Thursday, August 29, 2013

Another Gnome Door has opened

There are critters in the house, in the attic and possibly in the walls now.  Critters in attics and walls do not bother me.  I have lived in old houses. I lived in a farm house with mice in the walls and bats in the belfry...I mean, attic, so I'm kind of used to it.  (although, after the snake got loose and hid in the walls, we didn't hear the mice anymore).  So, when Gladys Kravitz cornered me last week to tell me about the animals and how terrified she was to sleep, I shook my head.  What did she think was going to happen?  They'd chew through the walls and get her?  Honestly! Well, crazy Gladys wasn't going to let my apathy deter her. She called Pest Control.  The Pest Control guy and I agreed that he could come over on Tuesday around 4:30 to take a look in my attic for said critters.  I won't get into the fact that he didn't arrive until 7:30 (!), but let's just say I was more nervous about the opening of the gnome door than what might actually be up there.  

The gnome door has been painted shut forever, except for a brief time when it wasn't.  I've lived there for 14 years now, and I have never opened that door or been present when it was opened.  They repainted over a year ago, and the gnome door has been secure ever since.  So, when the two men arrived to survey my attic, I may have been a little skittish and hid in the kitchen until I was sure nothing was going to jump out.  Guy #1 bravely climbed up there while Guy #2 stayed down and chatted with me.  They asked if I'd ever heard critters.  I said, "Heck, yeah. I've been hearing them for 14 years.  Critters don't bug me none."  (I get a little redneck sometimes)  All the while I could hear Guy #1 walking around up in the attic, I kept waiting for the blood-curdling scream that never came.  Finally, he popped back down.  

What did he find?  A little of this?

Or maybe some of this?

How about these?

Nope.  He found absolutely nothing except an old clay flower pot with a dead branch of something still firmly planted.  How amazingly random.  His professional opinion is that the critters I hear are just visiting squirrels and not living up there, as there is no poop or other signs of nesting.  He moved some boards to block the one opening (under the eaves where the pigeons used to roost before Frau tacked up screening) and said he'd talk to the Frau about closing it up properly.  He's also going to suggest trimming the branches of the magnolia tree so they don't have easy roof access.  

Before he left, I made sure he put the door back securely, but now that the paint has been undone, I'm scared.  

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Don't fence me in

Last Wednesday--not yesterday; the one before--I left for work and everything at Frau Gardens looked as it should.  When I arrived home that evening, this happened.

A fence that had heretofore not been there suddenly appeared.  Well, not suddenly like "BAM! Here's your fence!" but suddenly as in sometime in the past eight hours, a fence has been erected.  I puzzled over this addition longer than I should have.  I stood on the sidewalk, head cocked to the side like a dog looking at a ceiling fan, wondering "why now?"  I've lived at Frau Gardens for 14 years now and we have never had a fence, nor any need for one that I could see.  Since the fence is only about two and a half feet high, one can only assume its sole purpose is to keep dogs from crapping on our lush, green lawn.

Here's what really confused me and chapped my hide:  notice in the above photo, there is a gate at the first sidewalk, and another one farther down at the middle sidewalk.  However....
the lush green lawn

The Frau was too damned cheap to install a gate at the third sidewalk, the one in front of my front stoop. And while that is not really a big deal--I mean, the yard isn't that big--it is still annoying that I can't just enter in front of my own porch and have to walk along the dreaded uneven cracked sidewalk, the site of my horrible fall last year that left me bruised and sprained for months, and that I can no longer sneak past Latina Gladys Kravitz, as I am required now to walk right in front of her apartment.  In defiance, I've been walking right across the grass, because I'm a rebel, Dotty.   

Another awesome side effect of the new fence:  when my downstairs neighbor comes home from the bars at 3am, I not only get to hear him slam his screen door, I now get the added bonus of hearing him slam the gate as well.  Last Friday he had a party, which from what I could hear was attended by the girl you wish you hadn't started a conversation with at a party, and I was treated to the lovely sound of every single guest slamming the gate as they left.  Yes, I'm old and cranky.  Now get off my lush, green lawn.  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Some days I wonder how I function

I got cable and internet at my house yesterday!! I haven't had cable TV since 1999, and I've been without any kind of TV or internet at home for at least 9 months.  I've been doing a lot of Netflix.  So, Hooray! I got cable.  And Hooray, the guy came early and was done early.  I was going to run a work errand and be off to work.  But my car battery, which has been slowly dying, told me otherwise.

