Category Archives: embarrassing moment

Drama of Apartment Hunting

We thought we might want to move into a new apartment.  Save some more money, move into a location that has more green area and basically go see what’s out in the wide world of Massachusetts apartments .  We’ve been in our current location for 3 years, but our rent keeps going up and it’s a bit absurd….so we thought we’d go look.

In reality, we miss thunderstorms.  Where we live now, we’re a weather vortex.  No thunderstorms.  Very little snow.  Notta.  In three years, I can count on one hand how many thunderclaps we’ve had here.  Everyone else gets them, but not us.  After studying the weather patterns, it’s obvious we need to move north or west.

So there you have it….the search is on for a thunderstorm location.

I have been using an online app that allowed me to filter by every requirement imaginable:

Location, cost, allowable pets, travel time to work, a/c in unit, how many bedrooms… etc.

On the weekend, we set off with a list of 6 apartments, we visited 5.  Came home with one potential.  Out of the others, the 6th location’s office was closed due to a showing and we waited but they didn’t return.  I was okay with this as one set of homies were hanging out in the back of a pick up truck and the another set of homies were having a party in the commons.  The other three, as you may guess, provided blog material that I couldn’t make up.

Let me walk you through the contestants.  Mind you, on the app, these looked like winners!  And yes, the communities have had their names changed to protect the innocent, or not so innocent…so it appeared.

Contestant #1: Castle in the Woods.  Going north of town…the online description was lovely.  You could even rent units that had a turret!  I want a turret.  We arrived and proceeded to do our customary drive through the development.

All the buildings were set within a wooded development.  It was a very cute tudor style concept.  We drove around and around.  Kids playing in the pool.  Several areas for grilling with picnic tables.  A few people of various nationalities walking around the development.

We go to the office, explain our requirement:

  1.  Washer and dryer in the unit
  2.   Access to outside via balcony for The Girls
  3.   Air conditioning

Everything else we can kinda work around, but these are must haves, without question.  Without these, we don’t move forward.

We are then taken on a tour of an available 2 bedroom apartment. Great, one is available, so this is perfect, as looking at the model is never ideal.  As we make our way over to the unit, the manager tells us, “All 2 bedrooms with w/d are on the first floor.” By first floor, I mean, subterrain.  Yes, as in underground.  This defeats our number 2 requirement of, “we have to have a porch or balcony for The Girls.”

Huh.  Okay.  We proceed into the building where you could have popped open the “security door” with a screw driver.  Inside the apartment, the laminate floors were bubbling up and the musty/mildew smell hit you like the odor of strong blue cheese.  Not to mention the rotting wood on the outside of the building.

We inquire when the buildings were constructed.  1971.  Oh, so these are retro original designs?  Great.

Upon the conclusion of the tour, we get back into the car and I’m trying to be somewhat positive about the whole experience.  “Well it had a lot of cabinet space.  We could make the stackable washer and dryer work.”  The Mister looks at me after awhile and says, “It was a shit hole.”

Whew, what a relief, cause I didn’t want to live there.

Contestant #2: Fields of Fancy.  We next drive to the location,  west of the city, as I had found a cute little development that had HUGE balconies.  Perfect for The Girls.   The website mentioned newly renovated interiors and the property is next to a big state park!  Sounds perfect.

We make the 45 minute drive, from the northern apartment hunting locations and drive through the development for first inspections.  Several red lights begin to flash in my mind:

  • Some units have curtains that are sheets or blankets – not usually a good sign.
  • There’s also some screens on the ground and some rain gutters as well.  Warning sign number two in my book.

However, we drove all the way over, so it’s worth stopping in to at least check it out so we can say we saw them.

After a few minutes, we find the leasing office, park the car and make our way inside.

  • Warning sign number 3 shot through the air like a flare,  when we saw the note posted on the door indicating that access to the pool was an additional charge.  What?

We go inside anyway.

The leasing agent currently has someone at her desk and the resident is very upset.  The Mister and I try to give them some privacy, which is hard to do, when you’re standing in an office area as big as an elevator car.  Luckily they had a coffee area off to the side, so we made our way over there to view the floor plans that were posted on the wall.  The Mister proceeds to make a coffee and the conversation begins unfolding like a movie.

His concerns went something like this:

“If you don’t do something.  If something happens to my wife.   If something happens to my dogs.  I will sue this entire company.  I am calling the police!  I will bring ICE in here and haul out the illegals by the truck load!”

At this point, I look at THE Mister, shake my head and tell him NO.  He says, “I’m not going until I get my coffee.”

The resident continues, “My wife’s right bumper of her car has already been pulled off and there is a scratch on her car!  She is a legal resident of the United States.  I am going to sue this place if anything happens to her or our dogs.  I even spoke to the woman who lives downstairs and she’s happy I’m doing something because those guys in the car are nothing but trouble.  I will bring ICE in here!”

I give The Mister the look again. This is getting awkward.  We need to go before we become part of something.

Without looking back, we make our way to the door and exit.  The Mister, with his coffee in hand, of course.

We get to the car, The Mister advises, the coffee is nothing but dark colored water….and he dumps it out.

Obviously,  Fields of Fancy is a big nope.

Contestant #3: Welcome to Paradise. Another western development, that looked gorgeous online and was advertised as spacious homes was Welcome to Paradise.  All two bedrooms faced a green belt, it’s near the commuter rail, has granite kitchens, theatre room on site etc.  I truly thought, this could be a good possibility.

However, when we pulled up, we should have taken our cue when an unattended car, left in reverse, rolled into one of the employees’ cars….which rolled into a resident’s car….and dented the shit out of it.  But you know, accidents happen.

We were off to a great start.  They have limited 2 bedrooms come open due to their popularity – a good sign.  But they may have something when we are looking to move.  The agent advises she does have one unit open for viewing, A9, the new tenants are due to move in next week, so it’s currently vacant.  It’s the exact floor plan we’re interested in so we can quickly go view it.

