Monthly Archives: June 2010

The Crappy Apartment Saga Part Three

Okay, this brings us up to our current residence, and if you’ve been reading my blog, you already know a lot about the duplex. It’s huge, it’s pretty, it has a yard.

We also have a shared wall. Just one. And it’s the one right behind our bed.

Things started out so well. We got all of our stuff moved in. We hung up our pictures. We adapted to living without a real, human-sized refrigerator.

We’d lived at the new place about a week and a half, when, at about 3:30 Monday morning, I woke up to the sound of thumping bass.

Now, you should know that my sleeping patterns are a swinging pendulum.  Sometimes I wake up at the slightest noise, and sometimes it would take somebody repeatedly slapping me and screaming in my face to wake me up.

So I figured I was in a light-sleeping cycle. I looked over at Adam. He’s still asleep. Okay, if he can do it, so can I. I tried to go back to sleep.

Have you ever put in a dvd of a movie or tv series and fallen asleep to it? Then, at some point in the night, the movie ends and the dvd goes back to the title menu, which has some loud, annoying, repeating noise or song? When that happens to me, at first I’ll just have really frustrating dreams that go around in circles. But then I’ll slowly wake up and realize what disturbed my sleep, and at that point it is impossible for me to go back to sleep with the dvd menu still going.

(I know I could just turn it off. But we didn’t have a remote for our bedroom tv for a long time, so I’d have to get out of bed, in the dark, half asleep, and stumble and stub my way to the tv, turn it off, and stumble back. It was annoying. And sometimes painful. So yeah, I’d try to ignore it for a while first.)

Anyway, that is what this noise was like. It was obviously a repeating pattern, but I was just hearing bass, no melody, so I couldn’t even figure out what song it was.

I didn’t want to pound on the wall and wake Adam up. At least, I didn’t want to wake him up that way. So I began the Wake-Up Dance: a series of heavy sighs interspersed with frustrated tossing and turning in bed.

It worked. Adam woke up, so we both banged on the wall. After a few seconds, the noise stopped, and we went back to bed. Problem solved.

A week passed, and we didn’t have any repeat occurrences. Problem solved forever, apparently.

Until the next Monday morning, at about 3:30. Same story, same Wake-Up Dance, same wall pounding to get it to stop. And it seemed to work.

For about ten minutes.

Then the noise started back up. We pounded on the wall again, harder this time. Nothing. I moved to the couch to try to sleep there. The noise was too loud, and seemed to be getting louder. It finally got to a point where it was all we could hear. We called the cops. And I sent an email to our landlord letting him know what had happened, and asking him to do something.

I’m sure the cops came, but at some point, I was so tired that I actually fell asleep despite the noise. Adam had to leave for work at 5:00, so he was gone before the cops showed up.

At this point, we decided we had to talk to the guy. We hadn’t met him, we hadn’t even seen him, but we clearly had evidence that he was there.

So Adam knocked on his door. And waited. And noticed that there were menus and business cards rubber-banded to the doorknob. It looked like this guy hasn’t seen the outside of his front door…ever. So Adam went to the back. He knocked at the back gate. And waited. Still nothing.

Oh, we also got a response back from the landlord. It basically amounted to “Handle it yourselves. What am I, your mother?” Thanks, jerk.

A week passed. Same time, same story, same result. We called the cops, and this time we actually talked to them – the cops, I mean. They told us that since the noise wasn’t audible in the street, they can’t issue a ticket. But they’ll go over and try to talk to the guy. We hear them knock on his door. We hear them wait. Knock again. Wait longer. Then get frustrated and leave. This guy won’t open his door for anyone.

This time, we decided to do the adult thing – a passive aggressive note. Adam wrote it, so I can’t tell you what it actually said, but I imagine it read along the lines of “Dude. Come the fuck on. Band practice can wait until daylight hours, okay? People need their sleep. Asshole.”

He left it under the guy’s windshield wiper.

I drive past the guy’s car every day on the way to work, and I saw that the note wasn’t there anymore, which, I assumed, meant that he read it. So I waited for some sort of retaliation, or for him to come over and apologize. Nothing.

And, stupidly, I further assumed that meant that he read the note, he’s sorry, he understands, and he won’t do it again.

