's stating the super obvious."

R - *feigning surprise* "Really? Why's that?"

ER - "I called the Cranston Police."

R - "I don't care who you called. You're either going to send me a check or do the work you've been paid to do, or I'm going to keep calling you and texting you incessantly, or maybe even visit your house, until one of the two of those things is done."

ER - "It doesn't bother me. I got my phone on vibrate."

R - It obviously does bother you if you 'called the police'.

R - "I'm sending you a check, don't worry."

R - "For how much?"

ER - "$150."

R - "$150? That doesn't seem like enough."

RIM - "Ryan. Just take the stupid check, hang up the phone and be done with this r-tard."

ER - "$150. That's what's left."

R - "Awesome."

ER - "I called (your employer)."

R - "Ha."

ER - "I spoke to the legal department at (your employer) and also to the head of security. You're harrassing (he probably misspelled it when he said it) me on their time."

RIM - "No he didn't Ryan. He's making it up. Even if he wasn't making it up, who cares? What is the legal department going to do? What is the head of security going to do, throw me out of work? Plus, the HR lady with the short hair already hates you; it's her you have to worry about..."

R - "That's awesome. I'm sure they care. Since you're apparently finished trying to screw me, are you going to continue to screw Al (Medina, General Contractor)?"

ER - "I'm not screwing him."

R - "Yes you are. You still have work to do in the house for him. Plus he bought and gave you baseboard electric heaters for the second floor. I assume those will come along with the check you're sending?"

ER - *getting angry* "He never gave those to me."

R - "Don't lie."

ER - "I never got anything from him."

R - "Stop lying. Why would Al tell me he gave them to you if he didn't? Either he's lying for no reason, or you're lying because you returned them to Home Depot and got money for them."

ER - "I don't know what you're talking about."

R - "Stop lying. I already know that you're super professional, so you don't need to keep proving it."

ER - "I called up (your employer). You're bothering me on their time. They'll be calling you. The Cranston Police will also be giving you a call for this harrassment."

RIM - "Ryan, does he really think that a threat like that would scare you? He 'called' two departments that don't have anything to do with something like this. Plus, as far as I know, you can't wait to talk to the Cranston Police about this."

R - "That's awesome Ron. Just send me the check. I'm not going to stop calling you until I have the check. I'm sure it'll arrive shortly, as you're very reliable."

ER - "I'll send it. Bye."

R - "Bye Ron. You're awesome. Really."


Two things:

1. Will he send the check? I don't have any idea.

2. Did I just get rid of the best blog fodder I may ever have? Perhaps.

Whatever the case, once I get that check, if I ever get it, I will be done with Electrician Ron Costa. On the one hand, I will lose a terrible idiot from my life, but on the other hand, it's the terrible idiots that make it funny. if I don't get the check by Monday evening, I'm going to start calling him again, so part of me hopes that I don't get the check.

Lastly, Tom, if you get any calls from the head of security or the legal department, just point them to this blog. I think they'll understand. Actually, no they won't. They're humorless.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm Giddy.

This has to be written about immediately.

Over the past few weeks, I've been trying to get my electrician, Ron Costa, to do work he has been paid to do. Since he refuses, I've been trying to annoy him into at least calling me back to yell at me or something. Anything to speak to the man.

Yesterday, as I pointed out in my last post, I decided to call him over and over, leaving a message every time I am driving somewhere in my car. One of the options of his voicemail is to send a call-back number. I choose that every time to send him a text and then leave a voice message. In short, I call him for fifteen or twenty minutes in a row, get his voicemail, press 5 to send a callback number, leave a voicemail, and start over.

I also decided yesterday evening to send him 25 or so texts in succession that all said "Hi ron!".

When I was driving to work this morning around 6:50, I called him over and over, repeating the same callback number/voicemail routine until I got to work.

Since then, I've been calling once or twice every hour. He even picked up to hang up on me once this morning.

All in all, I've probably called/messaged him 100 times in the past two days. I'm just trying to get some kind of response back.

It worked. A few minutes ago, I received the following text message from "Electrician":

Cranston Police will be calling you for harrassment complaint

Firstly, I like that he capitalized "Cranston Police" but left out "a" before a misspelled "harrassment". If you're going to abandon punctuation and sentence structure altogether, why bother with capitalizing proper nouns?

Secondly, AWESOME! I really, really hope he's not bluffing. I'm so excited. Really. I'm not being sarcastic. I'm very excited.

Tuesday & Wednesday.

Sorry for the no show yesterday. More painting isn't all that fun to read about, or write about.

