Monday, January 31, 2011

Manage This!

As many of you know, TH and I moved into a new place in early November. For those of you who don't know, a brief history: TH had been laid off two years ago (at Christmastime - Merry Christmas, everyone), making us a one-income household. He's gone back to school and has a super-parttime (like, 10-15 hours a week, sometimes more) job that helps, for sure, but basically I support us and we couldn't afford the mortgage at our condo on just my income once his unemployment benefits ran out, and - long story short (so I can get to ranting) - we signed our condo back to the bank through a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure agreement that we submitted in December 2010. I wanted to be out of the house before the paperwork went through, and, lo and behold, one of our friends was moving out of his townhouse duplex on October 31st, so we snapped it up.

I probably should have known from the get-go that something wasn't right, there were some red flags that I ran right by in my haste to move. For one thing, the management company wouldn't meet with us to show us any property on a weekend. They were only available during office hours and, well, I also work in an office, and was out of vacation time, so that wasn't working for me. Luckily (I thought at the time), we knew the current tenant and he would show it to us on a weekend. So we came over and looked at the place, and it seemed perfect: more room than we had, more than one bathroom, a pretty decent neighborhood, the price was right - it all seemed like it was just falling into place. I was super excited!

So we moved in.
Pantry - yay!

My living room - although we have a different couch now

Upstairs is where the magic happens

Well, let me back up. We met with the management company representative to sign the papers, and she did not do the walkthrough with us. First, we had huge problems scheduling and I had to leave work early one day (thank God my boss understood) because, as stated before, these people only keep office hours, so she wouldn't meet us any later than 4pm. What a fucking pain in the ass. But we complied, and then all this girl did was meet us, give us our keys, sign papers with us, and tell us to e-mail her a list of whatever problems we noticed when we did the walkthrough. Alone. This struck me as odd, but I was trying to be positive and I was determined that this would be a good move for us (since it was necessary and all), so we did the walkthrough by ourselves. The first thing I noticed was that the place was filthy. Nothing had been cleaned. There wasn't garbage anywhere, and the walls were freshly painted downstairs, but if you looked at the countertops, the carpets, the windowsills, or - God forbid - inside the refrigerator (*hurls*), it was clear no effort had been made to clean the place. So, that wasn't great.

I mobilized my task force (read: in-laws), and instead of beginning to move that night, we scoured the place. The in-laws have a carpet cleaning machine - one of those steam cleaners - and they brought it over and TH and his Dad did the carpets, while my MIL and I cleaned the downstairs: kitchen and bathroom, mostly. I kick myself that I didn't take pictures first, but my goal was just to get it clean so I could move our stuff in.

That done, I texted our friend who had just moved out - let's call him G, going forward in this - and gave him shit for how filthy his house was. He was appalled that they hadn't cleaned it and let slip that although the landlord had a management company, he liked to do all the stuff himself - which reminded me that the management company rep had said they'd been here until 11pm the day before we signed, cleaning and painting. Well, I'll give her "painting."

The next morning, the in-laws came over to keep cleaning while TH and I got the movers situated and they loaded up our belongings at the old condo. When we made it back over here, MIL mentioned that the kitchen sink water pressure was total crap and the upstairs toilet ran for awhile after being flushed. I added those items to my list of things to mention to the management company, and we continued moving in.

I sent off the list, with a request that the water pressure (which is only shitty in the kitchen faucet - the sprayer and all the rest of the faucets are fine) and the upstairs toilet be looked at. About a month later, after repeated requests for response to the maintenance guy, the landlord himself showed up and looked at both things and declared there was nothing to be done. The kitchen faucet? "That's just how the pressure is." The toilet that hisses for two minutes after flushing and fills soooo slowly, despite being lo-flow? "That's just filling slowly, it's not broken." The one helpful thing he did tell me (although I didn't ask) was that the big cylinder in my bedroom closet is a water heater. Yeah, no shit. I guess I look like a girl who doesn't know what the fuck a water heater is, because I could have sworn I wanted him to come over to fix WATER PRESSURE problems, not to explain to me what normal household items are. It was so bizarre. Also? Way to be prompt when I have a problem. At least he's the one who pays the water bill.

