Friday, July 30, 2010

Home DIY

If you ask me to check your oil, change your antifreeze, bleed your brakes, rotate your tires, change plugs and points (if you can still get to them), or any other car related stuff, I'm there.

Ask me to chain saw some limbs from trees, water cut tile, spread cement, build a stone retaining wall, or grow from seeds some weird plants, I'm there. But, ask me to do something in my house that takes a measuring device, level, drill, screw drivers or hammers and you may as well ask me to swim the English Channel. I'm not good at the handi-person (got to be politically correct these days-I get noise about that) house accessorizing things.

All I wanted to do was add a towel bar in my bathroom. With all the remodeling we've been doing we decided to remove our old glass shower doors and replace it with a curtain and one of those cool shower curtain rods that give you more room in the shower. They're kind of curved to pull the curtain out and around. No problem right?

Got the tools to do the job, sat down to read the directions, that made no sense at all, but knowing how inept I am at these house DYI's I figured I better take the time to read the directions. That was my first mistake.

Directions are written in pseudo English these days. Thank God someone somewhere had the foresight to add pictures... Larry got in on this one as well, so I thought we'd be good.

We followed the directions to a "T". The curtain rod rotated and looked like an elongated "U". That didn't seem right, so we started anew. This time we read the directions out loud and s-l-o-w-l-y. I put the last piece in and the rod was still looking like a "U".

We both started to laugh because we questioned the directions a few times but figured we were wrong and they were right. We were wrong....about them being right.

We finally did what was logical and the thing went up fine. We learned that we knew many words that should not be used in polite company however. Well, at least we learned something.

OK, now, because we no longer have the shower doors, we lost our towel racks and the ability to throw wet towels and other things over the top of the doors. I was getting pretty sick of the towels on the floor and over the bathtub, plus the bathroom smelled damp. It was time to do something about this problem.

The first thing I did was to buy a curtain hook, you know the kind of thing that holds curtains back to the side. I saw someone use one of those in the bathroom to hold a hand towel by the sink. This was a project I was sure I could do and I did it with little difficulty. Because I was so successful at that minor job, I thought, I'll do a towel rod. No problem.

It took me some time to find the one I wanted, but I finally found one. It's not elaborate but it had to be a certain size to fit where I needed it. At the same time I bought a couple of other hook type devices to match, figuring I could use all the hooks I could get and I was so accomplished at these hook installations, how hard could it be? Ha!!

According to the directions the job should have taken 8 minutes. Knowing what I know about myself I always multiply the figure by 20. So 20 times 8 minutes, the job should take me about 160 minutes. On top of that figure I add another 60 minutes or so to give me the time to find all the tools I'll need. Don't laugh, it's true. Every tool is in the house and someone thinks he knows where they are, but guess what? we have a gremlin that lives with us who loves to put things away in places they don't belong. The result is, we have to search. We go to the place the tool is supposed to be and start doing searches by 1 foot radius'. I've thought about using a system to square off the cellar like they do on archaeological sites to find things.

Sure enough, it took me 90 minutes to find the tools to do this 8 minute project. Again, I haven't learned lessons correctly, I sat down to read the directions. Not good.

I'm sure some Chinese people are laughing their heads off right now, knowing full well that some American is reading their convoluted directions to put up this towel rod.

I did everything according to the directions. I drilled the holes the way they asked me to. I put the little anchors into the drilled holes (the size the Chinese told me to make) and the little anchors went into the wall, through the sheet rock and down into the hinterlands of the wall...

My vocabulary is now peppered with expletives that I won't repeat here. Suffice to say I was pissed. Luckily I have an assortment of different kinds of anchor and mollie bolts so the wall was saved from my foot being slammed through it.

After some other feeble attempts at using the directions, I threw them away and put the damned thing up. It's not perfect, but then what is?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Social networks

I belong to one of the many social networks. I added myself to this network because many of my friends and family were already on one and I thought it would be cool to be in the "in crowd' for a change. You can see from those words how old I am. I don't think the "in crowd" is used any longer, but I still use it on occasion.

What I didn't realize about social networks is how many people lead boring lives. I thought everyone's life was full of fun and activity. Now, I find out they're just as boring as I am at times. For that matter, I think my life is more adventurous than many of the folks on the social network.

OK, it's nice to see some of the pictures of people and the things they're doing, but it's not much better than seeing pictures of someone else's vacation. And, who are all those people in the photos? Do I know them? Of course not. They're people that other folks on the social network know, not me. So I just click through some and go on my merry way.

However, once in a while, in the private lives of others, I see something that makes me smile . I think they forget that everyone is reading their viewpoints and little mini life tales. I've been guilty of it myself. I forget at times that I'm writing things to the world and not just to the friend I thought I was writing to.

My young friends and family definitely forget that everyone is reading their tales. I'm sure they wouldn't volunteer some of the things they talk about with their elders and certainly not their parents. Even when they use text-talk, I get it....and I bet their parents do too. It's funny to read some of the musings of the kids. Kids never change. All their pet peeves have been the pet peeves through the ages.

I venture to guess in ??BCE there was a kid complaining that he/she didn't have the freedom they wanted and their parents didn't understand them...That, of course, is assuming they had time to think about anything other than where to get food, sleep and shelter.

