Friday, April 29, 2005

Say Cheese

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usHere is a picture of my new room, taken with a new camera. I'm not real pleased with the quality of the pictures but I guess it's not bad for a cheap camera/camcorder/pc cam/mp3 player. But then again maybe I'm doing something wrong.

This week went well. Work was slow, I practiced closing a program down and going into my computer to open a new file everytime I needed to do something. They actually have a file called New Word Document saved to open a blank document. Things got a bit hectic Tuesday morning as we had 6 bids due. I had typed up all of the regular stuff and was just waiting for the numbers to put on them. Pat was getting confused because I had everything ready, a completely non-normal state, she would say, "you have to..." and I would say, "I already have" this would provoke the "you can't fill that in ahead of time" I so wanted to say, "Why did the company change it's name or phone number last night?" But everything got out on time. The two public bids we did not get, and the other four were private and we don't have the results yet. One was for the new IKEA being built in Canton, the estimator kept pronouncing it ickea and Pat corrected him saying it was I K E A (as in FBI), as far as I know it will be the first IKEA in Michigan.

Megan got a certificate for being something, but I'll let her tell you about that on her blog. We are heading down to Mommy's in the morning for the picnic, the forecast went from rain all day to rain in the am, so hopefully we will have decent weather.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Guess Where I Slept Last Night

Go ahead guess, if you said in your "brand new bedroom" (say it as if you're on Price is Right, cause that's how I do) you would be correct. Sorry there is no picture but I cannot get the camera to work after the field trip to Megan's school. When I came home on Friday Gordon had the radiator covers on, the closet full of clothes, my chest of drawers back in the room with my clothes all folded neatly in the drawers, and my old nightstand stripped but not finished. Yesterday Megan and I put together the new furniture (a bedroom-in-a-box: dresser, nightstand, headboard, and mirror) except for the mirror. We then loaded the new furniture and unfinished nightstand into the room. The only thing left was to get cinderblocks for the bed frame. The plan was to have Bob pick them up at the Home Depot in Houghton Lake and bring them here after work but he had picked up a dryer while on his Pizza deliveries and didn't have room. I was sooo close to sleeping in my own room! While I was waiting to hear back from Gordon on Bob's status Dad called and we were discussing how I was leery of putting 20 cinderblocks in my car he said that if I ever had to to make sure I distributed the weight through out the car. After Gordon called and said it couldn't be until some time today - maybe, Megan and I determined that if the cinderblocks weighed 10 lbs each that would be 200 pounds and we had the front seat well covered and could load the rest in the trunk and the back seat. So off we go, stop first at Wal-Mart for milk and various groceries not a lot, load that in the back seat. Into Home Depot, grab a pull cart, ask where the cinderblocks are, find them, some tiny woman comes out and says can I help you, I say I think I got it I just need some of these cinderblocks, she asked if I needed help loading them, "How much do they weigh?", "Oh, 30-35 lbx each." After saying Um Yes, I quickly did some math and determined 15 blocks would be just fine. While I was doing math this little thing started loading cinderblocks on the cart. I had assumed she was calling in some muscles, but I guess she had them already. I did help her load them trying to work out if we really needed 15, but found math is a fair weather friend and totally deserted me as I was slowly losing consciousness. I managed to pull the cart out to the car and load them all in, getting them in was terrible, once they were down moving them to a good spot so I could put another in was almost impossible, if I had had 20 there was no way they were all going in the car (and it turns out 15 was more then needed although I did use them all). I ran through the drive through at McD's to feed poor Megan who had been so helpful all day. While she ate dinner, I contemplated how I was going to get these blocks into the house before Gordon got home, and I had to before Gordon got home since I was picking Gordon and Robert up from work and could not with the blocks in the car. I pulled out small dolly type carrier that I used when I was traveling back and forth with a file box for work. We loaded two blocks on the dolly, Megan pulled that into the house and I carried one. With three in, I laid an old blanket on the floor and put one side down for the bed, we dragged the box springs in and moved the blocks around and then brought in three more, and so on five times. I used material left over from the window curtains (dark blue) and cut strips to run along the side and foot of the bed to cover the cinderblocks. Matteress, clean sheets, the new blanket I made, and 11 pillows later I was all set. Megan closed the door so when Gordon came home we could have a reveal. The old nightstand still needs to be finished, but we are not sure right now what we want to do, we had thought that we were going to mix some of the wall blue with some white to make a lighter blue, but I think that might be just too much blue, and my chest of drawers looks really out of place and old so we may redo that to. But in the meantime I'm not sleeping on the floor, or without a door to close when the kids get here in the mornings so I am good. I will post a picture as soon as I work out the camera issue. Going through all of this was so much nicer being able to share it with all of you.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

