I’m still Joshy from the block

I like our new neighborhood. I like it because I can look back ten years and remember my first place in Austin. My roommate and I rented a
town house in the ghetto. I would wake up at 5 a.m. to the sounds of aluminum cans being thrown out of the dumpster just outside of my bedroom window. This homeless guy would climb into the dumpster every morning and throw cans out onto the pavement to be later picked up and put into his shopping cart.

We heard gunshots on a regular basis. Sometimes I couldn’t fall asleep until I heard a gunshot. I’m a creature of habit.

I remember waking up and having to push aside my roommate’s and his friends’ extracurricular paraphernalia so I could sit on the couch, watch TV and eat breakfast on the coffee table. This usually entailed pushing one of my roommate’s friends off of the couch.

I spent nearly 8 years in southeast Austin between Riverside and Oltorf. I was a few months shy of getting a tear drop tattooed by my eye and putting my name on the back of my car in Old English lettering. I’m straight up from the ‘hood, yo. Keepin’ it real, ya know? I did move into what my friends and I appropriated dubbed the Bristol Method. Building 4 was our fraternity. We shared and shared alike. Some of my closet friends are from the Method. We had a great time while we all lived there. It was still the ghetto though.

Now I’m in a ‘hood where the neighbor down the street owns a Scaraab. The guy that lives across the street drives a NSX. The neighborhood is kept up. People jog while talking on their cell phone headsets. Yes, I speak the truth. I witnessed this yesterday. A young lady was jogging while talking on her cell phone.

“[gasp] Hey Julie! It’s [gasp] Bianca. Guess what? I [gasp] went to Nordstrom’s [gasp] yesterday and bought two [gasp] sports bras [gasp]. After my jog I’m [gasp] taking the Excursion to pick up [gasp] Ophelia and Britney from fencing [gasp] class and we’re going to [gasp] the country club for Erica’s shower! [gasp] Ciao!

Buying from Furniture in the Raw

Elise and I decided that we were going to buy each other a TV armoire for Valentine’s Day. We really needed one because our current particle board ‘entertainment center’ is from Walmart and on it’s very last leg. It wasn’t loaded properly during the move and it’s literally about to fall apart. If someone were to bump into it, it wouldn’t surprise me if it crumbled, breaking the TV, DVD, VCR and stereo head unit. So we decided we were going to buy a solid piece of furniture. I set aside a little money and out we went, to find our armoire.

We went to a couple warehouses in south Austin. We didn’t find anything we wanted. We then drove up Burnet Road and stopped in at Furniture in the Raw. Elise found the armoire she wanted. I liked it as well. Taking a few steps back, nobody greeted us when we walked into the showroom. We examined the armoire for a while and asked Elise “Is this the one you want?” She said “Yes.” No salesman had approached us yet. I looked around and raised my eyebrows at a couple salesmen. No one came over. Elise wanted to look around a little bit so I leaned against the armoire. Finally a salesman walked by me. I stared him down as he was walking my way. In passing he asked: “Everything alright?” I said: “What do I need to do to get someone to sell me this piece of furniture?” Chris stopped what he was doing and we talked. I haggled a little. After a talking to his manager, he said he could only come down $30. Keep in mind, this armoire was about $200 more than what I was thinking we were going to spend. Anyway, I asked and they did come down a little. We figured that was better than paying the sticker price (which indicated that the armoire was marked down 50% – ahem).

I wrote a check for the armoire and had it scheduled to be delivered on February 25th. As we were walking out of the showroom, we found a rustic hideaway bar. We both fell in love with it and knew exactly where it would go in the house. It was like a little treasure we had found so we decided to buy it as well. I had to pull from the iBook fund so we could buy the bar, but we both really liked it. I went and found Chris and told him we wanted to buy the bar. I told him he had better give me a good deal on this bar because I just spent a lot of money on a matching TV armoire. After another trip to talk to his manager, Chris came back with another minimal discount. We really should have walked away. We didn’t though. Chris said he couldn’t come down any further.

I went back to the cashier and wrote another check. Elise was able to get the manager to give us a bag full of free cabinet and drawer pulls. We’d spent a little more money than we had set out to, but we were happy.

