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Monthly Archives: February 2009

don’t be hatin, yo

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I honestly don’t know why I be hatin.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

sober summer, day two

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I love to drink. I really do. And it’s not a “whoo-hoo, let’s all go get drunk!!!” thing, either (not all the time, anyway). I love a good beer, one I can really taste. I also love a good cheap beer, one that makes delicious pizza that much better. Or even crappy pizza that much better. The smell of a dark roasted porter makes my mouth water. And wine…oh, wine. Wine not? That’s what I always say (I also like a little cheese with my wine ;). I love a nice, spicy Shiraz or a warm Cabernet in the wintertime. I love having a glass (or seven) of perfectly chilled Pinot Grigio in the summer, especially on a porch somewhere. My friend Kristin and I co-founded the “one-bottle club” one night when we stayed up, all night, talking and laughing, when we realized we’d gone through an entire bottle—each!

My point is, I love beer. I love wine. I love food and cooking, friends and fellowship, and I feel that all these things are inextricably linked with some occasion-appropriate adult refreshment. These things paint the story of my life: Had a bad day? Head out for a beer. Get a big promotion? Break out the champagne! What’s that? It’s 530pm on a Tuesday? Wine all around!

That’s why it is so hard for me to say this: I’ve decided to give up alcohol for Lent.

It’s like telling your best friend, “No, thanks, best friend. Can’t go out tonight. I can’t see you for another, oh, six weeks or so.”

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have to drink to have a good time. I do a pretty damn good job of that on my own. I frequently join my close friends over at the karaoke bar, and I’ve been completely sober doing that before. Of course, it is a little easier to hit the high notes in Electric Light Orchestra’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” when I have an ice-cold Pabst Blue Ribbon clenched in my grateful hand.

What’s even more difficult is not being able to indulge in the sacrament with J. We cook dinner together often, and as I stated before, I love to have a little wine while preparing dinner. I told him he’s free to do what he wants, and just because I’m not drinking, doesn’t mean he has to give up the good stuff. I wish he wouldn’t have agreed so heartily…I think he’s just glad he gets to help himself to my leftovers in the fridge.

So it is with a heavy heart and a wistful sigh that I put my good friend back on the shelf for the next 40 days or so. But it’s not goodbye, but merely so long; until next time.

Hmm…going through my pictures…I swear, it’s not my fault! It’s the beer! It’s addicted to me!

Notes to self: on cleaning out the refrigerator

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I have a little problem. I keep EVERYTHING. I’m such a packrat. When my sister and I moved out of my parents’ house, we left all our high school memories and mementos behind. One night, my dad said “enough” (actually, I think he said “get your shit out of my house”) and told us to throw it all away. I found notebooks I scribbled on in high school, notes I passed to my friends in junior high, and plays I’d written in elementary school. I found gum wrappers, candy canes, and magazine picture cutouts. As hard as it was, I was finally able to let go of a lot of it.

Anyway, I digress.

What I’m trying to say is, even though I left all those things behind, I still took my bad habits with me. I’ve lived in three houses and four different apartments (counting Saturday’s move), and I’ve accumulated so much crap it’s not even funny. This packrattiness follows me to the bathroom (I’ve got four half-empty bottles of shampoo in my shower right now) and the kitchen (which is what brings me to my next point).

The kitchen.

My dad raised me not to waste anything, especially food. At restaurants, leftovers were always boxed up to take home (if there were any—my dad would discourage from ordering huge portions), napkins and such followed us home from fast-food joints (please see blog “reduce, reuse, recycle”), and any food that remained on the table from breakfast, lunch or dinner went directly into the nearest Tupperware (or Cool Whip container) and into the fridge where “someone would surely eat it.”

In a house of four with the occasional dog or cat, this makes sense. If we didn’t heat up leftovers for lunch the next day, my dad would take them in his lunch while working third shift at the steel mill, scraps would go to the dogs, or my mother would “dispose” of them—this consisted of her going out to the back porch and carport area and flinging the leftovers into the woods. After all, woodland creatures like week-old macaroni and cheese, too.

However, when you live by yourself, or even with a roommate, this isn’t always as economical. I mean, sure, you think you’re going to eat the rest of that chicken Rice-a-Roni, but it quickly gets shoved to the back behind old milk and fresh beer.

Which brings me to now. Last night, I was trying to finish packing up the last of my kitchen stuff. I opened up the fridge and realized there was so much stuff crammed in there that the light was growing dim from the items blocking its feeble glow. I tend to put off discarding leftovers until I absolutely know I’m going to take the trash out, so as not to forget I did so and let the food continue to spoil in my garbage can (learned that lesson the hard way). I decided that it was time.