Monday morning. Awake at 4:00. Pounding bass. Near tears at this point.

We’ve pounded on the wall. We’ve knocked on his door. We’ve left a note. We’ve called the cops. We’ve contacted the landlord. At this point, I’m really thinking revenge is the only answer. If I’d had an alarm clock that I could just leave on all day while I was at work, I would’ve. Damn cell phone alarms have left me powerless in these situations.

So, before we did anything drastic, we contacted our landlord one more time. My husband emailed him this time, and his tone was less business-like and more pleading. Please help.

This time, the response was only three words, all caps:

CONSIDER IT DONE.

So, this brings us to present day. It’s been a week and a half since my husband sent the email. This Monday was the first Monday in over a month that we got to sleep all morning until the alarm went off. We’ll see if it lasts.

And by the way, it really bugs me that when I sent the email, our landlord was all, “Please, I have much more important things to do,” and when my husband sent the email, he’s immediately responsive. I know it was the second email about the same thing, and that’s probably why he decided to actually help, but still, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, “Sexist bastard.” Actually, it’s closer to the front of my mind.

And yes, construction has started on a natural gas well across the street from us. I assume it will be completed about the time we’re ready to buy a house.

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The Crappy Apartment Saga Pt. 2

At this point we both had regular jobs and were making a bit more money, so we figured we could afford a higher rent if it meant a better neighborhood. So we found a place that was nice, a bit more expensive, but a much better neighborhood (at least when we moved in).

The only problem: we weren’t able to get into a new apartment right when our lease was up. We’d have to wait a month.

Our choices were to either pay the much higher month-to-month rent at our old crappy apartments, or to move in with Adam’s parents for a month and save some money. We went with option B.

Now we had a new problem: we had to find a place to put our stuff. So we rented a storage facility and waited for a month.

Finally, the month is nearing its end, and we get a call from the new place. There’s a problem with our apartment.

See, someone in the office had “accidentally” extended some guy’s lease for a month and the guy happened to be living in our future apartment. Great.

So, we’ve got a couple of options. They’ve broken their end of the lease, so we could go somewhere else if we want. But we’d put a lot of effort into finding this place and we didn’t want to have to pay new deposits at another place, so we nixed that idea.

They tell us, since they’ve inconvenienced us so much, they’ll put us in a bigger apartment for the first month of our lease (at the same price, of course), and they’ll hire movers for us. Hell yeah! Option B again.

So, we get everything set to move, but then we find out they’re only paying to move us once. We can decide if it’s for the first move (to the temporary apartment) or the second move (to the permanent one).

Now, we initially scheduled our first move-in day on a weekend so my parents could help us move. But since we were getting movers to help, I’d told my parents we wouldn’t need them after all. And – also because we thought we’d have movers – we scheduled our second move on a week day. So, okay, fine, I call my parents and tell them we need them again – to move us to our temporary apartment.

After living on the third floor for several months, we’d requested a first floor apartment at the new place – which we got. That was one of the reasons I’d felt comfortable asking my parents – who are both in their fifties and occasionally have back problems – to help us move. So before we agreed to move ourselves to the temp apartment and have movers for the permanent one, I made sure to ask if our temp place was also on the first floor. The answer was yes.

Liars.

We go to pick up our temporary key to our temporary apartment on moving day, and the apartment number was 6305. Hmm. Logic and experience tell me this apartment will be in the sixth building on the 3rd floor.

I was livid. I felt like we’d been jerked around so much at this point, I immediately turned around and tried to go back into the office. Luckily, Adam stopped me, because there may have been bloodshed. He never lets me get into fights.

So my parents moved us into the temp apartment and we spent a month there, happy to be away from the construction and the gunfire. And then we were professionally moved into our real apartment a month later. And this apartment served us well for a couple of years.

But, of course, it was still an apartment. Which means we were sharing two walls and a ceiling with other people. And sometimes those people jumped up and down on our ceiling at 2:00 in the morning. And sometimes they slammed cabinet doors late at night. And sometimes they had loud parties at the pool just outside our patio – with a paid DJ.

Also, about a month after we moved to this place, which is right next to a major highway, the city (or state, I guess) decided our exit needed to be widened. Yes, that’s right. More construction. I wonder if it was actually the same crew, and they just followed us over.

