#Readaroundtheworld: September Update

For visual comparison, here is June’s update.

I was never especially worried about being able to complete this project, but at this point I’m certain I’m going to be able to do it. I currently have, of the 52 Identified US Places that I intend to read books from (all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and DC, and I’ll totally throw Guam in there if I can find a book,) 36 states that I have read books from. For ten more– Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia, Missouri, and Rhode Island– I physically have the books I’m going to read and just need to actually read them. That leaves six states that I’ve yet to identify an author from: Arkansas, Delaware, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming, and for Nebraska I’ve actually got two possible authors. I own a couple of Alex Kava books already, and Chigozie Obioma looks interesting, but he’s a Nigerian who happens to live in Nebraska, and his books are set in Nigeria. Now, I’ve said many times that everyone should be reading more work from Nigerian authors, but I kind of want the book to be a touch more Nebraska-centered than his work seems to be. I’ll get to him eventually, because interesting, but maybe not for this project. The others? At the moment, no idea, but I feel like I have plenty of time. Feel free to make recommendations.

As far as countries: 37 currently represented, with a few more (without going and looking at my unread shelf: Poland, Kyrgysztan, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Saint Thomas, and North Korea) on the shelf somewhere. I’m going to focus on finishing the states in October, or at least getting as close as I can, and then I’ll keep checking countries off until I get bored with it or literally hit a point where I can’t find anything from any place left on the map without translating it myself.

Next year’s reading project: Read Whatever The Fuck I Want and Don’t Worry About It. I’ve had projects for several years running and I feel like I need a year off.

Adultifying!

We met our contractor– the same people that did the roof– at a flooring supply place today and picked out the look for the new bathroom. On the left, vinyl flooring that will extend into the laundry room and looks like tile. On the right, the walls in the shower (12×24, nice big tiles) and, divided into little squares, also the floor for the shower. In the middle, accent tile for the shower. It’s going to run vertically from the showerhead to the handles, form the back of a niche for shampoo and such, and possibly also be a little vertical accent stripe on the bench that’s going to be in there.

We’ll go to a different place for fixtures and a custom vanity in a week and a half or so. Will there be body jets in the shower and a bidet on the toilet? Yep. There sure as hell will.

Whee!

Before

Pictured: the mess of pipes that had not one but two different water softener people swearing at the level of redundancy and poor decision-making required to have installed it in the first place. To the right is the ancient previous water softener, which has not been active since we moved into the house. My understanding is that several of these pipes are going to go away tomorrow to be prefaced with something more streamlined and sensible.

Also tomorrow: the roof gets ripped off of the house. Here’s what the roof currently looks like:

I mean, okay, that’s more a picture of a storm on its way than the roof, but who takes pictures of their roof? Nobody. I figure they’ll at least get to the part where that’s torn off tomorrow; I don’t have a firm idea of how long this entire process is supposed to take, but I assume sometime in the next few days I’m going to have a new roof and new eaves and all that fun stuff.

The roofers are supposed to be here by 7:30 in the morning and the softener guys are here before 10, so I gotta get up early to get all water-using tasks out of the way before they arrive, and also to keep the roofers from taking up the entire driveway, since I’d like the water guys to not have to cart pipes from halfway across the world before taking them into the basement. It’s going to be a long, expensive day tomorrow, but hopefully I’ll have some neat pictures to share with you by tomorrow night.

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.)

In which I am a dummy dumb-dumb dummyfacehead

You are looking at the interior of the cabinet under the sink in the master bathroom. Ignore the terrible wallpaper in the back; it’s not my fault, I didn’t put it there. There’s probably four more layers underneath it, too.

Several months ago– I don’t know how many; it could have been a year for all the fuck I know– Sushi climbed under there and somehow managed to collapse that shelf. It has been collapsed and lying at an angle for a very, very long time, and it has annoyed me every single fucking time I have looked at it during that time. Now, granted, this isn’t terribly often, as I don’t need to open the cabinet very frequently, but there’s some shit we’ve just been keeping on top of the vanity for all this time because the shelf was collapsed.

Why haven’t I fixed it? Laziness, and the fact that I am old and fat and absolutely loathe having to sit on the floor. But I have resolved for every single fucking weekend for months to get down there, figure out what was broken, replace it, and get that Goddamn shelf fixed. I figured I might have to find some pegs she knocked loose and put them back in place; the worst-case scenario was that one of them was actually broken and I’d have to make a quick run to the hardware store to buy a dowel or something. But I didn’t want to crawl around on the floor, didn’t want to dig around in that cabinet– it’s deep; I can’t reach the back of it without sticking my head inside– and I am, again, incredibly lazy.

I finally, tonight, managed to get my fat ass on the ground in front of it, OutKast playing on my phone, convinced that come hell and high water I was going to fix this fucking shelf.

Which involved picking it up and placing it on top of that dark brown support on the right there, which is screwed into the wall. The two pieces of perpendicular white wood are glued & screwed and aren’t coming apart.

It took ten seconds.

It took longer for me to stand up once I was done than it did to fix the fucking shelf.

No pegs. No bent nails or screws. Not even anything with any weight or requiring any real application of muscle power. I just picked the fucking thing up and put it back on the shelf. I mean, it might fall off again at some point, especially if a cat decides to wedge herself into that corner again. I could screw it in place, I suppose. But I’ve been putting this job off for months and it took ten seconds.

Fucksake.