Thursday, December 28, 2006

Stop Clock! STOP!

Well, I had to take some of my own advice, good advice it was. In a previous post I suggested not putting the proverbial clock in front of ones face whilst stripping paint, or else suffer misery and damaged wood. What with our move-in/out date fast approaching (end of this year), I found myself chanting the ill-helpful mantra "I'm not gonna make it. I'm not gonna make it....". Toss in a couple of adorable girls and sexy/fabulous wife I cannot tear myself away from and a heaping helping of Christmas, and I found that the stripping spirit had vacated the premises. So had my sleep. My stress had reached insomniatic proportions. Delerium was a friend with whom I would confide in.

So then we will have to move in later...again. This is the fourth time we have had to postpone our domestic transfer (aka- move).

This past weekend I began ripping up the foul carpet, and it was foul indeed. Below the carpet padding was a wood strip floor atop the original floorboards. I confess to not knowing the state of the original floor yet. The top layer lay witness to a much older carpeting, one that appears to have spent much of its life in wetness. The abandoned staples made this confession to me, as well as bold complaints of some previous pet.

I will say this clearly: Carpets are nasty things that hide filthy secrets from their occupants.

Evict them, I say. In my next post I will include pictures of these indescretions. This had brought us to the conclusion that it would be best in terms of time/money to remove this top layer of flooring and either see if what's beneath is salvagable or lay down a new floor. This is instead of sanding and refinishing the floor in several coats. Not really being something we anticipated, there is much about laying down a new floor I do not yet know. Time for another crash course.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sharks Patrol These Waters: a Retro-Rant

Today I'm dredging up an old draft of a post (4 month old) for mere amusement. I was green in many senses of the term, so look not too harshly upon the thoughts below...They were from a draft after all. This was written after our 3rd unsuccessful offer on a house, and prior to dealings with the house we now have. We had gotten word that local agents talked about black listing us and I was fuming mad, but ultimately paranoid, so I sat on this.

Don’t let your fingers dangle in the water (or so it goes, with due respect to indie band Morphine). It becomes increasingly more clear that the ‘way for the realtor’ is terribly unclear to me. It seems the more we pursue our house hunt, we encounter more and more unpleasantries from the agent-side of buying a house. The foibles of the many realtors we’ve acquainted have left us with a simmering dislike of the profession. Particular crimes include:

- False listings
advertising a 3-bedroom house, where one 'bedroom' is in the basement with 6‘-2” to 7’-0” ceiling height, and another has no closet
- Overly aggressive approach to “helping you find the right house”

when we really want to do the research ourselves at our own pace.
- Expecting the buyer to "find the right house" after 3-5 viewings
- Persistently NOT returning calls when requesting a viewing or just info

- dropping not-so-vague hints that they "really need to make this sale"
- using fictitious competing 'buyers' to get you to up your offer
- Flipping properties before they have even gone on market

to pocket themselves an easy 20%-100% markup (and thereby keep the market high)
- Selling Agents who don't bring your offer to the owner
so they can find their own buyer, thereby claiming double profits as Buying Agent, too

Am I bitter? Yes. Yes I am, perhaps mostly due to the fact that a realtor often earns as much or more selling a house than the Architect does whom had built it. It is the Architect whom has the extensive education/experience, strict regulations & licensure, liability, and CREATIVE SKILL…and the realtor? I won’t even bother, except to say that they all seem to drive Lexus’, BMWs & Mercedes and are overly concerned with the state of their fingernails.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Still Strippin' - A Psychological Approach

If somebody ever tells you that stripping paint is easy, go ahead and bite their finger off. It is probably being waggled at you as they say this. It’s not to say that it’s particularly difficult, say like reassembling a Wankel rotary engine, but is more akin to exfoliating oneself armed with only a pair of Hello Kitty™ tweezers; it takes a very long time to work through every edge, corner and crevice and you keep finding bits you previously overlooked. It almost aches as much, too…bit by bit. Sometimes I imagine our house is screaming with every passing scrape, other times, it’s just me doing the imaginary scream. This does nothing to make it more bearable. And then I look back over what I had just accomplished, and realize that it can be measured in mere inches.

It’s those edges and corners & such that take so long…and those places that were never stained/shellacked prior to painting…and undersides and curves. Will it never end, I keep asking myself. I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have a proverbial clock/calendar to stare at.

So kiddies, the moral here is: if you plan to strip paint (especially roomfuls), do not put yourself in a position where you keep looking at the time when you have to be finished. Find that "zone", that zen moment, and just focus on what you are working on now, and not what you have to have done then. It would be better if you had no particular time to be done, but that is seldom practical. Just try to not think about it too much. You will have alot of time to practice this.

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