Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Alex and I took the commuter rail from Boston to Marblehead that weekend to retrieve our new pet from an unlocked, empty house. No one was there except for three cats. We found Zach in a kitchen cabinet and eventually got him out and struggled to get all 17 pounds of him in the carrier. He cried like a baby (really, he sounded like small child) for the entire 40 minute train ride back into Boston. He continued to cry for the additional 25 minutes to Somerville.
Not being a previous cat owner (and being lazy and not doing any research), I didn't realize that we should have kept Zach in one room for his first few days at the house. Instead we just dropped him off and left him alone for a few hours and in that time he managed to pee on a blanket on the couch and find the most incredible hiding place in the world. He was somehow able to peel back the false baseboard (made of plastic) in the kitchen, get into a small hole under the cabinets and flex the baseboard back to it's original position. Alex was the one who found him, 4 hours later. Until then I was convinced that I had somehow lost an extremely large cat by not seeing him sneak out the door. We left that hiding place open for Zach for awhile, but eventually he decided he didn't need it anymore, most likely because he was very happy under the bed. Over the next few months we found out that Zach did not talk, even though he screamed like crazy on the train, he hardly ever made a peep while not being transported somewhere. He would occasionally make some funny noises while walking about late at night with a fuzzy little pink ball in his mouth, but other than that we called him a mute, he would look at you and open his mouth as if to meow, but no sound ever came out. We also realized that Zach was quite proficient at playing fetch, but only with certain red striped balls, all you would have to say is "where's your ball, Zach?" and it was game on for that cat. He finally got comfortable enough to sleep on the bed with us, in fact, he loved to sleep in between us.
He made the move out to L.A. with us; once again Zach cried like a baby while traveling. Fortunately he was only loud at take off and landing, I'll never forget the business man to my right asking "Is he going to do that the whole time?" All I could say was "I don't know, he's never been on a plane before." Once we got settled into the Valley, Zach was a great porch cat. He liked to hang out on the front awning of our apartment building which was right off our patio and I thought of him as our own personal mascot. Zach wasn't very fond of parties or short term guests, but when we had people stay with us for weeks at a time he really took a shine to them and would often choose the guest bed instead of ours.
He did much better on the move from L.A. to Oakland, which was good, because it was about a 7 hour drive. He adjusted to the cooler weather just fine, but somehow managed to get fleas twice, even though he was an indoor cat. His favorite thing to do in our first Oakland apartment was sit at the window and watch the cat next door. Zach was also a good people watcher and once hissed at a man peeing on our fence, Alex was so proud of Zach that day. He endured 3 moves in the Bay Area and was quite a pro by the last one. While we were in University Village he loved to sit out on the patio and pretend to eat flowers. I was never sure if he was just smelling them or if he enjoyed making me say "seriously, Zachary Jones, cut it out."
Alex and I decided to get Ollie this past summer, we didn't know at the time that Zach had cancer. Ironically about 3 weeks after we brought Ollie home we noticed a lump on Zach and that was basically the beginning of the end. Our new kitten kept getting bigger and Zach kept getting smaller. Last week they were just about the same size. It was eerie.
The past 3 months were hard. After Zach's surgery he was diagnosed with diabetes, which turned out to be transient. Once the diabetes was in control we noticed more tumors, bigger tumors. Zach stopped eating when Alex and I got back from Mexico, I mushed up all his food and smothered it in gravy, but he still wouldn't eat. We started giving him steriods to try to improve his appetite, but he wouldn't even eat bowls of gravy. Then last week while Zach was playing with Ollie he got so winded that he started coughing and they had to be separated all the time. Then Zach started having trouble breathing without physical exertion, he couldn't even move 5 feet without gasping for air. It was very hard to watch. This morning he climbed into bed with me and Alex and as he worked so hard just to breathe, I knew it was time to let him go. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make, but we put Zachary to sleep today.
I miss him so much.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
Alex and I have received 4 boxes full of snacks since last Friday and we haven't cooked dinner since last Thursday. Our gift basket snack consumption has reached levels beyond enjoyable, I would now classify it as chronic. Supplies are getting low, though, things might get real ugly around here by the time Monday rolls around.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
A topic that keeps coming up this week is presents from Santa - wrapped or unwrapped? I come from the unwrapped camp; things from parents are wrapped, Santa neatly stacks unwrapped gifts in front of and among the already wrapped things. Because as we all know, Santa is really busy and doesn't have time to wrap your stuff. Also, he believes in conserving paper to help the environment.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Photo Friday is taking a break next week, which I guess is good, because it buys me some time on the 23rd to finally get some Christmas shopping done. I really should get started on that whole buying gifts thing.
