4.30.2013

Dear RugsUSA.com: You Suck

If you're friends with us on Facebook you'll know that I went on a bitchy little rant Friday afternoon. You see, we still don't have a rug in our bedroom


You might remember from this post that we lost our rug due to a little mold issue. It sucked, and was not fun, but we dealt with it. We cleaned our mattress REALLY well and for the time being while we're still working on other projects and have yet to build our platform bed we bought two pieces of sheet insulation so that our warm mattress does not sit on the cold floor.

We'll need another rug for our bedroom so over Easter weekend I bought this one on RugsUSA.com

Rugs USA Homespun Randa Mustard Rug

Yes, I bought that rug on Easter weekend. As a matter of fact, according to my order history, I bought that rug at 7:19 pm on Saturday 3/30. RugsUSA says it takes 7-10 business days to process an order (which is a little ridiculous, but hey, the rug was 80% off, so I can't complain). I got an email on 4/13 that they had finally shipped it. The full 10 days, but, eh, whatever.

The following Thursday night on 4/18 Chris and I were hanging out watching some TV talking about how it was weird that the rug still wasn't here. The time felt  longer because it took so long to actually process the order, but even still, in the past once the rug had shipped we usually didn't have to wait that long. I checked online and this is what their website said


According to their website it had shipped, so I clicked the UPS tracker to see where it actually was. This is what their site said


Um, voided information? What the hell does that mean?

I called RugsUSA on Friday 4/19 in the morning. I waited on hold, gave the chick my order info and explained that their website said my order had shipped but UPS tracking has a voided label and asked what that meant. Not surprisingly the employee had no idea and gave a this brilliant answer, "It says 'voided information received' in our system [no shit sherlock, that's what I just told you], I'll have to contact our warehouse manager to see if they know where it is. You should hear back from us in 24-48 hours." I asked, "So I'll hear from you by Tuesday morning?" She confirmed that timeline and I hung up.

I wasn't surprised that I didn't get a phone call, so I called back Wednesday morning and had nearly the exact same conversation with another employee. When she said she'd ask the warehouse manager and get back to me in "24-48 hours" I said, "You see, I have a problem with that because that's what you said last time and no one got back to me. I'd really not prefer to continue to have to call your company every 2-3 days because no one calls me back and I get the same answer every time." Of course they say that they'll "get their supervisor right on it," which I'm sure is horseshit, they just say it to appease the customer. Nevertheless, I said ok and hung up.

No phone call.

So I call back Friday afternoon before work and have the same conversation for a third time. But this time, I'm a bitch. When the lady says she'll contact the warehouse manager and get back to me in "24-48 hours" I said, "No, I'm not getting off the phone until you give me an answer because this is the 3rd phone call I've had to make in 8 days because no one calls me back. Either you find out where my rug is, or I'm cancelling my order right now." I don't like being a bitch, but it's really frustrating that when you're nice and polite, companies don't seem to care. I didn't get an answer until I yelled at the poor lady on the phone (and really, it's not her fault her company is so stupid).

I got put on hold for 5 minutes and she came back and said the warehouse manager was busy and she would call me back as soon as she got a hold of him. To which I said, "No, I'm staying on the phone and I'm getting an answer now, or you can cancel my order." I got put on hold again and the warehouse manager was on the line in less than a minute. Clearly this is an example that you CAN actually give me information, so why didn't you do it at all during the previous 8 days?

Wanna know the problem? They sold me a rug they didn't actually have. Well, you're a fucking moron. I found this hilarious and actually laughed when she told me, which totally threw her off. I asked her, "So, if I didn't call 3 times in the past 8 days, would I just never have gotten a rug because no one ever contacted me that you didn't have it, but you did take my money?" I of course got no answer, but she did try to sell me the rug in a smaller size. Seriously? Your company sold me something you didn't have, made me call 3 times in 8 days because you can't actually find out what happened to it, didn't apologize for the inconvenience and then try to sell me something else?

I said, "No, I won't be buying another item from your site and you can cancel my order right now." She put a request for cancellation in and I angrily hung up on her. Then I got this hilarious email Saturday morning


Oh really? Sure, I'll review this rug. Oh, wait, I'm sorry, I don't have this rug.

