Thursday, March 27, 2008

Roofers Without Ladders

Yesterday I worked from home so that I could meet up with some roofers who were coming to the house to give me a quote on my stupid roof. The first guy was supposed to show up at 10 so when he showed up at 9:45 I was pretty happy with that. "Nice." I said to myself and the cats, "He's early." Yeah, he was early but he didn't bring a ladder. Say what now? That's right. A roofer without a ladder.

He tried to see the roof from the street (even going so far as to get on the stairs of my neighbor's house) but I doubt that's as effective as say, getting a ladder and climbing the fuck up there. Yeah, probably not as good. Plus, the roof in question is flat so I'm guessing you can't see it from below. The whole laws of physics and all (and I should know, I took my high school physics class twice! Mr. Calson can suck it).

After realizing that maybe he should have brought the ladder, he asked if he could come back later. I asked "With a ladder?" He didn't seem to understand my sarcasm. "Of course with the ladder." he replied. Oh, of COURSE. Now I just feel silly. See, I'm not a professional so maybe I don't know about some kind of ladder etiquette where you don't mount the roof on the first meeting. Whatever. So, yes. Come back later Skippy.

I go back inside to stoke the fire (Got it up to 74° yesterday! Not that impressive really when I disclose that it was about 60° outside. But still, my house was toasty!) and get back to work. The next roofer is scheduled to show up at 4pm and I'm praying that he'll have his ladder with him. Plus, now I have no idea when the first guy is going to show up again or even if he will show up again. Frick.

About 1pm the first guys show up again with their ladders. There were 3 dudes and 2 of them climb up onto the roof and walk around for a bit poking and pulling and talking in Portuguese. Then they climb down and the guy who owns the company tells me what he thinks needs to be done and that he'll work up a proposal and stick it in the mailbox in a couple of days. Fine. Lovely. See how simple that was? Sheesh.

The second contractor showed up right on time and they had 2, count 'em TWO ladders (I know I'm harping on the ladder thing but I think it's bizarre). They do the same as the first guys (even right down to the speaking Portuguese) but the big difference for me anyway was the customer service aspect. Alex, the guy who owns the company, talked to me not only about what he thinks needs to be done but how they would go about it. He talked about keeping the job site clean and working to get it done quickly but safely. I was impressed. He also will be leaving a proposal in our mailbox. I'm guessing that this is going to be expensive.

Oh and bonus! I have a cold. Thanks, immune system!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

5 Song Shuffle

Here's a game that I play sometimes at work with some peeps here (honestly, I do...what?). I got it from Pajiba. You put yer MP3 player doohickey on shuffle and confess the first 5 songs that come up. I haven't changed out the songs on this thing in a while so let's see what I get:

1. The Pogues - Bottle of Smoke
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Turn Into
3. The National - Ada
4. Big Black - Seth
5. Eagles of Death Metal - I Only Want You

whew. That wasn't too bad actually. I know there are some guilty pleasures on this toy of mine and according to the rules, I would have to fess up. But now I don't. Wheeeeeeee!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Stupid House and Easter

Last Friday (the 21st) there was a significant wind storm in these parts. Gusts up to a monkey's ass and stuff like that. At work I sit near a pretty large window and I could hear the wind howling and generally trying to impress. Trying too hard if you ask me. When we got home however, the wind had ripped a chunk of the roofing off of my house. Nice. Welcome home. Granted, this was a part of the roof that I already knew was crappy but I had been successfully ignoring it for almost 10 years. Well, I can ignore it no longer.


This is the section of roof that is coming apart. The section that was in my driveway on Friday is (I'm assuming) the little L-shaped bit near the top of the picture. As you can see, a very large chunk is already missing. Hmmmm...why didn't anyone want my house again?

Now I have to call around to roofer guys and have them come out and walk around on my house. If I can get them to come out that is. I really only need this small roof replaced (the main roof is hunky-dory). I soooooo don't want to spend $3,000 on this. Stupid wind.

For Easter The Wiff and I went to our friend's place up in Swanzey, NH for dinner. We climbed into the trusty Volvo and headed out. Man, Rt. 2 is just chock full of jerkoffs. Y'know, gas is pretty damn expensive now so you'd think that perhaps people would be more apt to slow it down a bit and save some cash. Nope. I think everyone believes they're in a race or something. I mean, I get it, going fast can be fun but I'm just too much of a cheapskate to do it. Plus it's so damn stressful.

