Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where in the world is Ranty going to be this weekend???

Wow, three posts in one day!

I'm deliberately overcompensating for what will likely be an eleven-day drought in ranty-posts.

Yes yes, I know you're thinking:

Whaaaaaaat???? How will I survive eleven days without my fix of blurry house/garden pics with fingernail-measurements, over-puctuated diatribes and wanton, profanity-laced complaining????

But I promise that you will make it through. Especially if you read MNSpeak. (And if you don't, I suggest you do. It's awesome. I've been wasting precious time there for well over a year now, so I know what I'm talking about.)

And nowwwwwwwwwww... to keep you further occupied, how about a contest???


Okay, here are the hints:

1. It's an island. (But no, not the Greek one from which Sr. Ranty hails.)

2. It's actually a deserted island, located in a tiny archipelago.

3. The main language spoken throughout this archipelago (on the islands which are inhabited, that is to say) is not the same as that of the country to which the island belongs. In fact, the islanders are a source of fascination to some linguistic scholars for their unique patois.

4. This particular deserted island is home to an annual music festival, which takes place next weekend, and is also something of a cult diving destination.

And the biggest hint of all:

5. While I call it an island, the islanders actually call it a "cay."

The first person to guess the answer correctly wins a souvenir from the trip! (No, I'm not telling you what the souvenir is, because I don't know yet. It will have to be small and legal to carry across borders though, for sure. :-)

*Those of you to whom I already disclosed the location: hush.

Sooooooooooo CUTE!

The baby gourd, that is to say... not to be confused with my fingernail or the rusty pickup truck key.

The Den, then and now

The den was rather difficult to photograph, but here's a taste of what that poor little room had to go through...

Note the disgusting ceiling. It started out with foamboard tiles, under which I also discovered painted wallpaper.

Both were undoubtedly somebody's *cough* clever response to the underlying plaster damage.

I'll never EVER forget pulling down the penultimate tile and discovering the words "f**k you!" scrawled in red ink underneath.

See that last bottom corner of plaster?

Pulling it out yielded much dust, some loose lath, and a bonus pair of men's tighty-whities, plastered right into the dang wall.

Go figure...

All done!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday Afternoon Project

As some (but not all) of you know, this house-lady's base of operations is (ironically) a little apartment in Whittier.

While the Good Scientist and I do intend to move into house #5 (aka the dump of my dreams) after it's ready, we are currently enjoying our non-working hours in this tiny flat near Lyn-Lake.

Shocking, I know.


And don't get me started on the light fixture....

And I'll tell you a secret: It's DIRTY TOO.

So today I looked at this kitchen and I said to myself I said:

"Self, you are stupid. Why does the cottage look so nice and your kitchen look so terrible?"

And I said back to myself I said:

"Self, cuz I am tired. I don't wanna do this shite when I come home at night. Go proselytize ELSEWHERE, you wannabe-shoulder-sittin-angel-bizzzaaaaatch."

To which I replied:

"Hey dumbself: today is SATURDAY. Stop screwing around with your futile attempt to follow people on twitter, put on a clean shirt and let's do something prooooooo-ductive... hmmmm?"

So we (I mean "I") did just that.

I present you with a clean kitchen, walls painted in a cornhusk tone.

<------------------ Please forgive the aweful cabinetry and flooring... this is what one gets for $600/month in Whittier.

Ah, tidyness.

This is why I love Craigslist

A handful of trim boards...

...and a bunch of lawncare products...

Offered free...

Generated TEN emails in UNDER five minutes! Wow!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Please don't make me cry... I have enough footwear already

Guess what I found in the mail today?

A collection letter! Or, more specifically, a Demand for Payment and Intent to Levy Wages, (um, what wages?) from my buddies over at the Department of Revenue.

Huh? Wha?

Clearly, I thought to myself, this must have something to do with those yahoos losing my tax payment check, which I described back here. The strange part though was that this letter demanded the sum of $249.85... a wholly unfamiliar number to me. (My taxes due last April were over $4k.)

So I called my good friends up over at the collection department to see what had gone awry. They had all been extremely nice to me in the past, and I didn't expect any different this time.