Off to Pep Boys I went to get a new battery and, while I was at it, brake lights since the police officer who pulled me over on Thursday gave me a warning and I don't want to tempt fate.  The wait was an hour and a half.  I emailed work and told them I was taking a vacation day since "hour and a half" in mechanic terms usually translates to "three hours."  It was actually two hours.  I got out of there unscathed, then ran the work errand (through West Hollywood traffic no less) and then decided to stop at Target for TWO THINGS.  

 A Million Dollars later, I left Target with a new vacuum (on sale), since (as stated on Twitter) nothing highlights your housekeeping failures like inviting a stranger into your home.  [UPDATE: Highlight of my Target visit was seeing this guy in the elevator.]  The new vacuum is awesome.  It made my fire-engine red carpet look like new.  Never loses suction? You bet it doesn't.  It sucks so well that it sucked up the power cord for the brand new, never used, HD-DVR cable box and shredded it.  
When I break things, I don't half-ass it.

I'm really lucky it didn't start a fire since it was still plugged in and one end of this was sparking.  The vacuum is still running great, btw.  Since I hadn't eaten the sandwich I brought home, I sat down to eat while thinking of what I can do.  I mean, I didn't want to call the cable company and tell them I destroyed the power cord on the first day.  I decided that Best Buy would probably have a replacement cord.  Surely I'm not the first idiot to do this.  But, lo, my friends at Best Buy could not help me.  They suggested...the cable store that I passed on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood earlier. It was roughly 3:30 when the shredding occurred.  By the time I ate and got to Best Buy, 5:00.  I got to WeHo around 5:40 because, you know, the unbearable traffic.  The cable store closed at 5:30.  Then, I suddenly remembered there's a cable store on Cahuenga right by my house.  Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.  I drive by it every day!  I raced over there and they closed at 6:00.  I didn't make it.  

Back home, which still smells like burning rubber, I searched for cable cords online to see if there was an alternative.  There's not, at least not that I could find.  Guess who's going to the cable store after work?  

Today, I woke up with a sinus headache and barely made it to work with all of my clothes on.  I stopped at Starbucks for coffee and an oatmeal.  I left with oatmeal is probably still sitting on the counter waiting for me.

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Frau ruins a perfectly good Friday

Just when you thought you'd never hear another Frau story again....

On Saturday, I put my rent into the mailbox for the Frau to collect as usual.  I put it in a regulation size #10 envelope, as usual.

On Tuesday, Gladys Kravitz stopped me on my way out the door in the morning to tell me that Frau doesn't have my phone number (she does) and that she needs to speak with me.  I called her when I got to work and this was the first sentence she said "What's up with your rent?"  Not Hello.  Not, "I checked the mailbox and didn't see your check.  Did you forget?"  No, just a rude, angry "what's up with your rent?"  I explained that I put it in there and it should be there, but she insisted it was not.

"Okay, I'll drop a check in the box when I get home and stop payment on the other one," I explained. Well, before she let me hang up the phone on Tuesday she repeated several times that she checked the mailbox for three days and my check is not in there.  I assured her that I DID put the check in there on Saturday and that maybe someone took it, or it got mixed up with the others, but for whatever reason, I'll happily put a new check in the box.   And that's exactly what I did, with a note telling her to go ahead and destroy the other check if she finds it.

Today--Friday, three days later--she left a voicemail on my cell phone.  "You had the check all the time with you.  Then you gave me another check.  I never lost your check.  I never saw your check.  The other day I picked up the check I told you to put in the box.  You HAD the check. You just shoved it over there because I looked everywhere for a check. There was no check. I don't know what's your story here. You say keep the check. Throw away the check.  I don't know.  You give me two checks except one is dated the first and one is dated the fourth.  You never gave me a check and now you're trying to cover it up. I just want to tell you this is not acceptable."  No, what IS unacceptable is that voicemail.