For the Really Busy

Okay, there have been complaints in the past that those of us who blog do not blog often enough. And there has been much wasted time checking a blog, only to find that there is nothing new on there. Well Yahoo has a solution for that. I use My Yahoo as a news source, and the Yahoo toolbar for navigation, I like both very much. Last week when I was checking blogs when I pulled up Baby front a new button popped up that said Subscribe to this site. When I clicked on it I was given the option to add the page to My Yahoo, this put a section in Yahoo called Babyfront that lists the posts from the last three days and lists how long ago they were posted. When I tried to do this for the other blogs I got error messages except on Megan's. I assume this is because Babyfront and Megan are newer blogs. When I was updating my blog this morning the help stuff said something about sharing blogs and site feed the same words Yahoo used when trying to add these blogs. SO here is the upshot, if you want to have one spot that you can go to to check all of the blogs (unfortunately it does not seem to update if a comment has been added) I suggest getting a My Yahoo page. If you don't already have a Yahoo ID you will need to get one. Once on My Yahoo go to Add Content. With Find content click on Add RSS by URL, the URL is with XXXXXXX being wbgerth or ezynda ...... Click add, then click Add to My Yahoo. You can then rearrange your page putting the blogs where they are the most convenient for you.

Okay, I do have other things to do today!

Can We Say "Whatever"

I have been getting a lot of mileage out of that one word this week, but on the good side I am seeing how simple tasks can take a really long time, but I am working on the patience to practice this:

Me: The network seems to be running slow, it's taking quite a while to open a document.
Pat (office manager): (looking over my shoulder) where are you, that screen doesn't look right.
I went to file 'open'
Did you go to MCCDOCS?
Yes, once I went to open I browsed to MCCDOCS
Oh you can't do that on this network
Huh? That's how you do it
No, you have to go into MCCDOCS and open it from there
I don't understand.
There's a link on your desktop (I click on 'show desktop) No you have to close your window to get there
(Start closing windows)
Why do you have all those windows open?
I've been working in different programs
No, you have to close them, you can only have one open at a time.
(All windows safely closed with desktop appearing (meanwhile document I was waiting for had opened and is now closed) click on My Computer, browse to MCCDOCS folder find needed document, wait) The network seems to be running slow.
There may be a problem right now, but you have to open documents from here.
But I've been opening them from within the program.
No, you can't do that on this network.

When I first started she showed me how to answer the phones, call an extension if it was for one of the two estimators, once I tell them who is on the phone I do nothing and they pick up the line on hold. Well that resulted in people actually getting their phone calls, so it was changed to I answer the phone, put the caller on hold, tell her who is calling and who they think they want to talk to and then she decides who they get to talk to (usually her), she then goes to the person who the call was for and asks them whatever the caller wanted and then calls the person back with the new questions from the intended receiver (usally Kevin the cool estimator, rumored to have a drinking problem and be incapable of working, the only evidence of incapability on his part that I have seen is that the office manager is still able to walk). This week I was told that since I don't really know enough about what is going on she'll just answer the phone from now on. Whatever