The guy who took my call this time must have been working through his designated smoke break or something, because he was rahh-ther snippy. I was, he brusquely informed me, in default on the penalties and interest which had accrued as a result of my failure to pay my tax bill in a timely fashion.


He further explained that while my penalty and interest had technically been abated, I had neglected to send in the necessary proof, in the form of three months worth of bank statements, and that until or unless I did so, I was still in default.

When I began to cry out of sheer anger, his response was something to the effect of "how hard is it to just do what I'm telling you to?"

He obviously didn't understand that the REASON for which I was inching toward hysteria is that the last person I spoke with told me everything was A-OK, and that I was furious with myself for believing her and not sending a confirmation letter via certified mail.

(Needless to say, I am still kicking myself for not sending my first, timely CHECK via certified mail as well.)

So I took the fax number down and bid my dear tax collector adieu, cursing both him and myself all the while.

Five minutes later, my cell phone rang and it was him again.

"Hai! Just wanted to let you know that I checked with my supervisor and she told me that you're all cool, no need to send anything in after all. Sorry 'bout that, we heart you lots, kthnxbai!"

What the...?

I don't know what's wrong with me, but this second conversation was even more upsetting, and made me cry again. Who ARE these fawkers??? Am I just supposed to ignore that letter now? Cuz some dude on the phone told me to? Righttttttttttt.

Now I REALLY have to send them a confirmation letter. UGH.

So depressed was I that I felt compelled to take drastic measures in defense of my mental health:

I dropped everything and went to Goodwill for trampy shoes and gaudy purple stemware.

And then I traded a frisbee for some 4-legged moral support.

We're both feeling much better now...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ever wondered what you pay a Realtor for?


You pay a Realtor to deal with problems...

...such as those I'm having right now. Hooray for on-the-job experience, right?


Not 24 hours on the market and we already have issues.

Remember how I had that Truth in Sale of Housing inspection on Monday?

Him: "You passed! No repair/replace orders for you today... that'll be $185 please."

Me: (writing check) "So when do I get that report?"

Him: "Tomorrow morning, probably. I gotta sign off on the old R/Rs and get the new report printed up, but that shouldn't take much. Look for it in your email."

Me: (frowning) "So I guess maybe I can't list my house tomorrow morning then? Y'know, cuz I gotta have that report onsite for showings or risk a big-fat fine..."

Him: (taking my check and giving me a STARE) "You WILL have it tomorrow."

Me: "Okayyyy."

Can you see what's coming here?

No report.

No report?

No report.



So I hope ya like the photos, cuz that's all anybody's seeing of this place until I get that thing.

And that means no Sunday open house this week. (Wednesday is the deadline for Strib ads.)


Here's the problem in a nutshell: I had some plumbing work done, and I did something really effing unusual - I hired a licensed contractor, and I instructed him to pull the appropriate permits for his work. (Whoooo... that's weird, huh?!)

When somebody pulls a permit in the City of Minneapolis, that work must be subsequently inspected. Yeah, you ask? So what?

Yeah, I asked that too.

In FACT, I told the TIH inspector all about that, and he stated many times that he doesn't care about permits. I asked him if I needed to schedule the city inspector PRIOR to his visit and he said NO. Permits, he told me, are NOT HIS GIG. HE DOESN'T CARE. NO PROBLEM, SHUT UP, LEMME COME AND DO MY DAMN INSPECTION... or something to that effect.

Well guess what?

He tried to sign off on the four R/Rs from the old TIH, which he told me were all non-permit-requiring items.

Turns out, he was wrong. The one item which was something about the level of some piece of crap in the guts of the toilet DID need a permit to repair.

Except that I never repaired that.

Um, hello? I gutted the whole damn room and threw that toilet OUT!

(And replaced it with a new one, under permit, with my plumber-guy.)

So nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww I can't get a city inspector out to check my toilet and other plumbing items until next TUESDAY, after which he must go back downtown, do his blabbity-blah-paperwork, after which the TIH inspector can do his blabbity-blah-paperwork, and THEN... IF he's not too busy on another job he'll email me the report and I can put it onsite and begin to allow showings.

