Friday, May 04, 2007

I'm fit to be tiled

I watch the world go 'round and 'round
And see mine turning upside down...

-- Genesis, "Throwing It All Away"

This has been one of those rare weeks where things have been so busy that the time off seemed much longer than the three days it really was. I tell people what I was doing on Tuesday and think, "that was THIS LAST Tuesday?! 3 days ago?!" I actually looked forward to going back to work on Friday so there'd be some form of regularity and demarcation to my days. Here's a tour of the salient points, and once again there were times I should have brought a notepad. First, a preliminary catchup: The work schedule changed, so now my days off are Tuesday through Thursday; Sunday and Monday went pretty much uneventfully at work.

Tuesday: When I was at the Saturn dealer last week, getting charged out the ass without getting anything fixed, I was told there's a nail in one of my tires. So I went to Les Schwab to have them take care of that. Now, much like with the Saturn dealer, I know that one should bring one's own entertainment because it's going to be awhile... even on a Tuesday morning. I packed the day's paper, my MP3 player, an orange juice (they serve popcorn at the tire place), and the hope that this would be done quickly. I finished the entire newspaper before they ever put my car up on the dolly, so I should have brought more to read. Now, I figured that if it came to that (since it always does) that there'd be some magazines in the lobby to read. Looking around, there was one in the entire place, and it was a special edition of People devoted to worshipping what celebrities wear. I tried to read it but after about ten pages I had to put it down, it was just too mindless for me. (I did find myself laughing at the photo of some famous person who went out looking like absolute caca but the point of the article it was in was admiring her large and stylish handbag. They found the one presentable thing in the entire scene and promoted it.) I often find myself in public looking around and thinking I'm witnessing a parade of lost souls, and this place was no exception; most noteable was the woman who looked mid-40's to mid-50's that sat a few seats away from me. She could have been my mother, minus a hundred pounds. I knew there was something odd about her form but it eventually came to me that she'd had her pelvis surgically removed. Seriously, there was nearly nothing between thigh and middle. And middle I did see. Along with the large tattoo of an ocean reef with cat pawprints amidst it in the small of her back, which had to have started at her missing pelvic girdle and gone up to the lumbar vertibrae. Anyhow, so I bided my time and watched some news television -- I think it's great that they have their television programmed on a timer, so every hour it changes between FOX News and CNN to make it truly 'fair and balanced' -- and eventually my car shows up in the lot again, I'm handed my keys and an estimate for new tires (starting at just $300), and watched gasoline go up another two cents.

Wednesday: Last week I called this guy who came recommended by a fireplace store a couple miles up the street to get my woodstove removed. Today's his day to show up, and he did (an hour late due to being out of town but he called to let me know). hearth tile layout He came armed with a cute female assistant with a neck tattoo that said "Aries" and an electric dolly that can lift 1200 pounds. Both of them are wearing their track warmup suits' pants at mid-pelvis, showing more boxer shorts and asscrack than I was really ready for, which at the least seemed impractical for their work, but they're the professionals and they know what they're doing. In swift measure they got the woodstove out of my home and into their truck, the slab that came with the woodstove was also taken away, and they vacuumed up most of the mess. $135 later and a check of the fireplace (needs the spaces between the bricks filled in and the chimney cleaned because it's pretty thick with soot/creosote), and the fireplace is ready to be renovated. The picture at right is a layout of what we're going to do for a floor inset; under the slab was green slate which presented almost no challenge to remove, we bought the tile pieces we wanted last weekend minus the corners. Paige got home from work at 6pm, took one look at the reclaimed space, and said, "Would you like to go to Lowe's right now to get a tile saw?" That's what we did, sorta; not impressed with the selection at Lowe's, we went to Home Depot across the highway and got a 7" tile saw with a metal top and body that can do any bevel/angle from 0° to 45°. I bet the neighbors loved that I was out in the shop after 10pm cutting tile, but that's when stuff gets accomplished here. And I watched gasoline go up another two cents.

Thursday: Get up late, go to our favorite tile place to figure out what to put in the corners and settled upon a dark black smooth marble, plus light black/dark grey grout. Today is also our 9th anniversary, and one week from the 20th anniversary of when we had our first long chat in the wee hours of the night (which we refer to as "that wonderful, horrible night"); she got a card, three bags of M&Ms, a DVD of candy commercials from the 50's through the 70's, and a green ceramic birdbath -- anniversary 9, according to the web, is celebrated with willow, leather, or pottery, and it's pretty easy to guess which two just don't work for her. After having a nice dinner at 4pm at Marie Callender, we came home and I cut the 12"x12" marble tile into four 3"x3" squares for the corners, and then we set into ripping out the existing hearthstone with a hammer and chisel. The stone came out quick, it's the mortar that's requiring the elbow grease but it's coming right along. Now, for the obvious question, "now what will you be covering the brick fireplace with?"... uh, we haven't gotten that far. We've agreed the pieces will be at least 6" wide, there will be accent pieces or medallions but not in metal, but that's all we know right now. It'll be a couple weeks before we will have the money to buy that stuff anyway, courtesy of automotive expenses and that gasoline went up another two cents. (I'm at mile 115 of my "come back in 200-300 miles" thing of last week. It'll probably be after mile 500, due to an upcoming trip to visit Karen in Roslyn WA [or Cicely AK, for the Northern Exposure fans] before my next paycheck arrives.)

So I'm back at work. I skipped the free Friday lunch today because I forgot and was doing stuff on the computer, but once I got to work the evening crew asked if I wanted to go out for phở with them after the cats were away, so I got stuffed silly anyway, just on my own dime. [A note to those who do not live in Puget Sound: the two kinds of Asian food restaurants found almost as frequently as our world-famous coffee places are Japanese teriyaki and Vietnamese noodle soup. That letter is a "lower case O with horn and hook above", if it wasn't rendered correctly on your screen, and the soup's name is pronounced "fuh".] Which brings us to the dual stupidities: a) my coworker Nick's autobahn-style driving (well, he is from Germany...), which almost met with bad results b) the assclown in front of the Sheridan as we were passing that took a left turn in front of us for no other reason than to see if we'd really drive across the sidewalk, which we had no choice but to do. I finally bought gas today on my way to work, and while I was fueling up I watched two minimart workers change the sign at the edge of the lot... up another two cents. (The former price was still on my pump, thank you.)

Happy 9th anniversary!

I like this post's title. Good play on words.

We found a tire place that does great work quickly at the lowest prices we've ever seen.
Gas prices SUCK!! They SUCK money right out of our pockets!
Oh, the tire place is called American Tire. I have no idea if they are national or not.
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