The next time you decide to purge your fridge of forgotten foods, here are some handy guidelines on what to look for:
1. If your food has been in the fridge long enough to knit its own fuzzy sweater in order to protect it from the harsh climate of 35 degrees or so, it’s probably time to let go. I found a container of Uncle Ben’s J and I made a while back that was enrobed in a mass of green fur. It was such a shame…it was really good.
2. When your jarred goods have managed to reseal themselves completely, take it as a sign that you shouldn’t open them again anyway. I lost a jar of salsa and one of roasted red peppers last night. Farewell.
3. The refrigerator has this incredible ability to liquefy solids and congeal liquids like you wouldn’t believe. If you could eat your milk with a fork or cut gravy with a knife, go ahead and chuck them. I did.
4. If you open your crisper drawer and it looks a production of Honey, I Shrunk the Produce, I’d dispose of those. I found a box of blueberries that looked as if they’d been placed inside the RonCo Food Dehydrator.
5. When sandwich meats and yogurts begin producing their own gases and their containers plump out like a blister just begging to be popped, resist the urge and lead them over to the trash. Maybe even put something heavy on them so that they don’t float up, up and away.

I would recommend printing out this helpful guide for future reference. Maybe even stick it to your fridge. If you’re like me, there’s a good chance it’ll never make its way to the trashcan.

No need to thank me. Just consider it a public service.

P.S. Why is it “fridge” but not “refridgerator”?

apartmentally insane

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As I stated earlier, I’m currently living in a sucky apartment, managed by Michael Barry. Here’s a nice little overview of my stay at my current apartment:

When I first moved in, I was honestly just relieved to find a place. I only had a few weeks after I found out I got a job. My friend lived in the same apartments, one building over, and she loved it. I thought her apartment was cute.

After moving in, I was excited to try and get things sorted out and arranged; however, I ended up never really getting settled in. First of all, I’m a procrastinator. Secondly, things just started going wrong.

One of the first and worst things: bugs. There were HUGE roaches. I only saw a few of them live and in person, but I would find roach corpses. In the den. Under the futon. Near the front door. In the closet. I soon realized that the door in the kitchen didn’t quite seal up all the way. In an effort to fix my problem, I tried to seal the gateway. It worked, a little. I did call Michael Barry several times. They came to spray twice, I think, and also told me it would “really help them out” if I could spray myself. What the fuck am I paying $525 a month for?!

Another problem resulting from the door not closing all the way was all the air escaping and/or coming in. My apartment was either too hot or too cold. The windows didn’t quite seal up either. My gas bill was astronomical, no matter what I tried to do.

Then there were the leaks. At the beginning, I noticed that the ceiling in the kitchen looked like a blister ready to pop. I didn’t think too much of it. The first time it rained, I think there wasn’t a huge problem. But then there was. Every time it would rain, it would drip into the kitchen floor. First it was just a little, then it was buckets full. All over the floor. Everywhere. Then it leaked in the hallway. I called, and called, and called. The option is to leave a message on the maintenance line. After leaving three, I called and pressed 0 for an operator and told the old lady in the office what was going on. She said she’d pass it along.

I was never told if anyone ever went to my place to fix anything, and they never left me any maintenance slips. I basically had to wait for it to rain again to see if the problem was fixed. After several more leaks and problems, I called and left several angry messages, complaining about the blistered ceiling which had finally just opened up completely. They came back, and the only reason I knew was because they stripped everything away from the ceiling. Now there’s a little hole, but I’ve yet to see any water drip out. This was just a few months ago, right before my lease is up.

Then there was the little incident after Thanksgiving with my power. I came home after work that Monday, and after being in the apt for just a few minutes, the power went off. I called the maintenance number, and she said she could come over to check it out. She also told me that the power company had been changing out the meters; maybe that had something to do with it. I waited for about an hour, and then I left. Three hours later, she actually came to the apartment and gave me some story about getting a ride. The power flickered on and off when she jiggled the meter box, but it wouldn’t stay on. She then advised me to call the power company. I did, but that ended up taking forever, too. I stayed with J and his family for the evening, receiving a phone call when I was almost there letting me know someone was headed over.

The next evening, I was in Tuscaloosa and didn’t get home until later. When I arrived I was treated to…no power. When I called the maintenance girl, she was of no help. I called Alabama Power. They told me it was the inside breakers, it wasn’t their fault, when in fact, there are no inside breakers, at least, the person Michael Barry has employed as their MAINTENANCE person didn’t think so, and didn’t know. I had to call the power company again, and then they told me that they normally wouldn’t send someone, but someone was in the area, he’d come by. Two hours later, it was after midnight and I had to work, and I’d had no sleep…I headed to J’s for the night and was practically in tears. Someone from the power company called me back at nearly one and was pretty much a “nice asshole,” letting me know it wasn’t anything they had done, and that “I could’ve had my power on hours ago.” To which I said no, I couldn’t have, because I HAVE been in touch with my landlord, thankyouverymuch, and the maintenance people kept directing me to them.

