grrgoyl: (snarry imaginary)
The Search for John Gissing: Arrived. It came via DHL which, you'll remember, isn't my first choice in a delivery agent but it wasn't up to me. After yesterday they're even less of a choice. I toodled on over to the tracking site to check its progress, and you can imagine my astonishment when I saw it was marked "Delivered" and "Signed for" already. WhatWhatWhat???!!?! I immediately headed to the mailbox only to discover it sitting on my doorstep. Which means someone climbed 3 flights of stairs and put it there (or tossed it over the railing from below) but couldn't be bothered to ring the doorbell and deliver it properly. What is wrong with them? This isn't brain surgery. "Abandoned" is not a synonym for "delivered." Thank god it wasn't something truly valuable like, say, a passport.

Passport: Arrived! Just when I was ready to lie and claim I was traveling sooner than I was. I can't help but think it's no coincidence that my earliest date of travel on the application was July 23, which if it were would be cutting it very close indeed. I had hoped its delivery would coincide serendipitously with a sudden drop in fares, but no dice. Amusingly, the passport was packaged with a pamphlet cheerfully proclaiming, "With a U.S. Passport, the world is yours!" because you're an AMERICAN and therefore foreigners must defer to YOU. Or so I preferred to interpret it in my current bitterly anti-American state of mind.

Creepy old neighbor Louis: Is still spending every day out on his balcony. Which I don't care about except every time I pass the window, he's looking straight up into our house. When it gets this hot, I don't much care to wear clothing, and I don't want to don a shirt just to walk around my living room. So he gets a little peepshow every now and then, which I guess is incentive enough to keep him staring hopefully. Ewww. But when it gets this hot, my comfort takes first priority, even if it's giving an old man his jollies.

Speaking of crazy neighbors, I got cornered into a conversation with The Alcoholic, who can't believe Tery and I don't use our air conditioning every single day (we don't break down until it tops 100 degrees). She uses hers at the first hint of mugginess, she told me proudly. A bigger sweatphobe I've never seen. I explained that we're New Englanders and used to 100 degrees plus 95% humidity, so it really doesn't bother us that much. I gave the excuse that we're nervous about running out of freon and needing it serviced. 5 minutes after we returned to our respective homes, she called me excitedly, telling me to check the user manual for our AC unit. Hers doesn't specifically mention freon servicing, so she reckons it doesn't use freon. Yes. She believes she has the world's first totally environmentally friendly air conditioner, that she bought 10 years ago. I didn't waste time trying to correct her, as it's not likely to change her usage anyway. But this didn't do much to raise her intelligence in my estimation.

Harry Potter: Finished "Half-Blood Prince" (again) and am more excited than ever for "Deathly Hallows." Meanwhile Tery is more stubbornly in denial than ever. We were talking about something and she made the comment, "Whatever, it's just Harry Potter." She HATES that Harry is so popular because she is, as my tag so aptly describes her, a joy-sucking robot. Which is perhaps for the best, so we aren't fighting over the book when it arrives. I'm holing up all day Sunday and Monday, NO INTERNET/NO SPOILERS whatsoever, then Monday night plan to see Order of the Phoenix in IMAX with my friend Rebecca. I also expect to gloat my face off to her silly sister-in-law, who refuses to believe that Snape is anything other than pure, unadulterated evil -- no complex motives, no hidden layers, just straight up exactly what Jo has made him seem to be. That will be fun.

Gideon: Has an adrenal tumor (common among ferrets). Unfortunately the gland in question is wrapped by the vena cava so it's a very complicated surgery. Tery brought him to the premier vet specialist in Colorado, Dr. Fitzgerald:

Gideon's brush with celebrity


Some people might recognize him from an Animal Planet show called "Emergency Vets." He didn't want to do the operation at first, until he met Giddy and had to admit he was a great little guy and worth trying to save. He's still strong and healthy enough that he shouldn't have any complications. We'll see. Fortunately too Dr. Fitzgerald's hospital recently joined the VCA family so Tery can use her 70% employee discount.

That's all. Internet radio silence begins Friday evening just to make double sure to avoid spoilers. Will resume communication Tuesday morning. Over and out.
grrgoyl: (firefly spend an hour with him)
I've been noticing the Alcoholic lately staying home all day, her computer screen clearly visible through our kitchen window. I got cornered into a conversation when we both stepped out onto our balconies for some fresh air, and it turns out she got laid off and has been "networking" for a new job. "I'm so poor!" she lamented to me. I'll bet she is. I myself haven't been without a job for longer than two weeks since approximately 1985, with the exception of my freshman year in college. After a month of unsuccessful "networking" my next step would be the good old-fashioned pounding the pavement, but I'm guessing they don't look kindly on drinking beer in the unemployment line. If I seem unsympathetic, it's because there are always jobs out there if you aren't too fussy. Like Judge Judy says, go work at McDonald's. It isn't like you'll be stuck there for life. But if you're going to be picky and proud, don't bitch to me about how poor you are.

Not that my jobs are the greatest. I received an email last week warning that a glitch in the system had caused some employees to be paid twice for some reports, and they would notify us how they planned to deal with this. My last check was $100 higher than usual, but I had also worked exceptionally hard and got a lot of lines in. Today the notice came in the mail: I had been overpaid in the amount of $4 and now had to send the company a check to repay it. No, that's not a typo -- 4 (four) dollars. Are you KIDDING me? I could send a check or send the form authorizing it to be deducted from my next check. Either way I would be using the prepaid envelope included, which means the company would only be recouping $3.59 from me. Should I be nervous that my employer needs to go to these lengths to collect $3.59? Meanwhile I've been waiting weeks for word on whether or not I'll get a raise this year. My hopes aren't too high after this development.

I think I deserve one if for no other reason than I went out on my own and bought a used cheapie-cheap Gateway computer on eBay just as a backup so I won't get caught again like I was last week. If that's not dedication to my employer, I don't know what is.

I could really use a raise. Air fares just aren't getting any cheaper. I've noticed that even if the fare is lowered dramatically, the fees and taxes they tack on are raised to bring it right back up around $1000. MyFriendDeb tells me it's the airlines who determine the taxes (not the government as I had assumed) and that they try to lure you in with the reduced rate before hitting you with all the fees. Clever trick, airlines, but it will only work on people with no grasp of basic arithmetic. You can lure me into going to your website with your cheap fare, but the fees show up before I give my credit card number.

Today I was going to buckle down and search for a low rate departing from any major city, then find a discount ticket to get me to that city from another airline if necessary. But the airlines are too quick for that ploy. New York to London is only $772, but Denver to New York is $300+. Damn you, airlines. Damn you to hell.

My friend Jeffy thinks I'm doomed any way I go about it, since I'm traveling during the peak season. Shooting for a different time of year is fruitless because he only gets vacation as a teacher during the peak seasons. I don't think he'll be on-board for my Plan C, him switching careers so he can get vacation during the off-season. So it's either grow accustomed to the idea of spending $1000 just to get over there, or disown him as a friend. Some observations: It's funny how the closer you get to $1000, the more insignificant $100 and $200 give or take starts to seem. You'd also be surprised how many websites that sell plane tickets don't have the correct tools to simplify searching for dates. What I mean is, when I select Aug 12 for my departure date, the arrival calendar doesn't update to show me only post-Aug 12 dates, so I could select June 13 as my arrival date. Get it together, American Airlines.

Another funny, completely unrelated observation: On the side of the Arm & Hammer kitty litter I just bought is the statement "Safe for use around pets." Good to know.

Hot Fuzz has FINALLY arrived (only [livejournal.com profile] swankyfunk will know why "finally" exists in that sentence and with such emphasis. Please don't pester her no matter how many nights of sleep you lose from unbearable curiosity). I was able to impress Ryan and his new roommate Megan (watch this space for a possible post concerning her) with my trans-Atlantic connections delivering movies a month and a half before they're released in America. Sadly, everything else conspired against their enjoyment of the movie. Ryan was very tired and barely able to stay awake, the sound was kept low to avoid bothering the neighbors so much of the dialogue and jokes were missed, and halfway through the disc started hiccuping and skipping consistently enough to be seriously annoying (faulty player, not disc). *sigh* But I still love it and am looking forward to the many, many bonus features the disc offers.
grrgoyl: (MST)
T-Mobile is dead to me.

Can't say that I'm surprised, but they're screwing me out of a $50 rebate for Tery's Razr.

Maybe with exact dates and documentation I could fight it, but as it is I only have a vague timeline. I sent in the first form right after Christmas. Sometime in the middle of March I got sick of waiting and called to check the status -- only to be told it had been denied because I put the wrong phone number down. Naturally no one saw fit to notify me. The guy I spoke to said I could resubmit it, but had to be quick about it because the rebate deadline was coming up fast. I got it out that very same day, confident that the problem was solved.

Yesterday I got a letter from them, stating I was denied because it was postmarked after the deadline. I immediately called, outraged but not expecting much success. At first the guy sounded accommodating, so I explained the previous snafu. I asked how the second submission could have been late when I got it out minutes after completing the first phone call. He told me the deadline was actually January 31st. Furthermore, the computer had no record of my first submission. Naturally.

Again I fall victim to my failure to take names and record phone conversations. Faced with alleged computer evidence that I'm unable to disprove, what can I do? And it's not as if I can take my business elsewhere in a huff when I'm stuck in a 2-year contract, and they know it. Fucking T-Mobile.

~*~

And fucking Alcoholic. Now that the snow's gone, she's back to waffling between the handicapped space and regular spaces. It's hard not to let it get to me when I get home at 6 a.m. and have to park clear on the opposite end of the lot while her car sits infuriatingly in a regular spot right up against the building, the handicapped spot infuriatingly unoccupied.

Then she called looking for a favor -- she needed a letter from the HOA to get cable installed, and rather than turn on her own computer she wanted me to print it out and walk it over to her. Yes, that's SO much easier. I'm telling you, the woman is insane.

The decision to email her and find out once and for all why she switched back and forth was made easier when I remembered how she snoops and quibbles and nitpicks every little thing about the rest of our neighbors. I thought it might do her good to realize she wasn't entirely above reproach herself. "Go ahead," Tery sighed. "But don't hold your breath waiting for a rational response."

