Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting up to speed

The state of the bathroom
The shower is finally grouted and double-caulked, the fancy waffle-knit spa-like shower curtain (with matching liner! just like in an adult bathroom!) is hung, a few pieces of decorative crap have been attached to the walls, and from the looks of things the bathroom renovation is done:
But! There’s still no water in the sink. Because I still can’t bring myself to admit defeat over some leaky water supply hoses that can’t be replaced without epic levels of runaround from random Home Depot employees and the faucet manufacturer. So I continue to sit and stew. And then I go wash my hands in the other bathroom.

But I’ve posted reviews of the products I bought on And somewhere along the line I must have responded to a satisfaction survey from the site because this week I got an email from a representative offering me financial compensation for my frustration. Without me even asking! It’s only $75—and of course it’s in Home Depot gift cards, which are pretty worthless after I’m done spending $2,500 on the bathroom—but the fact remains that they asked and they listened and they responded. And, of course, there will always be another reason to go to Home Depot.

Speaking of gift cards …
The dramatic black-and-red-and-slightly-Southwest-inspired ceramic dishes that I’d brought into the marriage but the domestic partner had never truly loved the way he should as a stepfather had grown chipped and broken and it was about time to buy replacement pieces or scrap everything and start over.

And while I loved my dishes when I bought them for my old condo, they had a rustic heaviness that never really worked in our ultra-sleek, space-needle-like kitchen or our French-blue-exact-replica-of-Versailles-if-you-squint-and-you’ve-never-actually-been-to-Versailles dining room. Plus so many plates and bowls were cracked that we could only host dinner parties for five, assuming we could find five people who thought dramatic black-and-red-and-slightly-Southwest-inspired ceramic dishes actually looked good—chipped or not—in a French-blue-exact-replica-of-Versailles-if-you-squint-and-you’ve-never-actually-been-to-Versailles dining room.

Plus the plates were so big that they interfered with the little spinning water jet thingie mounted on the underside of our top dishwasher rack.

So we decided to pull the trigger and buy all new dishes that were small enough to fit in the dishwasher, durable enough not to get cracked by our clumsy kitchen help, and classically beautiful enough to look at home in our ultra-sleek, space-needle-like kitchen, the charming French bistro we’re opening in our living room and all the formal state dinners we host in our French-blue-exact-replica-of-Versailles-if-you-squint-and-you’ve-never-actually-been-to-Versailles dining room.

Plus! As I was digging around in our junk drawer last month for my trusty see-through ruler so I could more easily tape off the stripes I stenciled in our Art Nouveau/Art Deco old-timey apothecary-themed bathroom, I found four long-forgotten Crate&Barrel gift cards … and they were worth $160!

So I trolled through the dinnerware section of and found these reasonably sized, reasonably priced classic beauties:
And after stopping by the store to discover that I loved them in person as much as I loved them online, I placed my order Sunday night. And by last night, I had my first ceremonial peanut butter and jelly sandwich on my first reasonably sized, reasonably priced classic beauty of a salad plate:

While we had our credit cards out …
Like many vintage Chicago courtyard-building condos, ours has an impossible-to-decorate length of hallway that just cries out for some kind of drama. But I have no interest in installing vaulted ceilings or a soothing water feature. So we planned to do the next best thing: install four-way dimmers on the lights. Of course, we talked about it for four years but never did anything about it. But a couple months ago our friend Rob heard us mention it and he recommended installing spotlight bulbs as well so we could cast dramatic pools of light down our runway. And last weekend, I finally did:
Of course, no project in our condo is without its dramatic setbacks, and last Saturday night found me on the 24-hour helpline with the dimmer manufacturer trying to figure out why I couldn’t get the lights to work. Turns out—and are you ready for this?—the developer of our condo labeled the wiring wrong. I know! Crazy! And they’ve been so spot-on with all their other efforts to burn down our building. But the dude on the phone—after repeated expressions of amazement at the clusterfuck of mislabeled wires I found spurting out of my junction boxes—managed to help me figure out what went where … and how to label it all correctly for the next person who goes digging around in our walls. And now we have a dramatic hallway runway fit for a couple dramatic queens. Ahem.

It Gets Better Project
While four of the 26 tapes we made in our epic taping marathon on October 3 got edited and posted online within a week, the company that volunteered to edit everything else overestimated the availability of its resources and nothing else has been edited or posted since then. But! They’ve found me someone else who says she can finish everything for me. (Those lesbians can fix anything.) And! The Chicago Tribune ran a pretty spectacular piece on us in its prominent Page 2 location on Monday. You can read it HERE.

Brian Cory
My first job out of college—aside from waiting tables at an Italian restaurant with fabulous breadsticks and even fabulouser gilded crown moldings—was crunching marketing numbers at Telecom*USA, a now-defunct Iowa phone book publisher that was a direct descendant of the epic 1984 Ma Bell divestiture. I worked there from 1991 until I found my first advertising job in 1992, and the only people I remember from the company are two fun young newlyweds who soon moved to Nebraska and disappeared off the grid and continue to elude my periodic Google and Facebook attempts to search for any sign of them.

And apparently there was also some dude there named Brian Cory. I have no recollection of ever working with someone named Brian Cory. And since it was my first job out of college and my first step up the ladder to international fame and fortune, I certainly have no recollection of developing any level of feel-free-to-joke-with-each-other-inappropriately relationship with any coworker from that company.

And yet this Brian Cory dude recently found me on LinkedIn and sent me THIS little gem of a note to mark our first communication in almost 20 years (assuming I had any memory of him):
His Palinesque command of English honestly makes it impossible for me to tell whether he’s a douchebag homophobe or just an epic loser with the judgment and sense of humor of a nine-year-old. Either way, I can't think of anyone I haven't seen for 20 years I would address this way as my first attempt at re-initiating communication. LinkedIn doesn’t offer an option for me to flag his note to me as offensive, so I’m doing the next best thing: posting it on my blog with his name repeated in the HTML text enough times that it might rise to the top of any Google search a future employer or potential boyfriend might do of his name. Brian Cory!

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