Fantastic!  She advises, “since the last tenant has just moved out and the new ones have not yet moved in, we haven’t turned it yet, so it will be a little messy.”  By turning it, she means they haven’t had the professional cleaner come into the apartment yet to prep for the new tenants.  Not to worry, we won’t care.

The three of us head over to the building next door and head up to the 9th floor to see the unit.  It’s like going to a fancy hotel.  Very she-she.  You walk into the main lobby and they have a big round reception table with flowers and then a bank of elevators behind that.  On the 9th floor, we get off and step on plush carpet and the walls are a beige and royal blue color – very nicely chosen.  I think, I could do this.  Very nice.

Once at A9, the agent knocks on the door, just to make sure and then inserts the key.  She opens the door and the first thing that catches our eye is a Whole Foods shopping bag.

?

She opens the door a bit more and yells out, “Hello?!  Welcome to Paradise management, is anyone here?”

She opens the door a bit further and we see several pairs of shoes and flip flops and an areas obviously set up for a baby.

?

Then a voice comes from the back of the apartment, “Yes?”

The agent says, “I’m with Welcome to Paradise management, is it okay if we enter?”

The voice and now person, who is a young man…with baby crying in a bedroom in the back somewhere says “Yes.”

I look at The Mister and think, “SQUATTERS!”   Then I take a step back and think, “We aren’t really going to go in are we?”

Next thing I know the agent it going in and apparently so are we.

OMG.

The previously tenants very obviously had NOT moved out at the end of their lease, 3 days ago.  This gentleman had apparently been sleeping, by the looks of it and was caught completely off guard.

Not to mention, so are we!

Here we were standing in his hallway as the agent explained the layout of the apartment.

All I could think was:

  1.  I’ve never seen so many pots and pans in my life piled up in a kitchen.
  2. I don’t know what to say.
  3. I don’t even know where to look.
  4. Could the earth open up and swallow me?

We get past the pot & pan collection center, to the living room area and all I could utter was, “it’s remarkable how spacious it appears.”  Then I wandered over to the sliding glass door to look outside.  Yep, there’s trees out there.

At that point, the agent advised we wouldn’t be seeing the bedrooms.  Heavens no, I thought.  This poor man is about to have a coronary right here on the spot.

We all thank him and go back to the hall.  She locks the door and then we all look at each other, “Well that was awkward.”

While I can’t say that our apartment hunting was a failure, it gave us some great stories and we found one possibility up north!  Most people would only be lucky enough to experience just ONE of these experiences on an apartment hunting mission.  Leave it to us…..we get multiples.

I’m almost afraid as to what will happen the next time we go in search of our next nest.  We are creating the next list, stand by.

 

 

 

 

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Beware of the Undead – Halloween Countdown!

This is my favorite time of year.

Fall.

Cooler weather.  Great movie releases.  Baked apples, cinnamon sticks, carving pumpkins, hot buttered rum and freakishly scary shit for 30 days straight!

Halloween is my favorite holiday.

My bucket list includes working at a haunted house.

Dressed up.

Scaring the shit out of people.

I’m not fussy.  I’ll hide in boxes, behind doors, leap out of trash cans,  grab your leg from under the bed or drop from the top of the fridge…just let me scare the pants off you.

I dress up as the same thing every year.  Wanna guess what it is?

Princess?

No.

Wood nymph with wings?

No.

Sexy Bond Girl?

No.

Naughty French Maid?

No.

Bad cop?

No.

Vampire? Flapper? Nurse?  Cave girl?  Marilyn Monroe?

No.  No. No. No.  No.

I always dress up as the same thing:  a dead person.

Dirty, grungy clothing, pale and bloody face.  Matted hair — sometimes long and sometimes short.  Vacant stare.  I love playing the creepy dead girl with bleeding wounds and oozing flesh.  LOVE IT!

When I moved to Florida, honestly, one of the first things I did was search about a job at a haunted house.  Granted people I spoke to were like….the local ones aren’t REALLY good haunted houses….you need to go to Orlando for those.  That’s okay, compared to what we had back in Juneau, Alaska – the local houses here are going to be AWESOME!

Lucky for me, there is a haunted house right up the road from our house.  However, unlike the weekend run in Juneau for the haunted house, this one operates for over a month – multiple nights during the week.  Not to mention it stays open long enough for the Vampires to get in a full 8 hours of frightening work before turning in for the morning.  True.  These hours didn’t work for me and my serious adult job.

Not to worry – I will get to work in a haunted mansion at some point in my career.  I simply must.  How do I know this?  No is not an option.

Eric and I spent the most amazing Halloween in Salem, MA a few years back.

With 60,000 of our closest friends.

It was unreal and oddly enough, even though I hate crowds, we can’t wait to go back.  It starts first thing in the morning and goes until late at night.   The costumes are astonishing.  WOW.  Live bands out on the streets, haunted houses, ghost walks and so much more.   Helicopters overhead and police everywhere: on horses, bikes, feet and those two-wheeler things…

That same year we also stayed at the Lizzie Borden house – and sat on the couch where she gave her dad 41 whacks with the ax.  Twisted.  Haunted walks and ghost adventures – sign me up!

Historically, we decorate our house and our garage to scare the neighborhood kids on Halloween.  Nothing makes us happier than to hear someone say, “You guys have the best house!”  Rock on – turn up the fog machine and que the clanging chains and moaning beasts.

This is my favorite time of year.

However, some frightful things, which shouldn’t necessarily be so frightful scare the living bejeezits out of me.

