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Archive for August, 2009

Packing day

Today I have to pack everything up. My apartment renovation starts Wed, so everything has to be packed in boxes and put aside, covered with a plastic bag. I will probably buy bags for clothes and put the boxes in there and zip them up.. that should keep the dust out. We will need to take all the clothes with us. On Wed we will move to AM’s friend’s place. The friend moved to Hong Kong, so we save on rent money. Anyway its hard to find rental for 1 month. This will increase my commute time by over 30 mins… at least I will wake up earlier now. Its all ┬áthe way on the upper east side, very east. Not close to any subway. I have to take the crosstown bus and then the downtown train. I hate the bus because it takes ages with traffic and all. Maybe I could bike to work… but where would I park my bike? Not outside! Someone stole my bike seat once. I do like the idea of biking to work, but I don’t want to get all sweaty. Maybe will take a change of clothes.

I am so excited. I bought this place last April, and finally we are starting to renovate. Finally! We had the glitch with the bad architect and our plans have changed, but at least we have a much better plan than before. I realize how important it is to measure everything. My goal was to expand the main bathroom, not to replace tub with shower. Since we were expanding, I decided to replace tub with shower. I did not realize that the bathroom was being expanded by only 1 foot. All the money, time, and effort was being spent on only 1 foot expansion? After a few restless nights, I asked my new architect – if you had to start from scratch, what would you recommend? She came up with a great plan. I am now really getting everything I wanted, and more.

I am so excited and cannot wait to see everything completed. And I am staying within budget for most things. I hope this is done by Dec. I cannot wait!!! The changes should really help the resale value as well. I told AM that once the place is done, everything needs to be orderly and tidy. I need everything to be in its place. I have a place for everything, and everyday when I come home I put my purse, watch, rings, etc. in their place. AM does not, and he has to look for them sometimes at the last minute. Which is fine till he puts things that we both use elsewhere. And then he doesn’t remember where he put them. Case in point – bathroom trash lid. Till now I have not been able to find it. He put it somewhere while cleaning the bathroom. For the life of me I cannot understand how he can place things where we never find them. So I am going to assign a place for him where he can keep everything. Because in the new place I need everything to be clean and orderly.

AM also annoys me when I spend a lot of time and effort in finding the right thing (tile, faucet, etc.), and when I bring samples home, his response is that he doesn’t like them. If he doesn’t like something, unless he provides an alternative it stays. Because I am not going back to look for stuff, bring it home only for his Highness to reject. If his Highness cannot take the time out, what I select stays. Ha. Everything is my choice anyway because AM is aesthetically challenged!! He does have strong opinions though, but gives in because I have a better choice and am emotionally invested in this venture. I am putting my all in every single thing, so its very exciting.

I am taking him to AFNY this week to finally pick everything out. Its so complicated. He likes the pressure in the shower to be high, and I like to have more like a rainshower. The difference between a 10″ and a 7″ diameter shower is that the 10″ gets the same amount of water but distributes it over a larger surface area, hence the water pressure is lower and it feels more like a rainshower. Which I love, because its so soothing. AM likes more pressure. AFNY has built an area full of showers, where they turn the showers on so you can see for yourself. AM and I will figure out what we like. We have to buy plumbing stuff this week itself. I am scared of buying before construction starts because what if things don’t fit? We won’t be able to return it. The contractor says he needs them now, and if we wait to order something may not be available or ordering may take 3-4 weeks. He is right. So I will wait for demolition and order this week.

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AFNY

AFNY is a plumbing supply place in NY. They are open to trade only, and VERY snotty. I met with a salesperson and made a few decisions. I asked her more questions, and she kept telling me “I can’t make your decision for you” bla bla bla, and was so defensive and unfriendly. I am buying stuff for my home, and the experience does not have to be so stressful.

Anyway, I decided to call her and be candid. I told her “I am not an expert in this field, but you are, and I rely on you to help me make a decision. I don’t expect you to make it for me. You know that I start renovating next week, and I like your prices and am looking to buy. I don’t know how to say this, but it doesn’t feel like you are helping me.” Then she changed her tone, and became a tad friendly. My architect warned me that they are snotty, but you know what, in this tough economy when housing and such stores are suffering, customer service goes a long way. If you are not nice to me I will take my money elsewhere. I am meeting her again tomorrow – if she is snotty I will move on. Why should I have to deal with that kind of an attitude, especially when I am spending so much?

