Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Mad I say...screaming mad.

So here's what's been going on:

Friday my stager (who is also named Jill, isn't that fun?) came over to give me some help with arranging pictures, furniture, drapery, accessories etc. We had a lovely time...and I have renewed vision for pulling the house together. She saw the area rug we were thinking of buying on line and LOVED it too.

The rug was ordered, and scheduled to arrive in 7 to 10 days...just perfect timing to arrive before the June 13th when we will host a party to celebrate Jeff and Rachel's wedding with their SLC friends.

Saturday I headed out to run errands. That would be SEVEN hours worth of errands, with fourteen stops. When I say I RAN errands, I meant as in sprinting as I returned items, shopped for candles, glassware, throw pillows, rugs, picture frames, drapery, cleaning supplies, etc etc.

I am running with a smashed middle toe. It hurts, but I'm not stopping. I'm tough.

I also had to stop and have a terse little talk with the folks that have made my glasses prescription wrong. Again. Seriously wrong. For the THIRD time.

No wonder my eyes have been feeling so odd. I will be getting new lenses in a week. (Squinting as I type this.)

Unbelievably, as I attempted to match (more or less) our tea green wall paint color, I found five different drapery styles in that color at four different stores.It is pretty amazing to find so many "off the shelf" draperies in that color don't you think?

Exhausted, I returned home, put the up all the different drapes on the current single rod currently installed above the picture window. We were thrilled that they all looked great!

Then the sun went down and the drapery in artificial light all suddenly became split pea soup colored.
A horrible clashing color with the wall.
I tried true color light bulbs...nope, still soup.

Back to the drawing board.

The contractor came by for awhile while I was out running errands. Our contractor is flaking out. He knocked over my African violets and just left them spilt on the floor. He left his power tools on my kitchen table. He measures things, but nothing is done.

I still have no floor or door moulding. I have done without knobs on my bathroom drawers and cabinets for over a month. The air conditioner is installed but not up and running, and it has been HOT the last few days.

Bernie is becoming increasingly irritated with the man. The job was to be completed in March...and here were are in June, and still we wait for work to be done.

(Aside: If you have ever wondered how well you would survive remodeling...try this free at home test:
Remove all the knobs in your house for two months, designate only one bathroom as "working" and make sure it is the most inconvenient one in the house too, and sprinkle sawdust and drywall chalk all over. Allow people you have never seen to come into your house at will...with no forewarning. Let those same folks re-arrange things randomly so you will have to guess where things you need are to be found.

If you can still be civil to your contractor, spouse and pets at this point, then also move your refrigerator outside, your dishwasher outside, and have no washing machine for another month. Remove all switch plate and outlet covers. Add cardboard boxes to the floor. Have your spouse invite business associates stay over. (Thanks V. for that one.)

If you are able to still be congenial and stay out of the cookies/liquor cabinet/drug cabinet, then I say go for it...you are a perfect candidate for remodeling your home. You are also probably a perfect freak.)

But enough about that.

Sunday I headed out at 11 am for MORE errands. Painting supplies, (two trips for that) plus this time I'm looking for white drapery. Seven hours later I'm back home and again...exhausted.

Monday: Off to work. Get an email confirming that our rug has been ordered. Then another email stating that they no longer have any of that rug in stock and won't be getting any more either.

Drat. Start searching for other sources...seems everyone has sold out of it. And if we did find it, it probably wouldn't arrive before the party.

After work I vacuum, mop, and do other basic housework. A big storm outside is brewing. B. and I take a break on the deck to watch the lightening. We decide all the aggravation has been worth it as we enjoy the amazing view.

Later I cajole B. into putting up the curtains on the new double rod, so we will have both sheer and regular drapery over our HUGE front window.

We've been without drapes in this room the whole time we've been in the house. Our neighbors must think we are into performance art...you can see all the way through the house and watch every move we make in the dining and living room at night.

B. is tired and trying not to be negative and grouchy as he sighs and grunts as he puts up the drapery.

Thank heaven the white drapery looks fine. We can cross that miserable detail from our ever growing list of things to do 0n the house.

Tuesday: I don't have to be to work until 11:30 am. I plan on a leisurely cup of coffee with my breakfast but instead get a call a little before 9 : the contractor is ON HIS WAY and will be working in the bathroom installing knobs.

I race to get showered and dressed and make-up put on so the bathroom is clear and available for his presence.

