Monday, July 25, 2016

The New Floor, Part I

So, today did not go as planned.

To get the entire feel of the ridiculousness of this saga, let's start at the beginning. 

Back in mid-June, we go in to Home Depot to set up the appointment to measure, as I'd already chosen the Pergo Coastal Pine for the floors.

The man who helped us that night, Ross, was the manager of the area. I remember this specifically because he was going to try to get one of his workers to put in the order as they get credit for the sales and he does not. But he was the only one around, so he went ahead and got it going. He said, at that point, we'd likely want to do something different on the stairs, but neither of us can quite remember any follow up on that, except the impression that the laminate wasn't available as stairs. 

He said we'd get a call within 3 days to set up the measure and then 3 more days after that we'd get a call from Home Depot to see the final estimates for all the labor and materials and to schedule the install if we were happy with the numbers. 

It took 5 days before the call to set the appointment to measure. Then another week after that before the measure took place. I was with Bob Sr. and Nell in Dumas by that time, so Bob was the only one there as he went around taking measurements, at which point, he insisted on measuring the stairs because, yes, indeed, the coastal pine was available for the stairs and, of course we'd want it to match!

We waited 3 days. Then 5. Then Bob called Home Depot to try and find out what the deal was. It took half an hour to finally get someone in flooring to pick up, constantly ringing, going back to the service desk, back to flooring, getting disconnected, etc. That was just a harbinger of things to come. 

When the guy finally picked up, he said it wasn't in yet, there was a delay with the stair measurements. Bob says, "we weren't even supposed to include the stairs. What's taking so long?" It's been more than two weeks of waiting now. The guy says, "I'll tell them you're in a rush." Uh, okay. If two weeks after a one week promised timeline is rushed?

Finally, the following week, we get the email with all the estimates. We go in to Home Depot to set everything up. The total includes all of the upstairs loft as well as the stairs in Coastal Pine. The lady working flooring suggests that, since we've mentioned how nasty our carpet is and how the cats have not helped the situation, that we can cut away any corners were accidents might have happened and prime with Killz to make certain all pet odors are completely gone before they lay the laminate. But, we have to wait for the schedulers to call to get a date set!

She tells us everything has to be special ordered, and once it comes in, Home Depot will deliver it, bring it inside 72 hours before the start of install (we paid extra for them to haul it inside), in order for it to acclimate to the humidity of the house. She told us they'd want to set it in each of the rooms when they brought it in. Since we had no idea how much or how heavy this stuff was, we were happy to pay the fee to have them do the lifting.   

Finally, after more waiting, we hear from the flooring people at the start of July who give us a delivery date of Friday, July 22 and the start of install Monday, July 25. 

So each weekend and some nights, while I'm working long hours, I've sketched out a time line and to-do list to get everything upstairs boxed up and moved out into the garage in time to cut away the edges of the carpet the final weekend, although I was still a little foggy on how much room these boxes would be taking up in the center of each room. 

But come Thursday, we still hadn't had heard any confirmation that the stuff would be showing up, or what time to expect them. 

Friday morning, Bob tries to call Home Depot to find out. 

Again, endless transfers, rings without pick-up, returns to the service desk, disconnects. We're talking more than an hour of this nonsense before he finally gets someone, Joel, to confirm that, yes, all the materials had arrived, but the person who should have called to schedule the drop-off . . . didn't.

Joel suggests that they could bring them on Saturday, but not really sure when . . . Bob expresses his extreme displeasure that his wife and mother-in-law's birthday plans made long ago are that day and this was unacceptable. Joel finds another hand and they show up at the house at 1:00 with a pallet of 66 boxes of coastal pine. Then he hands me a little repair kit and a tube of silicone and pulls out the paperwork for me to sign saying they'd delivered everything. 

Except, when we start looking at the paperwork, there are about ten lines of product, one of which is the silicone, one the repair kit, one line of 66 boxes of coastal pine, and seven more lines that are unaccounted for!

He gets on the phone to call. 