I have lived in that apartment for 13 years and have NEVER not paid my rent.  I don't complain.  Other than the leaky faucets (not my fault) she hardly hears a peep from me.  You'd think that she would give me the benefit of the doubt.  Especially since the other two times she has accused me of not paying on time, I proved her wrong by walking over to the mailbox, reaching in, and pulling out the check that she swore was not in there.  Now either I'm a powerful sorcerer or she needs longer arms.

And just like that a nice pleasant Friday was ruined.  If only I could afford to move...

Monday, June 03, 2013

What are you trying to tell me, Universe?

I have had brushes with death all weekend long.  The universe is trying to tell me something, but I don't know what.  I feel like someone is out to get me, and God and my guardian angel are working like crazy to stop it. Here's the story:

On Friday, I returned from my walk to Subway (Eat Fresh) and got on the elevator that hates me.   I pushed the 8 button and the elevator began to climb.  Then suddenly--WHOOSH--it dropped a floor.  Let me repeat that--IT DROPPED A FLOOR!!  Luckily, I was only on the second floor and had it hit the ground, I doubt I'd have sustained any major injuries.  However, it is scary as hell to have an elevator just drop all of a sudden.  Trust me on this one. I held my breath until it made it to my floor.

On Saturday, I was judging a spelling bee at one of our schools.  I left the school and went on a yarn hunting mission, as one does.  On the 101 freeway,I was driving along and I thought for a second "brake."  I just lightly tapped my brake, just enough to slow down, when this fast car changed lanes right in front of me with barely any room to spare, so close that I couldn't see his license plate.  I never even saw him coming; he was so fast, easily over 90 to 100 mph.  He had his flashers on, so I wonder if maybe his brakes weren't working.  I don't know but he continued to speed and zig zag through traffic until he was out of sight.  Had I not slowed down, he'd have hit me for sure.

Then, yesterday, I had this morbid thought upon waking.  I thought, "If I died, how would they know who to call?"  I checked my phone and added things like "sister" and "brother" next to their phone numbers.  Then, I walked to Walgreens and Chipotle.  On my way home, I was crossing the street when a monster truck shot out from his stop to make a left turn--right into me.  I saw his grill and nothing else.  He stopped inches from hitting me. Had he skidded at all, I'd have had a face full of metal.   The driver's window was open and I yelled, "What the hell?" but he never even acknowledged it. Not an apology. Not even a glance in my direction, as if I was just something in the road that he had to drive around.  Not to mention that it's illegal to drive into a cross walk when a pedestrian is anywhere within the cross walk.  Sheesh.  I was so startled and flustered that I didn't even call him any of my favorite curse words.  

So, what is the world trying to tell me?  Live life to the fullest?  Clean my apartment because who knows who's going to have to see it?  Always wear clean underwear? I'm treading with caution and hoping for the best.  

totally not cheating even though I copied this directly from an email I sent my sister.  Y'all need to know.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nerd Alert

Tomorrow marks the opening day of Yarn Crawl LA 2013, and I'm heading out with some yarn-loving ladies to hit the valley region.  Yarn Crawl, for the uninitiated, is a four-day event in which participants visit local yarn shops through the county.  There are passports that get stamped at each store, raffles, door prizes, famous knit and crochet folks, and yarn, lots and lots of pretty, strokable yarn. (I will hug it and pet it and  squeeze it and I will name it George). The beautiful minds behind this event have wisely mapped all the participating stores by regions and color-coded them, too.  I swoon.  

Being ever-so-slightly OCD, I went one better.  I mapped the stores we plan to hit tomorrow, Googled directions from store to store, and planned a route that will take us in one giant loop, bringing us back to the Glendale/Burbank area to drop one gal off, and hopefully still give us time to get to our regular Thursday night Stitch 'n' Bitch at the Farmer's Market.  I also mapped my route to pick the ladies up in the morning, using street view to determine which streets had lights and/or turning lanes for easy left turns.  And a route from their homes to the first two local stores we'll be visiting before heading to Burbank.  If traffic cooperates and my timing is accurate, we should be able to complete our mission.  

Now, I just hope I have the will power to resist impulse buys, and to recognize a good sale.  I'm counting on my cohorts to talk me down of the ledges.  

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

As God is my witness, I'll never go thirsty again!