At a little after 10 I leave the house...no one has arrived to work.

I still need to get picture frames. Find frames on sale! Whoo HOO! Something good!

Except, of course, the store only has THREE of the frames I want. I'll need to drive to another store to get one more, and of course actually I need a total of seven. Looks like more driving errands around town is in my future.

No more time to do that this morning; I still need to get to work.

Once at work a student hands me a hundred+ sheets of printed paper. Seems he needed to print some of his homework and since the printer didn't seem willing to do the job, he just kept hitting print...over and over and over again.

Eventually the printer came back from its lunch break (?) and it began to do as it had been asked. As many times as it had been asked.

At ten cents a page...not good. He turned off the printer after it printed most of that, not finding any other way to cancel the print job.

The next student went to print and guess what? The printer is apparently determined to continue the first print job. After it finally finishes another couple hundred pages, it goes on break. This second student needs her print job RIGHT NOW. Thankfully the printer returns from break and does her print job.

Meanwhile I am to supply a list of all the books owned by three campuses to an accreditation agency. These lists are 80 page documents, with each book title having 7 pieces of information associated with it: Dewey number, Library of Congress number, subject, ISBN #, Publication Date, Author, Price.

One campus has the list saved electronically. The other two lists are only on paper.

The list must be provided in electronic format.

I am NOT going to type these lists into electronic format.

Maybe they can be scanned as picture and saved as a picture, but the information will never be able to be updated.

So what is the point of that?

I have no idea.

Meanwhile, while I am frazzled over such mundane things as green drapes that turn pea colored at night and printers that don't care about save saving trees, all around me the big world is continuing on in its usual alarming fashion.

Is it just me, or does it strike you as being really odd that Mr B. Obama is heading to the Middle East to tell the Muslims that we are not and never will be at war with Islam?

Or with Mormons, Catholics, Buddhist, Jews, Druids, Mennonites and Wiccans either I suppose.
We always want to be inclusive...so let's hope these groups get equal assurance of our passivity.

The assurance that Mr. Obama offering the Islamic faithful is comparable to two sports teams meeting to play for the Super Bowl, but one team has walked on the field announcing that they are not going on the offense, but instead will hope that both sides can just agree to get along.

Imagine how that would play out.

I'm guessing the other team would say "Best news EVER!" and run up the score to win.


Am I out in left field with this analogy...to use another sporting metaphor?

Well, consider this article, and then you decide.
Maybe things will have change for the better by Thursday's address to all of Islam.
At least knowing what is really going on makes finding all those little household items seem a whole lot less important!

May 28, 2009, 0:00 a.m.

The War Against Modernity And Why Islamists Are Not Tempted By “Peace.”

By Clifford D. May

The war being waged against the West also is a war against modernity. For nearly a thousand years, Islam reigned supreme in much of the world. But with the coming of the modern era — generally seen as beginning in the 18th century — Christendom outpaced the Muslim world by almost every measure.

Islamists believe the destruction of modernity is necessary if Islam is to regain the power to which it is entitled.

“Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war,” the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni wrote back in 1942. “Those [who say this] are witless. Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.”

More than three decades later, Khomeini would put theory into practice, leading a revolution not just against the Shah of Iran, but also against America and other modern liberal democracies.

Modernity went hand-in-and with the Industrial Revolution — the development of a vast array of mechanical, technological, and scientific inventions. Islamic societies did not demonstrate great aptitude in this area. That was among the reasons they were left behind economically, with the notable exception of those regimes that had oil underfoot. It was the Industrial Revolution that made oil valuable. Westerners found it, pumped it, refined it, and have used it to fuel Western-produced machines ever since.

An important component of the Industrial Revolution was mechanized weaponry: guns, cannons, tanks, and missiles. Initially, this also advantaged the West. Early in his career, Winston Churchill battled a variety of radical Islam in the Sudan. In 1899, he wrote that this “militant and proselytizing faith” should be seen as a grave threat, and “were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science . . . the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”

Recent acts of terrorism — a passenger plane manufactured in America becomes an Islamist missile, a cell phone made in Europe detonates an explosive device in Afghanistan — have turned the technological tables; to what extent, it’s too soon to predict.

Throughout most of history, war was seen as glorious — at least by kings, generals, and others who wielded power. No one expressed this view more eloquently than Genghis Khan, who conquered many Islamic lands in the 13th century, and who rhapsodized:

“Man’s highest joy is victory: to conquer his enemies; to pursue them; to deprive them of their possessions; to make their beloved weep; to ride on their horses; and to embrace their wives and daughters.”