Naturally (because I'm a bitch) I clicked the "click here to email us directly" button on the bottom of the email and wrote them a nasty synopsis of the headache and asked if I could get my money back instead of a request for a review of a rug I never actually got. Customer service confirmed the request for refund and told me it should post to our bank account in 3-7 days. Stupid.

So there ends my RugsUSA saga. Sorry to be a whiny bitch. But thanks to you wonderful Facebook friends I got some great suggestions of other sites to find awesome, cheap rugs at (because they are so damn expensive). And if anyone else has any sites or stores you love to buy your rugs at, let the suggestions continue!

4.29.2013

Weeding, Planting, Transplanting

The thing we neglect most in this house (besides cleaning...) are our yards. That was a big reason why when we landscaped the front our first rule to my step mom was LOW MAINTENANCE. I very much like the fact that I only have to spend 15-30 minutes in the front yard every 2-3 weeks weeding and trimming things down. The backyard pretty much gets no love though and is usually over grown with weeds. I routinely need to "mow" the lawn by weed whacking it every 6 months. Yup, that's about how long I go between tending to it. I know, I told you we neglect it.

And here's a great example: the side of our house


See, completely overgrown. Luckily because there's not much sunlight here the soil is never completely dried out so the weeds come up pretty easily. I spent about 45 minutes and got it yanked out pretty well. Not completely, but good enough


Plus, it was hot as hell when I decided to tackle the project and bending over and weeding everything repeatedly was making my pregnant self pretty tired. Add in allergy fun and I wasn't too broken up about the fact that it wasn't perfect. I still need to weed this area


But our green container was completely full so I was glad I could be lazy and save it for another time :)

Now that it's full on Spring and only one month till Summer I decided it was time to plant something in our mosaic planters in the front yard as well


Doesn't the front look so inviting with dead plants inside the planters? Gerbera daisies are my favorite flower (they're just so damn cheerful and happy looking) and HD had some on sale, so I set about filling our mosaic planters with them



So much happier, right?

Then there was some moving around and transplanting in our front yard. Things are really coming in amazingly well and it's crazy to be able to tell how much larger so many of the plants are already only 1 year after we planted things. But, there are some things that have not fared so well, so I wanted to switch things around a bit. For instance, hello dead Mexican Heather



My dad kept trying to tell me that these were going to come back. But I was not convinced. Especially because the plant tag said annual and well, they looked really dead. So it was time to rip those out.

The one over by the Coral Bark Maple got replaced by a Lily of the Nile that has been sitting in a container for the last year that we didn't use when we planted the front yard last summer. Pretty handy for keeping that around


The Lily of the Niles on the other side of the yard are very happy


So hopefully the one I just planted gets happy too.

In addition, the Arizona Sun Blanket Flower looked really pretty when it first bloomed last year, but it's starting to look really ratty



And another one just up and decided to die. A Penstemon on the top of the mound next to the dwarf maple decided to die as well, so I decided to replant something there too. While getting the daisies at HD I picked up some Garden Pink Coconut Surprise to replace the Arizona Sun Blanket Flowers in the front


And a Pincushion Flower Pink Mist to replace the Penstemon on the mound


The Arizona Sun Blanket came out really easy


And the Garden Pinks got popped in.

The last item on the to do list was splitting the Coreopsis and transplanting them. They've done super well


Because they're so big I decided to split one of them and plant it over on the other side of the yard where the Mexican Heather had died. I was totally freaked out, so I read and re-read how to split them to make sure I did it correctly. I decided to do the middle one


But, uh, they didn't look super happy with me when I split them and planted them back in the ground


Droopy MrDrooperson. I planted them with some phospherous as many of the instructions said, but still, they don't look very pleased with me


And the one that got split off? It's similarly not pleased


I've read that this may happen, so hopefully after they have a couple days with good watering they perk up. Fingers crossed!

I didn't plant anything in the Arizona Sun Blanket's place on the bottom of the mound


If the Coreopsis split goes well, next year I may split another one and plant it a little further down the mound in this nice open spot


Depression about the Coreopsis aside, the yard is looking pretty awesome as Spring rolls along


It's so full and happy



Now here's to hoping the Coreopsis perks up and gets happy again...

4.26.2013

Happy 8 Year Anniversary

Today is our 8 year anniversary, yay! I thought I'd shake things up a bit today and instead of a regular ol' house project post I'd do 8 silly facts about our nearly decade long relationship. If that's not your bag baby, feel free to skip out on this one.

