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Cars, Part 2

I have been sadly remiss in updating on our car situation. April is a busy month for us. I’m not sure why, but it always has been. At any rate, late it might be, here is your update.

Ali was able to take us to the towing lot, where we ran into a family picking up their two cars. They were also renters in our neighborhood who’d had their cars towed away. We got our cars back, although the shady gentleman behind the desk was not prepared to give us a receipt until I asked. Cars (and set) thus retrieved, we returned home.

Did I mention the set before? Right, Ben’s current show (with the company Ali owns) is a two-actor tour where the actors each have half the set in their personal vehicles. Which meant that when Ben’s car was towed, so was half the set. Which was the other half of why Ali was so amazingly great in helping us retrieve the cars: she had a professional interest in the matter. The other half is that she’s just awesome like that.

So, now we had our cars back, we had to make sure they wouldn’t go wandering off on us again. That meant more phone calls to the landlord and the management company. I just want to state now that our landlord has been amazing and 100% supportive through this whole thing. When we moved in, she said they had been talking about new parking permits and would let her know when they planned to put them into effect. She even called them before they sent out the letter, and the management company gave us nothing.

Ben had an MRI scheduled with NIH that afternoon (part of a paid study, not a health concern), so I was on my own. Calling the management office told me that their physical office was in Wheaton, half an hour away. They said we’d be able to fill out a “reimbursement form” and pick up new permits that day. So I drove down.

The address was confusing, taking me to a high-rise apartment building, who told me what I was actually looking for was in a suite around the side of the building. Once I got in, the receptionist was friendly, but didn’t really have much information. The “reimbursement form” turned out to be a form for a letter of inquiry to the Board of Directors, requesting they consider reimbursement. I had three lines to describe the problem, and then the management company would represent my case to the board. Right. I filled it out and turned it in, then was taken to another desk to actually get our new permits.

I spoke to a wonderful woman who not only got the permits, but also answered my many questions. For one, our landlord had been told letters were sent to her and to us. The woman at the desk told me that couldn’t possibly be true since they did not have authorization from the board to spend the money to send out additional letters, so tenants did not receive notification. She handed me a copy of the letter that was supposed to have been sent to our landlord. It said that parking permits would not be mailed and were instead to be picked up at the community center on two dates. The community center that is across the parking lot from our front door. On two different days in March. And no signs were ever posted.

Ben and I lost a day of work each, $350 in towing expenses, a day of driving around and dozens of phone calls because the board of directors was too cheap to put up a piece of paper taped to a stick that said “New Parking Permits in effect 4/15.” Or “New Parking Permits at the Community Center 3/15.” Either of which would have caused us to call our landlord for more information, avoiding this whole mess. A piece of paper, a roll of tape, and a sharpie.

I’ll just let that sink in for a moment.

The other thing the management company told me is that the board meetings are in our neighborhood at the same community center across the parking lot, and the next one is May 10th. As a tenant, I do not have a vote, but I can attend and voice opinions. I have an outlet for this rage that is building inside me. The meeting is tomorrow night, and you bet I will be attending.

Oh, and the kicker to all this? Last week, we received a letter from the management company about pool passes. Apparently, they can find funding to notify us about the really important things.


Our latest "butter" container, complete with problematic curl

Everyone has their funny little quirks, their little habits that they perform without even understanding what they’re doing or why. Well, eventually you understand what you’re doing, but you have to be way more self-aware than I am to figure out the why as well. I am convinced we all have these quirks. I know I have several.

There’s one that Ben and I share which has sort of gone to extremes this week. It goes totally unsaid between the two of us, but we’re both totally complicit in it. I’m talking about our butter* curl.

Smart Balance comes in the little tubs (for baking, we use Earth Balance, which comes in sticks and is great for baking but tastes like plastic on bagels). When you first open a tub of butter**, you are greeted with this beautiful liquid surface, nice and smooth with a slight dome to the top. And sometimes, a little tiny curl in the center where it was poured in. Looking at this curl makes me happy, so the first few times I use the tub, I get my butter from the outside ring, leaving the curl undisturbed. Ben seems to be doing the same thing; we don’t discuss this, it’s not a plan. It just happens. Usually, by the time we’ve gotten everything on the top, one of us has taken the curl and we move on with our lives with the rest of the tub, spreading it like normal people.

Close up of the... problem.

Well, this tub has gotten ridiculous. It was a beautiful, towering curl. So we were able to avoid it more easily. We’re now halfway through the blasted thing, and there’s still this big curl in the middle! And neither of us will touch it. It’s just… there. Staring at me, not quite perfect anymore, but not going anywhere either. And we’ve gone this far; am I going to be the one to move it? To disturb it? I couldn’t. So… now what?

*Okay, yes I know it’s not butter. If you’d prefer, I can say “Smart Balance Buttery Spread Margarine” every time. Or you can just hush and go along with my little fiction and we can use a short 6-letter word instead. With me? Great. So, butter.