We got to their place around 1-ish and I was glad that we had come up for dinner. It was so mellow and nice as opposed to a "family dinner" which is generally tense and awkward. I had brought along my external hard drive (cuz I'm a goober) so that I could pilfer some music from them. They have I'm guessing twice as many CDs and LPs as we do...maybe more. I ended up ripping probably 25 CDs to MP3 and putting them right on the hard drive. Later I'll switch out my MP3 player with some of the new stuff. I get bored fairly quickly with my music selection. I'm all over the place too with my music tastes from rap to hardcore punk to pop to dance music and whatever else catches my ear. I just asked for whatever they could recommend and then took them at their word. I'm pretty excited to listen to the stuff. Thanks guys!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Pogues and Frat Boys Don't Mix

Wow. Ok. Um...

So last night The Wiff and I ventured into Boston to see The Pogues play at the Orpheum. I used to have a job where I drove around Boston all day so I was pretty sure that I'd be able to find a place to park fairly easily. Yeah, wrong. I haven't been driving in Boston in probably 5 years but holy hell! Where'd all the parking spots go? All my super secret spots had vanished or transformed into not-so-secret restricted parking. Everywhere I looked there was another restriction: No Parking from 4-6 PM, No Parking Loading Zone, No Parking Fatty, etc. So I abandoned the downtown area and headed for Back Bay. After battling the jackasses rushing to get home (oh, and by the way pedestrians? Yeah, hi, I'm the guy in the car. I have to obey the rules of the road so could you maybe do the same? Stop frickin' walking across the street randomly), I found a spot on Beacon St. by the Common. Not too bad of a walk, just right across the way from Tremont.

Then we went to grab something to eat. I haven't really thought about going out to dinner in that part of Boston in quite a while so I had no idea what was around. We stopped in a couple of places but at 6-ish on a Thursday, most of them were packed. I don't do packed. We ended up at this restaurant/bar called Kennedy's which I can't really recommend. I think that if we had sat in the bar area (which we usually do at places like this) we would have had a good time but we sat in the restaurant area and had a waiter who clearly did not want to be there. I wouldn't want to be a waiter either but that's why I'm not one. This guy just had no interest in making our time there enjoyable. But whatever right? I'm going to see THE POGUES! Hooray!

Yeah, about that. The seat rows (up in the nosebleeds in the upper balcony where our seats were) we so close together that I literally could not get my legs in front of me. I was sitting in the aisle seat and my legs were splayed out on the stairs. I had to sort of sit sideways with my left leg pressing painfully up against the seat in front of me. It really sucked. But I figured whatever right? I'm going to see THE POGUES! Hooray!

The first band came on and they were your run of the mill bar band. Nothing special. I guess there were some members of the Dropkick Murphys in the band but since I can't stand that band, guess what I thought of these guys. They end their set and the house lights come up. I'm sitting there (uncomfortably) and checking out the crowd. Oldie. Oldie. Freak. Oldie. Nozzle. Oldie. Meh, I can deal with these people. Not a problem. Then THEY showed up. The Abercrombe crowd. Oh fuck no. They have discovered my music. This show is doomed.

Five chicks and a couple of moussed dudes come up the stairs, each one of them carrying a beer (which I can only assume is a Bud Lite or some other swill). Almost immediately they start in with the photo shoot. What is up with that? The chicks start posing and taking pictures (all with that goddamn kissy-face look too. Y'know?) and the dudes start "WOOOOOOOO!"-ing. A lot. There was a lot of that. What are you "woo"-ing at? The CD they're playing? Sit down Chad.

Then even more of them showed up. And now we're basically surrounded (with the exception of the couple sitting directly behind us who also had much contempt for the frat party). The combination of cheap beer, hair products and Axe Body Spray was nauseating. I guess when you don't have much of a personality it must hinder your bladder control because these maroons kept getting up to pee like every couple of minutes. Good, I thought, get it out of your system now so that when the show starts, you won't annoy me anymore. Wrong again. The annoying college kids (that may be redundant) kept getting up to pee, coming back with shitty beer and then getting up to pee again. Holy hell. I just want to watch the show and maybe try to salvage this evening.

The show starts with a recording of The Clash's "Straight To Hell" and The Pogues walk out on stage. Shane comes shambling out wearing a black suit and a big black top hat. Hee! There they are! Forget the douche nozzles sitting around me! This is gonna rule! And it did...for a while. They plowed through a few songs and the crowd was really having fun. Shane would introduce the song which basically sounded like this "GGrarrbblug fffreanablle Street" and then they'd launch into "Sunny Side of the Street". Then for whatever reason, Shane would just leave the stage and Spider would sing a song or two. Then Shane would lumber back and slog through a couple more tunes. He was literally leaving out entire verses of songs. He was kind of off the beat a couple of times too. Much to the band's credit, they were able to really minimize his destruction of their best-known songs. Y'know, maybe back in the 80's when he was in his 20's this was ok but now that he's into his 50's, it really has lost its charm.