Every morning is routine for me.  You know the main character on the show: The Big Bang Theory?  Sheldon Cooper?  Yeah, well guess what?  I have Sheldon moments.  No, I am not going to bore you with the details about the latest research on how Matrix mechanics are being called the first conceptually autonomous and logically consistent formulation of quantum mechanics. Did you know it extended the Bohr Model by describing how the quantum jumps occur?  Seriously, I’m not kidding.  It’s hard to believe but, it did so by interpreting the physical properties of particles as matrices that evolve in time.   Think of it, as being equivalent to the Schrödinger wave formulation of quantum mechanics as well as being the basis of Dirac’s bra-ket notation for the wave function.

Are you kidding, me?  I have no idea what the hell any of that means.  How many of you just read that twice?  I’m more like Penny – duh.  Blah, blah, blah chicken.

However, every morning it’s the same.

Prior to the front door being painted a lovely shade of river mud brown, it wasn’t uncommon for me to open the front door and have a lizard stuck to it or the molding – waiting to dash inside.  Okay, whatever just don’t harass the cat!

Every morning I open the door and check the door.

Nothing.

Check the welcome mat for creepy crawlers a.k.a. “beetles” which in regular non-dreamer terms means ROACH.

I scan the first landing and if all looks clear, I proceed outside.  Lock the door and scan the second landing and two steps.  If all clear, proceed to car.

Very simple.

Very reliable.

Today I open the door to depart for work at 7:15AM.

Scan.

Clear.

I approach the top of the first of two steps and look down to the next landing.  There’s a “beetle” on it’s back.  Dead.

That’s right you MOFO – you better be on your back!  Dead.  Legs curled in and dead like a crispy little leaf off a tree.  That’s why we exterminate your ass.

D. E. A. D.

Regardless, I still give it a wide berth – respect for the newly departed and all.  I make a giant left bank to avoid the carcass.  Suddenly as I am passing by the high noon mark on the lifeless shell it suddenly flips over and starts to run.

Run.

At.

Me.

FUCKER!!!

My heart rate goes from a calm 60 bpm to nearly 175 bpm as I nearly climb the 100 foot palm tree in an effort to get out of this thing’s way.  I’m slightly dumbfounded at what is happening. It was dead.  On it’s back.  Maybe I’m imagining this.  I didn’t sleep well and I didn’t get to juice my fresh fruits and veggies.  Maybe it’s a hallucination.  I pause and turn around.

This beetle, I kid you not, is as big as my thumb.

In length and width.

It’s antenna where so big, they were only good for two things:

1.  Being used as a car jack.  Need to change your tire?  No troubles, let me get my thumb size roach out one moment please.  Just call him Arnold:  “I’ll be baacck.”

2.  Bringing in Radio Tokyo with perfect clarity.

And it’s running!  With 12 pairs of the latest Nike Air shoes on – I swear.

I’ve never seen a beetle this enormous except for those you see in Natural History Museums to explain about the prehistoric creatures and what scientists unearthed in long forgotten caves under the earth’s crusty surface.

Not only was it wearing the latest Nikes but it had a matching head band to keep the sweat out of it’s eyes and an iPod tucked into it’s right wing shield.

That’s right.

WING shield.

Not only do they play dead.   They fly.  When I realized this I nearly broke the windshield trying to get into Norman as I was certain it was making it’s way towards me.

Buzzzzzzz  Buzzzzzzz.

I feel faint.  Turn the air on.  Put the seat back.  Head between my knees.  OMG it nearly killed me.

………………8 hours later……………

I arrive back to the scene of the crime.

No pools of blood and gore on the landing, no half eaten chickens in the yard.  The beast must have gotten away.

I get out of the car and immediately start stomping my feet.  There I am in my dress and end of day ballet flats (yeah, well you try wearing heels for 8 hours and see what your feet tell you.)  Anyone looking out their windows would have thought I was doing some sort of Indian Rain Dance minus the ornate Shaman staff and speaking in tongues.

I walk back to the trunk and then it happens.  Noises.  I hear a noise in the shrubs.

Sweet Jesus it’s back!

What do I do?

Stomp harder, hopping one foot to the other, all the while muttering: fuck, fuck, fuck.

I slam the trunk shut and stomp and dance my way up to the front door, eyeballing every dead leaf to make sure it’s actually a dead leaf and not a beetle playing dead.

This is ridiculous, however when you’re dealing with a beetle that is big enough to feed a starving family for 2 days, and comes with it’s own saddle, spurs and lasso, you have to take precautions.

I get inside the house, slam the door and peer out the peep hole.

Only then do I realize the rustling in the shrubbery was nothing other than a stupid ass squirrel.

I thought it had me.

Some Things You Should Know About the Most Important Thing…..ME!

The other day I was at work.  For all the challenges I face, I enjoy work.  It’s something new every day and I learn more every week.  There are some days, I can’t wait to get to work.  Honest.  I don’t lie.  I’m terrible at lying….hence, reason #1 I could never be an undercover secret agent.

Sometimes, I think…

No.

Sometimes, I know….

The people I work with think I’m crazy.

That’s okay.  I didn’t suddenly become crazy.  I arrived to this job already crazy.  As one person said to me last week, “You are the only one who could get away with that.”  Yes.  I guess so.  But I was only being honest.  The difference was I said it out loud.

Oh, you want to know what I said?

“Slacker.”  (That’s all I’m saying….to protect the guilty and myself.  The truth would only be revealed under a tickle session.)

Of course, the up side is they know I’m kidding.  I hope.  People are so serious, it’s good to laugh. It releases the toxins you hold deep inside your gut.  Expel that shit like phlegm and be happy for a change.  Of course if you start playing that stupid song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” I will come by and snap off your music.  Be happy – yes.  Don’t be a pain in the ass.

I would like to get one of those things the gymnasts use to leap up to the high bar, balance beam or vault over the horse.  What are those things called?  The launcher.  I want one.  If anyone knows where I can get a used one please let me know.  That is how I want to come into my next meeting.  L A U N C H myself through the air!  Land with grace and yell out “TAH DUH!”

Besides these things, you should know…..and those who know me well, know this already.

