Monday, January 27, 2014

Is Lack of Discernable Skills a Disability?

One of the many truths in life is that if you're an Asian that's good at math, you probably don't know your way around a hammer to save your life.  It's just the old book smart vs street smart vs HGTV smart.  Sure, there are a few geniuses out there who can also build mechanical wonders, but these people are most likely terrorists.  Also, I'm fairly certain just writing that word on this blog has made me a target of investigation by the NSA.  IT'S JUST A BLOG GUYS!  RE-FREAKIN-LAX!  But despite my upbringing, it's both surprising and extremely disenfranchising to note that I am NOT good at math, and STILL don't really know my way around a hammer.  Oh sure, I can hang a ceiling fan, work an allen wrench like nobody's business and even understand IKEA directions, but major projects scare the living crap out of me.  I mean, I tried to secure a floor length mirror to a wall, which is why i had to cover up 23 extra holes I made.  It took me over an hour to hand up a small curtain, which by the way is just shy of actually covering the length of the window.  After 3 attempts at measuring the required length to hang a blind up at my parent's house, we now have a crooked blind.  That's me.  That's who I am.

So you can see why, then, I've been going back and forth with the idea of installing my own flagstone patio into my yard.  The high cost of the project after getting a few estimates makes the idea of DIY attractive.  Not to mention, I can always use the manly points that building something with tools and grit give you.  But then I remember all the holes in the wall, and imagine a day where I'm out sipping lemonade on a warm summer day on my patio, when I get up to literally stop and smell the roses, but trip over an uneven, poorly secured flagstone, fall and crack my skull on a jagged edge, and lay bleeding.  But I don't die from the wound.  No that would be too simple.  The excess blood caves in the foundation of the house, which has slowly been degrading due to poor workmanship on the patio which led all the excess moisture from previous snow fall under the foundation and loosened the house from the sandy Colorado soil.  The house caves in on me, I get crushed, die of infection in the hospital, and worst of all, my house warranty is void.  So then, $3000 doesn't seem all that bad anymore.  But the debate still continues.

Today while researching the internet for some how-to's on the patio, I ran into this gem of a blog.  This man, who is so much funnier than I am, is the only honest person on the web when it comes to the trials and tribulations of amateur DIY projects.   I know that sounds ironic, but let's face it, 90% of us can't really do anything that TV tells us we can.  Here's how the author of the Telling Dad blog sees the professional's "how-to's" on doing a patio project:

Step 1: Excavate the earth to a depth of seven inches where you plan on building your flagstone patio. The dirt is light as cotton and easily disposed of. This step should take you nine minutes. If you take breaks.
Step 2: Everything will be naturally perfectly level without any need for additional digging or tamping. Roll out some landscaping tarp and shovel in 3 inches worth of crushed stone for a base. Slam a hand tamper down with the strength of Thor to compact the gravel. You can also rent a machine tamper if you’d rather be able to use your arms the next morning.
Step 3: Once the stone is firmly tamped (three hours if by hand, twelve minutes by machine), add another 2 inches of crushed stone and repeat the tamping process. This dual-method of stone tamping is to ensure you never want to build another flagstone patio for as long as you live.
Step 4: Shovel in 1-2 inches of coarse sand and, yep, you guessed it, tamp the ground again. If tamping correctly, you should be uttering expletives with every downward thrust.
Step 5: Set the flagstone pieces in the sand until finished. Every piece will be perfectly shaped and assemble like a puzzle made for toddlers. Sweep some joint sand in the grooves between the stones and enjoy your new flagstone patio with a day to spare!

Clearly, these are lies.  To see how his project really went, check out the post here.  

This has convinced me that this is not the project I should take on to test my merit as a man.  I should probably start with something smaller, like, hanging a picture straight, or measuring a window.  PS - Hanging a curtain is not just a recurring thing that I once did that I keep bringing up because of the trauma it caused me.  It's an ongoing thing that will probably be on the list for all eternity.  There are just that many windows in my goddamn house.

In other non-house related news, my search for the perfect dog continues.  Last week I heard back from one rescue saying that a dog I've applied for is available.  I'm hoping that I will be able to meet this dog this weekend, but nothing has been set up for sure yet.  I'm still not sure if I'm more scared that I won't get the dog, or that I will.

Finally, yesterday I went to find out what kind of deal the Central Park Regional Recreactional Center (it's a gym, folks) could cut me on an annual membership.  When I start wheezing going up one flight of stairs, it's a clear sign that I need to get back to the gym.  Also, how can I ever reasonably purchase an Ellipti-Go if I am not already a master of it's stationary cousin?  Also, how can I reasonably purchase an Ellipti-Go?  The gym is fairly reasonably priced, but that still didn't stop me from trying every angle to get a discount on my membership.  What kind of gym doesn't give you a discount for paying up front instead of month to month?  Even with a contract, that seems like it would be the more attractive option for them.  Then the lady in charge of membership did a weird thing.  She said, "well you COULD apply for a disability membership (it's about $150 less for the year!).  We're not allowed to ask what your disability is." 

I left the gym that morning membership-free.  But only because I think it would have been weird for me to say, oh yeah...disability...let's get me some of that deal!  I mean....it's a huge savings, and she basically told me I should do it right?  Is this bad karma?!  I don't know.  I'm scared.  What should I do?!  Maybe when I go to sign up I'll walk in with a limp.  Maybe they won't recognize me.  I could try to act like Edward Norton in that one movie where he faked a disability in order to get screwed over by Robert DeNiro in that art heist (oops....Spoiler Alert!)  But I feel like that would not go over well.  Or I could just be like, I'd like to sign up for a membership, and I have a disability.  and if you ask me about it, I'll sue you!  Or I could just suck it up and pay $30 a month for a membership.  Or I could not join a gym and watch even MORE TV.  There's really no wrong answer here.  None.

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