I was raised “old school rules”: no dangling participles, no dangling prepositions, no split infinitives. (I wouldn’t be surprised to find I got the punctuation incorrect in that preceding sentence.) I took Latin for 4 years. I grew numb to Star Trek’s “To boldly go”; however there are still some behaviors that I feel should NOT be tolerated. I expect leading newspapers and magazines to follow the old rules, dated as they might be.
Imagine my disappointment at reading the following sentence in The Wall Street Journal the other day.
It’s also developing an e-commerce platform to sell those services through local retailers that farmers already do business with.
Sigh. I expected better. That sentence would have still been clear had it used “local retailers with whom farmers already do business”. Not only would it be clear, but *I* think it would read more smoothly as well. Sigh.
At a time like this I REALLY miss my mother. I’m sure she could find many errors within my own writing, brief as this is. Although my sister is good at this grammar “stuff” as well. *grin*
Update: Still leaking. 😦 Even worse – leak wouldn’t happen when the plumbers came back to see/fix. This morning after I pushed the heat up I came down to find a puddle under the pipe and a drip still on the pipe. By the time the plumbers came the puddle had dried to 1/2 its original size. We pushed the heat up again in an attempt to start the dripping, but nothing dripped. I’m incredibly frustrated that I cannot demonstrate this. The good news is Michael saw the remaining puddle and believes me. They are once again cutting and replacing pipes. Isn’t it a good thing that no one closed up the ceiling yesterday? Is that a 😦 or a 🙂 ? And now back to our original post….
I still have a half-written post about how wonderful it is to work in the new kitchen. I have photos, too. But I’ve been a bit busy with other things and haven’t had much time or mental energy to write. It’s interesting how bad things can get those mental juices flowing. That must be part of the reason so much great literature is about unhappiness. Take the opening line of ‘Anna Karenina‘: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” When everything is great and happy and wonderful, there is less impetus to write.
Yesterday was an exciting day in the kitchen renovation. It should have been the penultimate day (I’m still hoping that Don will come through for me and get the electricians here with deck lighting, but just between you and me – I suspect that lighting has fallen by the wayside.). The plumbers and TJ were here to put in the new radiators, install the cold water filter under the kitchen sink and to put in the oil-rubbed bronze hardware in the pocket door. 3 plumbers and TJ all working away in the kitchen, basement and front hall. The cats were imprisoned once again upstairs. BC had gone up there on her own, but I had to physically catch and carry GC and WC up behind the wooden door. The plumber was astounded at the sounds WC makes as she is carried up to her incarceration. Hard to believe such a little thing can make such a loud appalling noise. (Her life is soooo hard, she’s had much practice.)
The new radiators were very exciting to everyone, as the plumbers had never worked with this kind of unit before. I learned a lot of interesting things as well. For starters, I learned that “wall mounted” does NOT mean that the water pipes come through the walls. It means that there are no feet on the floor, but that the water pipes do still come through the floor. I’d been told that the front hall radiator would be wall mounted but the one in the kitchen would not, as it is situated in front of the pocket door. As it turned out, they were both mounted on the wall. I knew the new floor would be drilled in the kitchen therefore but I did not realize the slate in the front hall would be drilled as well. That was not an issue because I’d already told Michael weeks ago that I was resigned to the fact that the slate might need to be drilled. The holes for the pipes are so small (comparatively) that it really is no big deal. The radiators are beautiful and do exactly what I hoped – fade into the wall behind them.
The other thing I learned was how my heating system works. My husband was very smug when he told me he knew this all along. Huh. But he knows NOTHING about BLEEDING the radiators, so there. My huge old cast iron radiators all have 4 feet (hence not wall-mounted) and there is a pipe going in one end and a pipe coming out the other end. I’ve always assumed that meant the water flowed in one end, out the other and went on its merry way to the next radiator. That is NOT the case. All of the radiators get water IN from one set of pipes and release it OUT to a different set of pipes. That explains why when I see the pipe running up from one floor to another there are always 2 pipes. The IN system is controlled by valves on each radiator that can either allow water into that unit or that unit can be bypassed as the water flows to the next unit. This setup means that the boiler can be going but individual radiators can be turned off without turning off every radiator downstream. I never realized that. It will be important.
Anyway, things were going swimmingly (and yes, I choose that word deliberately). The filter was in, the pocket door hardware was in, the radiators were in, the water was turned on to fill the radiators and we upped the thermostat to make the water hot. And then Michael saw water on the kitchen floor. He went to the basement and there was water dripping down onto the floor there. There was a leak within the walls.
