I suck at installing gutters.

Over the last several days, I’ve gone through the agonizing process of watching youtube videos on how to splice lengths of gutters together and how to install them, driving to the hardware store to get all the shit, strapping it to my car, bringing it home and putting the gutters together, realizing that some of the pieces I bought wouldn’t work for my application, strapping the stuff back onto my car and taking them back to the hardware store and having to jump through fucking hoops to return them and get the correct stuff, strapping more stuff to my car and bringing it home, only to have the 40 ft length of gutter pop all of its rivets out, twist itself into a pretzel, and fold its arms right down to the dirt when I tried to install it.

I could tolerate the process up until today’s anticlimax but there was so much buildup and the failure was so abysmal and costly that it was all I could take. After trying to problem solve it and look up more tips online on installing gutters, I finally decided to pull the plug on the project. I called several professionals and am now waiting for their estimates on the job.

It’s not often I collect multiple estimates on a job, and it occurs to me now how important it is to do it even though it’s fucking annoying. Beyond getting a feel for which of the lucky contestants know their trade, I also think it helps keep them honest. If an unscrupulous professional knows you’ll be talking to other pros, they’re less likely to quote you something outrageous since it will be obvious they’re trying to fuck you over.

But man, one of the clowns I talked to today already has a big strike against him. He asked me when I needed the gutters done, I said I’m not in a hurry, and he said “some time before the rain starts? Hahahahahaha!” He actually laughed as if he’d never used that line before in his life, even though I’m sure he uses it multiple times per day. Stupid line + acting like he never used it before + big fake laugh = a habitual liar. Big red flag. I wonder if the other gutter pricks will be any better.

To prevent myself from jumping off a bridge after this disappointing and frustrating day, I decided to tackle a job I knew I could successfully complete. So on the bright side, I finally got around to installing new rear speakers in my car. No more annoying buzzing from back there, yippeeeee. Always look on the bright side of life.

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I suppose today could have gone worse.

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“choose happiness,” said the miserable sod

my grandmother divorced from her husband when she was in her 50’s. she once told me that for years after the divorce, she harbored great bitterness and resentment towards him, that she often imagined what she would say to him if she bumped into him around town, or how she would have handled various events in their marriage if she could only go back in time. she said that eventually, though, she realized that all the negative feelings she kept revisiting never had any impact on him, but they did have a huge impact on her. she realized that she was making herself miserable by continuing to dwell on negative things that she couldn’t change or didn’t intend to follow through with.

once she had this epiphany, she simply stopped giving it any thought. after that, she felt much better.

similarly, a long time ago, my wife jenn said to me, “choose happiness.” i was super annoyed when she first said it because it sounds like something a yoga hipster woman would say, but the more i thought about it, the more i liked it. what “choose happiness” means is, when you are driving home at a respectable 10 km/h over the speed limit and you come up behind some son of a bitch who is putting along just under the speed limit, you have a choice. you can choose to fume and gripe out loud, maybe swerve slightly into the oncoming lane as if to pass the slow driver, perhaps lay on the horn, and get right worked up about this minor inconvenience — or you can realize that you actually aren’t in a big rush for any justifiable reason so you may as well take a deep breath, slow down, and relax.

for whatever reason, we give ourselves a lot of leeway when it comes to embracing anger and frustration. we allow ourselves to stew over tiny, insignificant things and make ourselves miserable. i see people do it all the time. i do it all the time myself (except i usually like to do it). but we have the ability to become more self aware, notice when we repeat negative patterns, and work to break those patterns. i actually frequently think “choose happiness” to myself now as a mantra when i want to snap myself out of yet another loop of rage. i even say it to jenn occasionally, which she absolutely fucking hates.

violent-women

“don’t you EVER use my own pretentious, mystical advice on me!”

i’m writing about this now because i was bothered by something else when i got stuck behind an insanely slow driver. i had to remind myself that the slow driver wasn’t what was actually bothering me, and letting myself get worked up about them would only make me even more unhappy. so i relaxed and slowed down and felt better for it.

it’s nice when this kind of stuff actually works. which is only maybe 50% of the time, but that’s still way better than nothing. i welcome any mitigation of my misery with open arms.