Home Ownership

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Sometimes the world reminds you that you had better be on your toes and have your wits about you.  And since my wits are known to wander, I’m lucky I was born with an amazing set of toes.

The roommate search has been going well.  Met some nice folks, nothing finalized yet, but I’m pleased at the progress.  I’ve been extremely picky about who I meet to show the place.  Good grammar and complete sentences is a rule that I’m finding will not only get you ahead in the world, but will protect you in turn.  I don’t email anyone back who can’t write a reasonable inquiry.  I also don’t write anyone back who doesn’t tell me anything about themselves in the email; and even then, I’m choosy.

One thing I noticed was that one of the, well in my opinion, sorta creepy emails that I was getting was being repeated.  This didn’t stand out right away–I just thought it was the same person.  But then I noticed that the emails sounded really alike, and I thought that odd–for someone to be copying and pasting the same email over and over.  And then I looked at the names and saw that the emails were identical except for the names and email addresses.  Take a look:

Am responding to your craigslist posting about the room available for rent,i will like to know if the place is still available for rent…My name is Kristi Vienna,am 25 years old of age’ .I am very clean and have no pets or kids,laid back,No drugs or drinking etc .I will like to know how soon you want to rent the place,because i really need a room now..
Hope to read from you soon

Am responding to your craigslist posting about the room available for rent,i will like to know if the place is still available for rent…My name is Rosa Adams,am 25 years old of age’ .I am very clean and have no pets or kids,laid back,No drugs or drinking etc.I will like to know how soon you want to rent the place,because i really need a room now..
Hope to read from you soon

Am responding to your craigslist posting about the room available for rent,i will like to know if the place is still available for rent…My name is Britney Smith,am 25 years old of age’ .I am very clean and have no pets or kids,laid back,No drugs or drinking etc .I will like to know how soon you want to rent the place,because i really need a room now..
Hope to read from you soon

Am responding to your craigslist posting about the room available for rent,i will like to know if the place is still available for rent…My name is Lara Smith,am 25 years old of age’ .I am very clean and have no pets or kids,laid back,No drugs or drinking etc .I will like to know how soon you want to rent the place,because i really need a room now..
Hope to read from you soon

Creepy, huh?

At first I was put off by the bad grammar, but more than that anyone emailing me with a desperate sounding situation is a no-go.  I don’t want anyone’s drama.  I’m glad I was patient and careful about my screening and ignored these, but I saw another that I did almost respond to:

Anna Lee
Hi…..Hope the room is still available?

Cheryl Anderson
Hi…..Hope the room is still available?

The name wasn’t even in the email–it was in the header with the differing email addresses.  Just a one-line email.  But the fact that they said nothing and more importantly responded with a stupid question put me off.  Of course the room is still available–I posted it only an hour ago.

I did some googling and found this explanation from one of the fellows over at ScamWarners.  This is in response to a fellow named Matthew.

Hi Mathew, welcome to Scamwarners.

As Dotti suggested it’s almost certainly a fake cheque scamer.

The basic concept is that the victim will be paid by “her” (Dotti was also correct, it’s almost certainly an African male but for the purpose of this thread we will refer to him as a female) using a fake cheque, the victim will be encouraged to cash the cheque as soon as possible, the cheque may be made out for an amount over and above the amount of money that the victim is owed, and the victim will be asked to either refund the difference or perhaps send a portion of that money to another person.

What many people dont understand about cheques is that they go through a banking cycle that includes “provisional clearance” this stage has to do with regulations that mean the bank has to make funds available within 5 days so on the 5th day you will be able to access the money so long as the bank has not found any obvious problems in that time.

Unfortunately, as the cheque goes through the banking cycle it may take much longer than 5 days and even in some cases months for a bank to realise that a fake cheque is fake, when they do, any money drawn on that cheque is immediately reversed from the bank account it was deposited into, if funds are not available to reverse the transaction than the police may be asked to get involved.

Any money that is drawn on a fake cheque is the responsibility of the person who deposits it so the victim in this case will be out of pocket by any money that has been spent or passed on and may also find themselves in trouble with police as well

Interesting, huh?  Here’s a link to that post.  You can read the email he got after responding to something like what I got above, and you can see that the person starts trying to “secure the room” right away with money.  They ask for pictures, but can’t visit because they are out of the country.

I’m careful about things, so it hasn’t been an issue for me.  When I respond to people, the only additional piece of information they get is my first name.  I don’t give out the address or contact info until we’ve talked a little bit.  And I don’t discuss money or payment in the email whatsoever.