Friday, December 09, 2005
2. Discover toy in closet when you move and put it in box to ship to nephew.
3. Bring the box containing the toy to your office and let it sit there for a month.
4. Find out from your sister that your nephew has actually been wanting that same exact toy.
5. Finally ship the toy to your nephew without even wrapping it.
6. Have your nephew find out, after waiting over a year for his gift, that the toy does not actually do what is pictured on box.
I was not there to witness the small meltdown in the tub, but apparently these dolphins do not actually make a perfect circle, which is clearly what is making this boy so very happy. They are disobedient dolphins and they will not conform to your circle needs. Damn you, Tomy, for your false circle promises, you made my nephew cry.
The worst part about it all was that I spoke to my nephew on the phone before I talked to my sister about the tub episode and I asked him if he loved the dolphins and he replied "well (long pause), I liiiiiiike the dolphins."
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
The most difficult thing about having a tree this year (besides getting it in the stand) is that we have a kitten. When we first brought the tree home Ollie was not very fond of it, as a matter of fact he was downright scared of it. I knew it was too good to be true and the fear wouldn't last - this is the same cat who has chewed through wires, pulled a heavy wool rug around the entire apartment and left a mark while trying to attach himself to the floor lamp shade which is 4 feet off the ground. As the hours passed last night, I watched Ollie's fear of the tree fade as he attempted to devour a whole branch and then drag the tree skirt around the living room. The good news is that he hasn't tried to climb the tree, but then again we haven't put the lights on yet.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Our bag will probably show up today (fingers crossed, please)on another flight from Miami, but until then I will long for and think fondly of all my favorite things, including every comfortable pair of shoes I own except for a lone pair of boots. Alex and I have convinced ourselves that because we barely made it onto the plane from Miami to SFO yesterday, the bag was probably seconds behind and was just too lazy to make those last 10 minutes count. I always knew that bag was no good.
Our flight from Cancun to Miami was delayed by over an hour (and no one ever said why), so it turned our original, gracious 2 hour and 42 minute layover into a 63 minute layover. Usually I would think that would be plenty of time, but it really isn't when you have to de-board the plane from all the way in the back, walk briskly for 20 minutes to get to immigration, clear immigration, wait for your checked bag, navigate your bag through a throng of other anxious and angry passengers, clear customs, re-check your bag with the airline, go through the giant security line that does not move, figure out what gate your going to and then jog in a frenzied and delirious state for another 15 minutes to your gate. All that made me sick to my stomach, but then I finally got to the gate and saw that it was a flight going to Atlanta. Alex was pretty far behind me at that point because he was carrying most of the bags, so I figured it was best to wait for him there. I walked up to the people working at the gate and tried to remain calm as I sputtered the words "Atlanta? What? But San Francisco?" which fell to deaf ears at the counter. I caught my breath and attempted to be polite as I clenched my fists and asked if someone could please help me find the flight to San Francisco. A woman at a computer finally tilted her head up ever so slightly and glared at me over her bifocals. She spoke to me so quietly that I was forced to stand closer to the counter, then she acted as if I should have known that the flight for San Francisco had been moved 9 more gates down. I waited for Alex, told him where we were going and proceeded to run some more. We actually had about 10 minutes to spare by the time we got to the actual gate, but those minutes were all spent waiting in line to board the plane. In a perfect world, those minutes were meant to be used getting some dinner, but instead we had to buy food on the plane, which made me furious. They messed up my layover and were surly and unhelpful, the least they could do was buy me a freakin sandwich, or at least some crackers and cheese. Did you ever have to buy food on an airplane? 5 bucks for a sandwich and you don't even get any chips. What has this world come to?
The funniest part of the whole ordeal was clearing customs, which I thought would be the hardest part, but it was actually a breeze. The guy we gave our stamped papers to was on his cell phone, obviously getting the best quotes for his insurance. I could have handed him a piece of paper that said "Douchebag McFuckyou and friend are now entering your country. We are currently carrying 79 million pesos, 4 tons of silver and 2 suitcases full of blow" and he still would have let us through. It's good to know that airport security is still working hard to keep us all safe.
Do you think because I just wrote that I may never get my bag back?
I would like to end this post on a happy note, since I still have no news about the suitcase.
Here's the part where you ask me if I got to see any monkeys while I was in Mexico. My response to you would be Hell, yeah!
Saturday, November 26, 2005
I posted a few pictures posted on Flickr (with many more to come). Click on these kick ass skulls if you're dying for more. get it? Mexico makes me funny.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Alex picked up an Accu-chek today and we spent hours trying to figure out the fucking thing. The only blood it got was mine. We had to test it out to see how it worked before we tortured the cat, so I volunteered. It only took 3 tries to get enough blood from my finger. If only it had been that easy on the cat. Zach was patient and tried his best to stay still, but getting blood from a cat's ear is unpleasant for all involved and obviously takes lots of practice. Half a can of tuna helped to soothe Zach and absolve our guilt for stabbing him over 10 times... unsuccessfully.
