Category — I paid what?!

The dangers of a $20 coupon

It’s not often you open your email to find a $20 coupon.  To get that much off, you are usually required to spend a couple hundred bucks.

The good news?  All I needed to spend was $40 to get $20 off!  The bad news?  It was at Ace Hardware and unfortunately, I seldom need forty bucks worth of wing nuts and spackle.  More bad news. Anything already on sale wouldn’t count.

But, hey…it’s 20 free bucks, so I figure it was worth a trip.

So, first place I look is the aisle with the paper products.  Damn!  Kleenex, which I actually needed, was already on sale.  There goes my idea of walking out with 10 boxes.  (Okay, so I’m a hoarder.  You got a problem with that?)

Next brilliant idea was a new step stool.  I walk over to the ladder section.  I then discover that Ace only stocks step stools that weigh as much as anvils.  Seriously, what is up with that.  Pass!

Then I go over to the housewares section.  Ahh…a four cup Pyrex measuring cap.  Who doesn’t need one of those?!  Into the cart it goes.

At the end of the aisle are large refill bottles of Windex.  Yup, yup.  That works.

Then I spot one of those flat rubbery things that you use to open jars with.  Throw that sucker in the cart.

By now, what’s in my cart already has exceeded twenty bucks.  But I still need another $20 in order to use the coupon.

And then I spot the solution to all of my problems.  A small crock pot for $21.99.  I think to myself, I can use this to make soups, stews and other good stuff.  Plus, it’s only going to cost me about $2.  When the hell am I ever going to be able to get a crock pot for $2?!

This was my genius of an idea yesterday.  Here is where the crock pot is today.

I may need to ebay this sucker.

Top shelf of the coat closet next to the 1970s Polaroid camera and ski headbands (last used during the Reagan Administration).  This shelf is like a possessions hospice. I believe objects go here to die.

Dear Crock Pot, we hardly knew ye.

April 8, 2012   Comments Off on The dangers of a $20 coupon

The hell chronicles: part 1–the toilet

My sincere apologies Rantopolis readers for not having posted earlier in the week.   Blame it on Satan.

Yes, apparently, I was somehow transported into hell earlier this week.  That is the only reason I can come up with for the crap (literally, as you are about to find out) that has rained on me in the recent past.

About a week ago, I received a phone call from the management office that oversees my Florida Keys condo.  (Hi Jason. C’mon…you didn’t think I wasn’t going to write about this, right?!)  The call began with, “I’m sorry but I don’t have good news for you.”

Oh, great.  What is it?  A bed bug infestation?  A late season hurricane detached my unit from the rest of the building and it is now floating to Cuba?   A bunch of bikers spray painted “helter skelter” all over the walls?  What??!!

“Well, it seems the renters that were in there earlier today, flushed the toilet in the master bathroom and then checked out.  Unfortunately the toilet overflowed and dumped gallons of water into the master bedroom.  It’s reached almost to the external wall.”

And people wonder why I swear so much.

What did the fucking renters put down my damn toilet?!  A watermelon?!!

And don’t tell me they flushed the toilet and then suddenly they ran out not knowing that it was overflowing.  Last time I checked my condo wasn’t a changing station for the Ironman Triathlon.

Maybe they flushed a baby alligator?

I just cannot wrap my brain around how careless people are with other people’s property.  I now literally want to find them and pour the entire contents of Lake Michigan into their living space.

Lucky for them I do not know their name or address because I’d already be on their front porch with a hose.

When all is said and done, the bill for this shit-tastic experience will end up being close to $1,000.  Water removal, fan drying, industrial steam cleaning, etc.  (This doesn’t include loss of income.)

Did I mention they had to remove the baseboards because the water had seeped behind them and started creeping up the drywall?

In 21 years of owning this condo, I’ve never had a single issue with a toilet overflowing.  (And I gutted the entire place four years ago, so everything is brand new.)  And, the toilet seems to be fine after the fact.  So, there is only one thing that remains.

That is for me to wish this particular renter an eternity of bad luck.  Let’s start with the ebola virus and work our way up.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the Hell Chronicles.  (Yes, unfortunately, there is more.)

November 10, 2011   5 Comments

Watching paint dry. Seriously.

I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to hire a painter to paint my kitchen, living room, dining room, home theater area and hallways. The last time the apartment was painted was 2000, so it was time.

With one quote already delivered on Friday and another due tomorrow, I needed to quickly move into the paint color selection phase.   Little did I know this was going to take longer than planning a wedding and be equally as stressful.

On Saturday, I jumped into the car and went to one of the larger Ace Hardware stores in the city.  They carry a full line of Sherwin Williams paint, but more important they had free parking with validation.

I had done some research online and learned that Sherwin Williams Aura paint is pretty much the best stuff you can buy for interiors.  So, how hard could this be?  Did you hear that?  That’s the universe laughing at me once again.

I walked in with some paint sample cards I had picked out the week before.  I had identified some colors I liked.  And so it began.

Me: Hi. I need a few paint samples.  Do you have the little 2-ounce samples of these colors?

