Monthly Archives: October 2006

Neglect

I’ve been neglecting this young, budding blog lately, but not without good reason. I’m a busy girl, you know!

Last Friday I drove to New Jersey – a truly whirlwind trip. The Monday before that I had my car in the shop and was told that it would take $820 of my hard earned money to fix the car and get it through inspection. So while I hate being dependent on my parents, especially my father, for anything, I broke down and called him and it was determined that I should drive to NJ and have him do the work for me.

I made the trip on Friday, leaving at 2:30 from work. It promptly began to pour and I promptly began to think oh shit oh shit oh shit, but I persevered through the horrendous traffic telling myself that the storms were moving North and that I was bound to be past them soon.

As I approached Southern CT, I began hearing reports on the radio about the wind that had followed the storm and the havoc it had reached on power lines, trees, etc. La di da, I thought, it doesn’t feel windy to me, and the rain is gone, and the rest of this trip will be easy. But the universe obviously had other plans, as it was out to get me, like it usually is, and so fate would have it that as I was hitting scan on the radio I heard the words, “95 South is closed due to downed trees, which is reaking havoc across Southern CT.” This as I was on the entrance ramp to 95 South.

I started working on alternate routes, each one more convoluted as I found out that more and more roads were closed. Finally, I arrived at my parents at 9:30 – a 4 hour and 30 minute trip had taken me 7 hours.

 Luckily the next day the gods smiled upon me and my car was fixed. We did more things with better parts and it cost $300. And in case you don’t know, $300 is much better than $820. Plus the trip back only took 4 hours and 15 minutes and that was a glorious thing. And my car passed inspection this week. And I won the lottery.

Ok, I made that last one up.

Anyway, that was last weekend, but this week has been very busy what with the preparation for the best holiday of the year. I can’t wait for the party tomorrow and for Matt’s first pumpkin carving experience (seriously, what person his age has never carved a pumpkin before??)

So, those things, plus the large amount of stress that my job has inflicted on me the past week, equals my long list of excuses for not updating my poor little blog. From now on I solemnly swear to update more often. Which is really funny because no one really cares if I do or not because no one reads this. But whatever man, this is, like totally about the writing and not at all about my popularity or self-worth. Yeah.

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Attention Owners of Monster Trucks

Please come run over my car. It is sitting in the parking lot at work. When I leave here I will simply pretend that I don’t know what happened. We will never speak of this deed to my insurance company. I will have a shiny new car and you will have some monster truck fun and all will be right with the world.

I hate my car. It was fine when I was a poor soon to be college graduate who needed something cheap. Now it is a money-sucking, always broken, unreliable thorn in my side.

I don’t think of myself as being materialistic. I shop at Target and use coupons. I relish sales. But while I am able to overlook that my car is somewhat less than glamorous and has the equivalent in power to, say, a lawn mower, I am not able to overlook the fact that it simply doesn’t work. In the last 18 months I have not gone for a solid month without the “service engine soon” light coming on. It has broken down in the highway – 3 times. It has been in the shop for weeks at a time. It has failed inspection.

The latest blow came yesterday when I got an estimate from the mechanic. $820 to get the car fixed and through inspection. Ouch.

So, please, please come run over my car.

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A squirrel’s revenge

Sometimes, I don’t have much to write about. Today is one of those days, so I am pulling one from the archives. Here’s a funny story:

Once upon a time, when Matt and I lived in our last apartment, we both arrived home within a few minutes of each other. We stood in the living room for a few minutes while deciding what we wanted for dinner. Then we proceeded to the kitchen to make the agreed upon dinner.

Once we got to the kitchen, I noticed that the pan of brownies that I had made the day before (sitting on the stove with saran wrap over them) had a big hole in the middle. First I accused Matt of eating them (which was admittedly a little silly because he is definitely smart enough not to just eat a big hole in the middle of the pan). Then I determined that we must have a mouse. Damn, I thought, we have never had a mouse in this place and I hate those little fuckers and I want them to go away. I had just resigned myself to going to the store to get some mousetraps when Matt looked towards the other end of the kitchen.

“Ummm,” he said.

“You might want to leave the room,” he continued.

 And then he finished with, “Because it wasn’t a mouse.”

I followed his gaze to the end of the counter, and there, sitting calmly on my kitchen counter, was…

A HUGE, FAT, GRAY, SQUIRREL.

We have no idea how it got in. No open windows, no open doors, our apartment was the 2nd and 3rd floors, and we couldn’t find any holes in walls, floors, ceilings, closets, cabinets, ETC, ETC, ETC.

It was a magic squirrel, sent by its squirrel brethren to torment me. Because squirrels? Are out to get me.  Seriously.

It started in high school when I was learning to drive. I was learning to drive the car that I had just purchased, which was a stick shift. So there I was, in my neighborhood, doing the “I haven’t gotten the hang of this yet and oh shit please don’t stall! Clutch! Brake! Shit, what am I doing?” dance with my new car, when suddenly a streak of fur ran across the road, followed by a distinct thunk/crunch.

