Who’s On First?

Sometimes I wonder if Hubby and I are being secretly videotaped for someone’s sick amusement while they punk us over and over.  Fortunately nothing catastrophic has happened yet, but we feel like poster children for Murphy’s Law.

Here’s the latest:

When Hubby researched the process for bringing electricity to our building site, it seemed fairly simple:  Get a homeowner’s permit, put in a power pole with a breaker box and meter, and get an electrical inspection.

Instead, it’s been an exchange worthy of Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s On First” (although not quite as amusing to us):

Hubby:  *double-checking with the electrical inspector* “So, I can put in a pole and breaker box…”

Inspector:  “No.”

Hubby:  “But that’s what the National Electrical Code says.”

Inspector:  “This is BC.  That’s not acceptable here.”

Hubby:  “Ooookay.”  *spends a week researching alternatives, then calls back with questions and ends up talking to a different inspector*

Inspector #2:  “…well, yeah, you could do those alternatives, but why don’t you just put in a pole?  It’s cheaper.”

Hubby:  “Because Inspector #1 told me I couldn’t.”

Inspector #2:  “Oh, no, he’s wrong.  All you need is a Class 6 pole with a guy wire.  You can get that at Windsor Plywood.”

Hubby: *calling Windsor Plywood in foolish hope*  “Do you sell Class 6 poles?”

WP:  “No, we only have Class 5 poles.”

Hubby:  “The inspector said I needed a Class 6 pole.  Any idea where I can get one?”

WP:  “No.”

Hubby:  “Do you sell the guy-wire kit?”

WP:  “No.”

Hubby:  *spends days calling around before giving up and phoning an electrical contractor*  “How much would you charge to supply and install a Class 6 pole and guy wires?”

Contractor:  “We only install Class 5 poles, and they don’t need guy wires.”

Hubby: *calling Inspector #2* “Can I use a Class 5 pole without guy wires?”

Inspector #2:  “Sure, that’s better than a Class 6.”

Hubby:  *facepalm*

Hubby:  *calling electrical supply store* “Hi, do you sell retail to the public?”

Store:  “Sure.”

Hubby:  *walks into store*  “Hi, I’d like to buy a breaker box…”

Store owner:  “We don’t sell to the public.”

Hubby:  “But I called your head office and they said…”

Owner:  “I don’t care what they said, I won’t sell to you.  I have to protect my contractors.”

Hubby: *walks out muttering and calls the head office* “You said you’d sell to the public, but the guy in the Parksville store refuses to sell to me.”

Store:  “Oh.  Hold on…” *returns to the line*  “Yes, sorry; each store makes their own policy decisions.”

Hubby, speaking slowly and evenly:  “Do… you… have… a… store… that… will… sell… to… me?”

Store:  “I think the Courtenay store (an hour and a half in the opposite direction) will.  Here’s their number…

Hubby:  *calling the Courtenay store* “Do you sell retail to the public?”

Courtenay:  “Sure.”

Hubby hasn’t gone up there yet, but he’s braced to walk into the store and discover that:

  1. the guy he was talking to just got fired; and/or
  2. they changed their policy two days ago and now they don’t sell to the public; and/or
  3. the store sells to everybody except ex-Albertans who look like him; and/or
  4. they gave him the wrong number and he was in fact talking to the store in Victoria (3.5 hours in the opposite direction to Courtenay).

I’m waiting for the next chapter in the saga, but meanwhile… Who’s on first?

What’s That Rusty Colour?

A few years ago I confessed my lack of regard for fine distinctions in paint colour, and I should have known it would come back to bite me in the ass.

This week I’ve been doing some touchups around the house.  Nothing big – a couple of swipes of drywall compound, light sanding, and a feathering of paint to blend in the patch.

I’ve done it dozens of times over the years and usually it’s easy.  But sometimes the stars and planets misalign and the patron saint of painting goes on a bender and can’t be roused from the hangover.  Then everything that can go wrong, does; and several things that couldn’t possibly go wrong, do anyway.

The drywall repairs went smoothly (pun intended).  Then I trotted out to the garage to find the leftover house paints, which were all labelled, colour-matched, and ready to go (I thought).

I decided to start with the small patch on the bathroom ceiling.  There were two paint cans, both labelled ‘flat white ceiling paint’.  Fine.  I optimistically pried the lid off one, mixed it, and applied a test swatch.

It wasn’t white.  Nowhere near.  Nope, it was an odd rusty colour.

I repeated the process with the second can.

Same weird colour.

I was beginning to question my own sanity when I realized the rusty colour was spreading like some vile algae on the test swatch.

Yep, there were rust flakes in the paint.  I’d like to say ‘I’ll never understand why paint comes in cans that rust and wreck the paint ten seconds after you open them’, but the truth is I do understand.  It’s a diabolical scheme to force us to go out and buy a whole new batch of paint for every single project, no matter how minor.

So I succumbed to the inevitable and headed for the paint store.  Little did I know that my karmic debt was about to be called in, with interest and penalties:

  • I was in a hurry (first mistake) so I asked the paint person for a quart of flat white ceiling paint, took the can she handed me, paid, and left.
  • She screwed up. It was untinted neutral base, which is translucent.  Back to the store, stand in the returns lineup, then go back to the paint department.
  • Decide to get drywall primer instead, thinking that’s what I had used as a finish coat last time anyway. (Second mistake:  relying on my shitty memory.)
  • Discover the drywall primer is also translucent. Back to the paint store.
  • Find FLAT WHITE CEILING PAINT. They don’t have any quarts; only gallons.
  • Buy a gallon of paint (approximately 20 times what I need for my small patch) because it’s only $7 more than a quart, and I’d spend more than that in gas, time, and annoyance going somewhere else.
  • Take the paint home, open it, ascertain that it is in fact the right paint and the right colour.
  • Paint over my patch and feather the edges onto the existing painted ceiling, finally accomplishing the ten minutes of work that I set out to do about eight hours ago.
  • Go to bed, not exactly happy but at least relieved.
  • Wake up the next morning to discover the new paint has dried to a different shade of white than the original, so now I have to repaint the entire ceiling.
  • Slit my wrists, staining the ceiling a very unpleasant rusty colour indeed…

How was your week?

P.S. I’ll be away from the internet most of the day today, so I’ll catch up with comments as soon as I can in the evening or tomorrow.  ‘Talk’ to you then!

New discussion over at the VBBC:  Is John selfish or supportive?  Click here to have your say!