Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A Few Things

That's it in my boring but busy world.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

That's The Last Time I Get Happy About Anything

The day after I wrote the post about loving to paint, I experienced a kind of Murphy's Law that only one who believes in God's sick sense of humor could truly appreciate. Let's see -- I walked into the home at 8:00 in the morning only to be told that they didn't like the color, a color they had chosen and one that I thought looked pretty good (see prior post), but I wouldn't have chosen for myself. I would have chosen an even darker blood red/burgundy. The thing is that they waited until I almost had the project completed. I was just there the second day to do some touch ups and scrape some excess from the mirror, a two-hour job at best.

They gave me a tile from the bathroom and I took it to my friendly local paint store, Duron on Wendover for all the locals. (These guys are the best.) I didn't get the color they asked for. I got what I thought would look the best. That sounds really scary and belligerent, I know, but the color ended up being the least of my worries.

I painted one door of the cabinetry in the new color and went home. I told them to call me and let me know what they thought before I painted the whole thing all over again. I was painting with oil -- not the easiest thing to do -- and I didn't want there to be too many coats on it. I expected to hear from them Tuesday night. I didn't hear anything, so I thought I'd stick to my regular busy-ass schedule of working with Katie and attending a class on Wednesday. I didn't call to rearrange anything.

Wednesday morning at about 9:30, I get into my car and there is a message on my cell phone from the client telling me that the color wasn't what they'd asked for at all, but they absolutely loooooooved it, and they wanted me to come finish it that day. She has always called me on my home phone, not my cell. Also, you all know how busy I am. My whole life is run on a schedule it seems. So much so, that any wrench thrown into the machine causes major, major problems. This job was supposed to be done by Tuesday at noon. I just finished it at 5:00 p.m. tonight.

This is the worst part: Remember when I was painting the immaculate home of my two homosexual friends and I said that if I were to ever spill an entire can of paint, it would be at that house? No? Well, I did say that, but I was WRONG. I, instead, spilled an entire can of paint all over the rich yuppies' white tile floor, which had just been set and grouted and was gleaming white.

I have never, ever spilled paint before. Ever. This time it was the green oil paint for the inserts that I almost spilled the entire can of. When I saw what had just occurred, I screamed, "Nooooooooooooo!!!!!" at the top of my lungs. The neighbors must have thought I was being sexually assaulted or something. I had to scoop the paint up off the floor with my hands and put it back into the can just to have enough to finish the job. I filled an entire trash bag with old towels and paper towels I used to clean it up. I had to put mineral spirits all over the floor and wipe and wipe and wipe. The green came out, but the oil in the paint thinner made the grout appear grey. It took me 45 fucking minutes to finish. The paint had soaked through my shoes and my socks, which had to be thrown away. Worst of all, it wasn't dry enough to scrape or touch up when I got ready to leave.

I have to go back. I also have to ask them to pay me extra for the wasted day of painting with the old color. Now, with the grey grout, I don't know what to do. I honestly think they won't even notice, but I'm not sure. I am much more observant than most, or at least I hope I am.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Dear NPR:

Just a quick note to say that if you're going to have guests on programs who are pretentious enough to pronounce 'Thoreau' exactly like 'thorough,' at least make sure they say Massachue -setts instead of Massachu - sis.

While I do understand that 'thorough' is the real and true pronunciation, but it bothers me almost as much as people who pronounce Van Gogh as 'Van Gok.' It sounds especially stupid when you're referring to the Thoreau Society. It makes it sound like a society for extremely careful and diligent people.


P.S. What kind of dumbass says Massachue-sis, anyway?

Monday, September 13, 2004

Painting is Awfully Great

I finally had another job painting today. I just adore it, most of the time. The painting enterprise has fallen off lately, but as this job was in Dilworth, I'm hoping to get some new clients soon. I know it's no reflection of the work I do, at least I hope not, but I do think that the fact I am a woman has held me back. I mean, contractors (male) who are my friends and have seen the quality of my work have yet to send me the referrals for the smaller jobs like they promised, with no prompting from me, I might add.

Today I painted some custom cabinetry in a recently refurbished bathroom. The owner is an architect and he designed the cabinets himself. This person loves Frank Lloyd Wright, so the woodwork had a very Oak-Parkian, bungalow feel like his early work. It had been painted previously by the builder, but not very well.

The entire room looked transformed after painting. The colors chosen for the woodwork were a very deep, almost bloody-brick red and the insets were painted an asparagus-y green. I know it sounds like Christmas, but it doesn't look like that at all because the red is just so dark and juicy and the green was just so fresh. The colors were specifically chosen from the Italian marble tile around the Jacuzzi tub. Those colors are two of about five swirled together in this paisley-like expensive tile. It pulls the room together in a very unique way.

