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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Importance of Clarification

Not a fun or silly post today - looking for a little input (as well as doing a little venting). I apologize in advance for the length - I did my best to keep it reasonable.

Yesterday, the tree guys came to clean up the land I mentioned last week.

First, the guy showed up early to give us the estimate. Early as in before Joe had arrived home for the appointment, leaving me to deal with it. I showed him the land, explained what we wanted done, and he gave me an estimate, which we were quite pleased with. The estimate included 3-4 hours of "dead trees, understorage trees, ground debris" and we decided to go ahead with the work. He said it would be either last Friday or this Monday and that he'd call to confirm.

On Saturday, he left a message and Joe said he'd be here on Wednesday. But on Monday morning, Joe listened back and realized the guy had said Monday at noon. Great - Joe couldn't be here that afternoon but I said I'd handle it. When he called back to confirm, the guy said he had misspoken in the message, saying Monday when he meant Wednesday, which was tomorrow because today was Tuesday. Only it wasn't Tuesday. Huh? Finally, we straightened it out for Wednesday afternoon and Joe cleared his schedule accordingly.

Except yesterday morning (actual Tuesday), tree guy left a message saying he'd had a cancellation and would be here in 15 minutes. Awesome, since Joe had just moved all of his Wednesday meetings to Tuesday and now he couldn't be here. Again.

Anyways, the guy showed up with a crew of 5 guys, showed them what to he wanted done, told me he'd send one of them to the house for the check when they were done in approximately 2 hours, and he left. The crew worked for one hour and was done.

Except, were they done? (click for larger)

Photobucket

I had specifically mentioned the decades of leaves on the ground, as well as glass bottles and plastic (which you can't see in this pic) as being things we wanted removed and he had said okay. When Joe called him this morning to ask about the work done, tree guy said that it was a miscommunication because they don't pick up garbage, just limbs/branches/trees. Joe made it clear that what remained was a mixture so tree guy will come back today to check it.

My definition of ground debris:
removal of natural and foreign objects on the ground, not cleared to perfection, but at least a cursory removal (maybe a once-over with the bobcat?) to the point that we could handle the remaining without special equipment

Tree guy's definition of ground debris:
removal of most of the existing downed trees and branches, plus removal of any materials they cut down

I don't know - were our expectations wrong? The lot condition is greatly improved but we were expecting more. And while I get that it's more efficient to have 5 guys working (in theory) for a shorter amount of time, does 5 guys for 1 hour = 3 or 4 guys for 3 or 4 hours?

So we're frustrated, made worse by the fact that the head tree guy didn't follow-up at all with a call to see if we were happy with the work and didn't come by to look at the finished job himself until Joe contacted him this morning. How far would you push this? It wasn't a lot of money, but the ground debris was a really important factor in clearing the lot (it can't just be raked away - it's too deep and dense) so we may not have been so pleased with the quote if we had realized we would still have to pay to have our definition of ground debris removed.

I feel like this is my fault since I had to handle everything on this project because they kept changing times and somehow Joe wouldn't have screwed it up if he had been here.

If you made it this far, thanks. If you have any ideas/opinions/advice, thanks even more.

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Six Words Were a Lie

Sorry, folks. I accidentally lied to you with my Six Word Saturday entry this week. Let me explain. Not because I have to explain but because I have 9245727 things to do today and I'm procrastinating easing myself into the week.

I scheduled my six words (In NYC, wishing for better weather) on Friday night. I always schedule my Six Words on Friday night so they can go live early in the morning. At that point, the forecast was for a rainy miserable Saturday and a slightly less but still rainy Sunday. I figured that by the time most people saw my words, I would indeed be "In NYC, wishing for better weather."

However, we never saw more than a sprinkle. It was actually a little warmer than I found to be ideal and Sunday, the sun was out for most of the day. We were prepared with umbrellas but never had to take them out of the bag.

So based on the information I had at the time, I forecast my future when I wrote my Six Words. An unintentional lie. Oops. Maybe next time I'll skip the weather man and listen to a Weather Hamster instead.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Six Word Saturday

In NYC, wishing for better weather



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Or even numbered entries. Or odd numbered entries. Or multiples of three. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Recently Overheard

My Memoir Writing class wraps up this week. One of our assignments over the last ten weeks was to eavesdrop on conversations in public, then rewrite them. Below are some of the things I overheard in public over the past weekend.

OH: (on the bike path) Suuuuuuuuuuuper slow passing on your left!

OH: (at the grocery store) I'm not trying to be difficult. I just want you to read my mind and tell me what I want to hear!

OH: (at the home improvement store) Does the "multiple installation discount" apply to toilets? Even if they're all in separate bathrooms?

What, they still count as "overheard" if I'm the one that said them, right?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sure Sign of Adulthood Part 2

Yesterday I shared how we saved 10% on our car insurance almost $1000 on replacing three toilets in our home. Today, part two where I share what fun and exciting thing we'll be using that money for since a couple of people have asked.

Prepare to be jealous.

First, know that we never would've spent that much on replacing toilets. We would've done the job ourselves and hoped for the best. It would've taken longer but the installer didn't have any problems so we probably could've handled it. We've actually had to unseat and reinstall a toilet once before when I Tonya knocked something into the toilet and we couldn't get it out without dismantling things. In fact, we had gone to scope out buying them at our nearby big box man store and saw that their installation was super-reasonable so we went for it.

That's not the jealous part. I wanted to let the suspense build.

