Friday, July 29, 2011


Ah, Home Depot.  My new home away from home.  Since I moved in to the Frankenstein House, rarely has a day gone by that I haven't needed to stop by Home Depot.  It's like all of the sudden, I'm being extortioned.  Extorted?  Held captive to a supplier of a particular service, for the protection and enjoyment of my very house and home.

So today-- because why should today be any different?-- I went to Home Depot.  Among other things, I wanted to get a chimney cap.  

exhibit A: chimney cap.

Because if your chimney doesn't have a cap, why-- it's just a giant exposed hole in your roof, isn't it!  And if there's one thing I know, it's that things with holes at the end that stick up out of a roof need to be capped.  See?

exhibit B: a chimney, before and after capping.

I'd seen chimney caps on the internets, so I figured they were a common thing people needed.  I'd just pop by the 'chimney stuff' section at Home Depot.  I looked where I thought they might be (near the vent caps-- because now I know what those are!), but alas, no luck.  

Finally, after wandering the aisles a bit, I decided to ask the nearest salesperson, a lovely-seeming, teenage-looking boy who was stocking shelves in the bathroom fixtures aisle.

Hi, excuse me, do you know where I'd find a chimney cap?
--Bathroom Boy:  [startled look] Um, I you know, I don't think we carry those, but if we did, it would be in the garden section.
In the garden section?
--Bathroom Boy:  Yeah, with all the outdoor stuff.  Like with the barbecue stuff, for cookouts.  But I really don't think we sell that thing that you said.
OK, thanks.

Fine, maybe I shouldn't have asked Bathroom Boy.  He is just a boy.  In the bathroom aisle!  What does he know about the world of chimney headwear?  I'll find someone else.  

The next someone else I see is a lovely-seeming, pregnant-being young woman stocking the cleaning products aisle.

Hi, excuse me, do you know where I'd find a chimney cap?  
--2nd Trimester: [confounded look] Um, I think it would have to be in the appliances aisle, or the home goods aisle.
Chimney caps are in the appliances aisle?
--2nd Trimester: I mean yeah, that's the only place I can think of.  Everything else is in a different aisle.

...well...that is...not untrue.

At this point, I'm sensing an incipient decline in the chances of mission success.  Mission: Cap That may fail, it seems.  But!  I think.  But!  Maybe if I find someone who looks over 30?  Somehow, being over 30 seems like it might be correlated with knowledge of chimney capping.  Yes.
I approach another employee.  He is plausibly post-30, and wears a wedding ring; I'd be intrigued if I found out he were married to a woman.

Hi, excuse me, do you know where I'd find a chimney cap?  
--Piccadilly Palare:  [wide-eyed look] Oh, you know what,  maybe in building materials?  
--Piccadilly Palare:  Well, but you know, I don't even have one and I never have rain fall down my chimney or anything!  But my house was built in 1906 so it's an old house so maybe it doesn't need one because that's how those houses were built then!
--Piccadilly Palare:  Yeah, you know, ask my guy Enrique in the building materials aisle.  And here, let me get you a cart for all that stuff you're carrying!

He dashed off and came back with a cart.  Which was very nice.  I went off in search of Enrique in the building materials aisle, who, when asked about caps for chimneys, made a low whistling sound, looked left to right (in search of an answer?), and said:

 Oh man, I don't even know.  I think maybe in gardening?  But really I don't know, I never even heard of that.

Mission: Cap That, part 1 = fail.  But, in a way, it's comforting.  Sometimes, I feel so unfamialiar and inexpert and generally unknowledgeable about the Universe of the House.  Now I know that, at least on some things, I'm not the only one.


Thursday, July 28, 2011


The mustard yellow paint on the living room walls.  I stared at it so long last night, as I covered it with primer.  I hate that color.  The walls are primed now, but it's like that mustard yellow is still there, mocking me, through several layers of white.  I can still see it!  It's not there, but IT IS THERE.  I know it's there.  I know it hasn't gone anywhere.  I know it's just sitting there under all the primer, laughing at me.  It doesn't matter what color I paint the walls, because I still see mustard yellow.

Haikus for You, Mustard Yellow Paint
Bob Ross never said
'happy little yellow wall'
so, I hope you're sad.

Die, yellow paint, die
Die, yellow paint, die die die
Die, yellow paint, die

If there is a hell, for me it will be an eternity of priming a wall that regenerates its color.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


You know what I like?  I like a list.

Not a useful list, not a list for organizational purposes.  I do not like a list of things to buy at the grocery store.  Because I can't be tied down like that, man.  I have to be free, I need space to roam, I want all my produce options open.  Why should I commit to spinach before I even see what the arugula looks like?  Something deep in my brain recoils from creating useful lists.   Not that I don't try!  Me will sometimes say to Myself:

Me: You should make a list of things you need from Home Depot today, and then a list of house tasks in order or priority. 

