Saturday, September 17, 2011

Attention Realtors! Have you read Burbed Lately?

Okay folks, I know that there is A LOT of hate on against me and my little blog here by the Realtor Community in Alameda... They sometimes act like I'm Satan himself with my honest reviews of houses for sale...

Well guess what? I'm not the only person reviewing houses for sale!

Realtors, have any of you ever heard of a very popular blog called Burbed?


Take a minute or five and read through that blog. Its based in Silicon Valley so don't worry...
Couple of things I want you to notice.. Besides the main editor reviewing houses he's got an army of followers reviewing houses in Silicon Valley. They tour open houses, take pictures and post about what they saw and what their impressions are of the houses. That's tens of people all doing what I do and being a lot harsher about it...they do call all Realtors realatards....I do like the google earth views of the houses for sale that show them right next to a freeway or toxic waste dump or what not...

Realtors, think about how lucky you have it here in Alameda...just one lone nut job reviewing houses for sale... Next time your cursing my name I want you to think this, 'At least we're not in Burbed territory.'



Wanted Independent House Reviewers
Well I guess I have to face facts. Even though I believe that independently reviewing houses for sale in Alameda is a valuable community service I've just been too busy lately to do it and I've missed several good opportunities to do it....

I'm sending out an open call for guest reviewers.
Tour houses you think are interesting, try to take some pics of what you think needs being shown. Try to get a pic of the front of the house at least.
Do a little write-up and send it all to me in an email (my email address is on my profile page) and I will post it to the blog as a guest review.

You can remain anonymous to the world but you can not be anonymous from me. I will need to figure out some sort of vetting process to weed out the people who are not honestly reviewing houses.

So, c'mon and join the fun!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Christmas in September!?!?!?!!?

Okay, following up on my Halloween in August post....here's a little something I like to call....

Christmas in September!?!?!? Seriously??? WTF!!!

Went out to my local Costco on Sept 1st to do some shopping....here's what I found.

They had one isle of Halloween Merch out.

One side of an isle of kids costumes.


One side of an isle of adult costumes.

Now, these weren't even full isles..like half isles with candy and flashlights on the other half. No Halloween decorations....

But right next to the Halloween stuff was.... you guess it....

Six fricken full isles of Christmas Stuff...

In September?!?!?!?

Who is excited about buying nativity scenes in September???

I stood around by the nativity scenes for like 10 min...EVERY single person who walked by ~20, had the exact same reaction... ' Christmas Already?!?!' shaking their heads in disbelief...

What about Halloween?

What about Thanksgiving?


There Outta Be A Law!!!!!!!

They can make laws about, just about any darn thing...well there outta be law on holiday decorations and merchandise!

I say, no decorations up and no merchandise out until 30days before the actual Holiday!
That would mean no Halloween stuff out until Oct 1st.

That would mean no Christmas stuff out until the day after Thanksgiving. What ever happened to Thanksgiving anyways?

City Council Members can pass laws right? Or boards of supervisors? I say, everybody emails their local representative and tells them that they are SICK to death of merchants putting out merchandise MONTHS ahead of the holiday.

I'll start, here's a link to the Alameda City Councils contact info. Click on their names to email them.

Contact your local elected official and tell them,
There Outta Be A Law!

Heck, if we can't get the elected officials to get off their duffs and do the right thing we'll make our own law. A referendum or something!

If you feel as I do please pass this on to anyone who might be interested in the message.

Who's with me??? Anyone??? Beullar...? Beullar???

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Fancy Pants Closet....DONE!!!

Put a big red DONE stamp on one Closet.

The back finally healed up enough to get what was supposed to be a simple chore done...putting in the closet organization system in the master closet.

Here's what the closet looked like when we bought the house. Just one long shelf and one long closet rod.

Well, its what it looked like filled with my crap...

After much researching on closet systems we decided to go with a custom closet from a place called www.easyclosets.com. They had the best online tool and their prices included shipping which I imagined would be quite substantial for the particle board that their systems are made from.