Oh well. At least it wasn’t happening on top of the roof this time.

We were kind of looking for a way out. Luckily, our apartment’s management company was happy to oblige.

We’d lived at this place for about two and a half years, through two lease terms. So when this lease was coming to a close, we started to weigh our options.

What we really wanted was a house. We were in no position to buy it, so renting would have to suffice. We started looking, but we were still keeping an open mind to staying at our current place. Then the signs went up.

“Lock your doors. Take your keys. Hide your belongings.”

Yes, the same signs you see in mall parking lots.

They also started putting up “$99 Move-In Special” signs. I think some of our old neighbors came over.

Now we were pretty eager to leave. But money was still an issue, so we decided to talk to management to see if we could get a better rent rate. We decided that if we had to actually move to a new place, it wouldn’t be an apartment. But if we could get a better rate for where we were, we’d stay put. After all, we’d looked on the apartment’s website and noticed that they were now renting our floor plan at $100 per month less than we were paying. So we went by the office.

“Hey, guys, it’s great that you came in, we were just about to contact you about whether you want to renew your lease. We just wanted to let you know that we do expect a small increase in rent for that unit.”

Excuse me?

“Yeah, with the housing crisis and the economy, we’ve got to offset our costs and everything.”

But on the website it says you’re renting our apartment for $100 less than we’re paying now.

“Oh. You checked the website. Um.”

*arms crossing*

*foot tapping*

*heavy sigh*

“Well, we could give you a better rate, but only if we move you into a new apartment.”

So, long story less long, we found the duplex and moved in, thinking that sharing only one wall would be infinitely better than sharing two walls and a ceiling. Of course, it all depends on who you’re sharing with.

Come back tomorrow for The Crappy Apartment Saga Part Three: The Crappening.

***

Epilogue

The construction on our exit ended about a week before we moved out. Perhaps you can guess where that crew got their next job.

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The Crappy Apartment Saga Pt. 1

Part One:

When my husband and I first got an apartment together, our sole criteria was cost. How cheap is the rent? Cheap? Okay, when can we move in?

(Actually, that’s not entirely true. It was: how cheap is the rent, and how lenient are you on the credit check? We’re not out there writing hot checks or anything, we just didn’t really have any credit then.)

So, we found a place that was pretty cheap and accepted our credit. It was a third floor apartment, which is good for keeping in shape, but sucks when you come home from a 13-hour shift waiting tables and then have to climb 2 flights of stairs to get to your bed.

This first place was not in the best of neighborhoods, and, a side-effect of them accepting people with crappy credit, anyone could get in. We didn’t have a lot of trouble with our neighbors at first, but after a while we noticed that our next door neighbor had at least three dogs. Big ones. And he left them alone all day. Every day.

They did not suffer silently. So there was barking all day.

And then we noticed an odor. I guess he wasn’t home often enough to take them out for walks. So now it’s loud and stinky.

And apparently they’re all infested with fleas. Which meant our cat was suddenly infested with fleas. Awesome.

We just kind of trudged along, accepting our crappy-neighbor-having fate, until one day, we came home to find Animal Control there. They were taking his dogs away. I guess he’d been away too long. And those dogs were huge. And hungry. And sad. It was like an ASPCA commercial.

We were pleased that suddenly our living situation had gotten much better…until it got much, much worse.

The apartment complex had big ideas about attracting a better class of resident, so they started improving things all over the complex. This meant construction. Which would have been inconvenient but not life-altering, except for one thing. I mentioned the 13-hour serving shifts I worked then? Yeah, those ended at about 1:30 in the morning. So I would go home, take a bath, eat dinner, unwind, and be in bed by about 3:30 am, knowing that I’d have to be back at work at 10:00 am.

But at 6:30, construction would start. And they started with the roof. And we lived on the top floor. So it sucked.

Then we came home one night to find a notice on the door from the apartment management saying they assumed we’d heard about the shooting, so if we had any information, please call the police. That sucked more.

Then one morning I went out to find my car’s passenger window shattered, but still intact (which was actually pretty impressive.) We weren’t sure whether it was an attempted break-in or a bullet, but either way…that sucked the most.

So we decided to move.

Stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow!

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Okay, NOW you can have your random post.