I drink a lot of water. In fact, I drink mostly water.  I'll have a large coffee in the morning and switch to water by 10:30 or 11:00 every day.  I do consume the occasional Diet Coke or Iced Tea, but for the most part, I'm a big fan of the H2O.  So, I didn't really need to be reminded to drink water, but I'm a sucker for a cute app.  

That's how I found myself with the Plant Nanny app for iPhone.  Based on your weight and activity level, the app tells you how much water you should be consuming each day.  Next comes the fun part.  You plant a plant.  Beginners have three plants and basic flower pots to choose from, with more being added as you progress.  I chose the Devil's Ivy for my first plant.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize there was a "snapshot" feature until my second plant--Dandelion.  Finally, you choose the size of your drink, from 8 oz to 32 oz, which you can switch throughout the day depending on what you're using.  I have a giant water bottle at work, but only a 24oz at home, so I switch.  

The plant starts off this cute little nubbin with eyes.  
Awww, wook at hims wittle rosy cheeks.
Super cute, right?  And it makes this sweet little chirp note when you give it a drink.  It will remind you ever 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours that you need to drink.  And if you don't drink (or lie and tell the app you drank anyway), the plant will wither and die.  (don't ask me how I found out)

Still adorbs, but why does it have arms?
I'm loving the Bob's Big Boy swoop it's got going on.  Did I mention it kind of waves and bobs when you've given it a drink? It does, in a little "thanks, pal" kind of way.  Also, the app goes from day to night and has a clock feature.  
look how big he is
Next stage, still trying to climb out of the pot.  And look at the sprouts.  Don't they remind you of golf clubs?

all grown up
Here's my little Dandy all grown up.  What's with the tongue, mister?  Yeah, that tongue goes in and out.  Someone's got an attitude problem.  Did you know you're just a weed?  Oh, they blink, too.  If you're into the whole anthropomorphic thing (I name everything!), you'll love this.  

Downside?  If you didn't pee a lot before, well...  Fortunately, I have not had to adjust my routine since I pee like the dickens anyway.    

Friday, April 05, 2013

Hillbilly Poetry

In checking my Postini for missed emails, I found the usual plethora of bedroom enhancement drugs, lottery winning announcements, and password hacking warnings.  But interspersed were the strangest subject lines I'd ever seen.  I started reading them and they sounded like random quotes from some colloquial short story.  And so, I present to you, Hillbilly Poetry.

Greetings, My Beloved
I thought this might be in yer interest
But the words wouldn't come
He was awful surprised
It made me shiver
Oh, he done it admirable
Before un you claims it
Thems the very words
I hain't got no money
Why, yonder he is now
He said that would do
That cheered me up
But I never said so
I didn't mean no harm
I was tangled good, now.
It was a close place
Tom said so himself
My Boss thinks I'm kind of a big deal
They all do
Well, then
He was drunk, I reckon
I throwed the paddle down
I whooped and I listened
There, now, that's a specimen
Only they? They told you would
Po little chap
We blowed out a cynlinder head
Oh, he's sly, I reckon
They hain't go it
So, she hollered
Anybody would
Not by a blame sight
That disturbed Jim, and me, too
The family was at home
Phillip, never forget a movie trailer you like

Sponsored by sinus medication that makes me loopy, and cramps, and hunger, and lack of coffee.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Most Hard-Earned Medal Ever

So much for blogging every day...

It's been a rough week so far, with lots of waking up late, getting to work late, sitting in meetings that never end and accomplishing squat.  We have a giant fundraising event in just four weeks, and I am in the middle of creating a new website. Also, I have a sinus thing that's making my teeth hurt, and I'm hormonal.  Not the best time to come at me.So, I was kind of at the end of my tolerance yesterday when a co-worker came to me with a new idea.  Her idea is actually cool, but instead of "Hey, I have a great idea," I heard "Hey, I don't like they way you're doing your job. My way is better, so I went to your boss and he agrees."  Which, really?  No one needs that.  

I went from zero to enraged in two seconds and warned her, as calmly as possible, that this was not a good day and that I  really can't think about anything else at the moment.  I sent her away, closed my door, and cried for a good five minutes.  Then, I went for a walk and got some chocolate.  If anyone deserves this medal, it's me.

