Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Renegade Renovations


When the President of the United States calls you on the phone, you damn well listen...

"Stilt? Don. With all of this Russia crap, and let me tell you it IS crap, because I've seen some very, very bad crap in my day and this crap is much, much worse. Much much. It's crap! Where was I?"

"Russian crap."

"Right - the stupid lying fake news media is using it to bury my agenda. I can't get my big ideas out there. Spicer was a great guy, great guy, but he wasn't getting it done. So he's over. Back to the minors."

"How can I help?"

"I want to draw attention to one American family being made great again, as they hire American laborers to completely rebuild their humble and outdated middle-class home and make it great again! Even MSNBC will eat it up! It's all about the pictures. And Stilt - I want those to be pictures of you."

"Me, Mr. President?! But why?"

"Many, many good reasons. You don't look like a rich guy, you look like a schlub. But a hot wife. Very hot. Too good for you, frankly. And people love that whole dynamic. "What the hell has he got that we don't know about?" they'll ask themselves. And then there's your crumbling house. When was the last time you remodeled it?"

"30 years ago."

"Perfect. We'll say Carter broke your heart and you haven't recovered your confidence till now. Been a mental wreck. When people see your picture they'll buy it. Totally. Totally."

"So, uh, what do you want me to do?"

"You'll be the new focus of "Make An American House Great Again." You'll share every detail of upgrading your sad little home while energizing the economy with seemingly endless construction bills."

"But...this will cost tens of thousands of dollars, Mr. President! Where will I get that kind of money?!"

"I'm pretty sure you've got that money in your Russian bank account if you know what I mean. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge. So will you do it, Stilt? For Me, for Melania, and for America?"

"Of course, Mr. President. I'll get right on it."

"And as a little thank you, none of your readers will ever get audited again. But that's way off the books. Hush-hush stuff. Loose lips sink ships. Zip it. Ix-nay. Turn the lock and throw away the key."

"Understood. I won't let you down, Mr. President."

"You never have, Stilt. God bless you, you never have."

=======

And that's why things here at Stilton's Place may be a bit wacky for the next couple of months.  We're doing a major renovation of the interior of our home which begins with demolition and then goes downhill from there. Floors, walls, plumbing, and more - every bit of which will pour money into the hands of local laborers who can then feed their families, buy expensive cars, and otherwise energize the economy more efficiently than the mega-billions Obama wasted on his "shovel ready" jobs scam.

Although we embrace our patriotic duty, we're not really looking forward to the process - which will apparently involve weeks of living out of boxes, moving every lick of furniture out of our house, going without the Internet or television for extended periods, and a complete loss of both peace and privacy until about October.

We'll do our best to keep the usual Monday, Wednesday, Friday updates flowing - though it's safe to assume that we're in for some bumpy weeks. But it's all about making America strong and prosperous again - something you can all celebrate.

Especially since YOU won't be getting the bills.      -Stilt



We expect a lot of this to be going on...

35 comments:

Mike aka Proof said...

Well..you can't say no to the President, can you?? Good luck with the construction!

REM1875 said...

OH Nice going Doc - now I got to hide "Stilton's Place" from Mrs Rm before she gets any dangerous ideas. I will have to be reading these in a dark secure place where Mrs Rem never goes (near the dishwasher by the trash can) Nice going Doc - thanks a million (hopefully much less)

Skip said...

Shit, I did a a total and then caught a plane.
Nightly phone calls were..interesting.
"I'm washing dishes in the motorhome..I'm bathing the girls in the kitchen, the contractor says our cabinets won't fit, 'cause the walls aren't right, when are you getting your ass home?".
Got the shirt Stilt.

Major Flatus (Ret) said...

October? Yeah, right .

Alan said...

Don't expect it to be done on time, on budget, the way you wanted it, or better than before and you won't be disappointed.

Judi King said...

Best of luck to you and your wife. I hope it turns out beautifully.

John the Econ said...

