Friday, July 16, 2010

Misery Loves Company

It's an old platitude, but so very true. Here are two examples. One is not related to the house, but bear with me.

In the IT world, there is one profession so hated, so heinous, so reviled, it will make friends between developers, administrators, and IT evangelists of all types; the auditor. The auditor has the impossible task of interpreting overly vague government laws or industry standards and then validating that current IT practices adhere to them. In addition to that, auditor knowledge of the IT world is often a silk thread's width more than zero. They make demands that can't be accomplished, or ask stupid questions, following the letter of the law, but ignoring the spirit. I've had auditors grill me on who had access to the database, but completely ignore who had access to the server or the data center.

One of the divisions in our parent company came under the scrutiny of these auditors not so long ago. Their IT staff howled and moaned. They came over to us day after day complaining about the idiocy of the auditors; the processes the auditors were forcing them to put in place, the productivity lost, the money and time wasted. But in the end, all of these things were put in place and the auditors left satisfied. (Auditors never leave happy.)

And now it's our turn. The auditors have turned their Eye of Sauron upon our division. We howled and moaned. We went over to our comrades who already suffered through this, expecting some empathy and mercy. What did we find? They were the first to put us to the sword; to show us the error of our ways and the righteous path that the auditors had set them on. And now that we are forced down this road, and they are content knowing that we too have to suffer, their response has been, "See? Aren't their requirements stupid?"

We struggle with a lot of things in the house. It seems like every time we try and improve something, it leads to further repairs, or the part is no longer available, or the repair is significantly more expensive and time consuming than we had first estimated.

We have blogged fairly extensively about calcimine paint and our experiences with it, especially the time consuming process of removing it. We've removed calcimine paint from five of the roughly thirteen rooms in the house, but we have only removed it from one ceiling. My mom, who has done most of the painting in the house, has dealt with it too. In the guest room, she painted the ceiling and was appalled to see a huge bubble form. The probable cause? The water in the latex paint reacted with the calcimine and it started to separate from the ceiling. She left, came back the next day and thankfully, the bubble had disappeared. We left well enough alone.

My wife mentioned calcimine paint to the plasterers when they started work, but they had never heard of it. Little did they know. When my wife called me yesterday to tell me that the ceiling plastering the guys started yesterday was bubbling up, I could only smile. They had to remove all of the previous day's work - the adhesive, the fiberglass mesh tape AND the first coat of plaster. And start over. It also removed a good portion of the old latex paint and calcimine paint, which will allow them to plaster to the original plaster.

Just re-reading this makes me smile. Misery loves company indeed.

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