Bets on how long that will take?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Weird marketing?

Do you think it's okay that I put a squash-flower pic on the MLS???

I just really liked it, is all....

And while I have the blossom, the future owner of this cottage gets: THE SQUASH!

Exciting, dontcha think?

I thought so too. :-)

(Listing link coming soon to a blog near you.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Who's ready for dinner?

I AM!!!!!


And in other news, my baby passed her first test.

Aww. I feel so proud... especially because I know she flunked a time or two before we met. :-)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Le Visage

Yeah, I know. I haven't shown you the front of the house yet. I promise that I will, in the next couple of days.

But for now, how about a blast from the past?

This photo was taken somewhere around 2001, as far as I can tell.

Nasty-awning-ness aside, I can't help but notice that my little housey-house actually HAD A STORM DOOR in this photo.

Whoooooooooooooooooo took it?

Ah well. Whatevah. At least that barf-blue had already been ameliorated by the time I adopted my favorite little orphan-cottage in 2006... and I'm happy to report that the foliage did not actually EAT the house, as one might presume from this picture.

To be continued..........................

Forest, prairie-grass, kelly, seafoam...

...whatever the particular shade of green, you can bet on it being found at Villa Ranty.

Here are a few on the front porch. Once again, this is not completely staged. I'm going to scrub it up a bit more, add throw pillows to the chairs and a table lamp for good measure.

Sadly, I don't have a before shot of the porch. I screwed up on that. It looked crappy though - take my word for it. I scrubbed, patched, caulked and repainted the entire thing, down to the floorboards. (After scraping the old linoleum and 1930s newsprint off, that is.)

And I guess it's about time I showed you this.
(interior view)
<--------- Hrmph.

(exterior view)

I'm thinking of painting that new-frame wood in the rusty-red color that I have on the porch floor. The reason is that I want to detract from the obnoxiously mis-matched greens of the door and surrounding woodwork.

Worth a try anyway, eh?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Emco Storm Door - YOU SUCK!!!

Those of you who have been following this blog are -of course- familiar with the storm door saga.

But wait - there's new news:

This Emco 400 Traditional Self-Storing Storm Door , for which I waited forty days, is in fact A COMPLETE PIECE OF GARBAGE.

First of all, it's made of fucking tin foil. The thing was dented inside the box. Later, I think I sneezed, and it dented again... badly.

Second of all, if you look at the product description, there's a line that reads as follows:

  • Deadbolt with keyed lock is built into the door frame.
WTF, you sneaky bastards! It is NOT built in!

How is this, you ask? I'll tell you how: The door comes flat, with no hardware on it. Not only is there no hardware on it, but you have to actually drill your own holes in the tin foil in order to install THE HANDLE and LOCK.

Hello??? Gimme a hole, at least? Please? A drawn-on guide? Something????

Third, due to the aforementioned tin foil quality, my door was totally warped. That is to say, when in a closed and locked position, one could still slip a UPS parcel into my porch via the ridiculous gap at the top of this craptastic door's frame.

I tried to bend it back, and almost broke the glass insert. Evidently the components are secured with bubble gum and tape.

Oh, and this door retails for $360 at Home Depot, in case you were wondering.


Monday, July 16, 2007



Ahhhhhhhh, Summer

Garden tomatoes!

A reminder of what the yard used to look like.

Preview of what it looks like now.

And last but not least, Ranty and the Good Scientist at Kingman Studios last Saturday.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Today's mail and a peek into my bedroom

Guess what came in the mail today? Look at that great note. So professional, eh? (If you can't read it, it says "store credit - per store Mgr. Matt Vernig.")

And for some weird reason they are giving me $107, rather than $100. Perhaps I was $7 bitchier with my last letter...?

This book came today too. I love the title!

Barbara Corcoran, for those of you who don't know, is a real estate guru and master-stager. I believe she's also a correspondent for the Today Show, though I'm not certain since I don't watch TV. (But I have looked at some of her clips on YouTube.)