So Elise went to a meeting in Pflugerville yesterday morning and stopped in at the Oak and Pine Superstore in north Austin. She found the exact armoire for $213 less than what we paid. She was upset when she called me at work. I was angry. She told me that the Oak and Pine Superstore could order our hideaway bar for $200 less as well. The first thing that came to mind was that we’ll get our money back from Furniture in the Raw. I went home during lunch and checked our invoices. Furniture in the Raw has a 7 day refund policy. Yesterday was day 8. I was becoming more and more frustrated. I thought I would have to accept the fact that we got screwed in our furniture purchase.

We drove to Furniture in the Raw after work last night. I talked to the sales manager and told him our situation. I told him that we just bought a house and we get to furnish it in the coming years. I told him that we’ve bought from FITR before (not true) and liked the service and quality of furniture we’d received (also not true). He was very friendly and understanding but said that this situation was above him. He took the catalog numbers of the armoire and bar from the Oak and Pine Superstore and said he would have the owner of FITR call me tomorrow.

So Harriette, the owner of FITR called me this morning. I didn’t mention anything to her about our situation, I just let her talk. She told me that she would match the price on the bar and come down $70 more on the armoire. I didn’t like that and was about to say something when she told me that the armoire that Elise found at the Oak and Pine Superstore was 12″ less in width and height than the armoire we purchased from FITR. I had Harriette give me a can of wood wax and was happy.

So, kudos to FITR for matching a competitor’s price after our refund period had expired. If we shop there again it will be because they charge less than the Oak and Pine Superstore for shipping. But we’ll go to the Oak and Pine Superstore first and get a quote to take with us.

Demi for me

You might not believe this, but Janicek.com is censored. If it were up to me, I would use more words like poo, cat vomit and intermittent. I’ve been told on many occasions that some of the entries I post can be “offensive” to some.

Well, I’m posting this one because I think it’s funny. I must first explain that Elise and I are very, Very, VERY happily married.

I woke up early on Sunday and took a shower. As I walked towards the kitchen, adorned with only a towel loin cloth when Elise woke up and said “I had a dream that you cheated on me.” I have, nor would I ever cheat on my wife or give her any reason to think or dream such. Dreams are weird like that. A dream that I cheated on her was a way for her subconcious to hash out some other personal crisis – something like “would mocha-colored crown molding go with gunstock-colored hardwood floors?”

Like most men in a cotton loin cloth, I though: “Hmmmmm… what type of woman does my own wife see me being intimate with?” Being the sensitive and strategic husband that I am, I asked: “Burrrrrrrrp, So… was she hot?!?!”

Elise’s response: “She looked like Demi Moore, except without the boobs or the good looks.”

iPod Mini released today

I read this article over at iPodlounge this afternoon. This particular paragraph seems as if it were written for me:

After trying “Switch” as a campaign to sell the Mac on its own merits, Apple is assuming that the iPod might serve as a gateway drug, demonstrating the company’s legendary ease of use and seducing Windows users into adding a Mac to the den instead of another PC.

I’m actually going to CompUSA right after work today to get Elise’s iPod Mini. I preordered a blue one for her for her Valentine’s Day present thinking that she would get it before they hit store shelves this evening. It hasn’t been shipped and my debit card hasn’t been charged. Bad Apple. I called Apple and told them I wanted to cancel my order right after I called the local CompUSA and asked the manager to hold a silver Mini for me.

I guess it all worked out for the better because Elise hinted that she would prefer the silver Mini over the blue.

Mr. Janicek, Earl Campbell is on the phone

Today was a good day. It started off with me getting to work seven minutes late. I was pulled over by a motorcycle cop while riding the trusty Shadow to the mall to buy a garage door clicker. Luckily it was a false alarm. 2002 registration tags are the same color as 2005.

I talked to Earl Campbell on the phone this evening. Elise was catering an event at UT, Earl Campbell was there and Elise said “Here, talk to my husband.”

Earl: [very enthusiastically] “Hello, this is Earl!”
Your Humble Narrator: “Hey Earl!”
Earl: “How ya doin’?”
YHN: “I’m good – how are you?”
[small talk]
YHN: “Aieieieieieeee… EARL CAMPBELL GOOOOOD!!! Arble flocky moo goo gai pan – weeeeeeeeee deeeeeeeeeeeee weeeeeeeeee deeeeeee. Me like the EARL CAMPBELL!! Wooosahhhhhhhhhhh.

