Tuesday, March 27, 2012

And Furthermore...

Good news item #1:

The ditzy project manager is being replaced!  Hallelujah! 

She continued to prove her uselessness.  Her most recent e-mail to me mis-spelled our company name. It was not just a wee typo, but a complete reconfiguration of the letters.  It was as if she had referred to this blog as Sparventures in Kadland.  Her boss asked me if there was any way I might feel confident in her work if he supervised her closely.  I said no.  She's basically hopeless. So, I'm getting a new project manager! I'll let you know how the new guy/gal works out.

Good news item #2:

My driving is improving, little by little.  Two weekends ago Ken drove us to an almost-unused road and I got behind the wheel of our car for the first time.  It has a standard transmission. 

Wow.  I mean, I knew standard would be tough to learn, but it is so tough!  We ran through all the motions in mime three times before I turned the engine on.  Then I got rolling.  I shifted from neutral to first, from first to second, and then back to neutral and came to a full stop.  I managed that three times.  Ken turned the car around for me and I took another run at it.  When I got back into the driver's seat I forgot to release the parking brake, so we stalled.  At that point my brain went into overload.  Still, I did manage a little shifting and I didn't break the car.  So that's good.

Last weekend I drove my mom's automatic car on Wilson Ave.  For you non-Torontonians, that is a busy street, with two lanes in each direction plus left-turn lanes.  Traffic was booting along at 60 km/h.  I had not been behind the wheel of a regular car in traffic in two weeks.  My total time driving in traffic so far clocked in at under ten minutes.  Ken pulled over in a driveway and let me get into the driver's seat.  Passing traffic was just whipping past, going "SHOOM!  SHOOMSHOOM!  SSHHHOOOOM!" I crossed myself and turned onto the street.  And then!  I was driving!  Ken had to help me with lane changes because I have not yet mastered the skill of building a mental 3D model of the space around the car from the images in the mirrors.  But I did alright.  I can claim to be the master of the smooth stop.  No lurchy braking from this driver.

The Rant

I've been watching a fair bit of HGTV lately and there's an element to it that frustrates me intensely.  I believe that North American society's obession with current decor has become obnoxious and harmful.  Home buyers cannot seem to tolerate anything less than this year's decorating trends.  Perfectly beautiful, clean, white fridge?  Unacceptable!  Give me stainless steel or give me death, they cry!  Unmarred, off-white countertops?  Remove this abomination from my sight!  If you do not provide me with granite  countertops immediately, I will pour gasoline over this house and drop a match on it!

(Personally I'm not partial to granite for home decor.  It reminds me of tombstones.)

On Property Virgins, I watched a couple walk into a freshly renovated bathroom and declare disapprovingly "Well this will all have to go."  Seriously?  Probably no one has ever even peed in that toilet yet!  What is so wrong with this beautiful, brand new bathroom?  So the tiles are beige.  So what?  It's neutral.  Pick out some cheerful bath towels and a pretty shower curtain, and you're all good!  I'm sure the only reason that the homeowners re-did the bathroom that way in the first place was because their real estate agent told them that they had to.

I don't mind people having aesthetic preferences.  Everyone's entitled to their taste.  But can we not be just a little more tolerant of imperfect superficialities?  Has everyone forgotten this little matter of the environment?  Do we need to throw almost-new, not-at-all-worn-out building materials into landfill because they're not the right colour? 

My kitchen counter is a fairly hideous shade of green.  In fact, if you look at it closely, it's a splotchy mess of two shades of green and two subtle shades of purple.  I would never have chosen it in a million years.  But hey, it's just a kitchen counter.  Most of the time when I'm in the kitchen, it's covered with dishes or ingredients.  And when I'm not in the kitchen, who cares what it looks like?  I could change it out for something more pleasing, but I can't stomach the thought of ripping out a perfectly good countertop and throwing it into a dumpster.  It just seems so selfish.

There are so many ways other than major renovations to beautify our personal spaces.  Don't you think?


DarcKnyt said...

I would've requested the ditz replacement way sooner than you did. You're far more patient than I would have been. But at least there's a chance now the new PM will be competent and savvy! Yay!

Congrats on the driving. A little at a time -- that's how we learn anything, right? :)

I miss HGTV sometimes. Food Network even more. :)

LL Cool Joe said...

I have granite worktops in the kitchen. ;)

Well done with the driving! My eldest daughter is learning at the moment with an instructor and she's doing really well!

Good luck!

