The Top 5 Best Carpets of My Life So Far

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About six years ago a clean-shaven, slightly tired-looking young girl was showing me the hairier parts of what would eventually become my dog. “Look,” she said, pointing between the ears and the neck. “You need to brush here regularly.”

She might have said "daily".

That was something I thought about from time to time during the six years in which I constantly pulled up dog hair from my carpet. I'm not sure what the dog-anatomy-equivalent of a cornice is, but Nash has a lot of them. And they get dusty.

There's not a room in my house you can walk into and not find a stain or a spot where my dog has shit, pissed, ralphed or just sullied with her general dog activities. I'm at peace with this. I've been alive for over thirty-five years and there's not a single carpet I've ever looked back fondly at. I don't reminisce about the green, prickly flooring that I built and razed Lego cities on in my childhood. I have no affection for the cream carpet near my bedroom door in Ballara street where I laid on my back and stretched my hamstrings religiously each night before bed, my free hands running themselves across the heavy pile. The almost plastic fibres of the square floor mats I sat cross-legged on during primary school assemblies. That rug I accidentally threw up on in 2004 when we turned Milton-Bradley's Trouble into a drinking game. Carpets mean nothing to me. Dogs are awesome - even if they do make every dark piece of clothing unwearable after a certain amount of minutes. If the price of having a dog in a townhouse for six years is some 100 metres square of moderately priced carpet then so be it.

I had my first carpeting quote today as I don't think a new buyer for my house will see the character in the carpeting that I do. He lumbered up and down the stairs while Nash eyed the extensive tape measure warily as it stretched out and retracted. When he was back at the bottom of the stairs he scribbled some numbers on the top of the floor plan he'd been sketching in rough boxes and told me the price...

The price was high. Carpeting was going to cost almost three times as much as the painting. I'm going to try to negotiate. I don't think having no cornices will help this time.

Cornices, and how to Negotiate Effectively

About six years ago a clean-shaven, slightly tired-looking real estate agent was showing me the third storey of what would eventually become my home. “Look,” he said. “There are no cornices.” “Wow,” I said, while thinking, “What the fuck is a cornice?”


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The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.


Cornices, and how to Negotiate Effectively

A black and white photo of a ceiling with no cornice.

It's about meeting in the middle.


About six years ago a clean-shaven, slightly tired-looking real estate agent was showing me the third storey of what would eventually become my home. “Look,” he said. “There are no cornices.”

“Wow,” I said, while thinking, “What the fuck is a fucking cornice?”

I was a lot more vulgar in my late twenties. And as someone who didn’t like paying double figures for a haircut the concept of half a million dollars of debt hadn’t enthused me to the home buying process.

He pointed up. “Where the wall joins the ceiling, there’s no timber trim. That’s a premium feature.”

A cornice is much like a house penis. One of those pointless architectural things that I’d apparently never noticed in my life despite spending large chunks of the preceding decades with my head dangerously close to the average ceiling.

“What’s good about no cornices?” I asked.

“Well, they can get dusty. You won’t have to keep them clean.”

That was something I thought about from time to time during the six years in which I never cleaned my ceiling.

Now the time has come to sell my home, and before I can sell it I need to paint it because Nash has used most of the lower half of all the walls as a butt rest/scratching post. I thought buying a house was a financially exhausting process, and now I’m learning that selling was no ten dollar haircut either.

I don’t have any objection to spending money, despite what people might think. I mainly struggle with the concept of spending money for something where I could have, in a different way, achieved the same result for less money. I also don’t like it when people see a conversation with me as a potential medium for obtaining riches. So like a good introvert I turned to the internet for advice on finding a painter. I used a website called hipages, and I arranged three quotes. The three quotes varied a lot, which didn’t help with my decision making process. I know that painting the house is an investment into the price I will hopefully sell it for. Picking the cheapest wasn’t necessarily the best option. In the end I decided the best approach was to choose the most expensive option and try and negotiate them down closer to the cheapest rate. I figured the painter with the bamboo business cards and CRM system probably had the most margin built into the quote with which to work in.

I turned back to the internet for advice on how to negotiate. I read some good articles, and I’ll distill this advice here for you and myself for future reference:

Before you even start negotiating you should know what you’re willing to settle for. This should be realistic, otherwise you might make the fake Oakley salesman in a Denpesar street market-stall cry.

When negotiations open, steal any counterpoints from the other party before they can use them against you. I opened my call with, “I’m not trying to go for the cheapest option, but rather find the right fit for the budget.” Now I can’t be accused of being a tightarse.

Finally, you need to understand what the other party wants. Obviously they want all my fucking money. But they probably want other things too. This painter had a nice instagram page with a lot of posts, so they probably wanted their ego stroked. They also had a pre-sales team, so they probably appreciated sealing deals and hitting sales targets in the middle of the month. And they probably wanted streamlined work, which was something I could offer in the form of a house with no furniture to move, and no ceilings to worry about (because the dog’s butt does not reach that high). So not only did I mention the other lower quotes, but I commented that I was impressed by their ‘gram. And that I was willing to put a deposit down today, and that I could be flexible with dates.
And there was one other deal sweetener we hadn’t mentioned in much depth yet...

And that’s how I saved $700 on a quote for painting by having no cornices.

Poetry Corner Redux

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
Pissed on a tuft of grass at the junction
Because I am a dog.

