Thursday, January 14, 2010

Remodeling the Bathroom

I hate home repairs/remodeling. For those readers of the In Your Neighborhood blog spot might have seen my posts about getting the south side of our house in Ilwaco, WA resided. It turned into a disaster. The contractor, who will remain nameless, bought and installed the wrong windows, promised to change them and then disappeared. Over last winter the shingles began coming off the side of the house and my husband had to make repairs last summer because the contractor was nowhere to be found.

In the past we’ve had trouble with a shady character my husband hired to finish reroofing our house in Gig Harbor when the sun and height began to take a toll on him. Had I been home at the time Dave struck a deal with this man I would have put a stop to it, but I was in Ilwaco. That mess had to be corrected by a professional roofing company and it would have been cheaper to hire them in the first place.

There was the Gig Harbor kitchen remodel. Following a little kitchen fire the insurance company recommended a particular outfit to do the repairs. It took them three months to do it while I washed dishes in the old sink set on saw horses on the patio and cooked on a barbecue. Thank goodness it was summer. We ate out quite a lot, but that gets old pretty fast and rounding up four people to go out three times a day is a pain in the youknowwhat.

Now the time has come to do some more remodeling. We’ve drug our feet and cannot any longer. For a while we’ve had a little leak from the upstairs bathroom into the downstairs little bedroom which has served as my son’s “art room.” What was a little spot of mold on the ceiling has become two spots the size of tennis balls. Because the house was built in 1972 and remodeled in 1980 the fixtures, etc. are dated and ugly. We knew that if we ever want to sell the place that having updated bathrooms would be important. Our daughter-in-law and grandson’s departure for two months in Brazil seemed a good time to get the work done since the art room is going to become a bedroom for grandson so before Christmas I began to look around for a contractor.

Although the disappeared contractor had been a recommendation, I asked some coworkers who they would recommend and came upon someone who seems honest. The work will begin on Monday, Dave's second day of "retirement," and I will let you know how it goes. If things go well I will tell you who we got. If they don't...

“What fun,” my mother exclaimed. Yes, packing up all our vitamins, medicines, cleaning products and supplies along with the linens and our entire closet is sure fun.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Does Technology Connect or Isolate Us?

A coworker and friend on Facebook and I chatted a few weeks ago about the love/hate relationship we have with technology. While we love the feeling of connection that the Internet and Facebook provides, we commented that we spend more time fertilizing each other’s crops on FB’s Farmville than we do having “face time.” Technology connects and isolates us all at once.
I use “texting” a lot. My husband cannot receive calls at work except to call his supervisor and ask to have Dave call me. Although they are not supposed to have their cell phones turned on while on the floor at Seattle Flight Service, per Lockheed Martin’s regulation, Dave leaves his on vibrate and responds to text messages. Until he began working day shifts those messages were the only connection that we had so I’m pretty familiar with texting.

My kids text me. When I am at work my situation is similar. I’m not supposed to be answering personal phone calls and the concrete school I work in is a bunker for cell signals so I understand them wanting to send me a text message if they have a question. Never-the-less I find myself getting irritated when they text me at times that they know I am off work. I know why they do it. It is easier to text a person with a brief question and get an answer without having to perform the “hi, how are you?” ritual that makes us civil human beings. They are too busy to actually talk to me. They don’t really want to know how I am just then. They don’t really want to share how they are either. I find that sad and wonder if I am the only mom/person who suffers from the technological disconnect? I am grateful for what snippets of information I receive about friends and family via email and texting, but what are we losing? Are we not losing the warmth of human contact, of looking into the eyes of a loved one or hearing their voice on the other end of a phone line?

In times gone by children climbed into a car or wagon and moved miles and miles away from family with only letters to connect them to parents and sometimes they never laid eyes on one another again so I guess that I’m grateful that Thomas Edison figured out the telephone, but sometimes I believe that technology as done as much to hurt as to help us. We must be wise in its use. That’s why one of my New Year’s resolutions is to spend more time actually talking to the people who mean a lot to me. I do not have to be too busy to do that. There has to be a way to simplify my life.