Annoying and Awesome

Okay, so apparently my apartment is possessed by some angry water demon because in the WEEK we’ve been here, it’s consistently leaking in some way. First it was the washing machine, which was one of the main reasons Batman and I chose this unit. So we could clean our clothes here in the abode, and not have to continue dragging our dirty loot down the stairs and over to the on-sight facilities. We did it for four long years and now, we’re pretty much done. So I was *ecstatic* doing our first load of towels… that is, of course, until a big puddle leaked into the middle of the kitchen. Okay… no worries. Call in a work order. No big deal. But that same first night when the B-man and I were watching Last Vegas (awesome movie by the way) we heard a steady drip, drip, drip. If I didn’t know better, it sounded like some rude person was taking a leak in the hallway. Batman jumped up and found a steady stream dripping from the air conditioning unit. Okay. Another call to the office. A guy came out and worked on the washing machine and the air conditioning on Monday (we moved in Friday) and advised it’d been completed. But then, much to my dismay, the air conditioner started taking another leak—and quite the heavy one this time—on Wednesday. ANOTHER call to the office. Two huge dudes come down and replace the ENTIRE unit, along with adjusting the bathroom faucet which had also had a steady drip. Okay—it’s fine, they’re both fixed. We can continue on in a leak-free apartment.

And then the hallway dripping started again.

See, I’m pretty mellow. It’s how I like to be, not letting things get the best of me because normally it doesn’t matter. I’m not saying I went crazy when I called the office—because I didn’t—but I voiced my unhappiness with some choice words. Okay, fine, they send ANOTHER guy out to really make sure it stops leaking.

And bam, presto, abracadabra, it works.

Today’s a new day—Friday, woo-hoo!—and I’ve just finished the final edit of my second book. I’m going to do some dishes. With Sex and the City on in the background, I start washing the left over plates while glancing at the television to make sure I’m still following along with the episode. But then a really good part is coming up and I have to turn off the water to hear it. And then, by some strange she-hulk miracle I literally BROKE the hot water dial in my hand. With the water still running.

ARE.YOU.KIDDING.ME.

Why is it that this apartment likes to lactate? I don’t get it. I’d like to say we’re done with our water-woes but I’m afraid to. Because the toilet might explode or the refrigerator might feel left out and just turn itself off. I don’t know. I love this apartment. LOVE IT. But dude, for real? Washing machine, air conditioner, bathroom sink and kitchen faucet? And we’re in a good complex. They like, do an *amazing* Christmas light display. What’s the deal?

Okay, sorry, rant’s over. (Sometimes you just need to get it out).

Anyway

I was going to write a post today because I’m still trying to keep to my new year’s resolution of writing more on my blog but mostly, because I wanted to talk about my day yesterday.

Because I was out while the air conditioner unit was being replaced, I found myself at Barnes and Nobles where I like to go when I’m alone. Or with a friend. Either way, the Starbucks and books and movies and games and journals and magazines and everything else they sell there just makes me feel at home. A home I’m going to have to take as much advantage of as possible in the near future because I’m pretty sure the book portion of B&N will soon dissolve and only the Nook will be left standing. Along with the libraries, which makes me *truly* sad because I really like libraries. And bookstores. And books. Like hard copy (or paperback) books. Yes, I’ve crossed over to the dark side about a year ago because I occasionally use the Kindle Batman’s mom got me for Christmas 2012. I’ve read a few things on there—it’s not terrible—and I can see how the future’s going to (or already is) morph into this on-a-tablet only thing. I get it. But I still really like the company of books. The feel of them in my hand as I spill coffee or mac n’ cheese or dribble some wine on the pages. Or even cry. I like marking my books with my own history as I read them. It sounds silly, I know, but I do enjoy a physical book. Which is why I ended up at the giant book distributor with my McDee coffee cup in hand (don’t even get me started on the adventure of getting a McDonald’s coffee yesterday).

