Lou in action last weekend. Me, capturing it all.
There is an unbelievable amount of work happening here in this house. The thing is, I don’t write about a lot of it because it’s nonstop. It comes, it goes. More comes and goes. I intend to post a picture or two but don’t get around to it. And really, I don’t write about a lot of the recent stuff because it happens in the hands and head of one very talented Lou Simmons. I do the spray painting of old things. Lou does everything else.
Lou is the project manager for this endless undertaking. I don’t always know what’s happening next, as there are rooms and floors and projects running in parallel, but he has them in his head and can reel them off whenever I ask. Which is usually once in the morning and once at night. More often, if I’m not listening to his answer. He’s very patient.
So patient, in fact, that he has spent more hours on the phone with UPS (and other customer service reps) than anyone should have to in their entire life. Since we’ve taken to buying things online, including all the faucets and fixtures, the odds and ends to go with them, lights and cords, snow boots, these sweet orange chairs from Etsy, even sausages (you really can buy everything on Fab.com), there’s usually at least one package trying to find its way to our front door every day. And for some reason the shippers insist on Lou being home to sign for them all. Which, let’s be honest, never happens because he also has a real job. OMG you thought he only worked on the house? Me too!
So when a delivery is missed, it’s not just like, “Oh, come back tomorrow, I’ll be here from 10-2 watching Price is Right.” It’s more like “You can’t come back tomorrow because I’ll be at work just like I was today and this will all happen again, so I have to pick it up from your shipping center or you have to let me change the delivery address.” These options never make UPS happy, rarely work with the kind of delivery the shipper has chosen, nor are they free.
I have watched Lou, as we stood in a fake living room at Ikea, try to talk some sense into a customer service rep on the phone. For a good 30 minutes, in his patient, deliberate, Texas-country accent, he repeated himself over and over, trying to get through the thick skull on the other end of the line. This was just one of about four calls that happened that evening for this round of package delivery. But finally he got his way, and his packages were delivered the next day, to a new address, free of services charges. I would have given in and paid the extra $30 re-delivery charge but Lou stuck it out and got what he wanted, and really, what he deserved.
On a side note, UPS, you hire some truly incompetent people and do not empower them to help your customers or your company. When three different people give three different hours of operation for one location, and it turns out that NONE of those hours are right, well, that’s a shame. So, say yes to FedEx. Support your local USPS.
Lou has the ability to talk to anyone, disarm them (even the most closed-off New Englander), ask the right questions, and get more information out of one person than I ever could, and I don’t even think he intends to. He goes to a glass shop just to “see” about getting some samples for the front door sidelights, and returns with samples and recommendations for other glass places, plastic places, maybe the name of a metalworker, and more. A stop into a countertop place and he leaves with the number for a cheaper installer. Last week, the plumber practically forced his old truck onto us so Lou could have it to run errands and pick up supplies instead of using ZipCar. People just like him. They want to help him (well, not the UPS people).
But wait, there’s more! He’s not just the project manager or the supply-fetcher or the designer of things like teak bathroom cabinets. He’s also the builder! He just whipped up a bathroom cabinet with sleek lines and a built-in TP holder for the rental unit, and he’s about to do the same for our bathroom.
Note: This is not our workshop. Again, a nice person lets Lou use it.
Lou would like to inform you that after a few more cuts, the sink will fit and the counter will sit right against the cabinet top. And the doors need hinges. And the whole thing needs to be put in the bathroom. I’d like to inform you we got the nice Kohler sink for $30 at our fave place.
I help where I can. I give my opinion. I am decent with a can of spray paint (but don’t look too close or you’ll see the drips). I’m getting better with a paint brush. Most of it still ends up on my clothes, but less makes it to the floor now. I am amazing at vacuuming and sweeping up debris, fetching screwdrivers and swapping out dead batteries for charged ones. And I am a big supporter of all things minimal and modern, and the reusing of materials. But let’s be honest – without Lou, this blog would not exist. Because the house would not. So thanks, Lou. For all you do.
I’m not complaining about my lack of input or ability – I’m happy being the helper and the sandwich maker and spray painter. Okay, and the approver of all design decisions. I just had to update on the daily things that happen in Lou’s world that in turn, happen in mine, none of which make the blog. I’m trying to get him to write some posts, or at lease upload some photos (the ones he takes are just as good as everything else he does).
In the meantime, I’m going to give y’all an update on how I spray painted two ugly brass chandeliers and saved us hundreds of dollars!