Tery was right. It was all kinds of clap-trap about the handicapped spot being "bird-doo land" and that the mailbox (which is 2 feet to the side) is too far when her ankle hurts. But, because she considers me her friend, she would park in the handicapped spot from now on and treat the other spot as 'mine.' No, I'm not trying to secure a space as 'mine.' My point was that the rest of us stood a better chance of parking reasonably closer if she wasn't using our spaces. I didn't bother with a rebuttal to correct her though. It's just too exhausting and she's just too crazy.

~*~

Unrelated, my LJ esteem is plummeting again. Where oh where have my LJ friends gone? I know my stuff isn't always so thrilling, but I'm not the only one not writing the Great American Novel every time I post. Talk to me, people.
grrgoyl: (Snarry sepia)
I'm updating now because Ryan and I are seeing Pan's Labyrinth on Sunday and I have every expectation of loving it and writing it up in glowing detail.

J., the full-time overnight woman at the kennels, is on vacation this week. Unfortunately for Tery, who had to fill in for her last night and again tonight (I stepped up Sunday night). However Dr. K stayed Tuesday night to keep an eye on some patients of hers. She told Tery the next morning that she used to spend the night at the hospital all the time, but admitted to suffering some paranoia due to the break-in. She said she walked all the big dogs and had one dog left when she swore she heard a sneeze on the other side of the fence. Unfortunately the last remaining dog was a Yorkie, no one's first, second, or even third choice in an attack breed.

Killer
Not actually Lady, but you certainly get the idea


She told Tery she tossed Lady up the stairs with a whispered, "Good luck!" and locked the door behind her as fast as she could. I've had Lady the past two weekends, and I personally wouldn't have even bothered, knowing her penchant for dashing across the yard to cower under a folding chair without doing any business whatsoever.

~*~

I got another letter from the IRS yesterday. If you'll remember, they claimed I owed them about $2,000 awhile back. This letter 2 months later, however, was merely to inform me that my case was being examined and they'd get back to me. And here all this time I was just assuming no news was good news. Let it never be said that the IRS does anything too hastily.

~*~

My data remains trapped in the corpse of my old CPU. I put off going to Action Computers (many thanks once again to [livejournal.com profile] dopshoppe, my knight in shining armor) because I didn't think I had any money and I would've felt damn foolish saying, "Here's my computer. Can you help me? Oh yeah, but I can't pay you until the end of the week." Then Tery came home from a night at the bar crowing about finding someone with a friend who could do it for free. This is one of the perks I can see about hanging out in bars: You can usually find someone who knows something about just about anything you need help with. However the drawback to relying on this kind of help is that you have to wait for the unlikely intersection of free time in schedules plus tracking them down again at the bar added to hoping they aren't too far along in their drinking before you get there. To further complicate matters, like I mentioned earlier I would ideally like to salvage some (a lot) of Snarry from the old unit and would feel infinitely more comfortable asking someone as a paying customer. I don't know why it makes a difference, it just does. I'm going to Action on Monday, Alicia, promise.

~*~

Every day I'm slipping further and further into a full-blown Alan Rickman obsession. I recognize the signs, I've been here before. Whereas I'm not quite at the point of hunting down every frame of film he's ever appeared in ever, I HAVE broken down and bought a used copy of Die Hard. Typically movies featuring such macho bravado bullshit that Bruce Willis seems to specialize in turn my stomach, but I remember Hans Gruber being particularly delicious, AND the disc features commentary with Alan (though in a peculiar "text" form that I've never seen in all my DVD watching -- it's positively criminal to have a commentary with Alan without using his voice, but this is how desperate I'm becoming). Not to mention the best line in the movie (and arguably of the whole man's career) belongs to him: "I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite." S-NAP!!

I even bought a special 2-disc edition of Dogma in hopes of there being even a few seconds more of the Metatron, but alas. However, I haven't quite become desperate enough to spend good money on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (see my scathing, hate-filled review) and if I ever do, I will probably keep that fact to myself.

~*~

My Alcoholic neighbor, who was soooo offended by the sight of Tracey's screen door hanging half open, has had 4 bags of trash on her landing all week. Thank God she's given up running to me with every little whining complaint about Tracey.

Coming soon: Pan's Labyrinth!!!!!!!!
grrgoyl: (snarry OTP)
Weekend One P.B. (post break-in), and I'm slowly picking up the pieces. I returned to work at the hospital this weekend with a fair amount of confidence, not because I wasn't nervous (although I do refuse to live in fear), but because Tery feels badly enough about me having to replace my window that she's agreed to let me quit if it happens again. Because I hate to admit it, but now that the novelty has worn off of this job, 75% of my motivation for staying is just to make Tery's life easier. Guilt is a powerful tool, and it works both ways. So now I think of it as being one break-in away from leaving this job. If that isn't seeing the cup as half full, I don't know what is.

My new driver's license has arrived just in time for my trip (and I don't look drugged in this one, thankyou), and I've found a new bag that doesn't begin to approach the coolness of the messenger bag I lost, but it will have to do. Everything's coming together nicely *steepling fingers and tapping them thoughtfully*

~*~

It's December 6th and I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping. This is an unprecedented event in my history of Christmas shopping, and it feels pretty damn good. My older sister seems to have been beset with a terminal case of Johnny Depp lust, and I've obliged her with 3 of his movies off her Amazon wishlist. I know I've said it before, but this year I mean it: If she reciprocates with $13 worth of crap off the streets of Mexico™ again, I WILL cut her off this time.

I say "almost done" because I am still in pursuit of the most elusive, but what will be the best ever, gift for Tery. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you....the iKaraoke. A microphone that plugs into your iPod, transmitting any song to your stereo sans vocals, turning anything into a karaoke number. Think me a wee bit presumptuous, giving the gift of an iPod accessory without actually owning an iPod? Don't. If I don't get one as a gift, I'm buying myself another one. Make no mistake -- one way or the other, I WILL have my iPod wrongs redressed and possess once more that which was taken from me (I've got my eye on this aluminum beauty, in case anyone feels really, really sorry for me. No? I HAVE to find more fabulously wealthy friends, dammit).

But the iKaraoke is proving to be, as I've said, elusive. Amazon has it but mysteriously won't ship it until after Christmas (update: today suddenly it's "unavailable"). Apple.com has a similar delay. BestBuy.com says "Coming soon!" and CircuitCity.com tries to tempt me with crappy old school karaoke machines instead. Phone calls to not one but two Apple stores had similar results. I suppose it's too much to ask a store devoted entirely to Apple products to actually carry, you know, Apple products. Am I the only one who thinks they're really missing the boat on the highest selling volume time of the year? Perhaps they think they're so hot that Christmas or no Christmas won't make a difference in their sales. I wish I could be the one to teach them differently, but Tery simply has to have this.

~*~

I'm so full of the Christmas spirit this year it's almost painful. Last year we were too poor to buy each other gifts, so didn't even bother decorating. Immensely depressing. This year we're making up for it. We're even in a balcony light war with Tracey FCW and I couldn't be more pleased. I even said hi to her the other day in passing, in the interest of forging new neighbor relations (probably to [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana's disappointment, sorry). Active meth users don't bother decorating so elaborately for the holidays, do they? I hope it isn't just a cover.

Conversely, the Alcoholic has new neighbors below her, renters judging from their lack of consideration. They pump up the jams so loudly you can hear them through the closed windows. I'll bet Tracey's screen door hanging wide (albeit quietly) open is looking pret-ty good to her right about now. Karma certainly can be an evil bitch, my friends.

~*~

Lastly, after [livejournal.com profile] ms_hecubus' hair-tearing announcement that the Harry Potter DVDs might be re-released with new extras, I Googled "Harry Potter commentary" immediately to see for myself. One of the results didn't promise to answer my questions, but I clicked nevertheless, on a commentary on the Harry Potter mania. It turned out to be an open letter from one of these God freaks denouncing Harry Potter and all the Evil JK Rowling has wrought on the World with her bastard Creation. I'm sure these things are a dime a dozen on the internet, but I've never bothered to read one.

And I regret starting with this One. The Author rants and raves about how the Lord wants Him to spread this Message and how it behooves each one of Us to help Him do so. As far as I can tell, the Message is simply, "Harry Potter is Bad." He doesn't produce one Shred of Evidence to support His rant, not a single quote or example, and in fact left me highly Doubtful that He'd even read the Books at all. He had the nerve to say something to the effect of, "If the Columbine High School killers grew up without Harry Potter, how much worse will the Future be with children that have been Raised on it?" And to compare the supposed literacy benefit to Children reading Hustler magazine. "All sins are Equal in the Eyes of God, so I don't think this is too much of an Exaggeration" he writes. This is perhaps a fair statement to make about the Harry Potter stories that I read, but 10-year-olds? Sir, get a grip.

To this I have the same four words I've always had: Lord. Of. The. Rings. An entire generation grew up reading those books and it didn't bring about the birth of the Antichrist. I also refuse to be told what I can and can't read by someone who uses such random and nonsensical Capitalization in their own writing (demonstrated in the above paragraph. Hella distracting and obnoxious). As for Harry Potter fans' serial killer potential, frankly I worry more about children raised by religious fanatics who don't feel the need to provide valid, logical reasons to hate and fear things indiscriminately.
grrgoyl: (methree)
I'm not saying that Tracey FCW has been added to my T-Mobile My Faves™ circle so don't jump in my shit. However, she was decent enough to write back to us using our new door note system, apologizing for any noise she made and hoping we noticed that she took steps to correct the problem immediately. She even left her phone number at the bottom, which I felt showed good effort. This is in direct contrast to the email I received from the Alcoholic right about the same time:

It appears she’s up to some of her old habits. She’s back to leaving the screen door wide open and I saw the two dogs again this weekend. She hasn’t been leaving them on the deck that I know of. Anything you can add, Elaine?

Yes, we've seen two dogs going in and out of her place, which is against the new HOA by-laws. I was going to notify the administrator but Tery stopped me, pointing out that she would just claim one was her boyfriend's and not a permanent resident, and anyway apart from the occasional Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse impression they do in the stairwell when entering and exiting, we really haven't heard a peep out of them.

And as far as "leaving the screen door wide open," I say to that "Fuck-a-doodle-doo." Who the fuck gives a crap (besides the Alcoholic)? The best response I could muster to this weak attempt at a witch hunt was a very restrained, "Nope" which I'm quite sure is not what she was expecting.