I will spare you the drama that ensued. I will say that I stayed very calm, which I suspect most of you will not believe. But over the last year or so I HAVE learned that things that can be solved by money are probably not the big things in life. And these contractors have worked such magic that I believe they can fix anything and make it beautiful. I was concerned that the plumber might have heart failure, he was that upset. That is NOT fixable by money.
So. At day’s end we did have heat (which was good, because the overnight temps were in the 40s F), although the 2 new radiators were still offline. There is now a big hole in my gorgeous kitchen ceiling, saw-marks on the soffit, and dirty fingerprints on the other side of the soffit (for balance while investigating). There is also a scratch on the floor from the step ladder but you have to have your face very close to see it. I mentioned it to my husband who said “I see it” and pointed to a non-existent scratch elsewhere. *grin* I was up close and personal because I was cleaning up after everyone had left.
Michael is back today (not the whole crew) and he’s bringing the new radiators online. I understand there will be someone coming sometime to fix the ceiling, but as is typical with communications on this job (I have mentioned my dissatisfaction with the information flow) I don’t know who or when. Since there is no longer a key in the lock box they will have to let me know. I do hope it’s sooner rather than later as I was planning to throw a “come see my gorgeous new kitchen” party. Sigh.
These are all things and can be fixed. It’s disappointing, but not terminal. The house is warm, all the radiators are going. My water is filtered. I have matching hardware in my pocket door. The sun is shining. And the cats are happy.
One of these days I’ll even finish the post about how fantastic it is to work in the kitchen.
Every relationship has its bumpy patches, and we’ve reached that time with our contractors.
I spend a good part of MY professional life managing my clients’ expectations and keeping them informed about matters of interest to them. I am good at that aspect of my work. I expect the same when I am on the client end of a relationship.
The renovation relationship started off with excellent communication, whether by phone or email or face-to-face conversations. Ever since the cabinets were installed (the last of the large payment checks, I might add), communication has been minimal to non-existent. I have had to initiate every conversation about what was happening and what would happen. To be fair, not much was happening after the counter templates were made. I heard that there was a delay but then for 2 weeks there was no word at all. I am the one who reached out after 2 weeks to ask for an update and lo-and-behold- they’d “just heard that day”. Maybe, maybe not. Forgive my skepticism but in light of subsequent behavior, I’m not as convinced about that timing as I might have been.
I’ve told you of our trip to see our slab, and about the soffits and crown molding. The QUARTZ people are the ones who mentioned to us that they would be installing on Tuesday. I heard nothing from the contractors who are, by nature of our contract, supposed to be arranging all of these things. Today, Tuesday, I finally wrote to them to ask if indeed the counter would be arriving. I got an email that said they would check. We’re paying them to be managing this, it’s NOT supposed to be my job to manage the people with whom they have contracted. The counters arrived before any email.
I thought about it long and hard and then drafted an email. I said we are now in week 14 of a projected 10-12 week project. I am not upset about that, I wrote. I AM upset with the lack of communication and any notion of a schedule. I wrote that I understand that schedules are fluid and some things cannot be controlled. But I want a projected schedule of all the things that still have to be done. I have no idea if I’m looking at another 2 weeks, 3 weeks, a month, longer. There is a lot that still needs doing.
I got a reply this afternoon, which I consider a good response time. (Again – I do this all the time myself as a professional. I know what is involved in forming a response.) My first reaction was a “pffffft” as he addressed the delay. The delay, while not desired, is not the problem – I NEVER expected this to take only 10-12 weeks. I’m still absorbing his comments about the communication, which are focused on this morning. I’ve been feeling uninformed for several weeks now. I’m hoping that when I get the promised update of what is to come, it will cover all the gaps that I feel exist.
My counters are beautiful and I will share them with you tomorrow. Today is working through a bit of disappointment.
I was set. Prepared. Ready to go. MORE than ready. Tomorrow was the day when I would FINALLY, after years and years and – trust me – a long time – get my foot repaired. The doctor had a very carefully thought out plan. He understood that I NEEEEEEED a flexible foot. We were skipping all the inorganic approaches and going right for regrowth. *laughing* I wore my steam-punk heels into his office last week, just so that he would “get” me. I said “I want you to know who I am so that if you have to make any decisions when I can’t contribute, you make the one that I would make.” My niece had even taken the boring plain black sandal they gave me and snazzed it up to fit my shoe persona (with the exception of some sequins and sparkle, she did it all with paint). I was supposed to begin fasting at midnight, surgery scheduled for 7 am. tomorrow.