Salesperson: M’am.  Those aren’t the paint color cards for the Aura line.

Me: Great.  There’s an hour of my life I won’t get back again. (Sigh)  Can you point me to the Aura colors?

Salesperson: Sure.  They are over here in the Aura section.  We have small jars of several of the colors.  But if you see  an Aura color you want and we don’t have it, we can make it up for you.  But it won’t be in the Aura formulation.

Me: Sorry. I’m confused.  What does that mean?

Salesperson: It’ll be in a Sherwin Williams Regal paint. The color will be the same, it’s just that the quality won’t.  And you’ll have to buy a pint of it.  Now, if you want it in the Aura formulation, you’ll have to buy a quart.

Me: Wow.  How much is a quart?

Salesperson: Thirty-something dollars.

Me: Sheesh.  I didn’t realize I was buying fine wine. Well, then.  I better find some colors I like, that you already have in the 2 oz jars for $3.99 each.  Can I get the samples in matte?

Salesperson: No.  All of the samples are in eggshell.

Me: But, how do you know that?  I’ve just checked the label and it doesn’t say.  (Ugh! My painter recommended matte. not to be confused with satin, which is like a semi-gloss.  Google is my friend.)

Salesperson: Trust me.  It’s eggshell.

Me: (Perfect.  A salesperson I don’t know is asking me to trust her on painting decision that is going to cost me several thousand dollars.  Yeah.  Not going to happen.)  I also understand you have large squares already prepainted that I can stick up on the wall to see how the color will look.

Salesperson: Yes we do.  But not in Aura colors.  But if you are interested, we can sell you a fan deck.

Me: What’s a fan deck?

When you are done selecting colors you can take this to the opera.

Salesperson: It’s this.

Me: How much is that?  It’s $19.

Salesperson. Do you have paint brushes?

Me: No.  How much are those?

Salesperson. Well, depends what kind you want.  They run anywhere from a couple of bucks to more than $10 each.  Do you have paint trays to pour the paint into?

Me: No.  How much are the paint trays?

Salesperson: Well again…you can buy some cheap ones for about $5 each.  How about tape to mask the test area?

Me: No.  I understand 3M makes some “no bleed” tape.

Salesperson: Yes, but you can get a lot more tape if you buy our store brand.

Me: But I only want to create six squares.  I am not trying to mask the Taj Mahal.  (See, I told you this was a project.)

So 30 minutes later, I walk out of the store with a large shopping bag and a receipt for just under $100.  Virginia, this ain’t your childhood tempera paint set.  I’ve got fan decks, brushes, paint samples, trays and masking tape.

Three hours and two coats of paint later, it turns into this:

What color do you like? Nevermind. You don't get a vote.

Oh, and the salesperson was right.  I Googled madly and finally found that the Aura samples, are indeed eggshell.

My decision?  Cotswolds (a grey with some subtle warm tones) for the main wall color.  Bonne Nuit (medium purple) for two accent walls. (If it’s good enough for Prince, it’s good enough for me.)  A plain flat for the ceiling and a white semi-gloss for the trim, casements and columns.

There endeth the paint lesson.  (Anyone want some used paint brushes?)

May 15, 2011   2 Comments

Never say never

You are probably thinking that I’m about to go into some life-affirming explanation.  Nope, this isn’t that heavy.

It’sbecauseIwenttoseetheJustinBieber3Dmoviecalled NeverSayNeveryesterday.   (Okay, I’m just slightly embarrassed and a bit worried my AARP card is going to get revoked.)

Exhibit A.

The thing is, I love music.  All sorts of genres. ( I even dabbled in artist management a while back.)  The reviews for the film were pretty decent, so I decided to check it out for myself.

This is what I took away:

a. Admission was $15. A new personal movie-going high for me.  And I spent it on a 16-year-old kid’s biopic.  Ouch…and ouch.  (If anyone ever asks me, what’s the most I’ve paid for a movie, I’m going to say it was for an IMAX screening of a National Geographic expedition on the mating call of Antarctic penguins.)

b.  I’m old enough to be his grandmother.  In fact, his grandmother may be younger than me.  (Depressing.  Baby, baby, baby, oh.)  Just for that reason alone, I feel I should have gotten a senior discount.

c. Social media is everything.  Especially if you are in the music business.  (His mom posted a video of him performing several years ago to share with friends/relatives.  Strangers starting viewing and the dominos started to fall.)

d. I wasn’t prepared to like him as much as I did.

Regardless, of your taste in music, a good rags-to-riches story tends to tug at the heart.  Justin Bieber was born to a teenage (17-year-old) mother who made raising this child a priority.  We also see the grandparents who have been like surrogate parents to him all of his life.

Concert footage of his recent performance at Madison Square Garden is interspersed with family/historical footage of his rise to fame.

The moral of this story is that a ton of hard work (which he has definitely put in), the love of a supporting family, mixed in with a little right place/right stuff is what dreams are made of.

In retrospect, I guess I have to say it was $15 well spent.  But, in case anyone asks…I’m still sticking with the penguin movie story.

February 20, 2011   1 Comment