The One About The Mutual Acquaintance With The *Maybe* Secret Life

FRIEND, WHO IS NOT A DRAMA QUEEN, is convinced that a mutual acquaintance of ours, let’s call her Maureen, has a secret life.

Friend, who lives closer to Maureen and communicates with her more frequently than I do, thinks that Maureen is up to something.  Something weird, that is.  Something that Maureen doesn’t want us to know about.

Friend, who enjoys ye olde Facebook, tells me that Maureen disappears for days, not responding to any form of contact and then when they do talk in person there are holes in the story– about who was there, when events happened.

EASY AS IT WOULD BE TO DISMISS Friend’s observations about Maureen, I’ve heard this story before, many years ago.  And in that situation, the suspicions turned out to be correct.

Back then, that mutual acquaintance was off doing some things in another town involving a new age-y cult-type group that mutual acquaintance didn’t want anyone to know about.

But eventually we did find out– and that was long before Facebook, a simple nosy way to lurk on the edges of someone’s life.  Which is, of course, what Friend is now doing as she tries to find out the truth about Maureen’s alleged secret life.

AND ME, WHAT AM I DOING ABOUT all of this?  Not one blessed thing except listening to Friend.

I figure that enough people tell me their secrets and concerns without any prompting, that I don’t need to go looking for more things to know about people than what they want to share with me directly.

Case in point… read the first sentence of this post.

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Question of the Day:
Have you ever wondered if a friend or acquaintance has a secret life?  And if so, did they?  Or do you still not know for sure?
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A Remodeling Update: The Mess Continues & Ms. Bean Is Almost Beyond Caring

The mess continues, but there is progress.  

√  The bathroom is close to being finished.  We’re waiting on the rest of the decorative tile that the tile guy, when he’s available, will use to make a backsplash behind the sinks.

The tile, shipped from California, is apparently coming via pony express, whose riders like to spend a few nights vacation in Las Vegas before heading east with it.

Or maybe it arrives via passenger pigeon.  At this point I’ve lost track of how it gets here, and only know that I want it here because until that decorative tile makes me happy this project won’t be over.  So I wait.

√  The family room is in process.  We had a small set-back when the painters fessed up to painting it the wrong color.  They had used the bathroom wall color in the family room.  While the colors are similar, they aren’t interchangeable… so the painters graciously made things right and re-painted the family room.   

I’ll show you a pic of the finished room, with proper color on its walls when I do my final post about this remodeling wild ride.  Sometime this month? This year? During my lifetime? Who knows?

  The laundry room is in good shape.  The washer and dryer are here, the counter and tile have been installed, and the walls have been painted the proper color. 🙄

The only difficulty with the laundry room now is that it’s on the way to the garage– that’s still a warehouse for things to come.  I look forward to parking my car where the bathtub is now, and walking from the garage into the laundry room unimpeded.  I dream big, don’t I? 

  The kitchen remains in a holding pattern.  There’s no sign of the microwave.  It’s MIA.  And conversations about replacing the old caulk that’s between the granite countertop and the tile backsplash have taken a turn for the absurd.

Seems that our grout and our caulk don’t match– and they’re [were] supposed to.  While I’m the first to say the combo looked good to me [for the last 9 years], these particular colors, that I’ve dubbed Dragon Snot and Cat Barf, are no longer available.  Hence, there’s been much discussion about what currently available caulk color to use now;  Antique Dog Tooth seems to be in the lead.  Because, why not?    

• • •

August is a slow month in the blogosphere, and I don’t feel like writing & posting my usual 2 or 3 times per week.
So for this month I’ll be here once a week sharing my flapdoodle and twaddle with those who are around to read it.  See you next week, kids. 

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A Remodeling Update: My Kingdom For Some Tile

Decorative tile, laying on the floor, that’ll be the accent in the shower and by the sinks.

Well, kids, not everything runs smoothly during a remodel.  You see, there’s been a kerfuffle here about the wall tile that goes in the shower stall.  Not the little decorative stuff*, but the large tiles that cover the walls.

