It is 4:17 AM on Sunday December 3rd, 2017.
Yesterday was a very busy day. After writing my previous post I was getting ready for karate class when I received a call from my neighbor Steve! It turns out my fears were unfounded about the fence because I got to talk to him (as opposed to the wife) and as I had thought the discussions went beautifully. Maybe I’m getting old and cranky but often times it is just better to talk to the man when something needs to be solved. It is not politically correct to say but women often bring in drama, emotion and a whole host of other unneeded variables. Guys can just talk and get it done especially when it comes to home repair, cars and generally other ‘manly’ pursuits, political correctness be damned.
He said I could talk to the contractor directly and that we weren’t bound to him and could receive other quotes if needed. This was perfect because the contractor is Mexican and I could use Spanish to break down any walls and create a ‘closer relationship.’ The main advantage however was that I’d had a fence built on the other side just last year and so knew how much it would cost. I had all the notes, diagrams, and even check images for what I had paid. I showed all of this to the contractor because I know we got a good deal on the other fence and could use it as leverage to bring the cost down.
I immediately got the price reduced $400 but wasn’t ready to commit. My stalling tactic was to say we had to speak with the wives which is actually true but serves as a way to buy some time. I asked him to give us a good price and his offer to reduce $400 wasn’t good enough in my opinion. So, we’ll ‘talk to the wives’ (which again is true) but I’ll also just do the math. I’ll calculate the total cost (materials plus labor) per foot of my current fence and then apply it to the shorter length of the fence I’m looking to build. One year has passed and I’m assuming the cost of redwood has gone up over the past year (can easily verify) but I’m expecting/hoping the calculations will come out to me only having to pay around $1,700 instead of the $2,200 initially proposed. I’ll show the contractor the math and even if he counters a little higher than my calculation I think I’ll be comfortable with that.
Doing it this way makes me much happier than someone just telling me the cost is more for a shorter fence than it was for my much longer fence I’ve already built!
In other home improvement news we *finally* got a proper T.V. stand in the corner which makes the room look so much nicer. For seven years we’ve lived with the TV just sitting on a small, cheap bench with a child gate around the whole thing. The DVD player was on the floor and everything was extremely dusty. Now, the TV and all its peripherals sit beautifully organized on/in a dust free T.V. stand.
So more about my day yesterday. I was getting ready for karate and Steve called. I went out to meet him and we had our fabulous discussion but made me think I might be late for karate. I left 15 minutes later than I usually do but I still had plenty of time.
In karate we practiced the many Shuto Uchi strikes, did chusoku mawashi geri which I really don’t like. I know I have to practice and learn but I don’t like using the chusoku for a roundhouse. Then I had to fight Senpai Ronny, and then James twice.
I came back home and got my documentation about the fence ready. I really wanted to find my check images so I could know for sure how much I had paid but Bank of America only lets you search for the past 18 months. It took me a minute to figure out that old statements go back many years and they have the check images in them so I just checked the statements from around the time we built the fence and sure enough they were in there. This offered solid proof to how much my previous fence had cost and can’t really be disputed because the evidence is plain to see in those check images.
As I was wrapping up the documentation I got the call from Steve who was with the contractor Raul. Perfect timing! So we had our chat and it went well.
Next it was time to hit the back yard wilds (past the fence) into that jungle to continue trying to clean things up a bit. Then I was in the mood to continue the outdoor activities so went around front and trimmed and weeded the garden. I did that for an hour or so then the wife asked if we could set up the TV stand which had arrived. I obliged and it really was an easy setup. It was the, dusting, unplugging and plugging in of the many wires that took a long time! I had to deal with: DVD player, all its proprietary speaker wires, Apple TV, Comcast encryption box, Japanese DVD, and Genesis Flashback. It doesn’t sound like a lot but cleaning everything, wrapping extra wire with twisty ties and trying to make everything fit back together in an orderly fashion took a moment or two.
Writing the list above I thought I should give special attention to the Sega Genesis Flashback HD! I had not planned on buying this nor even knew it existed. I knew the Nintendo Classic gaming console was a thing but I was a Sega kid. My son had convinced me to pop into the Game Stop and walking through this caught my eye. The Sega Genesis was perhaps my most beloved toy/thing/item when I was a kid and I spent hours playing it. I loved my Genesis and there are very few things in adulthood (if any!) which bring back the same type of joy as this revolution in gaming did back around 1990. To go from the little squares and lines in Atari to Sega to the almost arcade like Genesis was two fantastic leaps in gaming/entertainment. These were then followed by mobile gaming with the Nintendo Gameboy and Sega Game gear. Then came the PC with AOL and here we are today without any similar amazing leaps in tech. Yes the games now look like movies but I’d say the leap from Atari to Genesis to AOL was so dramatic that the only thing comparable today would be from PC/TV to Virtual Reality. Now that is really something.
The only problem for me with VR at the moment is I can barely get past 15 minutes of use before my phone needs to cool down. This isn’t enough time to really get into it. Plus the software takes massive amounts of valuable space on my phone!
But back to the Genesis Flashback, I bought it out of nostalgia even though I already have all the old Genesis games on my computer along with the emulator. But to have something that actually looks like the old console and be able to play it on the TV with my son, I thought the $70 well spent. Now I need to ask my Mom if I still have the old games with I’m 90% sure we do not. I’ve gone through my parents house top to bottom looking for relics of my childhood and I think I’ve discovered everything there is to discover. I know she gave those games away and that makes me a little sad. I can only hope they brought some joy to someone somewhere.
The time is now 4:58 AM. I need to write another entry in the family blog and then perhaps get a workout in. This is the good thing about waking up at 2:30 AM: you can get as much done as most do in an entire day before everyone even wakes up! Plus it is very peaceful sitting her in my Lazy-Boy with the holiday fireplace playing soft ‘snow falling chimes.’ I only wish we could actually have some snow for the holidays. That is one thing I really miss about the midwest (and childhood). There is something magical about freshly fallen snow and the cold chill around Christmas. It just doesn’t seem “Christmasy” enough here in California. These poor children will never experience the absolute euphoria of a snow day when school is abruptly cancelled.
You wake up, know it is damn cold outside, look out the window and see everything covered in white. You run downstairs where Mom has the radio on and the announcer is going through a list of school closures. You pray to God, the universe, to the seven deities, Brahma, whoever, to please, please, please, have the announcer say the name of your school amongst the list of schools closed! If you do not hear your school then you’re absolutely devastated; if you do hear your school then it might possibly be the best day so far in your young life.
But days like these do not exist here in California. Our only option is to hike it up to the High Sierras / Lake Tahoe for the snow and to help us get into the Christmas mood.