Myself:  [rubs eyes] wait, wha?  

Me: Yes!  That is what organized, functional adults do, they make lists!  Make a list like that, and then you can add how long you expect each task to take, how much you expect each one to cost, things like that.

Myself:  [rolls eyes]  hey-- shhhh.

My and Myself both like a different kind of list.  Whatever the opposite of useful is, it's that kind of list.  A not-useful list.  Notably not-useful lists sometimes form themselves in my general vicinity, and they often involve comparisons of one thing to another.  I'll find myself realizing-- oh my gosh, this thing is like that thing!  And so:

Ways In Which a Interior Paint is Like a Contractor
  • Both can have a big influence on the way a room turns out.
  • Both may benefit from being 'primed,' as it were.
  • It's important to have one you like, but you won't know if you like it/him/her until you give it/him/her a try, and all this trying can be, well, trying.
  • Both are really boring to watch dry.  
Often, in these 'this is like that!' moments, Me is very amused by Myself.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Do you ever make snap judgements?  Of course you do, you're a human being.  

(HaHA!  See what I did there?  HA!  You see, I asked you whether you made snap judgements, and then I made a snap judgement about you and whether or not, heh.  mmm.  heh-heh.  Alright.)

Let's say you hired a handyman to come to your house to do several handytasks.  Let's say you talked to him a couple of times on the phone before he came, and he was friendly and thoughtful.  You noted that he seemed like a good communicator, and that he actually seemed to be listening to you and what you'd like to have done.  You checked out his website, and you felt confident that this person would show up and provide competent service for a reasonable price.

Let's say the day comes, and Handyman shows up wearing something like this:

Ed Hardy is my Handyman.

Where are you, my snap judgers?  I kind of paused, but didn't think about it too much at first.  Huh, I thought.  Ed Hardy is my Handyman.  Alright, well whatever, if Ed Hardy can install things, I don't care what he wears.  Come on in Ed, here's project 1, project 2, and project 3.  You're here for 3 hours-- have at it.

Ed smiled!  A big friendly gladhandy smile!  Great, he said!  Sounds Perfect!  OK!  Let me just go and grab my guy out of the truck, and you'll have two! people! workinn! for ya!  Sound Good?  Sounds Good!  OK!

He dashed off.

UM, I thought.  I would not mind if we turned down the gladhand volume a bit.  A lot, actually.  I've never had so!much!forced!friendly! from a contractor, so it just seemed strange.  And-- 'grab your guy out of the truck?'  Like he's one of your tools or something?  Why not just come to the door together, introduce him?  But, alright, whatever.  You're here, Gladhand Ed, so get this party started.

Gladhand Ed returned with ESL Sidekick.    This is my guy!  He's just gonna be helpinn me work for ya!  OK?  OK!

WOW, I thought.  'This is my guy?'  Not a name, just his guy.  Gladhand Ed, losing points by the minute.

They got to work and I could hear Gladhand Ed giving ESL Sidekick instructions-- commands, really-- in bad, sad Spanish.   They divided the labor at one point, with Gladhand Ed working inside and ESL Sidekick working outside.   As he finished outside, ESL Sidekick came in and asked me where the power was for something, and I pointed behind him.  Gladhand Ed seemed mortified by this-- he looked up, hurried over, and forced a laugh.   Hah-a-a! Oh, buddy!  Oh, my man, it's right behind you!  Oh, he's my buddy, he's my guy!  He slapped ESL Sidekick's back and rubebd his shoulders, literally gladhanding him.

WHAT, I thought. IS THIS?

They did get several things done, which was great.  But after they left, I realized-- I was so anxious for them to leave that I had neglected to talk to them about coming back for a couple of other handytasks.  It wasn't terrible, but I'm not sure I want a repeat of the Gladhand Ed experience.  

The Ed Hardy shirt was a dead giveaway, wasn't it?  I should have known.


Yesterday, by The Beatles and Me
Paint was such an easy game to play
Nothing big, my friends are on their way
Oh I believe in yesterday
We’re only half the done I thought we’d be
Thoughts of this week’s work take over me
Oh full of paint, this week will be
Why I did not tape before they came, I couldn’t say
We primed for so long
I was wrong on yesterday
I see both rooms can’t get done today
Even though we’re all working away
Could not believe it, yesterday
Why I did not tape before they came, I couldn’t say
We primed for so long
I was wrong on yesterday
So much time we spent just painting gray
My hands and arms and back all spoke of pain
Oh I was aged by yesterday