Okay, I didn’t really say that, but I talked to Earl Campbell on the phone!

Chairman of Home Depot

We’ve been busy. Owning a house will do that to you. We’re still unpacking. I’ve installed a digital thermostat, semi-organized the garage, screwed a 2 x 6 into the garage wall and mounted heavy-duty tool rack that hold shovels, rakes, etc., insulated a furnace duct in the attic, picked up [more] rocks, ran my backyard water drain pipe, yelled at cats, yelled at myself and yelled at a slotted spoon. It’s been stressful. I’d really like to take some time off of work to tend to things but can’t afford to.

Elise and I had a very romantic Valentine’s Day. It consisted of me dropping Elise off at Michelle’s to have a girls’ night out with the girls on Friday night. After a trip to Home Depot and Bed, Bath & Beyond on Saturday, I spent most of the day with John, moving him out of their rental house and into their new house. Elise and I had a beautiful 11:30 p.m. dinner at Jack in the Box. Elise chose the Pannido. I opted for the Sourdough Jack.

We had decided a month ago that our Valentine’s Day present to one another would be a TV armoire. We went to Furniture in the Raw and bought an armoire… and a hideaway bar. Luckily we caught the last day of a 50% sale. It probably would have been cheaper to drive to Mexico to buy the furniture but I couldn’t do that because of my prior underground political involvement in that country. That and we were lucky enough to move into a house that came with a reverse osmosis water purifier and softener. If it so much as rained on us in Mexico we’d most likely have to strap a trough to our beltloops.

We’ve been really excited about having a house. So much that we’ve been spending too much money. Luckily my wife strategically lost any and all gift cards that we’d received for holidays in the past three years. Said gift cards reared their heads this past weekend and yours truly used them like there was no tomorrow. What’s sad is that I bought 100% practical items (everyman needs 100′ feet of ‘professional’ waterhoses and 90 gallons of WD40). I should really buy stock in Home Depot. I’m getting nervous – Spring is just around the corner. Once it warms up outside, I’ll probably start eyeing the “1/697 scale Niagra Falls For Your Backyard Do-it-Yourself kit”.

Wal-mart Music Store

I just bought an album from Wal-mart’s music store. Don’t do that if you use iTunes. I’m now trying a combination of Soundforge and Media Center 9 to see if I can recompress the album so I can put it on my iPod.

I saved $1+ by buying from walmart.com but the hassle isn’t worth $1.

Oh yeah, Happy Valentine’s Day. We used to have Valentine’s Day back in ‘nam.

I bought Elise an iPod Mini so she can listen to music while she trains for Danskin. That and I wanted a new toy to play with.

Moving and settling in

Last weekend was for moving. Not too many action photos because, well, we were moving. My Mom gave me a muscle relaxer on Friday afternoon that allowed me to lift very heavy objects by using only the muscles in my back! That rendered me pretty useless for the rest of the weekend. I moved light stuff.

For our first full weekend in our home, we spent most of it at Lowe’s. Cell phones are a great thing. Elise and I use them to find each other in home improvement stores. Anyway, I spent three hours digging a trench for a PVC drain pipe. Today I have to insulate a heater duct in the attic, install a digital thermostat, caulk the shower and unpack.

Tonight I’m taking Elise to see the Phantom of the Opera at the Bass Concert Hall for her birthday (which is actually tomorrow). I bought 5th row seats – should be fun.

New house and things to do

Moving into a house is stressful. There are boxes everywhere. I figure those will dissipate with time. For some reason, I’m drawn to the backyard. I stand out there a lot and think. I have many ideas – one being a wood deck. We definitely need a deck. We need sod as well. I spent an hour in the yard today picking up rocks and dog poo from the previous owners’ dog. I’m also thinking about a stone walkway on one side of the house. This’ll all be fun.

Interior-wise: paint. Elise and I (meaning Elise) needs to pick out colors and buy paint before Steve and Joanne come down next month. It’s going to be a lot of work but I’m looking forward to it.