Now, on to the bedroom. I'm disappointed that I can't find any good before pictures, but I did scare up a couple of bad ones, just to give you a rough idea of what was going on in this room when I started working on the house nearly 8 months ago...

View from the dining room into the bedroom. See how they had some classy curtains hanging in there?

View from the bedroom, looking back out into the dining room. Those double doors were a MESS.

But nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww:

They're all cleaned up!

This is my favorite-est (Ikea) sconce on the planet.

This is the favorite-est (Ikea) sconce that I busted when I decided to try and let it hang by its wires as I painted around it.

Note: don't do that.

That flower is totally from my garden. :-)

I still need some photography help. I guess I'd better hire a pro for the listing.

I love bright colors!!!!!!!

(I hope my prospective buyers do too...)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sneak Peek: Kitchen, before and after

It's not completed yet, as I still need appliances, some plumbing tweaks and decor, but here's an advance peek at the cottage kitchen:

(First, let's remember how it was before)

Wow. Love those curtains and that dented metal cabinet!

Layers of painted-over wallpaper...

Mmm, yummy floor, eh?

That sparkly sheen is from years of splattered grease.

But now..... I give you the [almost] after:

View from dining room.

Whoooooooooo! Custom oak cabinetry!

Yep, that's a fridge-hole.

(Note the clean and shiny floors! Shiny from polyurethane, not from grease!)

I love my faucet.

Soft, undercab lighting, courtesy of Ikea, coming SOON to Cucina Ranty.

The End.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


$50 bucks later and less a few brain cells from traveling to the dreaded MALL, I give you:

Realtor Ranty's biz card photo.
<----------------------------- Wow, do I ever look like my mother.

The blossom that ate Minneapolis

This is a Datura blossom. I got this plant for free from a lady in Camden, thanks to Craigslist.

I've never EVER seen a flowerbud this long.

I present: my house key, for scale.

Or better yet, my finger.

Note: I took these pics a couple of days ago, and the thing has grown at least two inches since then.

I can't wait to see it open!!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

FORTY days

July 10, 2007

Customer Relations
Home Depot
2455 Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30339

To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing to follow up on a customer service issue at the Minneapolis Home Depot, about which I contacted your offices last week. (Original letter attached for reference.)

Last Thursday, I hand-delivered my letter to Matt Virnig, and he called me shortly thereafter. While he did apologize for the problems I had encountered as well as offer to send me a $100 gift card, I was disturbed to hear that he had no idea what was going on with my missing storm door. He informed me that he had an employee waiting on hold with the vendor of the product, and that he would call me by the end of the day.

He never called back.

On Friday, July 6, I called the store and was told that Mr. Virnig was not answering his phone. I asked for his voicemail, and the operator told me that he doesn't have any. (How does the manager of an entire store not have voicemail???) I left a message with the operator, asking Mr. Virnig to call me, which he still has not, as of Tuesday, July 10.

This extreme lack of basic customer service is truly mind-boggling, and I do intend to share this story with my friends and industry colleagues so that they may be spared such aggravation by shopping elsewhere.


Real Estate Agent & Investor

CC: Matt Virnig, Store Manager
Home Depot
1520 New Brighton Blvd
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Enc: 1



When I got home today at 5:30pm, there was a message on the answering machine stating that my door had arrived and was ready for pickup. (NOT by Matt Virnig, mind you.)

I'm still sending this letter, goddammit.

Monday, July 9, 2007

39 Days and counting...




Kill me now.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Poop Terrorist!

We have a problem.

Someone is pooping in another certain someone's BED.

The problem is increasing in volume and frequency. The culprit MUST BE STOPPED for the health and sanity of the inhabitants of Casa Ranty.

But who could it be????

Undercover investigations of the black cat yielded stinky butt-whiff and a noseful of hair, but nothing in the way of conclusive evidence.

Questioning of the white cat proved equally fruitless, as he repeatedly denied any involvement. (Although he does have a crimminal history, and since his hair was found all over the bed and in the vicinity of the poop, he remains a prime suspect.)

The victim is suffering great psychological stress as a result of these heineous (and repeated) crimes.

A *reward is being offered for any information in this case.

*You can have the crapping cat. :-)