Category Archives: Personal

Fellini’s Fumes

One week from today the Verizon guy will be in my new apartment installing services. My furniture and rugs will be in place, my accent walls will be freshly painted,* most of my things will be unboxed and put away, and the nightstands will be on the way. I will spend my second night in the new place with hot chocolate, looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows at whatever view awaits me, and just existing.

I keep conjuring scenarios like that in my head because I am thisclose to a nervous breakdown with my current apartment. Nope, not the pool renovation, which is still not finished and won’t be for months.

Nope, no Hoffa yet. Just a lot of dirt and stagnant water.

Today it was fumes. Horrible, throat-burning fumes that made my eyes water and Inigo start sneezing. Contractors were refinishing some cabinets a few doors down and the incompetent fools who manage this building didn’t tell anyone.

For those who don’t know, fumes like that can kill a bird quickly and easily. If I had not been home to move him into the bedroom, he’d be dead. And the landlord now knows that, in no uncertain terms. In fact, my words were, “So help me if he dies because of this just a few days before I move out when I could have gotten a pet-sitter, the litigation will be glorious.”

I’m not the only one who is pissed about this. I heard someone on my floor on the phone earlier today, and they were tearing a new orifice in someone, boy howdy. The snippets I caught were sheer fury. “…I don’t CARE…NO you may NOT…should have let us KNOW…get your training from a bubble-gum machine…service is TERRIBLE…not one problem it’s ANOTHER…” and the piece that redoubled my own ire, “…BECAUSE OF MY DOG, YOU IDIOT.”

And therein lies the heart of it. Do not mess with the health of your tenants’ pets.


The Glare. Would you mess with this? I wouldn’t.

All I know is that every day brings a brand new problem. We’ve already had fires and floods out the yin-yang. Mold. Rust. Mice. Trash chutes backed up to the seventh floor. What will tomorrow bring? A plague of locusts from the basement? Fellini couldn’t make this up.

Best part is that we all got an email yesterday.

Dear Residents:

In our spirit of continuous improvement, we are pleased to announce the next chapter of community enhancements. As you may be aware, we completed a refresh of the hallways and elevator lobbies throughout the building, began the pool renovation project, installed a package room and replaced the roof top HVAC Units.

The next round of improvements, to start in early 2021, will include [snip] Main Lobby, Leasing Office, Fitness Center, Resident Lounge.

With a project of this magnitude, we anticipate that there will be questions throughout the process, and we do realize this will create temporary disruptions within in these areas. We have given careful consideration to our residents in the planning of this project to ensure safe work practices in are bring upheld and to reduce the impact on you as much as possible. You will receive frequent communications from us, most often by email. These notifications will contain important information, so we urge you to carefully read all notices.

Construction is anticipated to begin in January of 2021 and is expected to end in the Fall of 2021. Additional project details including renderings, programming and dates will be communicated as we get closer to the commencement of the project.

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA! You mean they way they communicated about the pool and about today’s work? Good luck with finishing by next autumn. Long before the pandemic, it took them a year and a half to do the hallways and hall carpets, during which time we were left for nearly a year with no baseboards and no coverings over the lights so the place looked right out of The Shining. The parts were “on back order” and enough people complained that they put the old light coverings back on until the new ones arrived. The baseboards are plastic and are already warping enough for another tenant to post a photo on Yelp, and you know how the pool project, which was supposed to be completely finished with the pool winterized by November 30, is going.

Oh, am I bitching too much?

Before the pandemic, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in my building was $2,400 a month.

I rest my case.

*Sherwin Williams Honorable Blue on the dining area wall, Dewberry for the door, for the curious.

Sunday Stealing: Isolation Edition

Thank you, Sunday Stealing!

1. Day 1 of serious isolation behavior:
Was no different than any other weekend afternoon or weeknight, except that I was pretty rootin’ tootin’ enthusiastic about not dealing with humanity for two weeks straight.

2. First trip you had to cancel:
I didn’t have anything booked, but the powers that be had approved a meeting that would have found me flying home from San Antonio today.

3. Other trips canceled:
None. It was more that other trips were not planned.

4. Last trip out of town before isolation:
A day trip to Philadelphia.

5. Farthest from home since isolation:
Across the river into Washington, D.C. to go to my office. I had to flee the jack-hammering from the pool renovation that is now in stasis.

I knew they wouldn’t come near to finishing it before the ground got hard. Now there is a whole bunch of rain water collecting in the pool and making an odd and foul sort of mud with the concrete dust, dirt blown into the pool by the wind, and random leaves.

Nope. Still no Hoffa. Twenty-two days until moving day.

6. Last meal sitting in a restaurant before Isolation:
I can’t remember.  

7. How many books have you read?
Four and a half. It takes me forever to get through a book because my reading habits veer more toward magazines and blogs.

8. First event you didn’t attend due to virus:
Brunch for a friend’s birthday. We canceled it.

9. Date and event of last over 200-person event:
BLM protest in June, Washington, D.C. Some things are worth risking your life for. Protesting oppression and police brutality is one of them. But guess what? We all wore masks, unlike those stupid, idiot, racist, bigoted, inbred, corn-fed, white supremacist Proud Boys who insist on coming to D.C. to spread their viruses, not only of COVID-19, but of stupidity as well. Trump LOST, idjuts. Quit crying. Or, to put it in language people like you originated and therefore should be able to understand, fuck your feelings.

