And here we go again

I’ve posted a couple of times recently about how we are embarking on a new round of home improvement around here; the new roof is more or less set in stone and is happening in a couple of weeks, the new bathroom is almost certainly happening (more on that in a bit) but doesn’t have a timeline yet, and today we had someone out to talk to us about a new water softener.

Technically this would be a replacement water softener, but the one it would be replacing has never been used once in the entire time we’ve lived in the house and may actually be as old as the house itself. I’m not going to go looking for posts right now, but I know I’ve talked about this house and its plumbing issues before: the original builder was a contractor, and there are clearly things about this house that were done by someone who knew what they were doing and was concerned about doing a good job, and … and then there’s the plumbing, which … was not. We have had people out before to look at the plumbing and they have declined the job, and when the water softener guy went into our basement to look at the existing “system” and the various pipes involved in bringing water into our house and moving it around, it literally rendered him speechless. He was so shocked and horrified that he couldn’t get through a sentence for a good twenty minutes. This is not an exaggeration.

We are being charged for installation. He was very apologetic for this, saying that installation was usually included in the cost of the unit, but there is so much repiping required and so much work necessary to figure out just what the fuck all these pipes are for that he felt he had no choice. We asked how often they felt like they needed to charge, and the answer was that in seventeen years of water softening he never had.

My wife and I spent most of the consult laughing our asses off at how clearly flummoxed this poor guy was. He’s bringing three other guys out with him when they come out for the install. It was hilarious.

I asked him whether he thought it would be okay if I documented their attempts to fix our system for the Internet, and he got a little twinkle in his eye and suggested we video the whole thing. I think I like this dude.

(Re: the bank; further cementing my wife’s theory that banking is bullshit, I had a car drive very slowly past our house today, pausing for about a minute at the foot of our driveway. The car had a magnetic sign on the door, but as I was in my office looking out the window at the time (and teaching a class, for that matter) I was unable to read it. If I find out that that was the appraiser, who did nothing more than basically ascertain that a house did in fact exist at the address we provided, I’m going to laugh my ass off. Then I’m going to hire a couple of black actors to go into that bank with exactly the same information we had and ask for a loan and see if they’re handed thirty grand as easily as we were.)

Hamlet’s momma, she’s the queen

full-metal-jacket-1987-04-gI just found out that my bathroom is going to cost me one million dollars, so today’s post is basically gonna be a couple of links and some whining.  Y’all are okay with that, right?  Good.

I found this article when a friend of mine shared it on Facebook.  I need to spend some time reading up on disciplining toddlers; I flat-out asked my wife the other day how long I had to wait before I could expect the boy to understand that when I tell him to do something I actually want it done promptly, and furthermore am deeply uninterested in a prolonged explanation/negotiation process.  The boy is actually pretty well-behaved in general so far, but he’s still not quite two yet, so I understand the next year or sixteen will be a time of limit-testing and tantrums.  I am old school enough to want to believe that creating an atmosphere of Do This or Daddy Smash will be sufficient but I suspect that something somewhat more nuanced and, well, humane will probably be necessary.  I’m generally pretty good at getting older kids to do what I want them to do, but dealing with middle-schoolers who are capable of seeing reason (or at least understanding I Will Kill You Boy) is somewhat different than raising a toddler.  I like the way this Janet Lansbury person thinks, for the most part (that’s the lady who wrote the article at the link you didn’t click on) so I’ll start by digging more deeply into her website in the near future.

Oh, and my mom asked when we were gonna start potty training him the other day.  Can I just say that potty training is the part of parenting I’m least looking forward to?  Another Facebook friend posted a picture of his kid standing on his shoes so that he could reach the urinal in a public bathroom and it made me suicidal.  Can’t we just get him a litterbox or something?  Is that okay?


I don’t know if I’ve claimed that being a parent hasn’t changed me much, but I certainly feel like being a parent hasn’t changed me much.  One way in which it absolutely has is that reading this article made me an absolute wreck, and it certainly wouldn’t have had that effect before the boy was born.  I’m occasionally surprised to find myself jumpier about safety-related stuff than my wife or parents or in-laws are; I wouldn’t have expected that, but it’s happened anyway.  What gets me the most is the sense that Horrible Shit Can and Will Happen at Any Goddamned Time that pervades the entire article.  It’s not like I wasn’t aware of this before having a kid, but it’s more likely to mess with my head now that I do.  I will say that I can’t wait until the moment when we can flip that damn car seat around so that I can actually see him from the front seat.

I’ll bitch more about the house once I have a better sense of what we’re in for.  It’s gonna be ugly.