OK, so I was irritated, but whatever. The dishwasher works, and the sprayer works, and I can live with shitty water pressure and a running toilet, now that I know what the water heater looks like. FML.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. TH and I are sitting in the living room, minding our own business, when I notice this:

That, friends, is the smoke detector hanging out of the ceiling. Hey, no worries, you're saying to yourself, just put it back into the ceiling. Ah, but that was our thought, too, and that made it begin to chirp. As common knowledge dictates, when a smoke alarm chirps, you change the battery. So I did, and the chirping stopped. Until I tried to put it back into the ceiling again, and then it started back up. And wouldn't stop. So TH disconnected the whole thing, thinking we'd put a dud of a battery in it, and the next day I bought a completely new battery, and did the whole dance all over again with the same result: incessant chirping. Have you seen the Friends episode where Phoebe can't get the smoke alarm to shut up? It was like that.
This was me.
So I bit the bullet and e-mailed the management company again, as well as logging the issue in great detail on their "helpful" online maintenance reporting form. A day passed. Nothing. So I e-mailed the maintenance guy directly again. His response?

It sounds like the battery is likely dead and needs to be replaced. It is the tenants responsibility to replace these when they expire. If you replace it and there is still chirping, then let us know. Most of these detectors take 9v batteries.

My response:

No, I replaced the battery. Twice. It seems to only chirp when reinserted into the ceiling. The original issue is that it fell out of the ceiling and just hangs there. I take it my entry through your online system didn't come through? It was more detailed.

Basically, we noticed the thing had fallen out of its holder and was hanging by its cords from the ceiling. When we tried to reaffix it to the holder, it began chirping, so I replaced the battery and it didn't stop chirping when we put it back. The next day I bought a brand new battery and put that one into it. The only way to keep it from chirping is to let it hang out as shown in the picture I sent you. I can just leave it like that, I don't care. You should just know that it's a faulty unit.


Their response? Well, they forwarded it to the landlord. This is the most useless management company in the world. And I don't understand the purpose of having a management company if you won't let them do anything except collect the rent! I mean, he won't let them resolve maintenance requests or clean the house in between tenants. Why employ them at all? How hard is the rent collection aspect?

(Click to go to the video - and if you haven't seen this, you need to)

So I e-mailed them and asked sweetly if I should just not bother them in the future and instead take any problems directly to the landlord, since he seemed so "hands on." They did not respond to that.
I resorted once again to texting G and asking if he had ever had this problem. He told me the thing would chirp for 24 hours after having the battery replaced and then you could put it back. And, of course, that worked. I was able, since it had been a few days since the original problems and subsequent battery replacements, to reinsert the thing into the ceiling without a problem. I let the management company know, and all they had to say in response was to ask if I had pushed the test button to make sure. So I didn't respond to that.

Apparently, they've had me pegged as an idiot for some reason. I'm pretty sure I've now also given myself the distinction of "difficult." I've had enough. I won't be contacting them again unless there's something I can't fix, so let's hope that doesn't happen.

Last weekend, the upstairs toilet seat cracked in half. TH said, "Call the management company..." I said, "Look how well white duct tape fixes that!" (Also - tangent - why do *I* have to call them? He's on the lease, too.) Game on, management company. You fucked over the wrong tenant. And since G didn't get his deposit back despite the fact that he caused no damage and just neglected to clean the place, I'm figuring we won't get ours back, either, no matter what we do.

So, out of the frying pan and into the fire. At least I have a pantry and 1.5 bathrooms! And I know what that great big thing in the closet is, thank goodness.

Landlord problems, anyone else?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I don't have enough!

Dear Complaint Department,

I bring to you today my greatest pet peeve. It haunts me at night. It stalks me every single day. It waves at me, sickeningly, every time I realise I have something I need to do - now - before something else comes along and becomes top priority.

Complaint Department: I bring to you "Not Enough Hours In The Day".

Time = Hours in the Day / Hours I'm awake * Number of Roles - it does not compute!