Its unfortunate because their prices are good, but now you can get good prices everywhere especially on the Internet. They really need to get their act together and get more friendly.

She was probably also defensive because I said “different people say different things” about something. I was referring to other people, not her.

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Good day at work

My team is very competitive – very very competitive at work. Something happened yesterday which made us all a bit peeved, and all of us turned it around today. It feels good, very good. We were pushed to show our very best, and we did. Two is better than one, and four is even better! So we showed our very best and felt good about it. I like that my team is so competitive – we have to be to drive sales and work in such a high pressure environment.

It feels nice to have a “partner in crime” in your very own small team. You can talk to each other like you cannot with someone at a higher or lower level. So yeah it feels good. Sometimes I think that I should praise my manager, but it becomes awkward to praise your own manager about their work. But I will find a way to do that the next time. She is a bit low-key especially in meetings, and she praises me and my work, so I should return the favor sometimes. Its just that when you are presenting something and you are so focused on saying what you have to and keeping within the time limit that its hard to think of everything.

So ya my day was good today. I have been in a bad mood these last few days and very tired… I am so glad its a Friday tomorrow. Our second last summer Friday where we can leave work by 1pm. Our CEO said that we can wear jeans to work everyday, but highly recommended our company jeans. Well, nobody will check tags so…

When I havd good days at work, I always think of my parents, especially my mom, and wish she had the pleasure of experiencing this feeling. Whatever I am today is because of them, their love, their sacrifices. And I feel deeply grateful for everything.

I do want to get promoted next year. I am working extremely hard, and I know its tough because of the economy, but I need to get promoted. If I don’t I am going to have to look elsewhere if anybody else in my extended team gets promoted. What may hurt my chances is recent changes internally which had nothing to do with my work or ability. It had more to do with the organizational structure. So if I don’t get promoted and someone else from my extended team does, using the economy as an excuse will not work. I work my butt off, and more than doubled sales last year. I have taken on more responsibility, and manage so many programs with limited resources. The least my company can do is promote me. If not, I will take my skills where they are valued.

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Women are complicated

I change my mind a thousand times, as do my female friends. AM gets frustrated because until I am convinced about something 100%, I change my mind. To him changing mind implies going through another decision making process, and its too much work for him. Too complicated – he likes simple things. He goes into a store, tries 2 things, buys 1, and is done. I try 50 things, change my mind and decide not to buy, and leave. I go back and do the same thing.

I changed my mind about the type of tiles I want in the bathroom. I have the luxury of changing my mind because nothing is done yet. We still have time to order stuff. I was not 100% convinced about the tile, and after taking pictures last weekend found it to be very dull. They do not stand out or flatter the bathroom in any way. So now I am looking for pictures and bathroom ideas that I can use to make a decision on tiles. I like cream, but its such a common color. I want to do something a tad different. That bathroom is very practical, and I am using a very basic and cheap medicine cabinet. No marble, nothing fancy – just plain old simple porcelain tile.

AM did not say anything – he just laughed and moved on – quite a surprise. None of the “omg you are changing your mind again. Sighhhhh”. Why shouldn’t I change my mind if nothing is set in stone? I will not make up my mind till I am 100% convinced of something… I am not going to spend money on something my gut is not fine with. I will come to a decision today for sure. I have so much to do at work and at home all the time. I just want to crawl into bed and sleep…

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Layers in wood

A friend recommended checking this site out for pictures on wood – http://hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/

The guy who owns this site is very passionate about wood, and posts pictures of all types of wood from different angles. One major renovation decision is – what type of wood to choose for cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom? The cheapest are stock cabbinets, then semi-custom, and finally custom. Stock cabinets are available in showrooms and are standard sizes. You buy the kitchen off the floor or order cabinets from a manufacturer in standard sizes. Semi-custom are available from cabinetry places that make the cabinets semi-custom in terms of stains, wood types, etc. Custom cabinets are made from scratch. First you select the wood, how the wood should be cut or the effect desired, if you want a different color the wood can be stained or painted to achieve the color.

Staining is a process where the cabinet maker sprays the wood with a stain and wipes down the stain with a cloth. That way you can retain the effect and look of the wood’s grains and yet get a different color. Each wood reacts differently to stains. Cherry may be more brown while maple may be slightly yellowish even with the same stain used on both. Walnut is much darker than both. Wood cut is important. The way a wood is cut affects the grains and textures – it can change an entire look. Over time wood may darken, areas exposed to more light may change color and look different from cabinets in darker areas. I love checking out the different layers in wood, textures, grains, and the effect cuts have. My favorite is tigerwood. The wood really looks like tiger stripes and is gorgeous! It has reddish tones, and darkens well. Very exotic.