I can't believe I'm doing all this for my cat. I told myself I would never be one of these kind of people. *sigh*
Monday, November 14, 2005
There are still plenty of unpacked boxes in the apartment, but we've run out of steam and that's what the guest room is for anyways (now that my mom is gone). I can't locate any tape, envelopes and some of my CDs, but I'm able to sleep at night, so everything is okay in my book.
The move was not fun at all. Hiring movers was a good idea. Hiring the movers that we used was a bad idea. First of all they gave us a window of 4 hours for their arrival time, right then we should have known it was going to be bad. The next clue came when they couldn't find our apartment and Alex had to run around the University Village listening for truck sounds to track them down. As they were parking the truck Alex came back in and said "I think there are more wheels on the truck than teeth in the movers" and he was close to correct. Three guys moved all our stuff - Melvin, the driver and man in charge of the Nextel had the least amount of teeth, but always had a smile on his face. Reggie was a younger guy with scar that ran from the bottom of his jaw to the nape of his neck and a positive attitude (because he wanted to finish in time to listen to the Raiders game). Sunday, or Sun as the other members of the crew called him, was an older and somewhat bitter man who wore a thick gold chain. It only took them an hour to get everything out of our old apartment, but it took them about 4 hours to move it into the new one. I think some of it had to do with the fact that we are now on the 19th floor and the elevators aren't very fast, but a lot of it was probably because of the weed they smoked on their break. I wasn't aware of the break-time activities until I had to sign the paperwork, but I can tell you that they didn't smell like coffee. Everything made it up here in one piece, and only a few things were scratched and dented, so all it all it wasn't that bad. But I did learn that when my momma said "you get what you pay for" she was right.
We did a pretty good job of throwing the place into order before my mom came for her visit. Having a house guest stay with you right after you move is a powerful motivating force. The down side to that is that we put everything away so quickly I'm having some trouble finding things now and I'm pretty sure that I didn't chose the right cabinets for things in the kitchen in terms of efficiency. I would change it, but I'm really, really lazy.
Now that we've enjoyed our apartment for a month, Alex and I head off to Mexico in a few days for a wedding and a vacation all rolled up into one 9 day extravaganza. I'm very excited to be leaving for a little while because I have to stop obsessing about boxes I have no intention of unpacking. I tried to train the cats to put things away but Ollie is still a kitten and Zach keeps playing up his whole cancer and diabetes thing. That cat will do anything to get out of work.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I don't have time to get into details now because Mom and I are about to eat ice cream while we wait in suspense to see how this episode of Law and Order will wrap up. It's only our third episode today, but I think I'm catching on to this formula. (perhaps this gives you some sort of idea of how the visit with Mom is going)
As long as I'm stealing these precious family moments to post, I figure I'll show off my last two entries for Photo Friday.
Here's what I had going on for "vintage"
and this is my entry for "delicate"
And now I shall watch the surprising twist ending of Law and Order. I won't give the plot away... even though Mom already saw this one and let me in on the secret.
The boxes are almost unpacked, I successfully learned how to shoot up my cat with insulin and Mom leaves on Friday. I can feel my heart rate slowing down already.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
and this Alex picked up the lease today and I just finished writing my initials a million times. I feel like a total nerd because as I was reading through all 846 pages of it I got a little flutter in my heart when I got to the part about work orders. It goes on and on about what's an emergency and what's not and then I saw "garbage disposal back up" and I thought "awww yeah! I'm going to have a garbage disposal?!"
What also makes me a nerd is the fact that I signed the lease with this kick ass pen from my sister.
Friday, October 07, 2005
This last week was a little hectic. The good news is that Zach had his staples removed and everything healed well. The bad news is the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes, but they can't tell if it spread anywhere else. So for now we just have to keep feeling him up for lumps and other mysterious things. He's doing well and back to his old fatty ways of pretending to eat senior food while actually chowing down on kitten morsels. It's okay though, because the vet removed a lot of fat from Zach's left side, so the half tummy tuck makes him look svelte and handsome.
Then on Tuesday Alex and I were supposed to look at our new apartment, since we had only seen the model apartment on the 24th floor, not our actual apartment. We got a message on Monday from someone on the management team telling us that the current tenants hadn't moved out yet and we could see the place on October 12 or 13. Both Alex and I were furious and for some reason took our anger out on each other. Monday was a very long day. I finally ended up arguing with a woman for 12 minutes on Monday evening until she finally agreed to let us in on the day we had already scheduled. The apartment was pretty messy, so it was easy for me to see why they wanted to keep us out. It was a little hard for me to figure out what would go where since it was all jammed up with other people's furniture, but my main goal was to make sure there were no gaping holes in the walls or giant stains on the carpet. Check and check. The only thing that bummed me out was that the apartment is smaller than the model we had seen. I really can't complain about 1300 square feet though, can I?