We had heard through a guy at work who saw the show on Wednesday night that they play 5 encores. Well, we left after the main set. And I'm ok with that. The combination of the drunk college kids in the crowd and Shane messing up the songs made for a less than stellar experience. Look, I'm too old and cranky for this. We made our way downstairs and wow, the police presence was impressive. There were about 5 cops in the lobby and a couple more standing just outside the doors. I'm glad we left when we did. We avoided the crush of people leaving and I didn't have to punch anyone in the face repeatedly.

We walked back to our car across the Common and got our old butts back home. Now I have seen The Pogues and I guess I really don't need to see them again. That's a shame. I never did see them during their height (and I totally missed them when Joe Strummer was singing for them for a bit...dammit, that would have been great) and that time has passed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Quick Update About Stuff Only I Care About

Stayed home yesterday and got a decent fire going. It eventually got the living room up to 70°. Wow...even I don't care about that.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Emerging From My Winter Sleep

'Sup? The Wiff and I are going to see The Pogues this Thursday at the Orpheum. I'm pretty psyched. I've been a fan for years but I have never seen them play live before. Unfortunately I will not be able to demonstrate my mad pogo skills since the Orpheum frowns upon dancing. Especially fat white guy dancing. Can't say I blames 'em.

On Saturday we ventured out to Shirley MA to hang out with some friends and I have to say, I'm kinda glad we didn't move out there. Maybe I only say this because my stupid house didn't sell. But with our jobs being in Cambridge, the commute would suck a lot of donkey balls. Even taking the train in wouldn't really make it much better. Lurch (my friend who's house we invaded on Sat.) commutes into Newton every damn day from Shirley and he seems to be maintaining his sanity. Of course, he owns his own business so he probably actually likes going to work. Bonus points: he owns a karate studio. He kicks people and they pay him. Hmph. I'm in the wrong business...stupid no eye/hand coordination.

Oh, the fireplace insert thing! I stoked that thing like a crazy person this weekend and I got the living room up to 68°. Pretty sweet.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Not Quite Warm Yet

Ok, so it's harder than it looks. This is my first attempt at trying to heat my home by means other than my heating system. I built a kick-arse fire last night and the blower fan on the Clydesdale was going but it never really got warm in the living room. It got warm enough to make the thermostat turn off (we normally have the heat on at 63°F and it got up to 65°F. Not toasty certainly but enough to turn off the heat).

I think the biggest issue that we face in trying to heat the first floor with this insert thing is the sheer volume of air down there along with the layout of the rooms. The living room (where the insert is) is 22' x 13' with the insert at one end and the stairs to the 2nd floor at the other. To the left of the insert (if you are standing in front of it, facing the stairs) is the archway to the living room, in and of itself a large room with craptacular windows. Six craptacular windows to be exact. Oh, and two 2.5" holes in the floor where the radiators used to be. Currently I have a black sock stuffed in them cuz I'm classy like that. Then there's the kitchen. It's at the end near the stairs but it also connects to the dining room. The kitchen also sports it's very own craptacular windows, holes in the floor (one of which the cat's water bubbler thing is covering) and the back door.

Basically, given the time that we usually get home (5:45-ish) and the time that we usually go to bed (9:30-ish cuz we're party animals), there may not be enough time for a fire to heat all that area to, say 68-70°F. But, I betcha I can get that mofo crankin' on the weekends and maybe get it up there. We'll see. Tomorrow is Saturday and I just got a 1/2 cord of wood delivered so I'm up for experimenting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thog Make Fire!

Huzzah! The fireplace insert thing is ... inserted! Almost sounded dirty there for a second. Yep, the guys installed it yesterday and I have to say: it rules. They got to the house at 12:30 and were out of there by 2:30. I immediately burned some scrap wood like a little kid. I was giddy! We haven't had a large fire in there yet cuz you have to let it "cure" or some crap like that. By this weekend the thing'll be roaring.



And to borrow a line from ENHANCE!

Behold Flying Boy! (he's sort of the house mascot)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Soon I Will Be Warm

Ok, since I'm not going to sell my house (thanks economy!), I may as well make some long-needed improvements. The first one on the list is to put a fireplace insert in. Not an obvious choice granted, but I think I should get extra credit for that. Check it!

The frickin' mofo ain't cheap. That's totally not my house either. We (this is not the royal "We" by the way. I mean The Wiff and I) are dropping 4 grand on the thing (the unit, chimney stuff and installation). I do still need to fix the kitchen ceiling, replace some of the craptastic windows, repair the first floor toilet, etc. I hate it when I start thinking about the things that I really should do to that place. Everything costs so much. Being poor and dumb sucks.

I really can't wait for the insert to be ... um ... inserted. We will miss most of the actual heating season but there's always next winter. Plus, on those chilly nights in April it'll be sweet. The dudes at Hearth Works ( tell us that it should be here by the end of March. Fingers crossed. Tonight we're going to city hall to pull the permit for the install. Hee! Can't wait.