Now, if I could only get them to paint the damn walls. The walls are white. How horrid. They need to be painted a warm, goldy taupe, another color found in the marble, to really pull the room together. I mean, I don't understand these people. They have spent more on this house than probably you or I will make in a lifetime on all the furnishings, drawer pulls, cabinetry, etc., but they leave the walls painted a cheap-ass-apartment white. Another fine example of how you can take people out of the Martha Washington Apartments, but you can't take the Martha Washington Apartments out of people. (Inside joke.)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Simple Pleasures

I was thinking today about how much joy I derive from some very simple things in my life. Here is a list of just a few of them:

What are some of yours? I know you have to have at least one, so tell me about it.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I usually think I am not a snob, per se. I think I can converse easily with many different people from every age, race, religion or background for at least a few minutes. But I am a snob. In some ways, a big fat one, actually.

I am a snob about the food I eat, the movies I watch, the music I listen to (for the most part). As these things are mostly aesthetic in nature, I call this being 'selective' or 'choosy'. I also am a snob when it comes to right-wing conservatism, patriotism, racism, sexism, etc. I call this 'setting appropriate ethical boundaries', but it still makes me a snob, now, doesn't it?

Tonight I was confronted with one of my most glaring bits of 'snobbism' -- Vanity Plates. I cannot stand vanity plates. They are neither clever nor attractive. In fact, they strike me as downright sleazy and desperate somehow, and they all remind me of a stupid name for a hair-metal band, even if what they say has nothing to do with how 'sxee' the driver may be or how 'spoild'. I mean a vanity plate could be saying "I am a very liberal-minded fellow who supports the arts and adopts stray animals" and I wouldn't care. I'd still think that guy was a dickhead for having to advertise his qualities on the back of his fucking Volvo.

I have a friend whom I greatly respect. He has gone through many trials and tribulations in his life and ended up being a doctor with a prestigious title. He's well read, extremely intelligent, has great taste in furniture, art, books, movies, clothing, architecture, etc. He's almost flawless, or so I thought until I saw his new car with a fucking vanity plate. It wasn't that it meant anything sleazy or pseudo-comical. It was just filling us all in on his state of mind, which in this case happens to be serenity, spelled 'z-reni-t', the 'z' stemming from the fact that it was a Z-something or other make of vehicle.

I hadn't even thought about his choice of car until now because I was just so dumbfounded by the plate. I'm also a snob when it comes to that. Cars I like do not have to be expensive, but one thing they cannot be is 'sports'. I hate sports cars, even if it's a Mazerati, Ferrari or Porsche, and even more so if it's a Trans Am, Camaro, or the like. I don't understand the need for or attraction to those types of cars. I mean, it's not like we have an Autobahn or anything where one could really use the thing. I feel like forwarding all these men in their sports cars the spams I get about penile enlargement. It's so obvious they need some help in that area, cliche or no cliche.

Maybe I don't know my friend very well. Maybe I need to cut him some slack. Maybe I need some of the 'z-reni-t' his plates talking about.

Nah. I just need to say 'z-reni-t' twenty or thirty times every time I talk to him and laugh and laugh and laugh. And find a new friend. (just kidding . . . kind of)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

This Is Going To Be A Long One

But I promise to try to make it as short as possible. It'll be hard tho, because this guy I'm writing about gave me so much damn material.

I took a CPR class this morning. I had to be recertified to work with Katie, the child with autism. The class started at 9:00. At about 9:25, this guy walks in named Tracy. He had his girlfriend, Terry, in tow. He was carrying a huge pillow and a huge gym bag. Of course the class was disrupted because of his tardiness, but the teacher tried to carry on.

Tracy then proceeded to open up the huge gym bag and pull out some of its contents, which included an empty package of Newport, a pen that was about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and about 9 inches long (very dildo like, actually), another thermal bag which clinked and clanked when moved and some salve of some sort or another.

While the teacher continued her demo, he opened the clinking bag to reveal no less than a dozen assorted fruit drinks. He pulled out three which were half-empty (the way I see it), then offered one to everyone in the class. Mind you, the teacher is still talking and the room is small. After consolidating the three half-imbibed bottles of fruit drinks into one, he then proceeded to take off his shoes and rub the salve all over his feet. Naturally the teacher was distracted and told him so.

Then, his phone rings for the first of perhaps 6 or 7 times throughout the three-hour class. Instead of apologizing and turning the phone off, he takes the call (as he did with all the remaining calls). He told the person on the phone to "hold on. I'm in the middle of a class right now." He then walked out of the classroom to take the call in the hall where we could still hear every word, some of which were in elementary Spanish.

