Thursday, July 31, 2008

A little wildlife show in the front window

For most of this month I've had a robin and her babies living in the tree by my front window. I think she may have moved in about the same time I did, but I only noticed her after the cat did.

Everybody's gone now. I guess they don't use the nest much after the babies are born. I'll leave it there in the tree, in case anyone else wants to use it. Now that they're gone, maybe I can weed and prune without scaring anyone.

Parting shot

I got a phone call yesterday from the office of my previous residence. It was some woman I've never met. Either they hired the idiot manager some help or they replaced him.

Anyway, she was calling to ask if I returned my keys. I said yes, over two weeks ago. Apparently they can't find them. I told her I gave them to the manager the same day my apartment got painted. He was seated behind his desk when I handed them over. At that same time I also gave him my new address, along with the phone number she was using to get hold of me.

She said, "Okay, sorry to bother you."

If they can't find the keys, are they going to take some of my deposit money to replace the locks? They'd better not. I have no proof I gave them to him, though. I should have asked for a receipt. Especially since I knew I was dealing with a doofus.

I certainly hope this is the last I hear from those people. I'm beginning to feel like Michael Corleone in Godfather III -- every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in and tick me off some more.

In other news, just sent off my first mortgage payment. I now own the weather stripping around my front door.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

If you've seen Juan...

This was the first item in my "In" box when I fired up the email program at work this morning. It's from a member of a listserv I belong to. It's not a very active listserv any more. I tend to forget it's still out there most of the time. Anyway, this email made my day:

Subject: Puns
  1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The Stewardess looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.
  2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says, 'Dam!'
  3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly, it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
  4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, 'I've lost my electron.' The other says, 'Are you sure?' The first replies, 'Yes, I'm positive.'
  5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
  6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. But why, they asked as they moved off. 'Because,' he said, 'I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer.'
  7. A woman had twins and gave them up for adoption. One of them went to a family in Egypt, who named him Ahmal. The other was taken in by a family in Spain; they named him Juan. Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, 'They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal.'
  8. A group of friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to 'persuade' them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so.... thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.
  9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time. This produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Get ready...)) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
  10. And, finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to friends with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Miss Fixit

I'm feeling all-powerful today. Just did my first home-maintenance job. The fill valve on my upstairs commode needed replacing, and I did it myself--not without a little sweating and swearing and fighting with tools in tight places. But I did it, and now my bathroom is silent. Finally.

Incidentally, while searching for the picture I used in this post I found out it's not really called "Rosie the Riveter." People started calling it that in the 1970s, but at the time is was painted, the woman in it had no name. It was a poster painted for Westinghouse, probably as a war effort morale-booster. The real Rosie the Riveter painting was done by Norman Rockwell as a cover for the Saturday Evening Post, and can be found here. Makes more sense, really, since the woman in the picture above isn't riveting anything.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I just joined Twitter. This has the possibility to be either:

a) Fun and useful. For when I'm out somewhere and see something I want to blog about, but don't have my laptop with me. I send random texts to my sister's cell about stuff I see, why not branch out?

b) Yet another online thing I join and ignore. Take Myspace, for example (I just heard Henny Youngman: "Take Myspace, please!"). Or Bebo. Or I will not join Facebook, mainly because a lot of people at my at-work knitting/crafting group keep pressuring me to do it. Also, I don't like that they won't let you see what you're joining until after you've joined. But I digress.

There's an option or a script or something to have your Twitter updates feed to your blog. If I find I'm actually using the service, I'll probably do that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Last hurdles

I did a ton of cleaning at the apartment this weekend. I thought I'd be done on Sunday. One of my buckets sprang a leak halfway through Sunday, though, so I only had the one container with which to clean the floors and catch water from a defrosting fridge. The refrigerator took a lot longer than I expected, so I only got the bathroom floor washed by Sunday evening. I had a few things left to do in the kitchen, and I had Monday off (reinspection that morning, thought I might as well take the whole day in case I needed to clean some more. Hurray for planning ahead!) so I knocked off about six Sunday evening, went home, and collapsed.

Monday morning I got reinspected, so that the lenders would have proof that the electrical and water heater issues have been fixed. Took about ten minutes, got a thumbs-up from the inspector. Second-to-last hurdle cleared. I headed back to the apartment to finish up and hand in my keys.