Let's see if I can keep up this winning streak for the whole week

Monday, April 01, 2013

I guess fezzes really ARE cool

I've been fezzed--TWICE.

On Saturday, in honor of the premiere of the new season of Doctor Who, BBC America "doctored" Twitter avatars for any Whovians who asked.  Here's my new Who avatar.

Thanks, @DoctorWho_BBCA for the Fez and bow tie treatment.

Today, in honor of April Fool's Day, Ravelry is adding random hats to everyone's avatar on the forums.  And guess what random hat mine got?  
Hey Girl, you look good in a Fez.

I guess the 11th Doctor was right--Fezzes are cool.  

I'm going to TRY to participate in April's NaBloPoMo.  The theme is "Fresh," which goes along with my Fresh blog look and my Fresh avatars, not to mention my fresh mouth (rim shot) (that was for you, Mom)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I think my clock is broken, because it's been Tooth Hurty all day

yeah, I love a good pun.  Sorry.

So, a few years back...long before Sandy, when I was still dealing with poor Jamie (my VW Jetta?), I had an abscessed tooth.  You may remember my problems trying to see a dentist and the subsequent root canal, which I chronicled here and here.  The dentist who ended up finishing my root canal, and fitting the crown, was kind of shady.  Well, it wasn't so much the dentist who was shady, but the dental group on a whole.  I'm sure many of you have been through it.  They take some X-rays, then confer to see what insurance will cover, then come back to you with a laundry list of things you absolutely MUST have done or your teeth will fall out, you'll become a pariah, and you'll never be happy again.  Well, I really needed the root canal, and the crown, and I needed a cleaning, so I agreed to those things for some exorbitant price and never went back.  In fact, I never finished the cleaning because they wanted to do it in four separate visits at $175 each and I don't have that kind of money.  Well, roughly four months later, the crown, which they made in their offices and was supposed to be some wonderful porcelain something or other, broke.  I called them and told them, but their answer was "sure, we'll fix it.  For $1000" or however much a new crown was going to cost. Yes, I could have fought about it, gotten the insurance company involved, blown a gasket until they relented--I didn't.  Frankly, I was exhausted from dealing with Jamie and her slow and steady demise, and I just didn't have any fight left in me.  

The broken crown didn't really bother me so I forgot about it...until this week.  

It's a little hurty.  Okay, a lot hurty, but only really when I eat something that, you know, requires biting or chewing.  Yeah, I'm kind of screwed.

So, I spent a good deal of time researching new dentists, because the one that is on my insurance card (not the one mentioned above, but just as bad apparently) is no longer open for business. I Yelped and found that this whole upselling of stuff is rampant among dental groups these days.  I'm not talking teeth whitening or braces. I'm talking about trying to sell you on the more expensive filling materials by claiming they don't use amalgam anymore, or claiming you really need the deep cleaning because your gums have gone to pot, or scaring people (with no risk factors, mind you) into getting an oral cancer screening.  What happened to filling the damn cavity, cleaning the damn teeth, and leaving it at that?  

I think I found one.  It's highly rated on Yelp, takes my insurance, and is not in Ventura County.  I have a back-up dentist chosen just in case.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I got a package!

I won a contest on San Diego Momma's blog and then promptly forgot about it.  So, when I came home from work the other day and found a package on my front porch, I was excited and intrigued.
Fanscape? I didn't order anything from there.

I opened the box with trepidation, carefully slicing the top in case the contents were fragile or alive.  
A box of snacks!!

Ohhhhh, I remembered.  I won the Escape from Planet Earth contest which included snacks and $25 to see the movie.  As it was after work and I was peckish, I immediately dug into the snacks.  I know, I was supposed to sneak them into the movie.  Does is count if I was watching movies on Netflix?  
Who  can resist some classic Lay's and a Butterfinger? No one, that's who.
The $25 gift card arrived separately.  I am all set for a big night at the movies...or since movies are so darn expensive, a big matinee at the movies.  Thanks, Deb from San Diego Momma and the Weinstein Co.  

Oh, yeah, I'm just going to jump back into the whole blogging thing as if nothing ever happened.  What four month absence?  I don't know what you're talking about.  :)  It's good to be back.