We're using the money we "saved" to clear the piece of property behind our house. After almost ten years of trying, we were finally able to purchase this little tenth of an acre that will square off our property and extend the backyard. The price of the land was low but since it hasn't been touched in literally decades (if ever), it needs some serious help.

The whole "buying and clearing land" thing makes me feel very Laura Ingalls and since our oxes (oxen?) are broken (much love to the first person to comment and name THAT reference), we'll be using the money we "saved" to hire a crew for half a day to take out dead trees, clear shrubby stuff, and level the little plot of land.

I know, definitely living the glamorous life! But, truthfully, it was such a hassle to purchase that silly chunk of land that I'm just in awe that it's ours and we have the right to clear it. So although we aren't doing anything exotic or extravagant with the money we never would've spent on toilets, I'm still happy with recent spends.

Yep, very adult of me. Guess you can't call me Half-Pint anymore!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sure Sign of Adulthood

Many people have their own definition of what it means to be an adult. 18? 21? Maybe it's becoming a parent or financial independence. Maybe it's a frame of mind. My buddies at Merriam-Webster define adult as:

Main Entry: a·dult
Pronunciation: \ˈa-ˌdəlt\
Function: noun

1. one that is adult; especially : a human being after an age (as 21) specified by law

I, however, have my own definition.

adult: one who is excited over the installation of three eco-friendly toilets at a price approximately $1000 less than the quote received last week

Welcome to my world.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Six Word Saturday

oh to be a spoiled kitty



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Or even numbered entries. Or odd numbered entries. Or multiples of three. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, September 16, 2011

A Bad Day

Yesterday was not a very good day. So many little things happened, none of them a big deal on their own, but the entirety of it all became "too much." You know those days - I think we have to admit that we all have them from time to time.

I'm disappointed in myself though that I let My Bad Day Of Little Things get to me. I try hard not to let that happen. I try to keep my reactions in check and not make things worse by allowing it to snowball. I didn't do a very good job with that yesterday.

Eventually, I put myself in timeout. If I can't hold myself together, the least I can do is not drag anyone else down with me. Ever notice how much negativity there is online? Twitter especially seems just full of 140-character complaints. They don't do the complainer any good because most of the time the offending party will never see the issue to do anything about it. I'm not above it, by any means. But I try to remember how all of those negative messages can bring others down and that's reduced my groaning somewhat.

By the end of the night I was feeling better. I stepped back and gave myself room to settle down. I ended up on my beloved porch, in the dark, in the rain, and it was the perfect ending to an otherwise not-so-good day.

Today is Friday (Friday!) and I'm glad to see this week coming to a close. It's been very busy, mostly with great things that I didn't take the time to blog about. There have also been a lot of inconvenient things that are necessary (things like home appraisals for refinancing and estimates from plumbers and calls to the gas company over a potential gas leak in the 'hood).

I guess if this post has any point at all, it's just that we should consider the energy we bring to a place, whether it's our office, our home, or online. I know I'm going to make a stronger effort.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Six Word Saturday

some may say I'm a dreamer



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Or even numbered entries. Or odd numbered entries. Or multiples of three. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).




Thursday, September 08, 2011

Slow Love by Dominique Browning (Book Review)

The invitation to review Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness, a memoir by Dominique Browning, mentioned comparisons to Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. They shared moments of self-indulgence but the similarities ended there. Gilbert's story inspired me to embrace meditation and explore more of the world. Browning, on the other hand, umm, well, she inspired me to buy fresh mint to add to my drinking water.

The book is a short read and Browning spends most of it in her pajamas, eating cookies and feeling sorry for herself after she loses her job as a magazine editor. In her 50s, establishing a new “normal” is quite overwhelming.

It’s understandable that she would experience a period of shock and even mourning. In addition to the loss of her job, she also spends an inordinate amount of time dwelling on her last relationship with an unavailable (aka still legally married) man. She makes only cursory attempts to improve her circumstances until finally she gets her act together in the closing pages.

There are lovely vignettes but the prolonged look into the dark days only served to bring me down with her. It also made me want to shake her a bit and yell “you’re worth more than that, get it together!” Browning does have a story worth sharing, but the balance felt off if her intention was to inspire others to find their way out, rather than just recount her own despair.

This is a sponsored (but honest) review for BlogHer Book Club. I received a copy of the book (which I'm willing to pass along if you're interested in reading it - just leave a comment below), as well as a small stipend as compensation. For further discussion about Slow Love visit the BlogHer Book Club.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Great Week

Last week, I had a really great week. My husband was away at a conference, also having a really great week, while I stayed home and focused on reading, writing, and recharging.

I'm pleased with what I accomplished. I (mostly) turned off the tv, shut down twitter, and neglected my email. I finished reading four books, making my goal of 30 for the year, and started two more. I'll finish one of those today or tomorrow. I also painted and made major progress on my book idea. There was also some exercise, meditating, and blogging.

What's this mean? It means, among other things, that I'm going to repeat my little digital vacation from time to time. It also means I'm going to be more in-tune with creating what I want, when I want. As far as what that means for this blog, I'm not sure. It might end up meaning I blog more. It might mean less. It might mean twice on Monday and nothing for the rest of the week. (Six Word Saturdays will remain unchanged.) I might start blogging crazy (-ier than usual) stuff. Or more serious stuff.

I have no idea. The intent for the week wasn't to come out of it with a schedule. It was to really focus on the things I wanted to do, which I did, and which I plan to keep doing.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Six Word Saturday

sorry husband but... Best Week EVER!!!



Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit.  Or I visit everyone. Or even numbered entries. Or odd numbered entries. Or multiples of three. Depends on what's going on that week.  In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).