At 4:54 pm the phone rang. It was the surgery center. Puzzled, since I’d already had a long chat with them earlier, I answered the phone. The operating room nurse identified herself (we’d chatted earlier) and began apologizing. Uh oh. I thought she was going to tell me the injection had not arrived – that was going to be the “rare” object. Nope, not that. The other product. Not only was it not there, it is not available anymore. Apparently the drug rep finally got around to saying “oh yeah, I’m substituting X for Y.” Not so fast. Sigh. The surgeon postponed the surgery until he is sure that X will do what we want.
I’m very disappointed. I put this off for years. I’ve been living in pain for months, unable to sleep more than 4 hours on a good night because of the pain. On a bad night – up every 30 minutes. It’s been debilitating. He has promised to schedule me as soon as he has a product that will do what we want. I love this surgeon. From day 1 he has talked to me openly, as an equal, plainly. Sigh. The “recovery” is 3 months. If we have to delay too long, this could become a problem.
Bummer. Of course I’d rather wait to do the “best” action rather than settle for the approach that doesn’t really get me where I hope to be. But tonight – yes, I’m very very disappointed.
I have a memory of having posted about gifts and presents before. Certainly I always think about it at this time of year as I listen to everyone around me agonizing over what to give and what to request. For me, gifts and presents are different beasts. I get lazy and often use them interchangeably, but when I am careful, I use them differently. A gift is something that the recipient wants. It doesn’t matter if you, the giver, likes it, thinks the recipient needs it, thinks it’s “appropriate”. The recipient WANTS a gift. A present is something that the giver wants to give to the recipient. The GIVER thinks the recipient should have it, should appreciate it, needs it, deserves it. It doesn’t matter if the recipient doesn’t really care for what’s being given. The giver wants to give THAT. Sometimes a recipient so desires a particular item that even if the present IS something that could be appreciated sometime, at the moment of receipt the over-whelming recipient reaction is despair, frustration and dislike. The recipient was craving the gift so passionately, so furiously, so totally, that all that can be seen in that moment is the “not-gift”, not any of the thought or care or consideration of the present. Even if the present will actually BE a gift in time. So what happens then is that the giver is angry and frustrated and disappointed, the recipient is angry and frustrated and disappointed, and yet – under a slightly different scenario they would have both been delighted and fulfilled.
I’ve been on both sides of that equation. I’m sure you have as well. I’m in it again at the moment although with something intangible. A dear friend of mine is in the same position. Presents are being offered. The presents reflect respect, value, trust. Except it is the gift that is craved. I know what to tell my friend, to tell myself. Smile, accept the present, recognize it for what it is, and try to forgive it for not being what it isn’t.
When I was a mere lass, I had already decided that appearances mattered. *grin* Oh, such a surprise to hear that from me, right? My sister is older than I (Oh MUCH MUCH older. *grin* oooooooollllllllllllduh) SHE had – gasp – makeup. I did not. I coveted her cover-up cream because although I did not have makeup, I had zits. Imagine. On the other hand, *I* woke up early and she did not. Not only that, she slept like a rock. She tells wonderfully funny stories of all the things through which she has slept, from bunk raids at camp to rock concerts in stone stadiums when she was seated next to the speakers. So, being the deceitful determined pre-teen that I was, I would sneak into her room in the morning, open the drawer where she kept the cover-up and TAKE SOME. I never got caught. *triumphant grin* Chanukah was coming. I requested cosmetics. One night, my wrapped gift was soft. It felt like a tube. It felt JUST LIKE my sister’s coverup makeup. My heart began pounding. I KNEW my dream was coming true. YES YES YES!!!!! No more sneaking into her room in the morning. No more lies and fear and deceit. My eyes shone, I smiled, I ripped the paper open, salivating. It was a tube of hand lotion. Do you know, as I type that, I still feel the ache in my chest. The disappointment. The overwhelming unhappiness. I think I smiled at my mother. I hope I smiled and said thank you. But all I remember, to this day, which I have to say is (gulp) decades later – the total “this gift stinks how could you possibly give me this and think I’d want it”.
Flash forward. I’m a mom. I don’t believe much in Chanukah gifts. I’ve tried to teach my son this. I thought he “got it”. Actually, my memory is that he got it. But we were talking the other day and he reminded me of his own coverup makeup story. Apparently he really really REALLY wanted an xbox. Game cube? I don’t remember. Some such thing. I’d thought I’d made it clear that was NOT happening. I guess I didn’t communicate that properly. I’d found an adorable “make your own bug” kit at a craft show. My son is so creative, clever, artistic. I thought he would have a blast inventing bugs. *grin* You can see this unfolding, can’t you. I gave him the gift. He was ungracious, to say the least. I took back the gift. Yeah, that was wrong. I was hurt and angered by his attitude. He was hurt and angered by my attitude and lack of understanding. In case you are wondering – we have both moved on and forgiven each other. I think. I know that he will never forget that disappointment just as I will never forget the hand lotion.