I’d strolled from the Fiction Best Sellers to a stand on the Divergent series to glancing at the puzzles and games table. Then I found myself at the “what teens are reading” sign and stopped. I’m not a teen. I haven’t been a teen in… let’s see here…ten years. It’ll be eleven this September. But the Hunger Games is listed as teen favorite and some of my e-books are YA’s (young adult) so I figured I’d give it a try.

Now, I have a process when it comes to selecting a new book. Either a friend recommends it or I happen upon it on my own but there are a few things that need to done for the latter to occur. This may sound shallow, but we live in a world with pigs and geckos talking about car insurance, so advertising is important—the cover HAS to grab me. In some way, I have to spot the book because either the scene or the colors or some flashy print has to reach out, yank me down and force me to pick it up. (Yes, I do judge a book by its cover.) Once it’s in hand, the book jacket/summary needs to be read. If I can’t even get through that, it’s down and I’m moving on. But if the info has piqued even a tiny interest, I’ll move onto reading the first few paragraphs (but NOT before the dedication. That’s my favorite part in a book. The dedication page. Just who is the piece of work being dedicated to? And why? Go on, try it. I bet you don’t even look, do you? The next time you read a book, look for that dedication. It may mean nothing to you but out of all the people in the world, Bobbi or Susie or some stinky kid named Steve may have done something to propel that author into writing the story you hold in your hands. It’s kind of awesome.) Now, if the first few paragraphs really grab me (which, sad to say, not many of them do) I’ll give myself until the first chapter and if by that point, I really need to know what happens next, then… well… it’s a definitely possibility.

So here I’m standing at Barnes & Noble with half my McCafe beverage left (ugg the adventure to obtain it!) and I’ve tried out the few first paragraphs. Nothing’s caught my eye, nothing yet so I keep looking, keep selecting more books and trying them out… when I get to a very simplistic cover with muted colors but, for some reason, it draws my eye. Okay, I pick it up and read the back. Two misfit teenagers in love. I’m sure I’ve read this before but it sounds somewhat interesting. Heck, I’ll give it a go. I end up standing at the “what teens are reading” table for three whole chapters. I only notice because I keep switching weight between my legs and I think to myself, wait, aren’t there like, chairs where I could sit down? After I find one, and the interesting company it brings, I curl up, put my luke-warm coffee down and start reading. And reading. And reading. I’ve gotten through a third of the book when Batman calls and I tell him where I am and what I’m doing. And as much as I love the caped crusader—I do! He didn’t kill me this past Friday on moving day—I really want to get off the phone with him so I can continue reading. THAT’s when you know you’re in a good book. When you don’t want to do anything else because the only important or worthwhile thing is getting to the next page. You need it. It’s like you’ve been introduced to heroin or crack and you need that next fix. Even if you’ve been partying high for hours. That’s what a good book does. It drags you in and shuts reality out.

So once I get off the phone with Batman, I rush back to my seat, yank the book from where I left it and keep going. For another hour or so until another idea flashes—why don’t I read this at home, in my own recliner and without that creepy man playing old show tunes on his tablet next to me? But what if I can’t find it as an E-book? (I know—that’s where my mind went. Pathetic, isn’t it?) What if I can’t read it when I get home?? I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. So, with a sigh and a quick mental calculation of my credit card summary, I decided to buy the book. The drive home was long and unneeded and I couldn’t wait to dive right back into it. Which I did, once we made it to the recliner where I am currently sitting as I write this. I kept reading without another stop until I finished it yesterday at around 4:00.

I haven’t had one of those days in a long time. Finding a book, not wanting to put it down, not being able to put it down and then, finishing it all in one day. Nirvana. In case you’re interested, the book is called Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Again, two misfit teenagers in love (with a crazy back story for each). If it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing. If it is, I’d highly recommend it.

Anyway, just wanted to share this with you (and of course the earlier rant about my possessed apartment). But annoying things happen… and awesome things can happen. It just goes back to the balance.

Our lovely pots catching some major hallway drippage

Our lovely lots catching some major hallway drippage

Made me buy it. Bastard.

