Sunday, April 26, 2009

Do Fence Me In

If you haven't been following this blog very closely, you might not know that we have a psychotic dog in our house.  He is craaaaaazy with a capital C!  

One of the biggest problems we have is that we don't have a fence and so we don't really have a good place for Coal to run of some of this excess energy.  We tried going to the local dog park but did I mention that the dog is psychotic? Living on a cul-de-sac that backs up to another cul-de-sac means we end up with a very odd shaped lot that does not easily lend itself to fencing. Running our property line with regular fencing would be extremely expensive as well as butt-ugly!  The only real solution we could come up with was live with the chain untangling and digging or invest in an underground fencing system.  I have heard mixed reviews about these things but we decided to give it a shot.  We could have installed it ourselves, but that seemed like a ton of work (with iffy results) so we hired an expert to install our system.

Nate came out on Wednesday and installed the fencing in no time flat.  If you don't know how these things work, they bury a cable underground and then mark the boundaries with bright red flags.  Coal loves to chew on flags, so he quickly learned that maybe this was no longer a good idea!  He tried to bite the first flag and got his warning signal and he was not happy about this at all!

Yesterday, for the first time ever, we played a wicked game of fetch with Coal in the backyard.  He was untethered and ran and ran for almost an hour.  And when his mommy threw the stick over the boundary line (on accident), he didn't even try to go after it.  This morning, a tasty looking piece of trash was blowing towards him.  He ran right up the flags and laid down and patiently waited for it to blow over the line so he could destroy it.  

So my review after 4 days?  It was worth every penny that we paid for this system.  I can see a huge difference in Coal already.  I'm not ready to let him out without supervision yet, but we are getting closer. What can I do?  I can let him out with a leash and he doesn't bolt.  He will happily lay down on the patio with us and just enjoy the fresh air.  He will actually play and run - fetch, soccer, or just crazy, excess energy running!  The other benefit, I haven't heard him sit on top of the hill and bark incessantly at the bunnies in the neighbors yard. 

He is really good about the boundaries in the back, but for some reason, he is completely freaked out by the front yard.  We can't get him to cross the line even if he doesn't have the receiver collar on.  This makes taking him for a walk a little difficult!  We might have to resort to putting him in the car to take him off our property for walks.  That works fine except for the days that Dr. Evil and his family have a party (which is like every other day).  We will keep working with him and hopefully soon, we can let him go without a leash and he will stay put!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Random Thoughts

  • Have you ever seen a 70 lb. dog pout?  Coal is giving me the cold shoulder.  He literally will sit down and turn his back to me.  Sweet talk gets me nowhere, in fact, he will turn his head away from me and stick his nose in the air.  You know the look, the "I'm mad at you and I'm going to pretend that you don't exist" look.  All because we installed an underground fence yesterday.  Someday he will understand that this will give him way more room to run and it will be a much better thing.  For now, I will have to put up with the pouting.
  • You should be careful what you put on the back window of your car - it might send the wrong message.  Or maybe I just have a twisted sense of humor.  While in KC, I was following a guy in a huge SUV who was obviously into hunting.  In one cycle of a light, I figured out that he liked to hunt ducks, pheasants, deer, turkey, and dogs.  I know that wasn't the message he was trying to convey, but the way he had the stickers arranged, it kind of looked that way.
  • STL to KC isn't very far apart and it is not really worth going through the airport shuffle, so I drove.  Company policy won't allow me to drive my own car so I rented a car.  I'm not a huge fan of rental cars - people like to drive the snot out of them and most of the time it shows.  I picked what I thought was the best looking car in the row and headed west.  This car was different from most.  I really liked this one and I want to own one of my own.  I'm not saying I'm going to buy one, well not yet!
  • Welcome back to the blogisphere, MonkeyMamma (aka Sewwhat?)!!!!  We missed you the last few weeks!  Your costumes look awesome.
  • I honestly have been thinking about starting a second blog (work related issues).  Does anyone out there have more than one blog  that they maintain and do you have any advice?  Or can you try to talk me out of this? (And to my boss who will read this, I'm not going to write about you but some of the challenges that I am facing trying to change "the process" that I stole the towels about!)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Mr. Monkeygirl!

