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M&P15T
12-03-2012, 07:52
My work takes me into people's home, and enjoying hours long periods of time where we not only design their kitchen, but get to know one another a bit.

When I worked in Arlington, I met quite a few "Foreign Service" employees coming back home after years long postings over-seas. They had rented their homes out for years, and needed real work.

Rumors have it that a few of these "Foreign Service" folks are really OGA, or "Other Governmental Agency", like CIA and such. One customer was a male a bit younger than I, with fresh, healing facial wounds. He was fit, and not very big. He was only home for a few months, just long enough to get his condo on the market and let his wounds heal, before he headed back over-seas. I have a strong feeling that particualr gentleman did not negotiate trade policies.

I'm currently working with a couple about 15 years or so older than I. They live in (and work from) a home built in 1800, that they purchased and had disassembled, shipped from a location in southern Virginia, and reassembled at it's current location. The original parts of this home have 12' ceilings (helped with heat before air-con), and doors I have to duck to get through. Each nail was made by hand, so all of the exposed nail heads are different. Almost every major part of the home is original to 1800, and completely fascinating. The doors (both interior and exterior) are especially fascinating, with how they were made and finished. I have many pictures, but it wouldn't be appropriate to post them without their permission.

We have been working for a bit to get their project designed, and are pretty much ready to wrap things up. We were scheduled to finalize things today, but she had to jump on a plane for Jordan, so we had to postpone things. What's she doing in Jordan? Dunno, didn't ask. Could be nothing special, could be something very interesting. Hell, she might work for a gas company for all I know. She could also be getting ready to go all "Sky Fall" on someone's ass.

Interesting people and homes. I kinda like my work every now and again.

DanaT
12-03-2012, 08:18
Do you think if she did interesting things, even if they asked, they would tell you the truth?

What is actually interesting, if you read about about, with the digital age it is much harder to fake an identity. If for example, you say you are negotiating oil deals and are working for the govt doing something else, you better have an office, with staff that believe your daily story, etc. It is much easier to check on people. For example, you you say you are in the oil business, reside at 123 Main Street, Anytown USA, within minutes someone who is looking to see if your story matches will have utility records, house sale info, credit checks, etc. Cover stories must be much better now.

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 08:23
Do you think if she did interesting things, even if they asked, they would tell you the truth?

Absolutely not. Which is why I don't even bother asking some people what they do for a living.

Gallium
12-03-2012, 08:28
M&P,

As a courtesy to folks I meet who work for our gov and the UK gov in any sort of clandestine manner, I simply don't ever even mention it much, as I fully realize how easy it is to triangulate someone with what are very innocuous statements. :)

That story about the old house is very interesting - even without pics. :cool:

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 08:54
M&P,

As a courtesy to folks I meet who work for our gov and the UK gov in any sort of clandestine manner, I simply don't ever even mention it much, as I fully realize how easy it is to triangulate someone with what are very innocuous statements. :)

That story about the old house is very interesting - even without pics. :cool:

I would think I was innocuous enough.:supergrin:

mhambi
12-03-2012, 09:01
http://i45.tinypic.com/30dgdxs.jpg

DanaT
12-03-2012, 09:08
Or maybe you are a foreign spy posing as kitchen consultant to gain access to homes....

Gallium
12-03-2012, 09:10
I would think I was innocuous enough.:supergrin:


yeah. I was sorta echoing your style of being very vague. :cool:

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 09:10
Or maybe you are a foreign spy posing as kitchen consultant to gain access to homes....

Yes....you have figured me out!!!!:rofl::rofl:

I must leave for Mother Russia now!!

DanaT
12-03-2012, 09:18
Yes....you have figured me out!!!!:rofl::rofl:

I must leave for Mother Russia now!!

You know I was joking, but really, dont you think that someone in a position like yours would be a good recruit? Flying under the radar and have access to homes.

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 09:22
You know I was joking, but really, dont you think that someone in a position like yours would be a good recruit? Flying under the radar and have access to homes.

Nope.

I have no control who comes through the door to talk to me. I don't make contact, my perspective customers do.

So, I couldn't...like....."target" anyone.

Bruce M
12-03-2012, 09:33
Sounds like a very cool house!

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 09:39
Sounds like a very cool house!

Nice people too.

The house is out in the middle of no-where. Gonna be quite a drive for my installers.:rofl::rofl:

DanaT
12-03-2012, 09:46
Nope.

I have no control who comes through the door to talk to me. I don't make contact, my perspective customers do.

So, I couldn't...like....."target" anyone.

