Sunday, May 8, 2011

Renovations, giving things away and fixing people up,

I have a friend who’s renovating her apartment. It’s adorable. She gets excited about tile and wood and just about everything. She’s surprised about how strong her likes and dislikes are. She asks me for advice which I give freely. I always know what she likes the best because she giggles. Sometimes she e-mails me a photo of a faucet or something and I can hear her giggling even though she’s uptown at her office. I just know it.

She chooses great stuff. It looks like her, even though she doesn’t look anything like a faucet. You know what I mean.

The advice I give tends to revolve around durability and I will most likely know how something will hold up if it’s never, ever cleaned. I also have significant knowledge about glitter and advise against surfaces that I know it can’t be removed from. I also happen to know which kinds of baseboards are best and easiest to repair if someone you know happens to collide their little metal trucks into them.

She asks advice like what size door would like best. How much should she budget for a linear foot of this and a square foot of that. And I say things about that.

The thing is that she’s super-duper organized. That is not, shall we say my forte. I paid a lot of attention to some things when the whole place was destroyed. I got a couple of bids and chose the one that the insurance company recommended and that crew did great work. I didn’t check anybody’s credentials or anything as I went with the guy who had a full crew and said it would take six to eight weeks. And it did. And I really didn’t expect it to because I’ve had previous construction projects.

It turns out that I like a lot of the things the construction crew did and I especially like the doors. When I told the head guy how much I liked them he said he was surprised because he said that I told him that I didn’t like doors.

I vaguely remember saying that so I admitted that that was odd and I asked him if I said anything else odd. He said that when the rooms were painted I asked him if I had chosen the colors. I’ll give him that too.

This is a real droll guy. He asked me if I was going to get rid of some kitchen granite and I said that I was going to re-use it. That turned into a real problem because my new kitchen is four inches bigger than my old one. I see where this happened because the stove is two inches smaller than the one that burned up and the cabinets extend two inches further than they did before the fire.

I was so determined to re-use this granite that I never measured it. I didn’t even measure it when I met with the kitchen designer who asked me that. I figured that you take something out, you put it back in, and if it’s inert, it will be the same size.

I mean, you never walk into your kitchen and say to the counter, “my, how you’ve grown”;you say that to little kids and you say it to teenagers who are suddenly taller than you, which by the way, you shouldn’t because most of them are really good at rolling their eyes.

The whole time they were doing construction the crew moved the granite to places where it wasn’t in the way. Even after I found out that the thing was the wrong size, was damaged along the edge, would cost oodles of money to fix that and it wouldn’t fit, they had to move it a few more times. You might think that when the crew offered to take it away, I would say fine.

Well, I didn’t do that. First I had to convince myself that I couldn’t use it. Then, I figured, surely someone could so I posted it on an on-line bulletin board.

A lot of people called. Most of them didn’t show up when they said they would but a couple of people did and I got rid of 3 pieces and thank you notes to boot. Since I don’t know how to post a photo on a list serve, and I had to confess that on-line, people couldn’t see what I was talking about, so, that probably diminished the pool of people who might have been interested.

This took longer to get rid of than I thought it would and since I became convinced that it was a great thing, I called a gravestone seller on Rivington Street to see if he wanted it. We had a back and forth about why black granite that got damaged up in a fire wouldn’t make a good grave marker. He must have not been busy because he told me all this interesting stuff about cutting and polishing stone and about how you had to set it for an unveiling.

Giving away something on a local private list serve is a very interesting way to meet people. Because it was so nice for me, I convinced my friend to post the things she’s replacing.

So someone responded to her post about an IKEA cabinet and needed to know the measurements. I said that it was probably a straight guy because there was a photo posted and if the measurements weren’t there, a woman would go to the IKEA catalogue but a straight guy probably wouldn’t. I said he probably was youngish because that’s who buys IKEA stuff. We talked about how it wasn't any of the old crazy people who live on the Lower East Side because they don’t use computers and we talked about how she should contact him.

Then I said that when she met him she should see if he’s attached because we know all kinds of people who would be happier with a partner. And, this isn’t as odd as you think because we know every kind of person from older Chinese immigrants to professional women and men, Hispanics of all ages, the GLBT crowd, etc. That’s what’s so great about the LES.

I wonder who answered that classified?