Lynn said...

Automatic transmission is the way to go, I think. I've never mastered that other way.

And I understand what you mean about HGTV - I've seen that phenomenon, too. I still have off white formica countertops and think they are just fine.

Granny Annie said...

Whew, my head is spinning from this big post. Lots of interesting stuff. Glad you are become braver about driving. It is never easy to gain confidence to get behind the wheel at any age. Am automobile is a big ass piece of machinery that I'm supposed to control. I'll always respect the machine. I cannot drive a stick shift to this day with any confidence.

Glad you will be getting a new project manager. Misspelling the company name has to be a huge no-no.

I'm not much of an HGTV fan but my kids are and so I watch it when they are here. There is not an interior decorator bone in my body.

Jenski said...

Good job on the busy street! Ken has faith in your skills.

I roll my eyes at some of the people on those shows. Sure, they find people who will be interesting to watch, but still. A good one was a former Peace Corps volunteer and they used reclaimed wood to build her some furniture. That was nice to see.

Jameil said...

Sooo glad the ditz is gone! I don't hide my feelings well (intentionally) when I'm working with someone whose incompetence is slowing me down. I still haven't learned how to drive a stick... My mom & sister have them. I learned a new word today! Torontonians. A bit of a tongue twister but it has good mouth feel.

Oh HGTV. Rashan and I make gulping noises in our fake drinking game whenever people on those shows say hardwood floors, granite or stainless steel. LOLOL If you played this with actual drinks... you wouldn't make it out of the first hour sober. Some shows in the first 10 minutes!! People have gone nuts. I can't stand it when they harp on the paint colors. Paint??? You know you don't have to hand strip that in layers, right??? My biggest pet peeve though is when people are buying their first house and want something WAAAAAAY outside of their means and then either raise their budget or refuse to buy something until they can get what they want. Not like 5 or 10k and they weren't looking at wrecks. These were nice homes. Just HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars cheaper than their dream area. People... If you TRY to live within your means, ya might find it's not so terrible!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Attention to detail is key... is it a big deal that she messed up the name?? Not earth shattering, nobody got hurt, but it establishes her attention to detail on the upcoming project. And those new teenage home buyer's getting multi-millon dollar homes and bitching about the color of a counter top drives me insane.

Tracy Makara said...

Yay! I'm so glad that you will be getting someone new at work. I'll be hoping that the next person will be a lot more competent.

Congratulations with your driving progress. Sounds like you're doing great! Pat yourself on the back for me, will you?

The rant section...have you been sitting in the living room with my sister and I or something? We've watched many episodes of House Hunters and Property Virgins which probably sounded like a sporting event was going on from the outside.
'Oh...Wahhhh. Poor wittle baby might have to go potty in a regular white toilet?' 'Oh the HORRORS! Brand new appliances and counters which aren't stainless and granite? How will they ever survive such a tragedy!'

These are just the remarks which are suitable for public ears LOL. I definitely agree with you about it being an obsession which is so wasteful. Another favorite of mine is when it's just a couple who are not even sure if they're going to have children, but they have to have 3,000 square feet. Grrrr!

G. B. Miller said...

Be glad you're working in the private sector with this "intelligent" project manager, 'cause in the public sector, you'd be stuck with them until the end of time and then some.

The first bad comment about her out of your mouth, no matter how legit, would've gotten a complaint filed against you.

Now, on to the better parts of the post.

I've driven both stick and auto, and while my preference is stick, I will drive auto because my wife can't drive stick. My new car has both capabilities and its pretty cool.

If you want whiny people and interior decorating, you should check out Property Brothers.

I have sympathy for the Scott brothers putting up with some of the brainless clients that they deal with on a daily/weekly basis.

Budget? What's a budget? Recycle? What's recycle?

DarcsFalcon said...

Woo! You're awesome on that driving thing! A stick shift? You rock! I still don't know how to drive a stick myself, so you're ahead of me on that one. :)

And yay for being able to get a new project manager. Hopefully you'll be able to get one that inspires confidence in you. :)

Oh the whole HGTV thing! We used to watch that, years ago, like back in the 90s. They were spouting the same nonsense even back then. It's all about getting the most expensive things, not the best or most useful. Any way to spend the homeowners money, that's the goal, and doggone it, said homeowner is supposed to feel guilty for balking at being (ironically) spent out of house and home. Craziness, I tell ya!

Glad to see you doing so well hon! *hugs* Keep up the good work!