Envy, not. Good think you've got Johnny Optimism around. But as you say, it will provide more economic stimulus that Obama did. Plus you get a remodeled house in return, which is far more than you can say for the money you paid for Obama's stimulus.

Good luck.

joe jetson said...

This past Spring, I was informed we would be removing the carpet and installing "a new hardwood floor". That was several $1000 ago for flooring, new Trim, must have new Light Fixture$$$, new paint, new kitchen Appliance$$$ ...

Geoff King said...

A complete home remodel should only take 2 weeks. Just ask the Shirk Brothers in Tom Hank's "The Money Pit".

https://youtu.be/dO9nxRjIv2A

Roger Myers said...

Been there-done that, paper plates and plastic utensils. One coffee cup and one wine glass. I'm sure it will turn out great and will be the biggest, most beautiful remodeling project ever built. MAGA

Edinupstateny said...

Just wait until Mrs. Stilt gets fully involved.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZwOGVWqHAw

Emmentaler "The Enduring" Limburger said...

Is it bad that, as I read Trump's lines, the voice seemed to mutate to that of Christopher Walken?

We did a major addition on our house via contractor back in '03. STILL fixing those @$$holes' "quality work". Bid name, Michigan construction company. Every worker that came in was imported from either eastern Europe or Mexico, except the plumber, who must have missed a few AA meetings, the electrician, who wasn't too bad, and the HVAC guy who also wasn't too bad. YUGE strain on the old marriage! Absolutely YUUUUUGE. But we made it. So, here's to MaSHGA! May your sanity and marriage be intact when you come out on the other side!

Emmentaler "Wish I Proofread That" Limburger said...

(bid=big)

Sue said...

Love Mr. Blandings and his dream house! Good luck and don't let Donald down!

Fred Ciampi said...

Every time wifey wants to remodel I remind her that it would be less expensive to just buy a new house. We actually did that once. The builder was a joke. 'Nuff said. Trying to find a hard working and honest contractor is akin to finding a hard working and honest politician. Neither exist in this world.

TrickyRicky said...

Yikes! I still have nightmares about our Big Remodel, five or so years ago. Eventually turned out pretty well, but aside from a new roof just over the horizon, I hope to go toes up before ever undertaking another home project. That said, good luck, and may the results be pleasing to the Jarlsberg clan. When dealing with the hired help, remember that you are the BIG CHEESE!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Mike aka Proof- I like to think we'll be celebrating the "Blueprints Matter" movement.

@REM1875- Give it time; I'm sure this will become a cautionary tale which might even scare Mrs Rm...

@Skip- I'd like to catch a plane, but I have nowhere to hide. Besides, think of the rich source of anecdotes I'd be missing for this blog.

@Major Flatus (Ret)- Ouch. Now THAT one left a mark.

@Alan- I think I need a hug.

@TrickyRicky- Invoking my "Johnny Optimism" outlook, I see the upside of this as "well, I'll never have to do THAT again before dying!" And as far as invoking my BIG CHEESE status with the wrecking crew, I should get my ass to an assertiveness training class ASAP. Currently, I'm more Casper Milquetoast than Terminator.

@Judi King- I had to laugh at the sunny optimism of a female opinion here! Thanks, Judi!

@John the Econ- I'm actually only barely kidding about my "energizing the economy" strategy. I've greedily "hoarded" my money to protect my family from fate's surprises, but there are many on the left who consider such "freezing" of assets to be unAmerican. If I'm doing my Keynesian math right (unless that's an oxymoron), I figure there will be millions in downstream spending based on my noble sacrifice.

@Joe Jetson- I refered to this as the "throw pillow" domino effect. First you get a throw pillow. Then you need the sofa to match. But then the carpets don't look right. After which the walls and furniture don't look right. And on and on until you're out of money.

@Geoff King- I need to watch "Mr. Blandings" and "The Money Pit" while I can still (barely) laugh.

@Roger Myers- It's the 50-foot backyard fence that's really going to make this project stand out.