Made me buy it. Bastard.

Batman and Frodo Lived Happily Ever After

Most people spend Valentine’s Day going out to fancy dinners and showering one another with pink and red cards and flowers and candies. I previously posted that the February holiday holds very little for me and Batman other than standing in the candy aisle and staring down the heart-shaped box options for anywhere between ten and fifteen minutes. We buy something, go home and maybe pop open an average priced bottle of wine instead of the five we normally spend.

This Valentine’s Day was different.

We moved.

It was my decision, as I couldn’t wait to get out of our old apartment. Lovely as it was, Batman and I were being suffocated by the overwhelming amount of stuff that accumulated in the past four years we’d been living together. Boxes on top of boxes shoved away in closets and piles of things—games, gifts, knick-knacks and paddywacks—all lining the floor so that I’d trip just trying to get to the bathroom or the panty or anywhere that’s not sitting here in this recliner. We could’ve picked anytime in February, but I wanted as early as possible. Let’s get it over with sooner rather than later and if that means moving in on the nation’s holiday to buy love, so be it.

Valentine’s Day is the day.

It was only Batman and me. Moving a one-bedroom-one-bathroom apartment from an upstairs unit to another upstairs unit. How hard could it be? I’m not a quitter. I’m also not an athlete either, or blessed with any sort of physical ability other than being able to beat double-dutch any time I wanted to jump rope. Uh… that’s about it. I can also reach my toes, but I attribute that to the short, hobbit-like legs I possess. Because that’s what I am. A hobbit. And that’s what I kept yelling at Batman all day Friday when I continued dropping things and during a few close encounters, when I nearly killed him.

The day started out with a decent panic, when we moved my grandmother’s old wooden hutch. The thing, to me, was beautiful. A solid piece of cedar or oak or some really heavy wood that still had a drawer to hold cassette tapes (remember those?) and slots for records. Records! This thing was old-school but vintage. I LOVED it. It was a bastard to move though. As in, even to relocate around the room. I remember one time I was running from Batman in a tickle-fight I started and laughing, I glanced over my shoulder to see if he was following me and I ran straight into the solid beast. BAM! Fell down. Nanny’s hutch was an enormous block of wooden heaviness but it was beautiful and part of the family and I loved it. Of course, I didn’t actually participate with hoisting the thing up when we moved into the old apartment four years ago (I believe it was Batman, my stepfather and my ex-brother in law.) So I had no conception of the weight. And I repeat—it was only BATMAN AND ME.

Once we got it out of the front door, I stared down the very narrow and incredibly steep stairs. I thought was going to wet myself. For real. Because I thought, well, this is ironic. I don’t want to kill Batman on Valentine’s Day. But death, at this angle, is inevitable. How the HELL are we supposed to move this thing down those steps with only us? The caped crusader and Frodo? Shit. Shit, shit, shit. Well, we’re not turning back now. Heart disease runs in my family and I was pretty sure I was having some sort of malfunction in that area when Batman went down the stairs first and, holding the majority of the weight on himself, he asked me to grip onto the other side of the hutch and gradually walk it down the stairs. WHAT? That’s when I broke into my chorus of “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. Let’s stop. Let’s go back. I don’t have it!”

But he was already down a few steps and there was no turning back. Gripping the wooden edges in my little fingers, I was at an insanely difficult angle and thought—really thought—that due to my incredible unbalance, I was going to go toppling forward with the hutch and squish Batman at the foot of the stairs. Almost near death experience NUMBER ONE. Thank GOD I quickly figured out I could go step by step, sitting next to the hutch and holding it that way. Obviously we got it down the stairs and I didn’t kill him. YET.

