Thursday, July 26, 2012

Adventures in Plumbing: Part II

The Background: Aunt's water heater died. Messily.

Act 1: The Plumber Won't Fix the Floor
Sparkle: "So, I think we should get a few estimates 'cause you didn't like that last plumber. Can you hang in there for that?"
Aunt: "Oh, sure. But, a plumber won't fix the floor, right?"
Sparkle: "No, I don't think many plumbers also fix the floor. We'll figure that out. Just get 'em to come by, I'll pay you back for the estimates, and let's find out what their prices are so we can compare them. Maybe they have someone they can recommend for the floor, but my friend says all we might have to do is put some plywood under there."
Aunt: "Oh, sure."

Aunt: "Well, I called that plumber you gave me the number for. He said he won't fix the floor!"
Sparkle: "No, I don't think many plumbers will. How much will he charge for the water heater?"
Aunt: "I didn't ask him. He won't fix the floor!"
Sparkle: "No, most plumbers won't fix the floor."
Aunt: "He said that he won't fix the floor!"
Sparkle: "No, not the floor. You're worried about the floor, I know."
Aunt: "Yes! He won't fix the..."
Sparkle: "The floor."
Aunt: "The floor."
Sparkle: "The floor."
Aunt: "Floor."
Sparkle: "Floor. Not gonna fix it."
Aunt: "Right."
Note: I am NOT making fun of my aunt. She's a very smart cookie. This is just a situation that few of us cope well with--myself included--and the floor was a big mess.

Act 2: The Plumberman
Sparkle: "GREAT! So, the Plumberman guy came by and gave you the estimate?"
Aunt: "He's here right now."
Sparkle: "Oh! Okay. So what does Plumberman have to say for himself?"
Aunt: "He'll charge XX for this, XX for that, XX for the other, XX for YY, $200 for this, and he'll fix the floor for $105.57, but we'll have to buy the plywood."
Sparkle: "The floor."
Aunt: "Right, the floor."
Sparkle: "Will he put a drip pan in?"
Aunt (asks Pman, comes back): "He will put a drip pan in for $350 extra."
Sparkle: "Okaaay. So far he's charging us too much for some things, I'm surprised he didn't mention the drip pan right away and I think that's too high, and, $105.57 does not seem right."
Aunt (to Pman): "It will really cost $105.57 for the floor and $350 for the drip pan? Oh, it will?"
Sparkle: "Thank him for his time and say you'll be back in touch."
Aunt (to Pman): "Well, I guess I'll be back in touch with you--Oh."
Sparkle: "What?"
Aunt: "He's saying if I sign the contract, he could do it right now, but we'd have to give him a downpayment right now. And he might not have any other time this week or next week."
Sparkle: "Thank him for his time and send him on his way."
Aunt (to Pman): "What's that? Oh. "
Sparkle: "What?"
Aunt: "He's saying he'll throw in the floor and the drip pan for free, but some other costs might come up along the way."
Sparkle: "All of a sudden, the drip pan and the floor are free but some other costs might come up along they way? And the drip pan and the floor cost $455.57 two seconds ago?"
Aunt (in dry, skeptical tone): "Mm-hmm."
Sparkle: "Get that guy OUT of there."
Aunt: "Mm-hmm."

Act 3: The Plumberman Clan
Aunt: "You'll never guess who I just heard from!"
Sparkle: "Wow, who?"
Aunt: "Well, I'm not positive. When I first answered the phone, he said he was the Plumberman's father. But when I asked him who he was again, he said he was 'like a father' to the Plumberman."
Sparkle: "WHAT? What did he want?"
Aunt: "Well, he said the Plumberman told him about the work I need to have done and he said he'd do it for $500 less, including the floor and the drip pan."
Sparkle: "What?"
Aunt: "He talked almost as fast as the Plumberman, so they really might be related."
Sparkle: "Who does he work for?"
Aunt: "I'm not sure. He said 'Clear Answers to Water something something' the first time and 'Waterclear Answers something something' the second time. I wrote it down."
Sparkle: "This smells like bad fish."
Aunt: "Yes, doesn't it? He said he'd fix the floor for free."
Sparkle: "I don't have a good feeling about this one."
Aunt: "No. Me, too. I told him I'd give him a call back after the other guy comes. I don't think I will."
Sparkle: "No. I wouldn't."
Aunt: "I guess he said he'd fix the floor, 'though."
Sparkle: "Yep."

To sum up: There's a lot of gators in the plumbing business--as if you didn't know that already--and she now has hot water again. And the floor? It didn't need to be fixed.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Gas Man! Gas Man! Gaaaaas Man!

Dear FerrellGasTM,

I know that I have an especially juvenile mind. Granted. But, do you know that having a superhero who looks like he is cutting the cheese (Gas Man) as your corporate mascot is just dang funny?

No? It's just me? Okay. I accept that. But, let others judge for themselves.

Have a Super Great Gassy Day!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Adventures in Plumbing...and Research: Part 1

Right now, I'm doing a lot of research for my aunt and my friend. The research for my aunt involves water heaters and plumbers--I will be the out-of-state investor in her new water heater. The research for my friend involves doctors.

Yesterday, I spoke with my aunt 250 times by phone and my friend 75 times. That was cool, I love my aunt and my friend. But, I did find that I was getting confused. Occasionally, I found myself typing up notes that looked like this:

"30 gallons ONLY they'll be ripping you off if they try to sell you residency at University of California Davis, ranked 14th in nation."

I believe I have some rich blogging material in my plumbing conversations with my aunt. We'll see whether that's true when I write it up as Part 2 of this post.

I won't be bloogingTM(Bacon Ace) about the specifics of the doctor conversations, but I must say I know more about these docs than their mothers do. And, I'm kinda drawn to ranking them in odd and rather useless ways:

1) "I do not trust this surgeon's eyes. He looks like a Vegas blackjack dealer. Not a nice one who likes to talk."
2) "This guy seems awesome! He and his wife have the cutest Web site about having their baby boy! Weird! The Web site address is the same as the nickname we used to use all the time!"
3) "Okay, this guy is younger than the others. But, maybe that's good? His hands might be steadier. He won't be as bitter. Also, he might not have that yucky god-dy attitude. In fact, he might be like that young doctor I saw last spring! The one who had mellow jazz playing as I entered the room and who sent me a thank you note after he examined me--which would have been creepy if it was something gynecological but it wasn't so it was nice instead!"
4) "I have a good feeling about this one for no particularly good reason."

Well, sure. In addition to these "intangibles" I've compiled info re: educational attainments, residencies, and middle school science projects. I know who was voted the best by his peers and who's involved in a workman's comp lawsuit. But, I think something even more comprehensive would help--like IMDB profiles for doctors that give their best jokes and quips, summarize their best moments in surgeries, and tell you about upcoming projects.

Anyhoo, please enjoy this gallery of plumbing imagery as a Coming Attraction. And, as a sidenote, let me tell you that in a Google image search of "plumber's crack" the picture below was really the only slightly funny picture I could find. Here's the thing: Accidental plumber's crack is funny. Intentional plumber's crack, "hot" plumber's crack (this becomes possible when the plumber is female or a chiseled male), and "baby" plumber's crack just ain't funny.