Tuesday, August 16, 2011

home additions are pompous

there I said it.

I both absolutely love the idea of adding a room to our little house and also think less of myself for it. I'm actually embarrassed to come out of my house and identify myself to the construction workers because I feel like I should have big shoulder pads and a bichon friese in my overly priced european handbag.

I want to keep blog-track of the construction, but I can't bring myself to do it. Like I might as well be the woman saying "I just eat anything I want, lemme show you how my weight keeps going down." That woman is annoying, and so is the person talking about home improvement in a big fat recession.

So, instead of highlighting the positive, I will gripe about fireplaces.

We used to have a fireplace. It never worked so it really was more of just a place, than a fireplace. A black hole in the wall where the spiders built condominium webs and tiny toys lost behind the couch would live in exile. We kept a couch in front of the 'place because when your living room has the dimensions of a family size Ritz box, you need all the space you can get.

A few weeks ago, it was bashed down with heavy machinery. Which is good, since our neighbor informed us that all of the fireplaces in our tract were considered condemned and unstable after the 1989 earthquake, which is why everyone else rennovated theirs. Grrreat.

I still want a fireplace, so we had one drawn into the plans in a much more subtle way. It won't block furniture or demand attention with Tuscan/Craftsman/Country details. I just want a glass rectangle, from behind which fire will occur. Seems simple enough?

No, it isn't. I'm learning that ordering a fireplace is like buying a used car, in a foreign country. There are no comprehensive user/customer reviews online. You can't order one online.** You have to order it from a shop. I'm Generation Y, I hate going to a shop with real life sales people. Real life sales people up-sell, dodge questions, and are creepy in general. Real life sales people question my style choices and budget. That makes me crazy.


SIDETRACK: I'll translate the following sales phrases into how I hear them:

"Hi." = "I see you."

"How are you?" = "in case my manager is watching, I'm doing what s/he told me to"

"How can I help you?" = "you look lost and poor, are you in the right place?"

"What are you looking for?" = "I want to surmise how much of a sucker you are, I'll judge 1-10 by your answer."


The guy I got at the last shop, he was like in a time warp from last century. He was chauvinistic to say the least and kept bringing up my husband like he was Ralph Kramden and I was Alice. Annoying.
I guess it's the nature of the business. I might be the one and only 30 yr old woman that ever came in alone to buy a fireplace. Most people my age rent their place. The average homeowner in my neighborhood is old enough to be at least my parent or older.

Also they keep bank hours at those places, because the kind of people that spend big money on home heating don't have day jobs (?!) so I guess I have to take off work early to go? This whole thing is ludicrous, no wonder man invented central heating!

**correction: okay so I looked again and you can buy some fireplaces online, but it's really hard to know if you're getting what's right for the space and energy requirements.

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