Next was the couch. Batman lied to me and said it was light. Again, since the furniture company delivered it four years ago, I had no frame of reference. Sure, I’d wiggled it out of place to vacuum every now and again but that was just a shift. It wasn’t a lift. I was all geared up to move the couch because, hey—we moved the Hutch and no deaths yet. I got this! Except when we lifted the couch, I dropped it again because my idea of a “light” couch was something I could actually manage, like a futon of pillows. It wasn’t. It was the exact opposite of that. My arms were already spaghetti and this thing was long and awkward to move out a doorway, turn a right corner and down the same narrow and steep steps. Yup. THIS was going to be when we died. Er—Batman, not me. Because again, he was on the bottom. I had to hold the other end as he walked the couch down the stairs. But this bastard was also very, very heavy and I’d already used up the little strength I possessed not killing Batman with the hutch. Oh boy, this was going to be a LONG day.

I dropped the couch every few steps, blaming it on genetics and the fact that I possess an innie instead of an outtie, because I’m sure if Aragon or Gandalf were here instead of me, female Frodo, it would’ve been a lot smoother. After Batman continued demanding I STOP dropping the couch and after I repeatedly disobeyed him, we finally reached the bottom of the stairs… where I let out a blood curdling scream because one of the couch staples punctured my hand and I thought that was it. The end of my carrying-career for the day.

Oh, how I was sadly mistaken.

The television came next. It’s one of the older, early 2000 models that still has a bit of a tank ass on it. Fat. It’s incredibly, incredibly fat. And not as lightweight as I would’ve believed. We moved it with the same fear of Batman’s death and me having to set it down every few steps because at this point, my arms were pretty much useless—short little hanging limbs that did nothing other than swing. I only mention moving the television because of the one casualty that was endured the entire day—when I dropped the giant bastard on my finger. The top digit of my ring finger—you know, the most important finger. Yup. Dropped it right on there. It swelled up to a lovely purplish-blue hue and even as I look at it now—two days later—it’s still an ugly faint yellow.

(earlier in the day Friday)

IMG_20140214_115217_717

IMG_20140214_115242_158

I’m really happy I didn’t lose it because it probably would’ve put a damper on the already long and painful day ahead. But it’s really not that bad. There was no broken bone and the skin wasn’t even ripped. I just really value my fingers because I’m always typing. And I’m sure it would’ve taken some getting used to with a short ringer finger. I’d keep missing the W’s, E’s, R’s and S’s and like, three out of those four are the most commonly used, right? And with my missing S key… I don’t know what I’d do. Probably drink a lot more. So THANK GOD it’s still there. Swollen and a little ugly, yes, but still kicking.

Friday lasted for days it seems. We started around 7:30 and went until about 5:30, so we’re looking at TEN HOURS of moving shit. Well, not shit… just stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Endless amounts of stuff that I didn’t realize we had or even used… or even wanted. I’ll admit, we have some cool things. I’m looking at an Empire poster and a Bob Marley tapestry and the leg lamp we got on New Year’s Eve, but in the end, it’s all just stuff. Things. And after carrying it down one stairwell, loading it into Georgie, driving four buildings over and hauling it back up a set of stairs, I’m surprised we didn’t just toss it all. Next time we’re hiring someone. Multiple people. Hopefully the next time we relocate, we’ll be going into the Castle- Mansion so Fartswell will have hired someone to do the moving for us. That sounds about right.

Needless to say, I didn’t kill Batman (although there were a few close calls) and we ended up doing it in one day—Valentine’s Day. Just in case you’re wondering, he brought me home two yellow roses (my favorite) on Thursday evening from the fundraiser at the school where he works. My gift to him? See above: Needless to say, I didn’t kill Batman.

And so, Batman and Frodo lived happily ever after in their new two bedroom apartment.

(Just to gross you out—I took a few snap shots of my Dalmation-esque figure last night. Yes, I know I look somewhere between a battered woman and a crack addict. But this just proves I was working Friday. Moving things, dropping things, picking them up and moving again. Please ignore the plumpness of my thighs and sagginess of my arm—what do you expect from a hobbit?)

IMG_20140215_195025_552

IMG_20140215_195118_927

IMG_20140215_195136_542

IMG_20140215_195149_197

Same-Side-Sitters

Batman and I don’t like when people sit on the same side of the booth.

