As some of you may know, my house recently underwent a total makeover. Whenever people see my house, they always ask "how long did it take?" And then I say "one month," and then they laugh. And then I laugh and we move onto other subjects. It's not worth explaining. But here on my blog, I've got time. So I'm going to explain step-by-step how to remodel your entire house in 30 days.
I'm also going to give away a $100 Home Depot gift card. You know, happy father's day, bribing my readers to leave comments, buying your affections and all that...
Move your family to a new city and find the cheapest gas station in town. Fill up twice a week because you have a crazy ass gas guzzling truck that only gets 6 mpg. Bitch constantly to the owner of that gas station about having to fill your tank up twice a week. But since you have a 34 gal. tank and your twice-a-week fillups pretty much cover the rent for his station, he's really cool with you.
And because filling up your tank takes about 2 hours at a time, you end up spending lots of quality time at this gas station, just talking about random stuff with this guy. Pretty soon, you find out he's exactly your age, and knows a lot more about lead generation, sales channel management, ROI, Powerpoint and Excel than your average dude who works at a gas station. Turns out, he is a disillusioned corporate refugee who one day just said "Frick this crap. I'm going to open a gas station." And just did it. At around the same time, he finds out you work in the field of online marketing. "Hmm..." he thinks.
One day while you are hanging out at the station, Toheed (it's too tiring to type "gas station dude" over and over) casually brings up the online marketing thing, and asks if he can pick your brain about something. But he gets as far as "I wanna sell fish..." before I freak out. "FISH! I LOVE FISH! I am a total fish nerd. Let's DO this!" And we just did it. That was the genesis of OceanPets.com (the site is still up, but the business is defunct - keep reading).
Get $800 worth of sales just a couple days after launching the site. Which means you drive your 6 mpg truck to the fish wholesalers near LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) to fulfill orders each day and do it like the big boys -- in special styrofoam containers, pumped oxygen and ice/heat packs (depending on the region to which you're overnighting your tropical fish). Start generating sales of $2,000 per day before long. But then you realize why only the big boys ship live fish: DHL and FedEx often (VERY often) deliver to the wrong address, lose packages and run into storms. All of which does not fare well with Nemo and Dori who are sitting in a plastic bag that only has enough oxygen for a 24 hour trip. And unless you are a big boy with lots of money in reserve, you simply cannot re-fulfill the order, plus pay again to ship it (out of your own pocket) while you wait 6-8 weeks for DHL and FedEx to "review" your loss claim and ask for evidence that the shipment has been damaged. Um, how about "turns out the fish I delivered has ceased to be. It is bereft of life. It is an EX-FISH!" (bonus fish for you if you got that reference).
Before calling it quits on the fish business, you insightfully conclude one day that 1) people like to buy live fish 2) it is futile to try to ship fish 3) Toheed has all this empty space inside his gas station 4) you can fit about 23 fish tanks in here with the proper rack set-up 5) you're here all the time anyway 6) the slogan "Fill Your Tank" is the perfect catchy phrase for a gas station/tropical fish store 8) Petroleum products and aquatic life can co-exist, Exxon Valdez notwithstanding.
Sell 6 fish in 6 months out of the gas station. Craigslist all the fish tanks. Dust ourselves off and decide with Toheed to sell something less alive through the internet. That was the genesis of Silverguys.com. Let's just say I have a very nice ziploc bag in the closet with all kinds of silver jewelry in it. None of which has been sold. Talk to me, my friend. I give you best price.
Go back to your day jobs and stick to what you're good at. Which in me and Toheed's case is being the real-life "Harold and Kumar" wherever we go.
Go back to the corporate grind while Toheed buys a smog station in Sacramento. And tries to remodel it. But then is told by the city that he cannot hire any crews to do it unless he goes through a general contractor. So in genuine Toheed style, what does he do? He takes the general contractor's license exam and passes it. Since he now has his license, he throws a couple ads up on Craigslist to see what happens. He lands a ton of jobs and pretty soon he's bringing in more money than selling gas has ever brought. A year later, he brings me in to help him do sales and business development.
Not knowing jack about construction, I buy a book and attend a few tradeshows. But Toheed teaches me that that your ability to put a real proposal together, use a spreadsheet and speak English far outweighs any knowledge of construction when you're selling commercial projects. And he is absolutely right.
Decide that it's time for another kid, which means the house needs to be bigger. Perhaps a second story? Toheed tells you he can totally do that, so you hire an architect, draft some plans, and send your wife and kid overseas for 2 months so construction can begin. After your wife and kid leave, and you pack all your belongings in boxes and store them in the garage, find out that your zone is the hardest zone in Los Angeles County to get approval for a second story, and it ain't happening without months of jumping through hoops.
Make lemonade out of lemons. Rent your house out for two months and go live like a frat boy with your friend Joey the Fireman. That's all I'll say about that.
Wait for the economy to slow down and construction projects to dry up along with it. Go back to your day job. Work two more years. Realize you still have construction loan money left and decide it's no longer worth it to try for that second story. Draft new plans (which include your dream kitchen and bar area, which make you feel a lot better about not getting that second story), and then move your family into Toheed's house while he begins construction. Unleash your kid and dogs on this single guy's house and in 30 days? Voila. NEW HOUSE.
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I apologize for the length of this post. I really do. We're almost done.
So Toheed succeeded in building us the pimpinest house in only 30 days and I cannot thank him enough for doing this for us (at cost!!). It just proves that in life, there is nothing better than good friends. They stick with you through thick and thin, get into trouble with you, bail you out and laugh with you the whole way through. Really, what more to life is there?
For my good friend, please do me a favor. If you know anyone in the Southern CA area who needs a general contractor, tell them about his company, Complete Construction. He is a great guy and I can vouch for his honesty and committment to service. And if you don't believe me, check out this slideshow I made about our home remodel. It'll blow you away:
Awkward segway time (because d Wife and Fury are waiting for me to finish this post so we can get on with Father's Day festivities and can't think of any way to seamlessly weave this giveaway into my post)...
Hey, Happy Father's Day! What goes with remodeling posts and dad? Why, Home Depot of course! And looky. I happen to have $100 Home Depot gift card for you right here! In true BusyDad style, I dropped the ball and failed to put this post up before Father's Day so that the winner would actually have this card in hand to spend on Father's Day. But it actually turned out for the better because now I have a little game to play:
See these really clever gift cards?
I'll give one to the poor soul got the lousiest Father's Day present this year. If you're a dad, leave a comment on this post describing your lousy present. If you're a mom and you gave a less than ideal gift and would like to make up for it, describe that necktie in detail right here. I'll give you till next Saturday 11:59 pm to get these all in (and pass this post along) and then select a winner.
And if you're really down to the wire and HAVEN'T gotten the father in your life a present yet, here's a link with more info on Home Depot gift cards. I'd want the drill bit one myself. I'm always losing or breaking drill bits, because, you know, I'm only good at doing contruction proposals.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!
My first commenter on this post suffered a tragedy that none of us should ever have to face, and in light of that I know some of you felt bad telling me about horrible neckties to win a gift card. Home Depot stepped up (thank you! you rock) and offered her family a $100 Gift Card apart from this contest. So... bring on the bad neckties! The $100 gift card is yours to win - and I've changed the rules, because I can. I will let fate, aka the Randomizer, decide which story gets the card.
Geeez how could I forget?? Toheed is getting married this weekend. Please congratulate him (I'll have him check comments)!