@Edinupstateny- Oh, she's already fully involved, which is a good thing because A) I can't sort things, B) I can't make design choices, and C) I plan to stay liquored up as much as possible.

@Emmentaler "The Enduring" Limburger- We're using a contractor that a lot of other folks have used in our neck of the woods, theoretically with good results. Although even SHE (the contractor) warns that this will be an unpleasant process and that some things will go wrong and "before we're done, there will be times you'll wish you'd never started this." Hey, at least she's not sugar-coating things. I do not, however, expect this to create strain on my marriage. My wife has already been dealing with a grumpy (albeit sporadically funny) pain-in-the-ass for decades.

@Sue- I'm hoping for my street to be choked with Trump enthusiasts wearing MAGA hats and cheering "Build that pony wall for the senior-friendly shower! Build that pony wall for the senior-friendly shower!"

By the way, "grab bars" are among the stylistic flourishes we're including now that we're also Making America Grey Again.

@Fred Ciampi- Honest to gosh, it would be cheaper and less stressful to move. I could at least pick out a house I like the looks of rather than just making random choices and hoping for the best. But we like the neighborhood, and we're currently only 3 minutes away from a good grocery store and an acceptable (to me, not to Mrs J) cheap Chinese restaurant.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@TrickyRicky- Invoking my "Johnny Optimism" outlook, I see the upside of this as "well, I'll never have to do THAT again before dying!" And as far as invoking my BIG CHEESE status with the wrecking crew, I should get my ass to an assertiveness training class ASAP. Currently, I'm more Casper Milquetoast than Terminator.

Rod said...

OK, so it's all on the QT but please see if you can get a message to the Don that I've been a reader of yours forever, several times a day. Thanks a bunch; it's great to know if I like my money I can keep it.
And be sure to take the "before" pictures so the lady can show her friends what a dump you made her live in all those years. We been there.

Don in Oregon said...

My personal slogan for projects is "Better than it was!"

Blessed are those with low expectations, for they shall be seldom disappointed.

Alfonso Bedoya said...

Anyone notice that the carpenter in the "Blandings" film clip was none other than Lex Barker, who would ultimately achieve moviedom success as "Tarzan." Anyway, Stilt, just remember to wear your anti-dust masks when in the house, and hang plenty of visqueen to isolate your computer room from that sneaky white stuff.

Shelly said...

Oh Stilt, I feel your pain. No, seriously, I feel your pain. I recently purchased a home and did some major renovations before moving in. While it is preferable to renovating an empty home, it is not without pain. And let me tell you, moving an entire household and all that entails (the purging, ACK!) is the fifth circle of Hell! My moving day was last Thursday (on the hottest day of the year in Plano, Texas) and I am muddling through the bins and boxes in the garage wondering where everything could be. So I'm with you buddy and wish you well during your upcoming nightmare but try to keep in focus that it is temporary and will result in so much joy in the end.

MAJ Arkay said...

You only wish it will be weeks of living out of boxes...try months, kiddo.

But the end result will be nice, so it's worth the hassle in the long run.

Pete (Detroit) said...

Got lucky - my house has never had carpet in the living room. Gorgeous hardwood, w/ an 80 year patina of wax...
Kitchen floor, OTOH, horrible 70s lino, wearing thin, need to go soon.
And main floor windows may well be original, need to be glazed / painted or replaced, and that really kinda needs to happen before winter...

So, definite sympathies, and best of luck, Stilt!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Rod- Mentioned you to Don and he said he'd assign a family member to keep an eye out for you.

Regarding the renovations, yeah, I'm taking "before" pictures - though I should probably take some of myself so that at the end of the process kids can see the dangers of becoming a meth addict.

@Don in Oregon- "Better than it was" is what I'm shooting for, but I'm finding technology fighting me. For example, I want to replace our old (OLD!) wall oven that works fine except for the clock. Turns out that the new ones (including non-convection) all have loud fans (some say intolerably loud) that run all the time to keep the mother boards in the oven (!) from frying. So I guess I end up with a noisy oven to protect a freaking computer inside?! No, no, nooooooo.....