Other than all that drama we've been packing a few boxes at a time, which might be the worst idea I've ever had. I'm starting to think now that it might have felt less epic if we had just decided to pack everything in a state of panic next Saturday night.
And here's my Photo Friday entry for this week's challenge: five
Friday, September 30, 2005
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Last night Alex and I watched My Name Is Earl, The Office and The Amazing Race. I'm really digging on Jason Lee as Earl, but what I'm not digging on is the Weaver Family on the Amazing Race. It's a team of a widow and her three kids who like to say "with the will of Jesus" before they look at a map or head out to the next checkpoint. They know with the will of Jesus they will be guided correctly. During last night's episode they were helped by a truck driver and after he gave them a map the mother asked him if he was familiar with the ways of Jesus. He confirmed that he was and then the mom exclaimed with glee that they would spend all eternity together. It was downright creepy.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
The weird thing is that mammary adenocarcinoma is so rare in male cats, it only happens to about 1 in every 100,000. That crazy little Zach, always has to set himself apart from the crowd.
Monday, September 26, 2005
"If you're going to make us wear bright little clothes.... oh ... life is all flowers and sausages!"If only, my little mohawk friend, if only life were so delicious.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
I took Oliver in for his first vet visit today. And even though Ollie didn't like the shot very much, I'm going to guess he had a lot more fun than Zach did yesterday.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Of course when I got back to work I googled a bunch of stuff about celebrity, Oprah and tsunami that got me nowhere. Then, unfortunately, I came across this
"Do you have a flabby tummy like me?" Susannah asks. "Spilling out over your too-tight, cute little pair of panties is a big no-no. You need a waistband on your panties that reaches up to your rib cage where there is less flab." Lots of elastic reinforcement will hold you in beautifully.
No waistband on any pants, especially underwear, should ever go up to your rib cage. I'm all about looking good, but c'mon ladies, I also like to breathe.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Now Alex and I are sitting here enjoying the season premieres of My Name Is Earl and The Office and it's very quiet around here, a little too quiet. Although I have to admit that it is pleasant to watch an entire show without having to be poised with a water gun to discipline a kitten.
Monday, September 19, 2005
I could have written about the Chocolate Festival I went to, but I didn't. I could have documented how many boxes I've packed for our move to the deluxe apartment in the sky, but no. Instead I read junk on the internets, felt bad for myself because of my stupid inner ear and ate a lot of ice cream.
One rewarding yet creepy thing we've done was put a bunch of our crap on Craigslist to have weird people buy it. I wasn't here to see most of the stuff get picked up, but Alex told me that one guy gave him half the money from his pocket, the other half came from his shoe. I have to say that I would have had a hard time accepting shoe money. We still have lots more to sell, so if you need a basket of stuffed animals or a really old CD player (stereo component style) that only plays one CD at a time, let me know.
In other news, we found out today that Zach's lump isn't just a lump, it's a swollen lymph node, accompanied by a fellow swollen node. He goes into surgery on Friday to have them both removed, then we find out if he's got the cancer. weeeeeee.
Luckily, Arrested Development was on tonight and kicked all sorts of ass when it came to cheering me up. If you're not watching that show you're really missing out. And if you are watching, I know you went to this site. Oh, Arrested Development, what can't you do?
Oh, and here's the picture I entered in the last Photo Friday challenge, Divine.
Friday, September 09, 2005
I didn't submit my entry for last week's challenge, which was order, until last night. I had this great idea and tried to go to the MAC store on Fourth Street to take a picture of all the purdy lipsticks in their assigned rows. But MAC closed before I got there and the reflection on the window was really awful, so I went with a whole different meaning of order.
okay, I know it's kind of a stretch, but I feel like I have to post something every week now that I'm committed to Photo Friday.
and then there's this week's entry for massive,
and someday I'm a-gonna write bout somethin on this here blog. but that takes spellin and thinkin. I'd rather just hang out with my camera and my cats right now.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Because it kind of seems like that's just saying "In your face young diabetics! Check out all this ice cream I can eat and you can't!" However, that will probably not stop me from walking down the hall to get myself a bowl while I think about those poor kids.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Friday, August 26, 2005
I was pretty bummed out last night because Alex and I found a lump on our old cat, Zach, and I spent WAY too much time looking stuff up on the internet about cats and lumps and found out that 90% of lumps or tumors found on cats are malignant. I'm taking him to the vet tomorrow, so I have about 24 more hours to come up with outrageous scenarios of how our cat will die.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Alex also decided that it was time to start saving money by using the internet for our phone service, so we now have two phone numbers for the rest of the month. One is old school style, the other is one that would scare my Nana.