So be warned!  If you’re renting a room and using Craigslist, as so many of us do, be careful about who you talk to.

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I’m hiding out from the heat in my office today. It may be roasting outside this weekend, but in here it’s wonderfully cool.

I’m hoping to make it a productive weekend, actually. My tentative plans all sort of unraveled before they came together, so I resolved to have a weekend of staying in and getting things done (and not spending anything!). I’ve got things at the house close to at what I suppose you might call a good stopping point. It’ll be nice to relax and pursue some hobbies as opposed to housework every night.

The next thing will be getting a second roommate. I’m a tad apprehensive about this. Despite having had plenty of roommates, I’ve always lived with someone I’ve known. Sometimes it’s worked out better than others, but in each case there was a familiarity and, well, trust there already. I’m going to be bringing in someone who at this point is a complete mystery. I mean, it could go so many different ways.

What I’m hoping is that I’ll be able to be pretty picky and find someone who’s going to be a good personality and lifestyle fit. I can afford to wait (although I’d really rather not–this rent will be financing some forthcoming weekend adventures). Right now I have myself convinced that the perfect roommate would be a liberal arts type grad student–someone with good taste, quiet habits, and, most importantly, a busy school schedule. But who knows. Maybe I’ll find some young professional gamer geek who I’ll click with immediately.

Or maybe I’ll end up renting to some psycho. I guess we’ll see how this goes.  Wish me luck.

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Do you know what I don’t understand? Why don’t painters have bodies like athletes?

I got back to painting this weekend, and all I’ve got to say is holy shit, man, what a workout. Through the move and all the painting and everything, I’ve actually gotten toned up a bit. This is great, since I haven’t had time for the gym. Today I actually threw on a polo shirt that the last time I tried to wear it was a little tight in the middle. Not today. Pushing that roller up and down for hours at a time. It’s an upper body workout that’s hard to get on any fitness machine. My chest and arms feel great for days after painting a room.

But what about people who paint houses for a living? You’d think that such people would have the bodies of swimmers or something. Hours and hours spent breaking in that body. You’d think that desperate housewives would have painters on call instead of pool boys.

In either case, the progress on the house continues. I’m hoping that after this week I can ease off and take it easy, most of my immediate projects being completed. I think the next big thing will be painting and re-hardware-ing the bathrooms. That and upgrading some security items.

I think there still might be some summer left for me to enjoy once this is wrapped up. Which is good because I’ve been out of touch with like everybody lately. And let’s not even talk about the last time I did something as leisurely as read a novel.  Buying and working on a house mostly by yourself is some pretty time consuming shit–especially if you’re as dogged as I am about making it not just livable but enjoyable.  But then again, I have more than occasionally been accused of having a one track mind.

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Generally speaking, I’m a fan of routines.  Regular, predictable events and actions that string days together easily and seamlessly.  They empower the imagination in an inverse sort of way: I can easily imagine, for example, what my next Monday will look like.

Perhaps that thought is a little disturbing: the looming specter of the Monday next.  But really, it’s only a negative if your days are negative.  Do your days routinely suck?  Then maybe you should make some changes.  Most of my days are good, or at the least, they definitely aren’t bad.  So I’ve few complaints.

That imagined visage of a comfortable, routine day is seldom as warm as when displaced.  I get this when I go on long vacations.  At a certain point I get homesick and long to return.  And I’ve felt a little bit of that in a strange way lately.  Moving, house shopping, packing, unpacking, and constantly working on the house have me so displaced from my usual self that I’ve been longing for some normality.  I can’t stand living out of boxes.  The other night, as I was crashing, I felt an aching desire to thumb through one of my books before I fell asleep, but the book was buried in any one of a dozen boxes.  What is the point of owning books if you don’t return to them on occasion to remember their treasures?

Still, though, I’ve managed to weird myself out a little.  One habit that I never wanted to become a habit is television.  If there’s one form of background noise that I positively can’t stand it’s television.  Whenever I’m at a parent’s house, the television is incessantly blaring.  At my father’s it’s always on in the background.  At my mother’s, she and her husband are interminably glued to it.  Either way, I hate it.  I never wanted to be a “tv person.”

But one of the most annoying things about my move was that I got behind on my shows.  “My shows” see there I said it.  I’m deliberate about what I watch, and I always DVR it so that I  can skip the commercials.  But still.  I feel that I’ve become a shade of my parents in this way.

