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.