Today is Mr. Monkeygirl's birthday.  He doesn't demand much from me and he could really care less if anyone even mentioned his birthday much less makes a big deal out of it.

In a complete rip-off of Ann, here are just some of the reasons why I love him more than he could ever know....
  • I understand the concept of cooking and cleaning, but not how they really apply to me.  And you are ok with that!
  • No matter how horrible your day was, you are always glad to see me and stops to give me a kiss before you do anything else - and I do mean anything!
  • I love the fact that even though you can practice it with the best of 'em, you can not say the word 'empathy'.  
  • I love the fact that our brains seem to work on the same wavelength more often than not - especially when it comes to what's for dinner.
  • While I love Coal, I think it is sweet that you make sure the dog isn't bothering me even though you might have to get up every 15 seconds to see what the beast theived, is barking at, or whatever other mischief he is currently up to.
  • It is amazing how quiet you can be in the mornings when you get up at the crack of dawn, you are so careful not to disturb sleeping beauty.  I try to be that quiet, but it always seems like I do something stupid to wake you up!
  • It makes me happy that you absolutely love my chocolate cake.  The suggestion for more frosting has made it even better than Grandma's original!
  • You overlook my freakish obsession with high heels and don't complain when they take over the entire closet floor.
  • You are so cool that you said it was ok for me to leave you on your birthday to go to some silly training class on the complete opposite side of the state.  I would have had a cow about that!
Love ya, Mr. M.  I will see you soon and promise to bake you your own cake really soon!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Here we go again

After our recent run in with ID10T salesmen trying to get our bathroom remodeling business, and since we "are not - nor will we ever be, professional bathroom renovators" (according to ID10T himself), we are going to attempt round 2.  I hope that this round goes much better than the last one.

At the same show that we found the ID10T's, we also talked to anther guy about out remodeling plans.  He said he worked out of his home and had been in business for 30+ years.  When I didn't hear from him right away, I kind of wrote him off.  But this afternoon, I got a call and we have an appointment set for a week or two out. Based on a short 5 minute call, I think this experience is going to be much better. 

As a follow-up to ID10T- Part 2:
I was relating my story to my friends over lunch on Friday, when my BFF asked, "What is ID10T's real name?"  I told her and she immediately started laughing.  Apparently, she has run into ID10T before.  He used to work for the huge local rip-off remodeler and they dealt with him there.  Then they decided to use someone different and apparently, he was working for them at the time.  She said that during their dealings with him, he continually took personal calls on his cell phone until she warned him that he needed to stop or they were done. Her sister also used ID10T's middle company and had similar bad experiences with him.  

So maybe ID10T's company is ok, but unfortunately, his crap-@ss attitude has turned me off forever to their business.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ID10T Part 2

Blogging about the Idiot Salesman the other day made me feel so much better.  I wasn't the only one who thought he was a big jerk and acted like a 4 year old who was told he couldn't have his toys.  I was even prepared to commit my experience in writing to the owner to make sure that he was at least aware of the way we were treated.

Earlier tonight my phone rang, and I immediately recognized the number.  I hesitantly answered the phone and it was my buddy K - the king of scheduling/confirming/rescheduling appointments.  K started off my saying that his records showed that newbie sales guy had been out to see us.  Uhm, no - we never saw newbie guy, I calmly replied.  K started to panic, because he knew I wasn't very happy about the whole rescheduling thing.  I explained that we didn't see newbie guy, instead ID10T sales guy came out to visit.  

K tried this whole spiel about their records indicated we didn't buy because of price and the owner wanted to "get in our area" and that they were willing to work with us on the numbers.  Ha!  I don't think K was expecting what he got next from me. I explained that under 'normal' circumstances I would have been happy to get his call and talk to him about this.  However, given the fact that ID10T guy basically told me I was stupid and that I wouldn't call him again, I'm not really sure I was comfortable dealing with them as a company.  K stuttered and stammered trying to get his bearings.  "Are you sure it was ID10T that was at your house?  I've rarely heard this kind of thing about him."  Yes, I was positive who was there and it wasn't the newbie.  I explained a little more about my conversation with ID10T and again explained that if ID10T was the head of the division and the trainer, I didn't have a lot of confidence that in what the rest of the employees were like.