Hmmm. Well, maybe you are not a spy. I am not yet convinced though.


I need a new kitchen. I am pissed off at mine.

I am sorta liking black granite counter tops. But I like the clean sink lines of Corian. But black granite just looks classier. But I hate the line that goes between a sink and counter. Corian doesnt have those.

And I hear stainless appliances are so 2012 and the "iphone finish" is 2013.

DanaT
12-03-2012, 09:47
. Gonna be quite a drive for my installers.:rofl::rofl:

Now you are not just a spy, but a spy ring leader...

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 09:57
Hmmm. Well, maybe you are not a spy. I am not yet convinced though.


I need a new kitchen. I am pissed off at mine.

I am sorta liking black granite counter tops. But I like the clean sink lines of Corian. But black granite just looks classier. But I hate the line that goes between a sink and counter. Corian doesnt have those.

And I hear stainless appliances are so 2012 and the "iphone finish" is 2013.

I'm confused as to what you mean by "line that goes between a sink and counter".

Anywho, undermount a quality stainless steel sink with Absolute Black using no reveal (technical thing), and you have a stellar look. When you clean your counter tops (which you will do quite often with a black top) means wiping crapola directly into the sink, as there is no "line".

Corian is a plastic. It will scratch, it will burn, it will stain. It is a "renewable" surface, you can polish out blemishes. Over-all, granite (from the right distributor) is a 0 maintenance material. Corian molded-in sinks are pretty awesome, but they kinda get dingy over-time.

I also have never heard of an "iphone" finish for appliances. Something might take over for the Stainless Steel look, but nothing is really on the horizon yet. There is a painted grey, but it looks like ass and is not durable.

DanaT
12-03-2012, 10:04
I also have never heard of an "iphone" finish for appliances.

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/will-whirlpools-ice-white-kill-the-stainless-steel-trend-174907

Its the "White ice". It is supposed to look like the white iphones from what I understand

Dennis in MA
12-03-2012, 10:06
A friend of a friend of mine is convinced our mutual friend's parents are CIA.

They continue to jet to strange lands as "missionaries" but only work in colleges and never do real mission work.

In the late 70's, they headed home from Hong Kong to the States. They went WEST. via Ground. To get to Europe and fly home. He has some interesting tales of Afganistan, Iran and Iraq. It was just "a family camping trip across Asia." ????

I've met Mom and Dad. They are definitely quirky. Could be.

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 10:08
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/will-whirlpools-ice-white-kill-the-stainless-steel-trend-174907

Its the "White ice". It is supposed to look like the white iphones from what I understand

People are actually very conservative when choosing products they are going to have in their homes for decades. They are massively concerned that products like cabinets (styles, wood-species, finishes) are going to go out of style.

That white finish will probably be just another flash-in-the-pan, like several others. I believe that particular color started at Kitchen Aid, and it's making it's way down the product line. I think there is also a "Black Ice".

The White & Black Ice finishes might catch on, might not. They would work in very Modern look kitchens, with gloss thermo-foil, slab, full-overlay european cabinets. A kitchen in Germany might work very well with White or Black Ice appliances.

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 10:14
A friend of a friend of mine is convinced our mutual friend's parents are CIA.

They continue to jet to strange lands as "missionaries" but only work in colleges and never do real mission work.

In the late 70's, they headed home from Hong Kong to the States. They went WEST. via Ground. To get to Europe and fly home. He has some interesting tales of Afganistan, Iran and Iraq. It was just "a family camping trip across Asia." ????

I've met Mom and Dad. They are definitely quirky. Could be.

Plus, all over Arlington there are Military unit support buildings with innocuous names. Some Naval support facility is a few blocks from my apartment. When I need some SEALs to wreck some stuff, I'll just go knock on the door.

Baba Louie
12-03-2012, 10:31
Kitchen remodels can be quite pricey depending on exactly what it is the client wants to "buy" in way of cabinetry, equipment, finishes, flooring and related mechanical, plumbing, electrical yada yada, doncha think? Good work if you can get it.

I take it you're no "Home Depot" Kitchen cabinet guru but more of a custom-specialized each job is different type, eh M&P? :supergrin:

Do you do all the sales of the entire package design then price out from vendors, or do it in house or have budget $ numbers in mind when the mysterious clients ask about this or that... or do they come to you with their max budget firmly in mind and you have to decipher what they can afford with that number in mind?

Not to mention scheduling... or permits and inspections.

High end clients, mysterious or not, can be either a PITA or very gracious of your input and easy to work with... but I guess that holds true with most clientele to a degree.