I feel so advanced now, but the bad part is that if any of this stuff stops working I would have absolutely no idea how to fix it. The other day the wireless went down while Alex was at work and my solution was to unplug the hub and plug it back in. Dude, it totally worked.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
meh, whatever. I'm over it now.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
We do have to wait until October 15, which seems like a long time, but that actually excites me, because I now have two months to get rid of every paper, book, item of clothing and piece of lint I don't want. I love moving because it gives me a chance to purge all those items I've collected over the past few years. I don't even know where all this crap came from but I'm guessing at some point, for some reason, each useless thing gave me a sense of security. Luckily, I spent a few hours on Sunday with a trusty garbage bag and decided that not too many things on the bookshelves looked like keepers and I was able to fill my garbage bag. Impressive on a few levels... one because I was able to throw out so much, but also because I was able to collect so much junk since the last move.
The worst part about this next move is knowing that we will have more square footage than ever before, so in the back of my mind is a little voice telling me to not throw anything out. Check out the floor plan of this new place.
Friday, August 12, 2005
wow, look at that, it's Friday and I haven't posted for a whole week. To sum up this past week: I overbooked myself and had plans every night this week, including tonight and tomorrow. I wake up at 4am every morning, no clue why. Oliver is starting to look more like a cat than a kitten and is learning how to take a good ass whoopin' from Zach. Alex and I met with a mortgage broker and realized we are way too poor to buy a house, or even a condo, so we found a new apartment to rent. But I'll write more about that as soon as I can stop myself from being so social.
Friday, August 05, 2005
As always, many other 'complexity' photos and a chance to cast your vote for last week's 'somber' challenge here.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
I do not remember her answer.
I told Sean and Greg about the conversation with my mother which led someone to say "If seven is a few, is eight too many?" And as we all know, eight is not too many, Eight Is Enough. Sadly, I will admit that Sean and I burst into the classic theme song.
I'm not sure if you remember the opening to that show, so allow me to share these tear-jerking lyrics and let yourself to take a trip down memory lane... back to a time when TV shows came complete with passionate theme songs, just like this:
There's a magic in the early morning we found,
When the sun rise smiles on everything around.
It's a portrait of the happiness that we feel and always will,
For eight is enough to fill our lives with love.
Oh we spend our days like bright and shiny new dimes.
If we're ever puzzled by the changing times.
There's a plate of homemade wishes on the kitchen window sill,
And eight is enough to fill our lives with love.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
how did I get to be so lucky?
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
it's not like it didn't warn me. how did I get to be so lame?
Friday, July 29, 2005
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
The event itself is like a treasure/scavenger hunt where teams of 2 - 4 solve some puzzles and then use the answers to map their way around Golden Gate Park to find different checkpoints. Greg and Dave write the puzzles and make a neato map for the race and I deal with the business end of stuff. I have kick ass jobs like helping make the puzzles look sassy, buying and using office supplies (including Sharpies!) and making forms in Excel.
This past Sunday was Park Challenge 4, we ended up having over 40 teams pre-register so we figured that we should probably have 50 packets of puzzles on hand. This did not occur to us until Thursday, when we counted only 30 of the things we already prepared. So even though we tried to avoid it with planning for months, we still ended up working ourselves down to a nub on Saturday. All ended well, but in the future it's probably best that I do not work on last minute projects with markers sporting warnings about "proper ventilation" on the package. Because no matter how many windows you open, by puzzle number 15 out of 50 everything starts to get hilarious. Like milk-out-the-nose hilarious.
and now for my PC4 scrapbook:
This was the garbage truck that came through just as all the teams sat down to dig into the first two puzzles. Alex HAD to take a picture of it, because he said it looked like a horror movie. Jokes along the line of "uh oh, here comes the nerd collector" were plentiful.
Here's a team working simultaneously on the Chess Puzzle and Reverse Taboo. This guy is actually a Chess Master and was having some trouble because the way the puzzle was set up did not actually follow some of the rules of chess.
Here are all the boxes of Chess boards, it was marking all these up with gold markers that had me feeling like I was all hopped up on goofballs Saturday night.
Dave and Greg looking relaxed (as relaxed as people can be in matching shirts), waiting for the first team to finish.
and here I am with Greg trying to look smart at the finish line. Perhaps I would look smarter if I took the cap off the pen before holding it to the paper.
(moments after this photo was taken the nerd collector came to take me away.)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
He is one crazy little dude but he's so cute that it's impossible to stay mad at him. Even if he does find it necessary to bite your Achilles heel while you're doing dishes or find higher ground by clawing his way up your leg.
He's a big fan of Alex's gold graduation cord (which I like to call his 100,000 dollar toy), crumpled paper and Zach's senior cat food. In his free time he can be found chewing on toy fish, napping on a cutie little cat bed or shredding the curtains in the guest room.
Ollie also loves to pick fights with cats 4 times larger than himself.