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Nature’s gifts

I have been searching long and hard for the perfect granite and marble for my apartment. I found a way to get stuff really cheap and balance out expensive stuff. Marble is popular as a countertop in the bathroom, and is much desired in kitchens. But it is high maintenance and reacts strongly to acid and other food stuff. So its not a practical material for kitchens. Granite is commonly used in kitchens (along with laminate depending on budget). Granite is made from rock with a lot of texture. I have not come across a single granite that has less texture or is easy on the eyes. It is a sturdy substance, can withstand heat and pressure very well, and does not stain if sealed properly. Quartzite is in between granite and marble – it is for people who do not like the texture of granite but don’t want high maintenance marble. Marble is made of rock as well but from the metamorphosis of limestone. Limestone is another popular material for bathrooms (jerusalem gold, travertine), and it looks gorgeous in kitchens like marble but is very high maintenance.

Every stone is different, every slab of granite, marble, and limestone is different. That is the beauty and challenge with nature’s materials. The same goes for slate – no two slate tiles are the same color. So I am making several trips to many places to find the perfect one!

Here is how it works. Fabricators cut, prepare, and install the stone in homes. They buy the stone that a customer likes as slabs from wholesalers, and sell it to the customer as a cost per square foot. Some fabricators are retailers as well – they buy from wholesalers in bulk, fabricate, and install. Non-retailer fabricators always have some common pieces lying around and are willing to sell it cheap or give it away for free if they are paid for installation. I am getting marble for the bathrooms from fabricators – the prices are way way lower than what I would get from a wholesaler. The fabricator will not even charge me for the actual stone if I get them to install for the kitchen and pay them to install in bathrooms. Marble is more uniform in texture than granite so its easy to find pieces that work.

Granite is the challenge. The granite I love is labradorite, which is a stone from which jewels are made. The slab has gorgeous blue and purple shimmer which is extracted to make jewels. Its expensive and uncommon, so I am working hard to find the perfect stone, and cutting down the budget in other places to accommodate this one. Its worth it. Below is an extracted labradorite.

Jewelry from labradorite

Labradorite is supposed to have a calming influence and is very pleasing to the eyes. In the past people thought that labradorite had extra-terrestrial tendencies due to its color. It is the ONLY granite I really liked after visiting several places. When I started the process, I did not like granite due to the heavy texture. But after looking at several kitchens, I have fallen in love with the stone. Texture is what makes it special. Every piece is a discovery – you never know what to expect. Labradorite is a discovery – each time you change direction you discover something new beneath the stone. Something that is black may seem blue from another angle. For me this entire process of discovering stones has been of immense pleasure. You see rocks from a different perspective, and realize the beauty that lays in these materials from years of struggle and strength. I am excited to see how everything comes together and cannot wait!

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I saw Shilpa Shetty entering Chola last weekend for lunch. She probably came to NY to participate in the annual Indian Independence day parade, which happens every year on the streets of NY during the second Sunday of August. On screen, she seems very tall, skinny/slim, great figure, but her face seems asymmetrical and larger than her body. I don’t find her tpretty, but most people do. To her credit, she has one of the best bodies in Bollywood, and has maintained it. Every other actress with a good body has put on so much weight (Aishwarya, Urmila), not Shilpa. Priyanka Chopra does not count – she is a relative newcomer.

Shilpa came in a few movies and did a couple of songs – the most memorable is the one with Akshay Kumer Mein khiladi tu anari. And of course her side role in Baazigar. She was lost for a few years, but came back with her stint on Big Brother UK.

A Brit Jade Goody was racist towards Shilpa and bullied her on Big Brother UK. Shilpa won public sympathy and BB in the end, and moved on. She made tons of money and came out with her own perfume in the UK. Since then she has risen to fame in India, and hosted Big Boss (Indian Big Brother). She looks good and conducts herself well, but is dumb as a doornail. She is not funny and is a terrible terrible host. Such a step down from Arshad Warsi. She came across as silly and stupid as host of Big Boss, who could not say anything without being scripted. I hope they don’t bring her back.

She was literally mauled by Richard Gere below. She took it well, but what was Gere thinking? These men cannot keep it in the pants when they see Indian women. Richard Branson took Neha Dhupia by surprise and turned her around completely on the stage – ya like a roller coaster or something. Crazy antics!

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