The problem, quite simply, has been that the tile company sent the correct decorative and floor tiles over to the house– but filled our wall tile order incorrectly.  They sent packages of tile with the same name + code number, but these packages of tile weren’t from the same “dye lots” so they weren’t the exact same color.

Which they are supposed to be.

Example of the tile in question.

Thus began what turned out to be 3 weeks of discussions among unhappy me, lawyerly Zen-Den, our patient project manager, the perturbed remodeling company design staff, the conscientious tile installer– and the confused [sneaky?] tile company.

Much was said, politely— but with a great deal of emphasis on MAKE THIS RIGHT.

No pithy conclusion to this post.  I’m just happy to report that the correct wall tile finally arrived on Tuesday and that each package has the same batch number.

Even more exciting than getting the tile is knowing that the tile guy is now in the process of installing the tile on the walls in the shower– and that the walls coordinate beautifully with the shower floor.

As planned.

Tile on the floor of the shower stall, installed and looking lovely.

* I wrote this post yesterday mid-afternoon. As the tile guy left late yesterday afternoon he told me that the tile company had shorted us on the decorative tile that is to go on the wall behind the sinks.  This is not as big of a problem as the wall tile kerfuffle, but it’s a problem that will have to be solved nonetheless.  *le sigh*

A Refreshing Conversation With An Older Gentleman Who Takes Life In Stride

“Sometimes you’re the windshield, Sometimes you’re the bug…” 

I was listening to an older acquaintance chuckle as he told me about a scam he’d gotten caught up in.  He understood what had happened and how it’d happened.

After some research and many phone calls, he’d extracted himself from the scam and was a few hundred dollars poorer because of it.

He told me that in retrospect he realized that the whole mess was less about him being stupid, than about the scam being slick and sophisticated, taking advantage of his trusting nature + his unfamiliarity with certain details.

No surprise there, eh?

But what struck me about this conversation, that was more like a monologue, was that this older gentleman telling me this story wasn’t bitter about what had happened.  There was not one ounce of “I’m a victim” or “I blame _____” going on with this guy.

Instead, he was telling his story as a cautionary tale.  All he needed was for someone to listen and understand his predicament– and for someone to tell him that he “done good” solving the problem himself.

All of which got me thinking…

When was the last time you were part of a conversation like this one?  SERIOUSLY, when did you last listen to someone who had been taken advantage of– and who wasn’t whining and emoting about the unfairness of it all?

Someone who was behaving like an adult who grasped the fact that in the rhythm of life not everything works out as planned– and that’s ok, too, because if you’re smart, you learn from it and move on.

Like this older gentleman did, in his quiet self-deprecating way.

A Remodeling Update: In Which Ms. Bean “Helps” & Other Important Things

It will come as no surprise to you, but it’s a mess around here.

Dining room with stuff from other rooms in it.

 Nothing is where it’s supposed to be.  Rooms that aren’t being remodeled have been turned into storage spaces for the stuff from rooms that are being remodeled.

Then with no clothes dryer, we’re using portable wooden racks, wedged into bedroom corners, to dry our clothes and towels and unmentionables… that are getting covered in a layer of dust before they dry, courtesy of the construction all over the house.

 Because the family room and the master suite are under construction, Zen-Den and I are living on the other side of the upstairs, each having taken up camp in a different guest bedroom.  At night we shout “good night” to each other like we’re the fricking Waltons: “Good night, Sue Mary Ellen… Good night, John-Boy.” 

Old microwave sitting on counter underneath spot where it fit, but new ones won’t.

 I officially hate microwaves.  Did you know that the manufacturers change the sizes of microwaves fairly often?  This means that the one we had built into the kitchen cabinets 9 years ago is now a size that is no longer available.

So we have to redesign the cabinets to accommodate the newer deeper microwaves.  I cannot *mutter* enough about this development.

 When the water is off for a few hours you immediately understand there’s one flush left in the toilet, right?  BUT what you might not remember is that there’ll be no water to wash your hands– and that you’ll need to have some hand wipes around.  IF you don’t have them around, then you’ll end up eating your lunch using a paper towel as you hold your sammie– then perhaps accidentally ingest some paper towel. 😖

Tools and such that are now on the floor hither and yon around the house.