Happy Birthday Nash

image 2021 from bradism.com

(Apologies Robert Frost.)


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The First Signs Of Summer

It's that festive, summer time of year. I went for a night walk in a T-shirt, because I ate too much at the annual Friendsgiving feast. I almost didn't eat too much, but there was a little bit of my braided, garlic bread twists left inside after the main course and I found myself tearing it apart with my hands and dipping it into leftover roast turkey juices. After that I figured the threshold had been crossed and I had two servings of dessert.

But it wasn't warm on my night walk simply because I was swollen with Thanksgiving themed dishes. I was warm because the air was warm, which felt uplifting. I was also warmed, minutely, by the Christmas lights displays I passed by, which many in my neighbourhood must have spent this weekend putting up and plugging in. I'm pretty neutral on the scale between Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim, but I like pretty shinies as much as the next primate and all the Yuletide sparkling simply reinforced the upcoming holiday days and more warm, relaxing nights that they'll bring.

Returning home, Nash was waiting by the front door as she always disapproves of me leaving the house in the dark. I followed her to the back room where she started sniffing and snuffling in the vicinity of the treadmill. I was curious what had her attention, and after a bit of snuffling myself I lifted the treadmill to reveal the first Christmas Beetle of the summer. Another sign! The season was truly upon us. Nash ate the insect quickly, then left to drink copious slurps of water.

Calm Under Pressure

I’ve never considered myself good at handling chaos. Calm under pressure, sure, absolutely. That’s a feature of my highly analytical, introspective nature. I’m acutely aware it may not pay off for me one day. I’ve had cars run red lights and barely miss me, violent and crazy people attempt to instigate fights, fire alarms go off mid-REM cycle. I didn’t disarm these situations gracefully. I was fortunate enough that most passed me by, or I was helped along, while the extent of my reaction - if any - has been to smile and nod. I’m not good with confrontations or excitement. I once spent an all stops train trip from Eden Hills to Adelaide with a tall woman’s heel on the top of my toes and I didn’t even say anything. Like I mentioned, calm under pressure.

I was speculating earlier this week about a hypothetical emergency and how I might be a hero in that situation. It was a short daydream, in which I pulled out my phone to search the internet for answers shortly after the gore erupted, and I found myself a bystander even in my own fantasy.

It was that very same night - walking Nash after twilight - when I came across a lost budgerigar. Well, Nash came across it, and I saved it from Nash through my foresight of having my dog on a short lead. As no one else was around, I decided I should save the budgie. I presumed it was someone’s pet, and that it had flown out an open window on what was a very warm October night.

I didn’t know how to catch a bird, and so of course my first and only plan was to Google it... In incognito mode... So I didn’t get ads later about how to catch budgies.
I tried the “perch” trick, and I called its name (“budgie”) but it did not come close. I checked lost pets of Adelaide web pages and no one had listed any budgies recently, and so I concluded that no one must really care about the budgie, and given that I live in a medium-density residential area where it was 26 degrees celsius at 9pm, I figured a real hero would probably come along at some point anyway.

So I left it there. I left it there to die and I didn’t even think about it for another three days. I walked by the same spot today and checked around to see if it was still alive and in need of rescuing, if perhaps my highly analytical, introspective and slow build up rescuing style might have actually been what it needed. I didn’t see it anywhere. Nor a corpse, so I can only presume everything worked out for the best.

Other than finding and eating a bulk meal curry in my freezer from September, this was the most exciting thing that happened to me in the final week of October, 2019.

The Doorbell

I took my cat Trick or Treating.

image 1978 from bradism.com

A Level Up

At midnight yesterday I was warned by a chirp that another smoke alarm backup battery was going flat. Unlike last time, I was able to remove the cover, extract the battery and restore peace with only five to ten minutes of suppressed rage and a single, vitriolic paragraph of pure expletives. I did not need to use any hand tools to break my way in like a castaway with walnuts and no nutcracker.

A smoke alarm mount in a roof.

Success!


I guess my recent birthday actually helped me develop as a person.

Nash did not provide any assistance.

image 1955 from bradism.com

Dusted and Done

I'd been contemplating buying a new PC. I wanted something powerful enough to render high resolution panoramas in Photoshop from RAW images. And with enough grunt to export short videos of the season movies in HD.

Before replacing my PC - which at some point in the past had not filled all levels of the townhouse with it's shrill High CPU Temperature warning when performing the above tasks - I thought I should try cleaning out the dust out of it. I couldn't remember the last time I gave it a good compressed-air blast to the heat-sink. I suspected it was before I got a golden retriever cross who sheds her winter coat for a summer coat every night in July that we put the heater on. I bought a can of compressed air from Office Works and with daylight as an ally on a Saturday morning I took my computer apart on the balcony and got to blasting.

I'm not sure what tolerance my CPU fan designers had for dog hair particles, but safe to say I'd exceeded them. While Nash watched from the comfort of the couch I got into every nook and cranny, sending puffs of dust and lint into the cool, August air. I was ruthless. I figured, if anything got dislodged or disrupted it would be a good excuse for upgrading to the new PC anyway.

Happily for Frugal Brad, the re-assembled PC ran fine, maybe a little quieter. And a test export of 89 high-resolution images from Lightroom did not breach any CPU monitoring metrics and in fact Chrome and Spotify ran along at the same time as well. My $3,000 PC budget was used to buy a $10 can of cleaning spray.

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