NEWS  FLASH:  I’m not a hugger.

Unless you are a small furry critter of some sort, chances are slim I’m not going to embrace you.  Sorry.  Just the way I roll.

Part of it is because I’m short, almost like a pocket pet, hugs can be awkward for me.  A certain friend describes me as being like a candy bar:  “Fun Size!”

SO….as I was saying.  The other day I was at work and a co-worker came by my cubicle.  I’ve only met this person a few times before but feel like I’ve known them forever.  They come in and start towards me.

IMMEDIATELY there’s a “whoop whoop whoop HUG ALERT whoop whoop whoop HUG ALERT” siren going off in my head.  I don’t move a muscle.  If I’m still they’ll usually stop in their tracks.  It’s only slightly awkward, but we get through it.

Yatta, yatta….nice chat.  Moving on.

Later in the day, I was speaking with a different friend and advised them of the following:

“Yeah, you may want to mention to Pat that I’m not a hugger.  I think they might have been aiming to hug me earlier.”

Fast forward a few days later.  I end up having to stop by the potential hugger’s desk.  I pop in and my friend jumps up from behind the desk.

Immediately, my hands start to sweat.  Seriously?  Really?  OMG.  My heart starts to race and I think, “here we go again with the awkward moment.”  I do the only thing I can think of as my upper lip breaks out into a sweat….

I put my bag down and say, “HEY!  I bet our friend Kerry told you about my hugging thing huh?  Well alright, now that you know…..(gulp)…..I can hug you.”

Nervous laughter.

Ha.

Ha.

.

.

HA. HA. HHHAAA.

Pat, pat, pat.

.

.

I sit down and then look them in the eye and say, ” alright, so now you’re on the approved hugger list.  Don’t be going around telling people though okay.  LOTS of people want to get on it and I can’t permit that.”

They nod their head and reply, “Understood, I can only imagine how difficult the try outs are.”

Although, I will admit.  Some days are bad days and I could use a hug.  Without my better half here at the moment there are times when I think…..would I rather….hug a co-worker or hug a stranger?  Luckily, I haven’t acted on that impulse yet.

Today, I kinda had a personal struggle kind of day.  It was 80% great and 20% poopie.

I decided to go get a quick pedicure at my favorite local place.  They have the massage chairs that even squeeze your butt.  I like having my butt squeezed.

Sorry, was that too much personal information?

Anyway, I got the same guy who I got last time.  I never call ahead, I just go with the luck of the draw.  He does a great job so I was delighted.   Here’s the thing.  He’s Asian.  I’m American.  I’m terrible with accents.  90% of the time I have NO CLUE what this man is saying to me.   Tonight I sat in the chair.  He sits on the little stool and says to me:

“Atoub lkjdai kdi iqp bag? I’agb boie akv right?”

My little brain tries desperately to decipher what he’s just said…..bag…..right?  Bag?  Right?  WTF?  I laugh and say, “You think?”  He laughs and says something more about the bag and women.  I laugh.  Then about 30 seconds later it hits me!

Eureka!  I shout out, as if I am on some type of random B-rated game show, shown only on Wednesday nights on channel 7633 at 2:30AM:

“YES!  Of course I have multiple bags in my tote!  The bigger the bag, the more stuff I can carry!”

Then, because it was a last minute trip to the nail salon, I wasn’t too concerned about not having shaved my legs today.  Small stubble.  Not terrible.  I was wearing pants today and I knew nobody would be touching my legs.  Well, outside of a doctor in case of an emergency, but I wasn’t anticipating an emergency, so I didn’t shave.  My legs were nothing like sand paper.  Honest!  It wasn’t like it was fuzzy and braidable hair and it wouldn’t burn his hand off…so I wasn’t horrified about it until he said:

“Paiobo  aieq shave for me today.”

What the hell?  What?  What?  What?  I missed the first part.  WHAT!?  Did he say I did or didn’t?  I don’t know!  Good grief.  No clue.  Then we proceeded to the mask and the scrub on the legs.  I pretended to lay back and enjoy the chair massage.  With my eyes closed….thank you….to avoid further conversation.

We have two friends, who I really enjoy their company, however they both make me nervous as hell.  Why?  I can’t bloody understand most of what they say.  They are both helicopter pilots.  Why does that make a difference?  Trust me….it does.  That’s another story.

But they BOTH have accents.  I mean really, either one of them could read a cookbook to me and I’d be drooling.  However….me…… trying to carry on a conversation….with one of these guys?  I’ve got nothing.  Nothing.  Notta.  Zip. Zilch.

It’s so bad.  That my better half had to tell them, “you know she only get like every fourth word you say.”  They knew.  Yeah, because of my confused nods and smiles.  OMG I’m an idiot.

The other day at work we had a conference call.  Luckily it was just over the phone and not a video call.  Good lord.  One of the people on the call had not just one accent but TWO accents.  He started off British, which I get.  Check, got it, I’m good.  Following right along until BAM…all of the sudden he has a heavy Indian accent.

I’m not talking Native American accent.  I’m talking from India, India accent.

WHAT?

I went from hearing:

“Yes, it would be easy enough for us to come and visit with you and discuss your process.”

To:

“Tjagjoun   gp’iep”  aoibuo yboiafp   poiqrpjp’ja  ‘a;ojp[i  kaip  qgv.”

Then to:

“You would need to provide us with an accurate schedule as to the time frame.”

Followed by:

“Hkahgoi adyfug ghkb vvaip afihaivoj alboubo a aougo.”

If anyone could see me, they would have literally found me with my eyes squeezed shut, elbows on my knees and my fingers pressing into my temples…..so very seriously trying to concentrate oh so hard on whatever this British Indian man was trying to say.

I had nothing.