I used to think old folks were nuts complaining about the state of the youth of today, but now I understand. I'm one of those old geezers and I can see why the aged look at the youth and shake their heads. In my day (gees, I really am old) our concerns were the same but we didn't have the opportunities these kids have to get into more trouble. Most of us didn't have the access to vehicles that these young people have today, so we didn't have the vehicle accidents as these kids have. If you were a girl, our big worry was "SEX". You knew if you had "SEX" your life as you knew it would be gone.

  • Your reputation would be "ruined". "Ruined!!" I say, irreparable damage for LIFE.
  • You'd, for sure, get "pg'd" (that's the "text" term in those days for (whispered) pregnant..ooooo.....
  • When you got preggers, no one would talk to you. You think the Amish can shun...let me tell you, 60's high school kids could shun the Amish to shame. The girls were a nonentity if someone knew you were pregnant. Usually the pregnant girls had to go "away". Funny thing though, the boy that made the girl pregnant went on with his life as a hero.
  • If "it" happened many of the girls I knew dropped out of school, never to return and I never saw them again. Of course the boys kept on living their lives....
  • If the girl kept the baby, her life was over, period. She lived with her relatives pretty much in isolation. The parents of her old friends wouldn't let them see her. For some reason the girl was now tainted for life as a result of something that took two to do.

Yes, our lives were different than the kids I see today. I'm not in support of unrestricted sex, or unwed parenting, mainly because it takes more than on to make the baby and it should be more than one that raises the baby. I do like the way having a baby in high school is looked at differently. Let me qualify that statement. You hope that kids don't get pregnant in high school today, but they do, at least today the girl is not ostracized and shunned like in my day. There are programs and support available for the girl and she doesn't have to feel alone and "dirty" like the girls did when I was in high school.

Kids grow up too fast these days and that I don't like. It's fun to be a kid and do stupid things that you look back on and laugh. As long as you're not hurting yourself or others, what's the big deal? Why sweat the small stuff, there's plenty of time in your life to worry about things which you have no control over. Have a good time.

I wish I could go back and tell myself that. I had a great childhood, but I would have had a better one if I hadn't been so worried about the way someone else thought. What right did I have to question what was in someone else's head? Those were the thoughts of others, not mine. What a wasted of valuable time.....I could have been doing something stupid and having fun with the time I wasted...Oh well, I'll make up for it now. I can too, because now I'm old and if I do something stupid younger people just look and think, "well, what do you expect, she' s just an old geezer"....You know what, I'm not any different than when I was a kid....I'm still thinking about other peoples thoughts...It's none of MY damned business...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Decadent Salaries

Can someone please tell me how you can justify giving a CEO of a company multiple millions of dollars annually while laying off the workers of said company? I don't get it.

This was a story in the newspaper today regarding a not for profit hospital and the fact they were laying off nurses, but the CEO still received his multimillion dollar salary for that year. I read the article twice because I couldn't get over the fact that author of the article wrote it with such nonchalance.

If the CEO left the employ of that hospital I think it would run very well, but if all the nurses left the hospital would have to close their tents (and to be honest, some of the rooms in that hospital are not much better than fact some of the newer tents I've seen rival some good hotel rooms I've seen lately, so maybe the hospital should look into the cost cutting venture of buying the newer

The article got me thinking, (a dangerous thing these days...I'm getting older and far more cynical than ever) what if all the upper management of these companies were to make a pledge together that they would not skim off the top of these companies? I know, it wouldn't happen until Hell froze over, but let's just speculate. I wonder how the companies would fair? Some people will think, if the execs aren't given their perks and wages they've come to expect they will work less. That's a joke, I don't think they work all that much now. I understand the need for supervision, but not for 7 layers of supervisors. All of them make far more than the ones they're supervising. Ok I'll accept that they should get more because they're shouldering more responsibility, but is that really true? Take for example a chemist in a pharmaceutical company.

That chemist has to be precise in his/her measurements for safety of all concerned with that drug. The responsibility for him is huge. If he puts the wrong chemicals together a life could be lost or changed drastically forever. Doesn't it seem that he should be paid more than someone who doesn't have that responsibility on them like the upper management.

I know there has to be management, I get it. But I don't think it needs to be paid into the stratosphere.

I have a friend who makes tons of money. His bonus's are more than twice my annual income. He has a job that makes money for a company and he's compensated by percentage of the money he brings into the company. He's been lucky, (and honestly it is luck for some to be in the positions of great wealth, not much else) and he' s made a nice niche for himself. I don't begrudge him at all, but I wonder if it's justified he makes all this money while some of the administrative assistants he works with are losing their jobs because the companies profit margins weren't as great as they had been in the past?

There is a great disparity of wealth in this country and I think it's going to be the downfall of us all. Where I live is pretty insulated from the poor and starving, but I have eyes and ears, I can see things happening around me and I find it disturbing, to say the least. Life isn't fair, ok, I get it, but for some it's more unfair than for others. I know some folks could pull themselves up by the boot straps and change their lot in life, but sometimes when you're constantly being beaten down, it's kind of hard to find those boot straps...I think they need some help, for a time....