10. Last live music event:
ProgPower, September 2019.

11. Things you are eating more of since isolation:
Junk, garbage, crap, junk, snack food, sweets, junk, and junk. And my waistline has paid for it, boy howdy.

12. Things you are eating less of since isolation:
For a while it was brown rice because I couldn’t find any anywhere. Same with veggie sausages.  Happy folks got into meat alternatives, though.

13. What restaurants have you gotten take-out meals from?
A local Thai-fusion place a couple of blocks away.

14. Have you found yourself bored in isolation?
Nope! Stressed maybe, because a certain little bird doesn’t understand that just because his human servant is home, that doesn’t mean she can give him attention all day long as she is trying to work.

15. Have you gained or lost weight?
Gained. That’s one more reason I can’t wait to move. I know you can’t outrun your fork and all, but my current place has wall-to-wall carpeting and that is not conducive to cardio-kickboxing and other HIIT workouts, which I love, love, LOVE to do. My next place has flooring.

16. Do you drink alcohol?

17. If so, more or less in isolation?
The same, until I stopped a couple of weeks ago. I have this completely obnoxious and rare condition called erythromelalgia. It was in remission for five years until last winter. Bottom line is that it makes it nearly impossible for me to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time when it is in flare, so my doctor prescribed a super-strength antihistamine to take at bedtime so I sleep through the attacks. Granted, I will probably sleep through a fire, too, but the point is that mixing alcohol with that stuff can cause bad things like, say, death, so I’ll pass on the nightly glass of grape until the condition is under control again.

18. What entertainments have you explored?   
Wonderful things. Wonderful terrible things, MUAH HA HA HA…

Okay, I hit level 363 on this phone crack this morning.

19. Gotten into anything new?
See, phone crack, above.

20. Have you done crosswords? Board bames?  Jigsaw puzzles?
Crosswords, sudoku, cryptograms, word-searches, jigsaw puzzles. See? Never bored. #smugintrovert

21. Have you cleaned out some cabinet, drawer, closet, etc. thoroughly?
I’m moving, so doing all of that now.

22. Are you spending about the same amount of money?
More, and my dermatologist appreciates that. (Now is the time for things like getting spots off, laser resurfacing, etc.)

23. Done Zoom, Facetime, etc. meetups?
Not with video enabled. I despise cameras for all kinds of reasons, but videoconferencing has taken my hatred of the things to a whole new level. First, people don’t even use them right. They talk into their monitors, so they don’t even look like they’re looking at you. You’re supposed to talk into the camera. Second, I’ve seen up more nostrils than an otolaryngologist at this point, so ick. Third, enough people have passed comments about liking to look into other people’s homes that it totally got my back up about it. I am a SUPER private person that way. I am aware that one can use backgrounds and so on, but then people comment on that like it’s an affront to them that you dare to protect the sanctity of your home and ah, shaddup. Really. My home is my sanctuary. Aside from service contractors, you have to be special and dear to me to cross the threshold, and that includes with cameras.

24. Had a social occasion with a small group of people you consider safe?

This is why we can’t have nice things—like a flattened curve.

25. Did you vote? In Person? On Election Day?
I voted in October, in person. I couldn’t wait to make my mark against Tangerine Mussolini.

Christmas Candy

Holidailies asks: Holiday food you wish would disappear from the face of the earth.

I answer: Ribbon candy.

Oh, my word with that stuff. I cut my yap up so many times attempting to eat it as a kid. Lips, gums, inside the cheeks, no part of my mouth went unsliced by ribbon candy, but the tongue got the worst of it.

Why I kept trying to eat it is beyond me. I didn’t even like the taste. No one in my family did. There would still be some sitting in a box the following April until someone who might or might not have been me pretended to find it in the cupboard and yelled out through the house to my mother, “MOM! The ribbon candy is all stuck together!”

“Throw it out!” she’d yell back.

And so I would.

The colors were all wrong, too.

The pink tasted like Pepto Bismol. (Image: The depths of hell, where kids taken by Krampus are forced to eat it every day for all eternity, so BEHAVE.)

But let’s talk about the good stuff, shall we? Hershey’s Kisses, candy canes, stealth candy canes that looked like the regular ones but were really cherry, the questionable chocolate in Advent calendars, and cherry cordials.

Yes, cherry cordials, those gooey gloppy things that you have to just pop into your mouth whole because if you bite into them, you’ll spend the rest of the day looking like you drooled down the front of your shirt. They are good.

Yes, they are.

Are so.

In fact, they are so good that one year when my sister was pregnant, she told my mother she had a craving for them so my mother bought three times as many of them and we all sat around eating them until we were sick to our stomachs.

Then there was the grand-daddy of all holiday candy, miniature chocolate Santas wrapped in foil. Those things were the bomb. They were small, they were cute, and you could roll the foil into tiny little balls that you could shoot into your sisters’ hair with a straw when she wasn’t looking.

Once I went away to college, I would shove a fistful of mini Santas in my purse to take back with me after Christmas break as it never occurred to me that I could actually buy them, myself. Without fail, every spring I would find one in the recesses of a pocketbook, and it would remind me of Christmas.

I wouldn’t throw it out, though, unlike the ribbon candy. As long as it was recognizable, it was fair game and it would be gone in one bite as soon as I could get the foil off of it—no bleeding tongues required.

There’s no school like old school when it comes to mini Santas. (Image: Candy Nation)