I signed up with them, did my best to think up a usable design on their website then contacted them so they could tweak my design (free closet design is included with the price). I talked to a Tracey who actually had a couple important points and I feel that she actually added value to the transaction. There factory is all computer controlled and they had my closet pieces cut and shipped out to me via UPS the next day.  The closet is 8' by 4', so not huge, but there is 10' ceilings and I wanted to make sure to take advantage of the height...I choose the nice drawer slides and drawer pulls and the grand total was close to $1400!!! Still at this point I felt like I was getting my moneys worth....(foreshadowing).

The boxes arrived about a week later..VERY heavy-dense packages all at about the limit UPS allows of 60#. Like a sucker I helped the UPS guy carry them in off the truck...and by help I mean I did 80% of it while he twiddled with his hand held computer thingy they always carry. Sure glad my back wasn't hurt when I was doing that...

Somehow I managed to not take a picture of all eight million of the boxes stacked in the entryway...

 But here's a shot of the aftermath...I do have to say the stuff was packed extremely well and there was a LOT of left over cardboard.  I was able to entice a cardboard burglar to come and take all the cardboard off my hand.


Here's the entire closet stacked and ready to be installed.  Once you remove all the packaging it doesn't take up all that much space does it? 


I removed the existing closet stuff...they painted the shelf and wall after they installed the closet stuff...so removing it revealed old paint colors and lots of drywall damage. I also discovered that at one time there was a door way into the area. You can just make out the ghost of it on the left side corner.

I even made some of my own...
Love that granite floor though...
Another awesome thing the PO did was put the baseboard down first and then tile right up against it!! The base was literally entombed in tile and grout...of course I had to remove all of it so that the closet system would fit....

Next I did the worlds worst patch and mud job on the walls...followed by the worlds worst paint job...I know that 90% of the walls are going to be covered but I just couldn't leave them looking like crap...
Speaking of looking like crap..here's my super lame patch job...this was pre paint.

I decided to start on the short wall of the closet...then I noticed this...
Hurray, the broken steam unit is in the way..and there's an outlet there that needs to be accessible...I removed the broken steam unit and carved up the drywall and framing so that that black flex line would run inside the wall and not interfere with the closet vertical on that side.

And Then A Miracle Occurred and the entire closet system was installed without a single hitch...

You have to install these metal tracks that the verticals hook into. You have to make sure they are level and straight even if the wall is wavy. On this short wall here the wall bulges out considerably where they slopped mud over the old door framing...so much so that I could not get the unit to fit on that wall.. Out came the multi master and I shaved down the wall and the shelves in that corner to get it to fit...that was a HUGE PITA!!! I shoulda just spec'd the width as 1" less....live and learn.

Skipping A LOT of steps...here's the drawer unit installed. Looks fine..see how you can still open the drawers with the door open? That was a VERY important design criteria that I had..I didn't want to have to close the door to open the drawers.

Here's a shot of the rest of the closet...
Okay, notice the hanger there...that blue hanger? Notice how it sticks out past the shoe unit? Yep, that's right...the designer didn't leave enough space to make the left side of the unit usable!!!
Arrrrrgh!!! I was super pissed off and couldn't understand how easyclosets.com could let this happen...I talked to the designer who admitted it was her mistake and said they would make it right...well..the only way to make it right is to squeeze down the middle hanging section by 6" to give me the clearance I needed to hang clothes there...that means I would be losing a foot of hanging space...not super happy about that...especially for nearly $1400....

I decided to just move the entire long wall unit down 6"... as you can see here that means that I can't have the door open and open the drawers at the same time...we'll see how annoying that is. The easy closet folks are sending me the parts to shorten the hanging section and I can always do that if having to close the door to open the drawers gets unbearable...

And Now Some Shots Of The Finished Closet


Boy, for a straight, male science nerd I sure do have a lot of clothes don't I??

Hooks!
I put up a ton of 'robe hooks' cause I have the weird habit of wanting to hang up the clothes I'm wearing to air out...like my work out gear and PJ's and what not...

Mirror!
Yep, it doesn't even cover the wall patch...my secret shame...

We've taken to calling it the Bat Closet cause I go in dressed one way and emerge dressed another! Ya, we're dorks...

Break Down on EasyClosets.Com

I don't know how I feel about them...it seems like a lot of money to spend on particle board and melamine stuff...they had good before and after sale service and fixed their F up quickly and at their own cost...but still.... I'm not convinced I got good value from them...