On guns and kitchens

I am still so upset about the most recent mass shooting that I can't wholly articulate my thoughts yet.

I will say this: If you feel that your right to have an assault rifle trumps a child's right to safely attend school, you are sick and have truly fucked up priorities. If you think that guns don't kill people, people kill people, and you can watch this video of bloody kids (shot) dead in classrooms, you are wrong and sick and have some sort of terrifyingly selfish ability to compartmentalize the facts on the ground. If you think that "thoughts and prayers" are anything but an offensive and grotesque slap in the face to all victims of gun violence, you are wrong and beyond offensive.

Emma Gonzalez, a 17-year-old student from Parkland, FL, said it best: "We call BS!" If you haven't seen her powerful speech at the anti-gun rally following the slaughter at her school, please watch.

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In lighter news, our damn kitchen renovation. We had a few hairy days following Tuesday's debacle with the plumbing permit. On Thursday, after paying one water commission inspector $200 to come out and count our toilets (to double-confirm the number we and our plumber had already provided), I spent four hours at the water commission attempting to finish things.

Initially I was told that we would have to "put our renovation on hold for 6-8 months until WSSC could come out and install the new main and meter." Early responses to my plea that "not only do I currently have no kitchen but also I have two kids and there are holes all over my house" included "rules are rules." Ah, yes, but I didn't break the rules.

Finally, after applying for an abandonment permit, a service connection permit, attaching a notarized promise to pay for the upgraded service to my house note, paying the abandonment fee, and paying for a new permit, I was promised continuation of our renovation PENDING an inspection Friday morning. After that was complete, I waited several hours for an elusive yellow sticker to be granted. Now, we can proceed.

Fortunately, and I say this with the most sincere gratitude in the world, we really do have an amazing team. They continued work on everything that didn't require inspection such as dry wall repair, replacing a random rotten board on our deck, patching the floors, and finishing up the new register installs. Everything is looking good and cabinet delivery starts early next week. 

Before the snow started falling today, we had a gloriously sunny morning. I went nuts working in the yard- dividing my houseplants, pruning and sawing, raking and bagging. My soul felt so happy and light. My yard is one of my primary sources of life and joy. Thank goodness we can afford to keep our access to water and hoses. I am grateful. 

 two happy plants are now four

two happy plants are now four

Integrity

Well, folks, we've hit the proverbial renovation speed bump, and it.is.a.doozy. Prior owners of and contractor for our lovely home, if you're reading this, you should be ashamed.

But I bet you aren't. Which leads me to today's theme which is...INTEGRITY.

In this day and age of a toxic, lying, cheating, abusive, devoid-of-moral-fiber "presidential" administration, one of the MOST conspicuously absent traits is integrity.

To pull a completely overused and somewhat contrived stunt on y'all, but also to ensure that you learn if you don't already know, Merriam-Webster, the dictionary, defines integrity as:

  • firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values; incorruptibility.

For further review, incorruptibility is defined as: 

  • not subject to decay or dissolution, and/or
  • incapable of being bribed or morally corrupted

 Adherence to a moral code, incapable of being morally corrupted via influence or bribe, anti decay...Interesting.

Trump, our "president," fails every one of those standards as does every one of his current advisors, cabinet members, and employees -past and present- that I can name or easily recall. Although it's fun to stab at the ignorant, destructive, hair-challenged Yam, he's merely a symbol of the decay in the general public. Us. The voters.

It's probably exceedingly obvious that I did NOT vote for the noxious turd. But I did mostly trust and place good faith in the folks from whom we bought our home. They'd dealt with the termites, they'd renovated beautifully, they'd had an inspection and shared the results. Their agent and ours were absolutely lovely. We knew we'd ultimately redo the kitchen which was both growing old and not to our liking in either style or function, and at some point, even the best roof and HVAC units need replacing.

This was their "forever home" -before the dream job they moved for- and so we trusted that things had been done correctly. As per integrity. And, might I add, being financially comfortable enough to not cut corners unless stingy.