In an uncustomary burst of goodwill, I wrote back to Tracey telling her we were willing to make a fresh start and we appreciated her being so nice about our request. I meant it. Since she's obviously here to stay, I think at this point we need to make the best of it and try to work on a more civil relationship, unlike the Alcoholic who wants to keep fighting her tooth and nail with petty little observations like the one above (all the while continuing to refuse to use her handicapped parking space). Again, we aren't asking Tracey to house-sit any time soon, but I'd much rather live with a reformed addict trying to make good and focusing on her own problems than with a plain old drunk who wants to regulate the precise angle that's considered acceptable to leave a screen door open.

Tracey wrote back AGAIN (okay, now we might be verging on BFF status here) thanking us, saying a fresh start would be more than fair, and she would try very hard to keep the noise to a minimum. Which is all we ever wanted from her. I feel pretty good about the situation now. I might be a godless, hedonistic bisexual who hates religion, but the Christians did get some things right: namely the Golden Rule, and whoever said "To err is human; to forgive, divine." (I'd add the "Judge not lest ye be judged," but the hypocrisy would make my hard drive burst into flames.)

To commemorate the occasion, I am hereby removing the "F" from "FCW." And until further notice, "Crankwhore" will be used strictly affectionately.

~*~

I was going through recent paycheck stubs in my quarterly paperwork organization when I noticed an odd column on them labeled "PTO." I know that means "paid time off" to people with real jobs, but I wasn't sure how it applied to me. I asked Tery if the "31.47" value printed under it was dollars or hours; before you think this a stupid question, keep in mind that I work for a company that pays out an "employee appreciation bonus" on holidays that amounts to roughly $3.87 after taxes. I wish I were being facetious.

So once determining that the 31 actually represented hours, I went on to determine that I had the choice to "use it or lose it" by the end of the year. Gah! No pressure. It's easy to make extremely last-minute holiday plans at this time of year.

Which, actually I found out that it is. Last minute is when all the best airfare deals pop up. Within a day I found myself booking a flight to see my favorite (well, she's got a 50/50 chance) sister in Boston. I'm terribly, terribly excited about this, not just because of the trip itself, but at the prospect of using Paid Time Off. I've got a REAL job now!



Of course, the cosmos looked down and saw my happiness and said, "Something must be done." Just tonight I discovered a packet on top of a pile of old mail in the back of my car. It seems the IRS feels I owe them around $2,000 and wish to conduct an "examination" on me, which I suspect is the new, less frightening term that replaced the word "audit." (Guess what, Mr. Taxman? Not a whole hell of a lot less frightening.) This news put a leeetle damper on my vacation high, but plane tickets are non-refundable so fuck it. I'm guessing (i.e. desperately hoping) this is just a misunderstanding, but it's nothing I can clear up right now. If they repossess my computer and throw me in debtor's prison, this could be my final post. Dun dun duuuuuuun!!
grrgoyl: (frankLOL)
Now, I'm not saying that Tracey Crankwhore and I are BFF all of a sudden, so don't jump in my shit. After two nights of pre-dawn moving activities, I left a very polite note on her door requesting that she try to be quieter if there was really no other time of day she could do it. In a perfect world I shouldn't have to ask, but we thought maybe because she never hears any of us considerate neighbors that she assumed the doors were thick enough to cover her. Well, we haven't heard a peep since. Lovely, and completely unexpected. This doesn't mean that she's ponied up the money to test our attic, but that isn't keeping us awake nights. Baby steps.

By contrast, I decided I've had enough of the Alcoholic using her handicapped space or not based on the position of the planets and I bloody well left a somewhat less polite note on her door telling her what I thought about it (anonymously, not out of cowardice but out of unwillingness to start a pointless neighborhood flame war). The next day she went out and came back again, and again parked in a regular space. So YOU tell ME who the worse neighbor is. I'm getting very sick and tired of people being such selfish, thoughtless asshats, which I guess is bad news for me since it isn't likely to change soon.

Is it any wonder I dreamt about buying a house out in the middle of nowhere, with no neighbors for miles around?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I never finished talking about the kennels last weekend. One of the reasons I was soooo happy to have an excuse to leave was because I was rejoined by my arch-nemesis, Honus, the Asshole Beagle of Death. He was slightly better behaved, in that I didn't even notice him until I was filling out my rounds sheet and I came face to face with him in kennel #7 at the end. "Helloooooooooo, Newman Honus" I hissed in recognition. He looked up at me utterly guilelessly. It didn't take long, however, for him to remember the way of things and return to his annoying, whining, yelping, ceaseless barking.

This time he was prescribed a tranquilizer. It was scheduled for 2 a.m., but by 11 p.m. I had had all that I was going to take. I gave it to him and he still wouldn't shut up, so I called Tery. She suggested I take him upstairs with me, maybe he just wanted some company. Yeah, I'm sure the poor thing is just misunderstood. He seemed happier upstairs, probably because it gave him the opportunity to make twice as much work for me. He spent more than an hour after taking the tranq spilling every trash can in the place, and even climbing onto a few doctors' desks and knocking all their papers on the floor. Fucking ASSHOLE. He never stopped moving once, so I figured the little field trip wasn't doing any good and brought him back downstairs. Where he proceeded to bark the rest of the night. My hatred for this dog knows no bounds.

So I happily left him barking his fool head off to go to the Halloween party on Saturday night. The problem with this was when I returned and slid my key into the front door of the hospital, I felt like I was returning to a jail cell, with Honus as my jailer. I tiptoed through the dark as long as possible to delay the inevitable, but at the first creaking floorboard the basement erupted into a cacophony of barks and howls with Honus leading the pack (this is why I've taken to removing my shoes and going about in stocking feet all night). A comfortingly yelled "It's okay, babies, it's just me!" shut everyone up except for you-know-who. He KNEW it was me, that's why he was barking, the fucker.

The good of the weekend was probably these two dogs:

Warning:  Objects in picture are much larger than they appear

This is Nishika the malamute and Kava the Great Pyrenees. Sisters, and fortunately both very sweet and docile, because if one of them decided they didn't want to return to their kennel, I'm not sure what I could have done to make them. Still, I found it very hard to wrap my mind around the logistical nightmare that daily life with 200-odd pounds of dog would entail.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I'm getting a new phone. Our Lady of the Contemptuous Scorn of All Things Cellular is now on her first upgrade. It's Tery's fault, sort of. She asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and the first words out of my mouth before I'd given it any sort of thought were "Motorola Razr." Here I'd been so proud of myself for resisting its allure when it first came out, and unbeknownst to me deep in my heart of hearts I had continued to covet it all this time. Of course, now that the desire was out there, there was no question of waiting for Christmas (not to mention Tery knows nothing about the workings of cellphone plans/upgrades, etc., so I knew it was all up to me). The guilt of indulgence was softened considerably when I idly browsed T-Mobile's site and saw a deal on this one for only $30 after rebate. T-Mobile's very reasonable asking price was merely that I sign over my soul to them for the next 2 years. Well, they can have it -- it's black and brittle and used up anyway (oh, angst!) Sure, it's a V3 which is probably considered ghetto compared to the many new versions that have since been released, but my cellphone needs are still pretty basic and I'm sure that any shortcomings in features will be more than compensated for every time I fondle the Razr's sleek, streamlined body. Yep, this phone will be bringin' sexy back (into my life, at least).

It hasn't even arrived yet and I've started tricking it out (or "pimpin' my talk" as Tery puts it). I spent far more time than necessary last night on Tery's office computer looking at accessories on eBay. She's got dial-up, so you KNOW that's some shopping dedication when every web page change requires at least a 5-minute commitment. Ugh. Dial-up suuhuuhuuhuuhuhuuhcks, in case anyone didn't know that by now. Still, I managed to find a pretty sweet case that hopefully will arrive about the same time as the phone. I'm damn excited about it, for someone who still practically never talks on the phone.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

And.....speaking of killer eBay finds, I don't think anyone in their right mind who knows anything about me could possibly expect me to resist this when I discovered it during a casual search for overpriced Frank the Bunny Halloween costumes (don't worry. I didn't pay anywhere close to the price in the link). Oh. My. God. The head interchanges with Frank's human head and it says 7 phrases from the movie. It's almost as if someone IS listening to my fantasies.....
grrgoyl: (Monkeybone)
To my consternation, I opened my email box this morning to find another message from the Alcoholic regarding, of course, the Crankwhore:

I have seen obvious evidence that there has been activity in the condo next to you (wouldn't it be more succinct and to the point to simply say "Tracey's condo"?).  Do you know anything? Have you seen HER? I only saw her once early in the morning as I was leaving for work.

*sigh*  I'm starting to dread Tracey's return not out of fear of her resuming her drug cooking/selling activities, but because apparently every sighting of her is going to prompt these pointless, melodramatic emails from the Alcoholic.

I waited a bit, and told her what little I knew.  I ran into my girlfriend Leah from the testing service a few days ago and she told me everything was done, and if the place passed this last test Tracey was free to move back in.  I suggested to the Alcoholic that we were just going to have to get used to the idea.  Her mature response?

NEVER

I'm not happy about Tracey coming back either, but I don't need this chick's ridiculous histrionics fueling my already barely-controlled anger.  Especially considering the extent of exposure she'll have to suffer is the occasional once-a-week encounter in the parking lot, vs. sharing walls and a landing with the CW.    GET OVER YOURSELF.    And please decide once and for all whether you're handicapped or not (she's still parking one way or the other based on a whim).

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Tery has returned.  Thus ends my nice clean house, but also ends meals that come compartmentalized on a plastic tray.  AND resumes having someone to share in the seemingly endless farm chores around here.    In the golden afterglow of vacation, Tery was eager enough to make me happy to actually volunteer freely to sit through V for Vendetta (though I suspect it has more to do with her realization that resistance was futile).  Even though it was fully expected, her tepid reaction was severely disappointing to me.  I simply don't understand it.  I attribute my passionate love to my equally passionate hatred of Bush inasmuch as I choose to interpret the film as a scathing criticism of his administration.    But both Tery and my sister agree with me about Bush, yet don't draw the same parallels that I do (my friend Gerry did, so I'm not imagining them).    Knowing Tery wasn't really enjoying it (but was too thoughtful to say so) made the movie seem to last 4 hours while watching it with her.  I found myself apologizing and assuring her it was almost over.    Not fun.  I guess I'll have to accept the fact that the only thing that gets her pulse racing is watching men either catch or miss a ball, or drive in endless circles around a racetrack (something else I don't understand).

