Friday, April 21, 2017

Farewell Old Friend

My car, Henry the Ford Taurus (1990), was running perfectly on the 15th anniversary of my acquisition of him.

I picked him up from my Jersey City garage late last night, directly from Newark Airport. I cleaned out my stuff this morning. Rocks Turbo dragged up from the bottom of canyons as we drove across the US in 2002. An old Haynes manual. The peace sign air freshener my sister left in the car in...2004? 2005? My E-Z Pass. Half a wooden kookaburra keychain. Fuzzy dice.

My car was waiting on Mr. Recycler to come and take him away to be smashed into steel. People said "Why don't you give him to someone," but it's worrying to hand off a 27-year-old car. Who would trust it? Others said "Why don't you donate it?" But you can only get Blue Book value on the donation, not even enough to worry about. The rear bumper alone could be sold for twice what the car is worth. Whatever...I didn't have time to fuss around, so I sold it outright to a recycling company.

I've had this car since April 23, 2002, and I bought it because it's a Taurus and I'm a Taurus, and buying a used car is such a crapshoot, you may as well use the zodiac.

The Aussie ex and I drove this car from Torrance to the East Village, and I've had it ever since. Henry the Ford stayed in my garage while I was in Kuwait, Egypt, Australia, Uganda, and spending ten months on the bus around the world. He went tent camping all over the US and visited every campground in NJ and VA for two separate books. I'd slept in the backseat a few times when I'd gotten too tired to keep driving.

I almost called the recycling company to cancel about 20 times. My car represents eras of my life. But then I'd remind myself that NJ insurance is $150 a month, and that's money I am spending to garage my car in Jersey City even though I live in California at the moment. I'd thought I'd drive it to LA, but after 23 months of living car-free, I knew I didn't need to spend a week driving 8-10 hours a day to get the car out West.

I felt guilty as hell for recycling him, and I kept reminding myself this is a hunk of steel, not a living being. But I didn't entirely believe it.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

New Bamboo

Here are my new floors!

Getting them was crazy expensive, way beyond anything I had to pay back home just for refinishing hundred-year-old heart pine floors. If I had to do it again, I'd just go to Lumber Liquidators, get what's on sale and unlikely to last that long, and buy a table saw. How hard can it be? They can snap together if you buy the right kind.

I hired a professional off Yelp. It took me a few weeks to get there. I got an estimate from him initially and it was far too expensive, so I asked a guy working on a floor in a different unit in my complex. He was way more reasonable as he wasn't a company but rather the guy who did the actual work, but as I dug in and learned I needed to provide documentation including insurance to my HOA, and realized I couldn't take delivery of the floor personally without hiring some guys who stand near Home Depot looking for day labor, I came around to seeing the value of paying someone to run the whole thing. This isn't like when I worked at home. I can't hang around the house all day when managing a group in a deadline industry.

And the professional didn't do the work. His guys did the work. And he kept texting me "We" are doing this or that, and what he meant was "They" but I went along with it, because it seemed important to him that I believe he was somehow doing the actual work. He also asked me for a Yelp review at the end, as does everyone for everything now. I guess money isn't enough anymore.

He was incredibly keen to get paid--I can only imagine he's been stiffed in the past. Anyway, it made me nervous, like "What is he trying to hide about this floor?"

I liked the other guy a lot, but we had a communication issue. He texted me to call S&S Flooring for prices, because he couldn't speak English and I couldn't speak Spanish. That led me to a break-of-day trip to S&S Flooring on the LA side of the mountain, but that wasn't particularly promising, so I called the Valley one. The Valley one had a close-out of solid, real 5/8" bamboo (not the kind where it's on top of plywood or particle board) for $3.19 a square foot, so I jumped on that. Even the floor guy was surprised when the flooring showed up. I did real good.

Of course, I didn't really want bamboo. I'm worried about the fumes and I'd rather have proper hardwood, but a sale's a sale, and I have no plans to stay on this coast any longer than I have to, so bamboo it is.

The slate tile in the kitchen and dining area