Is there a point to this post? Yes. When what you get is not what you wanted – whether it’s a tangible object or the reaction to what you gave – try to take a moment and forgive the giver. I am trying to realize that what I got was indeed a gift, not a present. It’s not what I craved. But in the immortal words of the Rolling Stones:
You can’t always get what you want But if you try sometimes you might find You get what you need
Into every life a little rain must fall. Sometimes it’s a lot of rain and it rains very very hard and washes things away. Like flowers. As in, all the flowers that I planted last week in the flower beds for the conference. They are all gone. No more. Sigh. I ripped them all out last night.
Friday at noon we ran a stress test for the conference. Only fifty some people there and it was fairly laggy. Most things seemed to work, by and large. After that I continued to do some landscaping. Snuck in the swan and the ducks. 🙂 By Friday night I was pretty tired of planting flowers and trees and arranging rocks. On Saturday I released butterflies into Margie’s gardens. But otherwise I stayed away, spent most of my time in RL (whee! that can be much fun too!!!). Sunday night after my company left and I’d cleaned up, I logged in to catch Noma rocking the weekend to a close. No sooner had I waded my way into the crowded sim when J pinged me.
She said “Hi Ahuva, I really hate to ask this.” I laughed and said “You want me to remove the ducks and the butterflies?” She said “What ducks??????” Still laughing I said “Oops, shouldn’t have told you!!” But as you already know, it wasn’t the ducks. (So far the ducks have been spared. I told her I was willing to sacrifice the butterflies but that I LOVED the ducks 🙂 ) “My” flower beds were at the entry to the conference. That was why I started there and put so much effort into it – the point was to make the entry looked good. There is good and there is over the top. This was over the top, not in beauty, but in prims. Apparently 3300 prims in that sim were mine. Flowers that is, flora gold. The way J figured it, each flower is probably a 1024×1024 texture — that is 32 bits deep, so each texture is eating 4MB. I have no idea what I just wrote, except that obviously it is not a healthy situation for the sim. 🙂 X had also had 3300 prims in that area and removed them at J’s request. That improved the FPS (frames per second). So J asked me to remove mine. I gulped and asked “All of them?” She suggested that I start with some and we could see what happened.
I don’t know how to remove “some”. I tried to link flowers before and pull them out, but I hadn’t gotten very good at it (had problems getting the angles and groupings the way I wanted them). So J taught me “rubberbanding”, as she called it. This was exactly what I wanted earlier in the process. If I’d known THIS, I’d have been done in half the time, I’m sure! And the flower beds would have been identical. 🙂 Rubberbanding, should you want to know, is a form of copying. You select Tools from the menu, then click “Select Only my Objects”. Next click on an object in a corner of the area you wish to copy. Draw a yellow box highlighting all the items that you wish to take/copy. And there you have it. So I did that. I didn’t catch everything on the first bed, but I caught enough that should there ever be an opportunity, I could probably recreate the missing corner. I caught more of the 2nd bed. We simply tossed the flowers that were in the quadrants under the trees. What the heck.
So then I got my next assignment: Make it look good using only 2 plants and many fewer instances. LOL. Right. Okay, well, the world used to be black & white before they invented color photos, right? 🙂 Planting goes MUCH faster when you are limited in which plants and how many. So my gardens are gone, long live the gardens.
So today (actually, now yesterday) was my birthday. I didn’t want much. My husband had already given me this beautiful laptop. It was a work day, that was fine. All I wanted was to do what I had to do in my every-day life and then stay up late and celebrate in SL. I logged on at 10 and that was the last thing that worked. From that point on I couldnt rez properly, I couldn’t tp, my chats froze. I logged in and out and in and out and in…. Over a dozen times. Literally. After the first 30 minutes I never rezzed as anything other than a cloud. I could IM to my friends – nearly all were on. And I couldn’t get anywhere. I locked and crashed repeatedly. Poor Michele – what a wonderful friend. She listened to me as I literally cried and wept. I tried on both machines: new one with the 1.20 client, old one with the 1.19 client. I could not get logged on. I’m still crying. At this point I want to power down and never open the machines again. I’m so discouraged and disappointed. It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to, and I want to and I am.