K was furiously jotting down notes so he could talk to the owner or someone in the morning.  He wants to call back in about a month to see if we are past the strike issue and maybe they could earn our business then.  They can call me until the cows come home, I doubt they can change my mind unless they come up with some incredible deal (i.e. they pay me for the pleasure of remodeling my bathroom and not spreading their name all over the internet)!

I suspect that sometime tomorrow afternoon, my phone is going to ring again and I will see that all too familiar number once again.  I kind of hope it is ID10T calling personally - I have a few things I would LOVE to share with him!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

An Open Letter to Salesmen

Dear Sales Guy,

I asked you into my home because I need something that you have to offer.  Or at the very least, something you have to offer intrigued me enough to find out more. It takes a special kind of person to do your job.  I can appreciate what you do but I have a few things to get off my chest.

First, if you set an appointment with me for a day and time that was your idea, you should have a really good reason for canceling on me.  Not one time, but twice (and almost 3 times).  Better yet, if you are the Sales "Manager/Trainer" who is sitting at my kitchen table, you should knows that this happened to me before you tell me how you purposely overbook appointments on the hope that somebody cancels or backs-out.

Secondly, I think it is a small world that you know someone that I work with.  I even find it slightly amusing that you figured out where I worked based on the description of what I do (although I work in a very specialized industry without much local competition, so it wasn't hard).  But I'm sorry, some of the stories you relayed to me were very personal and quite frankly, a little uncomfortable to hear. You have no idea what my working relationship is with "one of your 5 best buds". I might have a big mouth and my colleague may not want this type of information shared about their past. You obviously aren't very good at reading body language either. Not once did you pick up on my obvious discomfort - I really didn't want to know these types of things and thought it was inappropriate to share that kind of information with a stranger.  Oh, and your future relative that was recently "fired for no apparent reason"?  Not understanding why might be a big part of the overall problem of continuing employment- 'nuf said.

Finally, I appreciate the fact that it is more cost effective for you to close the sale on your first visit.  I can even appreciate that you are trying to make some money on the job or service that you are trying to sell me.  But don't insult the customer.  If you p!ss me off, I most assuredly won't buy from you.  I would like the time to think about what you are offering me.  Consider the fact that I walked in the door after you did tonight, I never had a chance to sit down and relax for a minute - or eat dinner.  I even showed you what I wanted done before I even took off my coat!  You talked almost non-stop for 3 solid hours without taking a breath and then asked me to make a decision in 3 minutes.  When I requested some more time, what did you do?  You basically told me I was an idiot, that I would never call you back and then you pouted and took your toys and went home.  Never mind the fact that I just told you that my husband may go on strike any day now. Never mind the fact that the economy really sucks right now and making any type of big investment is risky.  Never mind, I'm obviously stupid and have no idea what I am doing nor will I ever be a "professional" buyer - at least that is what I got out of your parting comments.

It's too bad, you seemed to have something that I need and for a price that I'm willing to pay.  I can even overlook the cancelled appointments and the inappropriate stories about an old friend, but when you insult my intelligence - you are D-O-N-E.

Mr. and Mrs. Monkeygirl

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Bunny Brought Wheels

The Easter Bunny made a stop at our house today.  Not for Skaterboy, he is sooo past that (kind of) but he stopped for the local niece and nephew.  EB left a note for the M&M's....
I stopped by and left you some Easter treats!  I hid them in the front yard for you to find.  Be sure to share with each other the goodies you find.  Have a great Easter!

They had so much fun finding the eggs, that were no so well hidden in the tulips and fountain grasses in the front yard.  They were so excited, running back and forth, looking for eggs whenever they could find them.  When their baskets were full, we headed around the back of the house.

I think all of the neighbors could hear their squeals of delight when they say what waited for them in the driveway - two brand new shiny bicycles.  M-boy has a cool silver and red bmx bike and M-girl has a Tinkerbell bike complete with flowers and music!  (I love 'em to death but the bikes were from Mommy - a late/early birthday present) 

They had to test them out right away which was a little bit of a challenge.  While we have a very large driveway, the 4 cars of our guests took up most of the flat spaces. A couple of the cars were parked alongside the house so the space for wobbling steering was limited. No amount of discussion would persuade them from their maiden voyage so we carefully navigated them between the cars and the house to the open road!