I won’t even go into the conversation ON THE PHONE I had today with one of our French  tour operators.  Luckily I was able to get the gist of why he was calling, so I was able to get through the conversation.  Dear Lord.  Instead of inventing “TV Ears” could someone please invent ears for people who can’t get over the accents?  Most of the time all I get is:

LA  LA  LA  PENCIL.

Lastly, I wanted to share with you my first day on the beach here near my house.  It was over the 4th of July.  The beach is literally a 5 minute drive from my front door, to the beach parking lot.  So easy.

I claim a little patch of shady sand……and settle in for my afternoon.  Okay, not really an afternoon because I don’t have the patience but I planned for ONE HOUR.  Which was perfect for me on the first trip.   Over by the lifeguard tower, it is mobbed.  Wall to wall people.  I’m a ways down the beach, in the shade of a high rise.  Perfect for my delicate Alaskan skin.

The first thing that I ponder are the signs not too far away from me that read something like, “Beginning from the front of this sign is 50 feet of private beach property.”  I’m confused.  The sign itself is hammered into the sand about 50 feet from the front of the obvious property line….the green grass.  However, does the sign mean it extends another 50 feet into the ocean?  Or does it mean 50 feet behind the sign is private beach?  So confusing these Floridans.

I’m happy as a clam.  In my bathing suit.  Wearing SPF 75 (thank you Alaskan friends) and watching the parade of people.  OMG.  That’s a whole other blog.  Suddenly, out of the right corner of my eye vision I see a 4WD vehicle fast approaching.  It slams on the breaks …a few car lengths away from me and the guy leaps out (doorless 4WD) and grabs a surf board off the top of the vehicle.  He lunges into the waves, throws himself on top of the board and begins to propel himself into the ocean.

I’m thinking, the Alaskan I am…..on the beach….in the blazing sun……wearing SPF 75….trying not to blind people with my vampire like skin……

Wow..he really wants to catch the waves.  Must be good wave action.   I watch him out in the ocean.  He’s paddling and paddling…..gets out to just where the waves are starting to form.  He’s talking to another group of people.  Yatta….yatta..

Waves are forming and going.

Forming and going.

Forming and going.

The guy on the surf board starts looking back at the beach and he’s patting his head.

?

?

?

?

What the hell does that mean?

He’s obviously not patting his head and rubbing his tummy.  He’s signaling to someone.

Then I take notice he’s talking to a group of kids who are out there on an (this is genius) inflatable mattress.  Not just a raft.

A  QUEEN  SIZE  MATTRESS.

GENIUS.

Winner.  Winner.  Chicken.  Dinner.  I LOVE that idea.  So much better than the little floatie raft things.  I love this.   Last time we were in Maui, I lost half my bathing suit trying to get back in to the beach…..carrying a floatie raft.

Seriously.

Then it suddenly dawns on me.

Duh.

I’m such an Alaskan.

On the beach.

This guy, anxious to get out and catch the waves?

Yeah, he’s a life guard.  Telling these kids they can’t be out there on an inflatable mattress.

I’m such a nerd……on the beach.

 

 

No Comprendo aka La La La Pencil

One thing I’ve learned since moving to Miami is…..I need to learn Spanish.

Pronto.

The local community college, had a Saturday class being offered this summer, “Beginner’s Conversational Spanish.”   Great!  Sign me up.  That’s exactly what I need.

Now, I will be able to make small talk in elevators, listen in on conversations when they think I don’t know what they’re saying and I can tell the Urgent Care to stop leaving messages for Juan….as they only leave messages in Spanish.  On my work cell phone no less.  I don’t know Juan.  How do I know what they’re calling about?  I had to ask one of my coworkers listen to the message, which I knew obviously it wasn’t for me.  It was in Spanish – duh.

Today was the day for my first Spanish class.

I was excited and ready to get going.  I logged the community college’s address into my GPS and headed out the door.  Of course, I had a general idea of where I was going.  Down the highway a couple of exits and then head West-ish.  When I got off the highway and was stopped at the first light, I should have trusted my gut and pulled a u-turn.  There was a vaguely familiar looking man sitting on the side of the road playing music.  On a 5 gallon plastic bucket.  For money.  He had a mustache like Cheech Marin.  Had I been quick enough, I would have snapped his photo as he looked like someone I used to work with years ago.  Enormously large bushy mustache….all you can see on the face…..stache and more stache.

Anyhow, I made my turn and quickly realized this was not the best neighborhood to be driving through.  I was expecting a scene out of West Side Story to erupt at any moment.  As I drove, I continued to keep my eyes open for unauthorized drag races to cross my path.  After a little research, I found that this town in particular had the highest crime rate in America in 2004.  Dear Lord, keep your eyes on the road and let’s just keep going forward.  I should have turned around at that light back there.

The ridiculous GPS, which sometimes sends me in circles.  Literally:

Turn left.

Turn left

Turn left.

Turn left.

Turn

NO!

Didn’t bother to tell me to Turn Right…..and I zipped right past the college.

Turn Left

Turn Left.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.

Click.  OFF.

I pull into the first tiny little parking area.  There is a LAKE of water covering three spots.  Being I am now living in Florida, my footwear is not suitable to navigate this wading pool.  I drive to the end only to realize the last open spot is clearly marked (with a Pictionary sign) for people with babies and strollers.  Crap.  I head out of the parking area and a lady is blocking the exit, trying to decide whether or not to turn in.  She finally decides to give it a try and turns past me towards the pool.  As I head down the road to the next parking lot I see she zipped into the people with strollers spot and I slow down to see if she has any babies with her.

That would be a big NO.

I give her a disapproving glare and continue on my way.  Seriously, parents have it rough enough and now they can get this one little break in life.  Uneducated girl is going to take one of their spots because she’s too lazy to walk from the next lot over.  I hope you get explosive diarrhea in rush hour traffic…  (This is my standard curse.)  Yes, apparently she is uneducated.  Even if English isn’t her first language the giant picture of a stroller should be a dead give away.  My guess is she doesn’t do well in Pictionary or Charade games.