After 30 minutes of not being able to connect with anyone to answer, he leaves and drives back to find out where the rest is. They are back at 3:00 with another pallet, of everything else, related to the stairs! 

And they do NOT have to put it in the individual rooms, so it's all in a giant pile in the front room, getting acclimated. Fine, whatever. At least it's here 72 hours ahead of install.

But that brings us to today.

And no phone call. No installers. It's nearly 9. And after 20 minutes of trying to call, Bob, who's wisely taken the day off of work, has to DRIVE to Home Depot to even get someone to 

No one was coming. 

So they call the installers, who say they'll have workers at our house between 1o:00 and 11:00 today. 

At 11:00, the guys call saying they are on their way, but will be about 15 minutes late. Cool. At least there's that.

At 11:15 they're in the house. Nathan and Benny. Ten minutes later, they inform us that the Cap A Tread Home Depot had sold us only works on the top 9 stairs. The bottom four, which go wider, wouldn't work. Oh, and we are responsible for removing all the stairway spindles and balusters and putting them back on those stairs, too! 

Bob tries the manager of Home Depot, gets no voicemail and disconnected, so he gets in the car and goes there to find out what in the heck we're supposed to do. 

At 12:30, the guys haven't started anything in fear that the whole job is going to get cancelled. They are hanging out at their van when Bob calls from Home Depot, asking to talk to them. Turns out, he's being told that they DO have everything they need for the stairs and their manager has called them telling them to proceed. 

They have most certainly NOT gotten a call. We're all just stuck in the middle with people saying a dozen different things. Nathan asks me, "Did they (Home Depot, who is supposed to be our contact) ever call and tell you we were having van issues this morning, which is why we were running late?" Of course not! 

Bob gets back with a head filled with "it's fine!" and the guys finally show him what Home Depot is calling "fine". The bottom four stairs will not match. There will be a seam in the center of each because they have to interlock two of the floor boards together and a weird lip that they have to build on the front that will stick up just a bit to go over the front of the stair. Not only will it, in their words, "look like your drunk uncle built your stairs" but it wouldn't even be flush. Knowing my propensity for clumsiness, I could easily see myself breaking my neck hitting the stone floor at the bottom after tripping on them.  NOT HAPPENING. 

Furthermore, Nathan and Benny will only agree to the upper floors, not the stairs, as they guarantee their work and despite Home Depot saying we can "try it" what they mean is, these guys will be on the hook for having to "fix" things we're unhappy with once they cut into the product to install it. 

Bob calls back and says, "This will not work. Period."

We're set with an appointment tomorrow with the head of the flooring department and the head of the carpet department to determine how to take the funds we spent on the stair material (which we have to load up and return ourselves) and labor costs (both come to about $2700) and replace with just carpet, which makes me want to gag just typing that, but there really is no other choice if we want the stairs to actually look uniform, not create what appears to me to be a tripping hazard, and add to the value of the house, not detract from it. 

The only other options (custom built stairs all the way up) are much more expensive and I've spent all I'm going to spend with these guys. And, of course, this is going to entail ANOTHER wait to schedule ANOTHER measurement, and ANOTHER wait for the scheduling. 

At 12:45 Nathan and Benny finally start on the master bedroom floor, saying they'll do that room today, but will not be able to return tomorrow as the van must be fixed. Nathan promises, come hell or high water, they will be back Wednesday morning and finish by Thursday night. Except for the stairs. 

I worked at the dining room table in between all this madness and for hours afterwards. Fisher didn't seem to mind.

They left at 4 with my bedroom completed. We've rebuilt the bedroom and my corner office and the portable AC, as removing all the standing fans in every room as well as that unit made all of the upstairs running at about 80° this afternoon. 

At least I have a place to sleep and a place to work while the rest of the upstairs waits . . . 

And here's where we're at:

Bruiser awaits treats, not caring a whit about floors.

Faith isn't too impressed either. 

My plan is to set up my office in what was Nick's room, but for now, this will do.

because this is what the rest of the upstairs currently looks like

and that horrible, horrible carpet is still here. 

I'd love to set it on fire right about now. 