(I'll have to cling to the thrill of turning on [livejournal.com profile] jaaaaamas, [livejournal.com profile] dean_r and [livejournal.com profile] vagynafondue (and hopefully soon, [livejournal.com profile] dopshoppe)  to it.)

And that's really all I have for now.  Unless you want to hear about my fabulous new wireless laptop capability or search for a new camcorder, and even my superior storytelling abilities can't make those subjects terribly entertaining.  So I'll quit while I'm ahead.   
grrgoyl: (wall)
Oh, what a weekend, what a weekend. So much has happened, all in one weekend. But only one thing of importance.

On Saturday I received an unmarked business-like letter which turned out to be from a collections agency representing, of all people, AOL. AOL, that my long-faithful readers will remember I cancelled over a year ago. My initial reaction was to burst out laughing. Oh, AOL, my psychostalker ex-ISP service who simply will not be ignored. But seriously, the clingy thing? Not so cute any more. My laughter was cut short, however, when my mind made the equation: collections agency = possible negative credit rating, and I can't have that. So I switched to my second default reaction, anger. Goddamn AOL. I'm starting to think it might be easier to quit the fucking Mob.

I am Jack's sense of justified outrage.

Today, I'm dealing with it. I had hoped (but seriously doubted) that I saved the original mail, the letter I tried to send to AOL that got returned to me. I've just been through my files. Every scrap of paper from the MST3k convention 12 years ago, silly doodles I did at work to amuse my friend Karen, and every Christmas card I've ever received, yes. Important documents to support my case to collections agencies, not so much. But why would I save it? I foolishly believed at the time that cancelling by phone was the end of the matter. God knows it would have been for every other company on the planet not run by crazy people. Which is exactly what I'm telling the collections agency (minus the crazy people part). At least I have my trusty journal entry so I can look up dates AND names (for all the good that will do me. I'll bet there are 43 people named John working at AOL. Why couldn't it have been something unique, like Rainn or Nicodemus or Osama?)

The lesson here is if you use AOL, get out. Get out now while you can, because they are truly SATAN'S SPAWN. Or, on second thought, content yourself with paying top dollar for substandard dial-up service for the rest of your life, because the problems only really begin if you try to leave.

As long as I'm in angry mode (well, when am I not?) a short rant about The Alcoholic. Despite having handicapped plates (though the nature of her disability is unclear. My other neighbor Pat says it's the 6-pack of beer she brings up to her unit every night) she has been parking in a regular spot all summer, leaving the handicapped space that was put in at her insistence empty. I see this as her stealing a spot from us non-disabled drivers. Pat said she asked her once why she does it, and she said to keep the birds from pooping on her car. Yes, because the birds consider the slot two spaces over to be out of bounds. She's out of her mind, I tell you. Suddenly this week she started using the handicapped space, and this enraged me even more. I see this as her exercising her rights as a disabled person purely on a whim. Today she's handicapped; tomorrow she won't be. To me this is every bit as bad as healthy people parking in a handicapped space. The cripples would sure squawk about that, wouldn't they? Well why shouldn't it work both ways?

I asked Tery if she thought I would be so angry all the time if I took Valium. She said unhesitatingly, no. However she has an employee on the drug, and when she doesn't take it so much as breaking a nail reduces her to tears. She can't cope with anything without it. No thank you. I prefer to stay just as God made me.
grrgoyl: (snape head like a hole)
I received an email from the Alcoholic this morning, "Re: Tracey":

SHE'S BACK. I passed her this morning on my way to the parking lot at 6:45, keys in hand. No words were exchanged. She looks the same, surly demeanor. This is very disturbing.

I suppose it might be disturbing if she herself hadn't told me more than a month and a half ago that Tracey was coming back. Did she not remember her own rumors? But it isn't nearly as disturbing as the thought of Tracey coming and going while we have a gaping hole between our units in the attic (I don't know if it's there yet or not. I'm not much inclined to poke my head up there after receiving the testing service's letter advising us to seal off the area between the attic and the bedroom. But there will be one there eventually and I won't sleep better knowing Tracey (who obviously isn't afraid of contamination) might have access to our house).

I sighed and put it on the "What do you want from me?" back burner. The response I finally mustered was only, "Thanks for the warning." This unfortunately encouraged a longer reply:

It makes my skin crawl. No word yet from Dave Kinney (A/N: the HOA administrator). I can't wait for Dave R. (A/N: Mr. Conspiracy Theorist) to find out. We'll have more letters on our doors. How are you girls doing? Why isn't she in jail? I should be so lucky.

No, I should be so lucky as to live in the next building over, where I would tsk tsk and shake my head, thank my stars that I DIDN'T live next door to a Crankwhore, and realize that this wasn't ALL ABOUT ME. And she emailed poor Dave Kinney demanding I don't know what, after the man has patiently explained time and again that there isn't a whole lot he can do about it. I'm telling you, if we could harness the activist energy that she and Dave R. combined expend on poking their noses into everyone else's business, we could change the world, baby.




Next, Dark Harbor. I've seen it at last and I'll be discussing it later, but for now some words on the Saga of Acquiring Dark Harbor, because you know damn well there had to be one. I'd done enough research to learn that there was a version with commentary and one without. I thought I'd play it safe and email every seller I could find asking which version they had. After a week I think I received one answer (the wrong one). The rest, nothing. These were power sellers, people who made a lot of money on eBay, not like that one guy who was just toying with the idea of eBay on a lark. Am I the only person on the planet who checks email virtually every day?

I settled on a copy for sale on Half.com, trusting that the item details page that stated "commentary" was accurate. I've sold on Half before. I know you enter the item UPC and all that stuff generates automatically from their database. About a week later the disc arrived but the back of the case was notably free of any mention of commentary. I carefully compared UPCs with the details page and they matched. The deciding factor was my refusal to believe that this movie, that seemingly no one cares about but myself, was even released with two separate editions.

I popped it in and was forced to face the fact: it WAS released with two separate editions. Goddammit. I emailed the seller about the mixup in the ridiculously slim hope that they'd take it back, and then I watched it since it was already opened. Maybe it was as awful as the reviews made it sound and I wouldn't care about commentary at all. What? It's been known to happen.

::what I thought (in excruciating detail):: )

After watching the movie and thinking about it, I found myself wanting to know more about these characters. So much more, more than perhaps a commentary could provide, but it would be better than nothing. Was this just me subconsciously tormenting myself because I didn't have the right version? I don't think so. I really wanted answers to some or all of my questions.

So it was back to pounding the virtual pavement for me again in search of the right edition. Ebay had the same assortment of sellers I'd pestered once already. I sent an email to an Amazon seller that was returned as undeliverable. I even went back to Hollywood Video, fruitlessly. Twice now I have stumped them while looking for a title. Shelves upon shelves upon shelves full of movies, yet they've never heard of the ones I want to see. Why? Tery's theory is because they have "stupid movies." I am forced to concur. Let's get rid of the older, harder to find titles so we can stuff the shelves full of more copies of Date Movie.

But still I didn't believe I was back in the grip of another full-blown saga until I checked DeepDiscountDVD.com. They didn't have it, but I noticed a tiny link at the top to their Canadian site, DeepDiscountDVD.ca. I happened to remember the movie was made in Canada, so I thought this might be a good place to look.

They had it! For only $6! Perfect! But a tiny part of me whispered that this is my life and nothing can be as simple as it should be, so I checked their FAQs for shipping conditions. Sure enough, it stated there in black and white that they "can't" ship to the US. "Can't" or "won't"? Because I ship stuff to and from Canada all the time. Has a trade embargo been imposed when I wasn't looking? Ludicrous. Even more ludicrous is the finer fine print that DOES allow international shipping for $3.99, only not to the US. What the hell is up with THAT??? At this point I wouldn't have been at all surprised if it said "Shipping anywhere except to Elaine."

I emailed the US site with my dilemma hoping for a solution. Haven't heard back yet so we'll see. Stupid DeepDiscountDVD. Stupid Canada.

ADDENDUM: Just got an email saying only that I have to be a resident of Canada to order from their Canadian site. Which begs the question of why they have an international shipping policy (except for the US). Has Canada become a continent when I wasn't looking and broken down into different countries? If not, why then do they provide for international shipping for their exclusively Canadian resident customers?

I sent back another email asking these hard questions, then immediately got completely fed up. I went back to Amazon and bought it from a seller that specifies in their listing "Official US edition (fuck yeah!!!) w/director's commentary." Fuck you, Canada. Fuck you, DeepDiscountDVD.com. Oh, how I'd love to tell them they've lost a customer, but their prices on some things (that they will deign to sell to me) are often too good to pass up. Yes, I'm an angry person. An angry person who buys LOTS of DVDs. DDD.com would do well to keep that in mind.
grrgoyl: (sissy)
I already had some stuff to update about, and then this went and happened last night. The Saga of the Crankwhore will have to wait a bit, but I'd like to think my faithful readership (I know you're out there. Just admit it) sees more in me than the vicarious thrill of living next door to a drug dealer that I provide. I have so much stuff to update, as a matter of fact, that I'm extending a rare courtesy and cutting for length. Enjoy it while it lasts.

::The night I thought my sister was killed:: )

::Adventures in Cell Phones and Stupidity:: )

::What you've been waiting for...Crankwhore goodness:: )

::Finally...more about my favorite obsessions:: )


Whew. Quite the exciting week. Something I need to mention in passing is that I put that goddamned Coleman grill on eBay on the advice of [livejournal.com profile] ms_hecubus and [livejournal.com profile] metatronis and would you believe it sold for $100????? Making it only a $20 mistake and much easier to live with. It went to a local woman who met me to pick it up. I refused to take her money before making sure she could use it, but she shrugged me off. "If I can fix airplanes, I think I can work with this." O-KAY. Have at it then and I won't give it another thought. Thanks for the valuable words of wisdom, Michelle and Roxie.

Shutting up now. Now let's see how many tags fit this monstrosity.
grrgoyl: (kitten in clocktower)
My day started out with a bang in the form of an email from the Alcoholic, letting me know Tracey "Crankwhore" Whitcomb mentioned to the meth lab cleanup crew (still struggling to get the unit to pass inspection 10 months later) that she intends to move back in.