1. Chris and I are 6+ years apart

6-25-05 006.jpg

We started dating when I was 19 and he was 25. He's a lot smarter and funnier than me, but I can always make fun of him for being older. I like having that one in my back pocket :)

2. We met when Chris interviewed me for a job

Yup, I walked in for an interview at Tower Records and Chris was one of the managers there. The interview went well (I got the job) but I was equally as excited about the super hot manager as I was about getting to work at a record store. When I called my mom after my interview she asked how it went and I said, "It went well, but oh my god one of the managers is SO CUTE." Alas, Chris had a girlfriend at the time so we just became friends. I liked to pester him and be annoying and many months later after he and his girlfriend broke up and we had become good friends, well...

3. I asked him out first

Really to anyone who knows us, I'm sure that comes as no surprise. I'm pushy and loud and Chris is quiet and reserved. I had extra tickets to an A's game and I asked if he wanted to go with me. He thought we were just going as friends because he didn't know how desperately in love with him I was :) Seriously, I was. But after that game we started hanging out nearly every day after work together and soon we found ourselves as boyfriend and girlfriend.

4. For the first 2 years of our relationship we lived apart 1/2 the time

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2 months after we started dating I picked up and moved to TX. I wasn't happy with the college I was at (UC Davis) and my dad had been transferred to Austin for work when I was in high school and I decided to head out there for a change of pace. After living there for 6 months Chris quit his job, helped his grandma in LA for a bit and then came out to live with me. After several months, we were both not happy in Austin so we packed up and came back to CA. Then Chris got an internship with the National Park Service and lived in Ohio for a winter and then went to live on a glacier for a month to help his friend who was getting his PhD do some fancy experiments :) After that we finally settled down in Oakland together.

5. We once lived in a car for 3 months together

IMG_0420.jpg - Austin, about to leave

(hello completely unflattering picture of both of us...)

As true sports lovers we went on a road trip across the US (and Canada) and visited every major league baseball park and saw a game at 28 of them. We did it on our way back to CA from TX, just a really long detour :) It was seriously the trip of a lifetime and it goes down as a top 5 life experience for me. It was so amazing. Chris and I are at our best on adventures and I had so much fun exploring and sharing all of the amazing experiences with him. The trip took a while (11 weeks to be exact), so to save money we basically lived in the car the whole time, staying at a hotel only every 3 or so nights. Friends were awesome and offered up the homes of siblings, parents and family friends for us to stay with along the way. It was a great adventure and you really learn a lot when you sleep in the back of a car with someone for 49 out of 77 days of a road trip

6. We've started a small business together

It's no secret that Chris knows a lot of stuff when it comes to home repair, so last year we decided to do something about it: we started a small handyman, organizing and design business. It was very slow going at first (we profited only about $1000 last year), but with 4 other jobs between us, we're already very busy. This year it's been going pretty well so far and since putting ourselves on Yelp we've actually started working for complete strangers who have found us online. Combined with getting work from friends, and friends of friends and friends of friends of friends we've already done better this year than last, which is pretty cool. This weekend for instance we're building a deck/front stairs at someone's house and I'm designing a full closet re-organization for them as well. Chris and I really like working together and I think it's really beneficial having a design/organizing person and handyman built into the same team. The nice thing about having other jobs is that we can dip our feet into this adventure without any financial sacrifice: if it works, that's awesome (and we would love for it to), but if it doesn't we still have financial security and stability with our "real jobs."

7. We own Packers stock despite being 49ers fans


Don't tell my grandpa and dad, cover your ears: I actually like the 9ers more than the Raiders. The Raiders (at least in my memory) have just been a complete mess and I can't get behind the whole thug mentality. Chris loves the 9ers and we watch a ton of their games, so it's sorta just seeped in. The Packers and 9ers had a rivalry in the 90s and many 9ers fans around here don't like the Packers. But when we visited Lambeau Field on our baseball road trip we were totally won over. It's just so cool that it's a publicly owned company and that the team is such a part of people's lives and the community. I mean, people pass down their season tickets in their will! How cool is that? You may think that's crazy, but as a sports loving nut, I think it's awesome. In fact, hey dad, your season tickets at the A's are really good, are you leaving those to me? :)