Come on by and say hi, he also loves guests.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
As if that wasn't bad enough the ad also sports this sassy Santa. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe that he's giving me a "come hither, I've got a secret" sort of look.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
One thing that needs to change for me to feel like I'm finally moving forward is the housing situation, I'm so done with the University Village. We thought about buying a condo, but that requires some long term, hard core saving, so we decided that moving to another apartment might be the right thing to do. On Monday night we set out on our new housing journey and decided to look at two apartments which have cheaper rent than what we're still forking over to the University. Obviously, there was a reason why these apartments were so cheap. I ended up looking at the first apartment by myself because Alex's last patient was late. (oh, being married to an O.D. is sooo hard. bitch, moan, etc..) The apartment was in downtown Oakland, not a great part of downtown Oakland, but it wasn't too shabby. The building itself was kind of cute, it had a courtyard and the lofts there, which were already rented, looked nice. But the apartments for rent were awful. Awful is an understatement, I'm just going to cut to the chase here and tell you that they were shitholes. I knew it was destined for failure when the dude showing the apartment apologized for the loud music across the hall from the apartment I was viewing. The apology went a little something like this,
Allow me to say I'm sorry for the loud music. There's an unknown tenant in that apartment. I think there was a divorce or something and now there's some strange person in there. We're not sure what's going on. It's like a nightclub!Here's a little tip for anyone showing an apartment: Don't admit to prospective renters that you have no clue, nor are you willing to research what goes on in the building for which you are claiming responsibility. It just doesn't sit right. Unless I want to live in a nightclub, then by all means, tell everyone to rock out even if you have no idea who the hell they are.
I looked at a one bedroom unit first, one with a "remodeled" bathroom. This meant that the shower stall had been cleaned, there was a new shower curtain and toilet paper was on the roll. Otherwise the bathroom was craptastic, complete with mildew in the corners and a sink which dripped. Slumlord then showed me what he called a "spacious two bedroom." It was about 800 square feet and had an even worse bathroom, which stunned me, because I didn't think that was possible. All the floors were covered with stained, brown carpet that smelled like a litterbox. The kitchen was so small that it had a Barbie stove and a mini fridge. The only heater was in the living room, it was about 40 years old and it took up half the space in there. No daylight came through any of the 4 windows, each was blocked by another wall from another building. It was the most depressing thing I had ever seen. I thanked Slumlord for his time and exited as I heard 50 Cent's In Da Club, which was actually Slumlord's phone ringing.
When I left the building I got a call from Alex, who had finally made it to a BART station close by. I said I would come and find him, but I don't really know my way around that neighborhood, so it took me roughly 30 minutes to find the corner where he was standing. Needless to say we were both quite cranky by the time Alex got in the car. But we forged onward to look at one more apartment. We drove over to Lake Merritt to look at a one bedroom apartment with hardwood floors and a walk-in closet. ooooh, aaaaahhhh. Unfortunately it was being shown by the same management company, and not surprisingly, no one was there to let us in when we arrived. We made some calls, left some voicemails, waited for 20 minutes and eventually gave up and drove back to the Village. That building actually looked pretty nice, so I was a little disappointed that we weren't able to see it, but I suppose it just wasn't meant to be, at least not this week. Maybe not this month. Maybe not this year. University housing really isn't that bad. After looking at what hovels I could live in, I was pleased to return to our spacious, free utilities and DSL, two bedroom habitat.
Maybe the kind of change I need is something more like getting a new kitten. Good thing I'm getting one on Saturday.
Now I will observe a moment of silence, because my little kitty went through his orchidectomy today. He never even had a chance to live it up. Poor little guy. At least he'll have a big, non-moldy apartment to call home.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Thursday, July 07, 2005
It's funny the little things I forgot about rafting after a year; things like how much work it is just to get into a rented wet suit and then realizing how much back fat I actually have once I finally cram myself into the wetsuit. And just because I paid to go rafting doesn't mean I'm going for a pleasant cruise down a river, there's some work involved. The paddling can be hard sometimes, but what's even harder is carrying the boat and paddles in and out of the water. This may not sound hard, but believe me, if you're weak and wimpy like me and wearing a wetsuit, helmet, jacket and life preserver, it is.
We camped the night before, so that always means that I can count on a solid 2 hours of sleep accompanied by 4 hours of tossing and turning. On top of being tired we had an hour van ride down windy roads to get to our starting point of the river, so I was pretty loopy by the time I disembarked from the van. I don't think I need to describe in detail what a lame ass I looked like in a wetsuit and rubber booties trying to stay steady on downhill gravel while attempting to hold my portion of the raft up over my head. I was sweating and it wasn't even hot out. By the time we got the boat into the water I was whimpering like a big baby, but once we got to paddling I tried my best to keep a stiff upper lip. Let me stress, tried, because the reality of it was that salty tears dribbled down my face over the sheer frustration of being dizzy and I wanted out when the guide said "waterfall" and "straight ahead." Sitting on the edge of a moving, bouncy, air filled vehicle probably isn't the best way for someone with balance issues to spend a Sunday, but gosh darn it, once you start a rafting trip with 14 other people it's not okay to say "hey, I changed my mind. Do you mind if we go back?"