You see, I have several roles to fulfil, some of which are mutually exclusive. And, well, that generally means that something, somewhere along the line, has to give. Whether I like it or not. Let me give you an example of how I have to distribute myself:

I am
A wife, a Mother, an Employee,
A Daughter, a Sibling, a Confidante, a Lover,
A Friend, an Owner, a Manager,
A Tutor, a Blogger, a Specialist in my Field of Work,
A Neighbour, a Writer,
A Fanatic, a Counsellor, a Homemaker,
A Nurse, a Cook, a Dog-Walker, a Pillow.

This list is not exhaustive. But I think it gives you an idea of where I'm coming from...

So my whine is this: where, in that severely cut-down list, is there time for ME? You know, time that can be spent tending to my own personal, professional, emotional and spiritual needs?

You know what, Complaint Department, it's just not good enough. I'm gonna take a stand. I demand time for me. Even if it means that I have to stay up until late into the night /early hours of the morning and end up looking like a walking zombie. At least I'll know: I found time for me. And that is what matters.

Who's with me??

This post was brought to you from the UK by CC x

Indecent Proposal

Last weekend, I was at a wedding. My husband couldn't go because he had to work, but I went anyway because we were expected. I was seated at a table where there were 8 single guys! Eight single guys and one married woman!! Woody Allen couldn't have directed it better.
Initially I was bored (not surprising), but then I had some wine, the music found my beat, and I joined the crowd on the dance floor. I'm one of those people that don't mind dancing with... er, by myself, but of course it's always nice to have a partner. Or so I thought.

This guy who had been sitting at my table suddenly popped up right in front of me and started matching my moves. This continued on into the evening, with his drunkenness telling me how awesome I am, how I'm the only honest girl in there (?), etc, etc. You're wondering where's the whine? It's coming, believe me.

After a couple of hours I had a huge grin on my face, with no memory of what boredom even meant. I was in such a good mood that I actually laughed out loud when my accidental dance partner asked me to come to the bathroom with him so that he could bite into my tit!

"I'm sorry," I was still chuckling, "I thought you heard when I said to everyone that I was married."

"You're married?" He slurred.

"Yes, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to lead you on." I apologized.

"Come to the bathroom with me," he continued on completely unfazed "I want to put it up your ass."

 Even animals that don't speak human languages knew they should be appalled by this request. This guy, however, obviously comes from planet Asshole.

I must be an idiot for not punching him in the face right then and there. Instead, I continued trying to explain to him that I was married, that I had no interest in him, and that I was certainly not going to let him, or anyone else for that matter, put it up my ass. You see, at that time I was still under the influence of the previous few hours. I had actually been feeling grateful to this prick for giving me a good time.

What a fool I was. Not only did I fail to transmit my message to him, but he went on to tell me the vilest of things.

"I'm really sorry. I honestly didn't mean to lead you on." I was still saying.

"You know I have a huge cock," he went on. "And, I'd like you to suck it and swallow my sperm."

HOLY SHIT!! I can't believe that he just said that to me!! This is even worse than when that dude licked my shoulder last summer.

Slowly, I backed away from him, but not before telling him that he had spoiled everything, and that he was a jerk. I doubt he cared about either of those things.

I left home feeling conflicted, but most of all dirty. I was both disgusted and wrought with guilt. I understood in that moment how a woman who had been violated, could end up feeling responsible for the act. It wasn't until I moaned about this to a few friends that I realized that I'd done nothing wrong; that dancing with someone does not warrant an invitation to be abused.

Sadly, I think this experience has put me off flirting.
At least for a little while.

Has anyone else been a recipient of an indecent proposal? Please share. I'd feel better knowing that I'm not the only one attracting scum of the Earth.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

(S)NO(w) fun - from inotU

So the other night mother nature struck- No I'm not mad at her, seriously not about to piss her off. She has a habit of biting one's ass so I think I'll keep on her good side. Hell hath no fury like mother nature, right? Anyway, dear ole mom left us with another foot of snow. It was so freaking pretty, white and fluffy, I took a few pics....

In all honesty I don't really like cold, wet things. But I don't mind the occasional snow storm. I don't even mind the shoveling, just don't tell my husband I said that, mKthnx. So why am I so mad and who deserves my unrequited anger? ....the F-ing electric company.