I slammed on the brakes, forgot about the clutch, stalled the car, and burst into tears. I had just killed a precious, furry little creature. Probably someone’s kitten or a helpless bunny. My father (teacher of the stick shift) got out to survey the carnage. And found…

Nothing.

The damn squirrel was sitting on the side of the road, and I swear he was laughing at me. We have no idea what my tires actually went over, because there was nothing on the road, but it sure as hell felt like I ran something over.

My next incident involved a squirrel throwing things out of a tree onto me at a picnic. I won’t go into details, but I was say that I was the only one who got hit.

When I moved into my last apartment, there were a large number of squirrels living on my street, in my yard, etc. But no one believed me that there was a black squirrel with red eyes. He would sit on the tree branch above my car, but only when no one else was around. I finally proved it when I took a picture, but no one else saw the living proof.

So, to make a long story short(er), a squirrel in the kitchen shoudn’t have been too much of a surprise. He was one pissed off squirrel (probably hopped up on sugar from my brownies) and it took Matt, our landlord, a broom, a ladder, and about 25 minutes to evict him.

I couldn’t make this shit up.

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Trick or Treat

I looove Halloween. This is not surprising as I love most holidays, but Halloween is definitely up there on the list. I’m not embarrassed to say that I go all out and plan costumes months in advance, or that I’ve actually gone to costume shops and rented professional costumes before.

Last year was the first year that Matt was inducted into my craziness. Luckily he was as excited as I was (if he wasn’t I would have had to re-think things) and we ended up as a Gangster and a Flapper. Now, I mean no offense, but I do not approve of costumes in a bag. They are ok for the beginnings of a costume, or if you need just one piece from the bag, but they are never acceptable as the entire costume. A little originality, people!

Last year we went to a bazillion different stores and gathered pieces and accessories and ended up with some pretty kick-ass costumes. This year has been more of the same. It took us a while to decide on our theme. I suggested Cinderella and Prince Charming and was vetoed. Matt suggested… well, lots of things that got vetoed. And we ended up with (dun dun dun)…

A gunslinger and a saloon girl.

We got the main pieces of the costumes (duster, vest, dress) a few weeks ago but this weekend we got a bunch of accessories. One of the accessories was the gun – or, guns, because he had to have two.

So, it stands to reason that we spent last night running around the house trying to shoot each other with the (fake, they were fake, no real shooting going on over here) guns, right?

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A day off? Love that Christopher Columbus!

Ok, so technically my company didn’t just give me a day off. But Matt’s gave him one and so I used one of those vacation days that was just burning a hole in my pocket and we had ourselves a lovely 3 day weekend.

The weekend started on Friday night when I went out for drinks with some of the girls from work. We’ve never done this before, but I think we will in the future because it was so much fun! (Then again, what activity involving margaritas is NOT fun? However, I definitely think that the company upped the fun factor more than the presence of some sour mix and Jose Cuervo.) I will sheepishly admit that I don’t have a ton of friends and I find it difficult to make close friends, so it was really nice to have a little girls’ night and hang out.

Then on Saturday Matt and I ran a bunch of errands (one of which included getting some more accessories for our Halloween costumes!) and kind of hung out. We had a late lunch and then just kind of went home and hung out. I read for a long time and Matt played video games, which sounds really boring but was actually really nice. I love to read and I actually read an entire book on Saturday – it was glorious.

On Sunday, we also scoured the house from top to bottom which always makes me feel productive (but kind of sad when it is dirty again a few hours later). We also went to Home Depot to get the supplies we needed to winterize our upstairs windows (which need to be replaced but we are just too damn poor to do it this year). Then we went on a date and took ourselves out to dinner – yum.

Monday was a really productive day. Matt chopped apart our old fence to use as firewood in NH next weekend. He had borrowed this fancy saw thing from his Dad and let me tell you nothing gets that boy fired up like power tools. He also rented some kind of drill (a hammer drill maybe?) from Home Depot to put up a shelf in our basement – the rented drill was necessary to get through the concrete basement wall. I cleaned out my car, which was WAAAY overdue. Matt did a great job with the window stuff and actually managed to stop the horrible draft from our bathroom window, which was an absolute necessity before we turn on the heat. Oh yeah, and I read another entire book 🙂

Nothing but love for the 3 day weekends!

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An apple a day…

This week I had a physical for the first time in… well, a while. I think I had a primary care physician in the last town I lived in, but I only had one because my insurance made me have one – I don’t even know her name or where her office was.

So, now that I’ve moved I figured it was time to be a grown-up and have a doctor and not diagnose and treat every ailment with a combination of WebMD, my Mom’s advice, and things sold at CVS. Also, I needed more migraine drugs and it turns out that the pharmacy is reluctant to give those away with out a prescription from a real live doctor.