Upon arriving at my place, I found the door and window open, all the lights on, and the place reeking of fresh paint. There was a paint roller in the kitchen sink, junk all over the living room floor (3 ten-gallon paint containers, the bits and pieces of what used to be the brackets for the Venetian blind, curtain rod...), and all of my things dumped unceremoniously into a corner "out of the way." Needless to say I was highly miffed. The complex handyman was nowhere in sight (of course), so I took all the stuff that was in my way and deposited them on the sidewalk. Put some paper towels under the paint roller before I put it outside, more to make a point regarding courtesy and care of other people's things than because I cared if the roller got dirty. I'm sure the message flew right over their heads. I finished what I had to do (taking frequent trips outside for gulps of fresh air) and was vacuuming the living room floor when the handyman came back.

I told him I'd asked Jim to wait until I'd finished. I told him it was partly because of my asthma, and that I never knew what would trigger it. He apologized, said he had no idea. He just went where he was told to go. I figured as much.

Why did I expect that man to honor my request, when he's shown me all along the only agenda he's interested in is his own? Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

Because I just wanted to get out of there, I didn't make a fuss with the manager about the paint when I handed back the keys. I told him the place wasn't as clean as I would have liked it to be, but that I was done. The oven, for example. I did that twice and still wasn't happy with it. He said not to worry, a lot of that stuff was going to be replaced anyway -- the vinyl flooring, the toilet, and probably the stove. Wish I'd known that before I spent most of Sunday scrubbing and swearing at marks I couldn't get out and wasn't sure I'd made to begin with. He made it sound like I'd get my deposit back. I'll believe it when I see it. My experience with landlords has been that once they have your money, they don't give it back. I'm treating that money as long-gone. If I get anything back, I'll use it to buy curtains, I guess.

So that's it. Last hurdle to home-ownership cleared, all loose ends tied. Now all I have to do is figure out where I'm putting everything.

Three last little things I want to mention:
  1. The sellers made absolutely no attempt to forward their mail. For a few weeks there until my change of address paperwork went through, I was getting tons of mail for them. Credit card offers, bills, packages even. I gave that all to my agent yesterday, for her to give to their agent.
  2. Another thing I passed on? An envelope containing four cards I found in one of the master bedroom's closets: a Barnes & Noble membership card, a Turkish driver's license, an employee ID (also Turkish), and Target credit card with an expiration date of next month--unsigned on the back. These people are really lucky I'm honest.
  3. While I was gathering my stuff together prior to quitting the apartment for good yesterday, the handyman asked me how long I'd lived there. I told him 16 years. "Wow," he said. "This place looks really good, considering how long you've been in it. I've worked on some where they've only been in 2 years and the place looked like hell. This one only needed one coat of paint." That made me feel a little better. I've always been a little insecure about my abilities in the cleaning-and-maintenance department.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Give him an inch, he thinks he's a ruler

When I went to pay my last ever rent (yee-haw!) and check on the apartment a few days ago, I found a note taped to my door. The manager had noticed I moved out and was hoping I remembered that I wasn't released from my lease until August 1. He also wanted to ask if he could come in now to do the painting and recarpeting instead of waiting until I gave the keys back to him. I think that's what he was asking, anyway. He's a stream-of-consciousness writer, and if I didn't know better I would swear English isn't his first language.

I am planning to take part of July to clean and was going to give the keys back to him around the middle of the month. That's always been the plan. It's what I told him when I asked to be let out of my lease. I tried to call him to let him know that yes, I remembered I still owed rent (I was there to pay it, after all) and remind him of what we'd talked about in April. Of course the answering machine cut me off right after I identified myself. "Messages full," it said. The office closes at 4:30, and by six pm the answering machine was already full? What's he do, never delete messages so that he can't be bothered by new ones?

So I emailed him. Got a garbled response in reply (big surprise). He really doesn't care whether I've cleaned first, he wants to do the painting and carpeting now. Yeah. That's what I want to deal with: dust, mold, fumes from cleaning products, and the smells of fresh paint and new carpet. What's he trying to do, kill me?

I told him, no, wait for me. There's still stuff on my floor. I don't think he's happy, but I'm past caring. He keeps on rushing me, I won't give him the keys back until July 31. It's still my place after all, even if I'm not living there any more.


Really effective way to communicate, by the way, via a note on the door of an apartment you know is empty.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I didn't even know there was a word for this...

Coprolite. Today's word from A Word A Day. My goodness. I can think of at least five people I could describe using this word.