Second week I was there:
Why don't you update the list of plans in the back room
There are four bins of plans A-E, F-L, M-R, S-Z with a listing above on four sheets of paper with the same breakdown. I pull out all the plans and check off what is on the list and write in what is not. Now ready to enter them into the computer to print the list and Pat comes out to show me where the document is. MCCDOS-Misc lists no not there, MCCDOCS-back room nope not there either, MCCDOCS-Masters hum where could it be.
Do you know what it is called, I can do a search?
You have to know where it is to do a search
Ten minutes later, during which great restraint was practiced not to grab the mouse from her hand. We had the file, more correctly files. Four word documents one for A-E, etc.
Why don't I just put this in excel so we can....
No, it needs to be in word.
Well, I can put it all in one document and then set page breaks...
No they need to be separate documents.
Since we dispose of them when the bid has expired - should I put the bid date on the form?
No We don't need that
I update the sheets, I do sneak in tables to eliminate all the tabs in the middle and to sort alphabetically once I have put them all in, but this is invisible on the printed document.
This week:
We need to start going through the plans in the back room and get rid of the ones we don't need anymore, you need to go through and get the bid dates for each set of plans. I don't know why she (the person I am temping for) didn't put that on there to start with (yeah, I wonder too, what could she have been thinking, "whatever"?) You need to call who we made the bid to and see what the status is.
So I get the bid dates and start pulling the actual proposals so I know who we made the bid to.
Why are you going through the proposals?
So I can see who we made the bid to and call them to get the status.
Well, you need to do that for every proposal not just the ones that have plans in the back room.
What do you do with the old proposals?
We scan the take off (I know what that is) and then shred the rest.
Do you put the results on Bid Results spreadsheet?
No, why would we do that (why indeed, what was I thinking), just make a note in the proposal log if we got the job or not.
So some of these we may have gotten the job, and I am calling looking totally stupid.
I'll put them in order by construction manager so I'm not calling the same company a dozen times.
It could be different project managers anyway, so don't waste the time.
Yes, yes, no wasted time here.
So I start making phone calls, mostly leaving messages, but some are so old that I'm pretty sure either the job is done or will never be done, I set those aside to ask her about later.
This one is from May of last year a residential driveway.
Did you call them?
No, I thought maybe you would know so I wouldn't have to call
No you need to call on everyone.
People start returning my calls.
Joe Blow is on the phone why did you call him?
To get the status for the Smith driveway from last June.
Oh, you didn't need to call on that one that job is so old it's either been done or cancelled. Go ahead and talk to him since he called back.
John Doe is on the phone, why did you call him?
To get the status on the church proposal from December.
Oh, we got that job and finished it last month. Go ahead and talk to him since he called back.
Walking past my desk. What is all this?
The take offs from the proposals that are no longer valid.
Oh, we don't need these we only keep them if there's a possibility we may be doing the job.
Wha--Oh nevermind, whatever

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Molded Curtains

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWe have achieved molding. Everytime I thought I had got it, I was wrong. We started this morning when I thought I understood mitering, we got the first strip cut but when we went to attach it to the wall with finishing nails the nails would not go through, when the finally did they snapped the molding into pieces. A quick call to the guru caught the guru napping so we went ahead to do laundry and see if we could get any help at Home Depot. As we walked into the store I told the cashier that I was going to need help in molding and could she have someone meet me over there. As we approached there was a kid looking for someone, I asked him if he was there to help molding and he said that he was. I showed him what we had bought and explained what happened, he asked if it was plastic or wood. I said it is this right here, is that plastic or wood? He said oh, and it snapped. Yes, yes it did. He replied with a very thoughtful, well it can do that sometimes. Ready to pull my phone out since the guru doesn't need that much beauty sleep a kindly surrogate guru came up and asked if I was putting it on the floor or on the ceililng. I said the ceiling (the floor molding had gone in with out a hitch and no mitering was required since the radiator takes up two full walls.) He said if it was the floor, you should probably drill small holes first and then nail it up, but for the ceiling you should use glue. I mentioned that my guru had said something about gluing them but was resting and unable to tell me what kind of glue I should use, I had wood glue. The surrogate explained that I would need liquid nails and showed me a tube and explained how much to put on. I thanked him profusely for being there as boy wonder had already wandered away to help some new unsuspecting soul. I bought a new piece of molding to replace the one that had fallen apart and we came home to slap that stuff up. A quick call to the guru to let him know that everything was under control and I was on my way.

I contemplated the math of mitering, and studied the mitering box. I understood the concept but just could not get from theory to practice. I had plenty of small pieces to practice on and kept cutting (I believe having Gordon cut is the same thing as me cutting). I numbered the slots on the box, I numbered the ends of the molding so I could remember what was what. But I could not get a corner that went around and not down the wall, if it matched up at all. Finally, around 6 or so it clicked that I was not necessarily paying attention to how the molding was laid in the miter box prior to cutting. Once I got that it was easy smeasy. Except of course the liquid nails. Did any one mention to me that you need a caulking gun to get the liquid nails out of the container? Did anyone mention that a $1.99 caulking gun costs $25.00 when you go to K-Mart and have to walk past the shoe department? Have caulking gun, have liquid nails, have one strip of properly cut molding. Dab glue on, hold molding to wall, let go, watch molding fall and leave streaks of glue on freshly painted walls. Use mitering box on Megan when she comes in to ask if we're going to be making dinner soon or should she just grab something to munch on. Wonder who decided we needed molding, who would ever notice the huge gaps between the ceiling and the wall, who the hell comes to my house anyway. Leave room and have confidence that Gordon will figure something out before I have a complete melt down. Gordon applies liquid nails as if he is caulking the gap between the wall and the ceiling, hold molding up, press in, watch glue ooze out, let go, it stays. Grab wet towel wipe off oozed glue. Be grateful again that Gordon was there (but then again if he had never pulled the original... oh never mind, let's just stick with grateful.) Use test piece of molding to know what corner needs what number, measure, measure, measure, measure, cut. Glue, press, wipe, repeat as needed around the room. We came up about four inches short at the end of the room, as we had originally cut that piece before I knew what I was doing, but the test piece fit fine once the end was trimmed off flat.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI proceeded to make dinner while Gordon hung curtain rods. I got my curtains up, but I'm not real happy with the valances, I like the color between the walls and the curtains but I don't really like the way they hang, but I have at least a week to consider it and can make changes as necessary. Gordon is charged with putting the radiators on, finish stripping the nightstand (maybe even painting it) and getting the stuff back into the closet while I am down state at work this week. Maybe by the time Mel gets here it will be done.