There, I said it.

We call them same-side-sitters and we can’t stand it. Look, I understand if you’re waiting for another couple to join you or even one other person—you want to leave that side open because it’s their side. I get it. Batman and I have waited a few good minutes sitting side by side for Mrs. Whatever and her husband to join us for a meal at Applebees. It happens. Sure I’m uncomfortable and have to fight the urge to stand up and declare that although it looks like it, we are NOT same-side-sitters, but I get over it. Because it’s only a few minutes and deep in my heart I know that if we weren’t about to be joined by another couple or person, I would occupy the seat across from the caped crusader, so we could look each other face to face, as it should be.

I don’t get why two people have to share the same booth. I really don’t. I mean, wouldn’t your neck hurt after turning it (or keeping it turned) to talk to the person you’re with? It’s like meal first and chiropractors second. Why? I get there’s an intimacy of being RIGHT next to that person but you can be just as close with your own personal space. And, without having to injure your neck.

My first boyfriend was a same-side-sitter. I should’ve known then. I should’ve known it wouldn’t have worked out but I was in teenage love and more importantly, distracted with the free meal. I mean, when I slid into the booth and he came scooting in next to me, I thought… well this is odd. There’s a whole bench across from us and now I’ll have to spend the entirety of my meal turning to look at him when all I would have to do is look up, like normal people do in conversations. Was this how it worked in all relationships? THANK GOD NO.

When Batman and I were still testing the waters to this very strange ocean we’ve found ourselves, I remember meeting up at Logans or Longhorn or some place that served cow and really delicious buttery rolls. I arrived first because I needed to know the truth. Was he, like the first boyfriend, a same-side-sitter? I wasn’t going to doom the relationship over it but it was definitely a key point—a character trait I needed to know before we waded any further. And when Batman did show up, he slid right into the opposite side of the booth and I let out a deep sigh of relief. He noticed and asked what it was about.

Me: You passed the test.
Him: What test?
Me: You didn’t sit on the same side of the booth with me.
Him: Who does that?

You’d be surprised. It’s not terribly often that we see this occasion out in public, but it does exist and every time we spot them—the same-side-sitters—we dive into the inevitable discussion of how it just doesn’t make any sense. It all goes back to the neck pain and the, to be honest, ridiculousness of it all. THERE’S AN OPEN UNSUSED BENCH. CLAIM IT! Maybe I just like my space… or don’t like Batman, I don’t know. I am claustrophobic so that may have something to do with it, but is the rest of the world also frightened of enclosed spaces? Is that why they elect to sit across from one another rather than right on top? I think not.

I want to ask them. The same-side-sitters. Not to be rude or antagonistic, but just because I’m curious. Why, WHY must you sit together? You realize if you were on a boat, you would topple it. There’s something extremely unbalanced about your seat decisions and it drives me crazy. I wouldn’t verbally say all this as it would exist in my thought bubble alone, but I am curious to know the reason behind the bizarre seating choice. Does it boil down to intimacy? Are they secretly stealing silver wear and biscuits to be shoved in a bag between them? Maybe hiding a stain or a strange elephant arm? Is one deaf? I NEED TO KNOW.

For the two or three of you out there who read this, any thoughts? Are you a same-side-sitter? There will be no judgment, as I am merely curious to this awkward and super uncomfortable phenomenon. Any explanations/insight would be wonderful.

For the rest of you… what weirod’s, right?

Spiders are the Devil

I’m pretty sure there was a spider carcass on my lean cuisine the other day. He dropped in on me (literally) when I was driving and I grabbed the only nearby defense—low-fat prepackaged food. I swatted him, like I did his obese cousin two weeks ago, because the bastard was teasing me behind my sun visor, sticking out a leg every few seconds like he was a dancer and I was at a peep show for arachnids.

Um, I would NEVER go to a place like that. Spiders are the DEVIL.