Now this isn’t a new concern of mine, but what surprised me about the temporary interruption was the realization of how important these shows are to my relaxation.  I mean, they’ve really become my decompression routine.  When I get home from an eleven hour day at the office (or even a nine hour day), I queue up one of my shows and chill out.

Partly this is good.  I’m glad I’ve found an outlet.  But at the same time, I don’t like the feeling that television is necessary.  I’d like to think that I could cancel my cable subscription at any time and with few regrets.

So this is a goal for me to work on this summer.  I want some new routines.  Routines that feel a little more active.  It’s going to be tough.  Trueblood just started back up, as did Top Chef, and Louis CK’s new show starts soon.  Oh, and did we mention Entourage?  Oh and MadMen will be here before you know it.

You see what I mean?  You see!  It’s an endless spiral.

I’m hoping to get some major unpacking done this week, and once those things are settled, we need to focus on some new routines.  Even if they’re old ones revived.

Oh, but I am still planning a fitting Treme wrap-up post here.  Both Treme and the Tudors just wrapped up.  All I really have to say about the Tudors is “Henry VIII with a conscience” sounds more like a thought experiment than basis for a tv show, but the writers made it work.  Recommended.

Treme, now.  I’ve been thinking about Treme.  And you should be watching it.  I feel guilty even calling what David Simon does “tv” anymore.  It’s just so damned good.

But more on that later.

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Paint in patches.

Overlap your patches.

Keep them even.

Keep painting.

Keep painting.

My mantra has been simple and arduous these past few days.  I’m doggedly determined to get several key rooms painted now rather than later.  It’s coming along, but WAY slower and WAY harder than I expected.  I don’t know if it’s the drywall in here or the paint that I bought (which wasn’t a cheap one), but it’s taking more coats than expected to get the colors right.  It doesn’t help that the seller painted everything this ass ugly bright yellow-beige.

Other than that I’ve been mentally wiped and just kind of holding it together.  The one thing I wasn’t expecting with my first house was the mental saturation.  At a number of points I’ve just gotten so that I can’t absorb anything else.  And all these decisions need to be made by me.  It’s my house.  I’ve had to make myself stop and rest at a few points just to keep it together.  But it’s been going well all in all.

So I’m finally starting to stabilize here and hope to have some insights posted in the next day or so.  I might post about a few of the projects I have going around the house, but I don’t want to get too focused on that here.  Blogs only about home projects are a little annoying.  This is a journal style blog, and I intend to keep it that way.

Mainly though, I am just pushing ahead, stroke stroke stroke, and looking forward to having a normal social life again in a couple of weeks.  Be back in the regular swing of things soon.

Supposedly, I’m going to have an internet connection at home tonight.  Supposedly.  I am counting on the Comcast guy.  Again.  So my hopes are less than 100%.

Things are going well with the house and I’m happy with things all in all, although physically I feel like I’ve spent the last three days fighting a kraken.  I’m wiped.  Luckily things are calm at work right now, so I’m off the hook from any serious duty.

Hopefully I’ll be back with a real post tonight from my finished, painted, furnished basement.  The first major hurdle will be mounted, and I can relax a little.

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Everything is happening slower than I want it to.  I’m glad that I bumped the move up a week, because it’s taken a lot longer than expected.  There are still a few things left at the apartment that I need to pick up (I left my pictures hung because I didn’t have time to spackle the walls yet).

Just the move itself took twice as long as expected.  I do this thing right…. people, they usually assume I’m in my 20s.  I look young.  And sometimes I feel like I’m still in my 20s.  But after loading and unloading that truck several times this weekend, I felt like I was 50.  Despite having more muscle tone than I used to, I’m not the young buck I once was.

And now that I’m in the house, everything is taking forever.  My list of things I hope to get done this weekend is impossible:
– Reseal grout in kitchen
– Chop down branches in back yard
– Get the deck ready for company
– Get my lawn mower and mow the lawn
– Paint my basement
– Sort boxes and unpack more
– Hit up IKEA and put together some furniture
– Install CO detectors

Heck, I know there’s a bunch I’m forgetting.

I guess part of home ownership is learning to take things one step at a time.

Despite what sounds like griping there, I’m sleeping better than I have in months.  Oh speaking of sleeping, I now need to purchase a split box spring for my bed.  So there’s another thing to do this weekend.

And this is, of course, in addition to this weekend’s social events.

I guess we’ll see how it all goes.  One step at a time…

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