The bright spot of the day was a call from Marci this evening, who said she had another birthday present to deliver, if I was up for it. We're going back to the Balloon Fiesta in October and she's booked us for a hot air balloon ride taking off during the mass ascension on Sunday morning! Talk about a change in perspective!

another summer week slips away

other than the morning dawn walk, there's 12 hour work days and the rest of the time not spent sleeping, boxing up and moving the entire upper floor into the garage for this coming week's new floor.

Saturday was a nice respite, with Mom and Dad taking everyone to lunch for our Mom and Tori birthday celebration. We had to do it the weekend before since Sam will be setting out for Florida this Friday. 

Sammi made the cake, complete with blue icing  . . . which is my favorite color, but not necessarily on teeth. 

only took relighting the candles 4 times to get this shot!

Currently working from the dining table and waiting on the floor guys to show. Supposedly by my birthday, I'll have a brand new shiny floor and stairs and that hideous carpet will be long gone!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Adele Live 2016 Concert July 16, Denver CO

Funny story, way back on Dec. 16, when we were at Hollywood Studios at Disney World, I'd set my phone alarm to remind myself to try and nab tickets from the Adele fan pre-sale link. Spent about 20 minutes in the ticket queue after clicking "best available" thinking I was going to have to try again the next day during regular sales. But then, it popped up with "you may purchase 4 tickets", I clicked purchase, and went about our vacation.

It wasn't until we got home that it occurred to me it might be a good idea to find out where our seats ended up. Floor, row 11. WHAAAAA?

And then, with Sam and Amber claiming tickets #2 and #3, we found ourselves stuck for a 4th. Everyone we asked either wasn't a fan or couldn't go. Mind you, floor tickets much further back were going for $1500 and up a piece and stayed at that price for six months. I couldn't resell our 4th on Stubhub, because the entire point of the fan pre-sale was to reduce scalping. Really? I can't find a single person among our friends willing to spend $200 for a $2000 ticket?

So, I take to Facebook and post on my Highlands Ranch Ladies group. "Um .  . . anyone available to go with us Saturday July 16? Row 11, $200?" 

And that's how we found Britney, who is a huge Adele fan, lives in Casper Wyoming, but was already going to be in town that weekend visiting her aunt, Kendra, who is a member of the group, and who had nose-bleed tickets for Sunday's concert. So yes, Britney is going to both shows. 

But wait, it gets better. . . row 11 turned out to be ROW 1 AT THE STAGE. (Rows 1-10 were weirdly off to the far side of the stage lined up perpendicularly.) 

We really weren't believing our eyes as we walked up from the back of the floor, looking for CCC Row 11. It kept getting closer and closer. And our seats, 10-13, were on the inside of the row, exactly at the stage and closer than even the center section. 

Our staff guy was super nice. And amused at our shock and awe.

Adele's eyes on the screen behind us were not static, but did not open. It was as though they filmed her sleeping in full-on cat-eye makeup for a good while to run in a loop.

And then, they opened. And you heard her voice ring out with "Hello" and the crowd went absolutely nuts. She appeared on a stage in the center of the floor for the first song, then walked up the center, to the right, directly in front of us, where she grinned and waved at us. Incredible.

I was too caught up in soaking in the moments to mess with my phone very much, but when she asked us to all pull out of phones and turn on our "torches" while she sang "To Make You Feel My Love" I snapped this one: 


Sam's favorite: Skyfall

For her last number before the encore, she returned to the center stage and some really cool effects.


Her encore: When We Were Young


And then the one that always brings down the house: Rolling in the Deep



What a night.

Sam's video of Rolling in the Deep:

(Mine is just the very end that Sam didn't film through)

And that confetti? 10 different Adele hand-written notes. I think I ended up with about 20 of each. 

Found myself tagged on Facebook from Sam and Amber still basking in our amazing night, too.

Google ended up auto making a video from the phone downloads that turned out pretty great.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Peter Gabriel and Sting Concert 7/12/16

Between working 12 hours a day and weekends, a Tuesday girls night out with old friends was much appreciated.