8. We loooooove road trips


I think Chris and I are at our best when we're on trips together. I just have so much damn fun with that guy. I even just like car rides with him. The other night I convinced him to drive 25 minutes to the nearest Dairy Queen (despite MANY ice cream places closer) just because I like car rides with him. But road trips specifically are the best. We get to discover things, listen to lots of good music, talk about all sorts of stuff, learn with each other - it's just the best. There is something about sharing an adventure with a person who I just really like a lot that makes it so much fun. I wish we could be professional road trippers. We're really good at it by now: we're excellent packers, good at taking trips on a budget and despite my constant need for planning, on road trips I'm much more spontaneous. It's not strange for us to decide on a whim to drive across Ohio to visit the Christmas Story house only hours before our flight home (that was a close one...) I can't wait to take Cashew on road trips too. I hope she loves them just as much as her mom and dad.

So there you have it, 8 silly facts about our 8 year old relationship. I am of course a bad girlfriend and have work at the A's tonight (and last night) so we can't celebrate, but I'll make sure to give him a big fat smooch before he leaves for work :) Love ya Christopher!

4.25.2013

The Annual Veggie Garden Redo

Every Spring the veggie gardens get a redo. I wasn't too excited for it this year because my allergies have been seriously kicking my ass, but yesterday they weren't nearly as bothersome as they've been the past several days, so I ran out and planted as fast as I could before the sneezing fits started. I had a good haul to work with


The banana of course is not for planting. It was tasty though.

First up was veggie garden 2.0


The beans and peas were still holding on strong, but it was time to take out the potatoes. We've had pretty good luck planting those guys so I was excited to see what we came up with this year


I started pulling them out (after I broke the first bowl to put them in, hello broken blue glass) and was pleasantly surprised by the lot I came up with


And after digging around a bit I came up with a few more for a good, full bowl of super tasty potatoes


Then it was time to plant things. For veggie garden 2.0 I decided to plant some more beans and peas as well as 2 green peppers and 2 watermelons


This veggie garden gets a really good amount of sun, so we shall see how they do


Apparently I took no photo of veggie garden 2.0 after it was all planted and watered after I finished it yesterday afternoon, and I'm currently still in my sweatpants so that's not happening right now...you'll have to imagine what the happy little planted food looks like :)

Next up, the original veggie garden that Chris' mom helped us build just months after moving into this house 4 years ago. It was not looking so hot several weeks ago when I snapped this pic


So I weeded this past weekend in anticipation of planting


Much better.

For this veggie garden I went with 3 different tomato plants (we seem to have pretty good luck with tomatoes), 2 squash and carrots and onions


When I was reading the back of the carrot seeds it said they liked cool weather, but we've apparently always accidentally planted them in the Spring and had pretty good luck, so I figured I might as well try again. I laid everything out


And then popped them all in the ground and gave it a good watering


I was glad to get this checked off my list before Cashew comes. We've been so busy the last couple of weeks I was afraid it was going to slide off the list and if we didn't do it now it certainly wasn't going to get done till later in the summer when we've got a better handle on how to take care of our child :) But now I'm excited about the tasty things that will grow and we can eat :)

4.24.2013

Earthquake Retrofit

When we first had our home's foundation inspected the engineer said that the foundation itself was in good shape, but that he recommended we give the crawlspace an earthquake retrofit according to Plan Set A.


Plan Set A is a standardized set of engineered plans for how to attach the foundation to the cripple wall and the cripple wall to floor. What you're trying to do is avoid all of the following: the cripple wall racking and collapsing. The cripple wall falling off of the foundation. The floor separating from the cripple wall.

In order to accomplish all this Plan Set A prescribes the following: additional foundation bolts, strengthening the cripple walls by skinning them with plywood, attaching floor joists to cripple wall.



Of course this is all simple enough to do, but it's made more difficult when you're under the house working around existing electrical and plumbing.



We ended up getting 4 volunteers to help us out with our project (Meryl's dad and 3 of our friends). This turned out to be about the perfect number of people. The process basically was to measure, cut, and install new PT blocking at the bottom of some stud bays, drill holes in this blocking and the sill below to install a new foundation bolt, install the bolt, measure, cut and install plywood shear panels, and install L brackets to attach the cripple wall to the end joists.




Later on I will drill 3" holes in each stud bay to allow the cripple wall to breathe a bit.

We've still got a bit more work to do before the project is completely done, but with Cashew's arrival soon, we'll hold off on completing the rest till the summer.