Friday, April 15, 2005

I Need To Learn How To Slow Down

I have them all caught up at the construction office where I am working so they gave me today off. The office manager (Pat) kept giving me new things that would take me a while to finish, there all done. But they want me back on Monday, so that's a good thing. There is so much there that I could do to get things organized and streamlined but Pat keeps a pretty tight control on everything as this is the way they have done it for years. As I've been typing up forms I've been cleaning them up so they are user friendly using tables and form fill in instead of tabs, but I am getting no where with the general organization. I like to touch any piece of paper as few times as possible, everyday we go through the same stacks of papers with me saying "where does it go, can I just put it there?" and Pat saying "we'll take care of it later" so there it is again tomorrow, and the next day... Oh well.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSabrina went to see her dad last weekend and had her picture taken. She is getting so big, and smart. She read to me while I was tiling the bedroom floor last Saturday. She is behind for her age, but still ahead of the other kids. The bedroom did not progress while I was gone, I was hoping to have a few more things finished when I got back, the nightstand stripped and painted, the closet shelves painted, the radiators put back up, but I guess we'll get to that later. I have some stuff to do today - oil change, bank, shopping, so I'm not expecting a lot of progress this weekend. I'll post at the end of the weekend and let you know where we are.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWe have achieved the state of being floored. Peeling the paper off that first tile and sticking it to the floor felt like the biggest commitment I ever had to make. It didn't come out with even edges but it came out well, and I was able to do the stacking three tiles to cut edges trick. I had hoped to finish the floor last night before Gordon got home but a crying four year old whose brand new bike seat wouldn't stay on took precedence and it took me quite a while to figure that out and fix it. We are now on our way to home depot to explore the world of molding.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Still Kickin'

A lot of well known people have died since I last posted, but I was not one of them.

Things are going well here. I like the job, it is interesting and usually pretty busy, the people are good people to work with, the dress code is casual, and the hours are 8:30 to 5:00. Although the office manager told me last week since I drive home on Fridays I could come in at 8 on Friday's and leave at 4:30. She told me this around 4 last Friday afternoon and thus I had not come in at 8 that day, she let me go early anyways since Jackson was at Mommy's. Today she let me leave at 3:30 since I had taken some plans to Warren yesterday afternoon and didn't leave Warren until 5:00. The job itself is in Walled Lake, for those who know the area that's Pontiac Trail and Maple, and I found a way to get to and from West Branch avoiding the traffic jam on 96 by cruising around the lakes. The mileage is about the same but the time is less.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAs you can see my bedroom is now blue, but we still have floor, and molding, furniture assembly, and light fixture to do. Tomorrow I am dry laying the floor, with absolutely no trepidation, hopefully help will only be a phone call away.

I was listening to a radio program on media censorship today and they were talking about the 'need' for the government to get involved in censoring cable television. As cable is now used by a great majority of household they (the call in listeners) felt that the government needed to do something so that objectionable material (including commercials) were not played when children could see them. The guest on the show was promoting something about "couch potato weekend" encouraging people to spend the weekend on the couch watching objectionable material to send a message that we are capable of censoring ourselves. Although, I agree totally with the message, I'm not sure of the method. But I was amazed at the callers that complained that there was no way to keep their innocent offspring from seeing this objectionable material. I didn't realize that they still sold TV's without off buttons. Hell, most come with channel blockers that are password protected. One person complained about objectionable commercials during children's shows but somehow I don't see the target audience for Viagra watching Sesame Street, and then again the most objectionable commercials I've seen are the one's kids love (you put the lime in the coke you nut). I know in the past I've heard of products boycotted for sponsoring a particular show, maybe boycotting a show supported by a particular product would work also. Along that lines the food police have gotten to Sesame Street. It seems the Cookie Monster is not much of a monster anymore, more of a troll I would say. His theme song is changing from C is for Cookie, to Cookies Are A Some Time Food. Next thing you know Oscar will be polite. What is the world coming to.