After I get my spot, I head towards building Numeral Uno!  I am a few minutes late and make my way to the second floor to the assigned classroom.  Yahoo….so excited.

I open the door and the instructor first greets me with a “bon jour!”  Followed quickly by a “buenos dias.”  I mutter a quick “hola” while she explains they were just talking about the French language as she teaches both.  Whatever.  I grab the first seat I see, right by the front door.  As I go to sit down I look at the girl a few seats back.

It’s the STROLLER LADY!

Great.  A sign of things to come.  Another indication I should have turned around at that light with Mr. Mustache.

Suddenly the instructor is addressing me.  All I catch is, “Giruod jab, whiuyt?”

The only thing I can say is, “Donna.”  I assume she’s asking for my name.

Then she says, “Luiy weng tldiwl uls?”

My response:  blink blink blink blink.

Again she says, “Luiy weng tldiwl uls?”

Again my response:  blink blink blink blink.  For good measure I shake my head NO.

An older gentleman in the class yells out, “last name.”

Oh!  Powell.  Donna Powell.

Good grief.

She goes back to the question at hand and begins to discuss how things will be listed on the immigration form, regarding your name.  Immigration form?  What the hell?  This is supposed to be Beginner’s Conversational Spanish, not how to fill out your immigration forms.  Well this is strange.  Next up, the instructor, whose name I have not a clue, starts to talk about something that sounds suspiciously like, “come here lama.”  NO clue.  I have not one bit of an idea what this woman is saying.  It continues as she points to the board, each time with a different stress accent.  “COME here lama.”  “Come HERE lama.”  “Come here LAMA.”  She explains in English something about using the “tu” when speaking with small children and the “utes” when speaking to adults.  “Come here lama.”

By this time I start looking around the room to see if there might actually be a lama somewhere.  Here a lama.  There a lama.  Everywhere a lama lama.

Guess what?  No lama.  Damn.

The instructor continues with the lesson:  “Oulkjda  jldoa  pencil  a’kdao kluou!  Hwid, wolwd jweoub aoul?  Taden pencil aera oueab weraouib alkpie. Right?  So then, aoiudf’ag jlareio  aoiejang aliduar ieialgob  alkubow.”   Now I’m looking around to see what everyone else is doing.  Nobody has a notebook out…not even a pencil.  Even the instructor only has a cell phone and cup of coffee on the desk.  Should I ask if I am in the right class?  Is anyone else dazed and confused or are they getting it?  One guy is sitting there smiling like this is the biggest punch line he’s ever heard.  Really?  I am so screwed.

Well, it’s still only the first few minutes of class, maybe she’s going to start explaining whatever she’s saying in a minute.

Cue the hourglass timer…..any minute now we’ll be speaking in English.  Any moment.  Wait for it.  One minute.

“Taljgljb  kjadaljgio  alkjro?  Waoiudgh lkjdfopig qjdagji adlgajgoiuej akfji?  Haidoug lkaj it.  The plural of the uya aor, aoiuf alkjb as it is in English.  Veriu aloiu akdj polg akjb.  You want to aenbo agoiub and then in the French language it is pronounced ela aoub akuouv alouf vous.  Taerib aljboiue jaoe kjgi alkjir; buanb aiuelg which is what?”

Which is don’t make eye contact cause I have no clue what you’re saying and I’m pretty damn sure it’s not English.  La la la chicken.

“Bof lb iead, akjoie afoinl aulz ojghs oaurl and always make sure you ahbie pbiael aieug adiwow.  Now, of course sometimes bagowie wobbloiu aty byru xkiao. Zcait abiuet itub lama aeiu?”

This is getting really, really awkward.  Now it’s obvious she’s asking questions to the class.  I’ve got nothing.  The suck thing is I’m sitting in the front row.  Prime target for being called on.  Duck and cover.  Duck and cover.  No sense in trying to fake tying my shoes. First, because I’m in the front row and second because I’m wearing slip ons.  Total failure.  Whatever happens don’t make eye contact.

Shit.  Shit.  Shit.  Shit.

It’s dawning on me that apparently, you need a working understanding of the Spanish language for this “BEGINNER’S” class.  Well had it been a requirement, do you think I would have signed up for this hell?  I have no clue what this woman is saying.  Yatta, yatta, yatta SHE, yatta, yatta, yatta what do you call that? Yatta, yatta, yatta, yatta and then you yatta yatta yatta lama.

How the hell do I get out of this?  I better do it quickly before we partner up for role playing and conversations.  Oh my god, the horror of that thought.  As soon as she turns her back to erase the board I am out of here.

Now she’s talking about pronouns and tenses.  She’s asking questions and don’t you know it, STROLLER LADY is the only one answering.  I don’t want to be rude and leap up from my desk and bolt to the door, but I know it’s only a matter of time before we have to pair up.  What is this Top Twenty Spanish Pronoun Questions?  Let’s get on with it.  Turn around.  Turn around.

Honestly, I shouldn’t worry about being rude and walking out.  After all she’s the one speaking in another language that I don’t understand.  Geez.  That’s rude.  Miss Manners would not be impressed.

I casually take out my cell phone to check the time.  I have only been here 20 minutes.  Well guess what.  Time is up.  Gotta go.  Oh yeah, did you hear that?  Sounded like a fire alarm.  Gotta run.  I casually loop my hand bag over my wrist and pick up my book bag off the floor.  The instructor starts to reach for the eraser and I’m up and out of my seat faster than a naked man being bit by fire ants on the yin-yang..  As I swim through the air to get to the door I hear her say:

“Yzgibb   aoiuearlj olkg  iwkg  aiublka laopiw?  Zkie gubja….”

Don’t turn back, that could have been directed to me…..for crying out loud, this is an episode mix between Fear Factor, Whose Line is it Anyways and Hidden Camera.  I close the door….on what I think is mid-sentence and then breathe a sigh of relief, wipe the sweat off my upper lip and think to myself:  Gotta go.  The lama called……and it said SAVE YOURSELF!