We then entered the portion of the class where we needed to each demonstrate our adult CPR abilities to the instructor. After I tested, I was told to go back into the classroom and take the written adult CPR exam, but I could still hear the people being tested in the hall.

Tracy went in to take his test. The instructor asked him what the proper sequence of events are when finding someone seemingly unconscious. He needed prompting on every single step, even though we'd gone over and over and over it. At one point, after the instructor asked what he should do next he said, "Get someone to dial 911." He then started yelling in a very realistic manner, like some sycophant in drama class, "Hey, YOU! Yes, you, sir. Can't you see we're having trouble here?!!!? GET on the phone and dial 911, man!" I laughed my ass off in the adjoining room, I can tell you.

When asked what to do next, he states, "Ask the guy (meaning the unconscious person on the ground) what his name is." Laurie, our instructor said, "The patient is, um, well, unresponsive. He's unconscious." Tracy said that the proper thing to do in that situation is to take the wallet out of the patient's pants and find out that way what the guy's name is. Needless to say, the wallet snatching isn't listed in the American Heart Association's CPR guidelines because it doesn't matter one iota what the patient's name is. You're trying to save his life, not take a survey. The strangest part of all this is that Tracy said he used to teach CPR back in the day. Yeah, right.

During the section on helping a choking victim, he again interrupted Laurie and said, "I used to work for the Eye Bank in San Diego, you know, where we got cadavers and harvested their eyeballs so's other people could use 'em. And one time, this lady came to Diego for some kind of award and during the awards dinner, she ate a piece of steak and started to choke on it and died. She had done a lot of cocaine before she ate the steak, and her throat was probably all numb and shit and that probably didn't help her with choking. We got her body at the Eye Bank and used the parts." Utter silence followed.

After Tracy'd performed CPR for Laurie on the dummy, he came back into the room where the rest of us were taking our written exams. He pulled out a juice for everyone, although no one wanted one, along with the biggest Ziplock I've ever seen filled with some nasty kind of snack mix and a bottle of vitamins. He asked one of the students if she'd ever taken the vitamins before. She hadn't. He said it was for women to help with their "issues" like "menses and cycles and stuff." Even though the vits were supposedly for women, he proceeded to take them anyway stating, "You know when you go to the bathroom and you stop because somethin' scares you or someone walks in or sumfin'? Well, I can't make it stop no more." He then pulls out no less than 10-12 bottles of herbs and lotions and powders and puts them on the small table, along with his drinks and snack mix and empty cig packs and and and, right where we are taking the test.

At one point, he handed me a bunch of notebook paper and told me that it was his proposal for the bank to open up an herb shop. I looked at the wad of papers. There were at least 20 pages, all written in pencil. The top sheet had more spelling mistakes than a dyslexic spelling bee. I handed them back immediately and, God help me, tried not to laugh.

"Yeah, it's gonna be an herb shop and natural foods store and spa. In the back, though, I'm going to open up a dance club only for people who are older than 30. I'll serve juice instead of alcohol. Young kids don't know nuffin' 'bout dancing 'the Bird' or even who The Time was. If someone comes to the door and they're 29 and they know who the Time was and how to do the Bird, I'll just have to say 'No, this is an over-30 club only. Come back when you have another birfday.' And I'll serve food out of tins that you just pop open, like Vienna sausages. You ever have them? Well, I'll serve them, pop them open and serve them with some cheese or something. You all can come work for me. I'll pay you a whole lot, like $15 an hour or somethin', but I ain't taking no taxes out. Hear me? FICA and shit'll be on you. And you'll want to pay that shit 'cause the IRS'll come after your ass to collect. Don't be messin' with them."

It was also Tracy's idea that the class go to the morgue and practice CPR on real, dead cadavers. He said we should practice on adult, child and baby cadavers, just like we practice on the dummies for each age group. When I mentioned that rigor mortis might make our job extremely difficult, he said that we needed to get "fresh ones, like ones that was just killed in a car wreck or something. But maybe then they'd be to bloody and broken up to work on." Laurie told him to call the morgue if that was something he was interested in doing in his spare time.

He also kept insisting that the chest compressions helped with breathing, not making the heart pump. Even after explaining the reason for chest compessions numerous times, the instructor could not make him understand. His ignorance prompted another African-American sitting across from me to state, probably out of utter embarrassment for his entire race, "He has no idea just how 'ghetto' he is." Just to prove the gentleman's point, Tracy then said, completely out of the blue and completely off-topic, which was CPR by the way, that he was going to buy an Infiniti for Terry the previous day, but he guy sold the car to someone else.

It was totally surreal, but yet entertaining. What the hell was wrong with this guy? I felt like I was in CPR class with a poor Rick James, circa 1982. He was Rick James, Bitch.

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