I did much better the further we went but besides battling balance problems I had to deal with much more serious issues, like figuring out if I was on the right or left side of the boat when our guide yelled out commands. This was hard not only because I'm directionally challenged (and when holding a paddle it's hard to hold out your hands to see which one makes the 'L means left' shape), but also because our guide was from New Zealand and when he said left it sounded like lift and paddle sounded like peddle. Yeah, I know you can't peddle or lift in a raft, but that's what it sounded like and it confused me. Even though I knew what he meant and I kept repeating "you're on the left, you're on the left" in my head, it took a long time for me to process the information... and then about 25 minutes into the trip the guide asked me to move from the from the left side of the boat to the right side. Great.
The waterfall turned out to be not so big and pretty fun and once I got past my panic, I had a great time. The next big challenge was stopping for lunch. With the kind of vestibular damage I have the weird thing is that I'm okay once I get moving, like driving 65 on a freeway, but once I stop it still feels like everything is moving for awhile. So basically it was like eating at 40 mph. Even harder than eating was navigating my way up a hill to use the small tower of PVC tubes and bag that the rafting folks like to call the toilet. With some help from Alex working security for me at the makeshift restroom, I was able to pee in peace and make it back to the raft in one piece. The last part of the trip was really easy, we had been through the bulk of the rapids before lunch. The hardest part of the end of the trip was riding back to the campground cramped in a van with a bunch of other wet, exhausted and sweaty people. Steamy windows had new meaning.
So next year when April rolls around, chances are I'll forget about all the things I bitched about and get all giddy while raving about the mind-blowing water extravaganza I'll be attending. If I happen to get in your face regarding any sort of rafting experience please feel free to tell me to shut my big yap. Or shove me. Either one should work just fine.
Here's a picture of most of the rafting crew. See, I'm smiling, I did have fun, I swear.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
At least we could see the fireworks this year, which was so much better than last year when we hoofed down to the Albany Bulb in the cold and wind only to realize that fireworks under cloud cover just look like you're in some sort of war zone. This year it was still cold and windy, but we were able to see about 5 different shows. Although Berkeley is the closest and the one we had the best view of, it was unfortunately the lamest show. I guess whoever does the fireworks for them doesn't realize that it's fucking freezing out and you can actually speed up the show by sending up one explosive while another is already in the air. Five seconds in between small fireworks is actually annoying and the show lasted for more than a half hour. Completely unnecessary.
My favorite part of going to the Albany Bulb every year is the heavy cop who stands at the entrance to the park and says the same speech to each group of people entering.
Welcome to Albany. We only have two rules here; no alcohol and no fireworks. Okay? Because if you are caught with either you'll be spending the night in the Albany jail. Okay?And then I guess you're supposed to say okay back or give him some sort of sign that you understood him, because he keeps looking at you until you say "yeah" or give him the thumbs up or something. I just think it's funny that there are only two rules, I suppose crack pipes and guns are okay as long as you don't have any beer or roman candles. Richard and Wil joined us at the Bulb where we found a good spot without too much wind and nice place to enjoy our refreshments.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Since I have to do all this last minute stuff for tomorrow's shoot I don't have time to write about what I wanted to write about, which was a fire that destroyed the scene shop for Berkeley Repertory Theatre. I'm sure that it's going to be a hard summer and next season for them because of it, and I'm sitting here complaining because I have to go to a concert tomorrow and get paid overtime. I'm such a jerk. Anyways, here are some pictures I took the day after the fire. (click on the photo below for a slide show)
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Sunday, June 26, 2005
One of my favorite stories to tell about my Dad is the one where we were driving to the grocery store to pick something up for my Mom. I was living at home right after college, so my relationship with my parents was a little strange, but I still liked hanging out with my Dad, especially if he was just looking for company on a ride and I got to control the radio. He had finally stopped driving the Dodge Ram van (yes, it had carpet inside, even on the walls) and was cruising down the streets with class in his fairly new Grand Marquis. We headed down the long street of Hyde Park Ave. and as I was obsessively changing the radio stations I noticed my Dad getting upset about something. I thought it was my failure to pick and stick with something on the radio, but his increasing blood pressure was caused by two young hoodlums on a small worn down motorbike. They were both probably about 12 years old and were driving about 10 miles per hour down the middle of the street. Obviously this made Dad mad for a number of reasons, all of which he told me all about: first of all, these kids weren't even old enough to be driving that thing, second, the vehicle was unregistered third, it was unsafe for them and for other drivers and fourth, they were going way too slow for his liking. Dad started beeping and they ignored him. So he really laid on the horn, which sadly resulted in the moped going even slower. These kids obviously didn't know who they were messing with. A vigilante in a giant green car meant business; Dad rolled down his window and told them to get the hell out of the way, the kids laughed, swerved and gave him the finger. This made Dad furious, the only way to deal with these bad seeds now was clear... it was time to scare the crap out of them. I hadn't been driven around in the Grand Marquis too often before that day, but it was on that day I realized that 8 cylinders is a whole lot of car, more car than a moped can handle. Good thing those kids were thinking ahead and were able to get next to the car instead of under it. But these 12 year olds were fearless and even though they had almost been run down they had enough balls to take out a key and ran it down the entire passenger's side of the Grand Marquis as they rode next to us. I made eye contact with them and shook my head in disbelief, somehow trying to side with Dad, yet give them some kind of warning to back off, please, for the love of god, back off. This was one of the three times in my life I uttered the words "calm down" to Dad. I probably squeaked them out and they weren't even audible, but I felt like I had a civic duty to say something. I looked over at Dad and the expression on his face made me hope that he hadn't heard me after all. I decided that no matter what happened at that point, I would keep my mouth shut.