I'll repeat that: The fucking Crankwhore is moving back in.

After getting over my disbelief and dismay, I'm now safely at the anger stage. I honestly thought I'd never have to lay eyes on her wasted, pockmarked, hollow-eyed, drug-ravaged face again. The rest of the day was spent furiously emailing back and forth with the Alcoholic, trying to rationalize why she can't come back and what we're going to do if/when she does. "Do you think she's still using, or has she cleaned up her act?" the Alcoholic wrote. I could almost see her wringing her hands between keystrokes. How the hell should I know? Do I look like her fucking BFF??? Despite my best efforts, I simply can't get the family to include me on their holiday newsletter mailing list.

Unfortunately according to our Board Administration as long as she is (or her parents, more accurately) paying dues and keeping up with the mortgage, there's not a whole lot they can do to keep her out. They can regulate us to within an inch of our lives about what we can and can't put on our balconies, but they can't say a word about a known drug dealer returning to our community.

But god spare us from having the Alcoholic as our biggest ally. She still has a frighteningly limited grasp on the way we do things out here in the real world. I (half) jokingly asked how I was supposed to keep from spitting in Tracey's face (or much, much worse) if I ever meet her on the stairs again. Her response was, "Oh, I don't think you should do that. Maybe we can slash her tires, etc. So many possibilities come to mind." Excuse me, yes my hatred of her is of a toxic intensity, but I'm not about to become a common thug just to get back at her. Besides, it's easy for her to consider indulging in vandalism. Who would Tracey suspect first, someone living in the next building or us living right next door? Right. Have another drink, you useless lush.

Which also leaves me with the question of why she's so damn concerned about it. I really fail to see what impact, if any, Tracey has had on her life (apart from having to look at those godawful blinds, that is. What a terrible, terrible burden). She's such a busybody. She said she sent the email to make sure I knew what was going on. I appreciated it, but have to wonder how much of it was her wanting to be the first one to blab the news. I'll bet her only regret is not telling me in person so she could see all the color drain out of my face first-hand.

However, the fear of Tracey setting up shop again is very pervasive and hard to ignore, especially after Tery showed me the meth special explaining how easily labs can blow up. Yes, one would hope that she wouldn't be THAT stupid to try it again. One would hope she would be watched like a hawk and realize full well she was being watched like a hawk. The only reason she isn't being sold for cigarettes already is because she hasn't had a trial yet, so one would hope she would realize it was in her best interest to stay clean and prove she can be a good little girl. One would hope. But I've never been a hugely optimistic person.

So I started poking around on eBay to see what there was to see. Specifically, surveillance cameras. Cameras small enough to be used in a door peephole. They exist of course, and are quite reasonably priced. My only concern is whether or not they're admissible evidence in the state of Colorado. We could film her shooting up right on the landing, but if the camera's illegal I'm pretty sure that means she can walk on a technicality (listen to me, talkin' all "Law and Order" here. Never seen one episode). This didn't sway the Alcoholic though. "I think that's a great idea," she wrote. " Why are you so concerned about legalities? Tracey sure isn't." *sigh* Unfortunately the only lawyer we have in our midst is the infamous Dave, he of the crazy conspiracy theories and plotting of HOA Board coups. Even the Alcoholic was sober enough to advise against involving him. "It will just add fuel to one of his many fires."

So what the hell to do? The Board Administrator's only advice is to "stay vigilant." Well, shit. We were here the whole time and she managed to sneak in an entire lab quite handily under our noses once already. We can't stand at the damn peephole 24 hours a day. And I'd rather not think at all about the prospect of those fucking dogs coming back. Why, god, why me?
grrgoyl: (Good grief Charlie Brown)
All of a sudden, quite against my will, I find myself embroiled in yet another saga. So, too, do I drag my handful of faithful readers into it with me. There will be a quiz at the end, so pay attention.

See, about a year ago the city of Aurora banned the use of gas grills with propane tanks of a certain size on balconies. At first I cursed the inconvenience of no longer being able to use our Patio Caddy­­™, but on second thought living next to a meth lab for 2 years has certainly taught us a thing or two about blindly trusting that our neighbors share our safety standards. I wanted to get Tery a new smaller grill for her birthday, but since that isn't until July that would be half the summer gone with no grill, and that's simply unacceptable. Long story short(er), we got our hearts set on the Coleman Road Trip™, designed for tailgating at sports events but really ideal for our situation.

I found plenty for sale on eBay and Amazon, but pigheaded old me had to save a buck or two. I found one for sale on Craigslist for roughly the price of a new one ("gently used," the ad said. Hmmmph) except the guy was also offering the optional griddle and burner plates, which are around an extra $20 apiece. I thought this sounded like a mighty fine deal, and so did Tery. I contacted him, arranged a meeting place, and gave him cold, hard cash for it in a McDonald's parking lot (in a neighborhood where it could just as easily have been a drug deal and no one would have batted an eye). He started to show me quickly how to attach the propane regulator to the back but I waved him off, thinking it looked fairly self-explanatory. Besides, I'm ultra-intelligent, remember? How hard could it be?

Well. You can see where this is going. I got it home and discovered that it was nowhere close to self-explanatory. It had a metal sleeve you pulled back to open a pair of locking teeth, and presumably these clamped around the apparatus we could dimly see set back inside a hole on the back of the grill. It sort of clamped on, but one or two twists of it and it would fall off again, kind of making the presence of the elaborate sliding cuff rather mystifying. We devoted way too much time to trying to solve this puzzle on Sunday. I found the manual online (which only stated, "Push regulator in until you hear a click," most unhelpful) and e-mailed the seller, Derrick, and even left him a voicemail. We finally gave up, too weak from hunger to spend another second on it, and instead Tery made pan fried burgers (ugh. Can't tell you how disappointing this is after spending all day anticipating grilled meat).

I dragged Tery to a few hardware stores hoping for a solution, an adapter, a new part, anything. The closest we came was a hunting/camping store that sold the grill, but the newer version with the improved threaded, screw-on regulator that made infinitely more sense and which Tery spitefully unscrewed and screwed back on while counting to five, to illustrate just how much easier it was. Grrrr. I feel justified in that there is no mention of this design flaw anywhere online on any customer forums, so I don't see how I could possibly have anticipated this obstacle. I wanted to buy the newer version right there on the spot; yes, it was undoubtedly worth it to me to pay twice as much just to be free of this headache, but she insisted we wait and see if Coleman could sell us a part or something to make the old one work properly.

Monday morning I was awoken by Derrick returning my call, which helped convince me that he wasn't a scam artist. He admitted that it was a "royal pain in the ass" to get on, but we should definitely be able to tell when we had done it correctly. He even offered to maybe come over and do it for us, but I doubt he'd want to do this every year, or every time the thing happened to fall out again. Cue another half hour wasted on it before we decided to bring it with us to our friend's who invited us to dinner -- again, the logic being that he was a man and men are genetically predisposed towards having certain skills, like with grills and cars. He looked at it and we worked together to try to push it in, but again it would fall out far too easily for anyone's peace of mind. I waited for this morning, Tues, to call Coleman directly for advice. (As I patiently sat on hold for about 20 minutes, I whispered to Tery, "It's been a long weekend, fraught with grill difficulties.") All they could tell me was "Yeah, you have to push REALLY, REALLY hard to get it in" and no, they didn't sell an adapter, which seems incredibly stupid to me. They make their products to last practically forever, but if they become outdated they make you buy a whole new one. Highway robbery.

What pissed me off the most was that the issue was with such an important part. If it were, say, a faulty utensil rack or a problem with the accompanying stand we could work around it, but no, it had to be a crucial and potentially life-threatening element that we just couldn't mess around with or jury-rig (a common sight in both our Polish households growing up). GODDAMMIT.

Leaving us with these equally unpleasant options: 1) Keep fighting with the thing, stupidly hoping for the best, and still living on pan-cooked meals all summer (blech). I was also skeptical of this option because I didn't see how we could push any harder than we did with my and our friend's combined weight, for nothing. 2) Buy the shiny new one (yeah!), which then would leave us with these equally unpleasant options: a) throw away the old one (and, essentially, the money I spent on it) and just chalk it up to another hard- and expensively-learned lesson, or b) try to sell the old one on eBay.

Tery, our friends and my sister all unanimously and unhesitatingly proclaimed their support for the 2b option, sell it on eBay and sucker someone else in much the way that I had been. Personally this idea leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. How can I in good conscience sell this to someone else, knowing it has this (not inconsiderable) problem? I'm already haunted by nightmares of regret for things I've done that don't come close to being classified as this patently wrong. Sure, I could be fairly honest in the auction listing with a caveat emptor, but obviously if I were TOO honest that would seriously limit the chances that anyone would want it, making the attempt an utter waste of time. What to do? What to do?

You tell me.

[Poll #739085]

I make no promises that I will necessarily do what is most popular, because at the end of the day I'm the one who has to live with my actions. I just want to see if my LJ friends are every bit as amoral as my RL friends seem to be. Truthfully, I've already done #4 passive-aggressively. I e-mailed Derrick and explained that we just couldn't get the regulator attached, and that I had to buy a whole new grill and try to sell his on eBay, but thanking him for trying to help. Nothing hateful or threatening, just the artful application of a bit of guilt. No, Derrick, you don't get away scot-free here. You can ignore me, but can you ignore your conscience? Here's hoping the answer is no and he does the right thing all on his own.

ADDENDUM: Last night Tery grilled us some steaks on the new baby. It worked like a dream and they were goooooood. Mmmmmmmmmeat. BUT, she had to talk to the Alcoholic, admiring the pretty from her own balcony. Tery explained that we bought it so as to be legal. The Alcoholic responded, "Yeah, I'm thinking of getting a 10-pound tank for mine." I could be snarky, but I think the stupidity (or just plain cluelessness) speaks for itself here. And it goes without saying that she didn't even know such a thing as an exclusive hunting/camping store even existed (since she limits her shopping mostly to the neighborhood liquor stores).



Finally, so this isn't all gloom and negativity, photographic evidence of just HOW gay Xandir really is:

So gay.  Oh god, so gay.