As for today? Some more fun things to write about:

After work, I headed home and Joe Merritt, Plumber, was in my basement working on that stupid illegal drain pipe for the washer. He replaced the trap and tried to snake the drain, but he only got about three feet before the snake stopped completely. Sweet. The old drain is super clogged. Someone has to come unclog it, as apparently Drano is no match for drains left unused for years at a time.

While he was working, Amanda and I went to order some counter tops. With measurements in hand, we sat down with some sort of Kitchen Specialist at the ghetto Home Depot. We chose the cheapest solid surface (not laminate, not stone) tops they had in gray and started the ordering process. The Kitchen Specialist was an older woman, maybe in her 50s or 60s, and she seemed to be trying to save her voice for something later on. She was almost inaudible.

If you've ever been, you may know that The Home Depot generally has a little aural bustle to it; customers talking, fork lifts beeping, shelves being stocked, etc. To combat this in conversation, one should probably raise their voice a little bit; no need to yell, but a higher volume is appreciated. This woman decided that soft spoken was the way to go.


Ryan - "We need roughly 43 square feet of counter."

Kitchen Specialist - "ok, psspssps, are psst pss, your measurements, pss pssstpsss?"

After straining, leaning in and asking her to repeat things for 40 minutes, our counter tops and under mount sink were ordered ($1,820). Next is some sort of measurement appointment, then two weeks of waiting. Hooray.

After Home Depot was finished making us strain to hear things, we got back to work painting the living room. It's done. Awesome. All that's left in there (not counting Rob's responsibilities) is to paint the ceiling, put up crown molding and do something with the ugly stone hearth.

After painting, it was time for clean-up. Generally an uneventful task, but last night, it was more noteworthy than usual. To clean up after painting, you generally have to run water for a few minutes while cleaning your hands, brushes, rollers and paint trays. Last evening was no exception. When I was finished up with a paint tray, I stopped the water, but heard, from below me, the sound of water running. Well, splashing. OK, cascading.

I said a swearword to myself and rushed downstairs to see what was up. The new drain had overflowed. Apparently, when Joe Merritt, Plumber, tried to snake the drain, it stirred up some things and probably clogged it more. After a year(s) of being able to settle into becoming a very slow drain, the commotion from the small pipe snake upset the delicate balance of the drain. It rebelled. Everything I cleaned up in the kitchen sink was on the floor of the basement, paint and all.

Here's the proof:

Lastly, I vowed to call Electrician Ron over and over again every time I am driving in my car. So far so good. No call back yet, but a frustrated hang-up yesterday. I'll keep it up, along with calls every hour or so when I'm not driving.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Monday Evening

Another boring night. Amanda finished up the trim painting in the living room and I cut the room with paint while listening to the Celtics lose.

In Ron news, I've started calling him every hour again. So that's awesome.

And now this:

Monday, May 4, 2009


Friday - After work, I went home and got cracking (I need a new phrase for 'started an activity') priming the fireplace. After a few minutes, my plumber and general contractor showed up. The plumber fixed the leaky drain in the basement, hooked up the new clothes washer and partially installed the new dishwasher. I like Joe Merritt the plumber.

My contractor and his buddy started to install the new kitchen cabinets. Progress.

When installing the new cabinets, I decided to move the fridge to a different spot to make room for some more cabinets. Cabinets which I had not yet purchased. Since I didn't buy them yet, I headed out to the old Bargain Outlet with measurements in hand.

I grabbed the cabinets from the shelves, loaded them up on the rickety cart, and headed to the cash register. I paid using my debit card, which has the Patriots logo on it (I get a better interest rate on my savings account with the logo). The clerk noticed the logo and asked me if "Brady's gonna be ready for the season".

Another worker at the Bargain Outlet overheard this and asked, I'm not making this up, if I played for the Patriots. Here's the exchange:

Worker - "So, do you play for the Patriots?"

Me - *confused look* "What?"

Clerk - *Confused look*

Me - *realizing he's serious* "Yes. I'm here buying the cheapest cabinets I can find because I make millions of dollars playing for the Patriots."

Clerk - *cracking up*

Worker - "Well, I don't know. I heard you talking about Brady and thought you had some inside info."

Clerk - *still cracking up* "Yea."

You may not know me, but here's my info: I am 13 feet tall, 64 pounds and gangly to the power of 20. I couldn't even pass for a kicker, as my legs are about the width of those flexible poles you use to put up a small tent with. People are simultaneously awesome and terribly dumb.

I went back to the house with the cabinets and we installed them.

Saturday - I woke up and got to work. Amanda and I were having a reception-esque party at Dave & Busters for everyone that wasn't invited to Puerto Rico for our wedding. We had a lot to do.

We worked on sanding and priming the living room windows and trim. There were a few visits from her family at various points during the day, and we had to gather all kinds of crap to bring with us to the party (cakes, ps3, Rock Band drums, etc).