As the kids came closer to the car, Dad would swerve towards them, trying to run them off the road and on to the sidewalk, the kids would get on the sidewalk for a minute, then back onto the road to torment the Grand Marquis with the key. This went on for a few minutes, the kids would get closer to the car, Dad would get closer to the kids, a key would come out... you get the picture.
We finally came to the stretch of the road with the police station, so we were soon followed by flashing lights and sirens. I breathed a sigh of relief as I hunched over in the seat, trying to look like I had nothing to do with any of this. We ended up pulling over across the street from McDonald's where a barefoot woman with curlers in her hair came running out, shouting "I saw the whole thing! He totally tried to kill those kids! I saw it! He was gonna run 'em down!" Apparently we had drawn all sorts of attention in Clearly Square, even from crazy people who should have been wearing shoes while dining on a Big Mac. The police officer told her to step aside as Dad calmly rolled down his window. I was certain that Dad was going to jail and I would have to take the bus home with this barefooted bitch who was saying my father was a killer. The police officer asked what the problem was and Dad replied in his best Boston accent,"These kids ahh bein' ahhhhsholes." I'm not sure why this happened, but that was all Dad had to say, the officer took the kids and the moped away and Dad and I went to the store.
We never talked about the incident again, because I know it wasn't one of my Dad's proudest moments, but also because there was no need, I understood. I told my Mom about it after Dad passed away, she didn't believe me.
I miss you, Dad.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Friday, June 24, 2005
If I give you the box of tissues from my desk I'm giving it to you for good. Please enjoy them down to a nub. I want you to fill each and every tissue with your own phlegm, but I don't want to be a part of it.
Not only was it obvious that you needed a whole box, but I was tired of you popping your snotty face in and out of my cube EVERY time you needed a tissue. I'm not sure why you couldn't take more than one tissue at a time or better yet, go up one flight of stairs to get your own box, because the supply room has many boxes of tissues for the taking. That's right, they're FREE! But when I gave you that box it wasn't a loaner for you to get all germy with and then return it half full, it was yours for keeps.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
We stopped by For Your Eyes Only (feel free to hate me if you have that James Bond song stuck in your head now) to visit Alex and tried on lots of fancy eyewear. Alex still had about an hour of work left so Wil, Richard and I headed over to Metro City Bar for some margaritas and people watching. If you're ever in the Castro just remember that the Metro has the best seats on the patio to see stuff like this.
But beware of anyone there wearing a t-shirt that says "Rimming is the shit."
Alex eventually joined us, right in time for the Finlandia promotion they were doing that night. After filling out index cards with fake names and addresses we all got free tank tops, buttons that light up and tiny little bottles of flavored vodka. We also met a guy named Ira who was there because his lady friend worked for Finlandia. I let him use my zoom lens to check out other ladies (not ones with goatees) in the street while he told me all about his girlfriend being sunburned. We finally got to meet his girlfriend, who immediately revealed to us that Ira's nickname for her is CCT, Candy Cane Tits. Ira explained that this was because her boobs and pelvic area didn't get burnt, but everything else did. See, get it, Candy Cane Tits? ha ha ha. She never told us her real name, so I guess if I ever run into her again I'll just have to ignore her.
We finally bid farewell to Ira and CCT, gathered up our free Finlandia crap and walked over to Catch to have a very trendy and delicious dinner. They have a piano player there who sits in this little crow's nest type of thing and plays some tunes on a baby grand. I actually spent a fair amount of time feeling bad for him, he looked really cramped up there. That and he had leather pants on, but he did that to himself.
Even though it was a little chilly we took a drive up to Twin Peaks with the top down and watched the sunset.
I will attest that riding in the front seat of a car with no top is much less windy than riding in the back, but the back seat has it's own perks, it's where you can see how crazy you look with your hair blowing in the breeze.