See, after it snowed all day, leaving a 'surprise' couple of inches that morning, the weatherman (stupid weather people-they deserve a post all their own, right?) was saying we'd get another foot. So we braced for it, which means the kids got more hot chocolate and mommy finished a bottle of wine. The snow was blowing, hard, sideways at times. There was even thunder snow-which sounds awesome. Then IT happened. The worst thing that could happen in freezing temps and sideways snow. We lost power. During a blizzard. FUCK!!!

This all happened Wednesday night at 8pm. So, for $200 Alex- I'll take, who still doesn't have power? You guessed it, me!

Did I mention we have an electric heat pump? Or the fact that we have a well, so no electricity means no water pump which means, you guessed it no water. By the way come Thursday afternoon I was really regretting my decision not to shower Wednesday.

Before you ask, no we don't have a wood stove, nor are we members of the better preparedness school of thought. Apparently all, and I mean every house on my street (there's only 12 houses including mine) are members of said school and have backup power sources. This should have been a clue to us that it really was a necessity, not just another item on the wish list. Needless to say, my application has been submitted, I'm just waiting on their approval. My Internet searches yesterday included generators, solar panels, and marine battery back-ups. Haven't made my selections yet, I had no idea how much there was to consider. I am also now thoroughly convinced I wanna get completely off the grid and after this experience the husband is pretty much on board. Of course he is currently checking the job listings in southern Arizona, it's 65 there today. Hey, the solar panels would work great there with the 360 days of sunshine they get. Where should I leave the forwarding address?

We've called the electric company, at least thirty times now, and every time we get different-conflicting answers. At first there was a blanket message saying there were a lot of outages and by January 29th all power should be restored to everyone. That was on the 27th. Thursday night we were told they had isolated the problem and a truck had been assigned. Well unless they gave that truck driver an address in China, he should've gotten there by now, right? Yesterday we were told, midnight at the latest, that's midnight last night and as of this am, there's still nothing. Today we were told by noon. Well, guess what? I'm not holding my breath.

And even if the power is restored by noon today, which I think is just as likely as me winning last nights mega millions drawing even though I didn't play, when I checked on the house yesterday it was 45 degrees, inside the house. It'll easily take 12 hours to heat back up to a comfortable temperature. I want to know who's gonna explain to my kids about the dead fish, 2 decomposing frogs, and 3 deceased hermit crabs, all casualties of the freezing temps.

Don't worry about us, we are camped out at the in-laws, then again another 24 hours here and I may have a new post for you. We are warm and cozy. We are fed and showered. And the kids are having a blast with grandma and grandpa to spoil them. I on the other hand am out of wine and seriously considering moving onto something stronger, vodka anyone? Yes, please and make mine a double.

So Dear BGE,

Congratulations stupid fuckers, you're at the top of my shit list. Numero UNO.

BTW, I hate you. A lot. Take your unfulfilled promises, your lies and "estimated times of restored power" and stick em up your...I don't care where you stick em, just as long as it's painful and lasts a long time, like maybe 85 hours.

No Love,

A big FLAT pain in the arse

First - a warning. This is a full-on rant. I am really hormonal right now and what happened this evening - well, let's just say I could have done without it. How convenient that MB created this blog... so timely.

For those of you who were tweeting along with the fun... bear with me while I recount my experiences...

So, this evening I was just sitting on my couch, tweeting, as I do of a Saturday evening. MusingBella, Jaymes805, RenaBug1 and LivingwEdward were chatting about Vampires Suck. I've wanted to see that movie for ages, and the more they tweeted, the more I wanted to go get it. So, I hopped in the car and headed to the mall, 5 minutes from my house.

A short while later, movie and takeaways in hand, I head back to the car, only to discover this:

So. Not. Happy.

You see, this happened to me not two weeks ago.

Same wheel. I took my flat to the local tyre store and asked for a repair. Nothing out of the ordinary, except apparently that tyre had been driven on flat for too long and was destroyed. 'Not to worry', according to the guy, 'we've got some second hand tyres here, in good condition, that will be just fine'. I'd had second hand tyres in the past with no problems, so I happily accepted this, handed over my $69, and went on my way.