See? He HATES being on his back normally. But for Giddy, he'll lie down quicker than a $10 whore. For us? He's made it clear that, apart from our ability to fill bowls with food and water, he really could take or leave us.
grrgoyl: (kill bill)
I got an email from my neighbor the Alcoholic today asking what Tery and I were putting on our windows the other night. It was the coldest night of the year, 9 degrees with a -14 wind chill, and we finally broke down and installed plastic sheeting (not without a great deal of tension. The task is impossible for me to complete without large amounts of obscenity-inspiring frustration, so Tery was torn between insisting I help her and making me sit and do nothing while SHE did it all). The point is, how does this woman get to be in her 50's (60's?) without ever hearing of plastic sheeting? Before you think me too harsh, keep in mind this is the same person who couldn't understand how the Crankwhore was working in her unit after her electricity was shut off. When I told her she was using a lantern, she freaked, thinking she was going to burn the building down. It has somehow escaped her notice that a technological whiz has actually come up with a battery-operated lantern that runs with nary a drop of kerosene (we have one in our closet for blackouts).

This is the sad consequence of alcoholism that you never hear about. I think if she ever set foot in a store that didn't sell only liquor, she would drop dead of pure astonishment at the dazzling and wondrous array of new products out there. She might even feel like she's landed on some strange, futuristic planet.

I'm also going to bitch a bit about work. Working from home definitely has its disadvantages, among them having to maintain communication remotely with my employer. To facilitate this, my transcription company has assigned us to a "Transcription Coordinator," (henceforth known as TC) someone supposedly in place to answer questions or relay important information about our day-to-day work. Somehow I got off on the wrong foot with my TC, Yerica, and rapidly went downhill from there around the time when she mentioned I was eligible for a raise and then ignored every subsequent email from me on the topic for 2 straight months. My irritation with her escalated to full-blown disgust and fed-up...ness when I had an equally important question, important enough to make me go beyond emails to leaving voicemails for her, all of which similarly vanished into a void of silence. I hate being a nag, and I hate bothering people, but I was under the impression it was sort of her JOB to communicate with me. If she were getting paid extra for this responsibility, I really didn't feel she was doing anything to earn that money.

It finally came to a head when I sent an email pointing out that this was my fifth attempt to get an answer on the subject, and if she didn't know the answer could she please direct me to someone who did? In every one of my dealings with her I did my best to maintain civility, opting for brusqueness rather than outright anger, which anyone who has known me for longer than a month can tell you is worthy of a medal right there. I received back an email from another TC, Felicia, explaining that she would be dealing with me from now on. Attached to her letter was my forwarded letter along with Yerica's mail to HER, reading, "Can you answer her please?" I feel slightly vindicated in that even Tery read this with the implied exasperated emphasis of "Can YOU answer her please??!!!?!" This person whose entire job description is to communicate with the employees couldn't even be bothered to email me directly to say Felicia would be taking over.

I don't know if Yerica told Felicia what an enormous bitch on wheels I am, but so far things have been going quite well. Felicia answered my question within a day of first writing to me, and what's more adds things like smiley faces and exclamation points to her mail to make it more personable (which I respond with in kind). It's only because I have no idea how well she and Yerica get along together that I haven't offered my side of the story and talked all kinds of smack about her coworker. Or mentioned the fact that Yerica is sorely mistaken if she imagines for one minute that I'm not just as relieved to be rid of HER. Stupid, lazy, incompetent woman.

Finally, some movies. As much as it hurt me to forego a night curled up in front of the computer with my latest Snarry read, I've had Sin City from Netflix for a week now and knew I should get it out of the way. My excitement in seeing this dropped off sharply when I realized Tarentino had a hand in it. I really, really can't stand that man's movies. And his influence was certainly evident. I just don't know why he's so obsessed with dismembering people. Granted I've never read the original graphic novel so this could be all Frank Miller for all I know. Maybe Hollywood is contractually obligated to include Quentin in any project that calls for ultraviolence. Fortunately a bonus effect of the cool film noir black-and-white style was it cut down considerably on the gore. It did look just like a comic come to life, although the black and white gave me a headache after not too long. I also hate Mickey Rourke forever for being sexier to my ex-boyfriend than I was. Beneath all the flashy film effects and gratuitous bloodshed there was actually a fairly good story, coming full circle Pulp Fiction-style in the end. But still ultimately just a fanboy's wet dream. 3 out of 5.

Speaking of fanboy fantasies, I went directly from this to Matrix Revolutions, the only chapter I haven't seen yet. I saw Reloaded in the theater, and apart from the supercool traffic chase, I HATED this movie. HATED. With the white hot heat of a thousand suns I hated this movie. I also barely remember a word of it due to HATING it so passionately. I remember the chase scene, a pair of dreadlocked blonde twins, a pointlessly protracted scene with a French guy, and little else. Most of all I remember nonsensical, pretentious, cryptic dialogue, which was a very, very large part of why I hated it so much. They unfortunately brought it back again for this movie (as well as the ridiculous Frenchman), so we weren't off to a good start. It got a little better, i.e. more action-packed, later, though the battle with thousands of sentinels was immensely hard to follow, there was just too much happening on the screen. The infantry Transformer battle suits were cool, but highly impractical and a shameless rip-off of Aliens; so much so that I'm frankly surprised they got away with it. By the time the climactic fight with Agent Smith rolled around I could barely keep my eyes open (Tery was snoring energetically beside me, having lost interest fairly quickly after the bazooka-wielding lesbian got killed). I've never been more relieved to see a movie end (with the exception of Hidalgo, which I was only watching to make Tery's coworker happy). -5 out of 5 (a new low! Negative score points!) (though perhaps I'm being unusually vindictive because it took me away from Snarry)
grrgoyl: (Donnie)
It's August so it must be time for Denver's Parade of Homes again.

This year's Parade was held at a development called "Pradera." Its tagline, according to the official program, is "Live where you belong." Which sounds pretty unapologetically classist to me. Might as well call it "Pradera: Priced to keep out the undesirables."

Just like last year, we thought we'd be clever and start with the last house working backward. This also made more sense because the last house was at the very top of the hill, and who wouldn't rather work down rather than up a big hill? Unfortunately it seemed that a lot more people had the same idea this time, but what can you do? Apparently no one works on Monday mornings anymore.

The first one we saw was "Dolce Vita," a house that was the most remarkable because an accidental fire had burnt it to the ground just as it neared completion. The builders worked 24 hours a day for 79 days to rebuild it, finally finishing it a second time 15 minutes before the official judging began (or so the informational pamphlet claimed). For this reason we could forgive the fact that the basement wasn't finished and most of the doorknobs were a little loose. Being the result of such hard work and dedication it was indeed an architectural marvel, but didn't really make much of an impression on me. It swept most of the awards, but only in second place.

First place went to "Synthesis," a house devoted almost entirely to an Asian decor. My sister Nancy would have bought it the minute she stepped in the front door. It had lots of nice touches, like shoji screens on the windows and fountains and waterfalls almost everywhere you looked, not to mention a beautiful tear-shaped copper sink in one of the bathrooms. But the lines were a little too clean and the color themes a little too stark for MyFriendDeb's tastes. She put it best when she described it as "aggressively Asian." The only reason we could see that it was called "Synthesis" was because of a couple of art pieces in a bedroom that were aggressively African just to shake things up a bit, and glaringly out of place. The problem with the house, we decided, was that the decor was so uniformly and overwhelmingly Oriental that decorating or furnishing it with anything slightly more Occidental would be hopelessly at odds with the rest of the room. And our hodge-podge stuff, barely a step removed from a dorm room, simply wouldn't do at all.

Third place went to what I consider to be my dream house, "The Outlook." I'm kicking myself for forgetting my camera, but I LOVED this house. It was done in the Arts & Crafts style, which I adore. Mission furniture, oak, stained glass, that's what I'm talking about. It was one of the smaller homes at a paltry 6200 square feet, but that's what I liked about it. The rooms were cozy, warm and inviting, and didn't echo like the vast spaces of the fancier homes. They also felt like rooms you could live in, not just keep in suspended animation to show off for guests. The color theme was autumn leaves, all burnt reds, golds and browns, but brought to life with the generous use of primary-colored glass accents everywhere, like in the tile, or the risers of the staircase made of concrete embedded with glass blobs, or the artwork, or the stained glass windows. I really can't do it justice with words, WHY didn't I bring my camera?? The only pics I can find online are these: The wall outside the master bedroom and A sink, which doesn't give you much of an idea what the rest of the house looks like. Trust me, it was simply perfect. Tery liked it too, but in a sad commentary on how she views living spaces, her only remark was, "This is a house I feel like I can clean myself." At $1.8 million, we'll be making an offer on it about 4 lifetimes from now.

Not all the houses were impressive though, despite all having million-dollar-plus pricetags. The "Villa Della Viste" was decorated with horribly uncomfortable-looking French furniture and had an exceedingly silly name. The "La Chiripada," the only house that was sold when we looked at it, seemed nice enough but the floor plan was awkward and made very little sense. For instance, it boasted a detached building in the front yard that was set up as a free-standing office. Nice, except it had a clear view of the master bath and the lady of the house's spa tub, which itself also overlooked the driveway and front entrance of the house. Huh? There was a little girl's room directly off the kitchen, Tery explained for the stepchild that had to get up every morning and stoke the fire. The workout room was huge and consequently mostly empty, with a putting green and driving net stashed in the corner almost as an afterthought. Bleah. Behind the wet bar in the basement was a small room with an elaborate, wrought iron door with twisting vines around the bars. Can you guess what the room was? You don't have to, because it quite unnecessarily had a huge stylized sign above it declaring that this was the "Wine Cellar." It was downright insulting, I tell you. I joked about an improvised wheelchair ramp leading from the great room to the patio outside, a piece of plywood painted safety orange and thrown down, how it really didn't fit in at all with the granite in the kitchen. Hee! I went from room to room declaring my intense dislike of the house, and a passing old man agreed with me, "It's too dark!" he added. $2.2 mil for this, you must be mad! I would have viciously crossed it off my list even if it hadn't already (inexplicably) been sold.