On our way to PG and Sting

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"The Poet with His Face in His Hands" by Mary Oliver

"The Poet with His Face in His Hands"
by Mary Oliver

You want to cry aloud for your
mistakes. But to tell the truth the world
doesn't need any more of that sound.

So if you're going to do it and can't
stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can't
hold it in, at least go by yourself across

the forty fields and the forty dark inclines
of rocks and water to the place where
the falls are flinging out their white sheets

like crazy, and there is a cave behind all that
jubilation and water fun and you can
stand there, under it, and roar all you

want and nothing will be disturbed; you can
drip with despair all afternoon and still,
on a green branch, its wings just lightly touched

by the passing foil of water, the thrush,
puffing out its spotted breast, will sing
of the perfect, stone-hard beauty of everything.
Sunday, July 3, 2016

Big and Busy Week in Review

Monday: Nick could officially announce that he is the newest full-time football coach hired by Southwestern University! The boy not only got a job, he got what seems to be the perfect fit, at his own alma mater, working with coaches he knows and admires, in the same place as Ali's job. So, come next September,Nick will be standing next to Coach Austin in slightly different attire and in far less danger of concussions.

Tuesday through Thursday: Quiet walks, and some lovely cooler weather with frequent thunderstorms, but thankfully no hail to speak of. But the dog park was closed for two of those days, so that was a bummer.

On Wednesday, out of nowhere, the television picture up and died. We'll have to replace it, but luckily Jason had a small spare that we can use until then. That afternoon, Nick's jeep up and died, right after Bob, who is having to borrow my or Nick's vehicle while his Jeep is in the shop waiting for the new engine to arrive, had stopped to check the mail at the boxes some 20 yards from the house. He called the Jeep place, basically after hours, and the guy diagnosed it over the phone, told him he was 99% sure that it had to just the battery (despite having zero trouble starting it, ever) and it was. Same guy called the following to day to make sure it had all worked out. We love our Jeep guy!

On Thursday, Nick got his hail damaged Jeep repaired. It had knocked both front washer jets down into the cowl. Luckily, like the battery, not too expensive a fix.

Friday was another animal entirely. Friday I started a new account that had me in complete knots, mostly because it's a car line I haven't done in years and barely remember with an account that was supposed to be easier than it's going to be. I know it'll come back and hopefully I don't take too long to get back up to speed before the dealer loses patience with me triple checking everything. Being mostly out of work for the past 3 months, coupled with mounting expenses (See above + Art School Daughter's massive tuition and now off-campus living expenses) the pressure to get back onto the money making train is intense. I'd had it too easy for too long. So by the end of the day, tense as a cat getting a bath, I was a wreck. 

Oh, and after nearly 6 hours at the hair salon, Sam finally got what I call her Art School Hair done. It turned out amazing!

So Saturday was a welcome escape, to the Renaissance Festival, with everyone in tow. It would be the last day I'd have both kids together for probably a very long time. Sam and I had fun with the temp tattoos together and it always amazes me how people think they're real. 

Our first stop is always the Dragon Imaginarium. 

The duel between good and evil. I have Dumbeldore's wand, Sam carries Voldemort's.

The Steak on a Stake crowd

We always try to catch Arsene's first show of the day!

during the show the rain moved in for the next hour, which kept things nice and cool.

My carnivore

watching the first joust show, The Tournament of Skill. The little boy in our section got presented with a sword from our winning knight.

Nick channeling King George. Over the summer, Sam has gotten us all hooked on Hamilton, so we all had to start singing "You'll Be Back"

Oceans rise, empires fall, 
We have seen each other through it all
And when push comes to shove, 
I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love

We stopped and had some lunch and then caught the Big (and Medium!) Cat Show

with our sign

and other signs

Athena winking at us

Frozen Cheesecake time

saw this gorgeous cape as we were heading out

We napped and had dinner and went to see Finding Dory at night before calling it a day. 

And, suddenly, this morning, it was sad again. 

and he's off again, this time for a real job. Having him live back at home for 6 months was such a gift, but it sure does make it hard to say goodbye again.