Sometimes I think I feel things crawling on me and I freak out and scratch my arm or wrist or neck or wherever the ghost creature is residing. I probably look like a crack addict—that’s fine. Judge me all you want, but I’d rather not be hosting the dinner buffet to a hoard of hungry bugs. I don’t know why these phantom creatures are crawling on me. Every time I look down, it’s either the headphone cord or a blanket or a piece of paper has brushed up against me, but that’s never what I think it is. It’s always some blood sucking, creepy crawling creature and I’m in panic mode. SCRATCH-SCRATCH-SCRATCH before I even look down. Maybe this is like, a deep rooted fear of bugs. But it’s not bugs, I don’t think. It’s spiders.

I HATE spiders.

Because I already found two in Georgie, I am now afraid of driving her. There are probably more, right? Horny little multiplying bastards… And with these phantom creatures crawling all over me, it makes driving a whole lot more dangerous than my already questionable commuting. These phantom bugs are EVERYWHERE.

Like when I was coming home from work the other day, I SWEAR TO GOD there was something on my bun. The inevitable scream followed and I proceeded to hit myself in the back of the head over and over to kill it until I was sure it was either dead or it had been knocked free. But how can I know for sure? It may have just been hiding behind the seat and that’s when the continuous game of glance-back-and swat-if-necessary every few seconds began. I was close to my apartment complex so this highly dangerous trip only lasted for a few minutes. And by that point, I’d given myself a decent headache from smacking myself and the would-be spider which, most likely, was just a stray piece of hair tickling my scalp.

But how can you know for sure?

Then I think, what if I was bit? I may have been. There was this questionable red spot on my hand and I have NO idea where it came from. So, logically speaking… I could turn into Spiderwoman. What would I do then? True, it would help me overcome my fears, but I’d just be full of self loathing and would probably wind up throwing myself off a tall building… or donating myself to science, because I’m charitable like that.

I really don’t know what it is about spiders. Maybe it’s all the eyes or the pincers or the fact that they have all those legs. But that can’t be it, can it? I’m perfectly content with octopuses. They’ve never bothered me, which is surprising since the only one I’ve really been exposed to is Ursula from The Little Mermaid and she was a total bitch. I’m kind of afraid of deep dark places like the ocean where giant, spider-like creatures dwell. So you would think octopuses would be my boggart, but surprisingly, they aren’t. If I was sitting in Professor Lupin’s class, like Ron, that giant eight-legged bastard would pop out of the chest and I would scream and faint and probably fail the class. At least Ron had the sense to put some roller skates on his.

But spiders appear right here, on the surface and apparently, in the car with me. It’s funny because right before I killed the one that dropped in on me, I thought how cute and small it was and wondered for just a split second if it was one of Charlotte’s million babies. You know, from Charlotte’s web. Except for being a terrible mother and letting all her babies float away, she was a good person—er, spider. Very sweet to Wilbur, helping him not get turned into bacon and all. So I have to give her some credit for that—even if she did walk on eight legs. I guess spiders get at least a point for her. Well… we’ll bump it down to half a point (the terrible mother thing and all). But of course there are the other insanely evil spiders like that one in Lord of the Rings. Shelob, I think? I don’t know; I never read it. Aragog wasn’t terrible, except for the fact that he wanted to eat Harry and Ron in the second one, and then Voldemort unleashed all his babies in his final takeover of the castle. Seriously, besides Charlotte, I can’t think of any other good, iconic spiders. Which makes them all the DEVIL. Because they are. In my opinion. Not only are they invading my car, but my imagination as well. Because even as I’ve sat here writing this, I’ve had at least three different moments where I felt something creeping over my skin. I had to stop, quickly scratch and realize it was the USB or the end of the paper towels touching me. They’re following me… I know they are. Or maybe I just surround myself with too much stuff. Maybe I should write—and live—in a space with nothing. Just me and the laptop. Except, when there’s nothing nearby and I still feel the phantom creatures crawling on me… what then?

WHAT THEN??