But by far the absolute worst was unfortunately the last one, and therefore the one I remember the best (besides my darling "Outlook," that is). "The Aldwyn." You can tell from the name already that it's a real winner (I'm joking, you probably can't). The first thing you see when you enter this house is the formal dining room, a room which I consider practically useless in any house and hardly the first thing I want to come home to. But it gets worse. From there you entered the kitchen, a hideous work of design with 50's-esque tiles in a repeating retro (but not cool retro) ornament-shaped pattern, and "pre-distressed" farmhouse style cabinets. Ugh. Off to one side was the library with artwork depicting -- I kid you not -- the apostles exploring Christ's wounds. THAT has wide appeal. And nooks in the shelving with big, heavy devotional books propped open and illuminated with museum lamps. Creepy. Off the library was a bathroom with an embroidered poem, something about bad little boys and girls being attacked by "ghoulies" and ghosts and pray for Jesus to save you, children. Nice. Throughout the house were these huge, obtrusive wooden beams obviously designed to resemble a gothic cathedral. Fuuuuuuugly. Over the stairway was a normal-sized window that was set 10 feet up the wall. I wouldn't have a problem with this except for the shroud-of-Turin-colored drapes flanking it that cascaded all the way down and pooled onto the floor. I'm sure when they were drawn closed it created the illusion of a massive window behind them, but opened as they were they just looked retarded. And I tripped on them. The house also had a 4-foot high room accessed by a 4-foot high hallway, clearly meant to be a kid playroom, as well as another room with a kiddie stage and a treehouse built in. If you ask me, this is two rooms too many to devote to only children. I also didn't care for the little girl's room that featured a small writing desk turned diagonally, CEO-style. The only other thing I clearly remember about the house was the master bath. It had a large, centrally placed tub like all the others, except this one looked like a person-sized vegetable sink, perfectly rectangular except for a 5-degree slope on one side for luxurious reclining, because everyone knows that bathtubs with rounded, curvacious edges are nothing but an invitation to sin.

Gah. If I'm going to shell out $1.6 mil for a home, I'd like one that isn't so aggressively preachy. The whole house seemed to scream "FAMILY VALUES!" and "FAG, GO HOME!" (okay, that might have been a bit of paranoia on my part). I was gratified that the judges seemed to agree, as the house deservedly did not win a single award. Burn it to the ground, I say, and salt the earth. I hated it that much.

Some overall observations: I don't much care for the new trend of making all the bathrooms but the master these dark little rooms. And I don't understand the tendency to stick the commode into its own little hallway off the main room. Most of them feel like prisons, and like Tery said not even any room for a magazine rack or some reading material (don't laugh, if it weren't for this multitasking I wouldn't get any reading done at all these days).

Tery doesn't see any wisdom in putting what is obviously meant to be a teenager's room in the basement with its own door out to the back patio, for ease of sneaking in (or out) late at night. I agree.

Finally, while sitting on one of the four patios at the "Synthesis," I told Deb how hard it was for me to wrap my mind around the idea of people being able to afford these homes without having to work 24 hours a day. This is because I myself work two jobs just to be able to afford our measly $800-a-month mortgage. I just can't imagine buying a million dollar house and not worrying night and day about paying for it, no matter what my job was. You can take the girl out of the working class, but you can't take the working class out of the girl. Luckily, I don't foresee this being a problem in my lifetime.



My Crackwhore update really isn't terribly exciting. We STILL haven't heard the dogs since last Thurs night. It's as if they've evaporated into thin air. We don't know what she's doing to keep them quiet, or if they are even in the unit, but the silence is breathtaking. It makes me really, really, REALLY glad I didn't follow the Alcoholic down her path of vindictiveness. She did take the screen a step farther and cover the sides as well, taking the pressure off me of staying on top of the poop (so to speak). This also is an indescribable relief. Not to the Alcoholic of course, but she can at least drown her pain.

Finally, Kay. She couldn't wait to tell Tery a "really funny story" at work the other day. She's planning a trip to Africa to help build a hospital for the locals. During the final week they get to take a safari. Before you start admiring her selflessness, she told Tery about her father's pricelessly amusing reaction to the news, which was "Africa....isn't that country full of Negroes?" Oh, what a knee-slapper. Yes, Kay, racism is hi-LA-rious. Again, Tery didn't know what to say. If nothing else, I think it sheds some light on why Kay is as tactless as she is. Like father, like daughter. Like hell.
grrgoyl: (satan)
I really wish I had enlisted the aid of ANYONE else but the Alcoholic (L) in this little mission. Her histrionics and irrational emotionalism over it all are just more than I can bear.

Things have actually been very quiet around here lately. With the exception of a 4 a.m. wake-up call Wed morning and an approximately 1-hour on-and-off episode Thurs night around 8 p.m., the dogs seem to have all but vanished. This makes me happy, not that I'm under any illusions that it will last. Not L though. It is driving her insane that she can't see the Crackwhore's balcony, despite my assurances that it remains poop-free (which it does). And she refers to Thursday's outburst as "the worst yet." ( I have a feeling if this were 200 years ago, she'd be the kind of person to start witchhunts in her free time.) I think she could use some gingko biloba, since clearly Sunday's 12 hours of hell have been forgotten. Oh, the bliss of alcohol-induced oblivion. As I calmly explained to D, the board administrator, Thursday's incident didn't bother me so much because I was awake and it was relatively brief. It's when I'm trying to sleep that my tolerance wanes considerably. Not L, though. It seems she won't be happy until the dogs have their vocal cords removed so she never has to hear another bark again as long as she lives. I'm not pussying out on the fight, I just think it has to be won in baby steps, and a complete shutdown of activity overnight simply is not going to happen.

It is for this reason that I was reluctant to follow through with our plan to go to the Animal Shelter in person to file a complaint. A day and a half of complete silence was proof enough for me that the CW was TRYING to comply, for however short a time. I thought if she received a ticket for something that happened three days ago it might give her the attitude, "What the hell. I'm damned if I do, I'm damned if I don't." Not L, though. She thought she fully deserved a ticket, despite her obvious efforts to fix the problem lately. L also took a pretty dim view of my statement that I'm not nearly as bothered by the poop as I am by the barking. Piles of turd, regardless of their size, don't wake me up at night. L seems to think poo left around long enough will bring on the Black Plague. I admit it's nasty and unsanitary, but I'm also aware that any further poop complaints from this point on will be easily traced to me, since I am the only one left with any kind of view of her balcony. And I don't particularly want my tires slashed.

L talked me back into going to the Animal Shelter just to see what they thought we should do, in light of the CW's recent attempts to make people happy. We went up to the desk to present our case to the clerk. As I tried to tell the story, I was interrupted first by L dramatically thrusting our photographic evidence in his face, then dramatically clunking her tape recorder down on the counter (with, remember, the snarky editorials about the barking). Thank GOD he said he couldn't listen to the tape, that it was for the judge's ears only, because I really, really didn't want to be present for that. Not that there wasn't more embarrassment in store. She insisted on punctuating the facts with her own whiny observations, cranking the angst up until it seemed like we were living with hellhounds in our midst. Just from hearing Tery's horror stories from work and watching "Animal Precinct" occasionally, I can't even imagine the utterly appalling, stomach-churning cases of actual animal abuse this guy has seen, and how inconsequentially mild our complaints were in comparison. Yet L kept playing it up and playing it up until I wanted to crawl into the corner with the sleeping orange kitty. He did clarify one thing for us: there is no law that dog owners have to walk their dogs, or even pay attention to them. Only provide them with food, water and shelter apparently. He said the best they could do was ticket her until it came to a summons, at which point she would have to go to court. After that if the problem persisted the dogs would be taken away. L jumped all over that part, insisting that it really would be the best thing for them and that her only concern was for the dogs, which I suspect is a sizable lie. She doesn't care about the dogs, she just wants the CW gone. I do too, but I think that the threat of removing her pets would be sufficient without having to go through with it.

We reached a compromise in the form of letting him mark in the file that we had come down in person, which means if the barking gets bad again we'll have to go back in person to sign a complaint. I was happy with this. L probably wasn't, but I just didn't feel right pursuing a more aggressive action while things are seemingly improving. I'm sure she'll rub my face in it later but hey, whatever. I have to do what I think is right. I'm the one who has to live with myself.

I don't understand how someone gets to be her age and still have such a poor grasp on relating to people. I am a hairsbreadth from being a hermit myself, I hate people with the best of them, but I am willing to try to reach an understanding everyone can live with. Which sounds funny coming from me, but believe me, compared to her, it is 100% true. She is positively terrifying in her inflexibility and intolerance. When I'm the reasonable one, we're in trouble.

In a similar vein, Tery had something happen to her at the hospital that is still bothering me. Tery loves Rufus Wainwright and was very jealous when a coworker got to see him open for Ben Folds last week. She asked her coworker's opinion, who said she really liked him and wanted to borrow Tery's CD to hear more of him. Later in the day Kay, her annoying, overbearing, and we know now utterly tactless, makeover friend, came up to Tery with a huge grin on her face and mentioned how much Laura HATED Rufus Wainwright.

Tery was gobsmacked. Why did Kay feel it necessary to tell her this, except to hurt her? It had the opposite effect; Tery loved Laura for sparing her feelings, and hated Kay for going out of her way to stomp on them. And Kay just can't understand why she never gets more than one date with men. Her problem is she's gotten to the age of 35 without having a single friend close enough to tell her when she's out of line. I would love to be the one to tell her she needs to learn when to keep her big, fat mouth shut, which again sounds funny coming from me. When I'm the tactful one, we're REALLY in trouble. She already thinks I hate her (she's right, twice as much now that she's hurt Tery) so what've I got to lose? When's the next party? *rubbing hands together gleefully*
grrgoyl: (Tick)
Last night when the Crackwhore got home it was obvious she got her warning from the city, because her first course of action was to put up a lower hideous bamboo screen in addition to the larger hideous bamboo screen that completely covers the front of her balcony. Yeah, THAT will raise property values. She obviously thinks if she squeezes her eyes closed reeeeeeeeeeeeeaally tight then we'll all just disappear. Perhaps if the screens were soundproof we might, but they aren't, and they sure don't stop the dogs from barking. If anything it makes them crazier because now they only have a small place to peek out on the side. But now she can amass as much fecal material as she wants and none of us will know, except for me because I'm the only one who can still see onto her balcony. It is truly astounding the efforts she will make to keep doing what she's been doing, rather than just do what she should be doing, namely walking those poor dogs once in awhile.

But now the Alcoholic is on a new crusade against the screen...she doesn't want to see horrible, horrible poo, but that screen is an unforgivable eyesore (for the minute it takes her to walk to her unit). For her part, she's taping the dogs with a big, clunky recorder like the one I had growing up. Which is fine except she is also interjecting snarky comments about the barking, instead of just presenting objective evidence that should speak for itself. I'm tired. So very tired. Why can't people just stop being asshats?