@Shelly- You're in Plano?! Great! We'll camp at YOUR house! No, no - we actually have some neighbors offering us occasional refuge. But we're already deep into the process of moving things out (Salvation Army is making out like a bandit with all our furniture), sorting, and digitizing old tapes so we can toss them. The good news is that Mrs J is the best when it comes to doing these things. The bad news is that I'm a mess. Not a hoarder, exactly, but I do have a tough emotional time sorting things or letting them go. I kid you not, my wife told me it's time to get rid of my Viewmaster slide projector (with the 40 year old images of national parks) and I'm actually having trouble doing that. Mind you, I haven't tried projecting those stupid pictures in eons.

But true story: when Mrs. J and I were living in sin in a trailer decades ago, we used that projector to show Viewmaster slides of Hawaii projected on a hanging bed sheet - and decided then and there that we should have a honeymoon in Hawaii and should therefore get married. See, I'm not a hoarder - I'm a romantic!

@MAJ Arkay- I HOPE the end result will be nice, but this is sort of a Nancy Pelosi deal: I have to pay for people to build it before I can see what it looks like!

@Pete (Detroit)- Real wood floors sound nice. We're looking to go with "wood look" porcelain tiles owing to a decade-long moisture problem with our foundation that I can't discuss without getting tears in my scotch.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Readers- By the way, I'm REALLY appreciating all the comments! You guys and gals are going to be my support group to get me through all of this!

Bobo said...

Put a completion date in the contract with a penalty $$ if not finished on time, schedule of what needs to be completed by contractor BEFORE any payments are conveyed. Cover your ass! Last payment due when work is satisfactorily finished to your liking.

Anonymous said...

Are we going to be seeing this on remodeling homes reality show on cable? Keep up posted on the show times!

BTW, I work for a GC managing remodels. Good luck to you!

igor said...

While I feel your pain, I chose to DIY all my remodeling. Nuttin' like having to remodel the bathroom with a 16-month-old and a 5 month old in the house, nobody to stay with, and to add insult to injury Mt. St. Helens decided to drop ash on the Pacific Northwest during that time.

Those were the days!!

Geoff King said...

Speaking as someone who has skill in all phases of construction, I can easily say I know nothing about masonry, carpentry, drywall, insulation, or roofing. That wouldn't be true, but I try to limit myself to plumbing and electrical.

Jack Colby said...

Sounds like you'll be moving out during construction, Stilt. Be careful you don't rent TOO nice a place in the interim: when we re-built our house, a friend of mine had some condos he couldn't sell(this was back in 2008-09) so he rented a nice downtown loft to me at a cut rate. Problem is, when our house was done, the wife & daughters didn't want to leave and move back into our newly palatial digs!

Good luck with your project(though it'll take more than luck to get through unscathed).

Mark Trahan said...

Never mind all that, the question is, are you going to rabbet the lintels between the lally columns, or not?

Good luck with your project!

Rod said...

Drop cloths; lot of drop clothes. Gather up old sheets, bedspreads, etc and keep the better stuff covered. It's old fashioned and it works.

Nice story about the Viewmaster, but thanks a lot. My parents are still with us(very old) and we had a Viewmaster. There's no way they got rid of it; so now I'll wonder where the hell it is, along with a lot of my old stuff. I don't think they're 'gonna know unless I get tough on them.

Colby Muenster said...

Back when I was a general contractor, building and remodeling for a living (and I use the term "living" loosely), EVERY remodel had that phase where you find some major-ass problem that was completely unforeseen during the bidding process. Then I'd have to explain to the homeowner that I really couldn't leave the original lead plumbing or the termite infested center beam. May this NOT happen to the Jarlsbergs!

Stan da Man said...

Stilt - in re "support group" - you got us through 8 years of OhBummer!, the least we can do is get you through a few months of re-hab...