I bet you do have some "Cool Stories Bro" kinda tales you could tell of walk in reefers or hidden wine coolers or... :whistling:

I do love the 1800 era house w/ handmade nails tale.

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 10:51
Kitchen remodels can be quite pricey depending on exactly what it is the client wants to "buy" in way of cabinetry, equipment, finishes, flooring and related mechanical, plumbing, electrical yada yada, doncha think? Good work if you can get it.

I take it you're no "Home Depot" Kitchen cabinet guru but more of a custom-specialized each job is different type, eh M&P? :supergrin:

Do you do all the sales of the entire package design then price out from vendors, or do it in house or have budget $ numbers in mind when the mysterious clients ask about this or that... or do they come to you with their max budget firmly in mind and you have to decipher what they can afford with that number in mind?

Not to mention scheduling... or permits and inspections.

High end clients, mysterious or not, can be either a PITA or very gracious of your input and easy to work with... but I guess that holds true with most clientele to a degree.

I bet you do have some "Cool Stories Bro" kinda tales you could tell of walk in reefers or hidden wine coolers or... :whistling:

I do love the 1800 era house w/ handmade nails tale.

We do everything. 6 lines of cabinets that range from decent quality semi-custom cabinets, to full custom "make whatever I draw" cabinetry. 5 different types of coutner-top materials, and we fabricate our tops ourselves, which is a huge thing.

We handle everything for our customers. They can give us their keys, go on vacation, and 6 weeks later they have a completely new kitchen to return home to. We handle everything incuding permitting, architectural and engineering services necessary to add/remove walls, all plumbing/electrical/HVAC services. And of course all the rest of the products from flooring, to lighting fixtures, appliances, tile.....everything.

However, I won't say we're "high-end", because we're not overly expensive. There are plenty of companies in this area that will not talk to you unless you are willing to spend a minimum of 100k. My projects average in the 40-50k range. Plus, we work with our clients very differently from other places. Absolutely everything, every bit of labor, every bit of product, is sold ala'carte. Our customers know what everything costs, and have a world of products and services to choose from. What their project ends up costing is simply the sum of the choices they make.

As far as budget, most of my preliminary time meeting with perspective clients is about project, products and budget. A project (give or take) simply has a specific list of labor needs. So the labor cost is (give or take) a non-variable. Where the big differences come in for over-all project cost is in product selection. Just looking at a few products; granite can be $53 a square foot, or 1k a square foot. Cabinets have a huge range of cost depending on manufacturer, wood-species, finish, construction, which doesn't even get into how we design the cabinetry....all of the choices for accessories, glass/mullion doors, storage stuff, etc.

So, because there are so many choices, I must know what customers are looking at budget-wise. Talking to customers about stuff like this is like playing chess in 3 dimensions, a rather delicate and technique specific conversation. They can give me a budget, and we can work backwards, or they can tell me what they want, and I can (from many years of experience) give them a budget range based on their choices. I do this without getting into doing actual design work, investing lots of time. I don't do that until they've given me a deposit, committing to doing a project with me.

No, I'm not the Home Depot cabinet slinger, but I did start my career there many moons ago.

Bruce M
12-03-2012, 11:01
...are going to go out of style.

That white finish will probably be just another flash-in-the-pan, like several others. ....

Some things are trends, others, even in a kitchen are timeless. I suggest these as timeless


http://media-cache-ec4.pinterest.com/upload/233905774366389412_ZNhPtml7_b.jpghttp://media-cache-ec6.pinterest.com/upload/135108057542629015_KQ77UNQi_b.jpg
:supergrin:

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 11:09
Some things are trends, others, even in a kitchen are timeless. I suggest these as timeless


http://media-cache-ec4.pinterest.com/upload/233905774366389412_ZNhPtml7_b.jpghttp://media-cache-ec6.pinterest.com/upload/135108057542629015_KQ77UNQi_b.jpg
:supergrin:

The avacado green appliances can fetch a decent price on Craig's List. Also some of the metal cabinets made by GE, if they're in good condition, are sought after, and can fetch some bucks.

FullClip
12-03-2012, 11:15
Some things are trends, others, even in a kitchen are timeless. I suggest these as timeless


http://media-cache-ec4.pinterest.com/upload/233905774366389412_ZNhPtml7_b.jpghttp://media-cache-ec6.pinterest.com/upload/135108057542629015_KQ77UNQi_b.jpg
:supergrin:


:rofl:That's exactly what was in the kitchen when I bought my house! True classics...:supergrin:

The fridge is still chugging away at a friends camp and doing a good job keeping the beer cold and storing the occasional salmon we catch.