So, speaking of kitties (see previous post), I saw a kitty get hit by a car on my way to work. It was very upsetting, and the cat ended up in front of my car, so I slammed on my breaks, expecting to have to get out and take the cat home to nurse it back to health. Also, expecting to be rear-ended, because I suh-lammed on my brakes.

But the kitty just gets up and runs to the sidewalk and is looking all “What the fuck, dude?!” (It was a guy in a giant truck who didn’t even slow down when he hit the cat. Bastard. I’m adding this to my list of things that keep you out of heaven.)

So anyway, after this and my own cat getting sick,  I’m wondering: Am I carrying around a bubble of kitty peril wherever I go? Is there a danger zone around me that only affects cats?

Keep me away from your pets, people. I’ve angered the cat-god Bastet and she is wreaking some major havoc.

***

How awesome was Futurama last night?!*  Love that show. Yay! It’s back!

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Um, if you guys still aren’t watching So You Think You Can Dance, you are missing out, man. Also, can’t you accept advice from anyone? I’m only trying to help you.

Anyway, here’s another video. Watch it. If you dare….

It’s not scary or anything. I just felt like saying “If you dare…”

But if masks creep you out, um, it might be a little scary.

***

Another thing I like to say for no reason: Any time I say “You’ll see,” I add, “You’ll aaaallll see.” And point at everyone in the room. It’s a great way to take a normal conversation and turn it into an awkward pause.

***

So, I believe I mentioned my love of dating shows previously. One of my favorites was Singled Out on MTV. This was back when MTV actually had good stuff on, known as The Daria Epoch. In my opinion dating shows should always be treated as throw-aways, single servings that don’t last an entire season (*ahem* The Bachelor *cough cough*).

Anyway, in watching Singled Out, I developed a major crush on Chris Hardwick, who you may know as the poor man’s Joel McHale. So you can imagine my delight to discover he has a website now, that is specifically for the nerdy set. And they do podcasts. Including one with Adam Savage (of Mythbusters), one with Alison Brie (of Community), and one with the one, the only, the future signer of my underwear, Craig Ferguson. It’s two hours long and awesome, and you can stream it.

Also, there’s language, so if you share an office, maybe keep the volume low.

***

Hmm, what else? Oh! Did you guys see Toy Story 3? Did you cry? Yeah, me too.

Okay, that’ll do it for me. I’m setting a goal of actually reaching my original goal of 3 posts a week next week. Wish me luck!

*Answer: Very.

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I’m a cat lady, okay? Stop judging me.

I know it’s random day, and you’ll get your random post later. But first I have to tell you about what happened to my cat.

So, I mentioned previously that she’s very fat, but that she lost weight since we moved to the new place. Well, apparently that’s bad.

It alllll started when I came back from Oklahoma, and I noticed Kasima’s food bowl looked pretty much the same as before I left. Adam said he hadn’t filled it. So I started to get a little worried, but Kasima seemed pretty normal, so I thought she might’ve been eating off Adam’s plates. Then, a couple days later, she got really lethargic. Her eyes didn’t really seem to focus. She was weak and uncharacteristically cooperative with being picked up. She wouldn’t drink her water, which had also stayed at the same level for a few days.

And – this is something other cat owners will recognize, and the rest of you will think I’m crazy – her meow was different. She normally has sort of a husky Lauren Bacall kind of meow. Now it was more plaintive, like…I don’t know, Miley Cyrus? Anyway, it was different, and I got worried.

So Adam took her to the vet and we were sort of expecting to hear that it was something awful and incurable. But no. It’s fatty liver disease.

See, a cat’s liver is not designed to handle major weight loss because cats were designed to be lean and fit. So, when Kasima lost weight, the body fat went into her liver and just kind of sat there, clogging things up. (This is my understanding after barely skimming the print-out we got from the vet.)

The cure for this is to eat, which cleans out the liver. So we’ve gotten her some new food, which she seems to like, and she’s acting like her old finger-biting, towel-peeing, breath-stealing self. A happy ending!

Also? She weighs 15 pounds. That’s after she lost weight. Fattest cat ever. And apparently there’s no changing that.

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Random Day again? Already?

I’ve been in Oklahoma most of the week. So this Random Day will have an Oklahoman flavor that some of you (my dad) may find appealing and some of you (Texans) may detest.