** Or buttery-flavor substitute.

Plagues! part two

So I just blacked out for three weeks.  Where was I?

Ah yes!

Plague the 4th– Rhinoviruses.

fear me!

This has been a localized, Megan-sized plague for the most part.  Poor lady!  Just when we turned our keys in at the old place, they swooped in.  Little beasts have been munching on her brains* for weeks now.  Do you know any good, quick, congestion-clearing tricks?  She’s tried everything short of Liquid Plumr.

Plague the 5th–  Chairs.

no, fear me!

You wouldn’t think chairs were a problem, but you’re you, and we’re us, and sometimes our problems don’t make sense.

Looking around the room now, I see no fewer than eight chairs (inc. two stools) and a couch.  There’s another stool in the bedroom, two chairs in the storage closet, four folding chairs stacked in the sideboard, three gaming chairs in the coat closet, and four patio chairs on our deck.  Oh, and there are three chairs in our cars now to go out to family storage, on top of two more folding chairs that already went away– but forget those.  Let’s just talk what’s physically in the apartment.

Per Heiney’s Law, the furnishings in a one-bedroom apartment should not exceed S =  3.5 B, where S is the number of individual ‘seats’ in a domicile, and B is the number of butts possessed by leaseholders or permanent occupants.  As Megan and I each possess only one butt, S = 7 should be our target; enough seats so that we can have a few people over (5) in a comfortable fashion.  A larger party than that, and people will be standing or shifting position frequently, and excess furniture will only get in the way.

Include all the chairs stored in the apartment and count the couch (conservatively) as only two seats, and what do we find?

S = 24

Twenty-four.  Megan and I would need 6.86 butts apiece to justify this many chairs.  (Assuming that we, as multi-butted or ‘poly-gluted’ people, would still have single-butted friends.)

Don’t let this happen to you.


All said, we made it through the move alive and sane.  Takes more than a few plagues to keep a good couple down.   Thanks to everyone who helped or supported the move directly; and to the rest of you, thanks for your thoughts.


*That’s how colds work, right?

New Apartment Update

So I’ll leave it to Ben to finish up his list of plagues (oh yes, he’s not done. This has been a momentous move), but I thought a minor update was in order. We’re starting to sort things out here, and it’s been fantastic that we both had the time away from work to get this move finished. We are officially finished with the old apartment and only have one place that all our things are stored (other than parents’ houses still, but those are on the list for later this year).  This move has been educational, to say the least. (See: list of plagues.)

We invented a word! (Or, at least, I think we invented it.) Intoxistupification: the point where you’re just so mentally exhausted that you feel slightly drunk and no amount of sleep helps you recover. It also leads to an earlier time for stupid-o-clock, the time of day when everything becomes hilariously funny for absolutely no reason.

The cat has decided she’s settled, at least. See, a cat only needs a few things to make a place home, and this morning she found the last one. First, she needs a place to eat. Second, the litterbox. Third, hiding places (and ohhhh do we have plenty of those. At the moment, the apartment is a kitten’s playground!). Fourth, a couple of people she doesn’t loathe. Fifth, her favorite toy. Now that the toy has been located and there is sufficient floor space to romp in, she’s happy. Life is good. Lilit needs nothing else. Except maybe a patch of sunlight occasionally, but the nice big windows provide that all day long.

Today’s project is to get the kitchen usable. We’re about halfway there, I’d say. There was some purging during the move, but I think the list of appliances to shed will be growing. Anybody need a pasta maker in great shape?

Plagues part one

So, I’ll admit, no rain of toads or river of blood, but our move has been marked by what are think are reasonably characterized as the ravages of a vengeful deity.

Plague the 1st: Snow.  You know the Snowpocalypse that blanketed the news and people’s cars last week?  We were supposed to rent our U-Haul on the very Saturday that was all going down.  U-Haul called us in the morning to ask “Are you really sure you want this truck?”  Like good gentlemen, they didn’t penalize us for pushing our move date back, so we rescheduled for a hopefully less snowy Tuesday.  Not getting the truck left us staring down the barrel of:

Plague the 2nd:  Boxes.  On Friday night, we’d brought over lots of boxes of a wide assortment of things, but no furniture.  “We’re getting the furniture on Saturday,”  was the rationale.  So when we couldn’t get the truck on Saturday (or leave the apartment), we were surrounded by boxes with no place to unpack them.  Visions of boxes have filled my head all through the Christmas season.

Plague the 3rd:  Mold.  In the process of cleaning out our old apartment, we found a mess of tasty blackish mold growing on the wall under the headboard of our bed!  That explains this blacklung we’ve been having.

(update– the management is not blaming or charging us for the mold, which is excellent and reasonable .  Except now Megan’s grandfather doesn’t have any fun lawsuits to conduct.)

More to come…