Alas. Integrity, and generosity in its spirit, are in such short order these days. Let's consider the FEMA director who promised 3 million meals to Puerto Rico but delivered just 50,000. To American citizens. Who were and remain without electricity and water and sustenance. Thank you, instead, José Andrés. 

Let's consider just how many employees Trump has stiffed over the years. Just how many thousands upon thousands of unpaid bills he's ignored. How many students he's stiffed. How many potential tenants he and his father discriminated against based on the color of their skin. Let's think about how he assaults women and continues to keep known abusers employed. Let's think about his desecration of truth and the media. 

But I'm trying to go micro here, so let's talk about my house. And how my plumbing permit was unexpectedly denied yesterday because the previous owners chose to install more plumbed fixtures than are allotted on the current pipe coming off the main into our house and did not bother to disclose that tidbit. 

Keep in mind that our kitchen looks like this:

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And that my house currently looks like swiss cheese because of the myriad exploratory holes bored to figure out the plumbing discrepancies and also to bring everything up to code. And that now everything is delayed because...

Our only options are to:

  • cut and remove all evidence of ALL hoses and additional fixtures (a sink, say) on our property (great expense; what would I do if I couldn't work in my yard and had to watch it all die?; also, removing all evidence essentially means removing most walls)

OR

  • pay the exorbitant fees required to upgrade the line from the main to our house; install a new meter IN our home which means demolishing a wall of our basement and building some bizarre "home" for the meter which is too large to fit behind a wall; apply and wait for all the permits needed to do this; pay the overages for extra fixtures we did not install but bought on good faith; AND pay for all the additional plumbing needed to fix all of the above. 

Could you, in good faith, sell your home to someone knowing they could never renovate or change even one plumbed item without forking out roughly a car's worth of money and not tell them? Could you, in good faith, agree to let your renovation go through knowing you were lying? Would you?

If you have integrity, the answer to all is a resounding NO. If you sold your house without a word and, by the way, left it dirty with, for example, pee residue on the main floor toilet, to a young family, you suck. You are greedy and stingy and you lack integrity.

So, please, people. Do better. Be better. Especially if you have means. We screw the poor in this country left and right. Sometimes corners have to be cut to survive (and if you're rolling your eyes, you're A) probably not actually poor and buy into that welfare queen nonsense and/or B) need to go do some reading. Read Evicted, for example. It is excruciatingly hard and expensive to be poor in this country).

We're going to fix everything correctly. At great expense. At sacrifice of other things we'd budgeted for this year. Because it's the right thing to do, and because there is zero chance my mental health can handle a dead yard. 

If you don't need to cut corners, don't. Have integrity and "be a man." Seriously. This greedy, selfish bullshit is for the birds. Worse, it's a toxic virus that spreads like wildfire. It's ugly and it deforms. We need to do better. Be better. It starts with each of us.

Kitchen renovation one week in

Today was in many ways annoying, y'all. For one, although I love the Olympics, I just cannot abide by curling and, to a lesser degree of irritation, the biathlon. Thank goodness two friends sent me this hilarious video of cat curling, aka purrling. Now that's a sport!

Also thank goodness I had lunch with one of my favorite people in the world. And thank goodness that I have wonderful neighbors because in addition to dealing with 983 workmen in the house today, various hiccups, and more rain, I needed to make the King Cakes I promised the boys. Every year I send one into each of their classes, and it's a tradition we all love. However, without an oven, baking King Cakes is hard.

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Hence my gratitude for neighbors. One gave me her key for today and in her oven I baked up these beauties which I'd made in my basement kitchen and kneaded and rolled on the boys' craft table. I have not located my stash of plastic Jesus babies, so the cakes will be without this year, but alas. 

 Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

We are entering the realm of extreme holeage. Not pictured here are the new holes in the basement, garage, and exterior of our home. Progress!

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