It started to sprinkle right around dinner time which was a blessing in disguise.  If it hadn't started to rain, we would have had to serve them dinner outside as they rode around in circles!

Friday, April 10, 2009

All Cleaned Up

Taking advantage of a Friday afternoon free of meetings, I took the afternoon off to meet a couple of people at house to see if we can't knock some of our home improvement stuff off the list. 

I mentioned the other day that we need to redo our master bath among other things.  The biggest problem I have, I don't know what I want.  I generally have a vision in my head and all I have to do is figure out how to afford that vision.  This time - the head is blank.  trying to get ideas, I've scoured the internet for ideas for "small" baths.  I guess my idea of a small bathroom differs from what you find on the internet because these bathrooms are huge in comparison.  I also don't have $30 grand to spend on a room that I spend little time in.   

We have even gone to the local home improvement stores looking for ideas and nothing is clicking for me.  When we stopped by a booth at a local home show last weekend and I told the kid manning the boot that I didn't know what I wanted, he countered with "we can work up a 3-D model for you so you can get some ideas. Sounded like a great idea to me so we signed up for an in-home visit.

We set our appointment for Thursday.  On Wednesday afternoon they call to confirm the appointment, we are set.  Wednesday night, they call to say that they overbooked and could we move it to Friday.  We negotiate a time when both Mr. and Mrs. Monkeygirl would be home and we are set.  Thursday night, they call again to confirm.  So, tonight, 10 minutes after our scheduled appointment time, they call again.  Oops, they need to reschedule again for next week because they are really busy.  Uhm, do they care that we went out of or way to make sure we were home for them?  Do they care that I raced home to actually clean the bathroom first (I don't want them to see it dirty!!)? Is it just me, or is it kind of rude?  I'm happy for them that they are really busy and that they are getting all kinds of business from the home show, but I have my limits.  

We rescheduled the appointment - again - for Monday.  If they cancel on me again, then I'm done.  A girl can only clean so many times in one week!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pins and Needles

Spring has finally sprung and it seems like almost everyone on my street has started some type of home improvement project.  Dr. Evil and his clan recently remodeled a bathroom in his lair.  The neighbors on the other side remodeled their bathroom and are in the process of redoing their kitchen.  All of this construction going on has us thinking about what we want to do around our house.  And the list is looooong.
  • Completely gut and remodel the Master Bath.  Thanks to a leaky shower that a 'handyman' supposedly fixed, we think we have to rip up the sub floor and start over again.
  • Once the bath is finished, I want to paint and redecorate the master bedroom.  It needs it because we haven't touched it at all - it still has the previous owners paint job and curtains.
  • Our hall bath could use an update.  I kind of like the lemon yellow tub and potty but it does make the room a little dated!
  • We need to repaint the entire hallway and we want to replace the trim so it matches what is in the kitchen and family room.
  • We would like to rip up the carpet and refinish the hardwood floors in the living room/dining room and strip the wallpaper and repaint that room as well.
And that's just the projects we want to do inside.  Outside is another long list of expensive projects.
  • Resod the dirt patches in the front and back yards.
  • Replace the fencing around the pool.
  • Repaint the front and back porches (poured concrete that looks like brick work).
  • Replace the garage door.
  • Replace the front and back doors.
  • Re-install all of the landscape lights that Coal has ripped out in the past few months.
  • Speaking of Coal, install an underground fencing system for him so he has more space to roam and doesn't get tangled up every 5 minutes on something.
  • Repaint the pool and completely replace the faux tile around the edge.
  • Repave the driveway (It was damaged in a wicked hail storm about a year before we bought the house and is in bad shape).
And I could go on and on.  While we have alot of ideas about what we want to do, we have to be very careful about what we commit to.  Mr. Monkeygirl is a union guy and his contract expired last week.  Right now they are working under the current contract but we don't know if they will settle, go on strike, or get locked-out.  Until all that is settled, we are going to be cautious.  We have someone coming out to give us a bid on the master bath job and the doggie fence so we know what kind of money we need.  But while we are waiting on pins and needles for the contract negotiation to be settled, we aren't going to make any big moves.  Wish us luck!