Are You For REAL?

Previously, living in Juneau, Alaska….my daily commutes to work were 15 minutes and literally….wait….let me count them….TEN lights.  Total miles traveled about 13.    And when I talk about the lights, we never use street names to identify the intersections.  We have the following:

Super Bear

McDonalds

Vanderbuilt

Hospital

Main Street

And my personal favorite, “You know the one by that weird overpass that was built for pedestrians, that nobody ever used and then that truck ran into….THAT light.”

I loved living in Alaska.  We just knew what we were talking about.

I’m thinking in Miami……

the people….

they have no common sense.

Honestly, I don’t mean to be mean and evil  I’m just making an observation.  As a newcomer.  What leads me to this conclusion?  Wait for it….

A few weeks ago a co-worker emailed me and said, “OMG I have something for your blog.”  I couldn’t wait to hear what the story was going to spill into my little fuzzy brain.

Imagine this.

You work for a giant corporation.  It’s a corporation that is an industry trendsetter – always steps ahead of the competition.  People WANT to work here.  Luckily as a manager, you have a position that has just come open and need to start interviewing.

Thus begins the process.  You line up the candidates and begin.

Now serving NUMBER ONE!

On day two you are running through the line up of interviews and begin the first phone interview of the day.

All goes well.  You’re feeling confident.  Soon you will have a new employee.  SWEET!

You dial up your next candidate.

Pleasantries are exchanged and the small talk comes to an end.  Time to get into the nitty gritty.  Anxiously, you begin to mow through your list of questions:

  • What is your background in analyzing the efficiency of 400 count Egyptian sheets compared to 743 count Grecian sheets?
  • Can you describe a time when you faced a monetary discrepancy between how many peanuts an elephant consumed in a week and the total number of fishnet pantyhose a Fright Night Corpse Bride went through in a Halloween weekend?
  • In your opinion,  do blondes really have more fun than brunettes?
  • Tell me about a time when you knew you had to argue your point to support the idea of Marco Polo not being as desirable as Fabio on the cover of instructional books on how to steam up the laundry room.

The interview is going exceptionally well.  The candidate’s answers are spot on.  You’re excited.  The candidate is excited.  THEN  you ask, “Why do you want to work with us?”

Watch out!  Open the flood gates.  Stand back!  The energy combined with bright sunlight and rays of happiness are literally blinding.  You think little blue birds are circling your head while whistling tunes of euphoria. These are signals of the candidate’s obvious perfection for being the right person for the job.

They launch themselves into the future with the appropriate answers, as if they were shot out of a cannon.  Except, this one was launched, sadly…without a crash helmet.

Oh how they go on about the grandiose wonderfulness of the company.  A leader of the industry.  Exploring areas even Mister Rogers didn’t venture into or Sesame Street for that matter.  Climbing mountains in leaps and bounds.  Success beyond the banks of Donald Trump.

It was as plain as plain yogurt.

This individual knew they were destined for greatness.

Destined to work for this cruise line.

The other thing that made the stars align, much like the first walk on the moon or when Elvis learned about his jaw dropping hip thrust (young Elvis – mind you) was the cruise line was so close to the candidate’s house.

“It’s perfect.  I live just a five minute drive from 87th Avenue.  I could walk to the corporate offices!”

Excuse me?  What?  Can you repeat what you just said?

“Certainly!  I live so close to your corporate offices, I can walk to them each day, which is ideal!  I’ll never be late.”

Right.  Okay.  And that address again was what?

“Well, I live just two blocks over from 87th, which is where your main office is located.  I mean, I totally expect I will be working in the corporate office.”

Note:  It’s okay.  Take a deep breath.  All together now.  Inhale deeply into the pit of your stomach and exhale very slowly.  Now.  Don’t you feel better?

Why?  Well, let’s continue the story….

After you calmly pick your head up off the keyboard and pry the “escape” button out of your third eyeball, you very calmly…..however with a slight edge in the tone of your voice…. no doubt from the grinding of your wooden teeth.  (You and GW go way back.)  You advise this nearly ideal candidate of their fatal flaw:

“Wow!  Great news that office is so close to you.  Our offices are actually located in the Port of Miami.  Specifically on Caribbean Drive.  The address you are referring to, is our competition.  That’s Carnival’s corporate office.”

Silence.

Please cue the cricket chorus.

Encore of the cricket chorus.

Lighters out to encourage yet ANOTHER encore of the cricket chorus.

As you pick your right eye tooth up off the floor you calmly advise the candidate, the interview they just completed was for Royal Caribbean Cruises NOT Carnival.

Have a good day.  Thanks for playing.

P.S.

No, you did not get the job.  Are you kidding me?

 

 

 

 

 

Did I Already Tell You About…..

Years ago…. like almost 8 years ago….I got divorced and bought a cute little condo out in Auke Bay, Alaska.  It was a tiny little place.  So small you had to go outside if you wanted to change your mind.

It was all mine.

All 600 square feet.

I could sit out on the deck and watch my favorite birds – Blue Herons – fish in the wetlands.  When bored, just throw some herring up in the sky and watch the Bald Eagles come swooping in to pick up their snacks.  Talk about excitingly scary!  It was awesome.

When I moved in on a Saturday morning a bunch of people came to help me carry in the boxes.  My new upstairs neighbor happened to arrive during our moving chaos.  I yelled out a hello to her and introduced myself.  We’ll call her Mary.  Right about this time one of my oh so funny friends decided it would be hilarious to loudly inquire where to put my box of sex toys.

I nearly swallowed my tongue.

MY —

WHAT?

We all got a good laugh out of it.  Mary didn’t know what to say and immediately went inside her condo.