 And finally, how is that I helped?  Well, as if there’s not enough destruction around here, I added to it when I went to close the bathroom door and the handle fell off into my hand.

Just. Like. That. I’m stuck outside the bathroom, holding the formerly useful handle in my hand, looking forlornly at the screws now at my feet.  Screws that happen to be about the same color as the carpeting, allowing them to blend perfectly with the carpet fibers, causing Ms. Bean to become FRAZZLED.

And on that cheery note, I’ll wish y’all a happy weekend.  Catch up with you later, kids. 

Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 2 Of 2

[Continuing from Part 1 yesterday.]

AS FRIENDS AND FAMILY already know, Zen-Den and I have been dithering around for years about:

What to do about our master bathroom?

It’s never been a good use of space, and I’ve never felt safe in it because the builder grade floor tiles get slippery when the room is humid, which is often because the builder grade exhaust system is pathetic.

Considering we like where we live in this large subdivision, one that caters to people of all ages– some neighbors retiring here to build their dream houses, other neighbors buying their starter house here, and everyone else in-between.

Like us.

And considering we like living in this small town that’s known for outdoor activities and casual dining, we’ve decided to stay where we are, remodeling what displeases us about this house, making it retirement-ready.

For later.

So, we talked with three remodeling companies about doing work around here, and decided to go with the company that remodeled our kitchen years ago.  Their workmanship and our style seem to be in sync.

• + • + •

Thus here’s what’s going on around Chez Bean this summer:

  • we’re having our master bathroom partially gutted, reconfigured, and modernized so that it’s safe [& pretty] for us as we age;  and
  • we’re having our laundry room reconfigured so that we’ll have a newer-style [larger] washer and dryer + usable storage space;  and
  • we’re redoing our family room fireplace tile and mantel + having the walls painted a neutral, timeless color;  plus while they’re here
  • we’re having our kitchen tweaked just a little bit to tidy up a few things.

And now, for a few “before” photos…

Small cabinet with sink over in corner where only Zen-Den could manage to use it.

• + •

Jetted garden tub that I hate, used as linen closet because there is no linen closet in this bathroom.

• + •

Larger cabinet with sink, and almost no storage, in another corner of bathroom. Technically not the builder’s fault that I’m messy by nature, but I think I’ll blame him anyhow for not giving me enough drawers.

• + •

Boring shower with absolutely no character that lacks an exhaust fan above it.

• + •

Small laundry room that doesn’t accommodate the larger side-by-side appliances that are now available.  Also dryer does not work, because it’s a poopy head.

• + •

Family room in which we pulled down the mantel last summer, then painted test colors on the wall intending to redo this mess ourselves. Obviously, we never did.

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Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 1 Of 2

WHEN I STARTED THIS blog years ago my intention was to write 80% about how we were updating our house + garden, then 20% about topics I was researching.  I thought this would be more of a design + information blog, rather than a lifestyle journal-ish blog.

Well, that idea fell apart, didn’t it?

Early on I discovered that:

  1. Even though I’m passionate about design, I don’t like writing about the involved decision-making process that goes on within all decorating +  remodeling projects.  I feel clunky and stressed when I try to write about design.
  2. Even though I enjoy photographing nature and signs and building exteriors, I end up swearing at my camera when I attempt to take pics of inside rooms.  I don’t have an eye for design photography, and my poor camera takes the brunt of my frustration.
  3. Even though I had some fun blog followers who were interested in our ongoing home improvement stories, they, to a one, stopped keeping blogs and drifted away from  the blogosphere.  I now have more wordy followers who groove on topics other than design.

So I had a little sit down chit-chat with myself to reassess what I was doing here, realizing that my most popular fun-to-write blog posts were personal, often about my observations regarding the wack-o-ness of people OR about small glimpses into the ordinariness of my daily life.

And then, I pretty much stopped writing about or photographing what we’re doing around the house.  No one cared, and I didn’t mind not writing about the angsty-ness and minutiae of design projects.

However…

[Part 2 will be tomorrow.]

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