Until today.

When I waited AN HOUR AND A HALF for roadside assistance. So glad I had my takeaways, and my phone! Thank God for Twitter and fanfic when you've got time on your hands, eh?

The roadside assistance guy reckons the tyre shop guys ripped me off with a dodgy tyre. Do ya think? No shit, Sherlock.

So yeah, I'll be going back to the tyre shop next week to have some stern words with the manager. He won't know what's hit him.

Now, I'm finally home, and watching Vampires Suck. It's funny, which is good. If not, I'd feel supremely pissed off that I coulda stayed home on the couch and watched a different DVD. J/S.

Thanks for letting me vent! Over and out.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's NOT My Upper Lip.

I present you the lively & historic Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego.....

.....A conglomeration of delicious restaurants, lively bars, historic office buildings, great people watching, and last but certainly not least.....


No Justin Bieber, I said VOMIT, not shit.

And I'll have you know it's not my upper lip. I understand that people happens. But why oh why can't you find a damn trash can? Or how about not getting so drunk that you hurl all over the sidewalk?

Some of you may know I almost slipped and fell to my death in a pile of vomit just oustide my car. I was traumatized for a week. Now every morning when I walk the short 1 block walk to my office building, not only am I watching where I step, I'm also trying not to breath through my nose.



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shut Yer Damn Mouth

I thought I'd start us out nice and easy with a complaint I had very early this morning (if you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen it *waves at Lisa and Smitten*). I take public transportation to work (a treasure trove of potential complaints), and this morning, the gentleman seated next to me on the bus decided it was time for a snack and began eating and chewing with his mouth open.

I wish I had this shirt.

Naturally, I wanted to junk punch him.

Open-mouthed chewing (by the way, NEVER Google image search "mouth chewing". You're welcome.) is one of my biggest pet peeves. I don't even like it when TH chews loud enough that I can hear when his mouth is closed. I am aware that I have issues. I just don't understand; it's disgusting. Why is it hard to chew with your mouth closed (barring, of course, physical disability)??? At least spare us all your cow impression in public - if you must, chew aloud at home (not you, TH - you are never allowed to chew aloud in my presence. I believe it was in our vows).

Thankfully, I was eventually able to get off the bus and on with my day (and up to my cubicle, where the guy I sit next to chews out loud ALL THE DAMN TIME), while I imagine that poor man bit his tongue off when the bus hit a bump on the next street and has since learned his lesson about open-mouthed chewing on public transportation. If not, well, there's always Walken.

I know I'm not alone in this - does it drive you crazy, too? Let's hear some pet peeves up in this blog!

WTF is this?


Welcome!  Or should I say: how did you get in here?  This is sort of an experimental blog I thought I'd toss out into the blogosphere after a little idea I had and encouragement I found on Twitter.  The idea is basically this: anyone can post about anything.  Send me an e-mail or comment here if you want to be added to the author list, or find me on Twitter, and I will send you the invitation.  For now, I'll only be adding people I know (or have heard of from people I know), but we'll see how it goes. 

The original idea is basically that of a complaint department for real life.  Feel free to come here to vent, bitch, whine, moan, groan, and generally have a little pity party.  Maybe, if we all band together, it will have sort of a group therapy effect.  I don't want to discourage positive posts, either - I just thought it'd be nice to have a kind of virtual living room (oohh, that would have been a good name for it.  Damn.) where we could share more than 140 characters when the spirit moved us.  I'm hoping you'll feel that way, too, and join me in posting here!

Now, I need to cry for help.  This thing looks like crap!  My husband is in a graphic design program, but he's way too busy and I don't feel like cleaning little bits of brain off the floor as I would need to if I asked him to help me make a design and his head exploded.  Sooooo... that's where you (maybe?) come in.  Can anyone help me take this blog from this:

... to this?:

Please help me!  Drop me a line in one of the aforementioned ways if you're interested.

So, what do you think?  Cheesy?  Lame?  Ridiculous?  Complain all about it in the complaints comments.  Meanwhile, I believe I have some damn kids to chase off my lawn.