But in the midst of it all, as always, Tery made me laugh. I spent so much of the day focusing on the poo that she didn't realize when I switched gears. Namely, I followed this link from [livejournal.com profile] anne_jumps to a post that made my blood run cold (and anyone who is a friend of mine should have a similar reaction) and I immediately leaped into action to mail my elected official. I called Tery to ask if the correct form of address was "Representative Salazar" or "Congressman Salazar" (without telling her why I needed to know). She asked if I was taking the poo battle all the way to Capitol Hill. On the spot she devised some rousing slogans for my march:

"Hey hey! Ho ho! The Crackwhore has got to go!"

"We're here! We hear! Get used to it!"

"It smells! Like hell! It smells! Like hell!"

She so funny. (I didn't bother emailing my Republican Congressman. I did that once before regarding gay marriage and got back a very pleasant letter that basically said, "Thanks for your concern on this issue, but I'm going to do whatever the hell I want anyway.")


In other news, my eye has finally cleared up without leaving any permanent interesting bits of color as I'd hoped. Now it just looks like everyone else's. Damn my exemplary vascular system to hell.

Finally, one for the "Evidence That Brains Are No Longer Mandatory" file: The other day as I was walking out to my car to go to work, an SUV was pulling in. The driver saw me get into my car, yet inexplicably pulled up directly behind me. She was apparently dropping her friend off, but they had to sit and chat first. I stared at them in my rearview mirror, then started my engine. No signs of moving, so I put it in reverse so the lights would go on. Still nothing, so I had to open my door and tell them that yes, I was trying to leave and yes, your big ugly vehicle is completely blocking me (okay, so that second part was only in my head). At last my message got through.

I'm not saying it requires extraordinary intelligence to be able to drive (oh, if only it did!) however, a working knowledge of back-up lights and their significance certainly comes in handy at times. Remember what I said about SUV drivers not being the brightest crayon in the box? We can call this Exhibit QQ.


Addendum: So far every single co-worker I've told about taking gingko biloba for my memory has had the exact same response - "How do you remember to take it?" Guffaw. Really, people, do you all share the same brain?
grrgoyl: (amelie dog)
She simply doesn't care anymore. She finally succeeded in driving out her neighbor below her, a nice Asian woman who has lived there with two generations of her family since long before either the Crackwhore or Tery and I moved in. Now she thinks she has free run of the place as evidenced by Tery's observation that she is back to doing heavy-duty construction at about 4 a.m. (which thankfully for everyone involved I have so far slept through).

The barking had gotten so bad again that I filed another complaint. But our HOA has recently changed administrators and the new people were of the opinion that since ridiculously steep fines hadn't made much of a difference in the past, we were better off trying to reason with her. Hardly surprising that an outfit called "Cherry Creek HOA Professionals" doesn't have a lot of experience in dealing with druggies. Failing the diplomatic approach, they suggested going to the city, since the barking also violated their ordinances. They did go to the trouble of scheduling a hearing for this past Tuesday that I had every intention of attending.

Before this could take place, however, Sunday morning Tery and I returned home from work just in time to see her leaving. We didn't think much of it until we realized that the dogs were locked out on the balcony. She does this to prevent them from tearing up all the nice new renovations inside the unit. She was gone for 12 HOURS, and I shouldn't have to tell you the dogs barked approximately every 6 minutes for that entire time (with the exception of a blessedly long nap in the middle). By 7:30 or 8 p.m. the barking had a whining, desperate quality to it, probably because they had run out of food and/or water. Also by 7:30 or 8 p.m. Tery and I were both contemplating taking an ice pick to our eardrums. That's when I broke down and called Animal Control, and can anyone blame me?

Of course no one works there on a Sunday evening so I left a message. On Monday they promised to mail her a warning. I virtually shimmied with glee, imagining her opening the envelope from the city, though why I thought she would take that any more seriously than any other punishment kind of escapes me at the moment. Then Tuesday came and as I got ready for the hearing, my neighbor the Alcoholic (L) across the way called to point out the large, steaming pile of turds on the Crackwhore's balcony. She urged me to take a picture of it and bring it to the hearing. I did, but no one there wanted to see it, despite my assurance that it wasn't in "Smell-o-Vision." The Crackwhore didn't show for her own hearing, just an indication as I said of how seriously she takes all of this. The Board's suggestions did make sense in that they believe she won't sit up and take notice until the city threatens to haul her dogs to the pound.

On Wednesday the heap of turds had not only not been cleaned up, it had been added to. Again I documented and emailed it to L, who forwarded it on to the board admininstrator (D), a friend of hers. He was very concerned about the health issue and urged us to get the city involved with this complaint as well. L called and got an officer dispatched to look at it, but then copied me on a follow-up mail she sent to D.

"Can't the HOA do anything about the mess? It's going to start to smell." I rolled my eyes, picturing her fanning herself with kid gloves, threatening to faint dead away from the horror of it all. You'd think the poo was going to come to life and leap onto her balcony. As anyone with pets can tell you, poo tends to dry up and harden over time, becoming less odiferous, not more. Take it from someone with 3 ferrets and 2 cats, all but one of whom have no compunction about doing their business outside of designated areas. I know from fecal material.

I imagine in some ways homeowners who can attain this level of histrionics over a pile of poo cause as many headaches for board administrators as the ones who refuse to follow rules.

The officer came, saw and wrote a warning. I doubted her credentials as one who works in the animal industry when she referred to ferret Griffyn as a rodent and foolishly tried to pet Pepita, who like the rest of her kind is extremely touchy and cranky about allowing human contact and isn't a bit shy about putting her vicious-looking curved beak to use. I was frustrated by her visit because she said the barking and the pooping had to be treated as separate violations requiring separate courses of action, rather than what they actually are, symptoms of the larger problem of animal neglect. The next step is more tickets, if necessary, which will eventually lead to issuing a summons for creating a public nuisance. Personally I wish we could just skip ahead to the threats of removal rather than enduring more interrupted sleep just to observe the due process of law. Stupid law.

It's not that I want the dogs taken away. Everyone knows I love animals. I believe there are no bad pets, only bad owners. I feel sorry for them when I see them stuck out there on the balcony all day. But then they start barking at the passing breeze and I feel homicidal (canicidal?) again. Tery feels the dogs are so unsocialized they are actually only one step away from being junkyard dogs. I even spent a minute or two feeling bad about persecuting the Crackwhore so relentlessly. It seemed hypocritical when my #1 absolute biggest peeve is people butting in and telling others how to live their lives. But the situation is different when someone's lifestyle has an adverse effect on your own (and I mean more adverse than staying up at night worrying about who is having sex with who and if they are the correct genders). Yes, we ourselves have 6 animals. But no one else knows we do because we have 6 quiet animals. 6 quiet animals who sleep at night and don't hang out on the balcony barking at everything that moves at 2 a.m. Even Pepita knows better and makes only quiet noises after the sun goes down (which is adorable and funny), when she makes noise at all. So yeah, I believe when your animals are waking me up every single night out of a sound sleep and sometimes keeping me awake for hours after, I have the right to step in and say "Enough." And I'll say as much to the Crackwhore if she ever tries to confront me about picking on her and her little angels. I vaguely worry about retaliatory complaints, until I remember that she will never find neighbors more considerate than us. I DREAM of having neighbors like us someday.

The extreme irony of all this is apparently her own father is a property manager. His response to all the complaints and fines was something along the lines of "That isn't how things are done." Which begs the question, why don't you let your darling drug-dealing daughter live in YOUR complex, sir?
grrgoyl: (ewan stoli)
Here it is, the long-awaited crackwhore/other neighbor story I mentioned a few posts ago (for both of you still on the edge of your seats).

I was ambushed the other day by the neighbor across the way from us, affectionately known as The Alcoholic. When I say "across the way" I mean in the neighboring building with a balcony facing ours. And when I say "The Alcoholic," well, I would think that shouldn't require too much explanation. Before you think me too harsh, this is a woman who managed to not once but TWICE somehow lock herself out on her balcony while under the influence (and when I say "somehow" I mean that unless she's done some fancy updating, the units come with standard sliding glass doors that lock only from the inside, and then only with considerable manual effort). Rumor has it she made a statement to the effect that she honestly believes her "tax dollars" put emergency personnel at her disposal to rescue her from such sticky situations caused by inebriation-induced stupidity. Maybe, maybe not, but I would lose sleep at night thinking someone's house might have burned down while firefighters were saving me from my own idiocy. And after the second time I would high-tail it to the first AA meeting I could find. Wouldn't you?

She pulled me aside on my way to my car just to bitch about the Crackwhore.

"WHEN are they going to finish all that construction?" she whispered exasperatedly.

"I don't know, but I can't wait, because then they will be gone."

"What do you mean?" she asked, searching my face with her half-crazy eyes.

"Well, they're fixing it up to sell it," I explained, surprised she hadn't already heard about it.

She theatrically clutched at my arm, "Don't tease me like that. Really?"

"Yes, really," I said, trying to back away slowly.

"Oh, thank god," she said, now clutching at her throat theatrically, "That's the best news I've heard all year!"

Keep in mind please that I mentioned she lives in the NEIGHBORING building, i.e. not connected to us in any way. When has she had to listen to the dogs galloping up the stairs at 2 a.m.? When has she had what sounds like steel-toed workboots tossed at her adjacent walls? When has she had to endure months and months of daily, repeated door slamming, hard enough to shake her furniture? When has she had her door knocked on at midnight by people so desperate for a fix they couldn't get the unit number right? When has she listened to the endless drone of drilling into the wall for hours on end? When has she listened to the sound of appliances being dragged up and down the stairs at 10:00 at night? Or been awakened at 7 a.m. by them levelling the door frame for TWO SOLID DAYS?

The answer to every last one of these questions is of course "Never." So don't tell ME it's the best news you've heard all year. I think I know more about it than you do.

Tery and I are hoping she'll have an Open House when she's finished. Based on the amount of work going on, I picture the "before" unit resembling in many ways Mother Superior's heroin den in Trainspotting.

I know I previously promised the possibility of full frontal nudity, but believe me, if you've ever seen The Alcoholic you'd thank me for leaving it out.

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December 2011

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