I called and officially registered myself as a patient and then scheduled my appointment. (“Well, it looks like we have tomorrow at 4 open due to a cancellation.” “Gee, that’s a little soon, what do you have after that?” “The next open appointment is November 30th.”“Ooook, see you tomorrow then!” ) The doctor was nice and even sent my prescription directly to the pharmacy on this little nifty handheld thingy. And then he asked me when I wanted to do my blood-work, and I replied “??????

 He explained that since I am a new patient they like to check everything out to make sure that my glucose and kidney function and thyroid and blah blah blah are normal. At first I kind of balked at the thought (I was just there for the drugs, man… and if they wanted to look at my ears and nose and listen to my heart, too, that was fine, but really, what’s the fuss with all this other stuff?) but then I stopped for a second and it struck me:

This is exactly how my boss found out she had cancer 3 months ago. She went to the doctor for shoulder pain. Since it was a new doctor (and since she hadn’t had a physical since her daughter – who is now 10 – was born) he wanted some blood drawn for standard tests. And just like that – just because of that – she found out that she has colon cancer.

I’m not sure how much about her I feel comfortable sharing on this (very public) space, even though I don’t think an earthly soul has ever read it and probably no one ever will, but just in case I’ll make this less about her and more about me (which has the added bonus of being all about me, and who doesn’t love that).

J’s diagnosis was, and continues to be, a shock. As cliche as it sounds, I never imagined that someone so close to me could go through this. She is an incredibly strong and wonderful woman, and I have every confidence that she will finish her treatments and be well and never look back. However, her illness made me realize how quickly something like that could happen. I found myself wondering how I could cope if something like this happened to me or to someone I love, and I sure as hell don’t think I could cope as well as J has. She has a grace and a quiet confidence in her ability to beat this that will probably do as much for her as the chemicals that the doctors pump into her veins each week.

All of this has made me think quite a bit about the way we treat ourselves and the importance that we give to our own health. And while I’m sure that my own blood-work will come back normal and that the entire experience will be boiled down to my own whining about missing an hour of work and not being able to eat for 12 hours, I’m damn well going to go and have it done.

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887 Huntington

It technically wasn’t my first apartment, since I had an apartment on campus during my sophomore year, but it’s the place that will always represent my first foray into independent living. It was a three bedroom crap-hole that was a little too close to the projects for comfort, but to my roommates and I it was perfect.

We lived there for less than 6 months before it happened. I had three roomates; one night three of us were at a movie while the 4th was working. When we got out of the movie, two of us headed home. We walked in the door and the first thing I noticed was that my bedroom light was on. It took only a few seconds for the rest to sink in. Closet doors open, contents of drawers on the floor, desk ransacked.

I immediately shoved my roommate back through the open door and called the police from the foyer. It was almost an hour before they showed up and during that time we figured out that there were no weapon-wielding delinquents in our apartment and ventured in to survey the damage. My laptop, my laptop bag (including all back-up disks and accessories from said laptop), my digital camera, my 35mm camera, some jewelry, and some other small things – gone.

 I have never felt such anger towards someone I didn’t even know. The police finally came, and our slumlord landlord opened up their office down the street to review the tapes from the security camera in the foyer.

They had this guy on tape. They had his fingerprints. But they never caught him. While I’m sure the Boston PD had bigger crimes to solve, it matters to me that the particular criminal that I wanted caught most was not caught. (Although in my fantasies he has faced a far worse fate. Like, say, the burning fires of HELL.)

Because what stayed with me long after the anger was gone, and long after I bought a new laptop and changed all my bank information, was the vulnerability.

Even though it certainly could have been worse, and I am so grateful that no one was home when he entered our home, it look me a long time to feel safe in that building. It was a scary thing, to think that someone had come into our home uninvited, had come into my room, had been through every drawer and every possession of mine and had taken whatever he wanted. I couldn’t stop ‘what iffing’ What if I had come home while he was in the house? What if we hadn’t gone to a movie that night? Would he have left us alone and found someone else to violate? Or would he have come in anyway, armed to the teeth? One option leaves that day without incident, and the other leaves things much worse than how they actually turned out.

It took a while for me to recognize it, but some good things did come out of that experience. I learned to be smart and protect myself. (No, not a shotgun. Renter’s insurance.) I learned to stand up for myself when it really mattered. (“Landlord, I think you really need to better protect the windows that face the alley. Oh, really, it’ll cost you more because of the fire codes? Well, tough shit, do it anyway.”)

I have many more good memories of my two years living in that apartment than bad ones. That was not the last time that I felt such a sense of vulnerability (falling in love with Matt, buying our house, changing positions at work). But it it is a memory that sticks with me as one of those times when life seemed to fast forward; when the distinction between life before and life after seems pronounced. And whenever I remember that night, I still wonder where my stuff went and I still hope that the guy who took it is rotting in hell.

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