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 11:18
What the hell happened? I was talking about possible OGA operators and CIA spies, and now we're talking about friggin' avacado green appliances from the 1970s!!!:rofl::rofl:

Baba Louie
12-03-2012, 12:24
WHAT?!? Thread drift in GNG??? Say it ain't so?

I mean, I DID ask about hidden wine coolers or walk in reefers. :supergrin:

HollowHead
12-03-2012, 12:30
One of my wife's friends is ex CIA and she is a fascinating person to be around. She wasn't a field agent, but did support work for them all over the globe. We all call her Moneypenny after having a few too many... HH

smokeross
12-03-2012, 12:35
What the hell happened? I was talking about possible OGA operators and CIA spies, and now we're talking about friggin' avacado green appliances from the 1970s!!!:rofl::rofl:
O.K I'm going to keep my appliances and custom cabinets, but will need you to replace the counter tops and sink. I am wanting ceramic tile on the floor also. When you are finished, I can set you up at my remote (non spy) cabin that we can see Russia from, and you can hose a huge bear.

Dennis in MA
12-03-2012, 12:59
What the hell happened? I was talking about possible OGA operators and CIA spies, and now we're talking about friggin' avacado green appliances from the 1970s!!!:rofl::rofl:

I spell Ovacado with an O, so OGA is Ovacado Green Appliance. What the heck were you talking about? ;)

mhambi
12-03-2012, 13:10
You can't fool us, Archer.





I'm kidding... Crab Rangoon.

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 13:28
Geeesh!!!

Some people's kids!!:rofl::rofl::rofl:

DanaT
12-03-2012, 13:29
What the hell happened? I was talking about possible OGA operators and CIA spies, and now we're talking about friggin' avacado green appliances from the 1970s!!!:rofl::rofl:

I thought this was coded spy talk??:whistling:

M&P15T
12-03-2012, 13:50
I thought this was coded spy talk??:whistling:

I've been edumacated.

Ovacado Green Appliances are code for OGA operators.:supergrin:

janice6
12-03-2012, 13:56
Some things are trends, others, even in a kitchen are timeless. I suggest these as timeless


http://media-cache-ec4.pinterest.com/upload/233905774366389412_ZNhPtml7_b.jpghttp://media-cache-ec6.pinterest.com/upload/135108057542629015_KQ77UNQi_b.jpg
:supergrin:


You are right about timeless. I took one look at those and time just stopped for me.

I remember when that trend started.

tsmo1066
12-03-2012, 14:52
When I was in High School, my best friend's uncle was a recently retired Air Force Spook who had actually been a member of the original "Project Blue Book" investigative team. He was an extremely interesting person and the only human I have ever met that had an honest-to-God photographic memory. He could literally visualize the pages of textbooks he had read back in college and recite them to you verbatim!

Anyhow, about 90% of what he had done in the Air Force was absolutely off-limits for discussion, including his "Blue Book" work. My friend's Dad, however, told me that once when he got his brother drunk enough, and pestered him long enough on the topic of UFOs, his brother told him "They're out there! Now STFU!"

Take that for whatever it's worth.

smokin762
12-03-2012, 15:06
The Fox is in the Hen House. The Fox is in the Hen House. :whistling:

Mrs. VR
12-03-2012, 15:29
born and raised in the DC burbs. I don't even blink over it. I just posted in another thread, I used to work with a bunch of former spook types. I know/have known TONS Of people who can't really tell you what they do for a living, where they are traveling to, etc.

I like old houses though! (Although, we lived in one, and as much as i like them, i NEVER Want to live in one again!)

Batesmotel
12-03-2012, 16:18
The new NSA super center is being built just a few miles from here. My company has sold homes to some people just moving into the area. Some interesting folks if you can read between the lines.

Deanster
12-03-2012, 16:25
Former FSO here, and it's just hard to say. Dips end up zipping all over the place, and get caught up in bad situations from time to time. A surprising number are former-service military also, with some interesting specialties, and look the part.

There are dips who do 100% above-board work (I did media relations, for example), and there are dips in departments like INR, http://www.state.gov/s/inr/ which is a full-on member of the Intel Community. There are also those who are working directly for State in State slots, but are seconded from other agencies, and at least hypothetically, there could be some who have State offices and titles, but are actually employees of other agencies.

Given that State and Defense are the USG's primary overt-presence agencies overseas, they'd be natural places to tuck away folks with more-intresting mission briefs, if you had a need to do that.