To modern people, such sentiments sound absurd. The terrible conflicts of the 19th and 20th centuries caused most Westerners to treasure peace, and to regard war as hellish, a last resort. But it is mirror-imaging to assume that all cultures have come to see war the same way.

Khomeini explained what he interpreted to be the proper Muslim perspective: “Islam says: Kill [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. . . . People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors! . . . There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight.”

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are committed Khomeinists. If you understand this, you understand that it is senseless to attempt to engage them by holding out the prospect of “peace.” As the scholar Fouad Ajami recently wrote, for militant Islamists truces and negotiated agreements are “at best a breathing spell before the fight for their utopia is taken up again.”

It is unserious to say — as former National Security Council staff members Flynt and Hillary Leverett did in a recent New York Times op-ed — that America’s problems with Iran derive from Tehran’s “legitimate concerns about American intentions,” and that what appears to us as hostility is actually a “fundamentally defensive reaction” on the part of the regime.

Only self-delusion can explain their insistence that President Obama be “willing to work with Tehran to integrate [Hamas and Hezbollah] into lasting settlements of the Middle East’s core political conflicts.” Settlements based on compromises, rather than conquest and victory, are not what militant jihadists want. And these “core political conflicts” are not that — they are symptoms, not the disease.

There is no reason — other than wishful thinking — to believe that Iran’s rulers and other Islamists seek cordial relations with what they view as the decadent and Satanic West. Nevertheless, one American administration after another has acted as though the truth were otherwise. On his final European tour as president a year ago, George W. Bush said Tehran’s rulers must end their drive for nuclear weapons if they want closer ties with the U.S. and Europe.

“They can either face isolation, or they can have better relations with all of us,” he said.

One can imagine Iran’s rulers shaking their heads in bewildered amusement. What they seek is not our friendship. It is our submission. We confuse the two at our peril.

Similarly, this week, the White House responded to the test of a nuclear device by North Korea — a regime that has supplied missile and other technology to both Iran and its client, Syria — by saying “such provocations will only serve to deepen North Korea’s isolation.”

Were North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il a modern man, he would weep salty tears over that prospect. But like Iran’s rulers, he’s not, so he won’t. He will go on his merry way until and unless someone stops him.

— Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.


Dawn said...

Oh me, oh my! I'm exhausted!
Hope everything falls together for the reception!

Vicki said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.


Perhaps I should just box up everything that I can't use or don't need and ship it to you...maybe you'll find something in there to save you from some of those shopping trips. Yes, I'm talking drapes, picture frames, candles, objets d'art, and even pillows! Right now, there's a mountain of throw pillows of every color and pattern piled up on the sofa. Plus, I've been down in the floor this afternoon protectively wrapping all of the art that we have no place to hang...some of it is dear to me and it's going to hide under the bed.

At least I don't have to host anyone this week. Whew.

Oh, and drapes? Remember that big window of mine? Still uncovered. You can see all through the house from outside that window. Guess we're all exhibitionists at heart. ;) I think I know what I want...Doc isn't convinced. I measured the window today and told Doc how much drapery I need to buy and he just gaped at me (the window is 15 feet wide!). His eyes looked like dollar signs. He didn't say a word. Eek.

Missiles, war, plane crashes, flu, economy, and so on...it's all frightening, but we have to try to rely on our faith in God that He will be with us through this. He didn't promise that any of it would be easy or painless or upbeat - He's just promising to be there. I still feel like hiding or running away...

Now...this is to anyone says they are willing to live in their home while it undergoes a renovation, Jill and I would be happy to bring you into our support group...our first piece of advice: DON'T! DON'T DO IT! And - like a glutton for punishment - I'm getting ready to start it up again.


Help me.

Julie said...

Jill, there is only one thing that assures me you will get through all this .... you had the energy and presence of mind to type all that out !!! smile....

I do agree with you about the Muslems.... and your sports analogy is bang on! EXACTLY!

Lovella said...

What a busy time Jill. . .what you need is a go-fer girl to help. . .but its a bit of a commute .. so I can't do a thing . .but you'll get it done. . I'm certain. .
About the political situation. . oh boy . .I've had to read quickly with the little ones. .but I get the general idea and there is certainly reason for concern.
It will be my nap reading.