So, apparently in Oklahoma, Craig Ferguson gets preempted by Seinfeld. What the hell? Craig Ferguson, what did you do to piss Oklahoma off?

I noticed on the drive back that you can definitely tell when you’ve come into Texas (even if you don’t notice the GIANT SIGN). And, I hate to say it, but it’s because Texas has a lot more road clutter. Not litter – Don’t Mess with Texas – more like billboards and road signs and crap, all right up on the edge of the highway. I don’t know if I was just driving through a particularly rural part of Oklahoma or what, but coming into Texas it was like, “Whoa. Calm down. I don’t need to know that “Adoption is an option” in 20 foot-high letters, okay?”

(If you’re not from Texas, you should know that I’ve gotten myself into some hot water here, because I just said that Oklahoma was in some way better than Texas. The only option I have now is to invoke that-which-cannot-be-named, an organization so evil that it raises the ire of even the most laid-back Texan – Matthew McConaughey.)

I blame TxDOT.

(Whew. Crisis averted.)

So, getting away from controversial topics, I listened to Wicked all the way up and all the way back. Now it’s stuck in my head forever. Which I’m pretty okay with.

Also, being away from my DVR for a few days made me realize how much TV sucks in the summer. But I did get to watch about 15 minutes of True Blood on HBO. So it was a net gain.

And this hotel didn’t have a guide channel to tell you what’s coming on when, so I was totally flying blind. Which means I watched a lot of Law & Order: SVU.

You know, I watch a lot of that show on TNT when I’m feeling lazy or can’t find the remote, and I still haven’t seen every episode. I think that show has secretly been on for 50 years. Or maybe they’re filming new episodes in an alternate dimension so there’s an infinite supply. (I like the second explanation better because it involves science. Or magic. Either way, that’s the one I’m going to go with.)

By the way, I didn’t take the pretty route. I was all set to, but then I noticed that it had two toll roads. Apparently there is a price to be paid for beauty.

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Randominity

Hi! It’s Friday! The time when all my random thoughts come out to play, like fairies that come out to play when you turn on the sprinkler. Maybe that’s just in my yard.

I’m in kind of a weird mood today. Restless. Shifty. Giddy. Slightly chilly. No particular reason, other than it’s Friday. And I left the air conditioner on too low at my office last night.

So, anyway. Random:

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I’m following almost the whole cast of Community on twitter now, as well as the creator, Dan Harmon. I find him very entertaining. Check it out.

***

So You Think You Can Dance is back on! I love to watch pretty people dancing. That’s why I own Center Stage on dvd. But seriously, you should watch this show. It’s amazing. Watch this clip and see if your heart doesn’t try to float away like a balloon. (Skip to 0:47 or so to just see the dancing.)

***

I saw Splice. It was weird. And not in a cool way. And not in a mind-fuck-maybe-if-I-dropped-acid-and-watched-it-again-I’d-appreciate-it way. I’d almost put it in the so-bad-it’s-good category, except it invaded my dreams and now I’m angry at it.

Sarah Polley and Adrian Brody, you are so much better than this. Why?

***

My cat has decided that when the alarm goes off in the morning, it’s time for her to sit on my chest. If she were normal-sized this wouldn’t be a huge problem. But she’s very, very fat* and it causes me great physical discomfort. As well as little paw-shaped bruises all over my torso. Try explaining that to a doctor.

I can’t decide if she’s trying to keep me at home or if she’s trying to steal my breath. Could be both.

*She’s lost weight since we moved into the bigger place. It’s got me wondering – is she the opposite of a goldfish? Does she expand when we put her in smaller areas, only to get smaller when she’s in a larger area? It might just be that now it’s more of a walk from the bed to the couch.

***

Adam and I have been DVRing Jeopardy and watching it when I get home every night. This is nice, because it gives me a way to track how much dumber I get each day.

Well, each weekday.

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I’m going on a business trip next week! I’m like a grown up.

A question for the 5 people who read this: Should I take the faster route or the prettier route?

***

I got my 100th comment the other day! But it was from my husband, which is like writing a play and then getting a rave review from your mother. (Which has happened to me.)

So anywho, comment away, people I’m not related to. Let me know you’re out there.

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