We didn't get all that much done house wise, but the party was fairly good. Video games, poor singing, Celtics game 7, pool, air hockey, etc. Everyone there seemed to enjoy themselves, so I guess that's good.

Sunday - Got up and started to do some laundry with the newly installed washing machine. Much better than going to a laundromat. Obviously.

We went out to breakfast with some friends that were driving back to NJ and got back to the house around noon. Amanda continued on the widow sanding (which she had been doing for a week or so) and I sanded some woodwork in the hallways. When the windows were finally done (hooray) we got to priming them.

During all of this, we were swapping out loads of laundry intermittently. Towards the end of the day, Amanda came upstairs and let me know that the carpet we put down there is soaking wet. Great. Instead of checking it out immediately, we went to dinner.

Post dinner, we taped off the windows for paint and we painted the widow trim, the baseboard and the mantle. A crisp semi-gloss white represents actual progress in an almost finished room. All that's left in the living room is paint on the ceiling and paint on the walls. That should be done this week. It's kind of exciting.

During the painting, I figured we should run a load of laundry and see what leaks. During the first rinse cycle, Amanda reported that a little bit of water bubbled up from the old drain pipe that the washer drain is connected to. During the next rinse cycle, I was down there watching and apparently, the second rinse uses a lot more water. A waterfall exploded from the drain pipe. Gallons of water rushed onto the floor and we had our answer to "what's leaking". Very good. I gave Joe a call and he'll hopefully fix this old plumbing problem before we have to wash more clothes. Sigh.

Ron - He still sucks.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Budget Fun

More of the same last night. Still no cable (thanks Ron) so I listened to the Celtics game while Amanda sanded and I threw a few coats of primer around the living room trim and fireplace.

Since there isn't much to report, I figure I will give an update on the money spent. I'll break it out by where I spent it, rather than what it was on, as that's how I have my spreadsheet organized (easier to track receipts). It's a lot of money spent. A lot. - $339.19

Bought fixtures and smoke detectors from there. Cheapest I could find.

Bargain Outlet - $675.16

The only place I could find that had in-stock kitchen cabinets that look similar to the ones already in the house. Plus the place is super cheap and they were already built. This place is awesome.

Discount Disposal - $864

The cheapest huge dumpsters I could find. I went way over budget with this, as I didn't plan for a second dumpster, and one was needed. F.

Home Depot - $3,399.95


Ikea - $295.74

Bought the vanity/sink combo for the master bathroom.

Drywall Guy - $970

Paid a man and his crew to hang drywall everywhere on the second floor. I didn't account for this expense, but it was worth the money.

Lowes - $369.07

I feel bad giving all of my money to Home Depot.

Joe Merritt - $5,000

I budgeted 6k for plumbing in the house and so far, it's under. I have another $300 I owe him, plus whatever it's going to cost to fix the basement leaks. I might be right on budget for this. Who knew?

Movers - $650

I didn't budget anything for the movers, but it was definitely worth it. When I moved to RI for my job, the company paid for people to move us. They packed all of our stuff, loaded and unloaded everything. I am officially spoiled. Plus, these guys were super cheap (as meth prices are down apparently) compared to every other mover I talked to ($1k+ estimates).

Ocean State Heating - $134.18

This was to fix the viscosity problem. Very colorful money spent.

Pilgrim Title - $8,595.83

These were closing costs. Ouch.

Electrician Ron - $2,550

Electrician Ron's bill was not planned for. Every dollar I've given him is outside of the budget, as they were all issues that came up after an inspection.

Sears - $1,640.03

Sears has the cheapest stainless steel appliances, and thus, I pay them. This doesn't include the money my parents spent on the washer and dryer, although it probably should.

U-Haul - $167.17

Since I don't own a truck, I need to rent a truck to pick up appliances. U-Haul is the least expensive (although, looking at the price of two rentals, I might rethink that).

Universal Oil - $165

I had to put oil into my boiler. In order for my boiler to get oil, I have to have someone put a bunch into my oil tank.

Venture Windows - $6,338

New windows are $338 dollars more expensive than I thought.

If my math is correct (Microsoft's math rather) that's a grand total, so far, of $32,581.97.

That doesn't take into account what has been paid to my general contractor. it probably should, but whatever. I also will be over budget a little more than I'd like to be because of tool purchases. I'm OK with that, as I have some sweet tools that I can use on the next house, which I won't have to buy then (obviously).

In short, I have somehow managed to spend 32 grand in the last few months from my bank account. I've been paid back some of it by Richard Who Will Pay Us, but not nearly close to that amount. I have no idea where all of this money is coming from, but it's kind of frightening. Also frightening? I've spent all of this money, but still can't plug in a stupid stove.