Saturday, October 15, 2011


OK, so maybe things didn't go as planned with the whole attic fan thing.  However, there are a few very cute new, small things in my house that I enjoy.  It's fun when things work out!

Small cute new thing(s) #1:

how cute are these?  HOW CUTE?  SOOOO CUUUUUTE!

There are times when I feel particular truths to be so thoroughly true that I take a stand and I say: if you do  not agree with me, then I do not know who you are.  This, my friends, is one of those times.  These are coasters, as you have no doubt surmised.  But not just any coasters, any old regular coasters from your neighborhood coaster store.  No.  These coasters wouldn't even understand the word 'coaster' if you said it to them, because these coasters are from Colombia.  Obviously, they speak Spanish, so they only answer to 'portavasos.'*  If you said, Hey Colombian portavasos, what are those pictures on you?  They would say:  Oye, que te creis, soy portavasos, no estoy para conversar contigo.**  Which translates as: charming scenes from Bogota and Santander!  Are these not totally cute?

This is a time when I draw a line in the sand.  If you do not appreciate these portavasos, I do not know who you are.  You are either with me and the portavasos, or you are against us.

Small cute new thing #2:

love this!  love love love.
Those French architecture pictures found a home!

Because I am not skilled in basic things that most people know how to do, I have a thing about hanging up pictures.  Luckily, my brother is not like this.  Quite happily for me, he came over the other day and said:

Hey, you want me to hang pictures on your wall?

And I said: ohmygosh, YES.  That would be awesome.

After he hung several things on the wall and the house looked more like a home than it ever has, we had these 4 pieces left.  He said:

Hey, what if I just put them up on the mantle and lean them against the wall, like this?

And I said: ohmyGOSH, YES.  That looks awesome!

So, there they are, living happily ever after, on the mantle-- all thanks to a flash of my brother's brilliance.  It's a small thing, but every time I look at it, it makes me happy.

Small cute new thing(s) #3:

same on the outside...

Hmmm, you say.  Sure, those are cute...they are...little cups, right?  Little cups with different designs on the inside?  They are pretty, but what are they?

...different on the inside!

These are measuring cups!  Officially the loveliest measuring cups I've ever seen in the history of my existence!  And they are mine!  They are mine, thanks to Kelly, who got these as a birthday present for me.  They're so pretty, and they remind me how I used to cook all the time and I really haven't for a while.  How can cooking be a chore when I have such a delightful way to measure ingredients?  These, plus the matryeshka measuring spoons I got from Elke last year make me want to find a recipe with A LOT of measuring to do, and then happily measure with all my fun measuring implements.

the candle that upgraded my bathroom

Kelly also got me this candle, which smells like looooooooveliness.  If loveliness has a smell, it is this.  Also, the container it comes in is preeeetty.   It makes me feel like I have a nicer bathroom than I actually do!

The cups and the candle are from Anthropologie, of course.  Because that store is wall-to-wall adorable, all cuteness, all the time.

When I get excited about things, I tend to uuuuuse a loooooot of vooooowels, as you can see.  It's nice to have so many reasons to exaggeraaaaaaaate my woooorrrrrds so much!


*Not a word I knew until I asked the woman in the shop where I bought these:
-Me: Esta...ehm, esta cuestion, ?como le dicen ustedes?
--Shoplady:  (pauses, laughs) Portavasos.

**This is not really what they would say.  If they said this, that would be sort of rude.  Also, not very Colombian in word choice.


It has happened, again.
Contractors, in my house.
I think I may have allowed them to dupe me.

In this particular case, I made the mistake of purchasing one of those 'big deals' that Angie's List sends out to subscribers every day.  About a month ago, at a time when it was so hot in the house I couldn't think, I got an e-mail from Angie's List that advertised the $299 installation of an attic fan!  Materials and labor that are regularly valued at $600!  Yes!  Yes I thought, yes please.  Please, someone come install an attic fan!  Please save me from the heat that amasses and squats on top of my house every day and into the night.  Please, come soon.  I clicked the links and made the purchase.  I looked forward to the day when the attic fan would be installed, the glorious day when my house would no longer toast me.

Now that I've spent the money, let me ask you-- do you know what an attic fan is?

I thought that 'attic fan' was one of the homeowner's vocabulary words I'd mastered already, so I didn't hesitate in the purchase.  I thought an attic fan looked like this:

the attic fan in my head

Yesterday, I learned-- I was wrong about that.

The attic fan they installed looks like this:

the attic fan being installed in my attic

Somehow, I found this to be a letdown.  I was let down even further when I was told-- do you want a switch to turn the attic fan on and off?  Well, that's extra.  The building code requires us to install the switch somewhere in the attic, so that we will do for free.  But if you would like an easily accessible switch in your hallway, in the wall, that will cost you $110 more.

arrrrrrrrrrg.  fine.  arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg. alright.  yes, I want a switch in the hallway like a normal human person would want.  here.  take your $110, arrrrrg.

Duped!  I walked right in to this whole trap, didn't I?

I'd already paid for this is on Angie's List, so in the moment, I felt I didn't have a lot of recourse.  I guess I could have sent them away and cancelled the charge on my credit card?  But because I am not the type to keep my wits about me, that didn't occur to me in the moment.

All I could think was-- how could this happen?  Someone should have told me what I was getting!  How could this not have been described, how could this have been so totally misrepresented, how could this cost so much for so little?!  And then this extra charge for an accessible switch adds insult to injury.  Not fair!

But then-- obviously no, it's not up to anyone to tell me what I'm getting.  I should have figured out what I was getting.   I bought this service in a reactive state of mind, without thinking about it too much, just wanting to get-something-DONE-already.  In my eagerness to get all my house's little issues resolved, I sometimes don't think enough about my solution.  There's an easy thing that I could have done in this case that would have helped-- I could have tracked down the company on Angie's List and called them to ask: Hey, what's this attic fan you install?  Can you tell me if there are any additional charges?  Hey, thanks, this has been a great 5 minutes of our time together, and now I know what to expect.

Sigh.  The 20/20 in the hindsights of a dupe.

Even if this is not the attic fan of my dreams, it will still (I think?) accomplish the same goal of ventilating the attic and making the house a bit cooler when it's hot.  Admittedly, I cannot imagine a world in which this fan and the installation of it would EVER cost the $600 described in the Angie's List e-mail, but hey, at least I didn't pay that much.

But for now, no more Angie's List Big Deals for me.  At least, not until I can get my self-duping under control.