I called the maintenance girl, AGAIN, and I told her that I would be out of town the entire next day, and I told her what the power company told me, and I asked her to please get it fixed. She apologized and promised she would. I took the day off, took care of some things, then headed back towards Bham. This time, though, I decided to call her again and be sure my power was on before I headed back to a dark apartment. Surprise—she wouldn’t answer. I just decided to stay at J’s. At 1030pm, she finally returned my call. She told me that her transmission went out in her jeep, blah blah blah, she couldn’t get a ride over (sound familiar?). All damn day. All day she had to do something about my power, and she didn’t. She called me around lunchtime the next day to say the power was back on, and it was the meter that had been loose.

After all of that bullshit, and getting berated by the power guy on the phone, and everything. I lost a fridge full of food and a lot of sleep. Needless to say, I was pissed. One thing they weren’t late on getting to me was a bill for the second half of my pet deposit (I hadn’t realized I didn’t pay it in full yet) and a late fee (I didn’t know I’d turned my rent in late). It read “Please pay in full. Merry Christmas!” What a great present.

But the worst thing I’ve had to deal with at apartment hell, managed by Michael Barry, have been in my kitchen—water beetles. They’re these little bugs that first started showing up in the dish washer. Then in the drawer where I had my silverware (which I moved right away). Then they were in the sink drain. Then in two of my appliances, which I’ve had to throw away. They stay contained to that little part of the kitchen, where the water supply is, but it’s absolutely ridiculous. I’ve called, I’ve begged, I’ve asked them to do something. The most they have done is spray, but what they don’t understand is what they are and where they’re coming from. The building is so damn old that if they don’t do something to the whole building, it won’t do any good.

So needless to say….yeah, I’m ready to move. More updates to come.

been a long time, been a long time

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So…it has been quite a while since my last blog. A few months actually…I’ve just not been able to make myself write anything, it seems. There certainly hasn’t been a shortage of things going on. Just to sum up: December sucked. There were a few shining moments—Melanie came to visit, the parties were fun and my dress was fabulous, Christmas was good—but the rest of it made me want to claw my eyes out. In fact, there were only a few good things about 2008. Number one at my list being J. But more on that later.

Our New Year’s Eve was pretty low-key; we all just hung out at Craig’s, drinking, snacking, and playing cards. I was just so relieved to see 2008 leave. It seemed as if a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. My life is constantly full of worries and concerns, and I feel the need to always be looking over my shoulder or bracing myself for what horribleness is coming my way. I resolved to make 2009 my year, and it really is liberating to actively try not to feel so anxious all the time. Right now, I’m trying to keep my focus on the most important things right now, and I’ll worry about the rest later. (Easy enough, right?)

One of those important things right now is my big move. For those of you who haven’t been around me longer than 10 minutes or so to hear me bitch about my apartment in length, here’s the short story: I hate my apartment, it sucks, I’m ready to move. And now, finally, the time has come. I’m moving on Saturday, February 28, and I will be able to bid Michael Barry Properties good riddance. More on that to follow.

My life is going alright so far. I’m moving. J and I have been officially “together” for ten months, dating almost a year. I got a new(er) car in December (Abe, my Lincoln). I still have a job (which is an accomplishment in itself with everything that’s been going on). I’ve lost over 15 lbs since the beginning of the year (sweet). I feel like things are going fairly well.

I’ve had some issues getting things handled with my new place. I had been researching for a while, and I finally decided to be proactive and call the people over at Select My Space to make an appointment to check out some places I liked. They were super friendly, and I set up a time to go looking on that Saturday, Valentine’s Day.

I looked at a lot of nice places, but in the end, I decided on Cliff Highland. The view is incredible, the place is nice and in a nice area. And one of the best things—no gas bill to deal with. Hallelujah. Water is “included” (somewhat), and then I just have to worry about power. It’s close to work, too. It seemed like the best for the money. It’s not much more than I’m paying now, plus I hate where I am now. Hate.

There have been some issues, though, as I said. I’ve had some problems communicating with the person who has been showing me places, and I didn’t hear back about my application approval until yesterday. Just today was I able to look at the exact unit I’ll be renting. I’m signing the lease on Friday. I’ve been holding my breath these past few weeks, just waiting for something to go wrong. Cross your fingers for me that it all falls into place.

Phew. It’s good to be back. Hopefully soon I’ll have something more entertaining to read than my bitching and life’s updates 🙂