Let me give you a visual of Mary.  About 5’3 and probably about 150 pounds.  Thick calves.  Outfit of choice?  Skirts and colored tights.  Shoulder length corse black hair – wavy.  Coats two sizes too small.  Probably mid-late 20’s somewhere in there.  Works half the year for the government and half the year at a bank. Sure.

Got it?

Good.  You’ll need it later.

Along with the sex toys.

Six months went by or more.  One day I look out the window and I see Mary coming up to the building wearing exercise tights.  She had obviously gone running.  Huh.  Okay.  Well, I’m not a runner so good luck with that one.

A few days later I notice Mary with a guy.  We’ll call him Josh.  Now you need a visual of Josh.

Think Hobbit.

That should do it.

Okay, you need more visual assistance?  He is about 5’3 also.  Wears baggy sweat pants and t-shirts.  Constantly has that Don Johnson 5:00PM shadow going on.  His laugh is atrocious.  Down right ridiculous.  Like a hyena.  This guy thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips….sadly he isn’t even the stale pickle (without snap) on the plate.

Not to mention he walked around like a Neanderthal.   I mean really Hobbit Man can you do something about those lead bricks you call your feet?  Even elephants don’t make that much noise.

The guy made me weary and I never actually met him.

Over the next few weeks the Hobbit comes and goes from her condo.  He’s obviously visiting from somewhere else and isn’t local.  He’s always over visiting on the weekends. I’m thinking maybe he’s a fish processor or miner.  Maybe he works on a barge or something.  Who the hell knows?  I don’t care.

Suddenly one day the Hobbit shows up and he has a beat up Toyota truck.  Rusty and a total POS (please read as Piece of Shit).  He’s here for a week and gone for a week.  Here for a week and gone for a week.

One night I hear him on the phone – cause he’s stupid loud.  Now, he’s just pissing me off. Going on and on about starting up some business.  Later, out at the dumpster I see boxes and cartons from some manufacturing company for “Buzz Bites” energy bites.

Hobbit + POS + Buzz Bites = you have to be kidding me.

Please note:  You are going to need to reflect back on both of their visuals, the idea of Buzz Bites and yes, the sex toys.

Finally, one day I go upstairs and knock on their door.  The music was so loud, even the people in my head were vibrating around.  The Hobbit answered the door as Mary wasn’t home.  I politely ask him to turn down the vibes before my chandelier becomes a nightlight.  I also explained how the noise travels very easily and if he / they could be a little more considerate that would be fantastic.

Oh, yeah, sure.  Not a problem.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.

Weeks go by and I’m sound asleep in my snuggly little bear bed one morning.  Slowly I drift out of my sound slumber and I’m like, “what the hell is that noise?”  I am half asleep and it starts again.

What the hell?

*More noise*

Now I am sitting up in bed.  The noise stops.

Huh.

I lay back down.

*Noise starts again.*

Wait.  One.  Minute.  You.  Pain.  In.  My .  Ass.  Neighbors.

I am fully awake.  The Hobbit and his thick calved girlfriend are screwing.  After a yodeling like crescendo….the Hobbit yells a Tarzan like yelp:

“OUTSTANDING!”

Then….Hobbit leaps off the bed (I know this because the change in my piggy bank rattled on the floor and I’m pretty damn sure T-Rex is extinict) and takes off running for the bathroom with her right behind him.

Good lord of mercy give me a break.   You have to be kidding.

On my way to work, I go upstairs and tape a note to their front door.  I left no doubt in mind what I was talking about as I simply wrote, “Good morning!  Just so you know I do hear EVERYTHING downstairs.”

Being kind and polite can go a long way.  Emily Post and Sarah Lee both think so as does Dear Abby.  I am certain this will solve the problem.  Don’t we all want to be good neighbors?

A couple days go by and guess what….I am sound asleep….in my snuggly bed…..again.

T   H   U   M   P

*

*

Thump.

Thump.

*

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.Thump.

 

“I’M THE MAN!” 

 

Oh my god.  News Flash: No, you aren’t.

I am so not even kidding – I nearly fell right out of my bed with laughter and disbelief.  Yes, he yelled that.  Out loud!    Did  I fall down an acid lined rabbit hole when I wasn’t looking and I’m on a trip?  What the hell….can I rewind that?  What did you just yell?  Really?

Am I on Fear Factor?  No, wait it’s Candid Camera.  Oh – wait…I got it!  I’m on America’s Got Talent……. Snap.

I’M

THE

MAN

!!!

 

Who says these things?  Buzz Bites…..heavy calves….baggy sweatpants….

Really?

That’s it.  I’m ready for the next event.  I have my game plan.  You ignored my note.  I tried to be nice.  Now, I’m putting on the latex and grabbing my whip.  I’m so excited I feel like I should be the one yelling out.  Let the games begin.

Tick.  Tock.  Tick.  Tock.

It didn’t take long.  That night I climb into bed and before I can get into my dream sequence involving the ocean and floating along with the currents….BAM.

Hit the rewind button from earlier….

T   H   U   M   P

*

*

Thump.

Thump.

*

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump.

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.Thump.

Cue the yodeling.

Cue the Alaskan Minxy:  FINALLY – MY MOMENT HAS ARRIVED!

I leap up out from under the covers.  Standing in the middle of my bed…..jumping up and down like a two year old….I begin a rousing round of applause while yelling at the very top of my lungs:

“BRAVO!  BRAVO!  GOOD JOB!  BRAVO!  BRAVO!  EXCELLENT JOB!  BRAVO!”

Silence.  Cue the crickets.  Silence…………………………………………………

Then a burst of laughter for like two seconds – then silence.

Problem solved.  Never another peep.  Every time I ran into Mary from there on out – she never made eye contact.  Well, what’s awkward for you, is not awkward for me.  Thank you very much.

Lesson:  don’t mess with the Minxy.

Answer:  What?  No, I’m not telling you if I actually have a box of sex toys.